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Because hunger doesn't wait for policy change.





12 Tips to Get You to the Starting Line and Beyond

  1. Race kit pick-up. You can pick up your race kit on Friday, October 18 from 11-8 or Saturday, October 19 from 10-6 at Hall D, Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place. You can also have a friend pick up your race kit if that’s easier. Follow this link for more information.
  2. 5k Start Time is 8:00 at the Ex, the Half Marathon and Full Marathon start at 8:45. Have a good plan to get to the start line, as it’s usually fairly hectic as 25,000 people converge on one spot.  Your best bet usually is to have someone drive you as close to the start line as possible and walk the rest of the way. A little walk is also good for a warm-up and calming the nerves. I hate arriving too early to races – standing around for a while wastes precious energy and usually makes you more nervous. But with all the chaos of the start, don’t take anything to chance. Get there early enough to feel comfortable. You don’t want to be like Jean-Paul from the Seinfeld episode, arriving late for your race! There is no need for the added stress.
  3. Water. There is tons of water and Gatorade on the course, so there is no need to bring any. However, I personally have trouble drinking out of paper cups while on the run. The only realistic way I can do it is to stop and walk. When I stop, I find it hard to get going again. So I’ll be bringing water in my fuel belt, as usual, frozen the night before so it’s good and cold for the whole race. A good strategy though, if you think you might need short walks, is to use the fuel stations to take those little breaks. Get your water or Gatorade, and take a walk to make sure you get it all down instead of all over you. You’ll feel at least a bit refreshed and ready to go again.
  4. Don’t wait until the morning of to do the small things. Do things like lay out your race clothes, pin your bib to your shirt, get your gels together, etc. the night before. You don’t want to be scrambling around the morning of the race.
  5. Do not wear anything new. Do not wear new clothes or, heaven forbid, a new pair of shoes. Everything you do and wear for the race should be the same as what you’ve done in all your training runs, including what you eat (see below). It’s generally not a good idea to wear the STWM t-shirt either, since you probably won’t have a chance to wash or wear it in advance which could cause chaffing. Wear that later as a badge of pride!
  6. Eat a high carb breakfast about 2-3 hours before the start time. My breakfast of choice will be a large bowl of oatmeal, with a banana and maple syrup. It’s very high in carbs, and makes me feel full but not stuffed. This is the exact same meal I have been eating every morning before a long run. Eat a good amount of carbs, but don‘t eat anything out of the ordinary! Whatever you’ve been eating before training runs is what you should eat on the morning of the race. This not a time to be experimenting!
  7. If you drink coffee, have a small one with your breakfast. Caffeine is actually a legal performance enhancer. Whether or not you normally drink coffee or tea, it’s not a bad idea to have some caffeine prior to the run.  But don’t drink too much or you’ll have to pee! 6 hour energy is a good alternative to coffee, if that is worry for you. The other good think about coffee though, not to be gross, is that it gets your bowels moving. A clear-out is good before a race! (Again, not trying to be gross here).
  8. Washrooms are almost always very busy. My experience with the STWM is the port-o-potties usually have really big lines. Try to identify a good washroom close but slightly off the start line. Last year, the Yonge-Dundas Square washrooms were open, were not too busy and are within 5 minutes of the half and full marathon start line. Make sure you use the washroom before the race! There is nothing worse than having to take a pit stop during the race! (There are port-o-potties on the course).
  9. Buy a cheap sweatshirt to wear until the start of the race. Go to Goodwill or Value Village and pick up a cheap sweatshirt to wear over your running shirt on the morning of. As of writing, the high for October 20 is expected to be 12 – decent but cool for running in a t-shirt. At 8:00 or 8:45, though, before you get going, it’ll be chilly. A sweatshirt will keep your muscles warm, and you can take it off and drop it at the starting chute just before the race starts. Event staff will pick up all discarded clothing and donate it back to Goodwill where you got it. Consider it another small donation to a good charity!
  10. Don’t let the adrenaline of the start line push you to run too fast at the start of the race! You’ll have tons of nervous energy, thousands of people around you, music blaring, the race starter pumping everyone up, plus you’ll feel as good as you’re going to get physically. All of that makes it really easy to run too fast at the start. Don’t do it! You’ll pay for it with added fatigue at the end. Whatever your chosen pace is, stick with it or even run a bit slower for the first few kilometers until you settle down and are into the flow of the race. As I wrote here, running too fast at the start is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, and trust me, it’s easy to do.
  11. Have a plan to meet up with family and friends afterward. The end point of all the races (5k, half and full marathons) is Nathan Phillips Square. It’ll be busy, so have a plan for where to meet people.
  12. Enjoy it! Running a 5k, half marathon or marathon are all difficult. But the energy and the enthusiastically cheering crowds will get you through. (I’m trying to remember that too, as I’m a little bit scared at the moment!). Enjoy it, as running these distances is a pretty big accomplishment. And the after race pint will make it all worthwhile!

