nate's blog

Challenge 70.3: Procrastination
I was supposed to go for a long run on Sunday, but it ended up snowing hard the night before and pretty much all day.  I still could have gone. Instead however, I relived my childhood and built a snowman as tall as a house.  Sometimes you just need to enjoy the moment when it comes.  It’s not everyday there’s a snowstorm that brings the perfect snow to build a gigantic snowman!

Challenge 70.3: Procrastination

I was supposed to go for a long run on Sunday, but it ended up snowing hard the night before and pretty much all day.  I still could have gone. Instead however, I relived my childhood and built a snowman as tall as a house.  Sometimes you just need to enjoy the moment when it comes.  It’s not everyday there’s a snowstorm that brings the perfect snow to build a gigantic snowman!

My bike.  I still need to work on unclipping and not falling off when I’m not moving.  It only happened once, but then again, I’ve only gone out once.  It might be a very painful race.

My bike.  I still need to work on unclipping and not falling off when I’m not moving.  It only happened once, but then again, I’ve only gone out once.  It might be a very painful race.

Challenge 70.3: Community

There’s a lot of power in community.  My latest encounter with a good community was the Running Room.  I’m not paid by the Running Room in anyway, but I appreciate when community is done well.  Here’s how the community works:

The Running Room uses a free and paid community business model. Both models are based around community ‘events’ starting at the store.  If you run a service business, how perfect is that?! Your target audience coming to your store, interacting with your brand on a weekly basis. For the paid model, you can sign up for running clinics, instructed by coaches a couple of times a week over a couple of months.  These clinics range from walking clinics to marathon clinics and everything in between.

The free model, they call “Practice Days”, happens 2 times a week. Each week, runners from all different backgrounds and running abilities get together and go on runs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a marathon runner or have never run before, there are groups for everyone. People in the run clinics run with people trying out the community for the first time.  There is a great interaction between both groups. ‘Practice’ runners and clinic runners, talking about running, swapping techniques, building connections, and building relationships for about an hour with no other distractions (well, of coarse moving your legs).  After the clinic ends, people continue to come out on the practice days to see their ‘running friends’ - and you don’t want to let your friends down so you’re compelled to continue to attend.

The great thing about the running club (and the running community as a whole) is the encouragement it brings.  If you miss a practice day, they keep you accountable to a certain extent the way any social community would - asking you about your week, if you ran, etc.  After your run, they congratulate each other for a job well done like it was your first race. 

There are many running clubs that are probably very close by to you - Google it!  If none are around, why not start one?  I would encourage you to join a running club and get into a running community to help with your training.  It will help with your discipline (it’s definitely helping with mine), your self esteem, your race times, and you’ll be able to encourage other group member as well - no matter what your skill level.

Note: If you buy a GPS watch and charge it the first time right out of the package because you’re excited, don’t wait 4 days before you run again. Or if you do wait 4 days, make sure you charge the watch again before you run.

I’m still waiting to use the watch.


Dun, dun, dunnnnn….

Total Budgeted Commitment: $4,285.00

If you’re new to the world of Triathlons or looking to get into it, you need to think about the costs to enter and continue in the sport.  After a lot of research, I’ve landed on this budget for the year. This was more expensive than I thought but then again, this is only the budget and not the ACTUAL costs.  I will be looking for deals and ways to reduce the commitment, but at least this gives you a sense of what is needed.

I committed to doing a 70.3 without truly knowing the costs and could potentially be very difficult to manage.   Knowing the costs after committing was not as wise as it could have been.  The commitment could be beyond my means and put a lot of strain on the family finances.

If I haven’t blindly jumped in, I probably wouldn’t have made the investment in the first place.  I most likely would have been deterred (or definitely had second or third thoughts) because of financial commitment and would miss out on a great life experience. The good thing about now knowing the costs now (after committing) is that you can ask yourself, “How do I make this work?  How can I afford this?” without backing out. 

This is only the first year’s budget.  There are initial start up costs (or sunk costs) that you will not need to make in the 2nd and 3rd years of the sport.  The sunk costs are costs that would last longer than the first year of commitment and only need to be made once. Sunk costs in my budget include equipment like the bike, googles, wet suit, etc.  The total sunk costs total just over $3,000.

