Category Archives: Training

Rest and relaxation before the holidays

A couple weeks ago we took time off work and headed to the mountains for 10 wonderful days.

I wanted to relax and sleep as much as possible while getting in some good workouts, and Kelly wanted to have fun in the mountains!

We both got our wishes. We woke up on our first morning to tons of snow so busted out the cross-country skis for the first time this season.

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Kelly leashed Harold to his belt and we had a blast skiing for an hour and a half, and laughing at Harold running like a puppy through the snow!

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Sadly, all the snow melted by that night.

The bright side was that the trails were clear so I got in nice runs on the trails the next two days (also the first time I’ve ran two days in a row in months)!

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Meanwhile, Kelly went deeper into the mountains and got to enjoy non-pregnancy approved activities like downhill skiing and ice-climbing.

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It ended up snowing again, so we got out to xc ski one more time. It was a bluebird sky, temperatures were mild, and it felt so good to exercise in the fresh, mountain air.

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The R&R was just what I needed before the busy holiday season!

reading material

reading material

What’s your favourite winter activity?

I must admit I was envious the days Kelly went downhill skiing, but ice climbing scares me 🙂 Cross country skiing definitely tops my list.

My favourite running trail – summer 2014

This summer we spent our mountain time in Radium, a small village beside Kootenay National Park in British Columbia about 100km southwest of Banff.

I ran a variety of trails but tended to go back to the same one time and time again.

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I ran it again a couple weekends ago, most likely the last time I’ll run it this year. (I don’t want to run trails once it snows due to the slipping factor!)

on a walk there the next day

on a walk there the next day

It’s my favourite for a few reasons:

  • It’s a huge climb at the beginning, flat at the top, then all downhill at the end! This summer, on average, it took me 15 minutes of climbing to get up there. (The last time I ran the trail it took me 16, but I was convinced it was closer to 25!)IMG_1458
  • Once you’re up on top it’s fairly flat the entire way, which is nice after all that climbing. And although it’s singletrack, the trail is pretty clear of roots and rocks, which was especially important this summer so I wouldn’t fall!
  • A downhill finish always feels good!IMG_1455
  • It feels safe from wild animals that frequent other trails since it’s so open and because of the foliage up there (no berry bushes, etc). However, on the last run Kelly and I came across large bones with blood still on them.
  • You can add on as much distance as you want on a variety of connecting trails. Kelly took me on an extended version the other week, and we ended up in the most peaceful area. There’s actually a little park in the middle of the trail called the Park of Peace!
  • The views are unbelievable. On one side, since you’re right on the edge, you have views of the distant mountains. Look the other way and it’s an enormous meadow with very tall mountains as the backdrop.

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I ran alone 98% of the time this summer and was cautious to do too much or stray too far. Next summer I think I’ll be more adventurous and run more wooded trails with hills throughout.

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Do you prefer a long hill or multiple shorter ones?

Three goals

Hello! It’s been a while…

When I wrote my last post, I had no idea how long of a break I would take. Turns out four months away from blogging flies by!

Three goals
I had three main goals for this year when we decided not to sign up for any big races. I am happy to say I achieved all of them, with a few smaller ones accomplished, too!

Goal #1: Visit the mountains often

Lake of the Hanging Glacier

This was a smashing success with 17 weekends spent out there, and 11 days for summer vacation!

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We hiked a ton, and I trail ran and SUPed to my heart’s content.

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I even paddled in my first SUP race in Canmore and hope to make it an annual event!

Goal #2: Heal my injuries/ailments
After taking a break from running, strengthening like crazy, and seeing numerous people, I found a chiropractor who I credit for getting me back to pain-free running!

One day in late July I realized not one thing hurt when I was running, or afterwards. My hamstring, glutes, piriformis, iliac crest, knee, and hip were all quiet.

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I’m still working on my weaknesses so I can continue! However, new aches are constantly popping up, which I attribute to goal three.

Goal #3: Get pregnant
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a couple photos. I am excited to say I am now past the halfway mark of my pregnancy and am due on March 6, 2015.

I’m still trying to stay active with trail running, biking on the trainer, and strength training. Hopefully I can continue throughout!

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We ran a 12km trail race on our sixth anniversary. I was 17 weeks, and have definitely ‘popped’ since then.

Everything else
Other than that, my sister had a precious baby boy at the end of July so I now have an amazing niece and a nephew!

The first year of my garden box was a blooming success.

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And it was our hottest summer I can remember.

What’s new in your world?

So you wanna do a triathlon? Part 2 – Getting started

A few weeks ago I wrote about five things I wish I knew before I started triathlon. Here’s a second post on triathlon – getting started.

