Need motivation? Go and get it! Musings from #RunOttawa Weekend Races…

Good thing it’s not a video blog this time because you would make fun of my voice but I had a blast cheering this weekend!

I was asked by the folks from the Rideau Centre Lululemon store (where I used to be an Ambassador) to help with their cheer team. Well since I wasn’t racing on the big weekend and I was actually in town this year, I jumped at the opportunity.

To be honest, I’ve been somewhat unmotivated to train as of late. I’ve been going through the motions for the most part as the fire doesn’t burn the way it used to. Maybe it’s too busy trying to burn all the extra fat I put on…

This weekend was great for motivation and inspiration. As much cheering you did for the folks, they gave you back the energy and enthusiasm tenfold. It’s such a great experience to just be out there cheering  and it’s something I recommend to everyone, especially aspiring runners.

I saw tons of friends, running buddies and clients (and many that didn’t see me). I didn’t see everyone that I knew but it’s such a big field (over 40 000 in all the races) so it goes with the territory. I chatted with a few folks on Twitter after the race and it seems a few more newbies are addicted. As usual!

So how was your race this weekend? Get your goal? Felt the heat? I’d love to know and sorry if I missed you out there!

From all the folks I saw running this weekend, I could sum it best with this movie title: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

For those that are interested in looking to change your form to something more minimalist, here is a great article I found on the ChiRunning site on making the transition injury-free. It’s not rocket science but it does take time and a lot of attention to detail. It does help you with enjoyment for the long run!

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#ChiRunning101: Race strategy


For the ones racing this weekend, especially if it’s your first time, this week’s ChiRunning101 might be useful. It outlines how you can enjoy your race and maybe be a bit more efficient:

P.S. Sorry about the camera movement, I was in a hurry this morning so I couldn’t do the usual set-up. I’m looking to rectify that very quickly!

Here is a very interesting article from the Globe & Mail on how barefoot running has changed the shoe industry.

It talks about how Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run has single-handedly ignited the barefoot running craze. I’m just happy to be talking about shoes and/or form at all!

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Racing tips from a #Lululemon #Running Alumni Ambassador

Here is a video I put together with Lululemon as part of our prep for the 2011 Ottawa Race Weekend. The video might be a bit outdated (who wears that anymore?) but the advice is still timely and relevant.

This is good for folks racing in Ottawa this coming weekend or some other time this summer. Or in Goose Bay, or Wisconsin really…

How do you get ready for a race?

If you’ve read “Born to Run”, you’ll really connect with this article on the life and death, and the last run of “Caballo Blanco”. Great read and great selfless deed by my friend Simon Donato.

If you’re like me, it makes you want to run down there with these folks. Maybe the Copper Canyon ultra is in my future to honour Micah True…

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Running: A great cross-cultural boundary breaker…

I was out for a run on the hot & steamy weekend (later in the day so it was tolerable) around my multi-cultural neighbourhood and this thought popped into my head: Isn’t running a great way to break down barriers between different cultures.

In my ‘hood, I see all kinds of races, shapes and sizes, and that’s just the children. The great equalizer is that the children I see are usually running. From someone, to somewhere, they don’t care. C’est tu pas beautiful?

You see black children playing with Asian children. White children playing with them as well. You see them playing their own made-up ball game (remember those days), some children at the swing, some playing basketball and some rollerblading.

Some of the cool things about running is that it’s natural and crosses cultural boundaries. Is there much a difference between a black toddler and an Asian one? Don’t they run the same? I think so…

And another wonderful trait of running is that it’s very cost effective. All you need is shoes and you can get out there. Actually with the new barefoot movement, they’re even optional!

That makes running a true international sport. Yes, some folks are better at some distances like Kenyans at marathons and the Jamaicans at sprinting but overall you get almost all of the nationalities involved. Unlike women’s hockey for example…

And here is a video that is quite timely with the weather we are having these days in Ottawa:

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Form vs engine: What can make you a faster runner?