By Michael Oliphant, Lace Up for Hunger Team Captain


Date Added: October 18, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Anderson @ 3:11 pm

STWM: 10 Days to Go: How Fast Should I Run?

People say your goal when running your first marathon should simply be to finish. I think that is rubbish.

If just finishing was the goal, I could have done half the amount of training I did and I’m positive I could finish a five hour marathon without difficulty. But if I put in just under 1,000 kilometres of training so far, and with a week and a half to go, I want to make sure I am testing myself at least a bit. My goal time (and my extension pace) might be slightly on the conservative side, but I will be pushing for a good time.

So with just over a week to go to my first marathon I have been pondering the important question: how fast should I run?

I have learned a lot about the importance of pacing during my training. A lot of people run with the strategy of going fast off the start, and hope to hang in there at the end. This might be okay for a 5k and maybe a 10k, but is a terrible strategy for longer races.

I’ll give an example why. One week I did a Sunday long run of 23k. My target pace was in the range of 5:45-6:00 minutes per kilometre. In the early part of the run, I felt really strong (we all do at the start) and found myself running in the 5:10-5:15 range. I kept that up for about 10-12 kilometres. After that, I started noticeably slowing. It was that muggy hot week we had back in July, and by the end I was running well over 6:00 minutes per kilometre. My final average pace was 5:53/km.

For my next long run of 25k, I thought that if I’m going to end up at an average pace of 5:53 anyway, why not start there and save myself the pain of running fast at the start? I held myself back for the first ten kilometers, and actually came in at a slightly faster average pace of 5:46/km on the longer 25k run, and had the strength to pick up the pace at the end instead of fading. This taught me the lesson that running too fast at the start will actually lose time at the end of long runs. You are far better off running at a fairly consistent pace throughout.

Which brings me to my target pace for the marathon.

There are a few websites that have calculators that help you decide what pace and goal time is realistic for you at a range of distances based on runs you have already done. Two of the most highly rated ones can be accessed at and

Plugging in my best half marathon time (run at last year’s STWM), my Midsummer Night’s Run 30k time from August, and some recent training runs suggest the target pace ranges I’ve been considering should be realistic for me, even slightly conservative.

And to really test them out, for the past few weeks I’ve been incorporating more “race pace” runs into my training – that is runs, or parts of runs, at my target pace.

For example, my final long run was 35k, with the last 15 run at my target pace. Each of my last two 21k runs were at target pace or faster. The last one, in fact, I managed to beat my half marathon personal best and ran about 15-20 seconds per kilometer faster than my race pace, without feeling overly fatigued at the end. Having run these well has given me the confidence that my pacing is about right and that I should be able to push for a good time.

I think the challenge for me, and most runners, will be to keep to my pace at the beginning and not go out too fast, potentially setting me up for trouble later on.

The start line of the STWM is pure adrenaline and nerves; 25,000 people lined up, music blaring, spectators cheering. It’s easy to want to just take off while you feel good and get way ahead of goal pace. For the sake of a faster finishing time, I for one will be starting slow!

By Michael Oliphant, Lace Up for Hunger Team Captain

Run with Daily Bread’s Lace Up for Hunger team at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Date Added: October 10, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Tags: , , — Anderson @ 2:32 pm

Wolverine and Multiple Man race to fight hunger

On October 20, look out for Wolverine (Logan) and Multiple Man (Madrox) at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Two members of The X-Men of Toronto, they are running in support of Daily Bread’s Lace Up for Hunger team.

Logan and Madrox. Photo credit Laura Nemeth.

