Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sheryl's running tips and tricks

As a rowing coach who runs for fun I think it is time to share some of my tips and tricks that keep my one foot in front of the other on the road and trail.  Though I am not a great runner per-se, I DEFINITELY enjoy the process of running....and my little tricks I have devised over the years have help me a ton, so I hope they help you!


Well....I am biased on this one because I worked a specialty running shop in Victoria for 10 years (Frontrunners), but if you have not already, go to a local running shop - NOT the mainstream running room/Sport Check ones - and have someone look at your running (not walking) gait...take their opinion only as an opinion but chances are they will help you to select a good shoe for your foot (in Vancouver I recommend Forerunners or the Run Inn, and Victoria, undoubtedly, Frontrunners


For those new to running, your breathing pattern is the first and foremost thing that can make or break a run.
  • Breathe in two steps and out two steps, simple - obviously unless you are in an all out sprint.  I am no running coach but I know this is the basis of all of my runs.  I also was recently told, if you have a stitch, breath out on the opposite side of the stitch....didn't work for me but maybe someone else.

Now, we know that this is a larger subject than simply a paragraph but for the purpose of this post, Let us simplify this into one paragraph.

I recommend to think about your body and how to minimize impact and maximize speed forward.  Minimize the amount of time spent on your feet (I think of running on hot coals and minimizing over-striding/healstriking by taking more and quicker steps than you think you should), with good posture (I think about keeping my chin tucked in and tall spine with a relaxed upper body, I check into my posture often whenever running by reflective windows).

Running Buddies

For those long runs there is absolutely no better way to spend countless weekend hours chatting on the trail or road with like-minded people, not.  If you do not know any runners, try joiniong a local club - TRUST ME, do not be intimidated these clubs are always filled with a vast array of running folk at all running paces and there is almost always someone your pace - fast or slow.


If you are out for a long run, either bring a your visa and plan the route by a convenience store, or bring it with you.  I underestimated this for so long, but now realize it is so key to keeping on, going on.  As for hydration packs, I recommend the Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab 5.  This pack is awesome, it is easy to clean, carries 1.5 litres of water (I take the bladder out and throw it in the washing machine); to clean the the bladder I leaev ~ 4 Tablespoons of bleach in 1.5 Litres of water for 10-20 minutes then thoroughly rinse awesome for water bottles as well.


Though I love listening to the sound of my feet hitting the ground, especially on the trail and gravel.  However, music can make a long run not only endurable, but even more pleasurable.  There are some key aspects to listening to music that I have found really help me:

The earphone(s):
  • I personally recommend the JVC Ha-FR36 Marshmallow-type earbuds (or similar ones) find them on amazon or at London Drugs for us west-coasters.  Not only do they stay in place but you can switch songs with the touch of a remote control on the earbud wire.  
  • I also recommend to CUT ONE WIRE SO AS TO ONLY LISTEN TO ONE EAR.  This is very important especially on trails or while running with road traffic.  You can experience the joy of listening to music while staying safe and respectable to others in the process
  • In order to secure the earphones without them falling out, I tuck and loop the earphone under my hat or through my headband.

Lets be honest this can be a huge pain for every runner long distance or not.  Before long runs I literally douse my feet and in-between my toes in "Body Glide" or a similar non-petroleum based product out there this and in and around the seams of my sports bra.  I know a lot of other people have issues with inner thigh chafing, but I usually wear capris to minimize this, so I would do the same on the thighs when wearing shorts. 

The music:
  • Obviously you need to like the music you are listening to but I find, especially on the road, the TEMPO of the music is even more important.  I personally have a "long run" playlist with a bit of a slower tempo and a "shorter" or "speed-work" playlist with higher tempo.  Here is a mix of my personal favorites (but I have a ton more so if you want, message me and I am more than happy to share).  
Artist / Song 

Coldplay/Hurst like Heaven
Coldplay/Strawberry Swing
Coldplay & Rihanna/Princess of China
Matchbox Twenty/I Will
Lorde/Love Club

Bustrexx & CoMa/The Business of Sadness
Rameses B/Drift Away
Rameses B/Letting Go (feat. Amelia Rose)
Andreya Triana/Lost Where I Belong
Rollz/The Music (Be Strong)
NCT/Frozen In Time (feat. Andreas Ort & Charline)
TwoThirds & BadApple/Sense of Being (feat. Veela)
Jakwob/Blinding (Hybrid Minds Remix)

Rosie Thomas/Since you've been around
Howie Day/Collide (Acoustic)

Hunter Hayes/Wanted
Keith Urban/Thank you

If you actually listen to these songs in iTunes, you will notice there is a large variety, but one regular thing is the tempo/beats per minute are all similar.  These are just a few, I have tons from over the years that have helped to keep my one foot in front of the other.  

On the trail, I personally prefer to listen (in one ear) to a variety of music and tempo not so important since there is rarely continuity in my running tempo due to the terrain.

I hope this helps you in some way to get out there and enjoy your run :)