That’s how long it takes to break old habits and form new ones, according to recent research. It can sound daunting, smashing long-held poor routines and forcing yourself to make time for new, healthier habits that you know will ultimately help you achieve a goal (I swear that 2017 is the year I start doing regular core exercises).
This “change” themed issue is always one of my favourites to put together. The enthusiasm and positivity that we encounter here at Canadian Running is infectious, and when I reached out to a variety of different writers and runners across the country for input, we received a f lood of great ideas and powerfully inspirational stories.
Starting with the cover athlete of this issue, Toronto-based coach Jennifer McConnell shares her passion for the capacity for change that running can bring to everyone. Last spring, McConnell helped form a group of 17 women who made their big seasonal goal the tough and rewarding Cabot Trail Relay (p.60). This 276-kilometre tour of Cape Breton Island happens to be one of my favourite races in the world, and one that seems to play a significant role in my life each year – its daunting mountainous terrain and my respect for the traditions of the event snapping me back into focus, even more so than a spring marathon. I wasn’t surprised to read that McConnell’s group left altered and energized to take on new running challenges after their Cabot experience.
Change can not occur without ref lection on the past. Each January, we also survey the great moments and achievements in Canadian running with our annual Golden Shoe Awards. This year, we asked you to provide your suggestions for category winners, and we received hundreds of well-argued and impassioned answers. In an Olympic year, you’d expect a young, international star to have been the overwhelming pick for Canada’s “Runner of the Year.” But, as you will read, one very experienced and unassuming athlete dominated your ballot and was the obvious choice after his world-record breaking performance in October (p. 48). But worry not track fans, both Canada’s outstanding Rio athletics team and one sprinter in particular scored Golden Shoes as well (p.54).
Finally, this issue has an understated contribution from Adam Campbell, one of Canada’s f inest trail runners. His story on exploring the terrain around Fernie, B.C. was written while he was recovering from a serious fall off a mountain that left him severely injured, including a broken back (Nick Elson, who was with Adam that day and helped save his life, is profiled on p.56). I wasn’t expecting Adam to actually deliver the Fernie story in the wake of his accident, but he was insistent. If you know him, it’s not at all surprising that he delved right into it. Adam’s recovery will no doubt be the biggest physical and mental challenge of his life, requiring him to form new habits and force himself through many hours of relearning even the most simplistic of movements, and battling frustration and disappointment. But after just a couple of months, he’s already out walking, with a renewed reverence for nature and patience with himself. I have no doubt that he’ll be out running in the mountains again in 2017. Michael Doyle, Editor-in-Chief @CanadianRunning
ABOVE Cape Breton Island, N.S.’s Cabot Trail Relay