Ontario and Quebec Tour Recap

I’m home from the whirlwind coaching tour of Ontario and Quebec including Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, and Montreal. The trip was in a word: AWESOME! It was a wonderful experience, I met incredible people, and enjoyed every minute of it. I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to In-Sport Fashions for making the trip possible. On to the trip recap…

The flight from Calgary to Toronto on Sunday was thankfully uneventful as was the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel. It was warm, sunny, and a whole lot more humid than I’m used to in my somewhat desert-like Calgary area. I hung out at the hotel, reviewed my coaching presentations, and went to bed early that night to get as much rest as I could before the busy schedule for the following days.

On Monday, I woke up bright and early and met my hosts for the week, Benoit and Trish from In-Sport Fashions. We shared a lovely breakfast at the hotel before heading out to Red Point Ventures for our first coaching event. There we met Christine, our Toronto host, and set up the showroom with the TV and treadmill for that morning’s event. In Toronto, the Introduction to Natural Running presentation audience included representatives from Adventure Guide, Sojourn Outdoors, as well as the editor-in-chief and gear editor for Canadian Running Magazine. After the presentation, we had a lovely volunteer demonstrate her running form on the treadmill (thank you Shannon) and we all practiced our barefoot walking skills. They were an excellent group who asked thoughtful questions throughout the presentation. After the presentation, we packed up the van and headed out to Kingston for the second of the day’s coaching events.

In Kingston, we attended the Trailhead Kingston Barefoot Night for staff and consumers. I quickly went through some theory on the biomechanics of running, foot anatomy, and the common forms of their running and their common injuries. The audience had a wide range of backgrounds from new runners, experienced runners new to minimalist footwear, and experienced minimalist runners. Everyone was given the opportunity to try on a VIVOBAREFOOT Evo for the night and we all headed out to Skeleton Park to practice some Natural Running skills and exercises. There we practiced walking, jumping, and Natural Running. We finished the night with a discussion on how to transition to Natural Running slowly and safely. They were a fun and keen group who were a pleasure to coach.

Here are some pictures from the Trailhead Kingston Barefoot Night:

The next morning, we had some time to do a little personal coaching. Benoit, Trish, and Christine were excellent students who each achieved Natural Running form in less than an hour of coaching. It’s always interesting to me how within small groups, each person will have their own aspect of form they need to focus on. For some it may be a specific aspect of their posture, using hamstrings vs hip flexors, or relaxing a certain area of their body where they hold tension. It is a fun element of coaching to pick up on what skill each person needs to develop and to figure out an exercise that will help them improve it. Thank you Benoit, Trish, and Christine for being such great sports and fabulous students.

After our personal coaching session, we said goodbye to Christine and headed towards Ottawa for our third coaching event of the trip. We had lots of time so had a leisurely lunch in the sun on a patio beside a number of changing busking musicians. Our Ottawa coaching event was at Sports4 for a staff presentation on an Introduction to Natural Running. Alongside their extensive selection of running shoes and impressive array of minimalist footwear options, that presentation was less formal than the previous day’s as the staff was all very well versed in running technique. At the end, we discussed some of the finer points of coaching and the differences between some of the various minimalist footwear brands. Following the Sports4 coaching event, we headed out on the road again that night to Montreal.

Wednesday was a full day of coaching at the In-Sport Fashions office. In the morning, I was introduced to the wonderful staff and immediately felt like part of the family. We set up the TV and treadmill again for the morning’s presentation and group coaching event. In addition to the In-Sport staff, the group included two special guests, Martin and Francois, who are both extremely accomplished Montreal runners. After the Introduction to Natural Running presentation, I videoed 6 volunteers for their ‘before coaching’ running form. As a group, we then practiced our posture skills with barefoot walking and squatting, rhythm skills with jumping, and then I worked individually with the volunteers on the treadmill. They were all eager and excellent students. After the personal coaching, I demonstrated different speeds in Natural Running from 8.5 mph/13 kph to 14 mph/22.5 kph (which is the fastest I’ve run on a treadmill yet during that demonstration and somewhat surprised myself). The whole day was fabulously fun spent with a wonderful group of people who made me feel like family.

Here are some pictures from the In-Sport Fashions Coaching Event:

The schedule was busy but the whole trip was a wonderful experience. Thank you Benoit and Trish for everything and thank you again In-Sport for making the trip possible.

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