Run to Quit Participant Louise Wager Finally Breaks “Lifetime” Habit

By Christine Blanchette

Meet 55-year-old Louise Wager of Chilliwack, British Columbia, who traded in her pack-a-day smoking habit for a pair of running shoes. It all started when the agricultural industry plant manager took part in an employee wellness initiative. Soon after, Louise started exercising and eating healthier. The end result was that she lost 55 lbs, which inspired her to take the next step to butt out. Subsequently in 2016, she decided to join the Run to Quit’s virtual training program. Since then, Louise hasn’t looked back while continuing to follow a smoke-free lifestyle. As a graduate of the Run to Quit program, she is a testimonial to those who want to break the habit and are thinking they can’t, or too scared to even try.

Run to Quit successfully helped Louise overcome her quit smoking fear. “My biggest concern with quitting smoking was that it would make me frantic and emotionally out of control. Run to Quit helped me stay focused and the running helped me overcome my cravings and emotions,” says Louise. Louise had once thought of herself as someone who would never stop smoking, yet now she looks forward to her non-smoking years beginning to add up. “My Run to Quit virtual training coach would send me weekly readings about running and quitting smoking,” Louise said, adding, “I would sit down at the start of each week and create a weekly plan. If I had any questions, I would shoot off an email and my coach would get back to me quickly. His support and my quit plan was essential to me quitting smoking.”

Louise quit smoking on April 4th, 2016, completed a 5 km run, and is now training for a half marathon.

Run to Quit Q&A with Lyz Gilgunn Q:

Tell us about RTQ? A: Run to Quit is an effective tobacco cessation program that pairs the quit smoking expertise of the Canadian Cancer Society with the Running Room’s Learn to Walk or Run 5 km clinics. Participants are supported by a Quit Coach through a gradual 10-week Learn-to-Run clinic in combination with evidence-based smoking cessation strategies. An added bonus is the chance to win cash prizes for participants who quit smoking!

Run to Quit is offered online so that you can do it from anywhere, as well as in select Running Room locations across Canada. More information, including how to register, can be found on the website at

Run to Quit is a partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society and the Running Room Canada with partial funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Run to Quit is also being evaluated by researchers at the University of British Columbia as a potential chronic disease prevention program.

Q: Who is the program for and how are you getting the word out? A: The program is for anyone who wants to quit smoking. People with any level of physical fitness are able to participate and you don’t have to be a runner! The Running Room clinics have proven successful even with non and never before runners. Non-smokers are also encouraged to join as a Quit Buddy to support friends or family who are trying to quit smoking.

Q: What has the feedback been like and how important is it to have this program in Canada? A: Run to Quit is important since it addresses two risk factors for poor health: smoking and physical inactivity. Exercise can help reduce tobacco cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms and inspires people to be healthier. I’d like to share Louise’s story with you as she participated last year with resounding success.


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Heel Striking For Runners - How Bad Is It?

It has been reported that up to 95% of all runners instinctively strike the ground with their heel first. Meanwhile, running experts and shoe companies have been pushing hard for change for quite some time, proposing with vigour that mid-foot and even fore-foot striking is the better way to go. Their

argument goes that by landing further forward on the foot, it decreases landing loads on muscles, joints and tendons, and in the process makes you a more efficient and faster runner. Some claim that we have become overly reliant on cushioned shoes that brace our impact to the point that we no longer recognise the damage of landing heel first.

Despite these assertions, there exists no hard proof that mid-foot/fore-foot striking reduces injuries. What is true is that some people, often high-level runners, naturally land on the mid-foot (they tend to be “biomechanically perfect, with wide forefeet, neutral arches, and flexible calves”) but the larger issue is the conversion of natural heel-strikers to try to alter their landing pattern. Anecdotal evidence suggests that inexperienced runners attempting to make this change often develop injuries such as Achilles Tendinitis and Plantar Fasciitis and, in some cases, even metatarsal stress fractures.

In fact, studies have shown that recreational runners are more efficient striking heel first. The results of one study confirmed that walking with a heel-first strike pattern “reduced the metabolic cost of walking by 53%.” This, in large part, demonstrates why slower runners usually make initial contact with their heels.

As well, most recreational runners clearly stated during research that heel-striking is more comfortable than mid/fore-foot striking and video evidence showed that the transition to minimalist footwear by this group of runners did not significantly alter their strike patterns.

The fallout is that contrary to what many ‘experts’ suggest, heel striking is safe and, for many, a more efficient way to run. 95% of runners can’t possibly all be wrong.