Moving forward, I am revising the blog title to a much more appropriate "The Uptown Runner" moniker.
The more I observe my own runs within the suburban neighbourhoods, the more I realize of the differences compared to downtown running. More open running space, less traffic stops. More solo running journeys, less so of community-knitted runners out there. And ongoing changing landscapes with non-stop urban development and growth pushing northward in the City of Markham.
Adding Incremental Mileage to Weekly Totals
I have been adding extra mileage to top up my weekly mileage totals for the past four weeks. This is mainly to further build endurance and trying to achieve my goal to reach up to 3,000 km or more by year end. I pushed it even farther to 3,200 km so I have some buffer should I need to take any extended breaks from bodily fatigue or commitments along the way as the days pass by.
New Playlist & Song Sequencing
Indoor Track Work
Gradual Mileage Increase
This year, I am also attempting to raise my weekly running mileage and ultimately pushing the annual goal boundary too. Last year, I set a modest mileage of 60 km / week. And by trying to stick with the program, I realized that I once again have to be even better at my time management skills - as if I haven't already done so. However, life happens and so do injuries along the way. So it goes along way to compromise my regular day-to-day priorities along with my running hobbies. At the end of it all, I managed to rack up approximately 2,800 km. Not bad but fell short of my personal goal of 3,000 km.
The realistic goal for this year would once again be 3,000 km. But I am raising the bar higher to 3,200 km. In other words, I am once again setting my weekly goal of 60 km plus an extra 5 for good measures if in the case of any minor setback.
I came across an interesting article from Runner's World, suggesting of the 6 training habits that lead to Boston qualifying times - according to Strava. I feel confident knowing that the tailoring for this year's training is mostly aligned to what the article states.
The Strava 40|80 Challenge hosted by Lululemon was also great motivation to kick start the frequent running habits to. By the end of the event, I managed to rack up roughly 82 km within 13 days. Hopefully my drive towards improvement continues on for the remainder of the year, and not limited to just being motivated by prizes and tangibles ??
Have a great week everyone! - M.W.
Double Digit TEmperatures to Deep Freeze
The perfect analogy to sum up the weather this past week in the Southern Ontario region is one heck of a roller-coaster at its best. The short term warm temperatures lead to slushy, slippery conditions which actually makes it even more difficult to run than it is in those frigid cold temperatures. You are more likely to get all muddy and miserable than ever while also having added risks of injury while trying to dodge puddles or thawing ice chunks on the road. Speaking of which, the risks of getting sick is also at an all-time high - especially if you are not properly dressed for the weather outside.
Speaking of outside, here are my recommended suggestions of what to wear or to layer up for temperatures within the 0 to -15 degrees celsius or colder.
Layering Up: becomING a Suburban Uptown Winter (Runner) warrior
(2) Athletic Technical T-Shirt + Hoodie / Tights (aka Compression Pants)
If you have run multiple races or participated in various charity runs, I am sure that you have more than enough of those t-shirts (whether cotton or technical). I recommend choosing a moisture wicking kind of shirts so that sweat can be transported out easier, leaving you comfortable and conditioned amongst the warm layers of clothing. Long sleeves work too.
Bonus: Q: Do you run with music from your smartphone? A: Based from experience, smartphones tend not to survive all too long in the Canadian cold. Battery life rapidly depletes quicker than usual when exposed and it is best to keep your phone warm during the run. Even if it involves minor inconvenience, wear your sports strap on first before wearing a second layer such as a hoodie.
The next layer would be best if it is either a hoodie or a thick fabric sweater that you intend to abuse, sweat profusely, and wash repeatedly. It is essentially your insulation and storing as much heat as you can from the running.
For the lower body, I suggest either a pair of performance tights or if last resort, joggers. As crazy as it sounds, tights will indeed make you more nimble and not feel like you're running in a sumo wrestler's suit. Most tights are also equipped with some sort of reflective strips to make sure you are visible at night (in addition to other apparels with other reflective imprints)
(3) Wind Resistant Jacket
Now that you have coated yourself with some lubrication for rigorous movement and sufficient clothing layering for insulation, getting a wind-resistant jacket top things off for your wintery run.
Happy running and stay safe out there! - M.W.
Keeping the streak alive
Happy new year to all! There's no better time than now to reflect on last year's achievements, convert it into this year's improvements, and act upon the realistic goals set with careful planning that is measurable. This may sound all too common and redundant talk, especially if you work in the automotive industry like me. Jokes aside, that statement is universal to all... if goals are to be realized, then you better practice what you preach!
I started off my year with a mindless, resolution run with 18km logged for the 2018 year.
I have also been shoe shopping for this upcoming run year. I decided to finally step away from my usual comfort zone of Asics and made the jump into the Saucony realms. One thing different from previous years is that my shoes will be stability based rather than the neutral pronation ones that I have been wearing, as per the recommendation of my chiropractor. It will be interesting to see how the following pairs of shoes will turn out when I retire them from clocking in the mileage: Nike Air Zoom Structure 21 Shield // Saucony Guide 10 // Saucony Liberty ISO
Motivators to Keep the Mileage going
I was excited to learn that Lululemon brought back the 40|80 Challenge back on Strava. In a nutshell, it is essentially using a GPS equipped tracker (e.g. GPS watch / monitor, Strava app for iPhone or Android) and accumulating a set mileage of 40 km or 80 km. It is a great way to kickstart the running routine and getting outside for some much needed fresh air along the way. New to this year's challenge in my uptown area is the absolute blistering cold temperature from the polar vortex episode. Without absolute proper dressing and layering of clothes, you are sure to get sick or worse yet hypothermia from this unforgiving temperature. Rather than dreading the conditions, I see it as a rare opportunity to really embrace the elements and simulate for one of my upcoming races in early March 2018 with the Burlington Chilli Half Marathon. I know that this upcoming week will be much more forgiving in terms of temperature and hopefully others will take advantage of it!