Fitness Swellness: Nike Women’s 15k Toronto

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You heard right, ladies! Nike is adding the 6 to its awesome women’s race series: the Nike Women’s 15k Toronto taking place on June 14, 2015! There have been murmurs about Nike having a race in Toronto for awhile and finally, the official announcement came this week. It’ll be a whole weekend of activities, the race takes place on Toronto Island, and there’ll be waves at the start as Nike expects a huge turnout for the race. As for the medal bling at the end, that’s still a secret.

Entry for the lottery to be able to snag a registration spot in the race (which will be randomly drawn) opens March 9, 2015. Mark it in your calendars!  Three are now a total of 20 races in the Nike Women’s run series, for more information on them, click here.

Why a 15k? Well, the idea is that it’s a distance that’ll challenge you to run faster or run farther. Perhaps you’ve only run 5k or 10k — here’s a distance that’ll give you a longer distance goal, without it being as long and perhaps as daunting as a half-marathon (which is 21.1k). For seasoned long-distance runners, 15k is a solid distance to push yourself to run a faster pace.

With Olympic athlete Sheila Reid

At the announcement of the race was none other than Olympic track and field athlete Sheila Reid. She is super stoked and will be running the race. I chatted with her and was relieved to learn she dislikes treadmill running as much as I do (for speedwork, she likes the loop around Queen’s Park). “Running is so awesome because the job is never done. There’s always a new distance, a new time, a new course, and I’m so excited to get to share some of my training because it’s totally doable over the next few months to get that in before the race.”

To help us all run more efficiently when training, the Nike store in the Toronto Eaton Centre now offers a free run assessment (no appointment necessary). “This analysis is elite level, just the tiniest inefficiencies that you would never notice to the naked  eye that can add up to so much over 15k,” says Reid. You run for two minutes on the treadmill and then your gait is analyzed. I had mine studied by Nike Running’s Kristen Kuzemko and Dave Christiani, running coach from Central Athletic Training Centre. Check out my analysis here (this is the cool video you’ll get if you go to the Eaton Centre to have your assessment done!):

It turns out I over-pronate (ie. my feet roll inward) but I am wearing the right shoe for that (currently, the Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 — I knew I preferred these and now I know why!). I also am a  heel striker (which I knew), and need to work on striking more at the mid-foot than the heel. Both Kris and Dave were quite impressed with my relaxed arms and upper body, which means I’m efficient in that respect and not burning up energy with too much arm swinging, for one. They also both recommended a heavy focus on doing speedwork on a track or even just incorporating about 100 metres of running at a fast stride at the end of a long run to activate my fast-twitch muscles.

 

run analysis at Nike "The Loft"

 

Photos: @amillionminds

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment January 23, 2015

Fitness Swellness: Beats and Balance

Beats & Balance Invite

There is one very cool yoga event this Saturday if you’re in Toronto and up for some yoga with some art, music and more, too.

Lululemon is hosting Beats & Balance, which involves some of the top yoga instructors in the city doing classes throughout the day, and there’ll be live music performances, too. And after the last class, there’s a party with DJ Brendan Fallis (hello!) and nibbles and drinks.

The event is kicking off Lululemon’s partnering with The Remix Project; proceeds from ticket sales go to this  organization whose programs service disadvantaged youth from marginalized communities who are trying to enter into the creative industries.

There are more details in the image above. To buy tickets, click here.

Hope to see you there!

Leave a Comment January 20, 2015

Healthy Swellness: Weight Watchers and “Help with the Hard Part”

 

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The start of a new year always sends droves of us into the gym and starting diets. One in three Canadians make a health and fitness-related resolution, in fact. But without goals backed up with a plan that is one you can realistically maintain, well, we all know what happens to most of our resolutions. In fact, are you already struggling with yours?

Which is why I’ve always been a cheerleader for leading a balanced lifestyle. I try to eat real foods most of the time, and if I’m home I try to cook and rarely get take-out. And I feel like my approach is similar to the Weight Watchers philosophy. I’ve always been a fan of their concept as it focuses on eating real food, so it’s a program you can sustain in real life. And it’s not about drastically eliminating bad foods from your diet; you can have that chocolate cake, as well you should!

But there’s always those moments, when it’s hard to make the healthy decision and that’s where we can all use some help getting through the hard parts. This is why Weight Watchers is trying to help with the hard part by implementing the new 24/7 Expert Chat service. We all have those moments. With help from Weight Watchers, navigating a healthier lifestyle can be made easier with an abundance of tools, including meal planning, restaurant finders, and online fitness demos. And even though I don’t usually struggle with my weight (I mostly credit the metabolism I inherited and my running regimen), I do face challenges in day to day life that I’ve had to learn to navigate.

For example, as a freelance writer covering health, fitness, beauty, food and travel, I’m at media events several times a week. Temptation is all around: cute containers of poutine (a favourite of mine), flutes of bubbly (oh, there’s another favourite!), croissants, sliders, cupcakes, doughnuts, you name it. It sounds heavenly, but an appetizer here, a cocktail there, and I realized this would all catch up with me. And a few years ago at an event, I also became aware that I was often on autopilot, simply taking whatever was being passed around even if I wasn’t hungry, and eating it even if I wasn’t enjoying it. So I made a new rule for myself. I stop and ask myself if I truly want what’s being served before reaching for one of the canapes. And if I’m eating something and it’s not very good or I’ve realized I simply don’t want it, I put it down–I used to feel rude to, but I realized that no one even notices. But, of course, there are times I fail and just scarf down what’s in front of me. Those times, well, I don’t beat myself up over it; I just get back on track.

There are dinners, of course, too. Lots of them – both for work and for fun. More often than not, I eat only half of my main and bring home the rest. And I walk home from these dinners (in fact, I walk most of the time, although I’ll likely walk less now on days it’s very cold); every bit of physical activity helps, right?

Even tougher than these events, though, is when I travel, and I travel a fair bit. Both on press trips (where the meals are often plentiful) and on vacation, and being into food, I find it hard to not order and eat everything that catches my fancy. After all, who knows when I’ll be back in that city again? And, I actually haven’t found a way to get around this, other than returning home and eating a steady diet of salads the week I return.

Another biggie? Late-night snacking. I’m a night owl so I’ll often be working or just watching TV late into the night, and out comes the chips or cheese and crackers. And the only thing that works for me is to not have those foods in the house. So I allow myself to pick some up every two weeks (when I’d probably eat chips every night if I could). Note to self: Talk to Weight Watchers about what they recommend when it comes to late-night cravings. I think the next time I find myself in the kitchen at 1 a.m. searching for a snack, I’ll have to get some real-time advice from Weight Watchers’ 24/7 Expert Chat. More on that in a future post.

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Leave a Comment January 19, 2015

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