#RUN2EXPLORE – Paris

Two years ago this fall, I created a running series as I was traveling across Canada for the television show I was working on. Titled 13 Cities, 13 Runs (you can check it out here), this series was a fun way for me to share some of the discoveries that I made while exploring these cities by foot. I’ve always found running to be such a great means to explore a new city or city that you aren’t too familiar with. Whether running on the streets or on some of the local trails, it’s the cheapest and in my opinion, easiest way to really get a feel for a place when you travel.

So after some brainstorming and with all of the travels I’ve been doing and have coming up in the next couple of months, I’ve decided to revive this series. Now entitled #RUN2EXPLORE, this series will have as a goal to showcase some of the potential trails, routes, etc. that you could explore in one particular city.

I’m kicking-off this new series today with none other than: Paris!

There are lots of different types of routes to explore while in Paris. Though a very busy city, there are still tons of places where you can run uninterrupted around the different neighbourhoods, or “arrondissements” as they call it in Paris.

For this new series, I’ll be highlighting a few notable areas that are worth exploring via running. For Paris they are as follows:

1) Bois de Vincennes – Located adjacent of the 20th arrondissement and right at the Château de Vincennes Metro, this large park and castle is a lovely area to run around in. There are gardens, a lake, waterfalls, lots of trees and even a nudist area, for those who are interested. You can easily run up to 20kms around the park. An enjoyable segment to try out is the following: https://www.strava.com/segments/16329265

2) La Seine – This 777-kilometre-long river runs right through the heart of Paris. There are many of the city’s major attractions that can be seen by running along La Seine; everything from Le Louvre, to Notre Dame de Paris, to the Champs Elysées, Tuileries Garden, Trocadero and even the infamous Eiffel Tower! La Seine can easily be accessed by Metro, there are a handful of stops located just steps away from the river. The following is a worthy segment that runs past some of the city’s main tourist hotspots and that can easily be added to if interested: https://www.strava.com/segments/18330554

3) Versailles – One of the most beautiful areas of the greater Paris; from the gardens to the incredible Palace that dates back to 1682, when it was used as the principal royal residence of France under Louis XIV. You can easily run up to 15 kms around the palace, the Grand Canal, theatre, etc. A good starting point is the following segment: https://www.strava.com/segments/9795698

4) Parc de la Villette – This is my latest Parisian discovery. Located right by the Crimée, Porte de Pantin or even the Porte de la Villette Metro stop, the Parc de la Villette runs right along the canal. It’s home to the Philharmonie de Paris, La Géode movie theatre, the popular concert hall Le Zénith and many other gems. I ran a flat 10k through the park and along the canal. You can get inspired for your own run by looking at the following segment: https://www.strava.com/activities/1885813174

These are just some of the many areas of Paris to explore. It’s such a culturally and historically rich city with a wide variety of landscapes that there’s endless possibilities of segments to explore!

TIP: I definitely recommend prioritizing running through the parks or along the canals and waterways instead of running through the streets of the city as it can be quite hard to constantly dodge people, bikes, scooters, motorcycles, etc. and the sidewalks are usually quite narrow.

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5 Questions With: Craig Slagel of RunGo App

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I love combining technology with running. Over the past two years, running apps have been key in documenting my progress as a runner and also keeping tabs on the runs that I have done when I travel. I recently heard of the running app RunGo, which was developed by Vacouverite Craig Slagel. Since I’ve been spending time running around Vancouver, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about this local startup.

1) What is the inspiration behind the RunGo app?

RunGo was inspired by Dynasty, my retired guide dog who I adopted in 2012 just after starting the company. As a runner and frequent traveler, I often had the issue not knowing where to run or getting lost when I tried to explore. When I adopted Dynasty, my friends joked I should use her to guide me and that sparked the idea of RunGo.

2) What separates this app from other running apps currently on the market?

RunGo works like other running apps but also offers voice guided turn-by-turn directions for your runs. With a library of over 50,000 routes worldwide, including running tours and runs curated by local running communities, RunGo is great for traveling and allows you to re-discover your own cities by trying different routes. RunGo also provides all the usual statistics such as distance, pace, calories burned and provides a logbook to store your results. The app navigates you offline, and only requires data or wifi when you add runs to your library. After that, you can use RunGo to guide you, without any data or wifi.

3) You had the opportunity to present your app on Dragon’s Den, why are shows like that and Shark Tank important for startups?

Apps can be very hard to market, especially since there are some really big players in the market who have very big budgets. As a startup we have limited resources and are constantly looking for creative ways to expose ourselves. Dragons’ Den has over 1 million views so being on the show can be a great way to promote your startup as long as you have a good idea and don’t embarrass yourself. It was also great for us as a company – as we prepped our pitch, we really went back to make sure we understood our business, brand, and numbers. It was a great experience and you can see our pitch on February 15th on CBC.

4) Where is your favourite place to run in the world and why?

That’s a tough one – I’ve run in so many amazing places around the world! I love trail running and we are lucky to have amazing trails in Vancouver, BC. But if I had to pick, I think my favourite place would be Marin headlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is where I started running so it feels like my running home. The Headlands Run that took you from Crissy Field, over the Golden Gate bridge and up into the Headlands onto a peak with a panoramic view (on a clear day) was probably my most memorable run when I lived in the city.

5) What would you like to accomplish with the app in the next five years?

There is so much I’d love to accomplish in the next five years on top of being one of the leading running apps by then. It’s often said that the best way to explore a city is by foot and our ultimate goal is to give as many runners worldwide as possible, the freedom and confidence to discover all the amazing running routes around them. I was in Dublin just over a year ago and was able to explore the city by running a different route every day. The feeling of completely immersing myself in the city was amazing as I explored routes created by a local running store. It was a completely different experience from when I used to travel for business years ago and was usually recommended to run up and down the river bank by the hotel.

