Next Core Running Camp

I’ve just added details for the next Core Running camp to be held on April 2 & 9. This camp includes 10 hours of instruction and seminars on technique, nutrition, recovery, mobility and strength training.

You’ll learn my complete system on how to become a strong and healthy runner for a lifetime. I’ve continued to update the course material and this version of the camp contains the latest up-to-date research.

For all the details and to register go to:

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Dirty Duo Race Recap

On Saturday I ran the Dirty Duo 25 km trail race as part of a relay team. My partner Scott McGregor, riding for Steed Cycles, rode the 30 km mountain bike portion.

Pre-race Dirty Duo

A few ultra buddies pre-race

This was my first trail race on the North Shore since the 2009 Knee Knacker and I ran into a bunch of familiar faces.

Here I am with Mike, Monty and Craig before the run. They were all doing the 50km version; kuddos to them for completing a tough early season ultra.

My time of 2:55:48 was slower than the 2:45 or better than I had hoped for but considering I haven’t been training on any significant hills until last week’s trail run, I’m satisfied with the results.

If you don’t know the course you may be wondering why it took so long to run 15 miles. Here’s a big reason:

Dirty Duo Elevation Chart

There was a bit of climbing in the race.

The 25 km included some pretty technical trails with 3,538 feet of uphill and 3,352 feet of descent. That’s a fair amount of elevation change for a 15 mile run.

Here’s the race route:

Dirty Duo race route

After each race I like to do a review to analyze what I did right and what I need to work on.

Things to Work On

1. My uphill sucks. It was never my strong point but right now my uphill running is pretty poor. Aside from last week’s trail run I haven’t been doing any major hills and it shows. After running the first couple of short climbs I decided to back off and walk the rest of the major climbs as my climbing fitness just isn’t there.

I’ve been doing long, slow road runs with some short speed work at the track but obviously I need to do more long hills on the trails. To that end I’ve signed up for the Club Fat Ass Mountain Highway Madness run next Sunday. It’s been a few years since I’ve joined Action Jackson for this hill repeat session and I’m looking forward to it.

2. Check over supplies the day before. I planned on using Hammer Nutrition HEED for my fueling and hydration but discovered early Saturday morning that I didn’t have any packets left. So I went with Hammer’s Sustained Energy powder. Not a good choice.

Even though it was unflavoured, after mixing it with water the texture, taste and appearance was somewhat milky. I haven’t been able to tolerate anything that even reminds me of milk ever since my Ensure fiasco at the 2001 Knee Knacker race. Needless to say I didn’t take in a whole of fluids between aid stations.

I coach all my athletes to check over their supplies at least a day ahead. Obviously I should try listening to myself once in a while.

3. Drop some weight as I’m still carrying 5 – 10 lbs. of excess weight. I was 191 a month ago and I’ve dropped 5 lbs. since then but still feel like I’m carrying a bit of extra baggage even if it is muscle.

I’m not too worried about this. As my weekly mileage increases the weight will continue to drop off. I only started putting some longer miles in when I began marathon training in February.

4. Eat breakfast. In training I rarely eat breakfast before my long run. I make sure that I’ve eaten well in the days previous to the run but to enhance my body’s ability to burn fat I head out on my long runs without eating anything except having a cup of coffee. I’m out the door within 30 – 45 minutes of waking so this strategy has been working well. I have my nutrition ready to go during the run and begin sipping my workout drink (usually HEED) in the first 15 minutes of starting.

On race day it was a little over 2 hours before I started the run. This was too long to go without eating anything. Combined with the fact I wasn’t thrilled about my energy drink I was taking in too few calories. Since I was using this race as a training run I was experimenting with things so it was a lesson learned.

Things That Went Well

1. I can still hammer the downhills. While my uphill fitness needs work I was really happy with the downhill running. Without a lot of downhill training in the last year my footing was solid and the legs could take the pounding with no problem. I guess the strength training over the last year has paid off. I ran the downhills a lot faster than last week and it felt great. Running fast downhill doesn’t require a lot of fitness. Just lay off the brakes and don’t fall. Simple.

2. Recovery was great. I thought I’d be stiff and sore Sunday morning but apart from a bit of tightness in the calves I didn’t feel much. Guess what I did for my recovery worked great. What did I do?

I began replenishing the glycogen and fluids within 30 minutes of finishing. The spread at the finish line was amazing including salad, bread, lasagna, watermelon and cookies. Water, pop, coffee and tea were available. I ate a heaping plate, drank 5 or 6 glasses of water, a couple of glasses of Coke and a cup of coffee. I ate and drank more water than normal the rest of the day as well; I haven’t been this hungry in a while. After our dinner that night I even splurged and got a DQ Blizzard. I haven’t had one of these since last summer. Two words to describe it; mmmm-mmmmmm!

In addition to the eating and rehydration I did a bit of trigger point therapy with a small rubber ball. I probably spent 15 minutes or so on my legs. I only did about five minutes of static stretching after the race.

I also took an epsom salt bath and got a good night’s sleep. I felt like I ran pretty hard on the downhills so I was expecting a lot more DOM’s (delayed onset muscle soreness). But the strength training and my recovery strategies seemed to do the trick in preventing this.

3. The glutes and hamstrings were very active. After focusing on technique and strength training since 2009 I found that my hammies and glutes are firing well during my runs. I’ve never felt them so much as I do these days. My leg muscles are more balanced now and the loading is much better distributed during running. The quads don’t have to take on the brunt of the stress.

Highly Recommend the Race

I was also happy to see one of the runners I coach run a great race. Tom Craik along with his partner Kim Steed won the relay division. Talking to Tom after the race he said he felt strong on the uphills and was pleased with how he ran the race. The program (including both a running schedule and weight training) I designed for him seemed to be improving his fitness quite nicely.

