Running basics


“Some simple words of running advice from someone who’s been running for a long time.”

I started running when I was 12 and have never really stopped and I am now rapidly approaching the age of 40. I am by no means the fastest, the most wise or someone to look up to – be here are some simple things to remember when training for a race.

Get fit

Get fit, have a base of fitness before you start the typical 12-17 week training program. There are plenty of resources, advice and apps (like those from Runtastic) that can help you get motivated, active etc.

Get the gear

To avoid, injury, frustration and excuses – get good running gear and shoes. Ask for help from knowledgeable running store staff like those at Sports4 in Ottawa (Canada).

Get a training plan

Whether it is a book or online training program like Vicsystem that I use – find a plan that is realistic and geared towards your goals. Also – be realistic and plan your training on days and times you know you can commit to.


Pick a run, a race, goal or adventure and register or mark it down on a calendar. Get a t-shirt that states your goal if necessary. I am going to be aiming at the Ottawa marathon race-weekend 10k in May.

Be tough

Follow your plan, be consistent and be tough. What starts out harder will become easier.

Be flexible

Be tough and committed but remember life is not always like you planned on paper. Be flexible, don’t be too hard on yourself. Training and race day can both throw challenges and changes at you, being able to adapt and overcome is something that will help you.

Stay motivated

Get a good running book or check out a running video or a film like the Canadian running film “Transcend“.

Eat, sleep and rest

Sounds simple but make sure to eat healthy, pick healthy snacks like Made with Local bars fuel up before and after properly (I use Cytomax and MuscleMLK). Remember to replace water and electrolytes, some carbs and protein after a workout and to eat healthy.

Sleep – the more and harder you train, the more sleep you need. Just an hour extra can really make a difference.

Take a rest or easy day once a week. Your body needs to recover, rebuild and get stronger.

Check out my Ottawa marathon training last year as I pushed the limits-see what I learned and the advice I received.


If your budget allows, a cool running GPS watch like the Polar M400 can help you keep track of the time, distance, pace and even your heart rate.


And remember-not many of us are Olympic-level athletes and have families, jobs and other priorities. Keep it fun and relax.

Run on friends!

Helpful resources:

Running gear reviews

New Balance running shoes

Motivating or inspiring runners stories

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Youtube can be a wonderful place to find all kinds of stuff, motivating running films, cool track races and occasionally some things you have never seen before.

I have been running for years and I have always wanted to play the drums. I have never heard of anyone doping both at the same time. Meet Brendan.


Brendan Wray is a 24 year-old full-time university student studying law and works in a liquor store part-time. He lives in a semi-rural area of Victoria, Australia, and I also engaged to be married. When not studying, working and trying to fit in time for his fiancée, Brendan likes to run and to drum.


I first saw Brendan on a youtube video. Brendan was smoothing trotting along on a treadmill in what looked like his garage and with a set of headphones on; rapping away on a drum (to a Van Halen song) beside the treadmill. I laughed and was intrigued.

Life is short and often too dull. I love people who are different.

I tracked down the youtube “drunner”.

How did you start drumming and running and why?

“I started running around 6 years ago and have run 24 official marathons and a few others/ultras in training just for fun. My most memorable races include my first Melbourne Marathon, the marathon in Texas I ran on a new year’s day, and the 2012 Tokyo Marathon. All three were so special for different reasons. My PB is 3:41, but because I run so many each year I really don’t improve too much when it comes to speed; my body is mainly just trained to back up and keep running without any recovery time. I find training for speed while running 8-9 marathons a year often leaves me injured.”

“As for the running and the drumming, it was really just a bit of silliness that came out of my mum asking me to sell her treadmill on eBay in 2013. I set it up just to take photos, but somehow got the idea to set up my drums around it for a bash. I uploaded a photo of it up on Facebook and a few friends egged me on to make a video, which I did. I think I made 5 to start with, all on my Youtube channel. Friends and family saw them, but that was about it until the first or second week of 2015 when somehow, somebody stumbled upon them and shared them around.”

“They’ve now gained quite a bit of popularity, mostly through re-uploads to other websites and Facebook pages. Since then, I’ve made 6 or 7 new ones, but they haven’t really taken off yet. They’re actually quite hard to make as I’m honestly not much of a drummer; I think I spend about 2 or 3 hours learning a song without even walking on the treadmill, then I set up a camera, start running, and I’ve got the whole thing filmed in about 15 minutes.”