Logan and Madrox. Photo credit Laura Nemeth.

The X-Men of Toronto is a non-profit organization made up of X-men-themed cosplayers. Founded in early 2013, they help raise funds for various charities and encourage the younger generation to give back to the community.

The X-Men of Toronto support a number of great charities throughout the year. Running a food drive in support of Daily Bread earlier this year, Logan said that they chose Daily Bread Food Bank because of its “history as a charity that gives back to the community, something we aspire to do as well.”

“We normally pick charities that are not on everyone’s radar. But I chose the Daily Bread Food Bank for our food drive last June because I wanted to help a charity that was near my neighbourhood. But it really hit me when I came by the food bank to drop off the donations. Just interacting with the amazing helpful staff and volunteers, and seeing the all different people who depend on this organization, especially families. I was really touched at that visit. So I’m extremely thrilled that they invited us to run for them!”

To train for their first charity 5k, Madrox has been running on a treadmill two to three times a week during the weekdays and jogging outside once or twice on the weekends. Logan is used to playing sports but says he has never been much of a runner. He’s managed to fit in a few practice runs and is looking forward to being ready for October 20.

wolverinemadrox photo credit Quincy Morrison

Wolverine (Logan) and Multiple Man (Madrox). Photo credit Quincy Morrison.

While most of us will be wearing one of Daily Bread’s amazing team shirts both Madrox and Logan will be upping the ante and running in costume!

“Usually, I’d have three of my multiples strapped to my back, but I think I’m just gonna carry one in the race so I can be less wind-resistant. And I’ll switch my boots to comfortable running shoes. But you’ll still catch me in spandex,” said Madrox.

Logan said that he didn’t think racing as Wolverine would be too hard. “The costume I intend to wear is mostly spandex so it will stretch a lot. That being said, however, I won’t be wearing my normal knee-high boots. Those would be a bit too hefty unfortunately, so I’ll be wearing comfortable running-shoes instead.”

When asked what they were most looking forward to on race day, here’s what they had to say!

“I’m looking forward to seeing a crowd of supporters cheering the runners on. I’m hoping their cheerleading will help with my endurance. One thing I’m not looking forward to is running in a thunderstorm. But hey, we once did a food drive in High Park through rain and hail, so that won’t stop me.” – Madrox

“I’m looking forward to people realizing that if a couple of nerds like ourselves can do this for charity, so can they, so they should lace up their boots and come help their community too. Least looking forward too… spandex wedgie.” – Logan

Click here to support Madrox’s run for Daily Bread!

Click here to support Logan’s run for Daily Bread!

It’s not too late to sign up to run in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Register to race and raise money for Daily Bread. Click here for more information.

Date Added: September 27, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Fundraising Events, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Tags: , , , , , , , — Anderson @ 10:18 am

Lace Up for Hunger: Look good on race day

So you’ve registered for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and you’ve either joined the super fabulous Daily Bread Food Bank Lace Up for Hunger team, or you’re fundraising for Daily Bread (congratulations by the way, those are both very good things to do!).

You’ve trained for months to run or walk a 5k, half marathon, or marathon, putting in hours of work and, often, a little bit of pain.

Then on race day, October 20th, you line up at the start line on University Avenue and look around. There are 25,000 people, all in that same pre-race nervous stretching, iPod fiddling, GPS watch adjusting, shoelace-tightening mode, getting-ready-for-the-starters gun. And they’re almost all wearing red!

Lace Up for Hunger team technical shirts.

Lace Up for Hunger team technical shirts.

Now, I have nothing against the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront technical t-shirts that we’ll all get in our race packages. They’re great shirts, and I’m always proud to wear mine after the event to show off that I accomplished such an audacious goal of running a long race.

But when you’re running the race of your life, at that moment when you are feeling physically exhausted, not sure whether you can make it to the end, do you want your friends and family to immediately see you to give that cheer that pushes you on to the finish? Or do you want to blend in with all the other red-shirted runners and run right by them, having them miss you entirely as you stagger to the finish line?

Of course you don’t want that.

Daily Bread came up with a perfect solution: a team technical shirt in a colour that will truly stand out from all the red around you: green! And not just any green, a rich, emerald green which Pantone calls “a lively, radiant, lush green, the Color of the Year for 2013.” So you know that not only will you stand out against the crowd and be assured of the cheers you will need to finish the STWM with a personal best, you’ll also be stylin’ on the course.

