Discover running in Ottawa

Monday March 9, 2020
2 people jogging

Jenn Dumoulin is a PhD student who has been running for 8 years. She discovered her love for running when she finished her master’s thesis and found herself with free time. A friend suggested that she try running, and she has loved it ever since. She went on to join the University of Ottawa’s varsity track and field and cross-country team where she competed for about 3 years.

Jenn has continued to share her love of running with the uOttawa community by working as an instructor for our stride to success program. Stride to success is a 6-week running based program offered to students, employees and external members. Keep reading to learn what Jenn has to say about running and stride to success.

Question: In stride to success, what kind of workouts can you expect?
That varies with the group! It’s very scalable, we have a talk on the first day to assess where everybody is at in terms of their running backgrounds. We get some brand new beginners who haven’t ever run, or who haven’t been running in 4 or 5 years and we get a group of runners who have been running. Everything is adjustable, there are different options; we can build in walk-run progressions, where you slowly phase out the walk. We can do some longer steadier stuff, we do some hill work, we’ll do some faster stuff, where you can test your speed and see what it’s like to go outside of your comfort zone. It is tailorable to the individual. It’s definitely possible to work at different levels and different speeds and distances.

 Q: What if I can’t finish one of the workouts?
Then you can’t finish one of the workouts! There is nothing wrong with that! You come, and you do what you can. And you try. I think that’s what’s really important. Say we plan a steady run with no breaks, and you’re like, you know what, I need to take breaks today, then you can take breaks! There’s always a way to finish a workout.

 Q: What’s your favorite part of stride to success?
Meeting new people, I love meeting new people, I also love watching people run for the first time, or the first time in a while. I talk about running being very special, and there’s something very special for me about being there when a group of people that I’ve been working with finish a race for the first time, or finish a goal race that they’ve been aiming for. Sometimes I stand at the finish line and wait and sometimes I run it with them. Seeing people complete something that they’ve set out to do is the highlight of the entire program for me.

 Q: What has been your favourite race experience?
I used to be one of those people who read all the running magazines, and would tear out all the pictures and all the ads for these distance races, going to Disneyland, running in Miami, and doing all of these marathons all around the world. But the races that we have here in Ottawa are actually very special. The racing community here is very friendly, very welcoming, and there’s something really special about any race.

I think one of my favourite races, actually all of my favourite races, are the ones I’ve done with friends. With these races you have spent time together training and preparing for 6-8 weeks, and then you can celebrate this by lining up at the start line, by running your own race, and then seeing everybody at the finish line.

 Q: What is the longest run you’ve ever done?
I’ve run two marathons. When I run my marathons I leave my watch at home, I don’t worry about pacing, it’s more about completion, feel, and listening to your body, which I think is really important when you’re running.

 Q: When you’re running a marathon, how do you keep running for so long without stopping?
When I was first starting out, or after a long break from running I often use music. Safely! So only one headphone in. However, there’s something really great about just being out there on a run and letting your mind be free and wander. Just taking in the sights and sounds. There’s something really great about running along the canal, which is my favorite place. In Ottawa on the weekends, for example on Sundays, when many people do their long runs, every person you run by is so happy to be outside because if you don’t enjoy running, you don’t do it. You wave at every single person you see. That’s what keeps me going on long runs. That sense of community even when I’m not running with somebody. And then the sunshine, working on my tan and all of those things come into play in the summer.

 Q: Is running technique important for road running?
Running technique is important for all running. How do you not run? You’ve seen the episode of Friends where phoebe and Rachel are running? That’s how you don’t run!

Test your limits and see improvements! Register now for our Stride to Success program to become a better and to be a part of the very special community that is the Ottawa running community!