If you are looking for inspiration, look no further than Aimee Vandale. A mother of two very young children, Aimee has been running for 10 years, beginning with the Learn to Run program at the Ottawa Running Room. A former competitive swimmer, Aimee has gone on to complete races of all distances, including ultramarathons. Now an active Pace Bunny, Aimee tells us what works for her to keep moving.

What was the toughest moment during the 2016 Manitoba Marathon?

This year I had the pleasure of running the Winnipeg Free Press 10K route with my Dad; I was 7 months pregnant. The heat is always a challenge but it was the perfect way the celebrate Father’s Day, spending time with my Dad.

Do you have a personal mantra or other encouragement that keeps you going on days you don’t feel like going out to run?

I am fortunate to have an amazing group of friends that I usually run with. So on days when it’s hard to get out of bed, I know that they will be expecting me to show up. I’m a huge believer in goal setting and remind myself of my goals and ‘why’ I’m going out for a run. When all else fails I have the classic line from my Dad ‘Suck it up Buttercup’, which always cracks me up and gets me out the door.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

Because I am a working mom, I have very limited extra time, I try to do cross-training at home. I do the basics, lunges, squats, core work and upper body.  I also enjoy Bikram yoga during low mileage months.

What would be your dream road race?

My dream race would be to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I would also love to run the London and New York Marathon and to complete the Goofy Challenge (5km, 10km, 21.2km and 42.2km) in Disney World.

How does your family/home life figure in to all of your training? How do you balance the two commitments?

I am fortunate to have an incredibly supportive husband. We both know I am a better person when I run and exercise. My running days gets scheduled in weekly and it is made a priority. Sometimes I have to get a babysitter so I can get out and run. I usually sign up for Running Room clinics so I am accountable during Marathon training.  My running has changed since having children, before kids I would run up to 80 KMs a week, training for ultramarathons. Since then I have had to stream line my training and have had to focus on quality runs instead of quantity. My weekly goal is one tempo run, one long slow distance, one hill training day and one speed work day. At this point I do one marathon a year and the rest is half marathons.

What does your nutrition regimen look like race week/pre-race?

The week before a race I try to eat balanced healthy, bland meals. I focus hard on drinking loads of water. The day before a race I eat plain pasta with grated cheddar cheese for lunch.  I have an early dinner, usually grilled chicken breast with rice and broccoli.  The morning of race day I have two slices of peanut butter toast and a cup of coffee.

Is there a particular reward you grant yourself post run?

I try my best not to grant myself rewards after runs but I do have a weak spot for soft serve ice cream.

What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? What is your mileage in your off-season?

During peak marathon training I run between 60-70 KMs a week and in the off season it’s between 30-40 KMs.

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

I listen to my body: if I feel a niggle in my body I try to sort it out right away. I scale back on training (I don’t make up lost sessions). I use my foam roller, extra stretching, compression socks and extra rest days. This rule also applies to flus, colds and exhaustion: if I cannot have a quality run, it is more valuable to rest and recover rather than pushing through and causing more damage; leading to a longer recovery.

What advice would you give to ‘middle of the pack’ runners?

Set Goals! I’m a huge believer in goal settling. Create daily, weekly, monthly and long term goals. This helps to keep you motivated.

During race day I would recommend sticking to your own pace. It is so easy to get carried away with the faster runners and hitting a wall during your run. Rather, create a pace range. I create 3 finishing time scenarios: 1. ‘I’m having an incredible run’ pace, 2. ‘My planned goal’ pace or  3. ‘Things aren’t going as planned’ slow pace. I make sure I know the range of paces on my Garmin and try to stay in those parameters.

What is your most memorable race experience?

I would have to say it was completing the Comrades Ultramarathon in 2012. It’s an 89KM race from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. Also, running the Fargo half-marathon this year, because I was 6 months pregnant.

When you think about setting goals for yourself, what’s the process like? How far in advance do you try to plan for?

I have been setting goals since my swimming days. My training revolves around my goals, I’m not one of those runners that can go for a run ‘just because’. I set short and long term goals. I write down my short term goals in my weekly schedule and have my long term goals posted on my fridge. I review my goals about every 6 months. I usually decide which races I would like to do for the year and plan accordingly. I also set five year goals and some dream goals too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annette Eibner may have stopped running races, but she sure hasn’t stopped running. For more than ten years, Annette has been one of the most driven, go-to volunteers that the Marathon is lucky enough to have. If you need anything at the expo, Annette is there to jump in and help. New runners at the start line have her to thank for answering their questions and helping to assuage their start line nerves. Annette: you are a ray of sunshine for runners, spectators and your fellow volunteers. Thank you for being so motivated and committed, year after year!

What jobs have you done over the years on race day?

I have been a host in the start area helping runners with questions and concerns, a course marshal on University Crescent. I then also worked at the start of the track directing runners to the Finish line. I have also been in the finish area helping the runners to the massage tent and refreshment area.  All of these volunteer positions are important because we get the chance to alleviate some of the runners’ anxiety and fears.

What motivates you to stay involved? 

Every year, my best volunteer role is at Race Kit Pick-up – I get to answer all the questions first time runners have as I was a ‘first time’ runner and frightened too.  When they leave with their package of reading material, bib & pins they are more confident they will do it.  First time runners who have driven from far away are so happy and relaxed after I have been able to show them where the start/finish is, where their dry clothing will be at the finish and even suggest a restaurant nearby for their pre-race supper.

What is one of your favorite race day memories?

There’s been a couple of times when I cheered runners on from the sidelines and would run alongside a tired runner to tell them they are doing great and they are almost at the finish line which had them smiling and got them motivated to keep running.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?

I find I am more outgoing. It is easier to start a conversation with new people and help them; everyone is scared about something.

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?

Smiling relaxes the runners: greet them and high five or cheer them on.  Show you care – ask them if they have questions or if you can help them with something. It’s all about them not us!

