5 (free) ways to get your Ottawa run on this summer and beyond

RUN, FORREST, RUN.

Ottawa Race Weekend is almost upon us and that inevitably leads to the question “Am I ready?”. Well, probably not so it’s time to dust off your cross trainers and head out for a run.

If you are like me, you have an imaginary bumper sticker on your car that says either “running is stupid” or “running is boring”. Well, here are 5 FREE year-round run clubs in Ottawa that are neither stupid, nor boring. These run clubs operate in ALL Ottawa weather including snow, snow, snow, and snow.

All are welcome to join in regardless of whether you are a first timer or you just won an Olympic gold medal.

Ottawa City Run Club

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When: Tuesdays at 7:30 pm

Where: Dundonald Park (516 Somerset St W, Ottawa, ON K1R 5J9 – corner of Somerset/Lyon)

Why: OCRC founder Kayla wanted to create an evening run club in Centretown that brought out the best in Ottawa’s running community (and their pets). Usual runs are between 6k and 10k and incorporate the beautiful Rideau Canal pathway. Pace is usually between 4:15-7:00/km, but you can go at your own pace and you don’t have to do the whole circuit that is posted weekly on Instagram. Just make sure you return to Dundonald Park for some smiles and a pic. Depending on the vibe, the crew has been known to extend the social time to a bar or restaurant to discuss the latest gear, the weirdest races, and whatnot.

Interesting Factoids: OCRC are the pacers for Paces & Pints … From May 16 to Sept 23, OCRC has teamed up with Muskoka Brewery for 5 fun 5k run and beer events on Tuesdays at 6:30pm … Kayla is a spin instructor at Wheelhouse Cycle.

Inspirational Words: “We celebrate accomplishments, PB’s, and continuously motivate each other to be the best we can be. We share a passion for the pavement and we’re a group that cultivates that passion every single day.”

Facebook: OTT City Run Club (@6Run3)
Instagram: @OttCityRunClub
Twitter: @OttCityRunClub
Website: www.6run3.com

Somerset Runners

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When: Saturdays at 8:00 am

Where: Bridgehead Coffeehouse (282 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1M3 – corner of Somerset/Maclaren)

Why: Somerset Runners founder Kathy felt that community started with a warm beverage and a run to kick off the weekend. Usual runs are between 6k and 10k and usually involve the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal pathways. You set your own pace, but it’s usually between 5-7/km. An effort is made to stick together and there is usually 2 designated pit stops to gather the troops together; nobody gets left behind! The run starts with coffee and ends with coffee so there’s no lack of caffeine to fuel these fun-loving runners.

Interesting Factoids: Though java is their base, SR have been known to drink non-caffeinated beverages and homemade muffins … A TRex is part of the SR crew … Summer involves the “gelato jog” … Kathy (a.k.a. the “Running Naturopath”) is a Naturopathic Doctor with a special interest in sports medicine, pain management and performance nutrition.

Inspirational Words: “If you’re looking for motivation, training partners, opportunities to be social and to find like-minded people who love and appreciate all that running has to offer, this is the place for you. Celebrate your legs and come join us!”

Facebook: Somerset Runners
Instagram: @SomersetRunners
Website: www.meetup.com/Somerset-Runners/

Run Ottawa

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When: Sundays at 8:30 am

Where: Dow’s Lake Pavilion (1001 Queen Elizabeth Dr, Ottawa, ON K1S 5K7)

Why: Run Ottawa is the monster of the running community. Their involvement in Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is second to none. They believe in grassroots running and provide opportunities for first timers to try out life in the fast lane. Sunday runs vary based on pace and distance chosen.

Interesting Factoids: Free Saturday 1k and 5k run sponsored by Sports4 takes place at Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum monthly (check website for details and registration) … Though Run Ottawa is responsible for putting on the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, they also have meetups throughout the year for a small fee.

Inspirational Words: “Run Ottawa is committed to providing Canada’s best running experience at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and to growing the sport of running in the National Capital Region by organizing high-calibre events which provide opportunities for the community and all levels of runners to participate.”