The variable costs are the reoccurring costs that happen year after year if you want to continue in the sport.  In my budget, variable costs include races, accommodations, and and food (outside of regular meals).  The variable costs depend on what you want to do for that year, but my budget is based on my plan (which includes hitting my time goals).  The total variable costs for 2012 amounts to $1,200.

If you’re thinking of committing to Triathlons ask yourself if you really want to commit. If the answer is yes, adapt this budget to your own training needs. Think about “How” you can afford it, put together a plan and then get by off from your family.  

I have no doubt that this is going to be an amazing experience - tough and painful, but nevertheless, it’s going to be an amazing challenge.  I hope this helps with your planning and your decision in joining triathlons.  Good luck!

I forgot to wear my shorts on my 6km run yesterday. It was -11 degrees (C).

—Nate (Me)

Snow? Ha! Top 10 tips for snow running.

Everyone knows that running outside is far superior to running on the treadmill.  Sometimes there are environmental elements that can be a little scary and deter you from running outside.  For me, there were two factors - the cold and snow.  Sure, it’s been a relatively mild winter so far, but I was able to overcome my fears and brave what Mother Nature has sent. It is paying off.

Running during the winter has it’s advantages - there are beautiful Christmas lights, when there is fresh snow on the ground, it can make the city look like a winter wonderland (almost clean), and people watching think you’re an amazing runner because you’re going to in less than ideal weather.  However, there are dangers to running when it’s cold and snowing out - uncomfortable numbness, risk of injury, embarassing falls, etc. 

Here are the top ten tips and tricks to running when it’s cold and snowing out to get the most of your run (and keep going back) and reduce your risk of injury.

  1. Dress in Layers - Make sure you have the proper clothes on to be warm throughout your run. For your legs, get a pair of running tights.  They don’t necessarily have to be winter specific.  You want to dress in layers, so if you find your legs were cold on your last run, try putting long johns underneath your pants.  For your upper body, also dress in layers. Start with a sweat wicking shirt and put on thinner long sleeve shirts over top.  Try to avoid cotton as it can get wet quickly causing you to be cold if you’re out for a long time. The last layer should be a windbreaker (or fleece if you don’t have one).  The wind can be a killer so having something that blocks the wind is essential.  A warm running hat is also key.  Try to avoid cotton or hats that keep the heat in because you run the risk of over heating.  What you want is a running hat that allows for some heat to escape, but keeps your ears nice and warm.  Next you need to wear gloves. I hated when when my hands got cold. It’s a horrible feeling and can turn your off running in the cold for a long time.  There are some good quality gloves at running stores that you can get - some block the wind, others are to keep your hands warm, and some do both. I would suggest getting the warm gloves first and if your hands are still getting cold, you can layer on other gloves.
  2. Centre your Gravity.  - Usually you want your centre of gravity (hips) to be over your feet to propel you forward and have more power in your legs.  This makes you less stable overall and when it’s slippery, it makes your more susceptible to spills.  Move your hips back so your running over your feet vs forward past your feet.
  3. Shorten your stride - Your long strides won’t work as well. As your stride increases and you try to push off with your toes, you end up slipping on the ice and don’t get power behind your legs that you’d like. There is also a serious risk to injury. The longer your stride length, the less stable you become and the more at risk you become for injuries.  One possible outcome is that you’ll end up doing the splits, ripping some tendons and muscles, going to the hospital, and the doctors lecturing you about shorten your stride.  You just don’t want to go there.
  4. Increase your stride turns - just because your strides are shorter, doesn’t mean you can’t go fast.  Get your legs moving faster and closer to the ground to keep going at a good pace.
  5. Be cautious of intersections - reduce your speed well before the intersection so you can stop safely and to make sure that the cars stop safely as well.  You don’t want to make any sudden movements or assume the cars are going to stop for you because sometimes they just can’t.  Make sure cars see you and they actually stop before you cross the road.  It will make for a longer wait, but again, better than explaining to a doctor that, “I thought they would stop”.
  6. Take wide turns - there’s going to be a lot of ice and compacted snow at high traffic turns.  Slow down and take the wide turns around sharp corners so you don’t fall.
  7. Look ahead - Look ahead at your path to see what’s coming.  You can spot ice (slow down), unshoveled sidewalks (tip-toe through), slush (tip-toe through), and clear/salted sidewalks (speed up!).  Looking ahead is safer, but it also keeps the run interesting.
  8. Use sidewalks - running on the road can be freeing (there’s a perception of more open space) but during the winter, it can be dangerous and wet.  Some people might not see you in time and when they do they might not be able to stop. The roads (close to the curb) are usually filled with wet slush and not enjoyable to run in.
  9. Take your headphones out - when it’s snowing and during the winter, not as many people are out and it can be very quiet. Give your headphones a rest and just listen to the sounds around you - your feel crushing the snow (making a quiet squeaking sound), rustling of your coat, cars going by.  It’s a very different experience than running in other seasons and can be very relaxing.
  10. Take a Warm shower - when you get back, parts of your body will be colder than you thought. Your adreneline will make you feel warm for only a short time.  Take a warm shower (starting on a lower temp, then gradually turn it up) to get your body back to your regular temperature.

