Post Race Recovery-Avoid Injury And Sedentary Craziness

Many runners just completed some major races this last weekend.  Others are getting ready to complete their final big races for the year.  What do you do after the race?  When do you come back?  How do you properly recover?  Remember that old rule that said you should take a day off for every mile you ran?  That is now a thing of the past and for many runners that is great news.  Can you imagine taking 26 days off after a marathon? Then again, maybe you can!

While there is quite a bit of science to running, there isn’t a set plan for recovery after an event.  There are several important factors to consider with your recovery:

How Long Was Your Race and Training Cycle:

Did you just complete an 18 week training cycle leading up to your marathon?  Were you running 50-60 miles per week during your plan?  You will likely require more rest than a runner who did a 12 week plan for a 10K.  The longer your training plan and the more miles completed might take a harder toll on your body and mind than a shorter race and mileage.

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How About a 5K to Couch Plan!

How Do You Feel?

This is a two part question.  While you need to consider how your legs and muscles are responding, you also need to assess how you are feeling mentally.  If you are experiencing tiredness and a loss of interest in running, go ahead and give yourself some time to fall back in love.  What is the point of hitting the pavement if it is no longer enjoyable?  This can be a normal feeling as you come off of training and the excitement of your event.  All runners go through this.  We need a break at times from all things we love and running is no different.

Some of the mental symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome are feeling sluggish, emotional, overly tried, sad, and just plain down in the dumps.  We all know that running is 90% mental, so it makes sense that we might need a break in this arena as well.

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Are You Dealing With Any Injuries?:

One of the hardest parts of any training cycle is avoiding injuries.  They are almost inevitable.  Most often, we train through these injuries.  Or perhaps you sustained an injury during the race.  It goes without saying that you need to give your body time to fully heal.  Sure, you can push through an injury to some extent to get through training.  But after the race is over, it would be unwise to continue with this approach.  Now is the time to rest and recover before you return.

There are so many different ways to approach injuries and I recommend you find what is most helpful for you and your needs.  Options range from traditional doctors and physical therapists to massage, acupuncture, yoga, and cupping.  Many facilities offer an array of different recovery techniques.  When you find an approach that you feel most comfortable and confident with, you are more likely to stick to a prescribed plan.

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Take Some Time To Reflect:

How do you feel your training went?  Are there things you would change?  What about the race?  Was it enjoyable?  Did the experience ignite a fire or inspire you to do something else?  Do you feel like this was a negative experience?

All of these questions are important to consider for your future.  Maybe you need a revenge race.  If that is the case you need to consider what went wrong and how you will change things moving forward.  Perhaps something went wrong in training.  The actual race might not have been the right one for you.

If you had a great experience and are ready to repeat or up the ante, you need to think about what went right in your training and how you can repeat that or make it even better.  Will you repeat the race or find another one that is similar?

Is is time to put racing to the side and just run for fun?  That is okay.  Some people love running for the sake of running and don’t need races or events to keep them content.  Think of different ways to help keep things exciting and motivating.

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Races and endurance events can be a great experience.  It can also take a mental and physical toll.  Your first goal should be to take care of you.  Rest and recovery are important.  This doesn’t mean you need to become a couch potato.  Active rest can be a perfect way to get back in the game healthy and happy.  Go for a walk, bike ride, swim, or play with the family.  Keep moving and take care of you!

Did you race this past weekend?  How was your experience?

The Plan Is, There Doesn’t Always Have To Be A Plan

Many people often mention to me that they are interested in getting started with running but don’t know where to start and aren’t quite ready to hire a coach.  This is totally understandable.  There is an abundance of information available on the internet about how to get started, such as Couch to 5k Plans.  While these can be very useful, it is often difficult to read through everything and know what is actually helpful and what might not be such great advice.

The truth is, running doesn’t always have to be a science.  Sure, if you are looking to improve your speed or increase your distance for a longer endurance race, having a set plan or a coach to guide you can make the process much easier.  However, if you are simply looking to begin running, you can make it just that: running simple.

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As I have mentioned in other posts, running isn’t always easy.  It gets easier, but there will always be an element of challenge in nearly every run.  This is what makes you feel so invigorated and accomplished when you finish!

To make the process easier, it is often helpful to start with shorter distances and use run/walk intervals.  Set a goal of doing 10 minutes your first time.  Try running for a minute and walking for two.  You can gradually increase the duration over time, as your body begins to adjust.  If you prefer, the run/walk intervals can also lengthen out.  However, I have many clients and friends who use the run/walk method exclusively for all distances from 5k’s through the marathon.

