Running Through Winter in BC

Running through winter means you need to be prepared for all the elements, especially in BC. There are three key things that I look for when choosing my running gear for winter. All of my running gear needs to be:

1 – Waterproof – because rain is definitely often in the forecast during the winter in BC so you don’t want to be running and feeling completely drenched.

2 – Reflective – because the sun goes down so early every night, reflective stripes or designs on your gear are so crucial so that cars and other pedestrians or cyclists can see you when you’re running.

3 – Warm – because even if the weather doesn’t get to be that cold in BC, it’s still important to pick pieces that will keep you warm especially during your longer runs.

I like shopping for my running gear at Sport Chek because they always have such a great variety of products. I’ve definitely been a big Nike Running fan for the last couple of years. They’ve got great technical pieces that not only fit really nicely but that work well. My latest running finds include the Nike Air Zoom Pegagus 34 Shield Running Shoes, Nike Women Power Epic Lux Flash Running Tights and Nike Women’s Essential Flash Running Jacket. These items will be perfect to keep me dry, visible and warm for the next couple of months training in BC for upcoming races!

Photos by: @Offner

This post was written in collaboration with Sport Chek, but all opinions are my own. 

13 Cities, 13 Runs – Calgary

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Lot’s of love for Calgary on the blog today. Calgary is a super fun city to travel to for so many reasons. The city has got so much to offer as far as culture, food and wellness is concerned.

Contrary to people’s assumptions or what I’ve heard about Calgary in the past, it’s a super active city. People are outdoors, more and more people are riding bikes downtown and there definitely seems to be a big fitness culture.

As a runner, Calgary was delightful. It’s big blue sky made it the perfect conditions for a run around the city. Did you know that there are approximately 580 kms of pathways around the Calgary region? The city also has 220 kms of pathways in the proximity to downtown.

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There are several bridges crossing over Bow River to and from the downtown core. The pathways follow the river along both sides, my favorite path being on the northern side as you get a super beautiful view of downtown Calgary. I also enjoyed running towards Elbow River, through Fort Calgary and crossing over the Inglewood Bridge. The trails were great because they weren’t overcrowded and also in really good condition.

I hope that on my next trip to the city, I’ll get even more time to explore all the running trails they have to offer!

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To find out more about Calgary’s running trails, go here.

Getting Tight for Running

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A few weeks ago, I got to meet Keighty Gallagher, the founder of Tight Club in Vancouver for a special 1-on-1 workout at the track in Hastings Park. Track runs being in her blood, she was the perfect person to give me tips on how to improve my running skills. Here is the workout she took me through in order to get tight for running:

The cool thing about working out outside and depending on where you go, is that you can work with a lot of the elements.

WARMUP

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Dynamic warmup – classic track warm up where you warm up your hip flexors and your entire body.

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A skips – a march with a little skip, to get that full range of motion in your hips. Knees are up high, the feet are flexed, your arms are in the same position you would have them as if you were running.

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Lateral movements are super important because as a runner you need to keep balance in your hips. Making sure to add lateral movements whether it’s carioca or sideways skips is really important.

DRILLS

Utilizing hills is also really important such as stairs. When you’re training to become a faster runner and training for better mechanics, using stair runs and doing stair sprinting can really help you to drive forward and getting that incline lean. Driving the knees up and using your glutes to push you forward. Box jumps are also another drill you can do.

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With bungee running, that was another thing we focused on. It’s not only hard for the person running, because you’re working on that forward drive, speed and power but it’s also hard for the person holding the rope because it takes a lot of core strength to anchor.

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To know more about Keighty Gallagher and Tight Club in Vancouver, go here.

Photos by @Offner

13 Cities, 13 Runs – Edmonton

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One of the greatest surprises for me on this running journey has been Edmonton. I didn’t have high hopes about the city and where I would be running when I first rolled into town but boy was I taken aback but the amount of amazing running trails in and around town.

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I learned while I was in Edmonton that in 2001, the city hosted the World Track and Field Championships and World Triathlon Championships. Running is a big deal in the city. There are more kilometers of forest-in-the-city running trails here than in any other urban area in the world.  Who knew? This is why my running journey across the country has been such a great learning experience. I always learn something new about each city I travel to.

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Like a handful of other cities, a lot of their running trails are located on the waterfront. Edmonton is beautifully located on a bluff situated on the North Saskatchewan River Valley.

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There are trails located on both side of the river and there are more than 25-miles of trails that connect two dozen parks. It’s the perfect mix of waterfront trails, park trails, neighborhood trails and deep-woods trails. Most of the trails I ran on were paved but they also have some trails that are dirt and packed gravel.

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The proximity to downtown is a major plus, it’s super easy to get in and out of the trails and go back to wherever you’re staying or living in the city. Once again, the river makes it easy to reorient yourself along the way so that if you decide to cut the run short or make it longer, you won’t get lost.

