NEWS & RELEASES >> 2003
Apr 13/03 - Cheque presentation to high school teams
Apr 07/03 - Race Report 2003
Mar 23/03 - Training Tips #6: What to eat
Mar 16/03 - Training Tips #5: What to wear
Mar 09/03 - Training Tips #4: Rest & recovery
Mar 09/03 - Registration update, walkers welcome, memorial trophy
Mar 02/03 - Training Tips #3: Hill Training
Feb 23/03 - Training Tips #2: Choosing the right shoes
Feb 16/03 - Training Tips #1: Basic training plan
Jan 14/03 - Fools Rush In (event overview)
(Click image to enlarge)
Teresa Nightingale of the April Fool's Run presents a cheque for $1400, entire net proceeds from the March 30th event, to Chatelech and Elphinstone track team coaches Lexa Pomfret and Tom Daniels. Team members shown here from both schools volunteered at the race. The funds will be available to help athletes from all three local high schools travel to track and cross country meets off the Coast.
See Results page for post-event article.
A Runner's Digest
A week to go: you've been training consistently, and all your gear is ready. Now, you say, "What do I eat before the race?"
The most important rule is not to eat anything new. Race day is not the time to find out that something doesn't agree with you. (Sorry, we don't have porta-potties all along the course!)
The days leading up to the race, stick with plain, wholesome foods that you're familiar with. At least 60% of your calories should come from carbohydrates, to ensure your liver and muscles are stocked up with glycogen for the race—this is the fuel that will keep you going. You will burn some fat too, but there's always enough of that kicking around! When your body runs out of glycogen you "hit the wall" or "bonk", and your race will end right there.
By carbohydrates we don't mean sugars or refined grains, which will play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Choose brown rice, whole-grain pasta and breads, legumes, fruits and vegetables (but don't overdo the beans or fruits). Accompany these with a moderate amount of quality protein (non-medicated meats, organic soy products, or wild fish) and keep the fat intake at 20% of calories or less. Avoid alcohol the day before racing.
Drink lots of plain pure water! Keep a glass of water or bottle with you all day on race weekend, and take small drinks every 20-30 minutes. If you are a coffee consumer, drink even more water, as coffee is a diuretic.
On race morning you won't want a full breakfast but it is a good idea to eat some carbs to top up your glycogen stores. Some low-sugar cereal, porridge, or a bagel with banana will go down easily, eaten at least 2 hours before the start. Keep sipping water every 15 minutes leading up to the race.
Get lots of sleep, especially 2 nights before the race, and good luck on race day!
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Dress For Success
A big question for many runners is "what do I wear?" With our changing weather at this time of year, it's easy to get it wrong and end up too cold, too warm, or too wet. A good rule of thumb is to dress so you feel a little chilly for the first few minutes of your run. If you're comfortable when heading out the door, you will soon be overheated!
For training or racing, it's worth investing in one of the new hybrid polyester "technical" garments that claim to wick moisture away from your skin. The advantages over cotton are tremendous: you will stay much drier, they fit better than any t-shirt, won't shrink, and look good through many washings. Once you try one of these shirts you will never want to wear your cotton ones again!
When choosing your shirt, look for one with flat seams and no logos in sensitive areas, such as the armpits or neck. Bright colours or reflective strips are also a good idea. A zip neck is a terrific feature for winter: adjusting it can make the difference between feeling a little too warm and being just right.
For colder weather, layer a breathable windbreaker or vest over your technical jersey. Avoid polyurethane coated fabrics—you will end up soaked from the inside.
When it's too cold for shorts, look for running pants or tights in the same type of technical fabric as your shirt, but with 4-way stretch. Hybrid polyester blends are your best bet for socks, and a good choice for hats and gloves. Here on the west coast, only a light layer is normally needed.
For race day, dress lighter than you would for training, if you are planning on pushing yourself. If your hands are cold at the start, wear a pair of cheap stretch gloves that you don't care about losing, then give them to a course marshal on the route.
Next week: what to eat on race weekend.