A helpful tool to decrease your risk of injury is to follow the 10% rule.  When you feel that you have comfortably accomplished a certain amount of time or distance, increase that amount by 10%.  You should also start your run intervals at a shorter amount than your walking intervals.  Follow a 1:3 or 1:2 run/walk at first and lengthen or decrease as necessary.

Remember any amount of running is running.  There is no rule that states how fast, how far, or how often you need to run to be a runner.  If you run, you are a runner!

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Running is your own personal journey.  This is about you feeling good about you and the experience.  Remember that it will be challenging.  It will take time for your body to adjust and become more comfortable.  Give yourself the freedom to make it work for you.

With some time and patience, you might find that you are ready to start looking for an appropriate plan for you or to hire a coach.  Until then, just run as you wish.

How do you like to approach your running?

Holiday Gift Guide: Running Products For Stockings

Keeping with my trend of reviewing running sunglasses, I thought I would share some of my favorite running products to stuff stockings .  Pick up a few of these for yourself or your favorite runner.  I believe these won’t disappoint.

Simple Hydration Bottles: ($19.99)

It’s no secret that I am a fan of this water bottle.  It sits perfectly  in the back of your shorts or sports bra.  No need to wear a hydration belt. There’s no bouncing around or chafing.  The name of this product says it all, simple!  You don’t have to worry about carrying hydration around.  It holds just enough fluid to get through almost any run.  Now the lids also come in a variety of colors and an improved lid.

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Yurbuds: (Starting at $14.99 on Amazon)

I have weird ears, because earbuds don’t stay in for me.  It is so frustrating and up until a few years ago, I had to wear old school over the noggin headphones.  Yep, I was that dork on the run!  I was at a North Face race and saw a Yurbuds booth and their promise that these won’t fall out.  I didn’t try them, but eventually decided to spring for a pair.  Do yourself a favor and get these if you have the same problem as me.  The sound quality is fantastic.  The fit is great and they will replace them if there are issues within the first year.

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Flipbelt: (Starting at $28.99)

I used to use a different type of belt, and while I loved it, we had some major chafing issues and had to break up.  Unlike other belts, this one stays in place and doesn’t bounce around, eliminating any potential rubbing.  It also has multiple pockets so you can carry your phone, fuel, ID, cash, and anything else you might need.  Even when I was pregnant, this remained comfortable on the run thanks to a nice amount of stretch.

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Body Glide: ($7.99 in stores)

Speaking of comfort, chafing is a given in the sport of running.  It happens and it hurts.  Nobody likes to hit the showers after their thighs have rubbed together for several miles.  Ouch!  Lather this on problem areas before your long run and spare yourself that painful singe after a run.

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Nuun Tablets: ($5.99 in stores)

I tore my calf at 20 weeks during my pregnancy in May.  A lack of electrolytes can lead to severe cramping and even muscle tears.  These delicious tablets are a wonderful way to recover after your run.  Hydrating never tasted so delicious and your muscles will thank you later.  I love the variety of flavors that are offered, including energy options, because sometimes long runs start at early o’clock.

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What are your favorite products that you would like to see in your stocking or recommend for others to share the love?

 

Holiday Guide: Running Sunglasses Review

This is an unsolicited review of a few different running sunglasses I have worn over the years.  Rock and I were recently discussing the variety of glasses we have tried and which ones have become our surprise favorites.  I’m going to list these on the high to low price point along with some notes on my likes and dislikes.  Any of these are great picks for yourself or to gift to a runner.

Oakley Custom Running Sunglasses:  (Starts around $133 and up)  Several years ago I went ahead and splurged on a customized pair of Oakley sunglasses.  I can’t recall what caused me to take the plunge, but it was a really fun process to build my ideal sunglasses.

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Pros:  Oakley allows you to choose glasses based on your preferred activity.  First you choose the type of frames you like, then start changing the color of the frames, lenses, Oakley icon, and wrap around the frame.  You can go with standard lenses or make them polarized.

I initially didn’t want to spend the money for polarized lenses but when my first pair of standardized ones got scratched up, I called  Oakley and was offered the option to upgrade to polarized for $40.  Major bonus is that the lenses are replaceable!  Upgrading from standardized to polarized was only $20 more and it made a huge difference.

Cons:  Not all of the color options are great.  The particular frame that I really liked only came in standard colors (black, white, blue, red, etc.).  While I am not much of a girly girl, running has taught me to really embrace all colors.  My favorite running shoes are the brightest.  So I was a little bummed that I couldn’t go with fun shades of pink, purple, or even silver or gold.