PERFORM. ADAPT. RECOVER. REPEAT. RACE.

Oh February! The time of year where runners of all kinds, shapes and sizes, experienced and beginner decide to start their dedicated training for their upcoming run season. New Year’s resolutions for getting more fit, more skilled, more competitive and more accomplished are mainstream in a runner’s steadfast goal setting mentality. Naturally, athletes quickly move their focus from setting goals to striving for action as they begin to seek out the latest health and training tips to succeed.

Setting goals is always a process of defining the small steps in order to achieve the overall end goal.  What exactly should all runners consider from beginners all the way to a high level professional runner? Performance. Adaptation. Recovery.

Just start running right? Well, yes, you do need to start running in order to run a foot race. But consider this: a focused, consistent and manageable approach to an athlete’s nutrition and their behaviours toward eating can help enhance performance from poor to mediocre to excellent. With the precise energy requirements, timing of consumption, hydration and type of foods you put in your mouth, your practice runs will get you on track.

Where is a good place to start your nutritional focus? In your practice runs. Use this training season to have mini-race trials and understand how your body breaks down food to support you. In other words, does it feel digested? Do you feel energetic or sluggish? Before your run, during after? Is there that “tied knot” feeling in your tummy or do you feel hungry? Are you feeling more sore today than yesterday? Have you been sleeping?

Before you start adapting your whole eating career to the latest and greatest trendy diet, or George’s exact eating plan because he did really well last year, remember you are a unique individual with a fantastic and special digestive tract that digests specific foods in very unique ways just for you.  You may find success in eating exactly like someone else, you may not. So step one after actually starting to run is journal your eating habits, what and how you are digesting and practice, practice, practice.

If you understand YOUR digestion and fueling, you may notice that carbohydrates are your biggest friend, because FUEL. In today’s fast paced 24/7 culture you’ve likely heard of complex vs simple carbohydrates. Is one better than the other? Sometimes. In sport nutrition however, it is amount and timing of certain simple or complex carbohydrates that fuel you best. As you get closer to each run time, lighter more digestible foods like toast, fruit, smoothies or liquids you will notice likely feel better than oats, pasta, rice and quinoa.  This has to do with the time it takes your body to break down foods. So COMPLEX carbs are usually what we think is healthy food, (brown rice, quinoa, oats, protein bars, the cliché “pasta night before race time”) because it takes TIME to breakdown, thus providing your long-standing endurance energy and feeling less hungry for longer periods of time. SIMPLE carbs digest quickly, meaning they lift you up and drop energy for a short period of time but you also feel hungry earlier than complex. The marriage of the two in sport nutrition mimics a wave and mountain principle.

 

 

 

 

 

Performance 

Your complex carbohydrate consumption should occur a few hours before activity so that you have endurance energy, but as you get closer to your practice or race, you need a spike, or a few spikes of small amounts of simple glucose or energy that will burn out just as fast but not completely deplete your complex stores.  Together, these two energy fuelling groups support you to either fly or fail.  It is all about timing, and that is exactly what an accredited Sport Nutritionist/ Dietitian can help with.

Adaptation 

Now, if you are consuming foods at the right times AFTER your workout, you will likely be able to repair your tissues and even build a stronger body. Over-time, consistency in training and nutrition allows your body to adapt and grow to the demand you are asking of it. If you do not eat when your body has burned off the remainder of its fuel (whatever kind), your body is incredibly efficient and will literally start to eat your own muscle you are trying so hard to build and strengthen.  If your muscles are not getting the appropriate fuel at the right times, they will not adapt or recover well. They may do so at a very slow rate, which pushes back your next run until you have recovered.

 Potential Recovery  

An athlete’s potential to recover is eminent to their level of potential performance. The less sore you are the more you can do, the less tired and hungry you are the longer you can go. Significantly, this ties in an athlete not elevating their mileage too quickly, or missing runs and trying to make up for them WITHOUT considering they may need to also modify their regular nutrition habits to compensate for this change. The right amount of rest, training in certain weather conditions/clothing, hydration levels, electrolytes and training when you are sick are all factors along with “proper” nutrition techniques that you need to consider to maximize your consistent and ever building practice runs for the big day.

FUEL at the right time, with the right kinds of fuel, consistently.

 

 

 

Alex Paton is a Sport Nutrition & Wellness Specialist and owner of SHOCK Performance Nutrition. To read more about how she can help you reach your athletic potential through nutrition, visit her website at www.shockperformance.com

 

 

 

 

A college student and cross country runner at NDSU, 19 year old Emma Kusch-Dahle is a longtime Manitoba Marathon participant consistently rating among our top finishing women. In 2016 she not only grabbed second place in the 2016 Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon but even more impressive she won the Canadian Junior National Championship in the 5,000m. Emma shares a bit about her experiences with the Marathon and some of her tips for success.

How long have you been running? 

I have been running since I was 12 but didn’t really start taking it seriously until I was 15.

What was the toughest moment during the 2016 Manitoba Marathon?

My toughest moment during the 2016 Manitoba Marathon was the last mile coming into the stadium. I was in third place entering the stadium and knew I could do better. Even though I was tired I dug as deep as I could and remembered how hard I train and most importantly my dad who would be waiting to see my finish from the stands. Finishing third the past two years, I knew he would be proud if I got second. I gave it everything I had and finished second (out of the women) in a personal best time.

Do you have a personal mantra or other encouragement that keeps you going on days you don’t feel like going out to run?

On days when I don’t feel like running I tell myself to suck it up, honestly it works.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

I don’t do a lot of cross training in the school year but in the summer my dad and I like to ride our bikes a lot.  We do a lot of rides in Assiniboine Park and on the Harte Trail. In past years we’ve biked to Headingley and back and have also biked to Lockport.

What would be your dream race that you’d want to run?