Facebook: Run Ottawa (@RunOttawa)
Instagram: @RunOttawa
Twitter: @RunOttawa
Website: www.runottawa.ca

MEC Run Crew

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When: Thursdays at 6:30 pm and Sundays at 8:30 am

Where: Mountain Equipment Co-op (366 Richmond Rd, Ottawa, ON K2A 0E8 – check website for meetup location)

Why: Westboro represent. Since 1971, MEC has been an outdoor activities force across Canada. It’s only natural that they would incorporate a run club into their overall philosophy. Their runs are inclusive and split into different paces to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. Thursdays involve training for all runners. Sundays are a mixed bag of run activities, including intervals, hills, trails, runs, and joining up with other running events.

Interesting Factoids: MEC Run Crew take part in RunOttawa’s free 5k at the farm every month … Pumpkin pie plays a role in their running … MEC Run Crew has paced for Paces & Pints … You can always find Chris and the MEC Run Crew at the MEC Race Series events.

Inspirational Words: “Our mission is to enable runners of all ages and abilities to get outside and get running.”

Facebook: Mountain Equipment Co-op (Ottawa Store)
Instagram: @MEC_Ottawa
Twitter: @MEC
Website: events.mec.ca

Running Room

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When: Wednesdays at 6:00 pm (Slater, Bank, Richmond) and 6:30 pm (Merivale), and Sundays at 8:30 am (all locations)

Where: 4 locations in Ottawa: 160 Slater St (downtown), 901 Bank St. (The Glebe), 418 Richmond Rd. (Westboro), and 1518 Merivale Rd

Why: The Running Room is an icon in Ottawa’s active living landscape. Since founder John Stanton went looking for a decent pair of running shoes in 1984, you can always spot the Running Room tribes walking and running as a group with their pace leaders.

Interesting Factoids: In addition to the Wednesday and Sunday run sessions, as a member of the Running Room Club, you have access to customized training data online … Running Room has 110 locations across North America so you are never very far from your run club  … Over 800,000 people have graduated from the Running Room’s various training programs.

Inspirational Words: “Running Room is dedicated to runners young and old, experienced or new to running. We have a variety of programs that meet the needs of all levels of experience.”

Facebook: Running Room
Instagram: @RunningRoom
Twitter: @RunningRoom

Website: https://www.events.runningroom.com

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4 (free) Community Fitness Events in Ottawa to the Rescue

ARE YOU ALL GOOD?

Easy question. Tough question. Is this about physical wellness? Mental wellness? Emotional wellness? Spiritual wellness? Is it about how you feel today? This moment? Is it about what you ate this morning?

Your wellness is forever evolving. It ebbs and flows. There are good days and there are definitely bad days. Here are four FREE weekly wellness activities (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) in Ottawa that could assist in shaking things up for you. All are welcome regardless of whether you are a first timer or a seasoned pro.

View this article here too: Four (free) ways to get your sweat on this summer

PARLIAMENT HILL YOGA

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When: Wednesdays from May 3 to August 30, noon to 1 pm

Where: Parliament Hill lawn (111 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A4)

Why: Who doesn’t need a little physical, mental, emotional and spiritual release mid-week? Break out the yoga mat or towel because another season of Parliament Hill Yoga (or as the cool kids call it: PHY) kicks off this Wednesday, May 3rd at noon on … Parliament Hill. Meet some of Ottawa’s yoga rockstars as they put you through a spirited outdoor yoga practice. First time yogi? No problem. This is all about you.

Last year, there were upward (dog) of 2,000 mindful humans on the lawn taking it all. There is no age limit: families welcome, Members of Parliament welcome too (heyyyyy JT!). Brittany Bryden Wilson from Pure Yoga kicks off this year’s group practice. Namaste, baby.

Who: Lululemon Ottawa does all the heavy lifting to make this OMazing event take place annually.

