Arugula and Beet Salad in a Curry Vinaigrette

Sweet and colourful, beets will certainly brighten up any meal! Their brilliant red hue comes from pigments called anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants studied for their disease-prevention potential.  Beets, arugula, and celery are good sources of dietary nitrates, which preliminary research has linked to improved athletic performance and blood pressure regulation.

This arugula and beet salad is great anytime, but terrific when fresh beets and apples are in season. If you’re in a hurry, you can use canned beets in this recipe.


  • 2 lbs. beets, cooked and peeled (about 4 cups cut up)
  • 3 green onions, minced (or about 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 4 cups of young arugula leaves
  • 2 firm apples
  • 1 cup celery, chopped (about 2 large stalks)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Curry Vinaigrette

  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


  1. Scrub the beets, wrap in foil and bake on a cookie sheet or in a pan at 400° for 30 minutes (this may take longer depending on the size of the beets). Beets will be tender when their skin is wrinkled and slips off easily.
  2. While the beets are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Mix together the garlic, salt, curry, ginger, and rice vinegar. Then add the olive oil. Set aside.
  3. When the beets are cooked, unwrap and place them on a plate to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel, slice in half, and then into wedges. Toss them with 2-3 tbsp. of the curry dressing and half of the green onions. Set this mixture aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. (You can do this the night before serving.)
  4. Quarter the apples and slice them into thin pieces (size of sliced mushrooms). Combine the apples with the celery and raisins, and the rest of the green onions and dressing.
  5. To serve, arrange the beets on the arugula, and spoon the celery/apple mixture on top. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Alternatively, you can gently mix all ingredients together (just be aware that you’ll have beet-tinted apples and arugula!).

Makes eight 1/2-cup servings.

Nutrition per 1/2 cup serving

  • 170 calories
  • 3 g protein
  • 23 g carbohydrates
  • 9 g fat (<1 g sat),
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 4 g fiber
  • 150 mg sodium
  • 500 mg potassium
  • 60 mg calcium
  • 40 mg magnesium


Sheila Kealey is a health promotion consultant, writer, and athlete passionate about encouraging lifestyle habits that promote good health.  She has a Masters’ degree in Public Health and has collaborated on many research studies related to diet and health. Sheila is Head Coach of the uOttawa Gee-Gees Nordic Ski Team , ski races herself, and loves to run (she is motivated to keep her favourite event – the 5k – under 20 mins, and has a marathon PB of 2:57).  Sheila likes developing healthy recipes, and sharing advice on nutrition, physical activity, sports science, and tasty nourishing foods. You can follow her on twitter, Instagram, or visit her website.

Recipe adapted from Food for Thought: Healing Foods to Savor, by Sheila Kealey and Vicky Newman with Susan Faerber. California: Regents of the University of California, 2012.


Run the Glebe – Ottawa Neighbourhood Feature

Dotted by parks, home to historic architecture, and with kilometres of streetlight-free paths along the Rideau Canal, it’s not hard to see why the Glebe is one of Ottawa’s running hot spots.

“If you are out for a run, environment is an important thing,” says Glebe BIA executive director Andrew Peck. “There’s lots to look at, tons of little nooks, cool-down spots, and green space.”

The neighbourhood also hosts multiple races and fun runs and happens to be an outdoor destination for enthusiasts of all stripes.

“People kind of joke about it being a granola and Birkenstock neighbourhood, but there really are people that are very concerned about their health,” says running coach Phil Marsh. “A lot of people in the Glebe also ski or kayak. With Lansdowne being fully developed, there are even more people skating, or playing basketball and pick-up hockey.”

Marsh, who has worked for Running Room since 1996, moved to Ottawa in 1999. Even 20 years ago, Bank Street’s Running Room was considered a flagship location. These days, it boasts one of the biggest running clubs in the continent-wide company, regularly seeing 200 runners out on the Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday group runs.

“We’re set up for everything,” says Marsh. “The 5K loop goes from the store to Dow’s Lake and back, the 10K goes downtown around the Château Laurier and back, and the 15K loop goes to the Governor General’s and back. There’s pretty much everything for everybody.”