My dream race right now would have to be in an NCAA final in either the 5K or 10K in Eugene, Oregon. I think making it to the NCAA is every college athlete’s dream.

How does your family/home life/school figure in to all of your training? How do you balance all of your commitments? 

Balancing school, family and friends and training can be hard at times but I make it my priority to stay organized and plan out my day ahead of time. I also tell myself that I chose to do this so I can’t really complain.

Is there a particular reward you grant yourself post-race?

Post-race I love to get some sort of sweet treat, preferably frozen yogurt with a million toppings.

What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? What is your mileage in your off-season?

During cross country season I run between 55-70 miles per week. Track is a little less so probably 45-60 miles per week.  In my off-season of one week I don’t run one step.

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

Number one method for injury prevention: listen to your body and don’t skip core.

What advice would you give to someone who has just started running– whether it be a young high-school student, or an older individual?  Why is running worth it?

My advice to someone who has just started running is to be patient. You may not see the results you want at first but if you keep at it and believe in yourself, you never know what you’ll achieve. Running is worth it because it makes you a stronger person all around.

 

huybers

 

“A Hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

Joseph Campbell

It all began with Richard Huybers starting his volunteer service with the Manitoba Marathon in 1988. A true runner at heart, Richard quickly became a member of the Board of Directors serving as a great ambassador and champion of the cause. Even after he became the Chair of the Manitoba Marathon Foundation, he continued to run in an event, be it solo in a longer event or joined by his children in a shorter distance.

As time went on, Richard continued to be involved with the Marathon in different capacities. His wife, Pam, also became involved taking on coordinating the Prize Miles in the early 2000s. As race day events evolved, the two of them became the ultimate dynamic duo coordinating and hosting the VIP tent. Richard and Pam graced that space with their own special touch, hosting great food and an atmosphere which was welcoming and respectful of our elite runners, sponsors and special guests.

In more recent years both of their children, Adam and Delaney, joined their parents on race day to help out. When the idea of hosting a bike valet for runners was born, they stepped up again, with daughter Delaney heading up the team. Much like their parents, Delaney and Adam require very little direction, are effective at gathering teams and always do a fantastic job, consistently providing great service to runners and useful feedback post event.

Energetic, positive and willing to do anything that is needed are just a few of the traits that make the Huybers family outstanding volunteer partners: they show up early and are the last to leave. They have been one of the Marathon’s stalwart friends by always being there to help with anything: carrying sandbags in the pouring rain, port-a-potty monitoring, driving all over the city picking up food for the volunteer tent, meeting and welcoming runners at the expo, and showing up for work calls.

We thank you, Richard, Pam, Delaney and Adam, for having all hallmarks of great volunteers and wonderful friends.

 

goals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Set Running Goals That you can Actually Achieve

So it is officially 2017 and many of us are considering our New Year’s resolutions. This is the ideal time to try and set some running goals and lay out your plan for the upcoming season.  With a little effort you can put together a set of goals that you track, employ and make a reality.

 Think SMART: Many of you are likely already familiar with this acronym, but the best way to set goals that you can achieve are to make them S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related. By setting goals that are SMART, you will know that they are possible and will keep you moving toward them.

Set a series of smaller goals that lead you to your big goal: If your goal is run your first full marathon by the end of the year, ensure that you pick your race as far in advance as you can. This will allow you to set smaller goals leading up to it. For a really great outline to help you create achievable goals and timelines, have a look at this article from Runners World. Achieving those smaller landmarks throughout the year will keep you encouraged and motivated to get to the end. If you are really driven, you can set yourself goals well past 2017 – short term goals lead to long term goals which lead to your annual goal and create a framework for your five and ten year goals.

Include non-running goals that fuel your running goals: If you are serious about hitting some aggressive goals, a great way to get there is to include items that support that outcome. Good examples of these are: sleeping 7-9 hours every night, doing strength/core training twice a week, ensuring you are eating healthy 80% of the time, etc. These daily actions will get your body into good form to achieve your goals.

Know what motivates you: Are you more driven by crossing a finish line at a new race or by scoring a PB at a race you have run before? Do you have the travel bug and like to run races in new cities? How about running and fundraising for a charity? Make sure your goal vibes with who you are and is achievable with your current life situation.

Make it personal: If you are not emotionally invested in your goal, you are less likely to achieve it. Close your eyes and think about your goal. Can you feel it? Can you see yourself achieving it? Then that is the goal for you. If it isn’t resonating, you might want to rethink it. Your heart needs to be in it to get your feet there.

 

bairdmore

Bairdmore Elementary School is an outstanding member of the CIT family: after being involved with the Manitoba Marathon for 30 years and running a program of 120 participants, Darrel Dyck runs an unstoppable program. With the support of 8-10 staff members who regularly attend to walk or run with the students, practices take place every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:00 AM sharp.

Mr. Dyck says that one of his favorite memories of race day is seeing former students now in their 20s on the race route saying hello and thanking him for getting them excited about running and training. Bairdmore Running Club is giving kids get a great start to the day, and an amazing start to a lifetime of health and fitness.

What does your run club routine with students look like?

Students do dynamic stretching as soon as they enter the gym with their pace partners, we discuss each route on a giant map, discuss ETA times for our goals, proper running posture, breathing and pace, and just before we go we have a tradition of chanting “Let’s Do This”! [This year] we will be adding a “nutritious snack run” where the school will purchase several choices of nutritious snacks for students who attend that run to enjoy after.

How do students progress through the run season?

We have 25 measured runs that begin at .72 of a mile and progressively work up to 4.5 miles. Each run has a nickname and we have made club running shirts with 10 of our favorite nicknamed runs on the back of the T-Shirt. We encourage all students to always do an extra run on the weekends with their family.

What are your best tips for a school that is just starting a Champions in Training run club?    

