As a non-running runner (say that five times fast), I have to admit that training for this year’s Run for WOMEN has me liking running now. I think that’s because I’ve really opened myself up to it, not been too negative about how well I do or don't do, and I’ve really seen an improvement in how long I can last. And because I want you to drink the Kool-Aid, too, I’ve compiled five things I’ve learned from this year’s event. 1. Running outdoors is awesome. I ran in the Run For WOMEN in Oakville, which I also did last year. Instead of the neighbourhood course from 2014, the route ran through Bronte Creek Provincial Park. It looped the main park for 5K, weaving around the trees, as volunteers cheered us on with adorable encouraging signs (“You go girl,” “One step closer to greatness,” “You are amazing”) that also let us know how far we ran. And when we made it to the finish line we were greeted by high-fives and pats on the back. Maybe it was the trees, the cooler temperature, or the fact that I worked harder this year to train but I really noticed a difference in my lung capacity, and the scenery and windy course even staved off the boredom I usually face when running. 2. Good things happen on Race Day! It’s a very supportive atmosphere and totally fun, but that’s not to say it’s not challenging, especially when you consider how cold and rainy the day was, making the trail sticky and taxing. But, thankfully my training helped. For my running program, I followed Glow’s Running Guide: How to Train for 5, 10 and 15 K Runs. It was straight-forward and totally doable. 3. Cross training helps a ton! I worked out twice a week with Eva Redpath, as part of the Nike Toronto NTC fitness classes, which are workouts based on the NTC app. For the month before the race, there was a focus on soccer fitness. You might not think it would be a good program to pair for running, but it is. The leg strengthening is a no-brainer, and the cardio aspect had my heart rate up and down quickly, which is great conditioning for sprinting and short distances. In addition to that, I did strength training twice a week with Paula Sinclair, which is all functional training to help avoid any injuries. And for more cardio, I stuck with my usual Saturday morning spin classes at Evolve Pilates & Wellness.
4. Be prepared for weather changes No one was expecting it to be 10 degrees Celsius that day. And many either were caught running in shorts or pulled out their winter gear from the closet. So I was happy I picked up a cute water-and wind-proof jacket, along with the matching tank and ombré crop pant. And they say never to run race day in a new pair of shoes, so Glow’s editor-in-chief Tania Kwong joined me on Friday afternoons to break in my new Pure Connect kicks from Brooks Running (they also checked my gait). I loved their minimalist profile with supportive cushioning.
5. Compression socks work
What’s the deal with compression socks? Avid runners wear them, and I didn’t want to look like an amateur so I sported a pair. I liked them because they kept my legs warm and mud-free but the idea is to prevent your legs from swelling, which for some can be painful. I wore these: Ice Breaker Women’s Run Ultra Light Compression Over The Calf Sock.
If you want to get active and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of being fit but need some direction, consider the Shoppers Drug Mart Run for WOMEN. It’s a timed 5K and 10K walk/run event in support of local women’s mental health programs. The Shoppers Drug Mart WOMEN program is designed to make a meaningful difference in women’s health in Canada. The event is scheduled in cities across the country, celebrating fun, sisterhood and swag. To find out more, go to runforwomen.ca.
Lisa Hannam is Glow's health editor and unofficial guinea pig for test-driving new workouts, fitness gear and nutrition trends. When not combing through food label claims and evaluating new vitamins and supplements, Lisa can be found at her desk most days, translating the medical journal jargon into understandable English. Follow her on Instagram @lisahannam, Twitter @lisahannam, as well as on Pinterest at pinterest.com/lisahannam and tumblr at lisahannam.tumblr.com.