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?

5 Tips to Up Your Running Game in 2018!

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This post was originally written for and shared by Canada Running Series. View the original post here.

The start of a new year is a great time to set goals and try something new. So whether you are starting to run for fun, or are fired up as a goal crusher. Here are 5 tips to help you up your running game in 2018!

5 Tips to Run for Fun!

1. Track progress. Whether it’s on your favourite app (there are so many out there) or on an old fashioned calendar on your fridge, tracking your workouts, recording how you feel, or even checking something off your monthly workout plan will give you that extra feeling of progress and accomplishment.

2. Create the perfect playlist or find the perfect podcast. Music or podcasts can be a great motivator to help you get to into the running mood! Make a new playlist filled with high-tempo tracks or save a new podcast for each workout to inspire you to keep moving while on route.

3. Sign up for a race/fun run. Committing to an event gives you a good reason to create a training plan and stick to it. Start planning ahead now, the Race Roster Spring Run Off is just around the corner.

4. Fuel up. Running on an empty stomach can keep you from having the right amount of energy, but eating too much can lead to cramping. Look for a small snack containing carbs and protein for sustained energy.

5. Join a run Tribe. Whether it’s a friend or family member, community run crew, or virtual group of online friends, having people with a similar interest to connect with and learn from will help keep you accountable and having fun.

5 Tips for the Goal Crushers!

1. Get into proper form. It may seem like the simplest way to work out, but running does take knowledge and skill to make sure you don’t end up on the injured list. Get reading, listening, or meeting with professionals in your community to make sure you’re running to the best of your ability.

2. Get out of town! Taking your runs to new roads is a great way to combine travel and your favourite sport. Destination races within Canada or abroad will leave you with a new sense of adventure and motivation to move.

3. Cross train. Don’t limit yourself to improving your pace only out on the road. There are many things you can do when you aren’t running that can help: Take a yoga class to improve your flexibility; strength train regularly to build speed and prevent injuries; meditate to find focus and calm those pre-race jitters.

4. Roll out. Massage your muscles with a roller to increase flexibility and range of movement in the knees while breaking down scar tissue and adhesions.

5. Give back. Whether you volunteer to help a new group of runners get their start, support your local school’s track and friend day, or give your time stuffing kits at a race expo, giving your time back to the sport you love will leave you filled with gratitude and pride for your local run community.