by Fred Dyck, YWCA Fitness Manager
Want to spice up your summer workout? Take advantage of our great summer weather and mix up your weekly routine by choosing to add walks or runs outside instead of on the treadmill.
For many of us we get set in our workout routines. We follow the same schedule throughout our workout week; for example, the same 20 minute workout on the treadmill followed by the same free weight exercises and our choice of machines that we are comfortable with. For most of us, this adherence to routine can lead to short and midterm gains. We get stronger and faster and that all is satisfying and productive. But, long term adherence to the same workout routine can lead your workouts to feeling stale. Your gains will plateau and you can become less motivated. No other gym in town can beat YWCA Fitness on 25th’s access to the path and trail system of Meewasin Valley. For your next workout, mix it up with an outside walk or run!
Where to go? Meewasin Valley has over 64 km of trails for you to experience. Here are some suggested routes from the YWCA entrance and their distances:
- Stay in Kinsmen Park: A perimeter run/jog/walk around Kinsmen Park is about 1600 meters or the equivalent of one mile.
- To the train Bridge and Back: Prior to the City placing the protective fencing around the path to Victoria Bridge, you could run to the bridge round-a –bout and back and cover about 5 km. This depends somewhat on how you travel through Kinsmen Park. With the new fencing up on the path by Victoria Bridge, you are going to be around 4.5 km.
- Loop around University Bridge to the Train Bridge: This route will be about 4 km. Again, the total length can vary depending on how you exit and enter Kinsmen Park and return to the YWCA.
- University Bridget to the circle Drive North Bridge: This loop is around 7 km and makes for a great noon workout.
- Trail Options: Saskatoon’s river valley has numerous non-paved trails as well. One of my favorite places to trail run is Sutherland Dog Park. This location offers some excellent trails and helps me double up my responsibilities by providing exercise for my ridiculously energetic dog Leo. He is a golden-doodle who thinks he is a greyhound.
- Want something longer? More variety? With six bridges and 64 km of trails the combinations are endless. If you want something really long, Meewasin has recently opened the trails south of the South Circle Bridge on the east side. You can run all the way to Furdale if you want.
Want to know exact distances?
A GPS watch will help to track the distance you run and can provide great feedback on what you accomplished. Also, programs like Google Earth and numerous training-specific web sites allow you to measure routes. If you would like more information about watches and measuring distances via a web site, I have measured many a route. Come for a visit at the YWCA and I can show you some options.
Things to keep in mind when running outdoors:
- Hydration: The cool gym environment helps significantly to control the amount of hydration you may need to sustain physical activity. And, the water fountain is close by. Obviously, this is not the case outside but Meewasin does have outdoor fountains for you to use. The closest to the YWCA is right at the base of the train bridge on our side of the river. If its very hot though, taking a water bottle is a good idea.
- Run with money: For any longer run I complete, I try to make sure to take a bit of money with me. If it’s truly a long run, having a few dollars to buy something with electrolytes can come in handy if I end up not feeling strong on the run.
- Jells: Lots of runners use jells as a way to fuel you on a long run. They can give you a bit of a burst of energy that can take you through the last part of a difficult run. For myself, I would only consider using a jell for workouts in excess of an hour.
- Run with your Phone: For many, having the safety of your phone with you can give you comfort that if something happened during your run, you have a quick way to contact someone. And, the phone provides a convenient way to listen to music if that helps you.
For about the last 12 years or so, running has been one of my main forms of exercise. Through this time, I have entered a number of races and events and spent countless hours running the paths and trails of Saskatoon. Some of my running highlights include completing three marathons, numerous 1/2 marathons and competing as part of a team at the Death Race in Grand Cache, AB (a 125 km trail run). Endurance events have been wonderful experiences for myself but the commitment to regular running is the real reward. I am always happy to discuss your fitness and wellness goals; regardless of what they are. Drop by and tell me what goals you have for this summer.