Getting the Daily Bread Lace Up for Hunger shirt is easy. All you have to do is fundraise $250.  Not only will you receive a shirt, you may have race fees reimbursed if you are one Daily Bread’s top 10 individual fundraisers by 4:00 on Friday, September 20. It’s not a lot of time, but there is STILL TIME. Especially with the help of this handy tip sheet “How to raise $500 in one week.”

Best of luck! Let’s get those donations up!

Date Added: September 18, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Fundraising Events, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Tags: , , , — Anderson @ 11:20 am

Lace Up For Hunger: Half Way There!

When I made the decision to run my first marathon, I didn’t intend to just finish. I want to run at least reasonably fast too. Also having once been destroyed by a 30k, I wasn’t going to underestimate the marathon distance.

So I took on a pretty difficult training plan, running a solid five times a week at a range of speeds and distances plus one night of playing soccer.

Now that I’m just past the halfway point in my training, I thought I’d take a look at where I’ve come over the past nine weeks.

Lace Up For Hunger team captain Michael Oliphant finishes 30k at the Midsummer  Night's Run.

Lace Up For Hunger team captain Michael Oliphant finishes 30k at the Midsummer Night’s Run.

My weekly schedule starts with a short “recovery run” on Mondays which is intended to get the blood flowing and ease out the soreness from the Sunday long run. I usually do it on the treadmill at my gym and walk half the distance (since the point is to recover, not run fast or long). Being at the gym, I also do a bit of strength, balance and stretching exercises afterward.

Tuesdays consist of playing soccer. Actually, playing soccer has been the trickiest to fit into my schedule. Soccer itself is a lot of running, but it’s a combination of fast sprints and quick recovery. Because of the stop and go, quick turning, pivoting, and body contact, I’m usually sorer from soccer than any run. I’m still not sure exactly how it fits in my training (is it like a fartlek run? Or more like sprint intervals?). Hopefully it’s benefiting me somehow.

Wednesday is a run at increasing length (started at 8k and is now at 15k) at a slow pace, the same as what I would do a long run.

Thursday consists of speed work. I’m alternating between 800m sprints on a track, hill runs and “tempo” runs. The sprints started at 4 x 800; every three weeks another “set” is added. I’m up to seven this week and will eventually hit 8 x 800 in September. Hills follow a similar pattern, starting at four times up the hill on Logan Avenue in Riverdale along Withrow Park, and will eventually peak at seven. I find these the hardest of all my running workouts. Tempo runs are shorter runs done at a fast pace. I started at 30 minutes, adding five more minutes each one.

After a rest day on Friday, Saturday consists of a mid-range run at the same distance as my Wednesday run. Most of these are done at “race pace,” which is the pace at which I hope to run the full marathon. I find it helps to run at that pace frequently. Your body will start to become acclimated to it, plus you’ll start to be able to “feel” the pace without having to check your watch or running app all the time.

Sunday is the “long slow run,” which is exactly what it sounds like. I have learned the importance of doing this run at a slow pace, 45 seconds to a minute slower than my race pace. The point is to improve endurance by running progressively longer runs, not to run them as fast as you can.

Even though I’ll be running a marathon of 42.2 kilometres, I’ll never actually run this distance in my long runs. Most programs don’t go beyond 32k long runs. I’ll be going as high as 36k, only because I’ve never run a full marathon before and feel I need the confidence of getting closer to the full 42.

I am now up to long runs of 30k, which I have done three times. My longest week of running has been just over 70k, which will rise above 80k as I get up to long run distances into the mid-30s. Amazingly, a run of 21k (half marathon distance) looks like a light, easy run to me now. How perspective changes!

I’ve also had one practice race, the 30k Midsummer Night’s Run, which went really well. Unlike my Around the Bay 30k race in March in which I started fast and was walking by the end, I started conservatively, and actually sped up. My final 10k was four minutes faster than the first, and I finished in 2:39, a full ten minutes faster than my Around the Bay time. Definitely a good confidence booster! It also gave me the opportunity to try out a different approach to pre-race carb loading (actually fat loading followed by carb loading), as well as test my pacing and use of energy gels during an actual race.

