Greetings from Watopia

“Treadmill running can be  a mind-numbing boring training session – something to make it more interesting is welcome.” – Noel Paine

Guest blog review by Jeremy Whalen (On Instagram: sixrunfeast). Jeremy is an avid runner, home cook and sports fanatic. His new blog highlights a hungry runners life spent balancing kilometers and cravings.

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A ZWIFT?

Its called a Zwift Run Pod.

The Zwift website describes it as: “Are you ready to run? Just grab the Zwift RunPod and you’re halfway there. Our new RunPod connects to your device so you can train at home or on a gym treadmill. Experience running with a community and you’ll see treadmill workouts in a new way! And you’ll even get to experience new routes in worlds like New York that are for runners only.”

  • Easily pairs with Zwift via Bluetooth
  • Calibrates within Zwift and is always ready to go
  • Measures and broadcasts speed, cadence and distance
  • Includes a standard CR2032 battery that’s easy to replace
  • Product weight: 13g

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WHAT YOU NEED TO START ZWIFT RUNNING

  • A treadmill
    A footpod or connected shoe
    Note: The Zwift RunPod is one of the easiest ways to get up and running on Zwift.
  • A device to run Zwift

Zwift also has a Youtube video to help you get setup.

 

A ZWIFT REVIEW

I’d planned to run 30 minutes and give Zwift one last chance to shape my opinion. The time on the screen has just hit 44 minutes, the treadmill under my feet is finally crawling, my Twitter has stopped. Any doubt in my mind about the power of Zwift was gone.

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Just over a month ago when I picked up the Zwift pod from Noel, I was a bit taken aback. The orange box was surprisingly small, sleek and a bit underwhelming. I immediately wonder what was missing. Inside there was a battery, a Zwift RunPod and some setup instructions. I inserted the battery into the pod, ignored the instructions and went looking for a pair of shoes to jump on my treadmill.

ZWIFT RUNNING AND WATOPIA

After a quick account setup process, I was calibrating the pod and discovering Watopia, Zwift’s private island. As someone who grew up a gamer, the graphics are impressive. My runner is kitted up, and he stands by the road stretching while he waits for me to finish my prep. As I start the treadmill he starts walking, then trotting along with me as we take our first run. The first run is slow, as recommended, while I get used to the user experience and the incredible amount of data being displayed.

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As I’m running along, the app pings at me. I’m startled. I almost bite it. I grab the hand rails, gather myself and carry on. My Zwifter hasn’t missed a stride, he’s in mid-turn, another experience I’ll need to quickly adjust to. As we move into the next turn, I look away from the screen, so my brain doesn’t think I need to lean into it, we both carry on without falling.

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Another chime from the system, I’ve gained points. This is exciting! Like so many hours spent in front of the TV in my youth, my Zwifter is levelling up. The only difference now is that I’ve earned it with some serious cardio.

A few runs into my Zwift experience I start to push the software doing workouts, joining in on group runs and trying using the built-in workouts to keep up with my training. Then frustration strikes. A couple runs in a row my runner simply stops. I’m running along at a healthy pace, but my screen reads 0.0mph. I’m ready to give up on Zwift.

I head upstairs frustrated and I’m quickly humbled. I still haven’t read the simple one page instructions and now, blaming Zwift for my problems, I learn that I never set up my pod properly. It’s been tied too low!

I vow to start always reading all the instructions. At least when it comes to new running gear!

After a month of testing Zwift through evening and weekend runs, challenging it on a long run here and a workout there, I can honestly say I’m thrilled. Whether you’re like me and already believe in the power of the treadmill or you need a serious boost to beat that basement run dread, the app really does offer something for everyone.

I love the fact that the points allow you to unlock more outfits, paths and content. Pushing you to reach the next level so you can match your runner to your own personal style or explore a new regions of Watopia. The pursuit of these points has even helped me extend my cooldowns an extra quarter or half kilometre a time or two, something I usually cheat on while running outdoors.

