5 Essential items for runners

5 Essential items for runners

NIKE clothing
$47 – zalando.co.uk


STOTT PILATES 36 Soft Foam Roller


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?

That Friday Blog Hop

Stay connected with me:

Twitter: @prettylilgrub

Instagram: prettylittlegrub

Facebook: prettylittlegrub

Pinterest: prettylilgrub


Calgary Marathon and 30 Days of Summer

Hello and Happy Monday! I promise my Europe recaps are coming, I have one all ready for tomorrow but first I figured I would recap my weekend and the 10km run I did yesterday.

Before that, I also wanted to tell you about a 30 day photo challenge I’m joining. For the 30 days of June, I will be posting pictures on Instagram showcasing my summer. The challenge is sponsored by Staples. I and many other bloggers will be playing along with this challenge and you can too. Just hashtag your pictures on social media with #30SummerDays

Each day there is something new for you to post:


1 – Rabbit, Rabbit! What brings you good luck?
2 – Monday, ugh! What’s keeping you going today?
3 – Who made you smile today?
4 – Look up. What do you see?
5 – #TBT (throw back Thursday) Share a photo from a past summer trip!
6 – National Doughnut Day! Snap a pic celebrating! Or, what did you have instead?!
7 – Saturday! What are you up to?

8 – Time to relax before the start of the week. What does relaxing look like to you?
9 – Manic Monday! What’s giving you a case of the Mondays?
10 – Is the sun out? Snap a pic! If not, what’s it like out there?
11 – Get over the hump of the week. How were you productive today?
12 – Treat yourself, it’s almost the weekend!
13 – Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious and ducking for cover, or out and about?
14 – Flag Day! Got one flying in the warm breeze?

15 – Happy Father’s Day! Snap a pic or share one of an awesome dad!
16 – Monday motivation. What motivates you?
17 – Got a pet? Share them with the world!
18 – Stretch those legs mid-week and go outside or for a walk. Snap and share!
19 – #OOTD, what are you wearing? Got your summer clothes on?!
20 – Happy Friday! You made it! Smile and say cheese!
21 – HAPPY SUMMER! Take a picture of what summer looks like to you to celebrate!

22 – Sunday Pancakes! Do you have a Sunday breakfast routine?
23 – Got those sandals out? What’s your favourite pair?
24 – What made you happy today?
25 – Are the flowers blooming? Take a picture of your favourite!
26 – Wehew, it’s hot out there. How are you cooling down?
27 – Last Friday of the month, what are you up to?
28 – Is today a beach day? Snap a pic and make everyone jealous!

29 – Go out for a picnic! Make sure to take a picture!
30 – Last day of June, how are you sending it off?

And if those don’t work, get creative! It’s your summer after all! Make sure you follow along with me and see how my June plays out.

Anyways, back to my weekend…

I had a very busy weekend! I headed to my sister’s in Edmonton right after work on Friday. I got there in just enough time to see my little nieces for a bit before their bedtime. Having them run up to me excited to see me just makes my heart melt every time! Then I got a chance to talk my sister’s ear off about my Europe trip. I felt like I was yammering on forever. But she said she likes to get to me first so that I’m not all talked out and just say it was “good”.

Saturday we headed to my other sister’s who was hosting my nephews grad party. And I totally was the worst blogger ever as I forgot to take even a single picture. But the weather was great and we had a great bbq. Then I headed back to Calgary, but not before taking the wrong turn leaving my sisters and getting stuck in road construction for half an hour before I could turn around.

road construction


Sunday I ran the Jugo Juice 10km which was part of the Calgary Marathon.

Last week I picked up my race packet at the expo. This year is pretty cool because it’s the 50th anniversary of the Calgary Marathon. They had some great retro outfits for display and a big tarp you could sign.


calgary marathon

My signature:


The best part of the expo was seeing John Stanton! I was still jet lagged and like a zombie walking through the expo. I didn’t think I could have any intelligent conversation with him so instead, I just snapped a creeper picture of him.