The first thing I wished I knew was how expensive triathlon can be (tip 1). However, you don’t need all the top gear.

It’s more important to get started biking (regardless whether it’s on a mountain bike, a borrowed road bike, or a svelte tri bike) and swimming than wishing for higher end equipment.

You could run your first tri with only five key items: swimsuit and goggles, a bike and helmet, and running shoes.

Here are three tips to help you get started…

Build a base
Kelly and I bought introductory road bikes the summer before our races before we really knew we were headed towards triathlon. The first couple rides were scary, even with cage pedals, because I just wasn’t comfortable on a road bike and riding on the highway. Over time I got more comfortable and we started going longer.TdA22013

I was a lifeguard and swimming instructor in high school and university so knew how to swim, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it or even practiced unless my recertification was coming due. And although Kelly knew how to swim, he couldn’t go for longer than 50m without stopping. Within six months he could do an iron-distance swim (3.8km or 2.4 miles).

It was important for both of us to build a base in the other activities and get comfortable doing them to see if it’s something we actually would like to do enough to practice on a regular basis (and whether it would be worth investing more money into).97704-594-026f

Start training for all three sports
Once you’ve built a base, start training for the swim, bike and run. A lot of great feedback in the last post mentioned practicing your least favourite or weakest sport. It’s easy to do the one you love the most, but you don’t really need to work on that activity!

Training for all three sports is great to start getting comfortable (tip 2). When I made the transition to clipless pedals and cycling shoes, I felt like a beginner all over again. I fell into the ditch of the highway once, clipped in, which didn’t help (and hurt both my back and my ego)! But the more I did it, the more comfortable I became.

Training for all three also helps you to figure out balance between the sports with strength training and life (tip 4).

This might be the point where you’d consider joining a masters swim team, checking out a local cycling club, or hiring a coach. You can also find tons of information online! Kelly and I winged it all, but I always say I’ll hire a coach for the next triathlon I run.

Continue to learn about it
There’s a lot to learn in triathlon from new terminology to logistics. Here is a random list of things to consider:

  • Bike set up – if you have the right bike size and fit, it should help prevent biking injuries down the road.
  • Rest – important in all sports, but when you are balancing three, rest becomes even more important. Be sure to listen to your body and skip a workout or scale it back if necessary.
  • Nutrition – ensure you are adequately fueling both in training and at other times to provide your body the energy it requires.
  • Brick – a triathlon training term when you stack two or more disciplines during the same workout with no or very little rest between. (i.e. bike then run). They help to prepare your body for the next demand. Start small and increase with comfort.
A run/swim/run brick

A run/swim/run brick

  • Transitions (T1 and T2) – Transition areas are where you go after one sport to prepare for the next, swim to bike (T1) and bike to run (T2). They can be intimidating the first time you participate since they’re kind of foreign. They can also vary from having wetsuit strippers, to long runs between the swim and bike, to having everything for T1 and T2 at the same station or in a completely different location.

These are just a few more things to consider in the larger triathlon cog. If you want to try, go for it and learn as you go: build a base, train for three sports and ask questions, read about it, and get professional help (coach, clubs, etc) if you choose.

Next up…how to choose your first race!

Non-triathletes: Which sport is easiest and which one is the toughest?

Triathletes: what else would you add? How long did you train in three disciplines before signing up for a race?

So you wanna do a triathlon? Five things I wish I knew when I started

Triathlon season is now in full force with lots of races and training ramping up for those racing.

It’s pretty common for runners to get the tri itch. It’s a new challenge, and one that suits our bodies that love to move and minds that love a challenge!

Although I’m not participating in any triathlons this season, I dove into them head first back in 2010 with my husband (Calgary 70.3 and Ironman Arizona).

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At the finish of our first triathlon

Here are some things I wish I knew beforehand.

  1. Triathlon is expensive. In running you need shoes and some sweat-wicking gear. In triathlon, you need equipment for two additional sports. For biking- think bike, helmet, and shoes. Add in some cycling clothing, gloves, and mechanical gear (spare tubes, pump, underseat bag). For swimming, all you really need is a swimsuit, goggles and cap. But unless you have somewhere to swim you need a membership to a pool or to pay drop in fees. Racing in open water? Maybe you’ll need to rent or buy a wetsuit.
    And this is the bare minimum. Yes, you can do it on a budget, but gear for three sports and entry fees add up.
  2. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Maybe you’ve been a runner for a while, love cycling, or swam in high school, but triathlon will definitely take you out of your comfort zone.
    Between practicing three sports, riding your bike on the side of the highway with semi trucks zipping by, and swimming in open water, you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Before our first open water swim!

Before our first open water swim!