Training at this intensity, there is always something a little sore, stiff or tight – be it my left Achilles tendon, hip flexors, or the bane of all runners, my IT bands. And one of my toe nails recently turned purple, the true mark of a runner if there ever was one.

But training for a marathon has been an incredible test: of formulating a plan with a lot of complex moving parts; staying disciplined and sticking to it as close as possible, and; listening to my body and knowing when to push harder, or often more importantly, when to take extra rest. All good traits that will serve me well beyond running.

Hopefully I can keep the discipline going for another eight to nine weeks!

By Michael Oliphant, Lace Up For Hunger Team Captain

Run with Daily Bread’s Lace Up For Hunger team at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Date Added: September 3, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Fundraising Events, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Anderson @ 10:12 am

Lace Up For Hunger: Gail’s Story

This past April, I walked five kilometres as part of a fundraising race for Daily Bread. This October, I’ll walk another five kilometres with my team in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I won’t run it, not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t. Two years ago my ankle was fused together in an operation to fix the arthritis that made walking an agony for me. I’ll never run. If you had told me six months ago I’d be walking a 5k in the spring, and another one in the fall, I would have told you to quit drinking so much.

Twenty years ago, I slipped and fell while filling a low tire with air and broke my ankle. It hurt like hell and bone was literally sticking out of my leg, but after three operations to fix it, it did get better. It wasn’t great, it didn’t work quite the way it used to it, but it was okay. For a while, at least.

Gail Nyberg (back row, orange jacket) walks her first 5k back in April with the Daily Bread team.

Gail Nyberg (back row, orange jacket) walks her first 5k back in April with the Daily Bread team.

But eight years ago, the arthritis started creeping in. Some days were better than others, and then there just seemed to be less and less of those better days. Walking became an agony. I would go to day-long fundraising events for Daily Bread and not sit down for eight to ten hours straight. Why? Because I was afraid that if I sat down too long, I wouldn’t be able to walk after I got back up. I learned to walk with a limp that put me in the least amount of pain. And whenever anybody asked how my ankle was, I brushed their comments off: “It’s fine; don’t worry about it.”

As a last resort, my doctor suggested having my ankle fused. It meant limiting my mobility, but what did that matter? I could barely walk on it anyways. In April 2011, they fused my ankle with three large, four-inch pins in a three and a half hour operation. The fusing meant that I no longer had a joint that the arthritis could affect.

The recovery period after surgery was the hardest part. If I thought the ankle was restricting me physically, being in a wheelchair and crutches for three months was even worse. But at least it was only temporary.

After a year of recovery, doctors told me that although I couldn’t run, I could do anything else. Although that’s not completely true, as I found out the hard way. Because of the way my ankle is fused, my balance is a little bit off. The grandkids enjoy seeing grandma fall on her butt at bat during baseball though, so I suppose that’s worth something.

When I found out some of the Daily Bread staff were running a 5k in the spring with CBI Hustle for Hunger, I wished I could join them. I decided I would at least get up early and cheer them on. But when one of them asked why I wouldn’t walk the 5k with them, I almost said I couldn’t – but that’s not true. After all, I might be able to. I’d adapted to walking with a fused ankle; there was no pain to deal with anymore. Life is about challenging yourself and not being afraid of failure. So I signed up with every expectation that I might not make it all the way through, but I was going to at least try.

Finishing that first 5k with my team was a great feeling. And I didn’t hesitate before signing up to walk another 5k and fundraise for Daily Bread in October for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

And if I can do it, I know you can. What’s stopping you from at least trying?

By Gail Nyberg, Executive Director


Date Added: August 28, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Fundraising Events, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Tags: , , — Anderson @ 2:14 pm

Lace Up For Hunger: Kristin’s Story

I went out for a run this morning; something that most runners training for any race do regularly, but I had to stop in the middle to change a diaper. Not my diaper, my little girl’s diaper, who had already gone twice this morning.  She’s eight months old and has been my best training partner. I enjoy watching her body bounce gracefully from one side of the stroller to the other for 45 minutes as I suffer through a typical seven kilometre run. And she enjoys listening to me curse as I try to figure out why I keep signing up for these things. I never know what hurts more at the end of a run; my ego or her head. Kristin Blog Picture Cropped

Lots of us know that balancing a running schedule and raising a family is a challenge, even at the best of times.  I’m not one to sneak out of the house at six a.m. to try to fit in a training run.  Mornings and I do not get along. So finding time during the day between children throwing tantrums, playing hide and seek for the sixth time, cooking a meal that nobody likes and wiping a behind is quite a feat in and of itself. And let’s be honest, by evening, no parent has the energy to run, or even think about running for that matter.