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I started my run at Dawson Park via the parking lot and went all the way to Capital City Recreation Park for a good 10 km run. Got to see some beautiful views of the river, downtown and also beautiful homes along the way. One of my favorite runs on this tour!

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For more info on Edmonton’s trails, go here.

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearingNike Air Zoom Elite 8 (get them here), Nike Printed Engineered Women’s (similar one’s here), Nike Dri-FIT Wool Running Hoodie (similar one here).

13 Cities, 13 Runs – Winnipeg

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Running through Winnipeg last month gave me a whole new perspective on the city. I would be lying if I said that Winnipeg is one of my favorite cities in Canada. That said, running is a great way to discover new things about a city and my run in Winnipeg allowed me to do just that.

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While I was in town, I ran through The Forks. I started at the Manitoba Legislative Building and ran on the trail along the Assiniboine River, crossed the market and went all the way downtown. Since I was looking for a longer run, I also made my way back and kept going east from the trail through the Wolseley and Minto neighborhoods. I don’t usually like to run on sidewalks but these streets were calm, the row of houses were stunning and the trees looked magnificent with their multicoloured foliage.

Having only really visited the downtown core, this run enabled me to get familiarized with some really cute areas in the city. It made me realize that there is a lot more to Winnipeg than what meets the eye. If you look around and search outside of the downtown core, there is lot’s to discover.

My run in Winnipeg was a memorable one because I really felt alive and motivated while running. Some runs, I find myself lacking energy or dreading getting up to the 10k mark, but with the beautiful surroundings and the sun shining, it couldn’t have been a better experience.

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To find out more about the Winnipeg running trails, go here.

Photos by @Offner

What I’m wearing: Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 (get them hereNike Therma Sphere Women’s training Vest (get it hereNike Legendary Engineered Waterfall Women’s Training Tights (get them hereTraveler by TOMS Dalston Matte Grey (get them here)

13 Cities, 13 Runs – Thunder Bay

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Thunder Bay, has an important relationship with running. In 1980, Canadian athlete and humanitarian, Terry Fox embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. After running for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, he was forced to abandon his run just outside of Thunder Bay when cancer spread to his lungs. Over the years, Terry Fox’s accomplishments and bravery have turned him into a Canadian hero.

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I had the chance to visit his monument while I was in Thunder Bay and was really moved by his story again. Growing up in Canada, you always hear of Terry Fox but researching and finding out more about his story on this trip, inspired me even more to keep running.

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Prior to this trip, I had only been to Thunder Bay once in my life and didn’t know too much about the city. Not only is Thunder Bay extremely beautiful, the people in the city are also very active.

There are a lot of places to run in and around Thunder Bay, so I chose to run around Boulevard Lake. It’s a paved trail around Boulevard Lake that goes in and out of the woods. The trail will take you to the lake lookout as well as the dam, giving you a beautiful view of the city and the waterfront. There is available parking at Algoma St and Lyon Blvd. It’s a popular spot for people to also walk their dogs, play tennis and disc golf.

The Boulevard Lake trail is only a 5k loop, so I decided to run it more than once. If you’re looking for a longer trail, I recommend checking out the trails that go from the corner of John Street to Junot Avenue to the corner of Arthur Street and Riverview Drive. That run will be around 10k.

To see a map of all Thunder Bay recreational trails, go here.

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Photos by @Offner

Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 (get them here)

Nike Hypercool Limitless Women’s Shirt (get it here)

Nike Therma Sphere Women’s training Vest (get it here)

Nike Printed Engineered Women’s (similar one’s here)

13 Cities, 13 Runs – Ottawa

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Ottawa and I go way back. Growing up just outside of Montreal, I made countless trips to Ottawa over the years with the family. Whether it’d be for a weekend at the museum, a cross-country ski trip, to see family friends or to skate on the Rideau Canal, we often made the 2hr trek to the capital.

Ottawa can get very very cold in the winter so I’m glad I’m doing this running tour during the fall. The weekend I was in Ottawa was chilly but super sunny. I took full advantage of that and went on an exploratory run around the Rideau Canal.

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There are more than 170 kms of recreational pathways in the Ottawa and Gatineau region. Though I only ran on a fraction of these trails in the downtown core, they stretch way past what I had initially expected.

 

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A great place to start your run is around the NAC, the National Arts Centre, which is located just a few blocks from the parliament. The trail is paved and you’ll get wonderful views of the different neighborhoods along the way. They call that portion of the trail the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway. The trail consists in mostly flat terrain with some small inclines. Along the way you’ll pass Hog’s Back Locks, Dows Lake, Rideau Canal Promenade as well as Carleton University. The Rideau River and Rideau Canal Loop itself is 22 kms long.

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I’m happy to report that it was my fastest run to date on my journey thus far!