Facebook: Parliament Hill Yoga

NOVEMBER PROJECT YOW (formerly WORK IT YOW)

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When: Wednesdays, 6:29 am to 7:00 am

Where: Parliament Hill at the centennial flame (111 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A4)

Why: This year-round workout (rain, shine, snow, sleet, hail – they’ve seen it all) could be the 31 minutes when you receive the most high fives, hugs and smiles all week.

Co-founders Lauren Carter and Elizabeth Mackenzie bring a fresh workout each week to their loyal minions. There are even PR (Personal Record) days where participants get to see how far they’ve advanced fitness-wise with a hills and stairs segment that have been known to cause “jelly legs”. It’s a workout for every fitness level that is fun and involves the famous November Project YOW “bounce” to kick off the weekly festivities. Is there a maximum number of people who can attend this workout? Absolutely not. This is for the community by the community. If you show up once, it’s guaranteed that you’ll want to be back. This could also be part of your summer Parliament Hill double-double with PHY. What an amazing wellness Wednesday!

(Fun Fact: On May 3, 2017, Work It YOW was granted official November Project status and became the 37th NP location on Earth. You now have 36 other places to get a great workout when you are outside the National Capital Region!)

Who: You. This is a workout by the community for the community.

Facebook: Work It YOW (@NovProjectYOW)
Instagram: @NovProjectYOW
Twitter: @NovProjectYOW

Website: http://november-project.com/ottawa-on/

 

STADIUM WORKOUT

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When: Sundays from April 30 to November 25, 8 am to 9 am

Where: Goodlife Lansdowne lobby (900 Exhibition Way, Unit 110; Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5J3)

Why: Who hasn’t dreamed of emulating Rocky Balboa running those stairs in Philadelphia? Here is your chance and it is completely free. The 3rd season of Stadium Workout kicks off on Sunday with a guaranteed TD Place stair day that will have you rearranging your future Sunday family obligations. It’s an all levels workout that will challenge you. If that’s not enough of a carrot, multiple java options and bagels await you in the Glebe right after the workout.

Goodlife coaches Tracy Glennon, Nicholas Glennon, Andrea Peel Laporte and Kimberly Duff volunteer their time to bring the free fitness movement to TD Place and the Lansdowne lawn. Some days will be stairs, other days might be ramps and hills. Last year, there was even the use of a playground and something called the “12 days of fitness”. Free underground parking at Lansdowne since GoodLife will validate your Stadium Workout time.

Who: GoodLife Lansdowne’s Tracy Glennon runs this tight ship.

Facebook: Stadium Workout Goodlife Lansdowne
Instagram: @StadiumWorkout
Twitter: @StadiumWorkout

PARLIAMENT HILL BOOTCAMP

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When: Thursdays from May 25 to September 28, 12:15 pm to 1 pm

Where: Parliament Hill lawn (111 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A4)

Why: After Wednesday’s noon zen on the hill, it’s time to kick some bootie! Parliament Hill Bootcamp launches its 3rd season on Thursday, May 25th with the same positivity, amazing energy and good tunes. This 45 minute workout will have you sweating it out with a team of professional trainers who want you to be the best YOU can be.

Is Ottawa Canada’s fittest city? Well, Parliament Hill Bootcamp founder Mia St-Aubin thinks it can be and she has a fitness plan for you this summer. This workout is fun, simple and fast. Join this high octane workout and remember that sweat is your friend.

Who: Mia St-Aubin and her PHitOttawa team

Website: PHBootcamp.com
Facebook: Parliament Hill Bootcamp
Instagram: @PHBootcamp
Twitter: @miastaubin

WholeME – my health revolution

whole30book1It has taken my entire life to actually grasp the role that food plays in my day-to-day life.
It’s shocking to me that I have neglected my vessel.
I kept doing fitness activities and fueled it with chips, cookies, chocolate, junk food, processed food, ….
WHOLE30 (at least temporarily since “never say never”) has revolutionized my nutrition intake.
It’s not a diet. It’s not a fad. It’s a simple formula to consume your needed fuel to achieve peak health.