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Give yourself a break
My grandfather (who is now 99) has a philosophy for good living: "Everything in moderation." A good general rule, and it applies nicely to half-marathon training. More is not always better!
That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't go out and train hard to improve your fitness. Your version of moderation may be quite different from another runner's. Elite level marathoners train up to 180 miles per week—for them, 100 miles in a week is "taking it easy". For you, 100 miles in a month may be your maximum.
The point is to give yourself enough rest on a regular basis to recover and rebuild after the rigours of training. Avoid back-to-back hard days, and don't do your long run the day after your most intense weekly workout. Take at least one day a week completely off running, cycling, hiking or other activities that use the major leg muscles. For the remainder of the week, alternate easy days with moderate or hard sessions. Easy days could be a light 30 minute jog, a rest day, or a cross-training day (but still low-intensity).
Without enough rest your muscles will not get a chance to rebuild and repair, and your training efforts will not have the effect you intended. Injury, fatigue and susceptibility to colds will be the result of "overtraining". If you're feeling run-down, listen to your body and give yourself a break.
So don't be a "fool"—take heed of my grandfather's motto of moderation. It's got him to age 99, after all.
Next week: Staying comfortable—what to wear.
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Fool's Run goes international
Registration numbers have more than doubled in the past week: 125 participants are now registered for the April Fool's Run, with about 25 local runners and walkers included, and 6 relay teams. We now have entrants from Victoria, Nanaimo, Whistler and Mount Currie, and from as far away as Gambia (West Africa), Switzerland, and Germany.
Entry fees go up after March 15th so get your registration in soon! An entry form is available in the March 9th edition of the Coast Reporter.
If you want a souvenir shirt and would like to receive it on race day, hurry to enter—a very limited number of pre-ordered shirts are still available. Once these run out, further shirt orders will be available 3-4 weeks after the race.
Don't forget, the start is at Gibsons Park Plaza, not at Sunnycrest Mall as in past years.
New! The top Sunshine Coast male and female finishers in the half marathon will be the first to have their names engraved on the George Matthews Memorial Trophy, which will be a perpetual trophy kept on display at Elphinstone Secondary where Mr. Matthews was head of the English Department for many years. He passed away in 2001, so with the approval of his family we are preserving the history of the April Fool's Run and paying tribute to George Matthews by creating the trophy in his name.
Walkers are welcome to sign up (pre-registrations only, no race day walker registration)—we suggest starting early (7:00 or 7:30 am) and wearing reflective vests for visibility. Just let us know when you register that you are a walker and you can pick up your race package on March 29th (walkers only).
We are still looking for more volunteers. Please see www.foolsrun.com for volunteer sign-up form and detailed job descriptions.
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What Goes Up Must Come Down
You can't avoid them here on the Sunshine Coast. They're in Gibsons, Roberts Creek, even Sechelt. No, we don't mean artists, Relic look-alikes, or central recreation complex supporters. We're talking hills.
Unless you're willing to go back and forth on a mile-long stretch of pavement, you're going to encounter some "undulations" on your run. The April Fool's Run is no exception, with the infamous Davis Bay Hill looming at about the 11 mile mark.
How do you prepare for race day so you are able to tackle the hills with zest and enthusiasm, or at least without slowing to a walk and crying in despair? A little "hill training", worked into your regular training routine, can help a lot.
The goal of hill training is to simulate race stresses on soft tissue (muscles and tendons), with low level of impact on bones. You'll recruit muscles that only get stressed during a race situation, such as abdominals, lower back and arms as well as legs. You will also increase anaerobic tolerance—your body's ability to persevere when the muscles are depleted of oxygen (that "unpleasant" feeling you get halfway up a big hill).
There are 3 types of hill workouts: 1) choose a hilly course as part of your regular run and attack the hills; 2) find a long manageable hill or hilly loop and repeat it several times as a formal workout; 3) run short hill repeats for speed and anaerobic conditioning.
At this point with just 4 weeks to go before the April Fool's Run, stick to type #1 and do it just once a week, unless you are already at an advanced running level. Save the other hill workouts for your next race.
Next week: The importance of rest and recovery.
