Saturday, June 22, 2013

Changes To The WOOT Blog

Jannine Myers

Hi all,
In an effort to reach a wider audience and make some improvements to this blog, we have moved over to a new platform and have re-named the blog. The new blog is called Run With WOOT, and as with all things new, there will undoubtedly be a transition period which may involve slower-than-desired progress. With that in mind, we ask for your patience and hope that you will continue to follow our posts.

Thank you!

image provided by

NOW go check out the new blog:!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Don't be Fooled by Quick-Fix Diets and Exercise Plans

Jannine Myers

It's around this time of year that people start to frantically look for ways to quickly drop some weight and tone up saggy looking muscles. With nothing but hot summer days ahead and inevitable weekend trips to the beach or pool, there's no more hiding behind winter "cover-up" clothing. The lax, and often poor habits that many fall into during the festive season and colder months, result in unwanted excess weight and sudden panic when it comes time to shed the layers of clothing.

I'm all about taking steps to get active and lose excess weight, but not the way that so many people opt to do so. You know what I'm talking about right? The quick "Lose 20 lbs of Fat in 30 Days," or "How to Tone Up Your Body in Two Weeks." There are so many of these programs out there, all promising amazing results if you'll follow their instructions to the letter.

The five-day Bikini Blitz diet

The amazing diet that lets you eat as much as you want
 ..and you still lose 14lb in less than a week

The Bikini Workout

Get Beach-Ready with 10 Exercises

But how long do their promised results actually last? I know people who have followed "quick-fix" diets and exercise programs, and I've seen them lose weight rapidly, but I've also seem them months later either at their original weight or heavier. Heck, I remember my own bouts of yo-yo dieting when I was much younger, and I also remember how wonderful I felt when I dropped several pounds, and how miserable I felt when I regained them.

Even so, with all the evidence stacked up against these diets, revealing them for the shams that they are, people still search for them online in desperate attempts to lose weight. Worse still, is the abuse of diet pills and laxatives as an ongoing means of losing weight. None of these strategies are going to provide lasting results or health benefits; on the contrary, they may even harm your body.

So come on ladies, if you, or someone you know is searching for that quick-fix weight loss remedy, try to divert that focus onto a more sustainable and long-term strategy that looks instead at healthy lifestyle changes. Sure, it may take longer for the weight to come off, but you can at least take comfort in the fact that you will be losing weight safely, and more effectively, since the weight loss is more likely to be permanent.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Meeting Awesome People Through Trail Running

Jannine Myers

Topic: Tell About Someone Awesome You've Met Through Trail Running

I've met some great people over the years, and some even greater folks through running, but there's one person who immediately came to mind when I saw the topic for this month's Trail Runner Blog Symposium - her name is Virginia Winstone and she is a trail runner who lives in New Zealand.

Virginia - Tarawera Ultramarathon 2013

Typically, when asked to think of someone "awesome" you know, through a sport, there's a tendency to think initially of those who have won awards, or those who have competed at some distinguishable level. I've met one or two trail runners who would fit that bill, but Virginia embodies other traits that I feel are far more inspiring.

I met Virginia a little over two years ago, while running the Tarawera Ultramarathon in New Zealand. We struck up a friendly conversation while running, and what I most admired about her was that she took the time to slow down, chat, and offer encouraging tips. We didn't see each other after the race, but we later became Facebook friends and have kept in touch ever since.

Virginia began running just five years ago, in 2008. She has set an exemplary example of what can be achieved when one finds a goal and purpose. In the book, The Runner's Devotional, one of the authors makes the point that goals with a reason or purpose are those most likely to be achieved. Virginia found her purpose for running after reading the book Running Hot, written by Ultrarunner Lisa Tamati.

Inspired by Lisa's amazing return to running after a crippling back injury, Virginia wanted to break free of what she claims had become a satisfactory, but routine life. She set some running goals, starting out with just a few evening walks and progressing to a 5k race, and in 2010 she ran her first 20k trail race, followed by a full marathon. Those latter two races marked the beginning of a very avid pursuit of trail running and a subsequent active involvement in New Zealand's trail running community.

In 2012, Virginia attempted her first 100-mile race, the Northburn100. At the 90k mark, she took a wrong turn down some slippery turf and wound up fracturing a bone in her foot. Instead of feeling defeated, Virginia says she felt "empowered," and stirred in that moment by a deep desire to not only run more races but to also help others in their quest to do the same.