  • Don’t push too hard at the start: start with short runs that ALL runners do together (.70 mile or so) and send your early returning (fast) runners back out to hook up with others still returning or struggling and get them to encourage and pace them home. Have staff on route as well to take up the rear and coach struggling students back with walk run intervals.
  • Invite your Grade 3’s for a special 2K invitation run to experience it before they join in grade 4
  • Hold a special door prize draw just for those who come out
  • For each run post an achievable finishing time for all levels
  • Post a large digital clock outside near finish area for student s to see on return. We have an average time zone to achieve and a fast time zone for those who are enriched for all of our runs. Teaching them time management is important for later as they gain more experience and understand that each person has their own pace. We often repeat the same run back to back or later on to for students to take note of their improved times
  • For safety have volunteered students to patrol busy intersections on route and we have 3-5 bike riders as well in patrol vests to monitor all the runners. We later on will have 2-3 optional runs all in different lengths to suit each runner at different fitness level
  • Our ultimate goal that we remind them regularly is to “finish strong and finish healthy”

Any hints you can give on keeping the students motivated and staying engaged in the run club?

We do random door prize draws for attendance or draw for finishing times, grade 4 first time runners door prize draw. Pajama Runs, Muffin Runs, Crazy Hat Runs Water Melon Runs, Partner Prediction Runs, 1 mile split time runs. Celebrating improved times. Nickname your runs and change them often.

What do you think is the best part of the Champions in Training program?  

The title itself: our students all feel like champions when they get to the big day and finish strong.

 

george-steciuk

 

 

 

George Steciuk is a four time participant at the Manitoba Marathon, first completing the Winnipeg Free Press 10K and going on to finish the Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon three times. He started running only five years ago at the young age of 75. He plans to keep running for as long as he is able to. Right now he is running towards his 80th birthday next year, and tells us a bit about his training habits and his drive to keep going.

What was your toughest moment during the 2016 Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon?

Before each half marathon I work on my “why”: I have many people trying to discourage me from running because of my age. Saturday morning before the marathon I could barely get out of bed with an incredibly painful cramp in my left calf. Both legs really hurt and did not think I would be able to run the half. When Sunday morning came I felt I had no choice because I was committed and had a big “why”. During the run I was compensating [for my injured left leg] and as a result my right leg finally caught up with me so both legs were really hurting. I pushed myself because I had a lot of people counting on me. That was my “why” to push me onward: it took me longer than I had planned but I finished.

What does your training routine look like?

I do different things at the Reh-Fit all year at least three times a week I do my running on their track. I run now mostly to strengthen my heart muscles because I had open-heart surgery and a triple by-pass when I was 70. I step up my training for the half marathon towards the end of January and most of February up until the marathon. Prior to the event I will run outside for about 10K a couple of times to get the feel of the pavement. I don’t run in the marathon to win, I just do it for the joy of being able to finish and still be active at my age.

Do you have a dream race if you could pick anything to run?

Perhaps do the full marathon but I may be running out of time at my age because I will be 80 in 2017.

What is your method for injury prevention?

I train hard the last two months prior to the half marathon and I take my supplements faithfully to prevent injury. I do the 5 and 30 routine during my run: I run 5 minutes and a do a slow jog for 30 seconds. If I run into a problem I back down and take it easier.

Any advice for someone who is interested in starting running?

For people at my age I would recommend to start slowly one step at a time and build up the distance by a bit each week.

What does your nutrition regimen look like race week?

I am nutrition conscious on a regular basis and rely strongly on the Optimal Nutritional Supplements I take faithfully every day. That is what gives me the energy to run.

dakota

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dean Favoni has been recruiting and leading volunteers from Dakota Collegiate to the Marathon finish line for over 25 years. A math teacher and basketball coach, Dean manages the team of over a 150 students and staff annually, bringing much needed support to this critical area on race day.

Dean, you are an amazing leader who influences the lives of high school students every day leading by example. Thank you for your amazing positive attitude and your continued dedication to the event. You are a superstar!

When did you first start volunteering with Manitoba Marathon and what initially got you involved?

My first Manitoba Marathon was in 1992. I was just hired to teach at Dakota Collegiate in September of 1991 and the school had already been volunteering since 1984. Biology teacher Jerry Ilchyna was the teacher organizer and he approached me and asked if I would be interested in helping recruit student volunteers and help organize the finish line. He was anticipating his retirement in a couple of years and wanted someone in place to take over. I owe a great deal of gratitude to Jerry for getting me involved.

What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?

We help with stadium set up, stadium take down, track marshalling, medal presentation, assist in the recovery tent and act as ‘marathon huggers’ for any runners needing assistance until they can recover and walk on their own. This position is particularly enjoyable because of the energy, excitement and emotion of the finish line. To see the runners finish, accomplish a goal and to share it with the spectators in a positive, supportive and encouraging environment is very satisfying and fulfilling.

What motivates you to stay involved?

Marathon Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year. The event is a wonderful, positive display of healthy living, runners supporting runners, spectators supporting runners and volunteers supporting runners. Watching people cross the finish line and see the satisfaction of their efforts is awesome.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?

I try to convince students at school that volunteering is a great way to give back and contribute to their community. I hope that they learn many new skills. I have seen many of them move out of their comfort zone to help runners and the personal growth many of them display will hopefully carry on to other parts of their lives.

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?

Sign up and become part of this amazing team. Whether it is the start line, the finish line or on the course I believe that a significant percentage of the volunteers enjoy race day and are very excited to return. I would encourage the volunteers to try and see different aspects of the race.

What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon and/or the Manitoba Marathon Foundation?

I don’t know that many people realize that there is a Foundation and a charity that is associated with the race. As a past board member for six years, I know that the money raised go to a great cause and that many Manitobans living with an intellectual disability have benefitted from the funds generated by the Marathon.

How has your volunteer work influenced other areas of your life?