The experience is nice. The bigger the screen you use, the better. An iPad, MacBook or Apple TV are perfect, while the smaller screen of my iPhone had its limitations. Swiping away those mid-run Twitter notifications, setting down my phone a bit too hard and locking your screen and all together closing the app a mile in caused me some early frustrations.

Overall, as this Ontario winter looks like it might never end, running around a volcano in the sun is a great change of pace from Netflix and miles. The guest worlds like New York and London let your mind wander while putting dreams of future marathon pursuits in your head.

THE CONCLUSION

Maybe someday I’ll be able to escape these late March snowstorms to run my intervals along a beach or through these international cities. Until then, Zwift has won me over.

The Zwift Run pod retails for $29.99

Connect with Zwift!

Zwift website: https://zwift.com/en/run/

Instagram: GoZwift

Twitter: @GoZwift

Thanks to Jeremy for the amazing guest blog! Run on my running friends!

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The amazing Amazfit

“I love running and love when something simple on my wrist can add to the fun.” 

A Runningdad review of the Amazfit Stratos muli-sport GPS watch

It has been a while since I received this cool watch from Amazfit to test out. Well, I have worn it, have tested it out and now its time for its review. I had not heard of this brand until stumbling across them online and on social media. This is how the watch faired in runningdad testing.

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This was the first really new style of GPS watch I have worn. I had the first Garmin watches and then I have worn, owned and tested a number of Polar watches. All the watches have been decent and Polar is extremely reliable and I really like the VO2max test it uses on the M430. But the watches even though colourful had dull screens and fairly simple readouts. This is the first watch that is flashy, has all the tech and includes a wrist-read heart rate. I was excited to test out.

THE WATCH

The Amazfit Stratos watch is one cool looking piece of wrist-wear. It comes in a very nice, solid box and the watch feels just as sturdy. Its all black (solid strap) with large but not enormous watch face and watch case has carbon-fibre look. It has 3 buttons on the hand-facing side and a HR-sensor on the bottom (along with 3 charging anodes). The watch face changes as you have the choice of a number of pretty cool options.

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Cost: $229 US

SPECS AND GEEKY STUFF

  • Water resistance
  • Alarm
  • Notifications from your phone
  • Amazfit App for phone
  • Measures steps
  • Can play music from your watch to bluetooth earbuds
  • VO2max fitness level analysis
  • Heart rate sensor
  • Transflective always-on color touch display
  • Pretty cool graphs of activity, HR etc on watch and app
  • Scratch-resistant tempered glass
  • Durable silicone watch strap
  • GPS tracking for: running, walking, cycling, swimming, elliptical machine, mountaineering, trail running, triathlon, tennis, soccer and skiing.
  • Through a partnership with Firstbeat this watch also measures maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), exercise load (TD) and recovery time. All data can be synced and made available in Strava.

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WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO WEAR AND USE

The watch is comfortable and strap sturdy and I had no issues with comfort. I wore for running, walking, snowshoeing, at the gym and for everyday life. I liked the sporty, yet classy look. The watch survived all my sweatiness, the cold up here in Canada (some -30 days) and the sticky fingers of my 3-year old. I liked the ability to change the watch face – you can also even upload your own image if you want!

WHAT I THOUGHT

The watch looks nice, is comfortable and like the wrist HR option. The watch has more colour and I like the readouts and info displays better than other watches I have had. Here are the pros and cons from my perspective:

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Great info from your runs on watch and app
  • Love the ability to play music from watch
  • Super quick to get GPS signal
  • Accurate wrist heart rate
  • Fun with multiple watch faces
  • Uploads automatically to Strava
  • Can get texts, notifications etc from phone

CONS

  • Low battery life (with notifications)
  • Charger can be a bit difficult to set watch in

Honestly – had a lot of fun with my watch. For me this was like going from a Blackberry phone to m,y first Android – I did not realize what I was missing! Watch has a super competitive price for what it does, has LOTS of bells and whistles and love playing with. Only downside for me was how quickly all the whizgigs, updates etc. sucked the juice from the battery. You can turn off notifications but still be nice to have a battery where I could get updates and be able to go for really long runs or ultra runs and have battery last.

