Niagara Falls Running: 14 weeks to go until the big day!

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Well, it’s been 1.5 weeks since I decided to take my Niagara Falls running to the next level and register for the Niagara Falls International Marathon. My previous and first post on this subject gave a little history on how I began running two years ago, so I won’t go into any depth about that except to say that the reasons that have kept me engaged with running have gone further beyond wanting to lose the baby weight — it is now part of my almost daily routine. Ask anyone that knows me about the two things in life that I can’t live without, and they will tell you a) my son, Kaidyn and b) running. I am addicted to the endorphin rush and the sense of utter relaxment, calmness and euphoria when I finish on empty. This is why I truly believe in the term “runner’s high” — because it happens to me on every single run. Niagara Falls running is a key motivator that keeps me from getting bored because I happen to live in a region with one of the most beautiful backdrops to run by — the Niagara Falls. Running on the trails in Niagara-on-the-Lake, little towns within the Niagara region (such as Jordan), and finding my “happy spots” as I call them in my hometown of St.Catharines keeps me focused, engaged, and challenged every time I step out the door.
I would be lying if I told you that during this past week and a half that I made the decision to jump to a full marathon, that I decided to stick to a specific marathon training plan. I did not. I am stubborn in that I like to train my own way and I kind of took on the notion that I am my own personal trainer. I refer to the book “Running: The Complete Guide to Building Your Running Program” by John Stanton as a general resource for my training. If you read my first post, you will know that I have done several half marathon races, and this book that you can purchase at the Running Room is an excellent tool for the beginner runner and for the seasoned athlete. My favourite chapter in the book breaks down a training guide for whichever type of race you are planning on doing (in this case, a full marathon) and even caters to whatever time you aim to finish in! I love this because my average half marathon finishing time is at the 1:45 mark, so you can up the ante and follow a 1:40 guide.
Niagara Falls running
In any case, with this book I personally use it to keep me on track, but I don’t follow it every day as a specific set schedule. Some people choose to, and that’s great, but I like to colour outside the lines a bit and do my own thing. This past week, Niagara Falls running has been a challenge with the heat. A few days in a row we saw temperatures at the 32-33c mark, with the humidity making it feel more like 40C, and in some cases even higher than that! This didn’t mean that I fell off my training plan though! I made sure to hydrate properly and I ran with water. I don’t like to wear anything around my waist when I run, so I don’t use hydration belts. I keep my water bottle in my hands the whole time. The first day of our heatwave last week I found that even though I kept myself hydrated, my muscles were sore and achy throughout my whole body. I violated one of my own running tips…in extreme heat carry ELECTROLYTES! An “electrolyte” is any salt mineral that carries signals between cells allowing them to react properly. It regulates blood pressure, heart rate, water levels and muscle movement. If we don’t have enough electolytes, our body doesn’t perform as well. In extreme heat this tends to suffer and products that carry electrolytes (especially on longer runs) will benefit your performance. Gatorade for instance, is a an excellent source of a drink containing electrolytes. Races will usually have water and Gatorade stations set up every few kilometres. I really like Nuun tablets. They are flavoured tablets that disolve in water and they are easy on my stomach. Other popular brands of electrolytes are Gels such as Gu, in which you swallow back a pouch before or during your run and it gives you the extra “lift” that you need to keep going. Practice your tolerance for an electrolyte source well before your big day to see which product works for you — you don’t want any unnecessary “surprises” the day of. There’s is nothing worse than having to make a pit stop at a port-a-potty when you are trying to beat the clock! That’s all I will say about that.
Niagara Falls running
If you live locally to Niagara Falls and you plan on registering for the Niagara Falls International Marathon , I would like to share with you one of my favourite Niagara Falls running routes. With all the chaos of raising a two-year old and everyday daily stresses I find it relaxing to get out for a trail run and I love the nature. This route is in St.Catharines and it’s the Merritt Trail. This trail begins at Bradley Street in south St.Catharines and continues through to Martindale Road in west St.Catharines and connects with the Green Ribbon Trail. The length of the trail is 11 kilometres. In the past week alone I have seen a massive tortoise, three beavers and just last night when I turned the corner I came face-to-face with a gorgeous deer! I have attached the pictures below as I always carry my iphone with me on my runs to track my GPS route through the free Nike+ GPS app. Please excuse the quality of my pictures. I took the picture of the deer so quickly!
Niagara Falls running
Niagara Falls running
In general, my training this last week and a half has been more about a test of will and strength in this heat than focusing on mileage. I have stayed consistent with running a 10K distance on average while keeping 2 days a week open for crosstraining, in which I choose to lift light weights and stregthen my core through abdominal exercises, planks and squats. My advice to you is to not avoid exercising in extreme heat, but to embrace it, while of course taking the necessary precautions. It is training in weather like this that may give you an extra edge over the opponent if you are competitive, but will also make you a stronger runner because the only person that you need to compete with is the person that you were yesterday when it comes to improvement. That’s the whole point in marathon training, right?
If you have enjoyed this blog or feel that it may help to encourage someone to give running a go, share this blog!
Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing my Niagara Falls running experiences with you!
Niagara Falls running
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