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5 Essential items for runners

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5 ways to stay active (and have fun) on vacation

When going on vacation, exercise is often not a top priority. However, maintaining an active lifestyle on vacation will help to reduce or eliminate vacation weight gain and maintain motivation once the vacation is over. Vacations are meant to be a time off from regular routine so eliminate the stress of exercise by having fun with it!

5 ways to stay active on vacation


1. Sightsee on foot

This seems basic but walking is an excellent source of exercise while on vacation. If a sight is a 30 minute walk or a 10 minute metro ride, choose to walk. Not only are you exercising, you get a chance to sightsee at the same time. This will often lead off the tourist track where you can truly get a sense of the place you are visiting. I love walking around neighbourhoods, window shopping little shops and checking out neat cafes and restaurants I might want to visit later.

When Tom & I were in Europe, we walked a lot. While many major cities would offer hop-on-hop-off bus tours of major attractions, we chose to forgo those and walk between sites. This was our main form of exercise. The minimum we would walk in a day was around 5 hours. At max, one day we walked 10 hours.

Additionally, running as sightseeing is a great way to get out and see a city. Wake up for an early morning run and you will see the place you are visiting in a whole new light.

mykonos run

2. Take the road less travelled

Have you ever walked out of a subway station, got onto the packed escalator then looked beside you and saw that one person walking up the stairs? Be that person! Staying active on vacation doesn’t have to be specifically putting on work out clothes and working out, it can be finding ways to get your heart rate up during the day and burning a few extra calories.

Taking stairs is one of the easiest way to get your heart rate climbing plus when you are that person walking up the stairs passing those people standing on the elevator, you get the right to feel a little self-righteous. I know I did, especially when Tom and I were carrying our 30 pound backpacks and still chose the stairs.

judging gif


3. Hotel gym or circuit workouts

If you want a more conventional workout, you can always see if your hotel has a gym. Planning ahead and choosing a hotel with a gym can help with your fitness goals. However, if your hotel doesn’t have a gym don’t fret! You can always do a hotel circuit workout. I love Julie from Peanut Butter Finger’s no-equipment circuit workouts. You can do a quick 25-30 minute workout when you get up in the morning and then you leave for the day already feeling accomplished.

workout motivation

4. Join a fitness challenge

Before you leave for vacation, join a fitness challenge. There are always challenges such as squat challenges, plank-a-day challenges, etc. Joining a challenge will keep you motivated while you are away. Keep your progress updated on Instagram, Twitter or whatever social media you prefer. Keep it fun by doing a plank in front of a monument you are visiting or doing your squats in a famous park.

Just don’t do this type of planking challenge…



5. Look up local workout classes

Being on vacation means you are trying new things and new experiences. Check out if the area offers any fun drop in classes. Maybe there is a yoga in the park you could take part in or you could try out something unique like hotel Aria’s Indoor Hike in Las Vegas.

There are so many ways to keep fit on vacation, do whatever works best for you!

hiking greece

What’s your favourite way to work up a sweat on vacation? Do you judge people on the elevator when you are taking the stairs?

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New York City Marathon Training

So remember a while ago when I told you I got into the New York Marathon this year?

NYC marathon

Well now that I’m back from vacation, reality has set in and I realized it’s only 21 weeks away.

home alone gif


I need to get my butt in gear and start training. First thing I started doing was researching training plans. There are so many different training plans that you can find online but I couldn’t find a single plan that suited my needs. So I combined a couple of plans into my own unique plan. When making my training plan I considered:


As I started looking through the plans, I noticed almost all of them had one thing in common, the longest run that you complete is 20 miles (32km). When I saw that, I almost fainted. So I’ll have to run 10km longer than I have ever run before ON race day. I thought the golden rule of running was never do anything new on race day!

I looked into this further and there is actually a lot of reasoning for the 20 mile mark. When training, it’s important to balance preparedness with injury risk. Running past the 20 mile mark doesn’t increase aerobic capacity that much but does increase injury risk. I have a pretty long history of injuries so I know I don’t want to push it too far. However, the idea of showing up on race day having only ran 20 miles gives me a mild huge panic attack.


Ultimately, I’ve decided to run to 22 miles. I feel for my mental preparedness I need to go a little further than 20 miles. Of course, we will see how my training goes and that could change.