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Great watch for runners, marathoners or fit folk but not for ultra runners and just be aware you will need to charge regularly if using all options and running with GPS every day.

*They also make simple watches and fitness trackers that are worth looking at.

Amazfit website: https://us.amazfit.com/

Social media:  Twitter @Amazfit FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/amazfit/

 

Making a sporty running frame your everyday set of glasses

“Your glasses often define your look and how you are perceived. If you are a runner why not have glasses that reflect that – and can be used for work and play!”

I am a runner, a dad and a communications professional. I am also someone who often hates changing glasses for sunglasses and needs to see (with prescription lenses) when I am trail running. I have funky Rudy Project Zyon frames which I briefly talked about in an earlier blog here. I sometimes wear sunglasses without prescription on really bright days or when I am not concerned about roots and rocks on a trail run – but having my trusty Rudy Project glasses on my face 90% of the time has been an amazing experience. Love them!

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What I like

  • They look cool and suites my sport personality
  • They stay on my face when running (grippy adjustable arms and nosepiece)
  • Durable and no paint to chip
  • Better coverage than most glasses
  • Transition lenses make easy to wear as glasses on sunny days

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*The Zyon (above) has little wings on the arms that can add extra coverage from wind etc or be taken off. I removed mine and normally wear without.

Why go Rx sunglasses frame

Rudy Project has a number of prescription (Rx) options but I did not want flip ups or clip ins – I wanted something that was just like normal glasses but was funky, sporty, functional and could be used at the office and for running.

Rudy Project RX options.

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How to make it happen

  1. Frame: Find a frame on the Rudy website that you like and has the possibility of Rx lenses (not all models). Contact Rudy about any other frames not obviously listed as available for Rx.
  2. Prescription: Get your Rx updated at your optometrist.
  3. PD: Get your Pupil Distance (PD) from your optometrist. It is the distance between the centre of each pupil of your eyes. This can often be difficult to get from an eye exam – at least in Ontario (Canada) – the PD is not a necessary part of your Rx and is usually measured by someone in the dispensary (who sells glasses) (Many optometrists are co-located with eyeglasses stores). Be nice and they may give you – or perhaps go to an optometrist who is not co-located with a store (they want you to use your PD to buy glasses there).
  4. Online: Submit all your information online and pay and wait! In Canada Rudy seems to come via Purolator and if they cannot deliver to a mailbox they will hold or can send to a nearby pick-up location.
  5.  Insurance: Most health insurance plans will cover the cost of the eye exam and then you will have to check whether they will cover cost of frames and lenses. Most plans cover cost of frames bought from an optometry clinic but may not from online – you will need to check this out.

If you need help locating a Rudy dealer, they have a locator to guide patients/athletes to professionals for their RX work. Only Optical Locations can assist patients with multi-focal or Progressive lenses. Optical locations can honor Insurance plans, if necessary
Rudy Project honors a $50 rebate when an RX job is done through an authorized dealer through Rudy Project.

The optical jobs take, on average, 7-10 business days for completion (Canada: Please include additional shipping time, depending on your proximity to Southern California)
We use the lab, ICOAT, based in Santa Fe Springs, to digitally surface our RX lenses.

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I love my Zyon frames but have decided to try out another frame – it has been a couple years and have chosen to go even funkier and going with the AirGrip frame in blue! Life is short – why be dull!

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A runningdad review of the AirGrip is coming!

Life and running can be unpredictable my friends – grab life, shake it for all its worth and squeeze all the fun out of it that you can. Live, laugh, love and smile out there!

The fastest shoes in the World

“Running is a simple sport and the only real essential gear for most of us are shoes.”

Okay so to make them the fastest shoes in the world someone needs to run a world record in them or some such thing – but they are the lightest.

Get this, the shoe weighs 3.52oz!!!! (To give perspective that about the weight of 3.5 envelopes!)

Let me introduce you to the Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro!

So I heard about this insanely light shoe from Reebok and had to find out more. I inquired and soon enough a box arrived from the friendly folks at Reebok. Little did they know that they would have to wait a few months for this busy runningdad to get the blog review done!

