Hometown Heroes: Running on ice – Running Room’s Phil Marsh offers up the best tips to keep running this winter

Celebrating the Special People who Drive our Sports Community

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with City of Ottawa Sport Commissioner Mathieu Fleury

As the temperature begins to drop, so do many of our outdoor options for exercise – snow has a tendency to make it harder to do many of our favourite activities, and with the addition of the COVID-19 pandemic, options become even more limited to what type of activities individuals are able to do.


Skiing, snowboarding, skating – there are multiple options – but one long time runner and Running Room Regional Manager, Phil Marsh said a new hobby that many have picked up in the spring is one that does not need to be dropped the minute the temperature goes below zero.

“Running is the simplest sport in the world – just grab a pair of shoes,” he said.

Phil Marsh. File photo

Marsh, who began running more than 40 years ago, is a man who definitely does not shy away just because of some bad or cold weather.

“Canada winters – it is hard to remain engaged, but if you have good gear, that can be all the difference,” Marsh said.

Through the Running Room, Marsh coaches all ages and offers up solid advice to avoid slipping and sliding this winter when going out for a run.

The most important tips, Marsh said, are some of the top reasons a runner might not get up and go after the snow begins to fall.

*Warm clothes – Marsh said these could be skiing or hiking clothes
*Good shoes – this is ultimately the only thing a runner truly needs
*Make it 3 – Marsh said one buddy is good, but to have two friends willing to go for a run – no matter what, you will always have a buddy to run with
*Steel studs – Marsh said these are the safest thing to have
*Make sure skin is not exposed – and do not stay outside long after your run
*Fuel – make sure you are eating the right foods to keep you motivated

“Keep it fun, make sure you can stay at conversation pace, because that keeps you going,” Marsh said. “One upside to the pandemic is that has created a huge interest in running, cycling and kayaking, and running is the easiest sport in the world to be socially distant.”

Marsh said although there have been changes to the sport and activities this year – including the cancellations of many of the big runs in this city – he does see a new form of running emerge this spring: trail running.

“It goes back to the old days of cross-country running, where you start in a field, and race to the forest,” Marsh explained, adding that training throughout the winter, with the right precautions can get any new runner ready for what the spring can bring.

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