Rest Days:

Training plans differ on the number of running days from 3-6. I knew for myself 5-6 days of running is too much. I feel comfortable running 4 days a week. That also gives me a chance to do some other things that I enjoy like strength training & yoga.



Speed/Hill Training:

A lot of beginner marathon training plans that I read didn’t include any speed or hill training. For me, I want to ensure that I am used to running hills as New York is a hilly course. And I would definitely like to work on my speed so including some interval training is important to me. For interval training I decided to give the Yasso method a try.

Planned Races:

I had already signed up for two half marathons before I got into the New York marathon.Therefore, I had to incorporate those into my training plan and ensure that I allow a bit of a recovery period after each race before increasing my mileage further.

So with all these factors in mind and the multiple marathon plans laid out in front of me, I came up with this training plan:

*Note all distances are in miles. Yes, I am Canadian so the metric system would make more sense. But for me, it’s a mental thing, 20 miles seems like less than 32km.*

new york marathon training program

I’ll be updating my training progress every week so follow along to see how I do on my road to New York.

What training programs have you used for runs? What’s your favourite type of run – long, tempo, hills, other?

Europe Recap Part 5 – Mykonos & Santorini

This is the last of my Europe recaps. Sadly, we had to come home at some point! If you missed my previous recaps check them out here:

Lisbon, Madrid & Venice

Florence, Pisa & Cinque Terre

Rome & Athens

Mainland Greece

After mainland Greece, Tom and I headed off to the island of Mykonos. After a busy trip, ending with some relaxation on the Greek Islands was definitely the way to go. When our ferry pulled up to Mykonos, I was a little surprised. Compared to the lush mainland, the island of Mykonos is quite barren and desert like. However, the town is absolutely gorgeous. The white houses with blue trim is striking! We pulled up to our apartment we were staying at and I thought I might never leave.


Our apartment actually seemed to be a very popular picture spot. I think Tom & I ended up in a lot of tourists photos as we were coming and going.

Mykonos is well-known for 2 things…beaches and partying. Check and check!


I even found a Sephora in the small town of Mykonos, that’s when I officially decided I could move there.

sephora mykonos

Mykonos also had some gorgeous sites like the windmills & “little venice”



After two days in Mykonos we moved onto the island of Santorini. Santorini has been my dream place to visit for as long as I can remember. I was not disappointed!

The first night we got there we had a sunset dinner right along the Caldera overlooking the volcano. The view was outstanding the food however was meh. In Santorini you either have good food or food with a view.


The next morning we got up bright and early so we could hike from the town of Fira, where we stayed, to Oia. The hike took a little over 2 hours and was beautiful. You get incredible views the entire time and get to see some great little churches along the way. The island of Santorini has over 250 churches with many of them built in the most difficult to reach places – up steep hills, in the middle of cliffs, etc. No matter where you go, you are never far from a church.



Once we reached Oia, my dreams of Santorini came true. This is the most beautiful town imaginable.




After Tom dragged me away from Oia and my paparazzi picture taking, we headed back to Fira where we took a tour to the volcano. We learnt about the volcanic history of Santorini and the formation of the Caldera. Afterwards we went to a natural hot springs formed from the volcano. It’s in the middle of the sea and the hot spring water mixes with the sea water so there are pockets of hot and cold. It is full of sulfur from the volcano, it didn’t smell but the water was brown.

santorini hot springs

After our tour, we decided to opt out of the roughly 600 steps to get back up to the town and went for an old-fashioned donkey ride. The donkeys just do their own thing. They stop when they feel like it and then they will take off and try to pass the other donkeys. You just hold on for the ride.


santorini donkey ride

That night we checked out a local bar called Two Brothers. We stumbled upon it and ended up having the best time. It was a tiny bar but by the end of the night the place got packed. They had some interesting specialty drinks including one where you took a shot of ouzo while wearing a helmet and the bartender would whack your head with a bat. Sound like a good idea? I didn’t think so either, but Tom did! Boys…

santorini two brothers


The next day we rented an ATV to cruise around the island and check out the sites.

santorini ATV

We drove around looking at smaller towns, the light house and then headed for the beach. Santorini has a red sand beach and a black sand beach. They are both really unique. We didn’t stay long at Red Beach, it’s really beautiful but it’s pretty small and didn’t have much to offer. We spent our day relaxing at the black beach of Perissa.

