How to be a runner in Edmonton
We are both runners, one novice and one avid. Approaching a busy summer season filled with DJing, playing music and celebrating with lovely people at very special events, we took some time to reflect on a passion we both share, something we do to recharge, energize and feel grounded - running!
What we have learned about running
Suzy: I’ve always admired long distance runners, but thought I was someone who could never enjoy running. We live in Edmonton, the Alberta-government-oil-town with the most beautiful and scenic River Valley. I had to give it a shot, plus I have a dog who needs to be walked on the daily, so why not run? And with the River Valley trails just steps away it’s like you’re escaping to the mountains for the weekend… but on foot. My one piece of advice is that if you need help staying accountable find a running partner or group in the early days of training. Don’t worry about if they’ve been running longer than you, their advice will be invaluable.
Jac: I’ve been running for over 14 years. Ekkk. And what I’ve learned is that you can go waayyy further than you think you can. I started off thinking 3 kms was an insane distance. Now I run 10-20kms on the reg. I’m training for a full marathon this year (fingers crossed). So far, the longest distance I’ve run is 35kms, just a month ago. I've run 458kms this year so far from April until now. If I can do it, anyone can. FOR REAL. If you want to become a runner, go for a run. That’s it.
6 Tips from Trainer Jac
Everyone can give you advice and things you should and shouldn’t do for long distance running but at the end of the day, you need to listen to yourself and your body. You know when something’s hurting bad enough that you should stop.
A personal experience of me eating my own words: Last year I ran the Edmonton Half Marathon and had so much adrenaline and energy from it that I decided to run the 10kms with Suzy right after. Dummy. I didn’t listen to my body. My right leg IT band was hurting during my half marathon race and so in the middle of the 10 kms my right leg just gave out. I don’t think it will ever be fully healed. I believe I have developed ITBS. And so now I have to stretch before and after and forever and ever through the stiffness and soreness. MY BAD.
And you know when you’re just being a baby and you should suck it up and keep going. LISTEN to that inner voice, it runs the game. That being said, here are a few things I’ve that have helped me achieve long distance running goals.
Get it. 7-8 hours a night, I’m serious. I recently did a 5 Peaks trail race. 16kms. It was my first trail race ever. Didn’t even train much for it but I had been running lots that month, around 180kms. So I was ready to hustle. But, I was out late the night before, only got 5 hours of sleep and def had one too many tequila shots. Was dragging my butt the whole race, and I knew it. (Any runners out there know the difference between those runs when you feel HEAVY vs those runs when you feel light like your flying) Ended up placing 5th out of 11 in my age category. The frustrating part for me was that I KNOW I could have done top 3 if I had got 8 hours.
So get some sleep.
Healthy eating - mostly plant based
Yes, I’m preaching. And when you’re running lots, you eat more because you’re sooooo much hungrier. The hardest part of this is to choose healthy foods instead of junk or fast food. This is the biggest issue with runners who are also using this form of exercise to lose weight. Yes, running is very good for weight loss, but not if you run and then go grab fast food. You might as well just skip the run. Waste of time. Seriously. But if you are just running to run, then still choose healthier foods. They give you energy and fuel and vitamins and will help you to feel and look your best. You just did all that hard work, why un-do it with shitty foods. Anyway, I could write a whole blog just on healthy eating but not today. Also, smoothies are LYFE! Make them for breakfast and pre or post run snacks. Easy to digest, energizing and you can combine all essential food groups into one tasty refreshing beverage!
Hydrate - duh.
This is different for each individual. Some people need lots of h2o while running, some need it before, or some need it after. Figure that out for yourself and do what works best for you. Either way, your body needs it. Me, I bought a water belt last year and 1km into a 21km run it started chafing and I ditched it in a bush. Went back and it was gone. I haven’t looked back. I find that if I run under 15kms, I am fine, I can drink a bit of water before and then after and I’m fine, but that’s me. Not you. Anything more that 15kms and I need some water, but since I can’t carry it. I have found a few hacks. For those who run in the river valley, there are a few water fountains on River Valley Road, one on the paved running path and one in Victoria Park across the street-ish from it. And there are a bunch in Hawrelak Park. There are also a few along the Victoria Promonade I use them all the time. Otherwise there are tons of water belts/hydration packs out there. The Running Room has tons of options. Check them out.
Workouts- Warm up & Stretch
Before, after, during if you need. Listen to your body. If something is sore STRETCH it out until it isn’t. Yoga is a great thing to pair with running bc it combines strength training & stretching. You need both to become a strong healthy long distance runner. Can’t stress this enough. You need to strengthen your whole body to prevent injuries while running. Squats, stairs, lungs, push-ups planks. Bain of my existence but needed. Has eliminated my knee pain and ankle pain. I go to Fitset Ninja Warrior, they have an amazing OCR training class that combines everything you need to strengthen your whole body, plus you get to do the obstacles. They also offer a Surf Set fitness class that will kick your butt and abs while on a real surf board.
Music is motivation.
For me, the music I choose depends on my mood. My summer running playlist is a DJ mix that we made which I love bc it's consistent upbeat music. My advice, find something that motivates and distracts you. Dj mixes, podcasts, audio books. Our mixtapes are filled with movement motivating tracks. Whatever you’re into. Go with it. For me, music helps me get in the zone. To the point where I feel like I’m the only one on earth. Just me and the pavement. And that’s the way I like it.
Gear (two things you need for sure).
#1 - A good pair of shoes that support YOU and your feet. The Running Room has experts and machines that watch and measure your stepping and running pattern to guide you in finding the best shoes for your stride. I am currently in love with Hoka footwear. I have a road pair and a trail pair. They feel like they rock and propel your feet forward. Best running shoes I’ve had in years. My road pair is nuts. I also have a pair of New Balance runners for lighter days and stairs.
#2 - Is a hat - even if you don’t think you’re a hat person, get one. You can be out running for 30min-3 hours. And you are directly exposed to the sun. That means your face is aging and the skin cancer risk is super high. Protect it. Ciele is an awesome brand. I have 2 of their hats. Super fun colours, light weight and breathable. And you can wash them!
What else should you wear?
The biggest tip I can give about what to wear, is how do you feel with any of the items on? My opinion is 0 distractions. So only get gear that is light & comfy. What I wear while I run is usually tight yoga leggings. I just bought a pair of New Balance Yoga leggings, they are the best. Shape, fit and I love the design. I wear yoga pants instead of running pants bc I find that the running pants are lower cut and slide down while I’m in the zone on my run and that just won’t work. No distractions. Tops, I usually wear a sports bra and light tank. Find something that feels like you’re wearing nothing. Not too loose that it will end up bunching and chafe though.
Hope this gives you a little fuel to get you out there and try running again or for the first time. I will be back with a more of my advice and experiences in the next running guide blog. Stay Tuned! Thanks for reading. And hope to see you out on our beautiful river valley trails.
Disclaimer: We are not influencer’s nor is this blog sponsored. Any business or products mentioned are ones we truly believe and invest in.