Which do you enjoy more, running or drumming?

“Running is definitely more my thing, I try to get out and run 5-6 days a week to always stay marathon-ready.”

What are your running goals for 2015?

“I don’t really have any goals this year; I’d like to do a few more marathons in different states of Australia, but as my fiancée and I are saving for and paying for our wedding, I’m not sure I’ll really get the opportunity”

“I’ve been entertaining the idea of running a Comrades-length fat-ass by myself, which is pretty appealing as I love ultra distance runs. Long-term, my goal is to run 10 Melbourne Marathons and become part of the “Spartan” club of other 10+ year runners. I’ve run 5 in 5 consecutive years, so I’m on the right track. I don’t really have any drumming goals. I used to play in bands, but I just don’t have the time and because of all my running, I’m not really available for playing late nights. I would love to again though, one day.”

Life and running is made up of so many interesting runners with great and interesting stories. I love it. With the weather this morning at -22C I wish I was in Australia with Brendan!

Drun on Brendan and pop over to Canada anytime for a run mate eh!


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Eating whole pies and smelly running gear


“There are times when my running could be defined as more an illness or addiction as opposed to a delightful passion, but either way – it is part of me and my life.”

Running is part of my life, has been for over 27 years now. At times smelly running gear and eating whole pies has been part of the routine as well….wanna hear more?

Yep-an update, not a product review or runner profile.

Been upping the miles and trying to keep everything balanced, stretched out and not over do it (blowing up my hip flexors again). Edging up over 100km/week now and feeling a bit tired – but not inhaling whole pie tired and hungry yet.

Hmmm?? Yep last year when I was training for the Ottawa marathon I cranked miles up to over 160km/week plus other gym work etc. – and would find myself buying and eating whole pies occasionally. It was like I just needed the calories. I wouldn’t intend to eat the whole pie (strawberry/rhubarb)…but after some icecream…it wasn’t pretty.

So anyway, right now not eating whole pies but with more miles there are more smelly running clothes kicking around.

Did a very cold 5k this past weekend but with temperature at -36C with windchill, blowing snow and snowy footing —well who cares about the time! Finished 2nd overall and first Masters age group win ever (yep – now ole fart).

Aiming to get back into decent 5/10k shape by the spring and aim at a fall marathon. Holdin on to ole wobbly hips – here we go!

See you out there!


Preparing for a long run


“To dream is normal, to make the dream reality takes motivation, courage and to overcome the fear and worry of failure. To make it out of dreamland is simply an accomplishment.”

Craig McCabe

Craig says he was a typical Canadian child growing up playing hockey and then one fall day in Grade 6 he decided to give cross-country running a try. It did not go all that well. Despite what he describes as a slight build, he avoided running and got comfortable in a sedentary lifestyle.
“I figured then that I was not meant to be a runner. My beliefs were reinforced by my absolute hatred of having to run 6 laps of the track in high-school gym class. I never once thought about running after high-school.”

Mid-life rolled around and a few of Craig’s friends start running to stay in shape and for some reason or another Craig said he found himself joining them. He began to realize he didn’t actually hate running. After 4 weeks of training he got lured into running a 10k race. For brief moment Craig thought he liked running, but like a candle the flame quickly flickered out with the draw of the couch and his too familiar non-active lifestyle.

In 2009 and 2010 the flame was reignited. Long story short, Craig signed up through his work for the Boston marathon, trained and completed the 2010 race.. Craig was a runner. Craig then qualified for the 2011 Boston marathon.


Running struggles

Like most runners, Craig has had ups and downs with his running and racing and with staying motivated. Over-training, stress fracture and getting mental strain took the fun out of life and running.

“When I lost my ability to run, I lost the tool that kept my mental state balanced.”

Craig said he was looking for something, something to focus him, to challenge him. Believe it or not the couch potato box, the television with it’s soft ray of light and sound that ignited an idea in Craig.

After the Canadian running/adventure series called Boundless (with Canadian runner Simon Donato) and documentary films Long Way Round and Long Way Down (motorbike adventures of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman) an idea had settled in Craig’s running brain.