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WHAT YOU GET

Here are the details of what makes up the shoe and what Reebok recommends you use it for:

  • Materials: Engineered mesh to offer support and breathable flexibility
  • Best for: Racing, intervals, tempo workouts, neutral foot strike
  • Floatride foam sockliner for lightweight comfort
  • EVA sockliner for lightweight comfort
  • Ultra thin high traction outsole for optimal grip
  • Floatride Foam is significantly lighter than traditional EVA foam, for soft, lightweight cushioning
  • Bootie construction for a comfortable sock-like fit
  • 3.52oz. 6mm Drop
  • Best for: racing, intervals, tempo workouts, neutral foot strike
  • Materials: single layer engineered mesh upper and Floatride Foam technology for superior cushioning
  • Product code: CN7006
  • Product colour: White / Solar Yellow / Black

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THE EXPERIENCE

I liked this racing flat. The fit was comfortable and despite being insanely light and with minimal midsole and upper material it felt like a solid shoe and cushioned my foot well.

  • Silly, silly light – like you are not wearing anything
  • Comfortable fit for my feet
  • Decent width at forefoot (I have average foot width)
  • Snug heel but thin heelcup
  • Outsole has just enough material and lugs for road racing or track

Running on it felt better than some other lightweight racing flat I have worn and did not feel like I was standing on the road with nothing underneath and di not feel like I had no cushioning underneath. I was instantly impressed.

I went for a few quick runs and it felt as close to barefoot running but with some cushioning underneath as I have ever felt. I pushed off hard, slowed to 10k pace and still felt good. Impressed.

WHAT MAKES THEM LIGHT

Its the Floatride foam used in the midsole that really is the thing to focus on here. The foam was actually used by Reebok to design lightweight, cushioned shoes for NASA astronauts (article). Impressive. When the upper is just enough material to provide a little support and be comfortable and then the outsole is just enough material (little bits)—it makes for a ridiculously light shoe —did I mention its light?!

LIGHTNESS COMPARISON

The Floatride racing flat weight 3.52oz…lets compare that to few other racing/light shoes you may know.

  • New Balance 1400                  7.90oz
  • Mizuno Wave Ekidan 11       5.2oz
  • Brooks Hyperion                    6.6oz
  • Brooks Wire 4 Track Spike   3.9oz

CONCLUSION

Love the fit and comfort and cushioning. I love the lightness and feel on the run (for someone who is lean and relatively light on my feet). Its basically a running/racing shoe that weighs a little less than a light track spike that you can run on the roads with.

I would recommend this shoe for efficient, quicker runners who are looking for an amazingly light racer shoe to squeeze seconds from their times. For $300, its not cheap but definitely worth it. You will see me with this shoe on for some races, workouts and maybe time trials!

 

Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro

Reebok on Twitter: @ReebokCanada

Beating the Bonk with Bonk Breaker

“Nothing hurts more mentally and physically than running out of fuel in a race or on a training run – all your plans crumble away.”

Okay – its another Runningdad review! I do this to have fun, share what I find and promote great stuff that enhances the running experience! This blog is about another company that has fuel to help runners perform better, fuel up properly or recover from training.

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WHAT IS IT?

Bonk Breaker is owned and operated by Jason Winn and Chris Frank. Jason and Chris are both elite level athletes in their own right, Jason a former Division 1 college football quarterback turned triathlete, and Chris a Category 1 Road cyclist. Since Jason and his Mom cooked up the first PB&J in the apartment kitchen, their mission has been to create the “World’s Greatest Nutrition Bars”. By combining great flavors with simple, fresh ingredients they have a lineup that includes 14 unique flavors of Energy and Protein Bars.

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Their Philosophy

Bonk Breaker Nutrition products embody a whole foods philosophy of creating simple, high quality, REAL food ingredients into great tasting bars, chews, and hydration products that provide both a delicious snack and a competitive edge to fuel the active lifestyle. Made with 10-12 REAL ingredients that you can recognize and pronounce, all Bonk Breaker® products are Gluten Free.