Sunday morning I woke up for the race and sooo badly didn’t want to go. As I mentioned, I didn’t exactly run on vacation as planned. So I knew running a 10km was going to be a bit challenging. I even considered not going and just pretending I was sick. But eventually I dragged myself out the door and of course, I was happy that I did. As soon as I got down to the stampede grounds, the energy level got my spirits lifted and I was ready to race!


I decided I wasn’t going to race this run considering I wasn’t properly trained. I planned to do my usual run/walk and just go at whatever pace felt comfortable. I mostly just wanted to go out and have a good time.

I have never been in a race this size so it was really cool to feed off the energy of people all around you. There was never a point where you were alone. It was definitely good practice for the New York Marathon which will be about 100 times more crowded.


The crowd support on the race was pretty good. A lot of the neighbourhoods came out and had a lot of supporters with some great signs. Since I wasn’t racing I was just having a great time on the course, I was taking pictures, texting selfies of myself to Tom and high-fiving as many kids as I could






My official time was 1:03:43. I was really happy with that considering I wasn’t racing. Overall, the organization of the Calgary Marathon is fantastic. It was such a great day and I’m sure I’ll be running again next year.

jugo juice 10km

The only downside to the race is that one of my biggest fears came true again. Another injury!

According to my Web MD diagnosis I have hip bursitis. So right now, though I was planning to be starting my marathon training I have to work a bit on resting this injury. Luckily I already have an appointment with my physio next week so he will help me through this.

Do you prefer big races with crowds or small races? Have you ever had hip bursitis – any tips?

Quick strength training workouts that will benefit runners

Hi everyone! Jen has given me the opportunity to be a guest blogger and I wanted to begin with a big thank you! My name is Courtney and I am an online personal trainer, running coach, Google Helpout expert and fellow blogger. I’m also a mother of two little ones, wife to a traveling husband and fitness enthusiast. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) I love to bring the science of exercise to our everyday life.

I thought I’d talk about strength training exercises that are beneficial for long distance runners. Many distance runners are not sure what type of strength training routines to add into their programs. Strength training workouts provide the benefit of adding cross training into your routine which in turn will help to avoid overuse injuries.

First, what is a long distance runner? Pretty much anyone from a 1 miler to Marathoner. Once you get past the marathon distance you can stick a big “ultra” in front. 😉 For me, I’m training for the Big Sur Marathon which is next week! After that I plan on scaling back and running distances from 5K to half marathons for the summer.

I currently do strength training workouts twice a week. The first day is a group exercise strength training class I teach and the second is on my own. I’m an advocate for being able to do most workouts anywhere and not needing to have a gym membership. You will need exercise cords for the first workout. These can be purchased at any sporting goods store. I would suggest using a light and medium resistance to begin. The second workout is simply using body weight, but trust me, that’s all you need.

I have put together two workouts that I know are beneficial to any long distance runner. When you work on increasing your strength in your core as well as hips this can help to prevent injuries that are common in runners due to repetitive movements. These workouts can be done on cross training days or added to a short running day. They should take approximately 30-45 minutes at the most. They are a circuit style workout, meaning there is not much rest built into the routine and you go directly from one exercise to the next . The second workout is fun to do with a friend too!

*Always consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. Begin the workout with a dynamic warm up and end with a cool down of static stretches.

WORKOUT #13 sets
Traveling Wide Squats x 12 ea side
Cross Over Lunges x 12 ea side
Single Leg stand ups x 10 ea side
Bands 15 reps each x 3 sets
Shoulder Press
Standing Back Row
Chest Press
3 sets
Crunches x 20
Hip Lifts w/ 1 foot in air x 15 ea side
Lower Back Extensions (super man) x 30
WORKOUT #2Dirty 1/2 Dozen (start at the top of the list and work your way down by adding an exercise then going back up the list. Begin with 10 of each exercise and decrease the number each round until you complete all the exercises)
Push Ups
Hands to Elbows
Sit Ups/ Crunches
Tricep Dips

Give these a try and let me know what you think. After 6 weeks of these workouts you will need to change up the routine. So check in with me if you’d like a personalized program!