I used to be faster. There was a time when running wasn’t this tough. The physical activity was still hard, of course, but it was the time you had outside of training that allowed you to both train better and enjoy it more. I still like to run. But, during the past eight weeks of training for the half-marathon for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a race that I’ve done before, it’s been tough. Really tough. Especially when noon rolls around and that desperately needed post-run nap isn’t happening.

It seemed like a good idea to enlist some help and support when I initially signed up. I convinced my sister, brother, his girlfriend, parents, aunt, and two cousins to endure the torture of the half-marathon training schedule with me. We share funny stories, eat great post-run treats together and support each other with texts and emails.  I’m not sure they’re as happy as I am to be apart of the support network. Especially when their triumphant text messages about breaking a personal best or finding a great new route, are responded to with a “why are we doing this?”, or a “great, and I slept for four hours last night!”

Obviously, as difficult as this training has been and as much as I complain, I do enjoy the hilarity of it all.  Sometimes, my daughter throws a tantrum in the stroller at kilometre four because she wants to go home. I’m in the middle of an eight kilometre loop, but try explaining that to an eight-month-old. So I just let her do her thing, and use all of those strange expressions from onlookers to make me laugh and keep me going. Then there is my honest and loyal three-year-old son, who adds 40 pounds to my already slowly transitioning post-pregnancy figure. He asks me why I’m walking when I take a break, or why I don’t go faster when I’m at my top speed?  You can’t help but embrace the new running experience, even if it isn’t all those running magazine ads make it out to be.

Even with all of the added challenges, it still makes me think about the fact that this is a choice I’ve made. There are many parents who don’t get to choose whether they train for a half-marathon. This is because they’re too busy trying to meet basic needs for their families, which is a task that dwarfs even the toughest marathon training plan.  The pre- and post-run carbs that I wolf down to ensure that I never fit into my old running clothes also keep me healthy. I work at Daily Bread in their fundraising department, and realize how important nutrition is to keeping people healthy. That’s why it was important to me to support Daily Bread Food Bank for this run. I am lucky to have enough food for my children, and this way I can raise funds for other parents who don’t have enough. There could be nothing worse than seeing your kids go hungry.

I’m now up to 12 kilometres of the total 21 that I need to run for me to become a super-mom. My friends and family have been very supportive, and are becoming experts at telling me that I’m training enough.  I know I will finish the race; it’s being convinced to run the next race that worries me. I just tell myself, “one stroller ride at a time.” As long as my kids continue to hop in, I will continue to run.

By Kristin Thomas, Senior Development Officer at Daily Bread

Run with Daily Bread’s Lace Up For Hunger team at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Or, support the Daily Bread team and make a donation. Click here to donate or register to run for Daily Bread.


Date Added: August 26, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Fundraising Events, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Tags: , , , — Anderson @ 12:51 pm

Achieving My Ideal Running Weight – Lace up for Hunger

About 22 to 23 kilometres into the 30k Around the Bay (ATB) road race in March I started to experience pain in my legs. As I continued running up the hills (and the hills in the last 10 of the ATB are many and huge), the pain got progressively worse. It was like being stabbed with knitting needles in the muscles just above my kneecaps. By the last three to four kilometres, my calves started getting into it too, tightening to the point of seizing (which they finally did in the last 400 metres of the race). I stopped running completely for minutes at a time at the last few aid stations, walked up a couple of hills and literally hobbled the last metres of the race, barely able to finish.

I had never before experienced “the wall” – the point at which the energy stores in your muscles are so depleted you cannot keep up. I certainly had read about it, but I thought it just meant being really tired. I didn’t realize it involved the full breakdown of the muscles in your body.

I am certainly not going to let it happen again, least of all this October 20.

One thing I learned from that experience was that I was carrying around a bit too much weight. It’s pretty simple: extra pounds slow you down and put more pressure on the muscles carrying you.