Volunteering with the Marathon and getting a significant portion of our student body involved has motivated me to get students involved in other activities/events. Students can learn so much about themselves and about others as they help at an athletic event, help as a peer tutor, help at an athletic clinic, help on grad committee or any school or community project.

happy-thought

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thought School in East Selkirk is one of the most engaged run clubs in the Champions in Training family: they have participated for over ten years and currently have approximately 100 runners in the program! I had the chance to see how great their program is by joining them last spring for a presentation and a run around their beautiful school. Their energy and enthusiasm was awesome! Club leader, coach and inspiring student leader Natalie McConnell tells us a little about the Run Club and her awesome crew of participants. 

What time of day does your club normally run?

Our school runs on a balanced day. Marathon Club runners run their mile at 10:40 AM, enjoy a healthy snack following their run and head outside to enjoy the remainder of their recess. We are very fortunate at Happy Thought School to have a paved fitness trail around our school grounds that our students can run on.

Does your club have any “traditions” that you incorporate with your training sessions (special snack, team cheer, stretching routine, etc.)?

We love to celebrate our runners’ success with a BBQ luncheon following the completion of our program. Prior to the BBQ we hold a pep rally in the gym followed by runners running their last mile while our nonrunners cheer them on at the finish line.

What is your best Manitoba Marathon event memory?

Every year we attend the Manitoba Marathon to complete the Super Run. We load a bus at 5:30 AM and head into Winnipeg. The students are excited to be a part of such an amazing event.  Some highlights over the years….watching marathon runners cross the finish line, students excited to run with their families by their side and the peaceful ride back to the school as most students have fallen asleep.

What do you think is the best part of the Champions in Training program?

The best part of the Champions in Training program has to be getting so many kids excited about running! Running is a lifelong activity that anyone can partake in with so many amazing health benefits.

Any hints you can give on keeping the students motivated and staying engaged in the run club?

To motivate our students to join Marathon Club we educate them on the health benefits of running and how it’s our responsibility to take care of our body. During our training we use small motivational tools such as card runs, extra recess time and guest runners. We also incorporate healthy eating through our Health curriculum, in our Spotlight articles and with incentives throughout the year. To conclude our program we end with our BBQ wind up.

What is the average mileage that your run club completes per week? Do you have “homework” for the students to run away from run club meetings?

Our students run a mile a day at school for 26 days to complete a full marathon. We educate our students that our bodies aren’t prepared to run a full marathon because we are still growing and developing so we break it down into smaller chunks.

What is your best tip/advice for a school that is just starting a Champions in Training run club?

For new schools wanting to start a Champions in Training run club keep it fun, offer incentives along the way to keep the kids engaged and celebrate their success at the end of the program.  Every child is involved for different reasons. Some kids just love to run, some like to be with their friends, some are looking for health benefits and some are there for the incentives. Start with one to two people organizing the club and have everyone jump on board to support you.

Do you have any “shout outs” you would like to tell our readers about? Especially amazing volunteers (parents or teachers), administrative support, etc.?

We wouldn’t be able to run such an amazing program with this many students involved without the support from our incredible staff! We have numerous teachers and EAs who run and supervise the students throughout the program down to our caretakers who barbeque on the day of our wind up.  It is definitely a team effort!!

heather

 

 

Heather with her husband Randy

and her daughter Hayden

 

 

Heather Magill, first place female in the 2016 Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Full Marathon shares some tips, highlights and encouragement for runners of all levels.

What was the toughest moment during the 2016 Manitoba Marathon?

First off I have to say I enjoyed running the course backwards, it was like a whole new course from the year before, but just as great! Toughest moment I would have to say were the last few miles, I think the weather was unseasonably humid so that played a factor. I had alternated water and Gatorade at almost every station along the course and for the first time in a race I took a wet sponge where they were available, that was a great help! It is the little things that make races like the Manitoba Marathon stand out. The race committee thought of everything!

Do you have an encouragement that keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like going out to run?

I try to come up with a plan for every training cycle and get into somewhat of a routine. A routine helps me stay accountable. But ever more important, is having a running buddy to meet on those cold, dark winter mornings. My buddy really helped get me out the door this past winter for marathon training. If I knew I was meeting Barb (my dedicated running buddy) that was all the encouragement I needed to get out of bed and out the door! I also think about the competition, am I working harder than them today?!

What do you do for cross training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

I wish I would say I do more cross training. I enjoy swimming and spin classes but if I only have a certain amount of time I’d rather spend it running. Core is a regular part of my routine, including lunges, squats, pull-ups and push-ups. Oiselle’s The Dozen is a great core workout anyone follow easily.

How does your family and home life figure into all of your training? How do you balance the two commitments?

This balance of family and running took a little while to figure out. I was lucky enough to marry a man that understands my passion for running (he can even tell if I haven’t run in a couple days, yes I get grumpy!). Running is my “thing” but he is my biggest supporter, even riding a bike alongside me during long runs just to spend some time together and help get me through. The biggest adjustment was after I had our daughter. She has been a blessing but it wasn’t until having her I realized just how selfish being a distance runner can be. Time management was a process I had to figure out, as well as the guilt associated with leaving them at home while I went out for a run. I have always been a morning person; now the alarm just goes off a little earlier. I have found getting my runs in before everyone is awake makes me feel better that I am not missing out on anything. Also the best investment has been in a jogging stroller. Pushing the jogger is my efficient way of getting in strength training while I am running, especially when running/pushing into a headwind. Our daughter is now 3 years old, and I find our time together while I run and she is in the jogger more of an adventure, she points out things I wouldn’t even notice if I were running by myself and occasional rest stops at the park are good for mom too. I am thankful to have figured out a balance of what works for our family and allows me time to continue pursuing my running goals.

What does your nutrition regimen look like race week/ pre-race?