red beach santorini

After a day of beaching we went to Santo Winery for some wine tasting. We got the most incredible wine tasting that included a flight of 12 wines with some delicious local snacks. The winery was gorgeous with incredible views. Sipping on 12 wines while overlooking the sea wasn’t too shabby. Even better, Tom had to drive the ATV so more wine for me!

santo wine winery

That night we drove to Oia for the famous sunset. Tom wasn’t too interested in going because we heard the crowds were pretty big and he figured the sunset would be the same as we saw in Fira. But I insisted we go and see, otherwise I would always wonder if I missed out on something. So was it worth it?

oia sunset

It was gorgeous. Although, truthfully the crowds do take away from the experience. I really tried to embrace the experience though, I took a few pictures then I just put down my camera, blocked out the crowds and truly enjoyed the experience. I found it the perfect end to our holiday. I sat there thinking about our trip and was so grateful for my life and the opportunity to travel and see these gorgeous places.

The next morning we were hopping a flight from Santorini to Athens, Athens to London, and then finally London to Calgary. We got home around 8 p.m. which was 5 a.m. Athens time. We got a little bit of sleep before we both headed off for work the next morning. Ugh, worst decision ever. I was a complete zombie the first day back at work.

Overall, the greek islands live up to the fame and hype. They are simply incredible. If you have ever thought about going there, make it a priority. If you have never thought about going, start thinking about it now!

If you have any questions about my trip or are planning a trip of your own and want some advice – feel free to ask!


The Hump Day Blog Hop

Europe Recap – Part 4 – Mainland Greece

I have two more Europe Recaps for you. I know some people are thinking thank goodness, I am so sick of this girl’s vacation! But I hope some other people are sad and wanting to see more pretty pictures because I have a bunch in store for you today!

If you missed my previous Europe Reaps check them out:

Lisbon, Madrid & Venice

Florence, Pisa & Cinque Terre

Rome & Athens

For mainland Greece Tom and I decided to book a bus tour. Greece is not nearly as easy to get around by trains. With my less than stellar navigating skills, driving can become stressful very quickly. So in order to save our vacation and marriage we opted for the bus. The great thing about the bus trip was that we had a guide. I highly recommend this if you are going to be visiting ancient Greece. I find that after a while of visiting ruins they start to look alike, having a guide there to explain everything was so worth it.

After leaving Athens our first pit-stop was at the Corinth Canal.

corinth canal greece

Next stop was the ancient town, Mycenae. This is one of the oldest ancient Greek civilizations dating back to 1600 BC. This place made the Roman Forum look brand new! The ruins that remain there are very minimal except one, the lion gate which was the entrance to the city.

mycenae greece

After Mycenae we headed to Epidaurus which has the most well-preserved amphitheatre. This place is 2500 years old and still hosts theatre performances. I wish we had got a chance to see that! The acoustics in this place were incredible. If you were standing at the very top you could hear every word someone talking in a conversation voice was saying on the stage.

epidaurus theatre greece


The next day we were off to Olympia. I loved this stop. It was so cool to see the origins of the Olympics, which dates back to 776 BC and the museum there was phenomenal.

It was funny to learn that not a whole lot has changed in thousands of years. Athletes learnt that taking certain herbs helped enhance their performance. This was considered cheating and in order to stop this, they had to submit a pee sample. The pee was smelt in order to determine if the athlete had been taking any herbs. If athletes were caught cheating their names were carved in the stone walls that led to the Olympic stadium. These carvings are still there today, talk about the ultimate punishment.

My favourite part of the day was running a lap in the Olympic Stadium. It is one of those life moments that I’ll never forget.

olympia stadium greece

FYI – that is supposed to be me celebrating crossing the finish line, I don’t just run with my hands up in the air…

After our run, Tom and I graciously accepted our place on the podium where victors were crowned with olive wreaths.

olympia greece

On top of that podium used to be a statue of Nike, the goddess of victory. We got a chance to see the statue later in the museum.



The next day we were in Delphi. We started the morning off with an early morning hike. Tom was less than impressed when I said I wanted to set my alarm for 6 am to go hiking. But it was a gorgeous hike through the Greek mountains where we got to overlook the ruins of Delphi, well worth the early morning wake up call.


After the hike we headed off with our group to tour Delphi. Delphi was believed to be the centre of the earth. This is where, in the Temple of Apollo, the oracle was. Greeks would come from all around to ask the oracle questions as it was believed they could speak directly with the gods.