Running Pace Chart

This is extremely helpful if you’re aiming for a specific race finish.

2012 Race List

Below is my race list for 2012.  These races will help determine my training schedule and provide motivation and excitement when training for the half ironman.  Plan to set aside quality time with your family and get their alignment and support before committing to any races.  I made sure that Brianne (my wife) was aligned to these races prior to me committing because it does mean time spent away from her (and the house work). Again, it’s very important to do this to avoid any arguments down the road and ensure you have their support over the training period.  Note: you will not be able to get out of the house work.  Sorry, good tri.

For my races, I’ve started out with running races for the spring and in the summer I’ll start getting into Tri’s after I get in more training in the water and on the bike.  These races will keep me motivated and act as markers with how I’m doing on my training overall for the half ironman.  Sure, these races are not the same distance as the full 70.3, but its good to practice with like training conditions - including races. You could book more race if you’d like, but it’s important to spend time at home, get longer workouts in, and just enjoy your life away from working out.

Burlington 1/2 Marathon - March 4 - R: 21km - My first ever half marathon.  Just want to know what it feels like to race one.

Around the Bay, Hamilton - March 25 - R: 30km - My longest run ever.  Mental training and I’ve heard it’s fun.

London 1/2 Marathon - April 15 - R: 21km - Road Trip?  A little training race before Toronto.

Toronto 1/2 Marathon - May 6 - R: 21km - I’ve heard this is a very exciting race.  I’d like to be sub 1:30 min (4:15/km)

Milton Triathlon - June 3 - S: 750m, B: 30km, R: 7.5km - Training race.  To understand all elements of a Tri - including set up, procedures, transition, etc.

Welland Triathlon - June 24 - S: 750m, B: 30km, R: 7.5km - Fun race close to my home town and keep me motivated in June. 

Niagara Triathlon - Grimsby, ON - Aug 12 - S: 750m, B: 25km, R: 7km - Testing race to see how far off I am for the half ironman. 

Muskoka 70.3 - Huntsville, ON - Sept 9 - S: 2000m B: 90km R: 21km - My goal.

If you’re thinking of entering any of these events (maybe not same distance), let me know!  It would be great to meet up or swap training advice.

Running Workout: 1.5 km loop

You can try this anywhere.  This is a great interval workout to build up your speed and maintain the speed over a long distance. 

1.  Map out your route.  I’ve used Run Keeper to create my map, but you can use Google Maps or any other map making program if you prefer.

2.  Determine the # of loops.  You should do a minimum of 2 loops - first, a warm up loop, then a cool down loop.  The number of loops in between can vary depending on what you’re training for and how you’re feeling that day.  Before you go running, have a goal in mind of how many you’d like to do, then try to add one more after you’ve started.

3.  GO.  The first and last should be fairly easy, but the middle loops should be a little faster than race pace (90% if 100% being an all out sprint) for the entire 1.5km.

4. Recover.  After each loop, make sure you come back to a comfortable breathing pattern.  You don’t want to have a full recovery, but enough of a recovery that you can feel like you can go the next 1.5 km at the same pace.  

5. Repeat.  The first time will be difficult. You might not be able to sustain the same pace over the full 1.5km or for each loop (I know I didn’t) and that’s ok!  That’s why it’s called practice. Eventually you can work up to the pace you want to be at.

Additional Challenges: Add a hill.  Add more loops.  Go faster.  Sustain the pace for longer.  Or do all of the above.  You can do the same loop and it will still be as difficult as you make it but you should try to switch it up to give yourself some variety.