Overall:  These shades are super durable and feel great to wear.  I absolutely love them and the sturdy case they come in.  If I can find where I tucked them when we moved, I might give them another go.

Tifosi Optics(Starts around $35)  The first pair of running glasses that I ever purchased were from Tifosi.  Most running stores carry this brand and there is a lot to like about these products.

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Pros:  Tifosi comes in at a moderate price point but offers a lot for what you pay.  There are different frame styles to suit your preferences.  I like to run without frames on the bottom of lenses.  Rock prefers his frame to go all the way around the lens.  Tifosi has you covered either way.

For around $45, my first pair came with three different lens types.  I had the standard dark lenses, an amber color for darker or foggy days, and clear.  Having the option to switch out your frames for different types of weather was really nice.

Cons:  Of all of my running shades, I felt these were the least durable.  The lenses scratched up easier than other pairs.  The nose pieces fell off, as did the ear wraps.  Both had to be replaced and are not done directly through the company.  You must order replacements through other dealers.

Overall:  Perhaps it is because these were my first running sunglasses, but I honestly really love these shades.  You get a great product at a pretty decent price point.

Knockaround Sunglasses:  (Starting at $10)  Last year I forgot to bring a pair of running sunglasses with me on our annual trip to Florida.  Running on the shiny sandy beach with the sun reflecting on the ocean is not a good combo for your eyes.  Rock came to my aid by loaning me his Knockarounds.  My apologies to him, but I never game them back! He discovered these by a friend on Facebook who posted his multiple orders and love for this product.

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Pros:  First of all, at this price point, you simply cannot go wrong.  The one thing that will make me toss a pair of sunglasses out is if they bounce around on your face or won’t stay up on the top of your head if you need to rest them there.  In fact, on our honeymoon in Aruba, I lost a super sweet pair of Ray-Bans, because during lunch they kept falling off and I set them on the table and forgot them.

These shades fit really well and although they aren’t meant to be for running, they are the lightest and most comfortable pair of sunglasses I have used.  They don’t fog up when I sweat and they withstand all types of weather.  For $20 you can have a great pair of sturdy polarized shades and for $25 you can fully customize them to your liking.

Cons:  The only thing that we have both noticed is that these lenses tend to scratch up a bit easier than other sunglasses.  However, for the price of this product, the quality far exceeds what you would expect.

Overall:  These are my new go-to running sunglasses.  They are so light and so easy to wear.  I am still wearing the pair I “borrowed from Rock last March.  I wear them to work, to run, and everything in between.  They look great on me and I now have them in several different colors and styles.

Goodr:  ($25)

Rumor has it that Fleet Feet in Chicago cannot keep these glasses in stock.  People are battling to get their hands on this product.  I have not tried them yet, but Rock ordered himself a pair this past summer when he kept seeing Facebook posts from runners.

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Pros:  For just a touch more than the Knockarounds you get another solid frame with polarized lenses.  Rock feels that these lenses tend to be a bit sturdier than the Knockarounds.

Cons:  At this point he hasn’t found any cons.  They aren’t of the same quality as higher-end brands, but they are plenty solid for both running and daily activities.

Overall:  These are now Rock’s go-to shades for running and any other time.  I might just have to “borrow” his pair for a bit and see for myself.

In the end, you can’t go wrong with any of these products.  I love that you can now find a quality product at all price points.  I still love my Tifosi and Oakley shades, but for now, I think I am going to stick with my Knockarounds and see how they do during a full marathon training session.

What brand do you prefer most?

 

 

Ditch The Focus-Run Easier

I’ve mentioned recently that I have taken to the treadmill more often as my pregnancy has progressed.  The flat, even terrain is easier for me and having a bathroom right next door is very helpful too.  Last time as my pregnancy progressed and we lived in the city, I got fed up with trying to deal with drivers who ran through so many stop signs.  It just gets to be too much.

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So you can imagine my disappointment the other night when my husband told me that a belt had broken on the treadmill and it would take a week for a new part to arrive.  I went into semi-panic mode.  Where was I going to run in our small town where I could find a bathroom?  I also insist that all runners carry their phones with them for safety reasons, which meant putting on my FlipBelt, only adding to the pressure on my belly/bladder.

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After a lot contemplation, I decided my best bet was to drive over to my parent’s house and run around their mostly flat and quiet neighborhood.  It is my place of choice for runs and I can easily get 5-10 miles in from there.  I figured that I could stick close to their house for an emergency stop and worst case scenario, I would duck into the woods.