If you’ve never done the Dirty Duo I encourage you to give it a shot. The race is well organized with great draw prizes and a killer spread afterward. It  has a number of different options to challenge veteran trail runners as well as newbies. You can do a 25 or 50 km run and this year there was a new 15 km version. The route is fantastic with both technical and simple trails. And did I mention the hills? It has plenty of those.

Posted in Dirty Duo, hill climbing, Lynn Valley, Seymour Demonstration Forest, Trail running | 2 Comments

Strength Workout Tuesday

Tuesdays are generally a strength workout day. Mondays I usually take as a rest day and after my trail run on Sunday I really needed it. I was surprised at how tired my ankles were after that run. I guess sliding around on the slick sections and wobbling on the hard packed yet rough snow gave them a good workout.

Anyway, by Tuesday I was feeling pretty well recovered and hit the gym. The workout consisted of:

10 minutes of dynamic warm-up including leg swings, downdog to cobra, spiderclimbs with rotation, half standing squats, full squats and lunges with rotation.

Then onto core stabilization and balance work. Two sets of Mr. Miyagi’s on the TRX suspension system (“wax on, wax off” with each arm) alternated with bowler lunges.

Next came the strength training component.

First, three sets of deadlifts with 225 lbs. for 5 -6 reps per set.

Then three sets of alternating dumbbell chest presses with 65 lbs., 10 reps per set (5 reps per side).

Assisted full range pistol squats were next. Three sets, 5 reps per side. All the way, butt to heel with a 2 second pause at the bottom.

And lastly we finished with wide grip pullups with a dead hang i.e. not using the legs to help the pull up. Three sets of 6.

After this was a quick 500 m row to finish with a bit of metabolic work and then stretching. In and out of the gym in 45 min. including a shower. Short and sweet.

Posted in Seymour Demonstration Forest, strength training | 2 Comments

Trail Run Through Lower Seymour and Lynn Valley

I’ve been doing a lot of road running recently in preparation for the Vancouver marathon on May 1st. However this weekend both of my buddies who I’ve been running with couldn’t make the long run on Sunday. I decided to hit some technical trails and do a solo run on the North Shore.

Having signed up for the Dirty Duo next weekend was also a good motivator to get at least one run on the Shore before the race. I’ve done a few runs through Pacific Spirit Park during my marathon training but those trails don’t compare to the ones on Vancouver’s North Shore.

The weather was spectacular today so it was a perfect day to start getting my trail legs back. I wanted to run at least 2.5 hours so I planned on a rough figure 8 route around Lynn Valley and the Lower Seymour Demo Forest (I still can’t get used to calling it by the “new” name).

According to my Garmin 305 I ended up doing 13.2 miles in 2:37:33. Here’s an aerial view of my route:

I know that seems pretty slow. But I was working pretty hard during some spots; my average heart rate was 163 bpm, hitting a max HR of 179. I tried not going too far past my upper aerobic zone limit of 172 but some of the climbs got the old ticker beating a little faster.

Did I mention the 13.2 miles included a total of 3,174 feet of elevation gain and 3,182 feet of elevation loss for a total of 6,356 feet of elevation change?

I know that’s not huge compared to some runs you can do on the Shore but it was good enough for me. I tried to choose trails with runnable uphills as I wanted to work on my hill climbing efficiency so I avoided any seriously long or extremely technical climbs.

That said the snow and ice on certain parts of the trail added a nice challenge. The section around the short Lynn Loop was particularly slick. The snow was hard packed and slippery and you couldn’t get good traction on a lot of the downhill sections. It made some parts of the trail a bit hairy as the trail had a bit of side slope to it leading to a 80 degree drop-off to my left side. Since I was running alone I thought I’d keep my pace in check to ensure I stayed on route.

Even with the slick sections and a few steep climbs I had a fantastic run. I downed my recovery drink as soon as I got back to the car. I had run out of my Hammer Heed at about the 2 hour mark so the last 40 minutes was run without any water or calories. I also ran without eating breakfast as I do for all my long runs so I was pretty thirsty and hungry by the finish. I should have brought another bottle of HEED to run with. But still, a great day to be back on the North Shore trails.

I’m looking forward to running the Dirty Duo next weekend. I’m also stoked to have made the cut in the Knee Knacker entrance lottery this week. This is one of my favourite races and I’m thrilled to begin training for it again.

Posted in Dirty Duo, hill climbing, Lynn Valley, Seymour Demonstration Forest, Trail running, Vancouver marathon | 2 Comments

Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Running is a great form of exercise but it does come with some degree of risk.

Read the full story on running injuries.

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Upcoming running clinics

Four new clinics are being offered this fall:

Run Better clinics in Vancouver. (view info.)

Run Stronger clinics at the Run Inn stores in Vancouver and Delta. (view info.)

The Run Better clinics are the best way to learn the Core Running technique. You’ll practice good biomechanics with running drills, develop ankle and hip mobility with mobilization exercises and become a better runner.

The Run Stronger clinics are the next step. You’ll continue to practice good running technique but each week also includes a running specific strength workout that will build core stability, strengthen your running muscles and improve your functional flexibility.

Spaces are limited so register a.s.a.p.

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Curb Ivanic’s Core Running system – A better way to run

Do you like to run? If you’re a runner of any ability, from a beginner 5K racer to 10k races, half-marathons, marathons and beyond can show you how to improve your performance and avoid injury.

Core Running is a scientifically based method to improve your technique, develop your strength and increase your mobility. I’ll be sharing various techniques and strategies on this blog to make you a better, faster and injury-proof runner.

Run strong!

Curb Ivanic, MS, CSCS

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