Just a little more than a year has passed since she experienced that "epiphany," and already her dreams are being realized. Her new business, Thir, which specializes in trail running apparel and gear, was established in March 2012. While not all of the products in Thir’s line-up are currently available, their headbands are on sale in more than ten sporting stores throughout New Zealand. Thir donates a percentage of all product sales to athletes needing assistance with race fees and/or training expenses.

Virginia's interest in helping others within the local trail running community is so genuine that when she met Lisa Tamati at the Northburn 100 in 2012, Lisa instantly took a liking to her. Also dedicated to supporting fellow trail runners and ultramarathoners, Lisa recognized the same zealous spirit in Virginia and in an interesting twist of fate, she asked Virginia to write the introduction for her new book Running To Extremes.

I was able to take a sneak peek at Lisa's book on Amazon, and also read Virginia's introduction. In it, she shares about her rather extraordinary childhood and how she sailed the Pacific with her father, experiencing, she says, "one adventure after another." Virginia credits Lisa for helping her rediscover, through trail running, the adventurous spirit she enjoyed as a child.

I love Virginia's story; it's a story of hope for anyone who dreams of one day doing something that seems impossible. But beyond the victory of setting and achieving life-changing goals, Virginia also reminds us that greater rewards come in the form of helping others, and those who know her, including Ultrarunner Lisa Tamati, will agree that that is something Virginia does very well.

To find out more about Thir, check out their Facebook page here:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Don't Compete With The Heat - You'll Lose!

Jannine Myers

I don't know about you, but my runs this past week have been exceptionally hard. The increase in heat and humidity caused my ego to take a furious blow as I unsuccessfully tried to maintain my usual pace. But seriously ladies, it's not worth fighting the heat; you're only going to be a victim of heat exhaustion or some other heat illness if you don't deliberately slow down and reduce the intensity of your runs (and even the distance if necessary). 

Here's a list of great tips to follow, as you continue to train throughout the summer:

Tips for Running in Hot Weather

How to Run Safety in the Heat and Humidity

By , Guide Updated May 03, 2012

  • Stay hydrated - The easiest way to avoid heat disorders is to keep your body hydrated. This means drinking fluids before, during and after exercise. The body's fluid needs vary with exertion, climate, humidity, terrain, and other factors. The new fluid recommendations for runners say that they should "obey your thirst" and drink when their mouth is dry and they feel the need to drink. In training, drink before workouts and make sure you have access to fluids if exercising longer than 30 minutes. During longer workouts, some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink(like Gatorade) to replace lost salt and other minerals (electrolytes).

  • Choose clothing carefully - Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself down naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process and dark colors absorb the sun's light and heat. Wear synthetic fabrics (not cotton) because they will wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur.

  • Run Early or Late - Try to avoid running between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's intensity is at its greatest. If you must train during those hours, try to stick to shady roads or trails. Morning (before sunrise or right after) is the coolest time of the day to run since the roads have not heated up during the day.

  • Wear Sunscreen - Protect your skin with a waterproof sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and offers broad spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Stick formulations are good for runners' faces because the sunscreen won't run into your eyes. 

  • Don't Push It - On a race day (or during any intense workout), take weather conditions into account. Brutal heat and humidity mean you should scale back your performance goals. Don't try to beat the heat. Hot and humid conditions are not the time to try to push your pace. Slow down, take walking breaks, and save your hard efforts for cooler weather.

  • Make a Splash - Use water to cool yourself during runs. If you are overheating, splashing water on your head and body will cool you down quickly and have a lasting effect as the water evaporates from your skin.

  • Be Educated - You should be very familiar with the signs of heat problems so you recognize them in yourself or in a running partner. If you feel faint, dizzy, disoriented, have stopped sweating, or your skin is cool and clammy, slow down or stop running, and get some fluids. If symptoms continue, sit or lie down in the shade and seek help.

Keeping It Safe on the Trails

Jannine Myers

Highlights from last weekend's Trail Safety and First Aid Event

Last week we were briefed on trail safety (by Red Cross CPR and First Aid Instructor, Erik Myers), and shown what to do in the event of an injury or illness. So that we don't forget some of the essentials, I've highlighted below what types of first-aid and survival items might be useful for trail running. First up though, there are three critical principles of first-aid that everyone should know:

  1. Preserve life - your own first, and then others, with an added emphasis on remaining calm. 
  2. Prevent deterioration - treat the injury and prevent the situation from getting worse.
  3. Promote recovery - do whatever you can to help the injured person/s. The Good Samaritan law offers legal protection to persons (in most Western countries) who offer reasonable assistance to those who are injured, ill, or in danger of losing their lives. 
Memorize these three principles ladies, and take your first-aid bags with you on those longer trail runs. Here's a recap of some of the items:

  • A mask - to protect from bloodborne pathogens, or other infectious bodily substances. A runner having to administer emergency rescue breaths will be grateful for the extra protection a mask provides!
  • Two baby safety pins. Safety pins can be used to re-secure items of clothing that might get torn during a nasty fall, or to secure a sling or bandage, or to dig out splinters.
  • Five feet of cord. Keeping a stash of cord in your first-aid bag can come in handy for any of the following reasons: to replace a torn shoe lace; to immobilize a broken arm; to secure a splint; or as a last resort, to use as a tourniquet (click the following link for instructions on how to tie a tourniquet:
  • Three feet of duct tape. Perhaps one of the more versatile items, duct tape can be used in the following ways: it can be used as makeshift moleskin to prevent blisters, or provide relief to blisters which have already formed; it can be used as a bandage to support a dressing or splint, or to restrict a part of the body, or to slow heavy bleeding or blood flow in the event of a snake bite (athletic tape does not adhere as well as duct tape when the skin is wet or sweaty); duct tape can also be used to write on and stick to a tree, in the event that a runner wants to leave a distress message for search and rescue workers.
  • A seemingly insignificant item, a pencil could potentially save your life. As noted above, messages with pertinent information left on trees for search and rescue teams could mean the difference between life and death. Pencils are the most viable writing instrument, as markings from pens and markers will fade much quicker than that of a pencil. Pencils can also be used to record information that might assist emergency crews; information about allergies for example, or descriptive details about a snake, or a record of signs and symptoms. 
  •  Cue tips, and neosporin in a 2 inch soda straw (sealed at both ends). The neosporin (stored in a 2 inch soda straw for the purpose of "compactness"), is obviously useful for treating skin infections, and to prevent infections in burns, minor cuts, and wounds. The neosporin can be applied to a cue tip, which in turn can be applied directly to the wound. Cue tips are also useful for cleaning wounds; they can be dipped in water and then used to sweep away dirt and debris.
  • Mylar blanket, also known as a first aid, or emergency, or thermal blanket. What's so great about these blankets is that they can be folded up and stored in a small snack size ziploc bag, and they weigh  next to nothing (less than 2oz.). Useful in a sudden downpour, or to keep you warm if the temperatures suddenly drop, a mylar blanket offers warmth and protection from cold weather elements.

In addition to these essential items, first-aid bags should also include: alcohol pads, various types of gauze, bandaids of different sizes and width, and antibiotic ointment. Also recommended, as items to carry in either a camelbak or on your body (in clothing pockets), include: a cellphone, a whistle and compass, a small amount of money, baby wipes, quick-energy snacks and electrolytes.

Always remember, your best form of defense is to always be prepared.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Do This, Not That!

Jannine Myers

You've probably heard of or seen the book series Eat This, Not That. It's a great reference for those who want to make healthier food choices but don't know where to start. It's fairly obvious by now that not all foods are good for you, and so in this case, we can all agree that choosing to "eat this, not that," is good advice. In other instances however, where health and fitness is concerned, the best choices are not so discernible.

In a day and age where nothing stays the same for too long, and where today's trends get left behind by tomorrow's trends, we're frequently forced to consider new training methods, new running shoes, new strength routines, and new diets. It's difficult keeping up with them all, and even more so trying to weigh up each of their pros and cons.

Trail running anyone?

Or how about crossfit?

I read a blog post a few days ago about an ongoing "tit-for-tat" argument between two elite athletes, each a staunch advocate for their choice of sport. I don't need to go into detail, except to say that one of the athletes made negative claims about the other's style of training, and a retaliatory confrontation ensued. The author of the blog post pointed out that all this bickering is unnecessary, and that any type of sport or exercise which promotes greater health and fitness should be celebrated rather than criticized.

I have to agree! Given that more than one third of U.S. adults are obese (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), I think that athletes in general, and collectively, should set the example for the non-exercising population and encourage them to find an enjoyable form of exercise, whatever that may be.

I admit that in the past I have recommended, or not recommended, certain sports or workout routines, based on my own biases and what has worked or not worked for me. The problem though, is that it's not about me, it's about the other person and what might might work for him or her. In that respect, I think a more admirable approach to how we view the workout choices of others, is to recognize that their chosen sport or training method keeps them from living sedentary lives.

One thing we athletes understand, is that we are dedicated to being healthy and active because we love what we do. But like other things in life that people feel strongly about, there are always opposite schools of thought; in the fitness world there will always be people telling you to train this way, not that way, or to wear minimalist shoes, not support shoes, or to follow a paleo diet, not a vegan diet.


Versus Vegan?

