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Breathe Magazine

 

Breathe Magazine was live on location following the 2013 Coastal Challenge. Prior to the race I sat down with them to profile the Going Coastal team.

 

Breathe Magazine Flashblog – Team Going Coastal - February 2, 2013

Jump for Joy!

Showcasing the beauty of the human spirit – in mid-air – around the world!

International Photography Project

Eyoalha’s vision is to create an art photo book of 1,000 photos of people jumping for joy around the world and a photography exhibit that showcases a select few of the best JUMPING images.

She is passionate about supporting people who are positive and ethical leaders, creators and change makers. She is inspired by people improving the world by doing what they love, people who are positively inspiring the world with integrity, and taking risks to make their life dreams into reality.

“When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears.” – Philippe Halsman

 

Jump for Joy! Photo Project - Jump for Joy, 2012 – 2013

Latitude Living Profile

Latitude Living is obsessed with human potential. They like to go inside the minds, refrigerators and world changers. Stay Well. Do Well.

 

Graham Snowden, Ultra-Marathoner, Ultra Fundraiser - Latitude Living, January 2013

Nike Canada Runner of the Week

In early December 2012 I received some fairly incredible news – I had been selected as the Nike+ Runner of the Week.

Nike Canada Runner of the Week - Nike, December 5, 2012

Buzz Talk with Graham Snowden

 

In May 2012 I sat down with BuzzBuzzHome to talk a little shop and share some of my adventures.

Buzz Talk with Graham Snowden - buzzbuzzhome.com, May 9, 2012

An “Everytime” Person

As a major fundraiser and “creatributor” for imagine1day I was profiled on the imagine1day website as part of leading my Going Coastal teammates on their first multi-day stage race in Costa Rica.

Graham Snowden: Everytime Person - imagine1day, March 2012

Know Your Limits. Exceed Them.

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Ever since I became a triathlete and a marathoner the extent of my limits have become much more easily identifiable. There is no metric for the challenge, the taunting, the veritable beating that an endurance event, of any distance, inevitably delivers to is contenders.

Countless hours will spent physiclly preparing for race day. Meticulous effort will be dedicated to ensure that the body is being properly fueled with the right meals, supplements, and hydration techniques. The most experienced and accomplished endurace athletes will find themselves at a point on or before race day where their limits will become known to them.

It is important to acknowledge this limit when it happens so that the next time you find yourself at this point you can push past it. In my most recent marathon for example, I found myself somewhat comfortably familiar with the amount of pain my legs typically feel around the 35 kilometre mark. The first time I reached this distance in a race I allowed my stride to shorten and it took me about 6km to get it back. This most recent marathon I was able to maintain my pace based on experience and having reached that limit in a prior race.

Mental and / or physical limits can be reached during a training session or on race day. My personal preference is that I become familiar with these limits over the course of my training. This makes it easier to prepare physically and mentally for that particular limit; until of course you discover the next limit.

Another matter of great importance is finding people who will help you prepare for and exceed your limits. I am hoping that this training season will be my first injury free training season. The injuries I have experienced have set certain limits for me. These are limits that I wanted to exceed.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have had a very supportive group of people participate in that goal. My kiniesiologist from Symmetrixmy physiotherapist from Royal Centre Physiotherapymy orthpaedic surgeon who repaired a torn labrum and Bankhardt lesion in my left shoulder and my vascular surgeon who addressed the issue of venous reflux in my left thigh.

My kiniesiologist did an amazing job in helping strengthen both my shoulder (after suffering 4 dislocations) and my personal resolve to ensure that on race day I was able to overcome the physical challenge. My shoulder surgeon successfully repaired my left shoulder and with the help of my physio, both of whom came highly recommended, not only do I have nearly 95% of my range of motion back (I was only supposed to get 85%) but I am swimming again and it continues toget stronger every day. I am very grateful for my vascular surgeon who solved my venous reflux problem and I am now running at a faster pace and with a longer stride than I my previous ability.

It is important to identify your limits and understand that you can exceed them. When you become cognizant or get introduced to a limit seek out people who will help you in pushing that limit to the extent that you have been able to exceed it. Acknowledge that this does not apply exclusively to sport. In fact it applies much more broadly on a much more regular basis to other areas and facets of our lives. I choose sport as the metaphor because there are natural translations.

Whether it is sport or another area my life I like to remember the following from the Symmetrix tag line… “Bounce back. Press Forward.”

Importance of Cross Training

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There are many articles that discuss the various physical of benefits. In general the idea is that varied or different activities that are are not part of your typical training program will work different muscle groups than your body is used to working. By working these different muscle groups your body then becomes stronger overall, more capable to handle variation from your regular training regimen, new skills are developed and it in doing so you can reduce your chances of injury.

About.com has a decent article on cross training here.

For me, I find adding different cross training activities to my training schedule to break up the monotony that can settle in when training for an endurance event. For my upcoming marathon I’m running 4 times a week, I do 4 – 6 yoga classes each week and I vary the styles, and I also try to swim twice a week. Even with that variety it can be difficult to stay motivated.

To help me stay motivated I try to work in a day at least every two weeks where I get out to enjoy what it means it live on the West Coast. This past summer I made a concerted effort to start doing a lot of the the hikes in the Lower Mainland: Diez VistasEagle Bluffsthe Lions Binkert Trail and Black Tusk.