5 Tips on Balancing Strength Training and Running

Hi everyone! I’m Patty and I blog over at Reach Your Peak. I’m a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and avid runner. Which leads me to today’s topic: balancing strength training and running.

I’ve ran 2 marathons with my mom, and a few half-marathons, and each training round it never got easier to balance both of those things. Strength training can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, and who wants to do that after a run? But strength training is also a crucial component of training for races.

Lifting can help you get stronger, get more powerful, and prevent injury. Your glutes and hips are especially important. According to a few studies quoted in Runners Connect,

Weak hips can often be the cause of IT band pain, patella tendonitis
(runner’s knee), piriformis issues, sciatica, and a myriad of other
common running injuries.

 As you can see, it’s important to maintain a strong core. Core doesn’t mean just abs, but also includes your hips and gluteals.

So how should you balance both lifting and running? How can you make time for both? Here are 5 ways to do just that.

1) Schedule lifting days on your hard running days. Another study found that after lifting, your body needs 24 or more hours to recover. Meaning if you lift, then want to do a track workout the next day, you won’t be at your best. That’s why you should lift after your hard days. You might be tired after a tempo run or long run, but those are the best days to get some strength training.

2) Keep it short. We want to maximize your time, especially if you’re lifting after a run. Focus on key muscle groups and don’t take long breaks. An example of a quick workout you could do could be 3 sets of 12 reps of these exercises: Pushups, dumbbell rows, dumbbell step-ups, dumbbell deadlifts, medicine ball twists.

3) If you only have time for one thing, make it running. Running is what will make you better at running. Yes, it’s a bummer if you can’t lift that day either, but getting in the run is the most important. If you’re short on time, at least do 3-4 sets of an ab exercises.

4) Listen to your body. If you are just starting with incorporating strength training, start slow. Start with 1-2 days a week and work up to 3 days a week. If you feel really tired or sore, don’t worry about taking a rest day or taking it easy the following day. You’re working your body hard!

5) Incorporate it all into a workout. If you’re short on time, why not try doing a speed workout with strength involved? For example, sometimes I like to run 400 meters at 5k pace, then do 20 squats. Rest, and repeat.

If you can get in 1 quality strength day during the week, then you’re on your way to building a strong, injury free body. Shoot for 2 times a week if possible.

Make sure to follow my blog for weekly workouts I post, both running and strength training related!

Do you lift AND run during training? What tips would you add?

Mountain Equipment Co-Op 10km Race Recap

This Saturday I ran my first 10 km. Now obviously since I have ran half marathons before, I have ran 10km but I have never raced that distance. Unlike normal people, I didn’t start racing with a 5km, build up to a 10 km and then to a half marathon. The very first race I ever signed up for was a half marathon.

go big


This 10km race was part of the Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) Race series. MEC races are great because they take place across the city in different parks, they are chip timed and only cost $15. Now that’s my kind of deal.

Of course, Saturday was the coldest day of the week here. While it has been a beautiful 12-14 Celsius, suddenly the temperature dived down to -5 for race day. When we got up that morning, Tom tried to convince me that we shouldn’t go run because it was too cold. I was having none of that! After all, my Run for L’Arche was twice as cold and twice as long!

suck it up

So we headed downtown to the start line. I was pretty nervous. I had no idea how to race a 10km. I didn’t want to push too hard at the beginning and struggle towards the end. I decided my plan would be to try to start out slow and aim for negative splits. I used my same 4 minute run-40 second walk strategy.

Tom ran with me for about the first 500m and then he took off to run his own race. I felt really good during this race, I wasn’t having any pain in my legs and my pace was going well despite the wind in our faces. It was at the 4km mark that I saw the first person coming back towards the finish. I’m always amazed by how fast those people are. But I also find it encouraging knowing that somewhere up ahead is the turn around point. After that point I was on the lookout for Tom, I wanted to know just how far ahead of me he was. I was looking and looking and then I hit the 5km marker and yet still no Tom and no turn around point! (I didn’t realize the course wasn’t an exact there and back so we ran a little past 5km before we turned back). But it was just after the 5km mark that I saw Tom. We gave each other a high five as we passed. At this point I knew, he wasn’t all that much in front of me! And that just kicked up my drive to go faster.

