Registration is now open for the Janes.

Building a community for the female runner

One of the things Kim Fraser loves most about Saskatoon’s running community is how supportive it is. “Runners are always quick to share advice and lend a hand,” she says. But sometimes the collective knowledge of a running group doesn’t have all the answers, particularly around complicated issues of women’s health.

“It’s really hard to go on Google and find things that are relevant to women’s health and running,” says Fraser, a physiotherapist and owner of Still Physio.

To address this gap, Fraser has created a free online platform, “THE JANES,” where women can connect and access resources on topics such as women’s pelvic health and sustainable running. Fraser, who has more than a decade of experience in physiotherapy and sport education, will regularly post information and articles and, once a month, will host a live interactive video chat she calls the Virtual Happy Hour for the Female Runner. As of this morning, people can sign up for a subscription online.

The program has been more than three years in the planning — and is part of Fraser’s dream to improve women’s wellness in sport one day at a time.

In advance of the launch, Fraser spoke with the Brainsport Times about her new program.

Q: Why was it so important for you to launch THE JANES?

A: I really love seeing females support one another, especially in the running community. Runners love talking about running and they love helping each other out. I wanted to create this platform so women could have a resource to meet other women, hear each other’s stories and also have access to my professional experience I’ve accumulated from 16 years in the sport of running.

I did my first learn-to-run clinic with Brainsport 14 years ago and I noticed that women didn’t just need more training to feel better and stronger. What women needed, whether they were a 20-year-old female or a 50-year-old female — is an all-encompassing education on things such as hormonal health, period health, strength and conditioning, running programming and nutrition. They needed all these resources to help them make sure they were moving forward — especially during phases of hormonal changes in their lives. And so I created this platform because I wanted women to have access to all the things I think about when I train athletes to make them long lasting and sustainable in their sport.

When you join THE JANES community, you will have access to articles, videos and posts such as breath work videos for running performance, education on hormonal health, sustainable goal setting, etc. I also include other health-care practitioners such as a naturopath where we talk about sustainable female sport and hormonal regulation. THE JANES online platform has all these things that women can tap into so they can learn how to rise and thrive in their sport.

Q: Where does the name come from?

A: It is named after my daughter, Jane. I want her and my other daughter to learn how to train with their body — not against it —so I created a platform they could one day use to learn about women’s health and sport.

Q: One of the courses you’re most excited about is the Virtual Happy Hour for The Female Runner where you go live every month to talk about running and female sport. What other courses do you have?

A: One course I offer is the Base Training for The Female Runner. We tend to be unsure of what to do for strength exercises in that January to April period before our training sessions get a little heavier. Base Training for The Female Runner guides women through running specific strength exercises, mobility and stability work essential for running (all through the lens of women’s health) so when you move into your heavier training period you have a great strength foundation.

There is also a Learn to Run 5 km program, which teaches how to learn to run considering all things women’s health such as the postpartum woman, the woman that might be having some leaking when they run or the woman who doesn’t know where to start. We all know we have different physiology and anatomy than men and so being mindful and considering the pelvic floor has been huge for training female athletes.

Other courses include Pilates for Runners to strengthen your pelvic floor, hips and deep inner core; and Learn to Lift/Weight Train at Home.

These courses are all online and supplemented with training videos so you can follow along at home which is perfect for where we are with COVID these days.

Q: What is one of the biggest misconceptions you’ve seen about women’s running?

A: I think we have the concept that, in order for us to be better, we need to train more. And that’s not the case. I’ve seen too many women in their 40s and 50s, as well as too many 15-to-20 year old athletes that just burn out because they think that if they just train longer they will be more successful. When we consider all of the things that makes a woman thrive and be sustainable in the sport they love, that is success to me.

Kim Fraser is a physiotherapist and owner of Still Physio. She treats athletes of all genders, ages and levels of experience using a multidisciplinary approach. She specializes in women’s pelvic health and sport performance.

You can sign up for THE JANES today and watch for updates on the program through on Instagram @stillphysio.

This interview has been edited and condensed.