St. Vital Park, Winnipeg

Setting Yourself Up To Succeed in the Off Season

Setting Yourself Up To Succeed in the Off Season

As the holiday season approaches, most runners are settling solidly into the “off-season.” It is during this time of year when we reduce mileage, recover from a long season of training, and sleep in on a few Saturday mornings. This time of year may be a break from regular training, but it is often when the most important work is done: thinking and planning.

At the Pan Am Running & Gait Centre, we help runners identify suboptimal strength, flexibility, alignment and biomechanical patterns that contribute toward running injury. These four pillars of our program are important, however 60% of all running injuries result from errors in training. The better your strength, flexibility, alignment and biomechanics, the better able your body will be able to absorb a training error. The trouble is very few runners know when they are about to commit a training error and often their first feedback is pain. Prevention is key.

Training errors result most commonly from increasing mileage too much too soon. One can also commit a training error by increasing too much of anything too soon: speed work, hills, mileage in new shoes, and running on a harder surface to name a few. Training error also includes not building enough recovery and rest into your running program. Overtraining doesn’t result from too much mileage, it results from mileage not balanced with enough recovery or time to adapt to that mileage and can occur in even low mileage runners.

One can avoid committing training errors with proper planning and program periodization. This is important whether you run two or ten races a year. Taking the time evaluate your training patterns can set you up for next season with less chance of injury or runner’s burn out.

Start with asking yourself WHY you run? Every year I suggest making a new list, as the reasons why we run change over time. Then decide HOW you can accomplish that WHY in an effort to keep your run life in harmony. As Simon Sinek says, “if you are unclear about your why then what you do has no context.” It is only then that you can start to set A, B and C goals, plan your races and develop training plans to meet those goals. Your entire season will become a logical progression towards your A goal with all other races timed strategically to enhance your training rather than overload it. You may have more than one A goal, but as long as you plan properly you can avoid committing the training errors that sideline so many runners. If you have no idea how to do what I’ve just suggested, it might be time to consult a more experienced friend or a coach for some good advice.

This is not simply the ‘off’ season.  This is when the most important work is done.  As your race season winds down, take some time to critically analyze your running routines, only commit to races that you truly want to do, and then make a plan that sets you up for an amazing year of running in 2018!

Kim Sénéchal is a physiotherapist at Pan Am Rehabilitation Services and is also an ultra runner and run coach. You can find her at and

Baking for the Holidays

Baking for the Holidays

The holiday season is a happy and exciting time of year; however it can also bring stress and anxiety for some. As runners, this time of year could mean a decrease in volume and intensity following the road racing season, time away from work leading to being out of the usual routine and the increased opportunity to indulge in great tasting treats.

As a Dietitian, I often get the question: how do I survive the holidays!?!!? One thing that I tell clients and athletes to remember is that the holidays only come once a year, enjoy this time with family and friends and the opportunity to eat foods that you only see once a year!

If you are bringing treats for the office, baking for a cookie exchange, making dainties for your family and friends or preparing sweet treats for Santa, and are looking for alternate ways of baking this holiday season, here are a few tips that you can follow:

  1. Replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour to increase fiber and mineral content. Start small by substituting ¼ of white flour with whole wheat flour, and slowly increase the amount. The change in flour could change the taste or texture of the recipe, and therefore gradually substituting is important.

  2. Replace butter or margarine with an alternative. Oil can be used to replace butter/margarine, simply use ¾ cups oil for each 1 cup butter/margarine. Another option would be to use unsweetened applesauce which shouldn’t alter the taste or texture of the final product, simply use half the amount of applesauce compared to butter/margarine.

  3. Reduce the sugar content by ⅓ to ½ the amount of what is called for. White sugar can also be replaced with either honey or maple syrup for a more ‘natural’ alternative, simply use ¾ cups for each 1 cup of white sugar.

  4. Cocoa could also be used as an alternative to chocolate chips or chocolate squares. Substitute 3 Tbsp. cocoa + 1 Tbsp. oil to each 1 square or 1 ounce of semi-sweet chocolate chips (½ cup is approximately 3 oz.). Mix the cocoa with the liquid ingredients already used in the recipe.

