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Night_running_croppedIn order to fully enjoy the benefits and experience of outdoor exercise, it is important to stay safe.  Although some basics seem fairly simple and even obvious as sound preventative measures, even experienced runners and walkers might do well to review a few simple safety tips.  Although mishaps are rare, the habit of good safety practices can really make a difference that one time when you are desperate for help.

 

Tell someone when and where you are going

If someone is expecting you at a certain time and you don’t arrive, they might send the help or make the call that might prove crucial in that very small chance that you really are in trouble. If no one is aware that you are past due or where you might have gone, those who care about you might have a much tougher time tracking you down.  Leaving a note on the counter, sending a text, or just telling a friend, family member, or co-worker what you are up to is a good habit to keep.  Even if you live alone, leaving a note to be seen by someone else in the event another needed to enter your house while looking for you, a text to someone else, or even an online calendar entry take next to no time at all, and can help others to track you down if things really have gone awry.

 

Be visible

Whether you are running or walking at dusk or dawn, in bad weather or hazy good weather, on a remote trail or a busy road, it does not hurt to wear bright clothes. Make choices that ensure other pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and others can see you.  Be visible to traffic coming the opposite direction when you don’t have an ample shoulder, be visible if you are sharing a bike path with quickly moving wheeled vehicles, and be visible if you turn an ankle, fall into the bushes and need some help.  If you don’t like loud clothing, a bright hat or even a white hat / visor can often do the trick.  Time to jump on board with the neon trend, even if that means donning a reflective vest at night.  That split second of recognition can make a huge difference in a challenging traffic situation.

 

Have water

This piece is not the space where we talk in depth about the value of hydration as a training tool.  However, water can be crucial if stuck in hot weather or other challenging situations.  It is such a simple thing to bring a water bottle that we might take it for granted, but if you have ever been in a prolonged situation where clean water would have been useful, you will likely never forget again.

 

Be aware of your surroundings

Just like the defensive driving course you took as a high schooler, runners and walkers should always keep their surroundings in mind.  Scanning the path ahead will allow you to stay one step ahead of dangerous situations.  Keep your eyes open for individuals who might be following you in city locales, for quickly opening car doors, for cars entering and exiting driveways.  Be on the look out for wildlife that might pose a problem in less densely populated areas, aggressive dogs with no visible means of restraint or territorial boundaries, and topography with an ankle-challenging pothole ahead.  Furthermore, either ditch the headphones, wear them in one ear only, or turn the volume low enough that you can still be aware of the ambient noise.  That moment of awareness can make the difference.

 

When possible, go with a buddy

Many of us run or walk solo more often than not, but when possible, it is always safer to go along with a friend who can help if something goes awry, and make any individuals with less than wholesome intent think twice about encountering you.

 

Finally, leave a trail

Well, not literally like Hansel and Gretel, but GPS enabled devices, a phone that can indicate your location even if you are unable to – these things can make a big difference.  You might already be carrying your phone for music, but it may prove to be even more important in this capacity.  With running shorts now sporting several pockets, and companies coming up with new types of light pouches every day, there are many ways to carry these things without impacting performance or your enjoyment.

 



Even if you’re not competitive or you’ve never raced, a Turkey Trot is fun way to get the holiday season off to an exhilarating start. Most Thanksgiving day events are fun, non-competitive community events that benefit worthy causes. If you’re a more seasoned runner, you can use the Turkey Trot to test your fitness, or in lieu of a quality workout. Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy all the holiday treats much more knowing that you’ve already made an investment in your health.

  1. Make it a Family (and Friends) Affair. Whether you’re spending the day with family members or friends, a Turkey Trot is something loved ones of all ages, and levels of fitness and experience can savor. After the race, you’ll all have plenty of time for prepare the meal, catch the sports, and relax. The companionship from family and friends can ease any pressure you might feel about the event. And having a family outing helps reduce the stress and the focus on the holiday meal. Some exhilarating outdoor time can ease holiday stress and relieve any guilt you might be feeling about missing out on training.

  1. Dress Well. Wear shirts, shorts, and pants made of technical materials that wick sweat away from the skin. Avoid cotton, which can cause painful chafing. Dress in layers that you can shed as you warm up. If you’re racing in wintry conditions, it’s especially important to cover your fingers, ears, and head.