As I headed out I did a nice easy mile and felt great.  But the fear of having to go was constantly on my mind.  So I looped back and ran into the house.  I realized that I had pushed the panic button a little early and I was actually fine so I took off and decided to head out a little further.  I got two miles out and that was when I needed to decide if I would turn back home or take a trail to another area for an extra mile before heading back.  I decided to go for it and then started doing the math in my head of how long I would have to make it.

That was when I realized that I was far too focused on the potential of having to go to the bathroom and how many miles I had yet to do.  Many of us runners tend to have a Type A personality, and even if you don’t one thing that running quickly impresses upon you is a focus.  We start focusing on goals, on distance, on paces, on everything.  Sometimes that can be just too much!  What I needed to do was lose my focus and just run.  So I turned up my music and just cruised.

Do you know what happened?  It felt great!  I sweated hard.  I enjoyed the sun.  And I got six really nice miles of outdoor running in.

Lesson learned is that for all of the great reasons to focus during training or as we progress, it is just as important sometimes to drop the intentions and just get out and enjoy running for the sake of running.

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Here are a few ways you can silence all of the noise in your head and get back to basics:

Ditch the technology.  Leave the GPS at home and run a route that is familiar to you if you need to know the distance.  Not worrying about your pace, the current distance, or what you have left to do is a great release for your mind.

Turn up the volume.  Put on some music or a podcast.  Don’t literally turn the volume up too much.  It is important to still hear what is going on around you such as cars, people, and animals.  But having something to listen to makes it pretty hard to pay too much attention to the details of your run.

Switch things up.  Change your route.  Do some research and then get in the car and try a new place out.  If you have the luxury, take a day trip and go explore.

Run with someone else.  Join a running group or enlist a friend to run with you.  Perhaps you don’t all go at the same pace.  That is okay!  Run at the pace that is best for the slowest runner.  Enjoy the conversation and remember that there are huge benefits to slow runs.

How do you like to lose your focus?

What To Do/Not To Do At The Gym

I love working at a fitness facility.  As you may have gathered from my blog over the years, I love just about anything to do with physical fitness.  As a trainer, health coach, and running coach I spend a lot of time at the gym and over the past few weeks I have been taking note of a few things you should and shouldn’t be doing when you are there.

I know that for many people, going to a gym can be intimidating.  I am often asked what the best rules are to follow.  Some are written and some are just assumed.  Let’s go over a few of the recent ones that I have come across.

Do wear athletic shoes.  If I had a dollar for every time I saw a person walking around in just socks or flip flops, I would make a decent allowance.  First of all, we do try to keep the fitness floor as clean as possible.  But I recommend taking a moment to look around at how many sweaty people drip all over those floors.  Second, take a moment to notice how many heavy things are carried around and how unobservant other members are.  It only takes one small accident for a large weight or piece of equipment to land on your bare foot.  Wear athletic shoes.  They are made just for this type of facility and come in some rather fashionable styles too!

Do wear fitness clothes/Don’t wear swimwear.  Fitness clothes serve a purpose as well.  They protect certain areas of your body (hello chafing) and also keep certain areas of your body from showing.  Swimsuits are meant for the pool or other bodies of water and are not meant to be used for exercise.  They don’t necessarily keep you covered up and don’t guarantee that parts of your body will stay where they should be.

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This is definitely an attention getter!

Don’t take on the world the moment you walk in the gym.  There is no rule that says you must go 100% when you are at the gym.  It is recommended that we get 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity in, three times per week.  It is much better for you and your body to do 30 minutes of moderate activity than to run yourself ragged for 5 minutes.  Whether you are trying to get into shape or lose weight, 30 minutes of moderate activity will reap far more benefits than a short burst of tough activity.  You will likely enjoy yourself much more and find it easier to return to your workouts.

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Do wear deodorant/wash your clothes.  Maybe it is just my over active pregnant sense of smell but there’s a lot of funk going on in the gym these days.  Sure we all sweat, and yes it can stink.  But slap on some deodorant before you hit the elliptical.  And for the love of Jane Fonda, please please please swap out your clothes between workouts.  I have an acquaintance who comes in a few times each week and only makes the switch for laundry day.  To say it is cringe worthy, is putting it very lightly.

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Don’t compare yourself or avoid mirrors.  I have so many clients who refuse to workout in front of mirrors.  As an athlete who has spent far too many years criticizing my own body, I beg of you to please use mirrors to help make sure you are doing exercises properly.  I can assure you that you are your toughest critic.  Just as you are consumed with worry about your own appearance, so is 99% of the rest of the gym. No one is worrying about you because they are just as worried about themselves.  Take a look in the mirror.  Appreciate your body.  By seeing yourself now, you will be able to truly notice the changes as you continue to exercise.

