Roots: Issue 5

Roots: Grounding your running, mindfulness, health and wellness


Life is a rollercoaster filled with peaks and valleys. No one is living at the top the entire time, and its not meant to be that way. Everyone experiences the lows too, but its important to keep grounded during these times and realize that it doesn’t last forever.

The highs and the lows each come with their own set of challenges and it’s important to stay grounded and aware through it all and remember that you are playing the long game…. Life is an ultra!

Issue 5 is going to explore both of these extremes to try and help you stay level through it all.



I understand that not everyone can relate to that point in an ultra when your mind is telling you there is no way that you are going to finish. Flash back to when I was running the triple looper at Cape Chignecto…. I was 100k in to a 142k run, but all I wanted to do was hurl and go to sleep. No way I could run another marathon right? Well sometimes when things are looking impossibly hard and you really don’t think you can go on, all it takes is a few steps in the right direction. Then the key is to forget about how far you have left to go and just focus yourself on the present and what you can do to keep moving forward in that moment.

There are often points in life where I’ll struggle feeling like I am not making progress, or that I really just don’t feel like getting out of bed today, or how am I going to make it through this week?! I’ve got no energy, and a ton of work to do. Enter the mantra “This is ultra training”. Feel free to substitute what ever your working towards “this is marathon training” or “this is 5k training”. Any time you can shift you mindset in a life situation to be able to tough it out, your training your brain to be able to tough it out in a race or training when it gets hard.

And the cool thing is…. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Think of it like push-ups for your brain. Every time you have that mental battle it’s a workout and you get stronger.



When your running for 30 + hours straight you will often find yourself fluctuating between feeling fantastic and feeling terrible (not too much time just feeling ok haha). If your not careful and lose sight of the fact that you still have a long way to go, you can get carried away go to hard and cause yourself to completely crash and burn. The key at this end of the spectrum is to proceed with optimism but always staying mindful of the goal. Sometimes if you hit the sweet spot you’ll be able to coast feeling great for longer and be able to cover more ground feeling better then if you were to give into temptation and let to pace fly with reckless abandon.

Everything in life is going great, you’re feeling like you have endless energy and there is nothing you can’t do. Similar to running an ultra you want to lock in a cruise towards your goal. If your not careful and get caught up in the bliss of feeling fantastic you’ll look up someday and find yourself over committed and possibly spiraling down to a deep low. Its that quick burn out you want to avoid.



In life as in ultras there are many highs and lows. When your feeling low, just hang in there and know that it’s not going to last forever another high will eventually come, you just need to stay focused, put one foot in front of the other and endure. When your feeling high embrace it and enjoy it, but don’t over extend yourself and cause early burnout.

So that’s a rap for ISSUE 5. If you enjoyed it please let us know in the comments. Share this with someone you think could find this useful and Subscribe so you can get our next News Letter. Also let us know if there are topics which you would like to see discussed in future issues.

Root: Issue 4

Roots: Grounding your running, mindfulness, health and wellness



This one comes to us from one of readers and it’s an important one for this time of year. As your training throughout the winter something inevitable happens… people around you start getting sick, and you yourself might feel something coming on.

What are you to do? And what happens if you get sick?

There are often a lot of questions surrounding this topic and sometimes there can be a bit of mentality of “if it doesn’t kill you… it makes you stronger” So maybe you should just suck it up and train through it then? Well not necessarily and this is where Issue 4 takes us.



As one might expect you best defense against having to deal with being sick while your training is well…. just not to get sick in the first place!

There are a few simple things one can do when everyone around you is getting sick and it seems that any day now its bound to be your turn.


  • Wash you hands… now it don’t mean to become obsessive with the purel but just be mindful about washing your hands, for example if you take the bus to work, make sure to wash your hands before sitting down at your desk (you’ll probably end up touching your mouth at some point..)
  • Try to get even more sleep than usual. Sleep helps your body fight off anything that you might contract throughout the day. So if you normally get 7 hrs, make an effort to get 7.5 hrs instead! it will make a difference.
  • It’s come up a few time before… but making the extra effort to eat an abundance of whole foods and drink lots of fluids (2L + water a day, helps your body filter out harmful germs).
  • You can take immune boosting herbs and supplements like cordyceps or macca root. Or for example if your kids are sick, you could start taking Echinacea in an effort to help prevent getting sick.