  2. Set Realistic Expectations. If you’ve been running on a regular basis, look at your training log and consider the paces of your recent workouts to figure out what a realistic finishing time be. If you haven’t been working out regularly, or you’re recovering from hectic travel, don’t sweat the outcome. Consider doing the race as a run/walk or running without your watch. Alternate between walking and bouts of running so that you can sustain an even level of effort from start to finish..  

  3. Fuel Well. There’s no need to carb load for a short race like a 5-K or 10-K. But have a carb-rich snack of foods that give you a boost without upsetting your stomach. Aim for foods that are low in fat and fiber. Bananas, oatmeal, and toast are all great choices. If you’re running in a 5-K, aim for 200 to 300 calories. Drink plenty of water, as dehydration can make even an easy pace feel difficult. Leave plenty of time before the race to hit the bathrooms.

  4. Start Slow, Finish Strong. When everyone around you is running as fast as they can, it can be tough to focus on running at a comfortable pace that feels sustainable for you. It’s easy to get caught up in the adrenalin of the race pack. But if it’s your first race, it’s important to focus on a strong finish that leaves you feeling positive, confident, and excited about racing again.  When the starting gun fires, think about taking the first 5 to 10 minutes of the race to warm up your muscles, shake out any stiffness and pre-race stress, and ease into your own personal feel-great pace. As the race continues, think about gaining strength with each step closer to the end, and finishing feeling strong.

  1. Adjust your schedule. Add your race to your Goals and Results feed, so we can make sure you have the proper spacing between this effort and your next challenging tasks, and “Adjust Schedule” if necessary. Use the unique flexibility of our training platform to stay on track!


Have questions? Contact Us!



Darrel has had an inspiring journey since heart surgery in 2021. He shares the importance of consistency and quality coaching guidance. Screenshot_2022-11-06_4.48.40_PM

Major milestone: Beginning after heart surgery in November 2021, my first milestone was 60 yards. I'm now up to eight miles. Actually, each time that I went farther was a milestone!

What is the secret to your success? Consistency. I know that mornings are best for me. Vigorous activity is essential to keeping my heart healthy.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it? Sometimes it’s the time requirement to finish beneficial workouts. Sometimes it’s impatience and the need to go at a pace that is neither too slow nor too fast. I remind myself that results depend on spending time on quality workouts to achieve worthwhile goals. What is the most rewarding part of training? Finishing the exercise. Feeling the burn or the fatigue when it’s time to relax.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
Talk with the coaches. Trust the program. As long as you’re working on fitness goals, give yourself grace on missed days or more difficult sessions.

Anything else you would like to share? Always before I trained for marathons or ultras (10 total) on my own. Training methods have changed these past 20 years. I needed sound guidance to rebuild from ground zero. My coach, Hiruni, encouraged me. She always replied to my messages. The Runcoach program is an effective training system. 

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? Runcoach offers so much to inform and encourage runners to meet their goals. The personal contact is real. The resources are extensive. You are doing well. Please don’t stop.


1-Wash your hands! It’s simple, takes one minute, and can protect you from germs that hand sanitizer can’t kill.staying-fit-winter 

2-Get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 4 times per week. Getting the blood flowing re-oxygenates your body and helps boost your immune system.

3-Stay well hydrated. In the cooler weather, we forget that hydration is still important!

4-When you travel, change your clothes and take a shower after every flight to get rid of the germs you encountered en route.

5-Don’t skimp on sleep! Rest is essential for your health.

6-Mediatation, yoga, or a short walk to start your day and put your mind in the right place can significantly improve your day.

7-Cut back on sugary foods and increase your vegetable and protein intake to boost your energy and your immune system.

8-Spend time outside getting fresh air on a daily basis. 

9-Avoid sitting down for long periods of time. If you get up every hour to get a drink, walk around, or stretch, your body will thank you.

10-Smile, laugh, and be happy. One of the most important, but easily forgotten, components of health is happiness!

Last modified by; Cally Macumber



As the temps drop and the leaves turn, that can only mean one thing. Fall road racing is here.Marathon Runner Group

It can be easy to fall into the mindset of "I have to have the perfect build-up to my race." I'm here to tell you no such thing exists. Here are some tips and tricks to help when the inevitable happens!