As long as the recommendations are given in a spirit of goodwill, then the recipient can gratefully receive the advice and act on it if they so wish. It's when a person's choices are violated by the cutting remarks of someone who thinks they know better, that arguments like the one I mentioned above spiral out of control. Why can't athletes, regardless of their leanings towards crossfit, or veganism, or barefoot running, simply support one another's training methods and dietary preferences?

Getting back to the point made earlier, wouldn't it be better to shift the emphasis from one which reeks of superiority (i.e."do this, not that!"), to one of respect, and then ultimately to one which applauds any type of lifestyle that moves a person towards greater health and fitness?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dealing With Injuries: Exercise Guidelines

Jannine Myers

I've been running seriously for several years now, and while I wish I could say that I hardly ever deal with injuries, the opposite is actually true. It's as if every time I start to make progress with my training I suffer a  setback in the way of minor but persistent muscle pain, or a full-blown muscle strain or tear. My most recent (and current) injury is a right hamstring strain, or at least I think it's a strain. 

One of the most frustrating things about any type of injury is not knowing exactly what it is you're dealing with, and then of course, not knowing how to proceed with training. In my search for answers on what might be causing the pain in my hamstring, I came across an article (by running expert Jenny Hadfield), which suggested some useful guidelines on dealing with injuries. 

If you're like me, and prone to injury, please take the time to read Jenny's advice:

Photo courtesy of

For endurance junkies, an injury is a tough pill to swallow. The good news is the old-school prescription of “rest, rest and more rest” has been debunked by recent research. Evidence now suggests that a modi ed exercise plan helps you heal faster than staying off your feet completely.
The key is to catch an injury at the onset, evaluate the ache and modify your workouts accordingly. Follow the guidelines below to assess the gravity of your particular pain—we’ve separated the stages of injury into four different zones—and to see which exercises are safe for you.


Symptoms: Mild discomfort only after a run.
Exercise Rx: As long as there is no pain mid-workout, you can continue to run. Stick to  at terrain, avoid speed work or tempo runs and cut your mileage in half. Swap every other running workout with low-impact cross-training, such as yoga, weight lifting, elliptical, biking and swimming. Stretch lightly and perform self-massage daily with a foam roller or similar device.
Symptoms: Very mild pain while running that does not cause you to alter your stride or limp. The discomfort may be present (but does not worsen) post-run.
Exercise Rx: Cross-train with low-impact activities for five to seven days. If the pain subsides, gradually incorporate running back into your workouts. For example, if you were biking for 30 minutes, bike for 20 minutes and run for 10. Slowly add more running minutes over the following week or two.


Symptoms: Pain is present during and after a run and restricts activity. You can no longer run without altering your stride.
Exercise Rx: Cross-train at easy-to moderate efforts with activities that do not cause pain. Consult a doctor or physical therapist to develop a recovery plan with exercises that build strength and flexibility.


Symptoms: Acute, unrelenting pain.
Exercise Rx: Before you hit the gym, you must visit your doctor. Depending on your diagnosis, you can begin to exercise with non-weight bearing activities (e.g. swimming, aqua jogging, rowing) as tolerated. Work with your doctor to develop a recovery plan tailored to your injury. Listen to your body and you’ll prevent overuse injuries from worsening. Remember: If it hurts, don’t do it. If your pain is ever in the orange or red zones, it’s time to make a doctor’s appointment.


The location of your injury will dictate which  exibility, strength and cardio exercises you can perform safely.


Flexibility: Massage and stretch your hip flexors and glutes.
Strength: Perform bodyweight planks, as well as lunges and squats if they do not cause pain.
Cardio: Rowing machine, aqua jogging and swimming. Elliptical trainer or cycling if you have no pain.


Flexibility: None until you can walk pain-free. Then, gently stretch and massage quads, hips and glutes.
Strength: Once pain-free, perform bridges, hip extensions and hamstring curls.
Cardio: Rowing machine, aqua jogging, swimming and ab work.

IT Band

Flexibility: Massage the IT band using a foam roller.
Strength: Focus on exercises for your glutes and hips (squats, single-leg squats, hip raises and lateral band walks).
Cardio: Elliptical trainer, swimming, rowing machine and cycling.


Flexibility: Gently stretch calf. Roll tennis ball under the foot and massage calves.
Strength: Foot and ankle strengthening exercises, including heel raises, single-leg balances and lunges.
Cardio: Rowing machine, aqua jogging and swimming. Elliptical trainer if you have no pain.
Jenny Hadfield is the co-author of Running for Mortals and Marathoning for Mortals. You can find more of her training programs, tips and running classes at