I am not a nutritionist but I try to cook healthy meals for my family, especially on weeknights. Leading up to a race I just try to stay consistent, not really trying anything new. The week leading up to a marathon I will drink more electrolyte drinks. The night before, my ‘go-to dinner’ is 2 slices of pepperoni pizza OR tilapia and rice. I always bring a packet of apple cinnamon oatmeal with me for race morning to go with my coffee and electrolyte drink. Again, I am not a nutritionist; it’s just what works for me!

What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? Mileage in the off season?

Weekly mileage can vary but I like to incorporate two workouts, a tempo run (4-8 miles at marathon/half marathon pace) and intervals (6x mile), a medium/ long run (12-15 miles) and a long run (18-24 miles) the other days are easy and one day may be off/rest day. Higher mileage weeks will be about 70+ miles. Off season I like to maintain 50-60 miles, still doing a workout and long run.

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

I have been very lucky since I graduated college in 2004 that I haven’t had any major injuries (even after being hit by a car while running in 2013). I have a piri formis (butt muscle) that bothers me at times but I am able to run through it with a little chiropractic assistance and stretching. My number one injury prevention would have to be taking ice baths after hard workouts and long runs. I notice a big difference in my recovery time and how my legs feel when I am taking them regularly. Following closely at number two would be foam rolling. Both ice baths and foam rolling can be uncomfortable and at times feel painful but well worth the discomfort to stay healthy and be able to run.

What advice would you give to the ‘middle of the pack’ runners?

To the ‘middle of the pack’ runner: “Great job, Keep it up!”  Keep challenging yourself; keep your head up, focus on your own goals and putting in the work to achieve them. We all have our own challenges and goals but we are all out there running the same distance. I am so impressed with everyone that crossed the finish line. Especially this past year at the Manitoba Marathon, everyone that crossed the finish line should be so proud of themselves. I was finishing the race as the sun was coming out from behind the clouds, I could see how much harder it was for those that had to run with the sun as well as the humidity, all while smiling out on the course and coming across the finish line. I love seeing people get into the sport of running at all ages, I enjoy sharing my experiences and hearing about other peoples. The running community is a large, supportive group of people sharing the same passion. Keep encouraging others around you and in turn you will achieve your goals too.

you-are-amazing

 

For a little over ten years, I have been a runner. I started with my first half marathon when a coworker decided that she needed a training partner and that I was her candidate of choice. We completed the Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon in 2006 with an abysmal time – we dragged ourselves through Irv’s Mile as I cried because I thought there was no way I was going to make it. But like all beginner runners know, we did indeed make it, and that feeling of exhilaration in completing a goal that I never thought I could reach was enough to hook me for the long haul. I got to experience this again in 2014 when I completed my first full marathon.
My story is every middle of the pack runner’s story: we work hard to train for an event and those runner’s endorphins swell. But inevitably the race ends and we have non-training seasons that we have to fight through to stay motivated. When you know you don’t have to hit a certain number of miles a week and its dark and cold outside and Netflix is calling your name… How do you keep it consistent to stay in shape and be ready for your next goal? Here are a few things that work for me – take the tips you like and leave the rest. Because we all need a little boost of encouragement now and again.
Tell yourself your story: Okay, gear up for the first of a few seemingly narcissistic tips… On days when I am shutting down during a run and really losing steam, I play a little autobiographical movie of the week in my head of my first half and full marathons. Remembering details of those moments – all of the miles, all of the pain (the moment at mile 24 when I grabbed a member of my cheering squad by the jacket and told him I was going to die) and then the triumph and the pride of hitting that finish line and knowing you made that happen all on your own. That boost of knowledge that I am capable of so much more than I thought keeps me fighting through those last training miles.
Watch someone else do it: When I am in need of a little reminder of the power of running, I visit my friend Google. There is a treasure trove of stories of people’s success just waiting to be shared. One of my favourites is the story of Dick and Rick Hoyt – the father who has pushed his son in over 1000 races. Or if this isn’t your cup of tea, watch literally the finish line of any race ever. The world is a big place and inspiration is everywhere.
Run on busy streets: Narcissistic tip #2… I am sure that I am not the only one who, when running on a road with a lot of traffic, will power through my one minute walk break because I feel like the people driving by me are watching. Pretty sure there is a level of universality on that one. However, another reason I run down more commercial streets is the buildings. The buildings with big, reflective windows. That’s right, I look at myself in the windows while I run. Not to check my hair or check if my outfit is on point. I do it to remind myself that I am a runner. I can look in those windows and see myself doing it. Remember that YOU are moving those legs; YOU are fulfilling your goals right now. It is a helpful way to be present in the moment and be proud of what you are accomplishing.
Enlist a running buddy: Nothing kicks your butt like a friend who will actually kick you in the butt. Being accountable to a partner can be the best way to both stick to a training schedule and push yourself to reaching your goals. If you don’t have a friend who is willing to tie up their laces with you, there are always running clinics and groups available at running stores that head out regularly and allow you to build a training schedule around it. Anyone who has run with one of these groups can tell you that these running communities are one of the most inclusive, kind and supportive things you can do for yourself as a runner. Give a little to a running buddy, get a lot in return!
Live in gratitude: When I am in need of a little reminder of how lucky I am to do what I do, I take a very specific run route. A few miles from my house is a long term care facility. Very often when I run past, I can see people outside being pushed by a loved one in a wheelchair out enjoying the day. It reminds me not to take my gift of health for granted. We are given capable bodies for a finite length of time and I don’t want to waste it. Find yourself a training route that provides you with a reminder that works for you and save it for the days you need an extra push.

Do you have any tips that you use to get you through a hard training session?

Share it with us on our Facebook page!

 

brina-adrade

An Administrative Assistant with a passion for hiking, cycling and running, Brina joined this year as a new volunteer to the Marathon. A member of both our iTeam and our expo staff she was hardworking, bright and cheerful: just the kind of volunteer Manitoba Marathon is proud to get the chance to tell you about. Thank you Brina for joining us– welcome to the family!