In my own words (much above peeled from their website) Bonk Breaker is about trying to make tasty, real-food based nutritional bars for active people.

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WHAT I THOUGHT

Bars

I started with the Nutrition bars (9-12 Ingredients | 4-6g Protein | Gluten Free | GMO Free | Vegetarian Friendly) and tried some delicious flavours (Banana cream and PB&J). The texture for each bar changed a bit but they were all really tasty and easy to eat. They do not taste fake and were easy on my stomach. I ate as a healthy snack during the day and after a few runs. I really liked the PB&J option. Were they the best bars I have ever had? Not sure – but way up on the list! The nutrition bar has a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio  and aim is to provide sustained energy to fuel you through the day. Worked for me.

The protein bars were also a nice tasty post workout fuel. Once again – not amazingly different than other bars I have tried over the years – but natural ingredients and taste would have me leaning to Bonk as opposed to others.

Like all their products – they demonstrate thought behind what is put into their products. The protein bars use a  blend of pasture-raised collagen protein & grass fed whey for an all-natural, low calorie, low carb protein bar.

Chews

The strawberry chews with caffeine from Bonk folks were easy to eat, tasty and seem to give a bit of energy (like supposed to) – but did not really notice the caffeine kick (but seldom do). They were good and very similar to other brands of chews in size, shape and texture. Very good but not a lot different than others you may have tried. The natural ingredients might be the difference.

Ingredients

Organic tapioca syrup, organic sugar, organic tapioca syrup solids, pectin, citric acid, potassium citrate, color added (organic black carrot concentrate), white tea caffeine, natural flavor, ascorbic acid, sea salt, organic sunflower oil, carnauba wax.

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Check out all their products.

I loved the taste of everything I tried! In conclusion – being really straight forwared and simple — great guys behind these products, tasty, natural and well thought out and my stomach had no issues with them. Worth buying and testing out!

Listen to my Runningdad podcast chat with Bonk Breaker co-founder Chris Frank.

You can find Bonk Breaker on their website (https://bonkbreaker.com/) and on social media:

 

Keep on lacing up friends and keep living life to the fullest!

 

*If you have a story to share or a product you want me to test – give me a shout!

 

The best running towel ever!

Its called the Chawel, a towel you can change with! I love it!”

Its time for another runningdad gear review! This is going to be a pretty straight forward and short blog review for what I think is a great product for runners and anyone who likes to get hot and sweaty and dirty outside.

WHAT IT IS

The Chawel is a Changing Towel made of breathable, soft, fast-drying synthetic material that is perfect for changing after a sweaty outdoor activity when there is no real place to change—-and you don’t want to have your arse hanging out in the wind.

The creation of the Chawel came to be in 2002  and was created by a beach lifeguard in Vancouver, BC, who often witnessed people trying awkwardly to try and change on the beach. The old towel wrapped around the waist method was just not good enough – so a better, more butt-safe piece of kit was created. (read more here)

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Chawel options

They make a few versions – a full length one with just a head hole that works well as a portable changing room, one that can be worn like a sweater (that also includes a hood) after you towel off and they also have tips on how you can fold up to use as a pillow for various purposes.

It is basically a soft, breathable, synthetic towel that works to clean you off, dries quick and also serve as a changing room, hide valuables while outdoors, fold up into a bag —and keeps you from having embarrassing changing moments!

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Click here to watch my video demonstration!

WHAT I THINK

I think this is a simple but brilliant idea and solution to a problem many people have while outdoors! As a runner I love this piece of gear. I have used after a trail run, on an ultra, multi-day run with a friend where I needed to be able to change where there were no bathrooms or cover.  It works really well – getting in and out of it is pretty easy (although sometimes does not look elegant and smooth lol) and keeps the parts of me I want hidden – hidden!

The Chawels range from about $30-50 and I think are worth it. Great to have in the car for runners or anyone who likes being active outdoors. Absolutely perfect for any runner after a sweaty race!

Two thumbs up from this runningdad!