Kilometers 6-8 I really kicked up the pace. But then at kilometre 8, we got hit again by a wind head on. My pace slowed a little bit at this point but I also skipped a walking break so that I could maintain my average. Suddenly, I was at kilometre 9 and realized I only had one left. Right near the finish line Tom was waiting for me so he could grab some action shots of me.



As I neared the finish line I saw the clock was at 59:17, I pushed as hard as I could and crossed at 59:27.




Overall, my goal going into the race was under 1 hour. While I was wearing my watch during the race, I never looked at what my time was, I only looked at my intervals. After I crossed I felt a little disappointed, in my mind I thought I was going faster than that. But still, I came in under that hour mark and that was an accomplishment for me.


Afterwards, Tom and I headed to Cora’s. I decided to celebrate with a strawberry waffle!



When we got home we checked out our official time and I saw this…



Umm, while I wish I had run that fast I knew there was a mistake. Boy did I feel sorry for the person who ended up with my time! I was kind of bummed because this was my first 10km and I wanted an official time. But I checked again on Sunday and they had fixed the error. Probably the person who ran in 36 minutes complained. So my official time ended up being 59:19. Tom’s official time was 49:20.

At least now I have a time to beat. My next 10km is on June 1, the Jugo Juice 10km which is part of the Calgary Marathon. I hope to beat my time although I will have only been back from Europe for 3 days so I won’t be in tip top shape either.

What’s your favourite post-race food? 






The Confidence To Run A Marathon

If you had told me two years ago that I would be running a marathon this year I would have laughed in your face. Me? Running 5 km is hard for me, how on earth could I run a marathon? As I’ve mentioned before in my Running Journey post, I am not a natural born runner. Running is not something that I have always enjoyed or have naturally been good at. Running is hard work and has been something that has taken me years to learn to love.

Why am I telling you this? Because so many people when I tell them about my running are in awe and say I could never do that. And that’s simply not true! Now, I’m not saying everyone’s goal has to be a marathon or even a 10km run, but the fact of the matter is, if you wanted to achieve that goal, you could!


One of the biggest obstacles people face when thinking about long distance running is the amount of time. I always hear, “running for 2 hours, I could never”. But when talking with a friend recently, I mentioned my walk breaks and she looked at me in shock and said, oh you walk! There is an assumption that when I say I ran a half marathon that I ran the entire time. Well for me that isn’t true. In training for my most recent half marathon I started using the Jeff-Galloway Run-Walk Method. You can see my complete post on that here. After every 4 minutes of running jogging, I take a walk break.

I have to admit, I was skeptical of the method at first. I mean sure it sound great that I get to walk after only 4 minutes of running but how was I ever going to achieve my goals? But I tried it out anyways and I have to say, changing to this method was the best thing I ever did. Running has become such a more enjoyable experience. Rather than thinking about the many miles/kilometeres I have to run, I only think about the next 4 minutes. I figure, I can do that, I can run four minutes. And then when I look down at my watch and have 2 minutes left, I think I could run a little faster for the next 2 minutes and then suddenly I’m walking again. For me, this process has helped so much with the mental game of long distance running.

I have to tell you a story of what happened during my last half marathon when I first used the run-walk method in a race. I ran with a lady the entire race. She ran the whole time and I did my run/walk. Everytime I would run I passed her and everytime I would do my walk break she would pass me. This continued on for the entire 13.1 miles. But in the end, I beat her across the finish line! That was truly the moment I realized that the run-walk method works. Not only are my runs more enjoyable, Im faster. I achieved a PR on that race, walking every 4 minutes!

Does walking during my races make me any less of a “runner”? Does taking walk breaks make my accompliments less impressive? Does walking mean that I failed? I think, absoloutely not!

half marathon quote

 If you’re someone who is on the fence about trying out running, I highly recommend trying out the Jeff Galloway Run-Walk method. And even for those who have been running for a while, like I said making this switch was the best decision for me and is truly what gave me the confidence to believe that I could complete a marathon.

Do you walk during runs? Have you ever tried the Jeff Galloway Method?