What do you do to go faster?

When I was running last weekend’s Day before Mother’s Day Half Marathon, I had a lot of time to think about a few things. It’s one of the fringe benefits of being a slower runner…

Looking around at some the different running styles, it got me thinking about how people try to go fast. The 5k, 10k and half all started at the same time so I got to see a lot of folks “powering”their way down the parkway.

I’m a bit biased with my ChiRunning as I find form is key to being efficient in the long run but I saw so many folks running at my speed but working so much harder at it. I really hoped the lady that I could hear breathing from 10 feet away wasn’t running the half as I would have had to flag the paramedics (she wasn’t). That being said, I’ve been holding back way too much since I started moving up in distances.

A great illustration of the form vs engine is swimming. When I first started, I could go fairly fast but my range was very limited as I was winded after a few lengths. I haven’t gotten much faster but now I can keep that speed for much longer due to a more energy-efficient stroke. A lot of people think of swimming as technical but they don’t realize that running is quite similar.

To be world class, you definitely need both. If you look at top runners, they all have similar form and training schedules. What sets them apart are the little things which are usually lost to the average runner. So what gets you at the top of local races?

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Race report: Day before Mother’s Day Half Marathon

So I ran the Day before Mother’s Day Half Marathon on the weekend. Maybe I should have stayed home. It wasn’t really my day…

What went well:

  1. Hydration: Most people tend to overdrink during running events and I kept that in mind. I had two cups of sports drink and a cup of water during the half and I was fine, even on a fairly hot day.
  2. No post race soreness: I did concentrate on form during the race so I wasn’t sore after. That’s one of my favourite things about ChiRunning!
  3. Worked on my tan: It was a nice morning, bright and sunny. So I worked on my tan at least. And it always helps to have pretty ladies to look at when things aren’t going your way…

What didn’t:

  1. I felt heavy: That is probably due to the fact that I am heavy (er) these days, probably 15-20 pounds heavier than my last Ironman racing weight. As research shows, body weight makes a big difference, especially in the long run. Pun intended!
  2. Pacing: Even after the races I’ve done, I’m still not a master pace. It doesn’t help that I haven’t raced in over six months (and that there were no markers) but my pacing was off. No negative split like I’m used to…
  3. Setting realistic goals: I was trying to set a personal best in the half. The last time I ran a half was three years ago so I thought I could do it with my eyes closed. Not quite, especially with minimal training.

In retrospect, I’m glad I did it as it provided a snapshot of my running fitness. It will definitely motivate me to train a bit more, especially if I want to get better results.

I should be grateful that I can just go out and run a half. And trust me, I am. I just need a bit of time to let it sink in…

Stay tuned this week for some great thoughts that came through my mind during the run! It’s a busy space these days…

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Do you run for the high?

It seems runners are addicts, as a lot of them run for the endorphins.

New research by University of Arizona anthropologist David Raichlen suggests those chemicals may have helped turn humans, as well as other animals, into long-distance runners.

A great new blog post (and podcast) by NPR looks at the research and asks folks why they do it. Is it to chase antelopes or just to be able to eat a Big Mac guilt-free?

Why do you run?

I’m all about helping folks find that natural high and enjoy the journey. And I know it’s not easy to get there, especially if you’re always injured or just starting out.

The more I teach, the more I realize it takes a while and a lot of work for folks to really pick up ChiRunning. I truly believe the technique works since it’s worked for me and countless clients but some folks don’t have the time or patience.

For those reasons, I’m now offering any folks that have taken one of my workshops an opportunity to take it again as a refresher at a discounted rate ($75). If you’re in that situation and want to take advantage of the opportunity, simply drop me an email at

I’ve now had a few folks take my workshops a few times and they say that they get a whole new understanding the second time, even if I’m using the same drills and very similar language. You might be stuck with the same old jokes though…

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