Thursday, March 8, 2012

Power walking the Chilly Half Marathon

Sandwiched between a day of extreme winds and a day of extreme cold, Chilly Half Marathon organizers, participants, and volunteers were blessed with a truly perfect Mach day last Sunday to host, walk, and support one of this Year's most anticipated races.

Why the anticipation? Because this is the race that keeps many of us training through January and February - the months when it would be so much easier to stay in bed, watch Downton Abbey, surf the Internet, drink copious amounts of hot chocolate and other more toxic beverages, research RRSP options, go shopping at indoor malls, hang out in coffee shops. You name the activity and it's probably easier (well, maybe not the RRSP bit) than layering on the technical fabric to go for a training walk.

So, kudos to the walkers and runners who laid it out on the pavement last weekend. Special mention to those of you who entered your first race. Watch out it could be the beginning of an addiction.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Totem walking speed drill

Try this fun drill we did in class yesterday and today.

Find two natural objects that each act as your "totem".

Determine a starting point and set your watch to beep at 45 seconds. Holding one totem, walk as fast as you can until your watch beeps at 45 seconds. Leave your totem at this point. Walk back to your starting point. Holding your second totem, begin at your starting point again and walk as fast you can in the 45 seconds ~ trying to walk further than where your first totem was left. Hopefully,, you have walked further. Leave your second totem at this new place. Return to retrieve your first totem. Pick it up and keep repeating the drill until you have exhausted yourself to the point where you can not reach the totem.

This drill is especially fun on a hill!

Draw upon the power of the totem!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Robbie Burns 8k race

Aye, there's nothing like a few bagpipes to get a person moving quickly. With last name Scott, I guess it makes sense that I would love the bagpipes. I feel taller and stronger when I hear them. Then there are people who hate the bagpipes. My guess is the sound of them at the start of the Robbie Burns race in Burlington last Sunday made those people want to move quickly away! Whether your feelings about bagpipes are positive or negative, they serve as perfect motivation to move fast!

Power walkers did not enjoy a separate start this year. We had to find a suitable starting point among the running pack. The energy of so many participants is high but it is difficult to know your competition and where they are located. There could always be a power walker ahead that you did not see starting in the pack of runners ahead.

On the whole I think it's better for the sport to have a separate start but I find it interesting that I am often finishing with better personal times when I keep pushing because there could be a walker ahead. On Sunday, as I approached the 6k mark I could see one of the local power walkers, Joanne, pushing as hard as she could toward the finish line. WoW! How did she get way up there? If she could do it, I should be trying harder. And, so I did. Finding a reserve that I wasn't sure existed, I caught and passed her. I owe her a great deal for that. She brought out a strength and speed in me of which I was unaware. She's probably responsible for my extreme need for a nap Sunday afternoon!

After the race, I spoke with her and she, too, tried really hard to catch up to me after I passed her. So, I pushed her to dig deep into her reserves.

Its all a fantastic sharing of energy.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Nature's call on the training trail

Have you ever had burrs on your butt? Once, several years ago, while making a dash into the bushes on a training walk, I failed to notice that those bushes had burrs. There comes a moment of desperation when you don't care so much about the details of bushes, you just need some cover to answer nature's call. In truth, bushes are a much happier place than many port-a-potties i have visited. It certainly smells better in the bushes.
Still, burrs can be problematic, especially when you discover hundreds of these sticky free-loaders have found a home on the inside of your training pants. They don't improve the comfort level of the rest of the walk and they are a nightmare in the laundry.
So, my best advice is to plan the training walk within the parameters of clean, public toilet locations. Gas stations are a popular stop but they aren't reliably clean and there is always the possibility that the dreaded "Occupied" sign is on the door as you arrive in a desperate state (they usually don't offer multi-stall bathrooms). Tim Horton's and MacDonald's are probably your best bet - they're clean and there are usually multiple stalls. Hotels can be tricky. We look suspiciously unlike hotel guests when we enter covered in 10 winter layers, including a balaclava and Yaktrax. But, oh, if you can get away with it, there are some pretty sweet opportunities for a a moment of luxury - the privacy of floor to ceiling walls, cloth hand towels, possibly hand cream.
As a final word of caution, avoid hiding in any bushes surrounding large public buildings that may be video taping your activity.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Power walking 2012 kilometres in 2012

This blogger is back!
After a sabbatical from the blog, I have made it a New Year's resolution to tap out a few walking thoughts each week. Although I've been staying in touch through the WoW Facebook page, the blog is more conducive to extended musings.
Today, I am contemplating the great success of our 2012 in 2012 challenge. We have challenged anyone interested to walk 2012 kilometres in 2012. Most people who have officially signed on to meet the goal, are rightly hesitant, yet enthusiastic. Tracking mileage for the challenge can be done by any number of options: Garmin/GPS readings, map run/Google maps, driving the route, iPhone/Blackberry/Andriod apps such as Endomondo. Logging mileage with WoW is done on a monthly basis and is on the honour system. We trust you because the only one who loses out by dishonestly is you! A small prize is awarded monthly to one person who meets the monthly average to attain the 2012 in 2012. Everyone will receive a New Balance discount card for shoes when they reach 800k and 1600k. Everyone who walks 2012 in 2012 will have their name entered in a draw to win a 4-month membership to WoW classes in 2013.
Truly, all the prizes are insignificant compared to the excitement and fun of making a personal commitment to feeling good. While participants are allowed to count treadmill mileage, we encourage everyone to get outside as often as possible. The benefits of your walk will multiply. Studies show the serotonin boost from exercise is magnified by the effects of sunlight.
Yes, the air was frigid in Toronto yesterday but the sun made everything in our path a thing of beauty. Walking along the Martin Goodman Trail, I commented to my walking buddy that I never tire of the walk. What a privilege to be able to train in a city where there is a walking path along the waterfront. And what joy that the city clears that walking path of snow so that the sparkling jewel of a lake can be our constant companion for 18 kilometres. Finally, DOUBLE JOY, I discovered a public washroom at Coronation Park (Stadium oad and Lakeshore) that was open, warm and clean! next blog should be on the highs and lows of answering nature's call while out power walking!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Oakville Friday Hills class

Location is Starbucks beside Whole Foods for today because of poor weather for driving.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Phew! It is REALLY hot. Because there is no smog alert, classes will continue as usual.

We do suggest the following:

Do not attend class if you have pre-existing medical conditions for which your doctor has suggested you are at risk when exercising in extreme heat.

If you do attend class, arrive well hydrated and loaded with electrolytes. Eating a banana, orange, or mango will help shore up your supplies of potassium.

Bring water to class.

Tell your coach, if you feel at all dizzy, light-headed, breathless, or just downright lousy.

Your coach is there looking after your best interests. Be prepared to have a shortened or modified class in extreme heat conditions.

Always feel free to contact us directly, if you have questions about working out in the heat.