With the winter still upon us (though the weather in Vancouver might have you thinking otherwise) showshoeing has become the activity of choice. This past weekend a good friend and I took off to Elfin Lakes. By 10:00am we were looking down onto the Chief and into Howe Sound. The views were absolutely amazing. There were a variety of others snowshoeing and back-country skiing (which is definitely smarter for the descent).

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It’s important to add cross-training into your training schedule to keep things fun and to keep yourself motivated. (It’s also important to make sure you check the conditions before heading out and plan accordingly.) Adding these type of activities and finding friends to go with you can be a welcome change to your training regime, especially when you’re training id being done primarily on your own.

Oh and for the Sugoi shout out no cross training session would be complete without: Piston 200 ShortPiston 140 S/SR+R Knee High Compression Sock, and the Ready L/S. The compression gear definitely helped get me ready for my 25km run the next day.

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Steve Prefontaine

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I first heard of Steve Prefontaine about five or six years ago before the thought of completing an endurance event ever came into my mind. Prefontaine achieved acclaim as a middle distance runner in the early 1970′s. Over the course of his running career Prefontaine won 120 of the 153 (78%) races he competed in.

Originally from Coos Bay, Oregon Prefontaine’s ethic and approach to running was unorthodox but often effective. Popularly known as “Pre”, his approach was to run to push the pace of other athletes beyond the point they were able to keep up. “I am going to work so that it’s a pure guts race. In the end, if it is, I’m the only one that can win it.”

In the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, Pre assumed lead of the 5,000m race with approximately 1500m to go and dramatically increased the pace of the race. Pre held the lead until the last 150m of the race and eventually finished fourth and off the podium. It was a difficult lesson for Pre to learn but ultimately he came to understand how he had to run the race. Pre could apply his technique of outpacing others by running intervals that he could maintain but that were faster and outside the comfort zone of other runners with whom he’d be competing against.

Training for the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics, Pre had conditioned himself to set a new record for the 5,000m distance. Sadly, Pre was killed in a car accident in May 1975 after he swerved to miss an on coming vehicle.

Several movies have been made about Steve Prefontaine and he he has given us many famous quotes. My favourite is in the image above “to give anything but your best, is to sacrifice the gift”. This quotation speaks to me in my athletic, professional, and personal pursuits. Prefontaine’s ambition and focus serve as an inspiration to me. It is doubtful that I will ever win a competitive race that I am competing in but to go out every day and try to give my best, well, that leads me to another Prefontaine quote:

“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”

Hill Training

BigFiveHillRunning up a hill is almost always the most dreaded part of a race. Many people will avoid hills in their training runs even if they know their race will include them. Running hills also increases the risk of injury if you’re not using proper form. On the flip side proper hill training can help you increase speed whether your race is hilly or flat and it also prepares you for hills on race day.

My first marathon was the Nike Women’s Marathon featuring a variety of hills through San Francisco. The first subtantial hill, approximately 6.5% hill grade, hits a little less than 10km into the race. For NWM I trained on moderate hills of about 3% – 4% that were about 400m in length. Living in Vancouver I also include the Grouse Grind as part of my hill training regime.

My general approach to hill training has been repititions. Find a hill that challenges you and is comparable to hills that will be faced on race day. I start out the first week of hill training by running the hill 3 – 4 times and then adding a repitition each week up until 2 – 4 weeks before race day depending on the race. I want to avoid injury the latter part of my training season and I also want to give my body time to recover.

So far in my races I have been able to look up at every hill and feel confident in my ability to overcome it with relative ease. Hill training has also enabled me to maintain my race pace easily over gentler / less steep hills. On flat courses I am able to increase my pace over the course of the season by including hill training because I am strengthening muscle groups that would not get the same sort of attention from other workouts.

Some hill training workout guides will tell you to begin hill training in week 6 or 7 and stop around 12 or 13. The goal is to ensure that you have sufficient strength in your muscles to begin hill training and then that you back off during the taper portion of your training season.

I am currently training for the Big Five Marathon on the Entabeni Game Reserve in South Africa. The altitude map of this course is daunting.

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For this race I am not attempting to run hills that are similar to all of the race course hills in an effort to avoid injury and fatigue. Still my current hill training involves a short warm up and then running a 200m hill at a 9% hill grade, descending the same hill, immediately followed by running a 200m hill at 12.5%, then descending another 200m hill at 16.5%, climbing up the 16.5%, down the 12.5% and back up the 9%. Half way through my training season I am reaching the top of the 9% and 12.5% hills 10 times.

Because of the steep grade of these hills I descend on zig zag diagonals to reduce the impact on my knees and quads. Controlling the descending portion of your hill training is very important for avoiding injury. The hills are getting easier to climb and I am starting to get faster at them. When I encounter 4% – 6% hills on training runs they are easily climbable with no change to my pace. I’ve also recently run a sub-40 minute 10km.

Whether you are just starting out as a runner or an accomplished / seasoned runner I highly recommend including hill training that is specific to your goals. (i.e. my current hill training is race specific and not recommended for everyone.)

Runner’s World has some great articles on hill training here as does the UK edition here.