Sometimes you can feel a sickness coming on. If your lucky and you can catch it early and try to get some extra rest and fluids (and perhaps the above mentioned Echinacea) can help head things off before it gets worse. At this point in time your not quite sure if your sick or not, so its usually advised just to proceed with caution and perhaps back off on the intensity.

Nope… you are really sick now what?


Generally speaking your symptoms are all above the neck, maybe you’ve got a super runny nose etc. Use you judgment, but it’s probably ok to train through this.

Things seem to be getting worse? I’m really tired, kind of achy now what?


At this point its really just best to give your body the rest that it needs and try and get better as quickly as possible. Training through your sickness at this point can likely prolong and potentially worsen what’s going on, so in the long term your best bet is just to focus on getting healthy!



Again it’s a bit of a judgment call here. But its best to proceed with cautious optimism and not to jump right back into an intense workout.

Plan to have a feeling out easy run, and plan a route with short loops so you can bail early if your not feeling well during the run. It’s best not to push through the run if you start to feel miserable, so leaving yourself a way to get back home quickly takes the pressure off of finishing the run. Give it a few days of easing back into things before you resume your full training load. Remember you body is probably still fighting something off at this point, or worse your immune system is weaker than usual and you might catch something else if you jump back into training at full speed too soon!



If you do find yourself getting sick, do what you can to help your body fight it off as fast as possible. If your symptoms are below the neck…. then “nobody needs a hero” resting up is your best bet to being able to train at full capacity in the shortest amount of time.

So that’s a rap for ISSUE 4. If you enjoyed it please let us know in the comments. Share this with someone you think could find this useful and Subscribe so you can get our next News Letter. Also let us know if there are topics which you would like to see discussed in future issues.

Roots: Issue 3

Roots: Grounding your running, mindfulness, health and wellness



Every once in a while you come across something that just makes you take a step back and think for a bit. Recently for me there was an instagram post showing a man who was climbing an epic mountain for his 80th birthday. Or when you see a 70 year old woman become the oldest finisher of the Western States 100 mile ultra (shown here ) I cant help but pause for a minute or two and think that’s what I want to aspire to do. More specifically I want a body and a mind that I can thoroughly enjoy right up until the end. I don’t know what your end game is, and why you exercise and take care of yourself… but this is mine. I’m going to be climbing mountains until the end.

So what can I do to make sure that I can do this? Issue 3 dives in right here.



Research into the in to the communities that live the longest and are the happiest on the planet conducted by Dan Beuttner shows that one of the largest contributors to a long and healthy life is community. How strong are your ties to your community, and how much do you feel like you belong. Being an active member in a community keeps you engaged and it helps give you purpose and makes you feel appreciated.

For me this couldn’t be truer. The more I surround myself with like minded supportive people the more drive I have for life and I guess that’s the secret!

I used to be intimidated by social running groups and I chase to do all of my training on my own, but incorporating social group runs once a week has made a huge difference for me.



So you runner and you think that you do get out and move you body pretty good a few times a week and this should be enough right?

I used to think so too… but then I had a light bulb moment. I was at the SONOFA GUNOFA race this year and I was just astounded by how well the cross fitters we doing. How was this possible that their bodies were allowing them to continue in this race for so long? Well they had durable bodies.

So decided that I needed to look into this some more… so I reached out to some friends that I used to coach at Mayo Brothers Calisthenics and got them to get me started out with a strength and mobility plan. What I found was that the results came quickly and were fairly notable and I was only doing these workouts 2-3 times a week. Return on investment here was huge! (We have since partnered together to offer running specific strength and mobility programs)

So incorporating strength and mobility work outside of running helps you move your body into positions that you wouldn’t get into running, helping you maintain a full range of motion in all of your joints while giving them strength to make your body as a whole more durable and ready to take on any challenge.

This one is a no brainer for me… Strength and mobility work started now will help me reach my goal of doing epic adventures when I am 80.



Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a plant based athlete and I am very passionate about eating a whole foods diet. I choose to eat this way for 80 year old me.

I am not here to try and convert you to my ways…. but more of just challenging you to start being more mindful about what you put in your mouth, because it matters.

If it helps try to think of it this way… you are eating today so that 80 year old you can be out having fun and climbing mountains and enjoying life to the fullest. Don’t wait until you are 80 for life to decide for you that you need to eat better…. because by then you have all ready lost.