Sugar … gone.
Salt … gone.
Grains … gone.
Legumes … gone.
Dairy (including – gulp – ice cream) … gone.
You know what, I don’t miss any of it. Really.

The food trifecta IS:
Vegetables
Meat
Fruit

There are no guarantees in life.
I cannot promise that you will live to be a healthy 150 years old by eating WHOLE30.
However, I can promise you that taking your bad food habits out and replacing them with good food habits gives you a chance.
A chance to be healthy. A chance to be active. A chance to live a full life.
What’s the one thing that everyone (EVERYONE!) does once they are diagnosed with an illness? Change. Change fitness. Change diet. Change lifestyle. Change Change Change.
So, why not do it now?

The benefits are all there:
Higher energy.
Fat to muscle.
Better sleep.
Positivity.
Healthier you.

I plan to reintroduce some non-WHOLE30 foods and drinks into my life, but not a lot. We’ll see how this ebbs and flows. It’s life … shit happens.

You’ll still see me drinking a beer. Promise.

Thank you to everyone who supported me throughout the 30 days, especially the most awesome Whole30 office elves evah. Kindness breeds kindness.

Bro at the Barre (The Dailey Method)

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Fellow TDMers Brandon, Katie & Amy in tree pose.

My name is Stephen, I am a bro and I am a big fan of The Dailey Method (TDM) barre classes.

I am on the verge of completing TDM’s 30 Day Challenge. I cannot believe that I have arrived at the final week of June with lots of TDM classes in the books, short-term fitness goals achieved and gold stars on the board! I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in a variety of TDM classes with 8 of the most amazing barre instructors. I love the way that I feel, the way I look and the way I am.

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Up an inch, down an inch: TDM is filled with great people from the 613. Don’t you hate it when you pick out the perfect workout gear … and someone else is wearing the exact same thing?

I’m a pretty open-minded bro who takes my health and well-being pretty seriously (in a zen kinda way). I bike, I run, I yoga, I swim, I SUP … and now, I barre. I barre hard. I appreciate a good 1 hour fitness class that pushes me because I find it hard to self-motivate at the gym. I need someone cueing me. I need good jams. I want a room filled with positivity and peeps that also want to be there. TDM is all these things AND MORE.

After slipping on the gripp-y socks (wear them out and show everyone that you are a rock star), I was welcomed to my first class by TDM instructor Mariah Slassen and set up in the studio. Barre class prep has the same feel as other fitness classes: you each have a mat, and plenty of space between you and your studio-mates. I loved the cueing, the pace (you can really push it if you want, but that’s not mandatory), and the fact that the entire class was timed to provide a great combination of stretching, core strengthening and muscle toning (I like to call this “sculpting”). The vibe in the class was upbeat, there were smiles, there was laughter, and there was a clear positive energy flowing throughout the participants. That is REALLY important to me when it comes to me deciding whether I want to return for class 2.

There are also a variety of TDM classes to choose. One hour classes are the norm and move at a brisk pace – usually involving props like a ball, weights, and straps – to get your daily (dailey?) fitness goals in place. 45 minute interval classes are a faster cardio-paced class that allows you to make your best sweat-soaked face. If you want to slooooow it all down and still get the physical benefits, sample the Dailey Gentle 1 hour class. TDM is even incorporating a 45 minute noon class that will provide you with the fitness benefits and get you back to work in time. Oh, and workshops … lots of cool workshops.

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Happy Hour at the Barre with these 8 amazing TDM instructors. From L to R: Stephanie Thompson, co-owners Jamie Rigby and Sarah Thompson, Moriana Kachmarsky, Sarah Whiston, Sarah Shropshire, Kelsey McMartin, Mariah Slassen.

