Million Mile Light (Kickstarter)

I don’t normally get too excited about Kickstarters, but this one I saw today has me really excited. It’s called the Million Mile Light and it’s an LED safety light for runners with a unique twist.

The difference between this light and others is that the Million Mile Light is powered by you. The motion of your running powers the LED lights. No batteries, no charging. Clip it on and run, and the motion of your body is enough to light it up.

Unlike some other Kickstarters, the product is ready to go. It’s been designed, prototyped and is ready to be manufactured. All that’s needed is enough people to get onboard for an initial order. It’s expected that the lights will be shipped sometime in very early 2016.

Check it out:

If it’s something you think you’d want to get behind, there are a bunch of different Kickstarter support levels starting from £12 (about $25 Canadian).

Knowing When to Downgrade or Drop Out

Training is hard work, and sometimes life or injury gets in the way and you are faced with a difficult decision of whether to downgrade to a shorter race distance or even drop out entirely.

Deciding to switch to a shorter race (or no race at all) isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’ll find yourself on the fence between toughing it out and running an event you know you probably aren’t quite ready for, or switching down to something shorter and then dealing with the regret of not having reached your goal.

Here’s a few tips to make the decision a bit easier:

  • If you are injured, it isn’t worth it to run: There will always be other races, but if you run through an injury you run the real risk of doing more serious or even permanent damage that could mean the race you run will be your last. If an injury is affecting your training to the point where you are falling so far behind that you don’t think you can run the distance, then you need to listen to your body and either downgrade to gain some healing time, or drop out entirely.
  • Take a look at your training log: I sure hope you have a log of all your training, because it never lies. If you find yourself questioning how you’ll get runs done every Sunday, you should look no further than your training logs to see what’s going on. Be honest with yourself and compare your log to the training schedule. If you’ve missed more runs than you’ve done, or came up way short on your long Sunday runs, then it’s time to admit you probably shouldn’t be running the race.
  • Do a commitment check: Ask yourself, “How badly do you want this?” If you don’t have an immediate answer, then deep down inside, you’ve already made the decision. Distance running is a serious commitment. Maybe you bit off more than you could chew, or maybe your priorities shifted. If you aren’t fully committed to the race, you can’t succeed.
  • Consult your buddies: Ask the people you run with what they think. They’ll often know where you are in your training better than you might and if you tell them to be honest, you’ll often get the answer you need. Draw on their experiences as well. It’s likely that some of them have faced similar decisions in the past.

It happens

Downgrading or dropping out happens. Look at the numbers of people who sign up for races every year and then don’t show up on race day. Distance running, especially the marathon, is hard. It’s 18 weeks (or more) of full commitment and it involves all facets of your life.

Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself when the time comes to make the decision. Sometimes having the weight lifted off you mind will help you rediscover running for the love of it.

If you do decide to continue on your training journey, take the opportunity to fully recommit to the training and hold yourself accountable to that decision. Good luck!

Running in the Heat

It’s summertime in Toronto and that means running in the heat. High temperatures and humidity, combined with a blazing sun can make for some less than enjoyable running, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do a few things to mitigate the effects.
IMG_2444Here are some tips for those facing some hot summer runs:

  • Run earlier or later in the day: If you like the morning runs, get out there before the sun comes up and the heat really builds in. If you are a late-day runner, delay your run until closer to sundown (or even after sunset, if you can) and avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Ease back on the pace (and the distance): Slow it down a bit and consider cutting the length short too. Running in the heat takes more effort so you’ll get the same effect running 80% of the scheduled distance, or at a slower pace than usual. Don’t risk heat exhaustion by pushing it too hard or running too far in the heat.
  • Plan cooler routes: Think about the sun and the winds and plan out a route that affords protection from the blazing rays. For us in Toronto that means east/west routes around midday where the south side of the street is generally shady. Early or late day runs can be north/south as the sun is lower and you’ll find shade on the east or west side of the street. You might also consider running along the lake where it tends to be cooler, although sometimes that might mean less shade.
  • Stay hydrated: Fill your bottle up with ice and then water and drink it at regular intervals. Don’t wait until you are thirsty – keep ahead of dehydration. After your run make sure you drink an extra bottle of water to get re-hydrated so you don’t risk a headache later in the day. Sip water throughout the day if you are planning to head out later. But don’t over-hydrate as too much water can throw off your sodium and potassium levels in a dangerous way.
  • Dress smart: That doesn’t always mean shorts and a singlet or tank top. It means light colours, thinner shirts and a good hat. And don’t forget to put on the suncreen too.

Summer running in the heat can be enjoyable if you take a few steps to account for the effects that hot temperatures can have on your body. Run smart and if it gets too hot and humid, make sure you do the right thing and consider whether you really need to run in the extreme heat.