And all the pubs, eateries, and coffee shops make socializing after a run easy, whether it’s over beer and nachos, or bagels and lattés.

What’s ideal about the Glebe is its centrality. Training in a well-connected area is exactly what local runners want when preparing for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend–especially because the marathon route snakes through the neighbourhood.

Indeed, everyone in the Glebe seems to be either running or know somebody who’s participating in Canada’s largest weekend running event, and whole families often get involved. It’s not uncommon for kids to do the 2K or 5K, the parents run the 10-km, and the grandparents the half- or full marathon, says Marsh.

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend sends runners through the Glebe on the 10K, half, and full marathon. And all this during one of Ottawa’s other major local events: the Great Glebe Garage Sale.

“It’s a big deal,” says Peck. “There’s literally tens of thousands of people that come here all at the same time.”

Although Glebites seem to have a love-hate relationship with the traffic, they are always out to support runners during race weekend, says Marsh.

“It’s been embraced by the community probably more than any other sporting event,” says Marsh, who regularly announces at the finish line for both Canada Army Run and Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

“Thousands of people are cheering and supporting on Queen Elizabeth and Colonel By. Plus, the top 10 finishers in the 10K and marathon are usually the best runners in the world. That’s really cool to see in your own back yard.”

Want to experience Ottawa’s amazing running community? Register for the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and discover what National Capital Region has to offer.

Ottawa Neighbourhood Runner – Jane Spiteri

A resident of the Glebe since 1994, Jane Spiteri is a dedicated runner who first got into the sport when she had children. “I have four kids,” she explains, “and it was the easiest way to get out of the house and exercise. I had a babysitter come in once a week, so I would lace up my shoes and head out for a run.”

Like all runners, Jane started with short distances but soon was setting bigger goals. “Five turned into 10, turned into a half-marathon, turned into marathons,” she says.

She ran her first marathon at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as a milestone for her 45th birthday. That’s what got her hooked on running long distances, and she has since traveled the world to run; she has completed 11 marathons and is training for her 12th. In 2019, she’ll run the Tokyo Marathon, and will then set her sights on Boston with the aim on completing the “Big Six Marathons.”

What began as a solo activity has become Jane’s community. In addition to being a Run Ottawa member, Jane is part of a loose group of runners called the Sunday Run Club, who share their running times and routes every Friday and partner up for runs based on distance, location, and interest.

“When you run by yourself, it’s easy to stop. When you run with a group they push you to keep going. They also help you get out of bed,” she says. “And there’s always someone who is faster than you, which is a good thing. They can run with you and pace you, which helps you push a little harder.”

In the summer, Jane can be seen leading members of the Sunday Run Club through the Glebe on their weekly runs. One of their staple routes is along the Canal, to Hog’s Back and then through Vincent Massey Park, which makes for an ideal 11K route. Click on the map for a closer look at the route!

Ever since that first marathon, Jane has regarded the last weekend in May as her Christmas, because it marks both her birthday and another opportunity to set a race goal. For her 50th, running friends from the around the world flew to Ottawa to surprise her and run Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. This year, running friends will be flying up from Australia to run the 45th Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon.

What is her guests’ favourite part of the course? Crossing over into Gatineau and catching a view of the Chaudière Falls.

But for Jane, the best part of running Ottawa is the Rideau Canal.

“Running by water is always enjoyable, it’s comfortable. When I run along the Canal in the Glebe I always see someone I know,” she says. “You know them through the kids’ schools, from the businesses in the neighbourhood, and of course the Running Room.”

This sense of home is strongest during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend when she crosses Pretoria Bridge, sees her family cheering her on and knows that she is entering the homestretch of the race.

Want to see Ottawa’s beautiful running routes for yourself? Register for the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and discover what National Capital Region has to offer.

Back to School and Off Running

Every September, kids in their early years of school dutifully strap on oversized backpacks and waddle into the schoolyard to find out whether they are in the same class as all their best friends (with cheers or tears to follow).

It’s amazing to see just a few weeks later, as many of those kids come tearing across the field in annual cross country races. How does the transformation happen? How do you get kids as young as 8 years old into running? And better yet, how do you make children into lifelong runners?