What initially got you involved with the Manitoba Marathon as a volunteer?
This June was my first time volunteering with the Manitoba Marathon. I am a runner myself and have run many events in the city. What got me involved was that I wanted to run this event, but injury held me back. I still wanted to be a part of the event and thought why not volunteer my time to help out. I’m excited to stay involved with the Marathon for years to come. Everyone you meet motivates you to want to be a part of something so big in this city.

What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?
I was asked if I would like to be a part of the iTeam group for race day. I was very happy to say yes and be more involved on race day. The part I enjoyed the most about the iTeam, was that I was able to be where the action was. In the crowd of the runners watching them get ready for the start.

Do you have a great memory from a race day to share?
I loved watching the races take off and a few hours later make their way back to that finish line. I was lucky to be close to the finish line at the end to cheer runners on to push through to the end.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon? Has it influenced any other areas of your life?
The skill I have gained would be adaptability. Being able to move around and not just have one station to be in. See that others might need help and offer if. Be a helping hand where ever needed. Volunteering has also given me more confidence: I can be a shy person in my day to day live and this event took me out of my shell a bit.

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?
Just enjoy each moment. You will meet great people, have fun and watch many people smile, laugh and cry.

What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon and/or the Manitoba Marathon Foundation?
I wish other knew just how hard everyone involved works year round to make this event run as smoothly as it does. It’s a lot of work so without the volunteers the event wouldn’t be as great as it is.

woodlands-cool

 

Woodlands Elementary School

 

 

In their second year as a Champions woodlandsin Training (CIT) team, run club leaders Samantha Page and Morag Ivany tell us a bit about Woodlands School’s run club programs and their thoughts on some of the challenges they face with their participants. CIT had the pleasure of heading out to Woodlands to join the club for a meeting and a run around the neighbourhood last spring. Their students were really enthusiastic and enjoyed themselves and we hope to have another visit again this year!

What does the size of your CIT run club look like? 

In the fall, we start with about 35-40 students in running club. This is a combination of cross country runners as well as fun run club members. This number drastically reduces following cross country divisionals in October. The numbers pick up again in the spring in anticipation of the Run in the Park.

What time of day does your club normally run?

We meet and run during our second nutrition break (1:00-1:30 PM). The majority of our students take the bus to school, so before and after school meet ups are more difficult.

What is the average mileage that your run club completes per week? Do you have “homework” for the students to run away from run club meetings?

So far, our kids have been fair weather runners. We hope to transition them into all season runners. In the fall and spring, the kids run about 2 km, 3 times per week.

What do you think is the best part of the Champions in Training program?

The best part about the Champions in Training Program is the Jog in the Park. This is a great event for kids to look forward to. Not all kids are competitive, so a fun run is a great way to get kids involved. Not all families can afford the entry fees associated with the Manitoba Marathon, so a free event is great!

Any suggestions you can give on keeping the students motivated and staying engaged in the run club?

We will be hosting a winter fun run- “The Holly Jolly Jog” at our school in December. We hope that this gets our participation back up for the winter.

Bradley Keefe

Bradley Keefe, winner of the 2016 Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Full Marathon answers a few questions for us about his training, home life and how he brings them together to create success.

What was your best or most memorable race?

My favorite race performance was in 2014 when I ran the Twin Cities marathon in 2:32:54 – my personal best time in that event. My good friend and training partner Brian Walker (2014 MB marathon champ) was there to cheer me on which was so nice. This race is probably the highlight of my running career!

What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? What is your mileage in your off-season?

I work hard most of the year. I normally pick two or three key races and train for these races for 10-15 weeks; I may run races leading in to my goal race. I normally do three weeks of hard training and one week easy. My hard weeks for the marathon will be 80-95 miles a week and my rest week is about two-thirds of that, so maybe 50-60 miles. If my goal race is a half-marathon then I train 70-85 miles on my hard weeks and 50-60 miles on rest week of. As for weekly structure, I do two to three workouts during the week and one long run. But [when I am not training for a race] I do two workouts/interval sessions a week since I am getting older and have a hard time recovering from three.

 How does your family and home life figure in to all of your training? Can you tell us how you balance the two commitments?

I think that two specific things are the key: the first is that I simply love to run and enjoy the process so this makes it easy to get out the door – it is something I look forward to each day. The second is my wife’s passion for dance: she is an accomplished dancer and her passion for dance is equal to my passion for running. She and I have always understood this about each other and work together to find the time for me to run and for her to dance. It would be very easy to stop these activities with all the things in our lives but we both love what we do.

 How do you get yourself motivated on days when you don’t feel like going out to run?

I have a busy life with my wife, three kids and a career as a CPA but the main reason I continue to train is that I really enjoy the process. Many of my friends and training partners from University have stopped running over the years but I have kept going. I’m sure many of the athletes I trained with wonder how and why I train so much still but I really do simply love the ‘process’ or training. I don’t really enjoy racing as much: I enjoy the challenge of putting together a good block of training to get ready for my goal race day. I enjoy the weekly easy runs, intervals, tempos and long run. The feeling of having a good run provides me with a huge sense of accomplishment which drives me to continue to run each and every day.

 Do you have a dream race if you could pick anything to run?

I have run most of my “dream” races already: I always wanted to run the Boston and Chicago marathons and I have completed them in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The only remaining race I’d like to run is the New York City half marathon.

 What is your number one method for injury prevention?

That is funny question for me since I have been fortunate to stay healthy in my running career. I do think I monitor my body well which helps me stay healthy. I get massages when training hard and stretch.

Any advice for ‘middle of the pack’ runners?