1. Injuries happen. It is important to stay calm. Remember you can only control so much. Book an appointment with your physical therapist, reach out to your coach for training adjustments, cross train if necessary, and rest (body and mind). Stress won't help the injury, and can only hurt it further. This doesn't necessarily mean your race is over. Missing time now can be a blessing in disguise for the future!

2. Illness happens. All of the hard work and training can sometimes suppress the immune system. It's not uncommon for marathoners to catch a cold during their taper. Also very easy to panic in this situation, but try not to! There is a lot you can do that will help your body come up. Try and focus on hydration, eating foods that nourish (I crave homemade chicken noodle soup), and extra sleep. Taking off training during this time is recommended. This is your body's way of saying, "hey I need a break so I can perform on race day." Fitness doesn't diminish from a few days off. Try and push through it and you could make it worse.

3. The fatigue will set in, and when it does you will doubt yourself. Don't! Training for a marathon is hard work. One day you're smashing a workout, and the next you're barely able to get out of bed. The body takes time to absorb all the training, so there will be times you feel flat and tired. This is normal, but important to listen to. Give yourself rest if you feel like you need it, as pushing too hard during this time can send you into a hole that is hard to get out of. As you do more and more build ups, you will know the difference between tired and too tired.

4. Nerves are normal. As the race creeps closer, nerves will too. You want the right balance of nerves to help you get excited and not overly anxious. I like to start a book during my taper (no not a running book). Sometimes taking your mind elsewhere when you have a big event coming up is the perfect recipe to help calm things down. Get creative, but find something different to occupy your time that you'd normally spend running more miles. You want non running focus in your life so that you get a break from obsessing over the big day!

5. Enjoy the process. We put so much into a single day that it can get overwhelming. Try and remember part of the fun of this is the preparation. Without this piece the race wouldn't be what it is. Smile and know you are doing something special.



Frank is celebrating the successful completion of the Ottawa Marathon '22 in 3 hours and 50 minutes. 
His story sheds some light on the journey to healthy running amidst a busy lifestyle.Frank Marshall jogging city streets

Major milestone: Ottawa Marathon 2022.  Completed in 03:50 (gun time was probably 03:45 because I finished on the line with the 03:45 pace bunny!).

What is the secret to your success?  Stretching, running, breathing, groceries, walking, more walking.  Having good routes.  I've been running a lot ever since I was 4, but walking and carrying big groceries has been the most stable and consistent thing that has kept my fitness regardless of my general running form or participation in events.  Having people who support you is massive, if you don't know anyone obvious in your vicinity, join a running club or a training program - even if you don't attend all the time, it gets you off the ground to independence at the very least, but can do a lot more as well (Runcoach certainly helped!).  Breathing rhythm is very important, it helps for just about anything that requires effort because it helps you maintain composure in a way I find little else does.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?  Work and family commitments.  I took physical education as an elective in high school every year starting Grade 10, because I couldn't fit a club in to my packed schedule.  During my university years (2008-2020), I didn't always have the time to run much, so I just participated in a handful of small races (<15K).  But during terms, I walked with the patience of knowing that I'd be running again at the end of that testing period, and that would keep me fit enough to get going quickly out of the blocks upon resuming my running.  Running in this case meant playing soccer, long-distance runs, and tennis - all good, different forms of running.

What is the most rewarding part of training?  You feel very good after a tough run because of the adrenaline rush and subsequent clarity of mind, so that gives you the incentive to agonize for an hour.  The clarity of mind comes because your body is functioning well the rest of the day.  You need good eating habits, so that adds to your feeling well during the day.  The adrenaline rush helps you because without that it's hard to get from anywhere other than exercise; new movies don't come out at the cinema every day, sports events occur once a week, eating too much chocolate comes with lows later on because it does something bad to your digestion.  Racing is great because of the way the local community comes out just to see the runners - not to mention the rather tremendous good will you see from volunteers (this is really some of the best of society that you will ever see).  I should say: virtual races done solo are fantastic, though you should probably have at least one person there to provide you drinks and cheer you on for the day.  I ran my first half marathon in 2021 during lockdown.  Having a friend and my parents there made that day more or less as exciting for me as the 2022 in-person event a year later.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?  Personal experience (differs between people, so might not apply to the reader): if you've never run before, don't run unless you've tried walking long distances (e.g., 5K).  Buy running shoes (that was my first mistake, and my foot let me know about it!).  Follow instructions of a coach/teacher or any other trainer (e.g., running partner) who knows more about running than you do.  Try different styles of running.  Absolutely, do 20 minutes of static stretching post-run, 10 minutes of dynamic stretching pre-run.  Eat not too much the night before a run, but have something to eat alongside you during the run.  On a hot day, drink more than you feel like consuming.  On a freezing day, bring gloves and run in loops rather than long stretches.  Try laps before running too far - that way, you calibrate how far your route should be.  Buy a book about running, better if it is a very detailed one, it's worth paying for.  Read a blog (Runcoach blog is amazing).  If you're running and don't feel in control, slow down.  The most important thing is to finish the assigned distance.  Even if the time ends up poor, long-distance running is often about just pushing yourself at this moment in time.  You don't look at people running in the morning and think they're slow or fast; you normally think, "That is someone pushing hard, good for them".  You don't go easy on yourself, though, you go as far as you can go without losing control in the sense that absolutely you must reach the finishing line and you'd rather avoid a bad time as a bonus.