HOW TO GET ONE

Chawel website: www.chawel.com

Chawel on Twitter: @ChawelTowels

Chawel on Instagram: @chaweltowels

 

Keep lacing up, keep smiling and keep running friends!

Be ready on race day – a book review

“Sometimes things need to be boiled down to the basics not made more complicated.” – Runningdad

I recently got a book from a fellow running dad and writer Denny Krahe and I wanted to share with my followers and readers of this blog. Yep – it’s a book about running.

THE BOOK

The book is 143-pages of running advice from someone who is a certified Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist who is also an experienced runner. I was a bit envious of his ability to get a book published (one of my goals) and wanted to really take a look at what he had written. Denny wanted to write a book from the perspective of a middle of the pack runner for others who are not elite but still want to enjoy running and set personal bests  and run faster or longer.

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This is a summary of what he wrote(Chapter titles):

  • Before you begin
  • The basics
  • Workout variety
  • How to schedule your workouts
  • The taper
  • Pre-hab
  • Adjust on the Fly
  • Post-race recovery
  • Closing thoughts
  • Resources

It is a sensible approach to training for normal people with busy lives.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I really liked the approach and style of the book. It is easy to read and makes sense for someone who is not an elite runner, while at the same time has some basics that apply to runners of all abilities. Denny writes the book as if he is talking to you. Sometimes its nice to have a huge thick book on running that explains V02max and has tables of paces and complicated programs – but only if you have the time to wade through it. Like running watches now – the best one is one that gives you information you need and is something you have the time to use and figure out. A GPS running watch that has a gazillion options and information you need to download to analyze later is great – but only if you have time to use. This book is like that – it is just what you need, no unnecessary bells and whistles.

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A sample from the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a plain-language, really helpful running book that explains most of the key points to plan out your own training program or improve what you are doing now.

Find Denny on Twitter: @DizRuns

Find Denny on his great podcast: http://www.dizruns.com/podcast/

Find his book on Amazon.

Keep lacing up my friends and stay positive – see you out there!

 

 

The glasses that define me – a review

“I am hard on anything that I wear and use. I am very active and need clothes and gear that can keep up with me.” – Runningdad

This will be a short but concise review of the glasses I wear almost all of the time for work, play and running. They are the best eye-wear and favourite frames I have ever used. For the longest time I never had prescription glasses I really liked. I had frames that were okay and the only thing I could find – but that barely if at all were any good for running with. Running in sunny conditions was even worse as I then often had to sacrifice seeing what was ahead of me but not being able to dim the bright sunshine – but the glasses would slip down my nose and I always felt they did not suit me or my personality. Get the idea?

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My glasses are now good for when I am not running and working – or making bad selfies for social media or when I am laced up and out for a run.

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The glasses now define me and how I look and they completely suit this runningdad.

About the glasses

The glasses are a sailing frame from Rudy Project called the Zyon.

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The glasses are rugged with adjustable temple pieces, adjustable and comfortable nose piece and great optics. there are side wings that attach for more coverage but i do not use. The hinges on the glasses are quality and I have seldom had to tighten.

  • Sporty look
  • Do not move on nose or head when running
  • Can use for work and sport
  • Great field of vision
  • Can get Rx lenses
  • Work as sunglasses with transition lenses

With Rudy Project you can get Rx clip-ins (I don’t like but work) or you can get full prescription lenses! More information here. So to sum things up – why sit for hours looking at drab frames (that look almost alike) and not sporty – get a cool pair that suit you and your activity. I love mine and always get comments!

Rudy Project online catalog.

Rudy Project on Twitter: @RudyProjectNA

 

Keep running friends!

RunTherapy?

Running to not only help the body but the mind – Dynamic Running Therapy

Hey running friends! It has been a while since I have ventured into the blog world. I have started up a podcats (Runningdad podcast) which has turned out to be a lot of fun and –well life has just been busy!

But – I am still meeting and getting to profile amazing runners and people in print as well.

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A chat with the founder of Dynamic Running Therapy, an approach which combines psychotherapy, mindfulness and movement to help with mental health issues.