I was one of those runners who thought a long run was a licence to eat anything you want afterward (Sunday morning long run = Sunday evening large pizza and chicken wings). But as experience showed me, this is not true.

So in the three months between Around the Bay and the start of my marathon training, I set out to improve my nutrition and lose about 10 to12 pounds, with the goal of lowering my body fat percentage and increasing lean muscle. I picked up a couple of tools to help me.

The first was a book called Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. The real challenge of losing weight while running is that typical weight loss diets (reduced calories) can interfere with the goal of improving your running. Not only that, but many types of diets, like low-carb diets, are detrimental to running, since carbs are fuel for any physical activity. The book is quite good at laying out a plan to achieve your running goals while also slowly lowering your body fat. It even has running tips to maximize fat loss.

The other was a calorie counting app called MyNetDiary. I started tracking everything I ate, which made me far more aware of what is in foods. Not only did it help me track overall calories, but it also helped make sure I was getting the proper amounts of carbs and other nutrients to fuel my runs. MyNetDiary, and other similar apps, are a great tool for anyone training to run long distances, even if you are not concerned about weight loss.

By cleaning up my diet (i.e., eating whole grain pasta instead of white, more fruit and vegetables, and eating less refined foods) and minimizing alcohol consumption (I’m not as fun anymore, but at least I can run pretty fast), I was able to drop the weight and lower my body fat percentage considerably in about three months without any noticeable sacrifice of strength and speed. I feel quicker in my runs and have less wear and tear on muscles and tendons with less weight to carry around. In general I feel much healthier as well.

Running is great way to be fit and active. By incorporating some of these tools, it can also be a great way to achieve your weight goals.

Click here to register for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and run with the Daily Bread Lace up for Hunger team.


Food and nutrition plays such an important role in running, it’s easy to forget that so many people in our community don’t have the same food choices available to them because of lack of money. Running for Daily Bread, I came up with a list of foods that I use regularly as part of my running diet that are also appropriate to donate:

Oatmeal: this is my food of choice before early morning runs and races. High in carbs, and easily digested, oatmeal provides instant energy. Combine it with a banana and you’re getting a very high level of healthy carbs.

Canned Fish: provides a high level of protein for muscle repair, and the omega-3 oils in fish reduce muscle pain and inflammation.

Refried Beans: a good source of protein, I often spoon it on a whole wheat or corn tortilla with veggies for a tasty, high protein/high carb lunch.

Peanut Butter: peanut butter is fairly high in protein and healthy oils. I often eat a bagel with peanut butter within an hour of a hard run – the ratio of carbs to protein is optimal for beginning your body’s repair process. Stick with natural peanut butters with no sugar added.

You can drop off food donations at your local fire hall, or click here to find your closest on-going drop off location.

You can also support Daily Bread by clicking here to make a financial donation to Daily Bread through the Lace Up for Hunger Team.

by Michael Oliphant, Lace Up For Hunger team captain (and Daily Bread staff member)

Date Added: August 8, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Fundraising Events, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Tags: , , , , — Anderson @ 9:24 am

Why I’m Running My First Marathon

I finally made the decision to run the full Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) this October. I’ve enjoyed running for years now, with little intention of going the full marathon distance. In fact, a few years ago I would have said that’s crazy if you asked me. But recently a bunch of things seemed to be pointing me in the direction of making the leap to the marathon.

For one thing, I’ve run four half marathons, including three Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon halfs, and most recently the 30k 2013 Around the Bay (ATB) road race in Hamilton. I’m getting pretty close to the full distance now, so why not go all the way?

I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been ever been in. Marathons are one of those bucket list life events. If I’m ever going to do it, now is the time (while I still can). You never know when an injury or some unexpected life event might pop up. Best to take advantage of my fitness now!

But mostly, I’m doing it for Boston.

Marathons embody the best in people. Just being near the atmosphere of a race makes you want to be part of it. I love the energy and anticipation of the start line; how spectators cheer, not just for their loved ones, but every runner; the encouragement other runners give you when you are struggling through late race kilometres.

This last one really hit home to me at the ATB race in March. I’ve read a lot about “hitting the wall.” Until ATB, I’d never experienced it (turns out it’s not just about being really, really tired).