Anything else you would like to share?  My family, my friends, and my teachers have all been important in starting me off, maintaining and developing my running activity throughout the years.  It is to them that I owe all of my achievements, the hard work I put in is largely a reflection of their remarkable efforts over many years.  The people of Runcoach who have provided those Hi-5's have offered brilliant support throughout my training, that is the kind of support that you think about when your legs feel like quitting.  Also, a word for Terry Fox, whose charity run is held in many places worldwide (or virtually, in the areas of some readers).  Look him up if you don't know his story, and try giving up on a hard run after you've read that.  That story gives me a lift sometimes when I feel that the effort is getting too much.  Also, thinking of how good the warm drink and meal back home are going to taste!

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?  I began with Runcoach using the free trial offered in preparation for the 2021 virtual Ottawa Half Marathon event.  I started it in March 2021 as I began training, concerned from my previous experiences of physical-education courses that I'd be making novice errors during training for a distance >5K longer than my previous distance record.  This was the time of lockdowns and isolation, one that nobody likes looking back to.  Runcoach here was pivotal because it not only pushed me to new distances and raised my general health and performance standard, it helped me through Winter 2021 when lockdowns were in full force and cold conditions meant that indoors was more of a necessity.  I learnt a lot from my coach, he was there every time and punctual whenever I had questions.  The option of the log entries is terrific, and also the adaptation of the schedule after a goal has been reached always seems to work well for me, I rarely feel intimidated.


Summer Running Tips

August 29, 2022

smoothieThe adjustment to heat training is not easy, and not always fun either. We want to share some ways to help summer training not be entirely miserable, and, you may find you even gain more fitness along the way thanks to the added stress heat puts on your body!

1-RUN EARLY: Set yourself up for SUCCESS by running first thing in the morning. It is way easier to wake up, run early, and get it done, than to have life get in the way and you're left trying to force a run in the heat or after a long day.

2-HYDRATE: We recommend waking up at least 30 minutes before you head out for a run to consume 12-24oz of electrolytes. If you have a long run or a hard workout, get creative with your options during the run... know where you can stop every 2-4miles to get a drink, leave a bottle and run a 2-4mile loop or out and backs, carry a bottle, or have a friend/significant other bike with you to provide fluids. More tips on hydration here.

3-ADJUST: Recognize that heat is an additional stress on your body. You should not expect to hit the same splits as you could on a cool day. Slow down, focus on effort vs pace. Add in an extra minute of two of recovery in between intervals or pause tempos to dump water on your head and to get a drink. Cut the long runs back a mile or two or find locations more suitable for hot weather that can provide more shade, and listen to your body if you start to feel dizzy or over heated... be smart! You can also do your quality sessions on the treadmill if you want to stick to paces and build confidence that you are not out of shape.

4-RECOVER: To help boost recovery after a hot run, take a cool shower, get in the pool, or put your feet in a creek to bring the core temperature down. You will find this strategy will prevent you from feeling so zapped the rest of the day. More recovery tips here to help you reset after a hard day of training.

5-REHYDRATE: After a hot workout, you will be in the hole in terms of hydration. Spend the first 30 minutes post run being sure to get in a lot of fluids. I recommend an electrolyte mix because something with flavor is more appealing and it will help you get caught up on your hydration needs. Rehydrating after a workout in the heat is critical to ward off cramps, injury, and allows the body to be ready to run again tomorrow!

