Lynn Kanuka’s coaching advice: Be weather wise and go with the flow

Hello to everyone around the province!

When I was health screening with our Run/Walk team in beautiful Hazelton near Smithers, I had the privilege of chatting with a wonderful 85-year-old woman.

Her blood pressure, body strength, sugars and cholesterol readings were all in perfect health. She told me she’s always walked every day in her life, and now walks three times per week with 70 other dedicated elders in her village community.

She’s a happy lady with a twinkle in her eyes who has seen so much in her time. I asked what her secret to a good life is. She smiled and said quite simply: “Go with the flow!” Wise words we can apply to everything we do every day.

Workloads will climb again this week as we build toward the 10K distance in the April 22 Sun Run, and a reminder if you are not comfortable with the progressions in the program, then be kind to yourself and either try slowing down or choose a less demanding program option.

Today as I write it’s a gorgeous sunny day but it’s still the “weather” that seems to be the main topic of conversation. From incessant rain around the Lower Mainland to huge snow and cold up north.

Don’t let weather stop you — but be wise — “go with the flow” and figure out alternative options.

• In the rain wear your own private umbrella (a hat!) and gloves. Layer up to stay warm and dry — it’s really that simple.

• In the snow try to find the crunchy packed bits on the side of the road if possible. That’s where the footing is best. Stay “light on the feet,” shorten the stride to tiny steps and land firmly under the hips so you’re assured of a solid landing.

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Technical grips to put on the bottom of your shoes called “Yaktrax” are a huge help — even the inexpensive $20 ones will make a difference with grips.

Find a safe strip under cover in a parking lot, for example — where you can run/walk back and forth. In Terrace we’ve used the sidewalk of the main street under an overhang. It was about two blocks long and we simply used that stretch for the entire workout.

• Runners may choose to walk briskly to stay safe rather than run on ice — the benefits are the same.

Alternatively stay inside and set up cones and/or a route down the hallways. Music always helps. Be creative with core and agility every five to 10 minutes to keep it interesting. For example do high knees, butt kicks, wall sits, planks, pushups, sit-ups, jumping jacks or mountain climbs.

While being creative, just make sure you stay with the correct overall workout time.

• Cross training options: Enjoy our mountains and try snowshoes or go cross-country skiing as they do up in 100 Mile. In the gym you can do the suggested workout on a spin bike or elliptical trainer.

Or try deep water running in a pool: Wear a flotation belt and stay afloat treading water using a running action with your arms and legs. (Yep, it really works!)

But stay with it and “go with the flow.” You can do it!

• Lynn Kanuka is an Olympic bronze medallist and SportMedBC’s Run/Walk coach. She won The Vancouver Sun Run women’s title in 1987, 1988 and 1989.

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