I found being in Delphi such an incredible experience. This is the place of Greek mythology.



Our last day on the bus trip we headed way north to Meteora. Meteora means suspended in air which is entirely fitting for a place where monasteries are built on the top of sandstone pillars. This area of Greece is absolutely beautiful and then the monasteries just make it incredible.


There were 24 monasteries but today only 6 remain. In this picture, you can see 4 of them.

meteora monasteries

We visited 2 of the monasteries, where I was given a very fashionalble skirt to wear.


You couldn’t take pictures in the monasteries but these are still functioning places of worship where nuns and monks live.

After Meteora we took a very LONG bus ride back to Athens. We stayed at the port because we had a early morning ferry the next day.

Overall, I loved seeing mainland Greece. I think a lot of tourists skip over this part and go straight to the islands which I think is a big mistake. While the tour did involve a lot of driving, seeing these ancient sites was incredible. It’s so humbling to think of how old these places are and the civilizations that came before you.

Tomorrow I’ll share my final recap of the Greek Islands, which are incredibly beautiful so you don’t want to miss that recap!


Europe Recap Part 3 – Rome and Athens

Hello and Happy Monday. I don’t know what happened on Friday but my scheduled post didn’t go out. So here it is today! I’m continuing with my European recaps. If you missed my previous ones check them out:

Lisbon, Madrid & Venice

Florence, Pisa & Cinque Terre

The morning we were leaving the Cinque Terre we had to take a train to Le Spezzia in order to catch our train which we had a reservation to in Rome. Unfortunately, Italy tends to run on their own time. And we heard the first announcement that our train was 10 minutes delayed, then 15 minutes delayed. Tom and I started panicking because we only had about 12 minutes between the time we were supposed to arrive to the time our Rome train departed. Once we arrived in La Spezzia we ran with our backpacks on – Amazing Race style – to see if we could make our train. Luckily, like I said, Italy runs on their own time and that train was also delayed.

When we got to Rome we headed right out to do some sightseeing. We started at the Roman Forum, which is incredible. This was the centre of the roman empire for so long. It’s kind of humbling standing in a place that’s thousands of years old.

roman forum

roman forum

After the forum, we headed to the Trevi Fountain where we threw in coins as our promise to return to Rome. It worked for me last time! I returned 5 years later…with the same hairdo…embarrassing.

trevi fountain rome


Next up…the spanish steps. Holy tourists! There were just so many people here and truly I didn’t see the appeal but still took the obligatory picture.

trevi fountain

The next day we started out early as we had booked a tour for the Vatican that started before the Vatican opened to the public. I have been to the Vatican before but last time I felt like I just walked through and saw some pretty art but didn’t understand. Booking the tour was SOOO worth it, it was incredibly interesting.



After the Vatican we headed to the Pantheon…not to be confused with the Parthenon like Tom did. Wrong country!


Next we headed to the Leonardo DaVinci museum where we got to see the brilliance of Da Vinci. His inventions and knowledge in so many different fields is just unreal. Did you know he was the person to invent the 360 mirror…What Not To Wear has him to thank. Of course, I had to take a turn in the mirror…is my outfit working for me?


Next it was time to head to the iconic Colosseum.

colosseum rome

colosseum rome

We returned to the Colosseum again at night because it’s just truly magical at night. I spent some time pondering the magnitude of the building.



After Rome it was time to say goodbye to Italy. I was definitely sad about this. Of course I was looking forward to Greece but Italy is just such an amazing country. I love the cities, the food, the people and the culture.

Athens, Greece

We didn’t arrive in Athens until about 2p.m. Our hostel was super easy to find from the train and really close to the Acropolis. Since we were there on a Sunday the Acropolis was free, score! And Tom finally got to see the Parthenon!

pantheon athens

We were actually lucky we got this picture. In Greece they are SUPER strict at all museums about picture taking and behaviour. There are workers everywhere and if you try and do any sort of funny poses they make you delete them from your camera.

After the Acropolis we wandered around Athens for a bit then checked out the rooftop bar of our hostel. It had an incredible view of the Acropolis and was the perfect place to watch the sunset.

acropolis sunset

And of course, no night in Greece would be complete without some shots of Ouzo!

greece ouzo shot

Blech! That stuff is so horrible. That was the only shot I did!

The next day we headed out on our mainland bus tour of Greece and I will tell you all about that in my next recap.