By about kilometre 25 I began feeling pain in both my quads and calves. I ran (and walked) on, determined to finish, adjusting my stride and running on the outside of my feet just to prevent muscles giving out on me. In the final stretch, winding beside Copps Coliseum, my right calf finally seized up completely. Less than 200 metres from the finish.

I was agonizingly close, but I couldn’t put any weight on it my leg, and the pain was intense. I leaned on the crowd barrier, trying to stretch it out and get it to unclench. Spectators and runners who had already finished yelled encouragement and pounded on my shoulders, yelling “the finish line is right there! Stretch that thing out. Get going!”

Finally, I managed to loosen it just enough to move again. I still couldn’t put weight on it, but I was able to limp that final 200 metres around the back of Copps, down the short hill to the back entrance and finally across one of the coolest finish lines in racing. That added bit of encouragement from the crowd really helped.

That’s what running is about. Community, spirit, cooperation, and strength. It wasn’t just the city of Boston that was attacked April 25. It was the entire community of runners and the human spirit the marathon itself is all about.

Running the STWM is, in my small way, a way of showing solidarity with the community of runners and all those who were directly impacted by the Boston bombings. And to show my defiance to the bombers; that their actions will never stop us from pushing the bounds of what we are all capable of as individuals and together. It’s the best way I know how to stand side by side with those affected.

By Michael Oliphant, Director of Public Affairs

Date Added: July 19, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Events, Fundraising Events, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Anita @ 12:50 am

Lace up for Hunger


Daily Bread’s Michael Oliphant, running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

After running 4 half marathons and a 30k road race, I have made the decision to finally go for the full Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) on October 20. Yes, all 42.2 probably painful kilometres of it. I’ll write more about why I made the decision to run a marathon in an upcoming post.

I will be running the STWM for Daily Bread Food Bank. Not only that, I will be tracking my progress through Daily Bread’s blog and on twitter. You can follow the blog at and Twitter using the hashtag #laceupforhunger.

I hope my posts will inspire people to run for Daily Bread. After all, you are running anyway. STWM makes it so easy to raise funds that everyone should choose a charity to support. Raising money for a good cause is a great side benefit of all your hard work.

Why Daily Bread? In the interests of full disclosure, I work there doing public policy and government relations (a function many people don’t know we even have). But working there does give some pretty good insight into the amazing work Daily Bread does throughout the City of Toronto. The funds you raise truly go to support people and programs in communities in need in the city.

This is the time of year many of us are just embarking or are a few weeks into our STWM training. It’s the perfect time to be thinking about supporting a charity for your run. Join the Lace up for Hunger team and really make your kilometres count! Never run before? With three months to go until the race in the October, there is definitely enough time to start training for a 5k. If you have some running ability and a couple of 5ks under your belt, challenge yourself to a half-marathon. Likewise, if you’ve successfully completed a couple of half-marathons and run regularly, a full marathon is great goal to reach for.

This is the 3rd year Daily Bread has participated in the STWM, and we have lots of good stuff in store.

All Daily Bread runners and walkers who raise more than $250 before September 12 will get a printed technical shirt*. Running in the summer heat, you can never have enough of these. I know personally by the end of the weekend I usually have a bathtub full of air drying running shirts.

[Funny story: my wife once texted me at work saying my running shirt drying in the bath tub smelled like a “rotting animal carcass.” She told me she was throwing it in the washing machine on its own, on heavy duty wash. A day later, to her surprise, the bathroom still smelled really bad. And there were flies. As it turned out, a squirrel had died in the ceiling – there was an actual rotting animal carcass in the bathroom!].

We will also be holding a practice run/walk for the Daily Bread Lace up for Hunger team.  Details on this will be announced. The location will be the beautiful Leslie Street Spit, my personal favourite place in the city to run.

It’s also worth noting that the first five people to fundraise over $500 will have their race fees reimbursed (or, if you choose, donated to Daily Bread) as will the first four returning Daily Bread runners who recruit two friends to join in on the fun.

Happy training!

Click here to register for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and run with the Daily Bread Lace up for Hunger team.

By Michael Oliphant, Director of Public Affairs

*Updated July 25, 2013.

Date Added: July 5, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Fundraising Events, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Anita @ 1:38 pm