For more information about Ottawa running trails, go here.

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Photos by @Offner

Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 (get them here)

Nike Pro Engineered Giraffe Women’s Training Tights (get them here)

Nike Dri-FIT Knit Long-Sleeve Women’s Running Shirt (get it here)

Urbanears Kransen Headphones Mint (similar ones here)

Traveler by TOMS Dalston Matte Grey (get them here)

13 Cities, 13 Runs – Charlottetown

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What a thrill it was to be back on Prince Edward Island. Last time I visited this magnificent island dates back to my childhood. I had kept fond memories of the island of Anne of Green Gables (everyone can guess why…) so I was ecstatic to be back last month.

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Prince Edward Island is filled with nature: forests, parks, beaches, farmland, etc. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream!

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The main trail that you can find from tip-to-tip on the island is the Confederation Trail. After PEI’s railway was abandoned in 1989, the island decided to transform the area into a walking and cycling trail during the summer and snowmobile trail in the winter.

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What’s so great about the trail is its unique scenery. While running, you will see anything from rolling hills, villages, seascapes and also farms. This flat trail is 410 kms in length and is made of rolled stone dust.

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I took the trail from Charlottetown at Fitzroy and Kensington Street, but there are many entrances around the island, such as Tignish, Souris, Georgetown, Montague, Murray River, etc.

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My favorite part of my run on the island: coming across a field of horses. How special is that?

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To see the full Confederation Trail map, go here.

Nike Epic Lux Women’s Running Capris (get them here)

Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 (get them here)

Nike Hypercool Limitless Women’s Shirt (get it here)

#ChooseYourWinter

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Nike has put together a fun series of outdoor events in Toronto for the next couple of Mondays. These events titled #ChooseYourWinter combine running and NTC for a good 1.5 hour workout outdoors. I took part in the initial event on Monday night and was astounded by the amazing group of people that came out and took part in this event. I applaud Nike for the series of events they’ve been hosting as of late in the city. Over the past couple of months, they’ve really developed an wonderful community of sport and fitness enthusiasts and specifically, an amazing community of women. I never thought I’d be the kind of girl to a) sign up for a group exercise class and b) look forward to attending these classes every week. Since I took the fall off from traveling, I’ve had the opportunity to attend weekly NTC classes offered by Nike and as a result met some rad new women. The weekly NTC classes have become an integral part of my week. Since the weather is getting colder by the minute, it’s a great complementary exercise to the running that I still do outdoors.

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What I particularly like about Nike’s new #ChooseYourWinter campaign is the emphasis on outdoor physical activity even as the weather drops. As a kid, I would spend most of my time outdoors skiing, skating, cross-country skiing, making forts, etc. But as an adult living in a busy city like Toronto, I find I spend WAY less time outdoors than I’d like to. This is why I’ve continued running and also make it a point to walk outdoors as much as I can. These four special #ChooseYourWinter events are a reminder and also proof that you don’t need to stay indoors all winter.

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50+ men and women gathered on Monday night to run with members of the different Nike Running Clubs to a secret location, which ended up being Fort York for a 30-minute NTC workout with NTC Master Trainer Eva Redpath. We were greeted by lights, DJ FeelGoodSmalls, ice sculptures and a killer atmosphere! Rarely have I had so much fun outdoors, especially while working out. It’s so motivating to workout in a group, there’s really nothing quite like it!

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Another great thing about these events is that you’re able to try some brand new Nike workout gear & shoes for the night. I’m obsessed with their new Pegasus 31 flash running shoe. Not only are they glow in the dark but also water repellent. I also tried on one of their amazing jackets that kept me warm in the -10 C weather.

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If you’re looking for a fun thing to do on Monday night for the next couple of weeks, come join us at Nike’s The Loft. Just make sure you sign up in advance via Nike’s website here to be able to participate. See you at 6pm on Monday 😀

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Laid Back #DailyOutfit

Today was a much needed day off! After working over 100 hours + in the last two weeks, it was nice to finally sleep in a little and not have anything to do!

The one thing I did take time to do, was to take care of myself – meaning eating healthy homemade food, nap (I never nap!!) and go for a run! Though it’s getting a lot colder in Toronto, I’m still making it a habit to go run a few times a week.

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For today’s outfit, I opted for a very laid back look. I rarely wear wool socks and plain leggings out but today was that kind of day. I tried to accessorize my look – by adding a bunch of silver and green jewels to make it a little less plain.

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Vanessa Mooney Black Queen Necklace (get it here)

Zara bejeweled camo vest (similar one here)

Biko green chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Camel 2 stripe shin socks (similar ones here)

Clean seam black leggings (similar ones here)

The 2 Bandits Bow Tie Ring – Antique Silver With Green Enamel (get it here)

Aldo beige lace up boots (similar ones here)