For more information on the RunGo app, go here.

TURO

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I recently had the opportunity to try out a great new app called TURO. For those who are not familiar with TURO already, it’s a great car rental app that can be used when traveling. Think of Airbnb but for cars.

This easy to use app allows you to rent a unique and locally owned car (here!) in the destination of your choice (you can also list your own car in your city if you want!). TURO allows you to rent any car of your dreams, from that fast sports car to a pick up truck where you can throw your surfboard in or even a super small compact car that will be great for fuel economy. You have so many more options to choose from than any conventional car rental dealer. I had always dreamed of trying out a SCION so I went ahead and booked a classic SCION car for my recent trip to Southern California.

Once you have found the car of your dreams, the owner of the car will either confirm or decline your trip within 8 hours. Certain cars can also be booked instantly when the listings have the “Book Instantly” badge.

I received my confirmation almost immediately and was able to chat with the owner about arranging a pick up location. A lot of owners also offer delivery so you can have it brought to you directly. For this particular trip, I needed the car at the airport so the owner dropped off the car right by the arrivals terminal at the San Diego Interional Airport. The owner even offered a LYFT and UBER code so that I was able to get to the car with my suitcases for free.

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Once at the car, depending on the owner, you will either meet them to get the keys and show them your license, or in this case, I had sent my license in advance and was able to key in a code on a lockbox on the car to obtain the car keys. After a quick walk around the car and a few photos (it’s always a good idea to take photos of the car to protect yourself!), I was able to take off with it.

Another advantage with renting a car with TURO is that you can choose your protection package for physical damage and liability protection. Additionally, they provide a 24-hour emergency line that is available to all TURO customers and each car they provide must meet their rigorous eligibility standards for safety, condition and operations.

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All the registration and car info is in the car when you rent it so it is easily accessible. Returning the car at the end of the trip is also very easy. All I had to do was replace the gas I used and drop off the car at the same location I had picked it up. Some owners will also meet up with you so that you can hand off the keys directly to them. All of that is simply arranged via the app messaging system.

The SCION I rented was the perfect car for my trip to Palm Springs and also in the San Diego area. The car was big enough for me to put my surfboard in as well as carry our suitcases around. The car allowed me to discover new areas around Palm Springs such as the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain. The SCION was in great condition and perfect for my travel needs.

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The app was fabulously simple to use, my account was easy to access throughout my trip. All the rental information was also added to my Apple Wallet so that I could access it even without an internet connection. With its convenience, the options that are available to you and for the price, I would highly recommend downloading the TURO app and renting a local car for your next trip.

How to Overcome Stress with Sweat

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When stress gets to be unbearable, my go-to relief is working out. There is nothing that beats stress quite like sweat does.

Though I’m not currently training for any big races at the moment (I have yet to sign up for that first ever half-marathon that is on my bucket list for 2016! If you have any great half-marathon recommendations, please send them my way!), I’ve still been keeping a pretty intense training regimen each week. It has helped me tremendously with anxiety, insomnia and also stress in general.

There are many reasons why overcoming stress with sweat can be beneficial and with just a few minutes of exercise, you can reap major benefits. I spoke to my favorite trainer, Nike Master Trainer, Eva Redpath (who is currently featured in Vogue Mexico – hello!!) about the subject and she explained to me that it’s all about switching your mindset when comes to exercise.

People are still in the frame of mind – ‘oh my god, I’m so busy, I’m so stressed, I don’t have time to exercise’, I think it’s very important to start reframing that. As soon as you can reframe that, you can reprogram your mind to think about it differently. I want people to understand that the power of sweating it out can absolutely help you conquer all the things in your life, whether it be your job or all the things that you have to do, relationship things, you can conquer that by sweating it out, by relieving your stress. One doesn’t cause the other, exercising doesn’t cause you stress, exercising relieves your stress. If you reframe that then it will 100% become a priority in your life,” says Eva.

I have definitely learned lately that taking care of yourself first is the only way to overcome huge obstacles and to conquer that stress.

If you make yourself your last priority you will not feel empowered to get yourself through challenging situations. If you make yourself your first priority, you will feel energized and empowered to get through everything. We become resentful when we don’t have time for ourselves but it’s not about having time, it’s about creating time,” Eva adds.

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We all lead busy lives and taking a 2-3 hour chunk of your day to exercise is just not realistic for most of us. But as Eva explains, it’s about maximizing the little time you may have.

As little as 10 mins by your bedside in the morning, can add up and does help. A 45 minute HIIT class before you go to work or on your lunch hour or straight away before you go home so that you get your exercise before you go home, all of these will 100% be enough.”

What I’ve learned is that even just a bit of movement will make you feel a whole lot better.

90 to 120 minutes after your workout, there is a release of endorphins and it is mood changing, whether it’s starting your day on that note or mid-day when you need that pick-me-up or at the end of the day because you still have to go home and do a bunch of things. If you think about doing that and recharging your batteries, it will empower you to make that a real choice that you can commit to,” she explains.

When I feel low energy, as soon as I start moving, it creates more energy. Energy creates energy. You will become more awake, more alert and on the ball. The more you’re moving in your lifestyle, even if you have a sedentary lifestyle, the more it will be beneficial. The body is made to move,” concludes Eva.

So you want to get moving but you only have 10-20 minutes for a workout? Check out Eva’s top 3 quick workout recommendations:

1) “Zoom in 10” – 10 minute workout by Kirsty Godso

2) “Fresh HIT” 14 minute workout by Betina Gozo

3) “Ready, Set, Zoom” 13 minute workout by Marie Purvis

All these workouts are available to download for FREE on the NTC app, that you can get here.