  5. Add nuts, seeds and dried fruit to the recipe to boost vitamins, minerals and fiber content.


Remember to enjoy this time off from training, away from the rigorous routine and to enjoy those sweet treats!


Janelle Vincent is a Registered Dietitian at Pan Am Rehabilitation Services. She has an IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition and is a Board Certified Specialist in Sport Dietetics. She can be reached at or by calling 204-927-2660.

What can you do to avoid post-shovelling aches and pains?

AnchorShovelling Snow without the Aches and Pains

If you live in Manitoba, then chances are you are well accustomed to shovelling snow. Winnipeg receives an average of 114 centimetres of snow each winter. Shovelling snow involves strenuous effort. If you are not careful, you could experience cold exposure, fatigue, muscular strains, soft tissue injuries and back injuries, particularly to the lower back.
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), if you load a shovel (weighing over 1kg) with 5kg of snow every five seconds, you will move a load of over 70kg in one minute. Repeat for fifteen minutes and you will have shovelled 1,000kg of snow!Shovelling snow is risky because of the distance the head of the shovel is from your spine. The further the object being lifted is from your body, the greater the force placed on your spine is. Shovelling can place excessive stress on spinal structures and is one of the most common causes of back injuries during the winter months. Injuries are not only limited to the musculoskeletal system but excessive shovelling could also place stress on the cardiovascular system.
What can you do to avoid post-shovelling aches and pains?
  1. Give yourself plenty of time to shovel and do not rush yourself.
  2. Use a couple layers of clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible. Cold, tight muscles are more likely to strain than warm, relaxed muscles.
  3. Do warm-up stretching of the arms, shoulders, legs, and back beforehand.
  4. Push the snow into the snow bank. Do not throw it. If you must throw it, position yourself so you can throw it straight ahead at the snow pile.
  5. Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions such as throwing the snow over your shoulder or to the side.
  6. Bend your knees to lift when shovelling. Let the muscles of your legs and arms do the work, not your back.
  7. Take regular breaks to alleviate the strain off your muscles.
For more information, please contact Dr. Badhan or Dr. Raizman at Dakota Chiropractic Office at 204.257.7685 located on 1056 St. Mary’s Road.


Hello fellow Road Runners:
If you’re feeling the need for speed before the spring race season starts come try a track event!
There are several meets between early January and late March all with short sprint events but some will have longer 3000m or 5000m events.
Jan 10   –  Bison Grand Prix 1 –  3000m
Jan 19/20 – Winter Open    –  will add a 3000 or 5000 race if there are at least 6 participants – contact Wayne McMahon  at
 Mar  2/ 3 – Boeing         – offered both 3000 and 5000 last year
The Bison Grand Prix  online registration is open at
and the other meet links will appear on that page shortly.
If you’re not a member of Athletics Manitoba each meet charges an additional $10 ‘day’ membership as well as an individual race fee of $10.

Struggling with a plateau? Do you stick to your workouts but still have little or no results?

Struggling with a plateau? Do you stick to your workouts but still have little or no results?

by Sean Edwards

If so, tweak your exercise routine! Simple changes, such as trying new exercises or swapping cardio for high intensity interval training (HIIT), can make all the difference. Variety is the spice of fitness. Believe it or not, it can make or break your progress. If you do the same exercises every time, your body adapts. As a result, your progress slows and you stop losing weight or building muscle. Thus, it’s important to keep your workouts varied.

Why Mix Up Your Exercise Routine?

The human body has an amazing ability to adapt to new stimuli. For instance, when you’re just starting to work out, you can see your body changing from one week to the next. As time goes by, your progress stops. You’re no longer losing fat and your muscles refuse to grow. Research confirms that exercise is an adaptive process. Over time, your muscles adapt to the stresses placed on them. Whether you’re running, swimming or lifting weights, you’ll hit a plateau sooner or later. The only way to prevent this issue is to diversify your routine. This can be done by:

• Changing workout variables (intensity, duration, number of reps and sets, rest periods, range of motion, etc.)

• Changing body positioning (hand spacing, stance, foot placement, etc.)