Craig was inspired by both shows and how they portrayed real people struggling with real challenges. In one of the television shows an area of Scotland called John O’Groats is repeatedly mentioned. Craig was intrigued. A plan was forming.


The Long Run

Craig decided he needed a running goal, a challenge for 2015. He has decided he wants it to include Scotland and John O’Groats. Craig has tentatively mapped out a route that is just over of 1,000km which I believe to be manageable in 30-45 days.

It is a run from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in Scotland. This is a trip that traverses the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities; in the southwest and northeast. The distance by road is 1407 km.

According to Wikipedia, the record time for a runner to complete the route, is 9 days and 2 hours, by a runner called Andi Rivett.

“I can’t say for certain that I will complete it, but one thing I do know is that I won’t quit on myself.”

Run on Craig- sometimes the run, the battle is about starting it and giving it a 100% – wherever that takes you. Be waiting for updates on your planned adventure.

*You can follow Craig’s adventure on his blog.

See you on the roads or in the blogosphere.

Do you have a running story to tell?



Energy bars and ole men

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“If there is a runners high, I wish it would bloody well occur when I need it to!”

Yes another update from the ole wobbly bugger who runs, hobbles and spits all over the Ottawa/Gatineau area. (I avoid spitting too much and keep snot rockets to a minimum)

So with that tasty and flavourful opening I start a new blog update on me and some east coast energy bars that arrived at my door recently.

Bars first – I am less interesting!

Made with Local

Being from the east coast of Canada – my eyes stopped on a few tweets online about a new energy, healthy bar being produced in my home province of Nova Scotia. They are called “Made with Local” and thought up and made by two young female healthy-minded entrepreneurs Kathy and Sheena.


The bars have great local ingredients from east coast farmers and they boast “No Weird Stuff”.


I loved the packaging, loved they were from “home” and liked the all-natural ingredients. The bar I have with me today has oats, almond butter, honey, walnuts, dried cranberries, chocolate, some stuff for flavour and some cinnamon. Yum.


The are three types of bars and all are quite tasty. The bars are about 240 calories, easy to open, firm and dry and mainly oats with other tasty natural ingredients. I liked the taste of all the bars but would advise having something to drink if you eat when dry or after a workout. So maybe not something you would eat on the run, but after a run, during a hike etc – perfect!


These bars are worth checking out and remind me of a west coast bar I tried last year called Tho’z Barz.

Find these bars and the folks behind them online or on Twitter.

Ole Men

This is the short update on this ole man (creeping up on 40 this year).

The mileage is coming up, I am focusing on exercises to strengthen my glutes and hip flexors and easing into workouts twice a week. I am aiming to try and run some decent 5k and 10K time in the spring including the Ottawa marathon weekend 10k and then work towards a fall marathon.

Muscle MLK Canada is now supporting me and have also recently been chosen as an ambassador for a new cool running stroller (Kidrunner)to hit the markets this summer.

Always looking for great runners to profile and cool gear to review!

Keep on running folks!


Reeling in Radcliffe


“Dreams often require heroes. It is the fleet footed adult running gods that flitter across the television screen that so often inhabit our young sleeping and waking dreams.”

This week I get to share a story of a runner who reminds me of myself a bit and is from the country my grandmother and ancestors called home.


Sam is a young 19 year-old UK runner living with his parents and 2 brothers in my home town of Kidderminster, England. Sam is a full-time student and is studying Sport & Exercise science and hopes to continue his studies at Cardiff Metropolitan University in September.

Sam must also have some running talent as he is sponsored by his local solicitor Richard Prescott who has funded him for the past two seasons

Running for the young UK runner started in 2010 after he finished 2nd in a local school cross country meet. His attention before then had always been more on football (soccer). He took running more seriously in 2013 and in doing so became his school’s 1500m and 3000m county champion and went on to represent his county and region in 7 national cross country championships.

Being from England and a runner, Sam is also a big fan of England’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe.

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Personal bests:

1500m: 4:20

3000m: 9:20

5000m: 16:40

10k : 34:13

Running by Radcliffe

It all started when Sam saw an ad for the Worcester City 10k. Below the ad for the race was a slightly smaller one with a headline reading ‘Radcliffe to make comeback in Worcester’. Sam signed up and joked that he’d love to go head to head with Radcliffe and try and beat her, never thinking he would.