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Avoiding a Foolish Shoe Purchase
Running is a very simple sport as far as equipment is concerned. All you need is a pair of good shoes and off you go. (We'll talk about clothing in another article.)
But what makes a pair of good shoes? If you're going to invest $130-$180 for your training gear (the average cost of running shoes these days, excluding discount sales), you want to make sure you're getting the right stuff. Besides, you'll be travelling a lot of miles in those shoes, for about 4-6 months. Here are some tips to avoid a "foolish" purchase.
Where to buy?
High end shoes are part function, part fashion. It is possible to find what you are looking for at a "fashion" store if you know exactly what you want. But if you're not sure, look for a store with an emphasis on function rather than fashion and you will greatly increase your likelihood of getting good service.
Here on the Coast, Trail Bay Source for Sports carries a good selection of running footwear—see Teresa or Kelly for help with your purchase. If you are in the Lower Mainland try a running specialty store like Forerunners (three outlets in the LM), where the staff and owners are runners themselves and can help you choose from the vast selection of brands and models.
When trying on your running shoes check for the following for proper fit:
- Is there 1/2 cm extra room for your toes while standing, beyond longest toe?
- Lacing: Do the two sides bow out at the top (shoe too narrow) or overlap (too wide)? Do you feel pressure on the top of your foot despite the laces being loose? When the laces are done up comfortably there should be some space between the opposite sides and the tongue is overlapped.
- Is the toe box baggy or snug? Your toes should have a little room to move but not be floating around in space.
- Is the shoe breathable mesh or leather? Breathable mesh is a must.
- Do you feel a lot of arch pressure from the shoe? Or is there no arch support? Go for a happy medium.
- If you wear orthotics: are the insoles removable to accommodate them?
Too much control will throw your foot into place, leading to injuries. Too little control and your foot shakes at impact. The correct shoe will have a natural roll which feels like your broken-down shoes, only with cushioning.
For road running, shoes should have moderate tread with smooth heel pad. If it has aggressive tread it is an off-road shoe, best for trails.
Pronation / Underpronation (sometimes called
This describes the motion of your foot when you strike the ground and push off.
Don't worry about the details, just check your old shoes. If you see excessive heel wear (shoe tilts to the outside when viewed from behind), go for cushioning with a curved to semi-curved last (the foundation of the shoe).
If you see excessive wear under the ball of the foot or big toe, go for a "control" shoe. Companies advertise control with different-coloured midsoles, usually dark on the inside. Others will have an immovable structure on the inside and a straight last.
(To check if straight or curved last: a ruler running up the middle heel and the mid-line of a straight last shoe will pass near or between the 2nd and 3rd toes; the same ruler on a curved last shoe will cross the baby toe.)
So, make sure you have the right shoes. Then, just when your legs are feeling great from the new cushioning, check back here next week for some hill workouts!
Next week: Hill training.
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You'd be a fool not to start training
The April Fool's Run is six weeks away—let us help you get ready! Check here every week for training tips, and advice on everything from hill training to what to eat on race morning.
Let's start with the basics—your training plan. You should already be running at least 3 times/week, up to at least 6 miles for the longest day. (If not, consider grabbing a buddy or three and entering the relay division.)
If your goal is just to finish the half marathon, increase the distance of ONE of your runs by about 10% each week until you can complete 10-13 miles comfortably. E.g. if your longest weekly run is 7 miles, increase that to 7.7 miles this week, 8.5 miles next week, and so on. Don't avoid hills—you need to build strength for the ones you'll encounter on race day.
If you are already doing a weekly long run of 10-13 miles or more and your goal is to improve your performance, then speedwork is for you. This doesn't mean wind sprints or high-intensity intervals. For longer races like the half marathon, building stamina is key, and this is accomplished with "tempo runs".
One day per week other than your long run, try the following: start with a 10-15 minute easy jog warm-up, then run 15-20 minutes at a heart rate in the 150-170 range (or, a pace you could sustain for a 1-hour race), then warm down with another 10-15 minutes of easy jogging.
Remember to warm up properly each time and do some gentle stretching after you are warm.