William Pullen is a 50-year old and lives in London, England but for a time lived in Toronto, Ontario. He is a psychotherapist, runner, author, and app developer and the founder of Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT). DRT is a therapy approach which combines psychotherapy, mindfulness and movement.

Along with using and promoting this new type of therapy that combines lacing up and more traditional therapy, Pullen has written a book about it called, ‘Running with Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) to Improve Low-mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression’.  He took a moment to chat about his book and DRT.

How did the idea of the book come about – and how did the idea for DRT come to you?

“DRT first – I had a bit of a meltdown about 11 years ago. I found myself depressed, scared and anxious. I knew I had to do something to help myself so decided to go into therapy, take up running and do yoga. It was while running with a friend who was going through a divorce that I discovered how helpful it could be. We both found ourselves talking very easily – what we were feeling seemed to flow freely, as though the running somehow was giving us clarity and license. 

The running also helped us to feel better on a physical level, as well as being psychologically empowering   – no bad thing when you are depressed! It was a relief to have a practice whereby I could show up, talk easily and feel refreshed and strong at the end of it. Not long after that I decided to train to become a psychotherapists and over the next 6 years took what I felt was best from my training and incorporated it into what became DRT.”

Who do you think can benefit from reading your book?

“Well the book contains a number of different things so is potentially attractive to all sorts of people. It has guides for mindful running and mindful walking which most people can benefit from. It also has specific programs for the treatment of depression, anxiety, anger and relationship issues, among other things. Each program takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and growth using a combination of walking, running, and mindfulness. I ask them to walk or run with questions which address how they relate to themselves and others, lifestyle choices, their personal background, and the choices they are making today as well as the beliefs that they hold about themselves and the world.

The book also contains programs for running with your kids, as well as something called Empathy Runs which are a great way for bonding and sharing special moments with the people in your life.”

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What is it about running that can help those dealing with mental health issues?

“I believe that sometimes words alone are not enough for some people, and that through applying ourselves physically to our situation we can embody the kind of change and growth we are looking for. In other words, the strength and confidence I experience from the outdoors and from becoming the person who can get from A to M and then finally to Z helps empower me and heal me. You see mental health issues and debilitating and anything you can do to empower and help focus that person is of benefit. It’s a kind of hack sometimes but it really works. Of course its hard to show up when you’re depressed – really hard. But if we can make showing up feel like a rejuvenating, healing experience it becomes easier. Its also a great way to burns of energy if anxiety is an issue.”

What is one simple thing runners can try?

“They could try Empathy Runs – you can find this on my website but simply put it involves: Two people running together for about 20 to 30 mins.  One person listens (no interrupting, helping, saving, encouraging) in silence then repeats back a synopsis of what they have heard. Then the roles are swapped. It’s an incredible way to feel heard and unburden yourself in a healthy way of some of the natural stresses we have in our life. Of course its not always about stress – sometimes they become gratitude runs.

Or they could try and bit of mindful running – this involves emptying the mind of thoughts about yesterday and tomorrow and instead concentrating on the here and now – this is done either through focusing on the breath as you run (count to 10 and start again) or every other footfall. To begin with you will find yourself getting to footfall/breath 2 or 3 or 4 and then thoughts about the future or past will creep in. At this point you acknowledge that thought, let it go, and start back at one again. The real practise is not in trying to get to 10 uninterrupted because its not about success and goals. It’s about meeting your inner dialogue with whom we often have a dubious and ambivalent relationship with and trying to improve it through gentle recognition and acknowledgement f what is going on. So often we are caught up between pushing ourselves and then castigating ourselves when we don’t get to where we wanted to be – this is a tough prism through which to experience the world. Mindful running helps you find a more compassionate and easy going way of being – one that is actually more productive because it wastes less energy. “

If you find running a form of therapy and stress relief already, DRT may be something you should lace up for and learn more about.

I personally really like the read and it all made sense to me. I have a background in psychology and neuroscience and have been a runner for 30-years. The book is easy to read, straight forward and has a section where you get exercises to do and space to jot down notes/thoughts. Worth finding online and ordering.