“Literally the first week of school, I’d hold a meeting to get everyone informed about cross country training,” says retired elementary school teacher David Dazé. “It helped a lot that there were big events to look forward to just a month away.”

Dazé was a cross country running coach for the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB), and he taught Monsignor Paul Baxter Catholic School for half of his career. Every fall, the annual Capital Cross Country Challenge would be the end goal for thrice weekly practices that started in the second week of September.

This year’s event, which is co-presented by Run Ottawa alongside the Jim Howe Memorial XC Race, takes place on Oct. 12 and 13 at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.

For Saturday’s portion, called the Eastern Ontario Open Elementary Schools Cross Country Championships, kids from eight to 13 will race around the grassy Mooney’s Bay Park, up its main hill and along its beach, and finish on the Mondotrack in the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.

The thrill of changing terrain, where runners go up and down hills and negotiate corners and trails, can be addictive, says Dazé.

Competition and winning aside, running is itself a reward. As they train for the team cross country event, the kids regularly run with friends and get to experience the social aspect alongside the physical benefits of running.

“For the most part, it’s something they’ll figure out for themselves,” says Dazé. “I get a real kick out of seeing kids who I taught 15 years ago, they’re in their 20s now, and they’re still running around the block.”

There are several opportunities in Ottawa for children to continue running.

Every first Saturday of the warm or milder months, Run Ottawa hosts a free 1K run for kids alongside the free 5K run in the Experimental Farm for all ages.

Ophea, an online learning resource hub for Ontario schools, offers the download Kid’s Run Club that can help teachers, coaches, and even students establish a running club.

The Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, which volunteers electronic timekeepers for the October events, offers several youth program to encourage children to try different sports. The Club encourages parents to introduce their children to as many sports as possible. Instead of dedicating themselves early on to a sport like soccer or hockey, track and field provides every young athlete with the opportunity to challenge themselves across a variety of skill sets.

Ottawa’s Catholic, Public, and French Catholic school boards, as well as teams from the Toronto Catholic District School Board, attend the Challenge. The facilities are popular for all kinds of meets, including the OCSB’s annual Cross Country Meet, which convenes this year on Oct. 9 and 17.

“We need two days to hold the meet because we can only take 1,000 kids a day at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility,” says Bob Thomas, the OCSB’s meet convenor. The elementary-level Meet, held for Grade 4, 5, and 6 students from 69 Ottawa schools, also includes races for special ability athletes. To make sure that children of all abilities, with any physical or intellectual challenge, has the opportunity to participate.

Besides connecting running to fun and helping young runners set and reach personal goals, teachers and parents should know that a child will keep running as long as they like it. It also really helps if one key coach is really big into running themselves, says Dazé, “because that also lights the fire in them.”

Green Tea Matcha Power Balls

Recipe by Kathy Smart

It’s back to school season, which means the days are more packed and some of us need a little added energy boost to get through our day, whether it’s to recover from your morning run, or get ready for an evening sports activity.

These Green Tea Matcha Power Balls from Kathy Smart are easy to pack when you are on the go and are packed with ingredients to help you power through.


  • 1/2 cup of fresh Medjool Dates
  • 1/2 cup of pistachios, sunflower seeds (if nut-free option is required) or almonds
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons of matcha powder, coconut flakes, crushed pistachios, and cacao nibs. 


  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a food processor until you can form a ball with your hands.
  2. Roll the Green Tea Matcha Power Balls into the matcha powder OR pistachios/sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs. Pick the combination of flavors you enjoy most.
  3. Store in freezer until ready to serve.

Kathy Smart, Canadian Holistic Nutritionist of the Year for Canada, Best Selling Author and Dr. Oz Guest Shows us how to snack… smart!

Photo credit: Gord Weber

How Coaching Helps Take Runners To The Next Level

Do you have running goals?

Maybe you’re looking to tackle the marathon for the first time, or qualify to run the NYC Marathon. Maybe you’d just like to be able to run a little bit faster.

Whatever your goal is, one of the best things you can do to reach it is get a coach.