• Increasing the load

• Trying new exercises and activities

Let’s say you’re always doing cardio on the treadmill or stationary bike. Next time you hit the gym, try the stair master. Better yet, do cardio bodyweight exercises such as burpees, jumping jacks, plank jacks, inchworms or mountain climbers. These compound moves hit nearly every muscle group, offering a full body workout. They’re perfect for both cardio and resistance training and can be performed anytime, anywhere. Running, jogging, hiking, skiing and power walking are a great choice too. It all comes down to your needs and goals. The gym is not your only option. There are plenty of ways to get your daily dose of exercise and keep your routine varied. The Benefits of Variety in WorkoutsIt’s not uncommon to see athletes trying new workouts or learning new movements, referred to as cross-training. The objective is to mix and match exercises, change workout variables and spice up your routine. This approach helps to prevent plateaus and boost physical performance. Workout variety can speed up your progress and bring you closer to reaching your fitness goals. In the long run, it may lead to:

• Faster weight loss

• Improved body composition

• Improved fitness level

• Increased motivation

• Reduced injury risk

• Greater flexibility and range of motion

• Increased speed and agility

• Improved reaction time

• Stronger bones and joints

On top of that, trying new workouts are fun! No matter how much you love running or lifting weights, you’ll get bored at some point. Sure, you’ll still hit the gym and do your workouts, but it won’t be the same. Unless you try something new, you’re at risk of losing motivation.

Variety in workouts make it easier to train your muscles from different angles. As oppose to performing the same movements over and over again, learn new movements and incorporate different styles of training to prevent repetitive/over-use injuries. A varied workout can also speed up recovery. Doing thesame exercises over and over again puts stress on your muscles. Pilates, yoga, stretching, and/or foam rolling will give your body a well-deserved rest while keeping you active. For this reason, many athletes practice yoga or or pilates on rest days. It’s a form of active recovery. Let’s say your legs are sore from yesterday’s workout. You’ve already trained arms and shoulders, so you’re not feeling ready to hit the gym again. Overtraining is the last thing you need. On the other hand, you don’t feel comfortable lying on the couch all day long.

Why not go out for a bike ride or outdoor yoga? Or, you can do a short pilates session in the comfort of your home. Take a long walk in the park, explore the city by foot, or try new fitness options. This way, you’ll stay active without overtraining your body. Alternate hard days with easy days to vary the effort you put into exercise. As you can see, it’s not difficult to vary your workout. Get creative and try new activities. Think about what you enjoy the most, live your life to the fullest and explore new fitness options!


Give the gift of experience with the MEC Winnipeg Race Series 2018 Gift Pack.

This gift pack entitles the gift recipient to entries into all FIVE running races in 2018 for any of the 3km, 5km, 10km distances.

We will contact your gift recipient in early January to select distances. If they would like to run any of the longer-distance races in 2018, they will be able to pay the additional upgrade fee at that time. Upgrade fees are $5 for half marathon distance or $10 for full marathon distance.

Please provide your gift recipients name, valid email address, and phone number in the fields below so that we may contact them in January for their distance selection.

Click here to visit the MEC website and get that perfect gift!

Tis the Season

MRA Gift Store

Just in time for the holiday season, The Manitoba Runners’ Association has just begun to unveil their new online gift store. Every piece of merchandise is made to order and for that extra touch, purchases can be “personalized” by adding a name.

In order to support local businesses the MRA has sourced most of it’s products from local companies. This way we can deliver some last minute holiday items for the last minute shoppers. All orders online generally take 5 days to deliver some of the customized items require a little longer. It’s best to get your order in on most items by Dec 15th to ensure a timely delivery.

Start your holiday shopping here!





2018 Manitoba Runners’ Association memberships are now available! Simply go to: to sign up online or download a 2018 Membership form and mail it in with your payment.

All new members will receive a 20% discount coupon to Stride Ahead at the Grant Park Shopping Centre good for the purchase of any regular priced items, including running shoes!

All existing members that renew before December 31st will also receive the same coupon.

Membership has many benefits including discounts on entry fees for many of our sanctioned events, an informative website, Facebook page and emails, as well as a quarterly newsletter that keeps you up to date on the goings-on in the Manitoba road running community. We also have an impressive list of sponsors that offer our membership discounts on their products and services and two Race Series with a year-end Awards Banquet to honour our members’ achievements.

Don’t delay! Get your membership now and be ready for the 2018 running season.