Race day rolls around and Sam’s focused on his race and deals with race nerves as go times creeps up. Another amazing UK runner from the past Steve Cram introduces Paula Radcliffe to the runners gathered at the start line. Despite the nerves, Paula being a world record holder and someone he looked up to Sam taps her on the shoulder and wishes her luck, she wishes him luck as well.

The gun goes off and Sam goes out quick and tucks in with a group including Paula Radcliffe. Sam finds himself only 1-2 metres behind his hero during the first two kilometers and says he thought to himself, “This is incredible” and “can you really keep up with her?”

The 4-kilometre mark comes and Sam starts to struggle. A gap begins to emerge between him and the group he’d been chasing. 5k in 17:50 and realizing he was still on pace for a PB, Sam dug in cranked up the pace. By 7k he was back with the group and actually side by side with his hero.

“I specifically remember looking to side of me at Paula and having flashbacks to seeing her winning the London marathon back in 2003. It was an unbelievable sight to see the woman who had inspired me as a child running alongside me.”

Despite the hurt, despite running alongside a running legend, Sam’s thoughts were on the race and he now wondered if he could beat Paula Radcliffe, something he’d only joked about before the race. Sam kept pushing and a gap started to grow. At 9k they entered the town centre and cheering crowds. Sam kept pushing despite the burn and crossed the line with an almost 50-lap distance between himself and Paula.

Sam finished in a time of 35:31 (a PB at the time) and knew he would always cherish the moment. After the race walked over to the group of photographers taking pictures at the finish line and asked if he could get one with Paula. One of them replied that they were not supposed to but, seeing as he’d just beaten Paula Radcliffe they would.

Thanks for sharing your story Sam and run on! Give me a shout if ever in Canada!

*Sam is aiming to make his half marathon debut in April and looking to keep improving.

Got a running story to tell?

Run on friends!


All you need on the wrist


“The days of asking dad or going out in the car and using the odometer to measure a running route is long behind most of us.”

There are many choices for running watches – ones that track everything from distance, pace, time, heart rate, activity and I am pretty sure soon enough they will will do the running for me! Here is the review of Polar’s new M400.

The Polar M400 GPS Running watch


I call it a running watch but the M400 also has options for cycling, walking and other sports (multi-sport). The main new thing about this watch is it that it also incorporates new activity tracking information that was before only really available via their Polar Loop. Very cool. My old Polar RC3 was a cool orange and the new M400 comes in black and white (orange/yellow option woulda been cooler) but I think the shape and fit is better than the V800.

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In a nutshell….well fitting GPS running watch (with other sport options) that can tell you distance, time, pace, works with a heart rate strap and now gives you activity information (steps and activity level and even sleep patterns).

Buttons are easier to use than RC3 I was using, activate easier and the speed the watch picks up a satellite signal is much faster (GREAT on really cold days when shivering and waiting).

Here is full list of features.

Add-ons and apps

-You can have with or without HR strap (I think Polar needs to look at new technology for wrist HR soon).

-You can get Polar Flow app for your mobile that uses bluetooth and gives some feedback on activity and your runs.

-Polar beat app can help you train with heart rate.


-A Polar Sync program can also be uploaded to desktop for updates, seeing your info and to connect with other Polar users.

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Review and recommendations

This is meant to be a quick- really easy to read review that will let you know if this is the watch for you. (Lots more info on the watch on the Polar site)

I highly recommend this watch to runners – you get a lot of information without too much fooling around. You can simply use with GPS and track distance, pace and time of your runs and even look at mile or kilometer splits and not use any of the other features….BUT you would be missing out and with just a few minutes you can see and access other information via the watch or mobile app. Plus the watch is comfortable, not a bright colour for folks who are afraid to look like dork at work (I like BRIGHT coloured watches!) and picks up the signal really quick.

Comfortable, quick GPS signal, lots of information without too much fooling around.

*Remember think about what you want your watch to do and what information you will find useful and how tech-savy you are.

Video from Polar about getting started with M400:

**Only real comment for improvement for Polar and most newer GPS running watches is ——put an easy to use old school stop watch option with lap option for folks to do track workouts etc!!!

Run on friends!