Its sounds intimidating I know… but when you boil it down it’s a real simple act. Just think about what you are eating. A simple way to start is to write down each day what you ate and how you felt about it… openly an honestly. I know this is after the fact… but it forces you to think about it and confront it. Doing so you will eventually change your thought process and your relationship with food. Give it a shot!



It helps sometimes to think about your end game. Not always thinking about what is going to make you a better person or athlete in the short term, but to stretch a bit and think how can you set 80 year old you up for success so you can still be enjoying the things that you love to the fullest.

So that’s a rap for ISSUE 3. If you enjoyed it please let us know in the comments. Share this with someone you think could find this useful and Subscribe so you can get our next News Letter. Also let us know if there are topics which you would like to see discussed in future issues.

Roots: Issue 2

Roots: Grounding your running, mindfulness, health and wellness


Running outside in the winter is tough, its cold, windy, slippery and sometimes just plain miserable… Your water freezes, your hands go numb and you have an ice cream headache just from the wind.

Fortunately there are ways to run outside and reduce/eliminate many sources of this winter suffering and that is where Issue 2 is going to take us.


Running when its cold outside is all about wearing the appropriate layers of clothes for the conditions of the day. Common mistakes include overdressing, under dressing, and wearing un-breathable layers. These mistakes can leave you too warm, too cold, or just plain cold and sweaty.

So lets dive in with some suggestions from the head down. Now theses are just suggestions and everyone’s temperature comfort zone is different, so adapt what helps you and leave out what doesn’t.



For a typical day for me a find a buff (head wrap) around my ears is plenty and it allows for great ventilation for the top of head so you don’t over heat, however as the mercury dips below -10C I generally switch to a toque and use the buff as a secondary layer to provide extra protection for my ears and my face. For the hat it’s important that you choose a breathable fabric that allows for good ventilation or your find yourself overheating and becoming uncomfortable.

Now when its colder that -20 and the wind is howling you should take some extra precautions. You can use some Vaseline to help protect you cheeks from the cold wind, or even better a neoprene ski mask with vent holes for breathing. The ski mask also help warm the air you are breathing before you breath it in making higher output activities easier on your lungs at these freezing temperatures.

If its real nasty out and your feeing brave, the last piece of gear that helps is ski goggles. When it’s windy and snowy or haling and you’d still rather get your run in outdoors than on the treadmill these are a life saver.



In the winter I more often that not wear a windbreak layer, this is essential to block that bitter cold wind and will keep you warmer. Winter cycling jackets work great for this, or even just a shell windbreaker that you would layer in the summer. Underneath you can layer appropriately for the day.

Keep in mind that you want breathable moisture wicking layers. On really cold days I start with a thermal moisture wicking warm base layer (my go to is my Helly Hansen lifa), and layer another breathable mid weight long sleeve on top. On more moderate days I will start with a “dry” rather than a “warm” base layer.

If your layers are not breathable and moisture wicking you will find that as you heat up you will sweat, and instead of staying warm your sweat will accumulate and will make you cold.



Many a runner will be out for a winter run, layered perfectly but there hands end up freezing. Running gloves are often very light weight and for me unless I’m doing high intensity interval training they just don’t cut it for me when it’s below -10. The solution that has worked best for me has been cycling mittens. They are warm, breathable and have a wind break layer. You could also try out some lighter weight ski gloves or mitts. Don’t suffer with frozen hands when you can fix the problem easily. You can also use hand warmers to help as well!



There are many great lined tights out there for running, but where a lot of them fall short is in breaking the wind. I can’t speak for the ladies, but I know it can get pretty uncomfortable down there when it’s windy and cold.

Again I find either cycling or cross country ski gear has done it right here. You need to find lined tights (or looser cross country ski or alpine pants) which are meant for high output activities and vent well, but the have the all important windbreak fabric on the whole front of the legs. When that’s still not enough, double up on the underwear!


I’ve never had too many issues with the comfort of my feet in the winter. I’ll typically just use a slightly thicker sock and my feet stay warm enough all on their own. The problem arises in wet slushy conditions, deep snow or slippery ice.

There are some running shoes out there like the Altra Lone Peak Neo Shell and the Solomon Snow cross which are waterproof and are great in these conditions, but they come at a premium. You can always waterproof an old pair of shoes with some scotch guard as a more economical solution.

For most sloppy conditions I find switching up my road shoes for trail shoes can help provide some extra traction in the snow and slush. This extra grip however is still useless when it comes to ice!