6-REFUEL: It can be tough to eat after a workout in the heat. The belly often feels icky, but replenishing is very important to reap the benefit of the workout you just put your body through! Try greek yogurt, fruit, a smoothie (Summer Smoothie recipe!), kombucha, coconut water, or protein shake. These liquid calories are easier on the stomach and your body will be able to start the recovery process once you get some fuel in the tank. Interested in nutrition for runners? More info here.

We hope you can use these tips to help you crush your training this summer, please reach out if you have any follow up questions!



Runcoach trainee Beth , shares her incredible story of self-belief, trusting the process, and beating the odds!  

Beth_R._cusromer_success_imageMajor milestone:
From a Wheelchair to Marathon Training is my "MAJOR" milestone that is just incredible... a miracle!


What is the secret to your success? Do a little more today than yesterday. Read on to learn about Beth's 10 steps challenge. 


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
In May 2014 I was a cyclist riding hundreds of miles a week. I crashed and landed on my head and face, suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI for short. My 3 adult children quit and/or took family leave and moved back home to help me get back on my feet. They would say "We got you, don’t worry.”
The first big breakthrough was taking 10 steps. The next day, I went 20 steps. This led to an obsession to add 10 steps a day. I started keeping notes on graph paper. It took two months, and it was a huge accomplishment the first time I ran a mile without stopping! My dog ran every step with me.


What is the most rewarding part of training? I’m proud of myself!!! I ran my first 5K in 2015, then a bunch of trail races. In fact, it is my belief that running and trail running are the reasons my brain has made improvements. I’m reminded of Dr. Jay Alberts, who works with MS patients and advocate for working hard and pushing limit to enhance brain function. I’ve also met some fantastic people, and made some great friends.


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
It’s fun to change up your routes, especially try to make your long run an adventure! It is my hope that somewhere along the line my story will help even just one other person with a brain injury. It is running that made all the difference in my progress.

 

Anything else you would like to share?
Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have believed that I would become a runner. Nevertheless be training at 63 years old, to run in the NYC Marathon!!!


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience? I’m one that tends to overdo it and get injured. Runcoach is a reliable way to build gradually and be successful (ha- I hope lol).


Your activity contributions go a long way!jennie Movecoach understands employees move in all different ways. Below we've worked with your employer and the NHS to even the playing field, and give cyclists, yogis and walkers the same chance to earn Oktappreciate points for your movement.

*All points are rewarded on a monthly basis, based on the criteria below. 

You must use your Okta email to be eligible to earn rewards in our Oktappreciate platform. Our points system cannot identify personal emails.


Every 20 points = $1 USD or 1 Oktappreciate point

How to earn points by logging activity: 

Per week = 20 points

  • Complete 3 workouts per week (yoga, cross train, classes)
  • Complete 3 mindfulness sessions
  • Cycle 75 miles (120 KM)
  • Step 21 miles (34 KM)
  • Run 21 miles (34 KM)
  • Walk 21 miles (34 KM)
  • Swim 5 miles (8 KM)

 

Per month = 120 points

  • Complete 5 week cross train streak
  • Complete 5 week walk streak
  • Complete 5 week cycle streak
  • Complete 5 week swim streak
  • Complete 5 week run streak
  • Complete 5 week mindfulness streak
  • Complete 5 week workout streak

In order to earn points for the race, the race must be logged within the same month the race was completed.

Log a result from an organized RACE = 100 - 800points

  • <5K = 100 points
  • 10K-20K = 140 points
  • Half marathon (21.1K Distance) = 200 points
  • Marathon (42K distance)/ half ironman = 400 points
  • Ironman = 8000 points

FAQ (for Okta employes only):

1) Can I earn more than 20 points per week and/or more than 120 points per week?

Yes, combine any of the listed activities to maximize your points.

For example, if you log more than 3 workouts per week, the most you can earn is 20 points But, if you workout more than 3x, cycle more than 75 miles, and meditate 3x all within a week, you've earned a total of 60 points per week!

**It is an employee's responsibility to report any missing points within 30 days, otherwise those points are forfeited. Points are uploaded around the 10th of every month in Oktappreciate for the month prior. EXAMPLE: Points earned in January should be posted around February 10th, and you would have until March 10th to report any missing points from January.



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