My advice to middle pack runners is simple: consistency. Getting better at running to me is about working hard and putting in the time. I have never considered myself much of a runner or very talented at running but my desire to improve and love for running keep me working hard.  I stay consistent and don’t make many excuses to not run (and I am sure I could make many excuses). Many of my training partners and friends have always said I am “Mr. Consistent”.

 

FOUR COOL RUNNING APPS TO HEAT UP YOUR FALL TRAINING

With the barrage of technology we have available to us as runners, it is easy sometimes to lose ourselves in the digital maze. It is also easy to forget that some of these apps can provide us with much needed motivation to keep our training fresh. As we dash into colder weather, it can be easier to get parked on the couch than it is to tie up our runners: here are five apps that you can find for your mobile device to freshen up your runs.

Charity Miles

www.charitymiles.org

Charity

Charity miles is free app that allows users to track their miles and makes a donation to a selected charity for each one you complete: running and walking earns 25 cents per mile, while biking will earn them 10 cents per mile. It is totally free and all you have to do is download the app and pick your charity. Currently 37 charities are part of the program, including Habitat for Humanity, the Nature Conservancy, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Girls on the Run.

Smashrun                            

www.smashrun.com

Smashrun

Smashrun’s free app pairs with either your mobile device or your GPS run device (easily syncs with Garmin, TomTom, Magellan or Nike+) to track your mileage and training history. It motivates you in two ways: the first is by pitting your results against other users and friends, allowing for virtual bragging rights.  The second motivation is the digital badges you earn for running. Receive your Early Bird badge by completing ten runs before 7:00 AM, or snag the Past Diddy by completing a full marathon in 4:15, matching Sean Combs’ New York Marathon time.

Zombies, run!

www.zombiesrungame.com

Zombie

With the tagline “Run in the real world. Become a hero in another”, this app (free to start but with yearly memberships starting at $2.99) promises something different. As you run with your mobile device, you can listen to your own music while receiving details of your “mission”. Your mileage allows you to build up a stock of supplies to rebuild your base, and of course humanity. During your run you will find yourself chased by zombies: bust out that speed interval work to survive. With over a million users, Zombies, run! is the biggest running fitness game ever created. Strap on your runners and save the earth!

RockMyRun

www.rockmyrun.com

Rock my run

RockMyRun is treasure trove of music that is specifically curated to match your BPM: it’s “body driven music” adjusts the speed of your tunes to match the speed of your run (there are also a ton of preset stations with a mixed variety of speeds). The basic version of this site is free, but there are of course a variety of paid versions as well to enhance features. Find new music and get moving!

 

 

Volunteer image Nancy

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     

                                                     Nancy Gajdosik

Nancy is among a few of Manitoba Marathon’s longest running volunteers: she has been gracing us with her energy and support for 34 years. You may have seen her smiling face at the finish line leading the medal distribution and runner shadow program alongside her team partner Andrea Ladouceur. Thank you Nancy: you are a ray of sunshine and we couldn’t do what we do without you!

When did you first start volunteering with Manitoba Marathon and what initially got you involved?      

My story goes back to 1982 when, as a ‘still fit’ and very much ‘younger-than-now’ running enthusiast, as a member of the MRA I accepted Marilyn (Mouse) Fraser’s invitation to volunteer at Marathon Race Headquarters.  It was fun!  It was also inspiring and enlightening spending time with so many elite and ordinary runners.  It was that volunteering experience that motivated me to train for and enter our Manitoba Half Marathon the following year. My goal was to finish in less than two hours… and I came in at 1:58:33!  I was over the moon with joy and didn’t want to leave the infield!

What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?

In the early years I helped in a variety of areas before landing one of the best, most enjoyable jobs in our Marathon… welcoming into the finish area our full marathoners and ensuring they are awarded their well-earned medals before being directed (sometimes escorted!) into their recovery area. Back in the ’80s I was a finish line coordinator responsible for huggers and timers. Irv Goldstein recommended me for the Marathon Board and I was the first chair of the School Promotions Committee.  1983 was the year Jerry Ilchyna and I first involved the Dakota Collegiate high school students who have served the Marathon admirably ever since. For a few years I was the media coordinator helping ensure our media reps knew where to go and helping get them special human interest items for their reporting. Helping in race headquarters, in all our various locations was a given.  Data entry was a huge job back then and over the years so many treasured friendships have been made.  Irv Goldstein also got me onto the Technical Committee. After so many years I guess I’ve ‘landed’ in the infield looking after the medals and helping with our team of Shadows.  So many familiar faces return year after year… runners as well as volunteers and it truly is like ‘coming home’.

What motivates you to stay involved?  

I love, admire and respect the Manitoba Marathon and feel gratitude for being a part of the marathon family. The Manitoba Marathon has been an important part of my life for many years. My 5 children were all involved in some capacity.  John and Betty Robertson were dear friends and it was a special privilege having them both as part of our team, hanging medals and making the full marathon finishers feel special.  I love the camaraderie, the enthusiasm, and as long as I’m able, as long as the marathon will still have me, I hope to continue.  I remember saying to Scott Taylor the year following completing my first half marathon in 1983, as he was leaning over one of the railings watching me tearing around in the infield… “Scotty…running the Marathon is more fun than running the marathon!” To which he replied, “Can I quote you on that?”  

Do you have a great memory from a race day to share?  

There is never any one great memory…only a lifetime of great memories. The year we had not one, but two cardiac incidents and I was in the finish area when the second man went down. While our medical team provided him with the care he needed to save his life I was privileged to support his wife.  That was a profound time and I don’t know if it was the nurse in me, the mother in me…or just the good marathon volunteer in me that helped most. I later met a young woman who ended up being his daughter and in the course of conversation this incident came up. She was grateful and happy to report that her father was doing very well.

Being a Marathon volunteer is a privilege.  We have so many areas needing to be properly staffed, before, during and even following the Marathon.  Each and every volunteer contributes in his or her own way to the successful outcome and can be proud of the role they played in making that happen.