Next week: Choosing the right shoes.
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Fools Rush In
It's time once more to get in shape for the annual April Fool's Run Half Marathon and Relay. Following the tradition started in the 1970's by the late George Matthews when an offhand remark to fitness columnist Fran Burnside turned into a challenge, runners of all fitness levels will make the trek from Gibsons to Sechelt on Sunday March 30th, starting at 9:00AM.
This year's event brings some changes and enhancements to the previously low-key race, with the stewardship of experienced race directors Larry and Teresa Nightingale. The couple were asked by previous organizer Ken Grunenberg to take over the leadership following last year's run, and were happy to accept the responsibility.
"We've always seen the April Fool's Half Marathon as a little race with a lot of potential, a sort of 'best kept secret' that could be a real sports tourism attraction," explained Larry. "This is the kind of event that certain runners would travel a long way to attend. We'd like to invite the world to come and run on our beautiful course, while still keeping the small-town atmosphere of the event intact. And being in the 'shoulder season' for tourism, it's the perfect time to attract extra visitors to explore our little piece of paradise."
It also happens to be well-positioned as a training run for the adidas Vancouver International Marathon in early May, and is being promoted as such by national chain The Running Room through their clinics and website. This means there will likely be a significant increase in the number of participants.
With the safety of the runners and tranquility of the course in mind, the Nightingales have moved some of the course off the highway and onto Lower Road and Beach Avenue in Roberts Creek, a route that was followed in past editions of the April Fool's Run. Because of this route change the start line is now at Gibsons Park Plaza instead of Sunnycrest Mall—with the nice bonus of eliminating the uphill start.
Turning off the highway onto Lower Road, the participants will head right through the heart of Roberts Creek, along Beach Avenue, then up Marlene to the highway again where the course remains the same as in recent years. Extra traffic cones, marshals and signage will separate the runners from the traffic through the narrow-shouldered area of Selma Park, starting at "the hill".
Another change this year will be a more structured Relay division. Teams of 2 or 4 will run between fixed exchange points approximately 5 km apart, strategically placed to allow vehicles to pick up or drop off team members without actually driving on the narrower roads of the course.
Upon reaching the welcome sight of the finish line, half marathoners will be given a traditional April Fool's Run finisher's medallion, as a memento of their accomplishment. Relay team members will receive attractive certificates for their efforts.
Weary and hungry runners can gather for the post-race awards ceremony and brunch at Johnny Oregano's in Sechelt, to refuel and swap running stories. The organizers have also made arrangements with Kinetic Fitness to allow free use of their showers, so the ceremony won't smell as bad as you might think!
Awards will be presented to the top three males and females in 10-year age categories, and to the top 2 and 4 person Relay teams. The first overall male and female will receive prizes, and the top local male and female finishers will be recognized with a special award. And of course, there are always the exciting draw prizes, donated by generous event sponsors.
Individual entry fees are staying at the same low rate as last year: $15 if registered by March 15th, $20 for late and race day registrations, with a $3 discount for BC Athletics members. Cost for Relay teams has gone down: only $25 for a 2-person team and $50 for a 4-person team if submitted by the deadline, $35 and $70 for late entries.
The souvenir garment this year is a short-sleeved technical running shirt in royal blue, perfect for training through the spring, summer and fall. Offered in men's or women's style for a perfect fit, the cost is only $20 if ordered by March 1st.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Elphinstone and Chatelech Track & Field and Cross Country teams to enable our local talented athletes to travel to meets off the Coast and purchase new equipment, and for more students to participate. "We feel it is very important to give back to the sport, specifically to encourage our youth to engage in athletic activities by giving them more opportunities. High school students are at that critical age where they make the choice between being an active person or a sedentary person, usually for the rest of their lives. If more people made the choice to be active, our medical system wouldn't be in the crisis it is today," noted Teresa.
Look for April Fool's Run entry forms all over the Coast starting next week, and be sure to visit www.foolsrun.com for full details, map, online registration, and training tips.
Local businesses interested in sponsoring this event can download the sponsor kit from the website.
Volunteers are always welcome, too!
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