Luckily for runners, today there are a wealth of different coaching options out there.  You can sign up for a structured group training program like those offered by the Running Room, sign up with a coach for individualized training, or, subscribe to an online coaching service to add more structure and planning to your workouts.

To help you decide what would work best for you, we talked to coaches about the differences between in-person and online coaching, and how they can help you reach your running goals.

Coaching Face-To-Face

When you sign up with an in-person coach for individual training, you’ll get a coaching plan that is specifically made for you, a great source of personal accountability, as well as a big dose of encouragement.

That’s according to David Harding, the founder of DEKK coaching, an athlete and coach who’s been training endurance athletes in multiple sports for close to 10 years.

As someone who’s been a competitive runner and athlete for most of his life, becoming a coach was a natural transition.

“Initially I was interested in passing on some knowledge of what I had learned as an athlete,” he said. “And then I found that helping people reach their goals was something I really enjoyed doing.”

As a coach, Harding works with athletes individually through DEKK, while also running a series of group training programs through the Ottawa Running Club.

Athletes that come to Harding looking for individual training usually fall into two categories: those who are looking to tackle a longer distance (ex: Ironman triathlons), or those who have a specific performance goal in mind (ex: qualifying for the Boston Marathon).

“People who sign up for group coaching are usually either very intrinsically motivated and they want to improve in general, or they see us out there running and having fun every Sunday and they want to be a part of it,” Harding said.

The camaraderie that comes with being part of a group coaching program can be crucial, especially when it means you have other people to commiserate with during those Sunday morning long runs.

But whether he’s working with individuals or groups, Harding said that what he gets out of it is the same.

“I think my favourite part of being a coach is helping other people feed their passion,” he said.

The rise of online coaching

One of the largest developments in the coaching world over the past decade has been growth of coaching services that are delivered online and through mobile apps.

One of the big players in that space is Runcoach, a coaching service that aims to bring the benefits of coaching to new and experienced runners at a low cost.

“We meet you in your own time, through the website or the app, and try to make it easier to fit into a person’s lifestyle,” said Hiruni Wijayaratne, the Business Development Lead at Runcoach.

In addition to her role at Runchoach, Wijayaratne is also a coach and competitive athlete. After a career running for the University of Kentucky Wildcats in college, she’s competed twice at the Marathon World Championships representing Sri Lanka and finished 8th at the Houston Marathon earlier this year with a time of 2:36:35.

Runcoach was started by athlete and coach Tom McGlynn in 2002 as an in-person coaching service and transitioned to an online resource in 2008. Since then, it’s helped thousands of runners build easy-to-follow training plans to help meet their running goals.

“With Runcoach, the spectrum of people using it is so wide,” she said. “We get people who want to walk 100 miles in a year, all the way up to qualifying for Boston.”

One of main features of Runcoach is how it builds a highly customized training plan based on an algorithm. After you chose your goal race and enter your information, including recent running times and mileage, Runcoach builds a personalised training plan, including speed workouts, threshold runs, and cross-training.

Perhaps the best part of the service is that as you complete your workouts and log your runs, it continually adapts your training plan. So, say you’re training for a marathon and missed your weekly long run, Runcoach will take that into account and adjust next week’s mileage to make up for it.

Another big change for Runcoach is that it’s recently shifted its business model to a free version and a paid version for $19.95/month CAD.

The free service gives you access to most of Runcoach’s program, including algorithmically-generated training plans.

If you upgrade to the paid version, you can get one-on-one messaging with coaches like Wijayaratne, who can answer your specific questions about progress, injuries and goals. And what’s more, you’ll get the chance to earn rewards from companies such as Garmin.

But whichever option you choose to go with, Wijayaratne said that Runcoach’s purpose stays the same.

“At the end of the day, our mission to help people and get better and reach their goals,” she said.

With registration opening on September 1 for the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, it’s a great time to think about your own goals for the coming months and year, and how coaching—whether online or in-person—can help you achieve them.

Right now, everyone who registers for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend can receive a discount on Runcoach. Just look for the Runcoach area during registration.

Or to talk about in-person coaching, you can reach David Harding through his website at