  1. Ask questions. Starting something new can be intimidating. Don’t be afraid to ask questions whether it’s from friends who participate in multi-sport, a coach or club you want to try out, or fellow bloggers. I know I learned a lot from reading triathlon magazines and blogs. I wish I had reached out to people I knew who raced for advice or tips.
  2. It doesn’t have to be your whole world. It’s easy to get wrapped up in triathlon, after all you have three sports, strength training, and sleep to monopolize your time.
    Unless you have huge dreams like qualifying for Kona or representing your country in shorter distance races, you can do it all and still enjoy life outside of sport.
    The first year we did triathlon, we were pretty strict with training. By the second Ironman we really loosened up, taking a week-long holiday during peak week and only running short and mountain biking once. I ended up besting my previous time on a tougher course.
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Ironman Canada (Penticton) 2012

  1. You will fall in love with it. No matter what sport was your favourite, you’ll most likely fall in love with at least one of the others.
    Running is my first love, but now I dream of road biking the open highways and my trainer gets more use than my treadmill.

Although I’m happy to not have signed up for a tri this year, I will miss it! I still have a lot to learn about multisport. I still have a lot of room to grow, too.

I took this year off and quite honestly don’t know when my next triathlon season will be. However, I know when it comes, I’ll be hungry to train smarter and better my times.

I think I have a couple other ideas for ‘So you wanna do a triathlon’. If you are interested in getting your feet wet, let me know if you have any questions.

Triathletes- what do you wish you knew before you started?
Non-triathletes- do you ever get the itch to try it out?

KT Tape review & giveaway

At this time last year I was desperate for healthy knees. I had two big races on the horizon and didn’t want injury to get in the way.

I took the usual routes and lowered my mileage, went to physio, did my prescribed exercises, and rolled my legs like crazy. Everything helped a little, but nothing helped a lot.

If you read my blog last year of followed my Instagram (thechangeofpace), you would also notice the bright tape I wore for all my races and any long rides or runs.

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IM Coeur d’Alene 2013

Kelly, dealing my frustration, picked up a few rolls of KT tape for me to try. I was instantly a fan.

KT tape is an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support. It creates neuromuscular feedback that inhibits or facilitates stronger firing of muscles and tendons (from their website).

In simple language, it provided my knees and quads the additional support they required and took pressure off my kneecaps.

The good

It really does help. I fell in love with the tape instantly. Sometimes I doubted its ability and thought it might be placebo effect. But each time I tried to go long without it, my knees hurt. Each time I used it, I felt great.

You can wear KT tape for virtually any activity. I wore KT tape to bike, run, and even swim. I wore it for a half iron distance triathlon and two Ironmans. The tape stayed on throughout the full 12+ hours!

IM Canada Whistler 2013

IM Canada Whistler 2013

It’s user-friendly. The KT tape website has instructional videos for nearly every body part. (Side note- don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before…I’m going to try it on my hamstring!)

It also comes in handy strips and easily tears for application. You can put it on anywhere. (I actually put extra KT tape in my transition bags in case I’d need to reapply during my races, as I knew it would be easy to do.)

Comfort. I wore the tape literally hundreds of times over the summer. It never irritated me, and most of the time I forgot I was even wearing it. KT tape flexes with your movements.

Pops of colour. Call it superficial, but I love the colour selection of KT tape. It’s bright and reflective. I made it my mission to match my KT tape to my outfits!

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The bad

Tan lines. Depending on where you need the tape, it can make for bad tan lines!

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Cost. KT tape can be expensive if you’re using it often and for multiple body parts. But, it is on par with other tapes out there. To me, you can’t put a price on running/biking/insert your activity here pain free!

Adhesion. The website says you can wear it for up to five days but I found I couldn’t wear it for more than two. With the amount of sweat and water I poured into the strips though, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Truthfully, there aren’t really any negatives to KT tape. I am convinced I wouldn’t have made it to the start line of both races, nonetheless achieved a personal best in one.

Since I started using it, I’ve recommended it to numerous people! If you have a niggle that’s causing you problems, or if you’re trying to recover from an injury and still train, KT tape may be the answer.

Giveaway time

One reader will receive a roll of KT tape to test out! Here’s what you can do to win…

USE THE RAFFLECOPTER LINK to enter! : http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/85a9af0/

Mandatory: Visit the KT tape website and leave me a comment about what colour you’d like or what body part you’d use it on.

Optional extra entries:

The giveaway ends Sunday, April 27 at midnight. Open to residents of the US and Canada.

*KT Tape offered to send me a roll to try. Since I know I love the product, they offered to give one to a reader! I wasn’t compensated for the review; I just truly believe in the product.