How Toronto can become a more ‘welcoming place’ for runners – and their tourism dollars

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Photo by Patrick Leung – the Ghost Race

Back in May 2017 I was invited to speak at City Hall sharing my perspective on Running Tourism in the City of Toronto. I had previously written for iRun magazine on Running Tourism, researching both the monetary benefits and social benefits for communities including Toronto, NYC, Ottawa, and Vancouver. So my perspective has came from that of a marathon runner in other countries, the research I complied for iRun, and my experiences as a leader in the Toronto run community. I was happy to share what I thought the city could do to support this sport and it’s athletes from near and afar and I was happy to continue the conversation in early 2018 as part of the working group establishing recommendations for the city council’s economic development committee. Some thoughts on that initial conversation were shared here by CBC.

On April 14th, the report that had been developed through the established working group of City Councillors, City employees, and community stake holders was released and the city council’s economic development committee voted to take a closer look at our recommendations.

Some recommendations from the working group included ideas like opening public transit earlier, having various City teams communicate more clearly and easily with race directors, and some welcoming and inviting tasks like displaying race promotional material on bus shelters, street banners, and even at the air port, as many Marathon Majors do welcoming athletes to the city and celebrating the event.

We highlight the financial benefit to the city, including a comparison of Toronto’s two marathons (and yes, only have one major race was brought up) to Marathon Majors including NYC ($36 Million CAD of $415 Million USD).

CBC did a follow up interview which I supported. You can check it out here.

As the city council’s economic development committee will be taking a closer look at these recommendations I am glad the the conversation continues and look forward to Toronto continuing to grow as an epic place to race and live.

 

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4 Bay-sic Hill Training Tips

With the Around the Bay Road Race  happening this weekend in Hamilton, I spent Tuesday morning with the team from CH Morning Live chatting the race and sharing tips to rock the Valley Inn Rd hill. Watch it here and read my 4 tips to conquer the hill below.

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Four tips to dominate your next hill workout.

1. Keep your chest up and open. The most common advice you might have received is to “lean into the hill”. Unfortunately, this causes many runners to hunch at the waist to lean forward. This constricts your airway and makes it harder to breathe deeply. You do need to lean forward, but make sure you lean at the hips, not the waist.

2. Keep your head and eyes up. Dropping your head  leads to a slouch in your form and restricts how much oxygen you can take in. So  instead, drive your arms straight forward and back using them like pistons. Keep your elbows bent in a 90-degree angle, and swing them straight back and forth, and not across your body.

3. Drive your knees up off the hill and not into the hill – think of this as your knee drive. Work on landing on the ball of your foot to spring up the hill.

4. Bend your ankle. Think of yourself exploding off your ankle and using that last bit of power to propel you up the hill with minimal energy expenditure. Focusing on plantar flexion can save you a lot of energy and really help you get up the hill faster and with less energy.

What are some tips and tricks you use to power up a hill?

Restart Your Workout

January 1st has come and gone, but every day, week, month is a fresh start to examine or re-examine those goals and get moving.  Here are four full-body moves that are equipment free, and can happen in minimal-space wherever you are.

Consider grouping the found moves together for a 4-minute circuit and sneak it in as many times as possible during the day.

Check out as I shared on CH Morning Live on Tuesday January 16th. Watch the segment here.

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1. Four Step Squat: Start in a narrow squat with feet under your hips. Sit back into a squat position with knees above the ankles, and your body weight on your heels. Return to standing and step your feet just wider then hip distance apart and repeat the squat. Return to stand and repeat to more times, each time steeping your feet out wider until you are in a wide plie squat. Return to standing and repeat all four on the other side.

2. Plank Walk Out: Start standing with the feet shoulder width apart and arms hanging down to the sides of the body. Slightly bend the knees and bend over and placing the hands shoulder width apart on the floor, so your body is in the shape of an inverted V. Walk forward four steps forward with your hands until you reach a plank position. Walk hands back in towards your feet and return to stand.

3. Alternating Shoulder Tap and Hinge: On the knees or toes, maintain a balance and stable hip position while touching the opposite hand to shoulder. Next hinge at the waist reaching your right hand towards your left ankle, return to plank, then hinge reaching your left hand towards your right ankle. Alternate touching shoulder, shoulder, ankle, ankle. To decrease the challenge, increase the distance between the knees widening your base of support.

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4. Marching Hip Raise: Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Lift one knee to your chest, lower back to the start, and lift your other knee to your chest. Continue to alternate back and forth and to make it harder, lift those hands up and decrease your base of support.