Some shoes like the Solomon Snowcross come pre studded for extra traction on the ice (you pay for it though!). However, you can take that old pair of shoes and stud them yourself with some sheet metal screws as shown in this video ( DIY studding your shoes ) for a dollar or two in a few simple steps.



The winter can be a harsh environment for running and other outdoor activities, but if you prepare properly your time outdoors during this season can be a lot more enjoyable!

So that’s a rap for ISSUE 2. If you enjoyed it please let us know in the comments. Share this with someone you think could find this useful and Subscribe so you can get our next News Letter. Also let us know if there are topics which you would like to see discussed in future issues.

Roots: Issue 1

Roots: Grounding your running, mindfulness, health and wellness



As we embark on the journey that is a new year, I always think it is important to take the time to think about what we want to accomplish. It is important to think about the coming year, but also take the time to check in on the current trajectory that your life is headed.

Do the inner work required to find out what truly excites you.




Before you can chart a course forward it is wise to look backwards and evaluate the past year or years to see how you have done. Be honest with yourself, it’s not about judgment and feeling bad about what you didn’t do. It’s about growth.

  1. Write a list of things down that you wanted to accomplish last year?
  2. With that same list evaluate how you did on a scale of 0-10. (0 being no progress and 10 being goal achieved)
  3. For your goals that you did achieve what allowed you to do so?
  4. For the goals you did not achieved what were your road blocks?

One great piece of advice I read last year is that when you are rating on a scale of 1-10 you can never choose the number 7. The 7 is a very non committal number. Its high enough that things are ok and there is no major issue or real reason for changing, but its not high enough that things are great. Don’t you want to be striving for great? Keep this in mind next time you are rating anything.

Knowing what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past is a great way to help put systems in place for you to succeed in the future.

Now as perceptive as you are, you have probably deduced that this doesn’t just apply to you fitness goals. You can and should apply this reflection and goal setting process to all of your goals.



Now here is the hard part. This one requires some thought. Do you know that most people in today’s world are so out of tune with themselves they don’t know what they want, what makes them happy? Do you?

Think about it for a while and write it down, what are things that you can do which will make you happy this year, what can you get excited about doing? The deeper you go on this the better. It may help to think back over years past to try and reconnect with something in your younger days.

Here is an example, thinking back to when I was younger I would spend all day in the woods playing in nature running around exploring as happy as could be. So setting goals for myself that allow me to reconnect with my inner child who loves adventuring in nature allows me to be authentic and truly get excited for the work that I know I need to put in.

Now write them down and make a list.

Most people are great about setting outcome goals. “I want to run my first 10k!”

Ok so you have decided your goals, now how do you go about achieving them? Well as it is often said “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”. So you need more than just an outcome goal.



If for example you want to run a 10k, you will be more successful focusing on the small steps between now and the race than just thinking about the race.

In order for you to run 10K in a couple months, you need to put in the work. Set a running plan and stick to it. If your plan is to run Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, treat each of those runs an their own specific goal.

Put your schedule on the fridge and put a check mark beside each completed run. These check marks will give you a boost of confidence every time you look at them.

When you put in the daily work and meet those millstones, the outcome goal of running 10k will take care of itself.

Also, and this has been a big turning point for me…. when it’s not all tied to the outcome (if for some reason you don’t achieve what you set out to do) you can look back at the process and know that you gave it everything that your could.



You greatly increase your chances for success when you put systems in place to hold yourself accountable. These systems can take many forms such as:

  • Signing up for a race (for some this is enough incentive)
  • Tell your friends / family / co-workers / partner what you want to achieve and why
  • Pay for training (shameless plug) but hey if you have paid for the training your more likely to do it than if you have invested nothing in it other than the 5 min it took you to find a plan on the internet
  • Find a group of like minded people with similar goals and surround yourself with them (for me this is North End Runners!), FIND YOUR TRIBE!
  • Set milestones, big goals are daunting and can be sometimes be far away, setting smaller milestone goals can help keep you on track

So that’s a rap for ISSUE 1. If you enjoyed it please let us know in the comments.

Share this with someone you think could find this useful and Subscribe so you can get our next News Letter. Also let us know if there are topics which you would like to see discussed in future issues.

P.S. Here’s my accountability. My goal is to write one of these every two weeks for you guys…. So here we go!