What is the outcome after 30 days? Well, I could see muscular definition, core strength and shape (again, sculpting) where I had never (NEVER!) had it before. I consider myself the least flexible yogi out there, yet my flexibility has improved. I have also noticed that these physical benefits have blended effortlessly into my yoga practice. I literally feel a little “happy rush” in me when I book a class and make my way to TDM studio in The Glebe (corner of 5th Avenue/Bank Street). This is a true community fitness studio. Smiles are not optional.

As always, there is no magic pill to fitness. You have to put the time in to see the benefits physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. TDM provides the positive atmosphere that many other gyms and fitness classes seem to miss in their Mission Statement. That is a real endorsement of the vision that co-owners Sarah Thompson and Jamie Rigby set when they opened TDM in 2015.

Would I recommend TDM? HELLAYES. If you are a bro, you will thank me. If you are not a bro, you will also thank me. I accept the thank you in the form of beer and wings.

Special shout out to Sarah T, Sarah W, Sarah S (TDM hiring practice becomes clearer), Stephanie, Mariah, Kelsey, Moriah and bro Jamie for the Dailey inspiration to your flock. Side shout out to Kevin and Whitney for almost always being there for me at 7am. Yes, there are 7am classes, and they are an awesome way to start the day.

[History lesson: I sampled a TDM program at a Lululemon (shameless yogi endorsement) in-store community Sunday fitness class in the summer of 2015. I remember TDM co-owner Sarah Thompson leading the class and explaining that TDM incorporates the best benefits of yoga, pilates, and ballet to allow participants to build strength and focus on alignment. After 45 minutes, I was sold on the benefits … and that was without actually getting to do any moves at the barre.]

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Front desk staff like Whitney make TDM a very open & welcoming place for new clients.

#DoItDailey30 #LivingADaileyLife #TheDaileyMethod

The Dailey Method Ottawa – 99 Fifth Avenue, Unit #10 (in Fifth Avenue Court). 613-422-3482

Follow TDM on Facebook (The Dailey Method Ottawa), Twitter (@TDMOttawa) and Instagram (@TDMOttawa)

Follow me on Twitter (@FrugalFit) and Instagram (@BytownBoy)

——

Top 5 reasons why TDM will blow your fitness mind

  1. The community: everyone attends for the right reason. Positivity oozes out of TDM from your first chat at the front desk, to the instructors, to the beats, to the smiles. Remove “competition” from your vocabulary and embrace the practice.
  2. The pace: Everyone is different and every day is different. You can go at your own pace. We all have different physical strengths: embrace it. Take a break if your body needs it.
  3. The price: $79 TDM New Client Special for a month of unlimited classes is a very good deal in the 613. You cannot get this kind of personal instructor attention in a generic gym. Unlimited means unlimited. I may have taken my fair share of classes. I recommend at least 3x/week for benefits to be seen and felt. That’s a simple commitment of 3 hours. PVR that show you want to watch. Tell your friends that you’ll meet them after your class. Get your tush here. Now.
  4. The instructors: All 8 instructors (including “bro” Jamie Rigby) know their fitness 101 and are all experts in kinesiology. They are here for you. Talk to them. Share your goals. Share your stories. Share your smiles. They are appreciated.
  5. The noggin and the soul: Yes, your physical body will change, but so will your mind and spirit. This is the whole package, barre none (it’s hard not to make puns).

Welcome / Bienvenue

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Remember when your fitness shoes were $8 Converse hightops? Me neither, but my parents tell me stories about the good ol’ days.
Today is the great now day.
Fitness options are everywhere and Ottawa (the 613) remains one of the most fitness-friendly cities in North America with abundant greenspace, bike paths, the Rideau Canal, and the Gatineau Park all within arms reach. Not to mention the box gyms, the boutique fitness homes, and the abundance of free or relatively inexpensive fitness options.
Most of the free fitness options can be found on my Twitter account (@frugalfit). This blog gives me a chance to sample fitness options in Ottawa and write about them. Maybe I help you in your fitness choices. Maybe you accidentaly stumbled on this poorly written blog and are amused by my typos. Either way: Welcome / Bienvenue.