Jillian Rieckmann

We were absolutely stoked when Jillian came to us about collaborating on a running challenge. With Jillian's background in massage therapy and all around knowledge in health & wellness, we knew that building a program with her meant that runners participating would be in good hands. It's not too late to register for the Fox Trot! Register today @ https://foxglovewellness.ca/foxtrot
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I'm Jillian Rieckmann from Edmonton, Alberta. I'm co-owner/operator/massage therapist at Foxglove Wellness in the Bonnie Doon French Quarter and Owner of Shakti Health in King Edward Park. Wellness is a huge part of my life, both professionally and personally. I'm a single mom of two daughters. Being a role model to them and my community, along with living a healthy/balanced lifestyle, is my passion. In my 'spare time", the River Valley is my happy place where you can usually find me frolicking with my girls, running with my dog, Bowie, or meandering down the North Saskatchewan on my stand up paddle board.
How long have you been running, what got you started, and what are your favourite types of events?
When I was a kid, running excited me, dreams of becoming an olympic runner danced in my mind constantly... until I had the rude awakening that I was a mediocre athlete. Life events and becoming a young mom got me off track from my leisurely running pursuits. In 2020, I got my fur baby Bowie (yup, my COVID girl). That pup is the best coach I've ever had. Getting this fair weathered girl out even on the coldest, iciest days. She has taken me from zero cardio to running 100km minimum per month with her. In fall 2021, I participated in a Spartan 10km which was an awesome mix of functional movement, training, and my favourite...getting dirty. I truly am anti-social running and have been loving the digital races, but always happy to get a friend out to join me. 
What is your main motivation when running?
Getting my squirrely puppies zoomies out and the same for myself. Running has become meditative for me, clearing my mind and setting me up in a good mood all day. 
What do you enjoy most about running?
Getting outside into nature, the "good mornings", head nods, and waves as I see others on the trail, and the amazing full body sweat. 
What do you not like about running?
I love running, but sometimes building the motivation to throw the runners on is the hard part. I have to remind myself that I will never regret doing it, but always regret not doing it.
What are your biggest achievements as a runner?
That Spartan race I mentioned above, well, to my surprise, I came in 2nd in my age category for females. I've been consistently improving my digital half marathon time, and this year, I set the goal to do a minimum of 100km/month and have been hitting that for all of 2022, so far. I love how that goal has allowed me to have more balance and lets me listen to my body each day. Some days I have time for a 3k and other times for a half, but I don't stress because I know I can get those KMs in.
Do you have any advice on how to avoid injuries?
Listen to your body. Know the difference between pain and discomfort, stretch when your muscles are warm, fuel your body with whole foods & lots of water, make sure to cross train, take rest days, and of course, be sure to book some massage and other body work.
Other than your running shoes, what is the most important running gear for you?
I need to seriously up my technical gear game. I keep it pretty simple as a sports bra and running shorts kinda girl.
What is your take on meals before, during, and after a race?
Food is fuel. Depending on the length of a race and your body, the requirements can change. For any run, I like a light meal before. I try to choose a mix of slow digesting carbohydrates and quick digesting. ex. oatmeal and banana. Any race more than an hour, I would recommend a dose of quick digesting carb again. ex. a mini tube of honey. After a race, your metabolism will be revved and your body will need to refuel. I would recommend a well balanced meal of carbs, protein and fat. My go-to is a big salad with greens, fruit, olive oil, avocado and baked tofu. I don't shy away from calories... we need them for success and as long as we choose good whole foods, our bodies will thank us.
Do you have a memorable running experience/story to share with us?
On a cycling trip in Jordan, we were making our way up a steep ascension that we had been rerouted to, when a wind storm rolled in, basically putting the breaks on our bikes. While the majority of my fellow cyclists traded in the saddle for a comfy seat on the support vehicle, I (being a stubborn Taurus) refused to completely bail on the terrain. I instead traded my cycling shoes in for my runners, said a little "inshallah" to myself, and ran the remaining 11km back to the city of Petra. Best part:  the celebratory street shawarma, an evening hammam, and some kudo's from the crew.
If you could give a single piece of advice to new runners, what would it be?
Don't compare yourself to others. We all start somewhere and the only way to get better is to be consistent and continually challenge yourself. Every body and everybody is different, so we can't expect to have the same outcomes as others.