Pullen runs now for fun and to stay in shape and can be found online on his website and on Twitter @PullenTherapy.

William Pullen

* In Canada – Kristy McConnell (Alberta) combines walking, running and therapy and is a runner. Her website: https://www.obpwellness.com/. I profiled Kristy a little while back (the blog).

You can find Pullen’s book on Amazon.ca and on his website. You can listen to my podcast chat with him here.

Keep lacing up my friends and keep looking for the positive in life – I am out there with you!

Meeting another running writer

“Movies are great but nothing will replace the written word – that allows your mind to add colour and character to the story.”

Recently while at a local running shop (Sports4 – College Square location) – I came across a book written by a local runner – about running. I was automatically interested to check it out and find out more about the author. Like some sort of weird bloodhound on the scent of another running writer!

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The book

Unspoken, Or the Unrefined Art of Communicating at the Top of Your Lungs and Through the Bottom of Your Feet
By Larry McCloskey
176 Pages • ISBN: 978-0995336008 – by Dog-Eared Books

Available on Amazon in Kindle or paperback

The novel is written by fellow running dad and Ottawa native Larry McCloskey. The book was printed by the independent publisher, Dog-Eared Books, which McCloskey co-founded.

The book is about a dad, his daughter, running, romance and life (which is always changing and challenging us). I am not a fan of the long version of the title but like ‘Unspoken’. The two main characters are a talented local single running dad who excels at racing but not so much in communicating, and his daughter who loves her dad but is dealing with a complex world around her. I sense that there is a lot of Larry and his experiences in this book. I won’t give away too much of the story for that is for you (the reader of this review) to go find out.

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The writer and runner

So I sniffed out the author of the book (Larry) and we coordinated a meeting to talk about him, his running and his writing. I liked the idea of meeting someone else who shared the same passions – and he was also a running dad too!

We met in Larry’s corner office (with a great view) at Carleton university and I automatically knew I had met another real runner and writer – who’s passion for both equaled my own – different but very similar. Oh and he was wearing a shirt! Larry swears he does occasionally wear a shirt while running but said (while laughing) that the ones he found – well he is shirtless. The photos of him in his youth and in his 60s both show a very fit individual).

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Writer: Coming from an Irish family, with an English Lit degree – Larry works as Director of the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities. His writing like my own is something he does on the side. He has written a few other books (all for children/youth) including, The Dog Who Cried Snake and Tom Thomson’s Last Paddle – but this is his first where running is the main topic.

Runner: Lacing up for the first time to get fit and stop smoking Larry found a love and not just something to do. Larry was more than a ‘jogger’ as well. Running turned to racing and in the 1980s, training hard but not the 100-mile weeks that were popular at the time (for almost everyone) – Larry got fast! At the famous Around The Bay race (30K) (oldest race in North America) he was 2nd in 1986 (1:40.17) and in 1988 was 3rd (1:40.13). he however was not a youngster and started running a bit later than most – in his 40s he was still running hard and fast. In his 40s Larry blistered a 1:07 half-marathon at the World Masters World marathon championships (a time/performance he was actually disappointed with).

  • Half marathon: 1:07
  • 10K: 30:20

We chatted about writing, running, being dads and liking to help people. I liked Larry – we grabbed a sandwich and then parted ways. I had a book to read.

Book review (my thoughts)

Larry and I share many things in common (running, writing, dads, like helping) and I can almost see myself writing a book similar to this. I liked it because of who I am and because I can relate. I think a young reader who has a dad who runs will really relate to this – and kids who grow up in single parent families and deal with the complexities of life in general – will get this book. It is about running but not at the same time.

This is a book written with heart and experience and worth a read. Run and write on Larry!

“Life like running is something that must be done one step at a time, it has ups and downs, curves and often unexpected challenges – each of us have a different journey/race to run.”

 

Larry still runs, but now more to stay in shape and lives in Ottawa with his wife and three daughters.

Connect with Larry on his website and find his book online.