It’s your gym.  Try everything and learn what you enjoy the most.  I always encourage members to truly take advantage of their membership.  Try everything.  Ask if you aren’t sure how to use something.  Try equipment that interests you.  Take a class that sounds fun.  Make the most of what you pay for.

What are your gym do’s and don’ts?  

Running Through Pregnancy

It is hard to believe that we are almost 2/3 of the way through this pregnancy.  People aren’t lying when they say that the second time goes much faster.  I guess when you already have one little one to chase around, there isn’t much time to spend thinking about much else!

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I have been very fortunate to run through both of my pregnancies.  One thing I think is very important for everyone is to have a doctor that you feel you can trust and has your best interests at heart.  If you enjoy running, find a doctor that respects and understands the sport.  Not everyone can run through pregnancy and each case is different, but having a doctor who is on the same page with you is key.

Here are a few tips that have helped me.  Please note that I am a RRCA Certified Running Coach and ACE Certified Health Coach.  These tips are from both my experiences and training.  However, you should always consult with your physician first.

Don’t start anything new.  If you ran before getting pregnant, it shouldn’t be a problem to continue if you have a healthy pregnancy, with your doctor’s consent.  However, it is not recommended that you pick up a new activity during these months.  If you are new to running and want to give it a try, wait until after the baby has arrived.

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Keep moving.  One of the best things for mom and baby is staying active.  A minimum of 30 minutes, 3 days a week is a great start.  However, getting some sort of activity in each day is ideal during this time.  Some days can and should be lighter than others.  But some activity can lead to a healthier pregnancy for both of you.

Hydrate!  I made the mistake of not taking my hydration seriously enough early on.  It lead to a calf tear and some very uncomfortable weeks.  Hydration is more important than ever during pregnancy.  Dehydration is one of the leading causes of early labor.  Drinking plenty of fluids and electrolytes can also help ward off calf cramping, which likes to show up in the middle of the night!

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Know when to kick up your feet.  While being active is important right now, so is rest.  Make sure you take time each day to kick your feet up and elevate.  Proper rest will help you recover between workouts which will hopefully make everything more enjoyable and long lasting.

Take it slow.  Running during pregnancy is all about enjoying yourself.  You need to keep your exertion and heart rate down.  You don’t ever want to overheat you or the baby.  If you find that you worry too much about your pace, leave the GPS at home and run a route you feel comfortable with.  You will have to slow down and your body will also force you to slow down.  Enjoy your time on the road (or treadmill) with you and your little one to be.

Did you run through pregnancy?  Do you have any tips?

Winter Running Safety

The other day I was driving down a busy four lane road with Rock and he shouted, “Look out!”  I was carefully watching the cars in front of me and for the life of me couldn’t tell what he was talking about.  “Runner,” he shouted.  Right there in the road was a guy running against traffic in a white jacket.  I couldn’t see him and I am the first to slow down and move over for any runner.

I am always happy to see other people out enjoying the activity I love the most.  But there were several offenses being committed and I felt this was a perfect time to discuss running safely for the winter.

Pick a safe spot.  The area where this gentleman was running is a local favorite.  There are sidewalks galore heading into the downtown area.  But we have received an unprecedented amount of snow very early into this winter (as in 30 inches and counting).  The sidewalks have not been plowed yet in this particular area.  While this is the main drag, there are SO many side streets that are far less traveled and much safer to run on.  It might mean making a bit of a detour, but when the safety of your life is involved, changing up your route is a must.

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Had this gentleman just moved over one street, he could have reached the same destination and run in the road without putting his life in jeopardy.

Make light a Christmas tree and go bright.  Wear the brightest colors you have.  Throw on a vibrant running vest.  Deck yourself with lights.  Fa la la la!

When you wear neutral colors in the winter, you blend into the snow.  Even worse, the sun reflecting on the snow is blinding for drivers.  Don’t assume that people will see you.  Make it your business to be seen.  Wear a bright jacket.  Pick out a running vest that has reflectors.  Running stores have all sorts of great lights that clip to shoes, jackets, gloves and hats.

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Bright and lights!

Stay warm.  When the temps get frigid we can put ourselves in very dangerous situations.  My best rule to run by is to ensure that your head, hands, and feet are nice and toasty.  Find a nice comfortable hat that covers your ears.  Pick out a pair of cozy running mittens.  While gloves are great, having your fingers together helps keep your hands much warmer.  Find a pair of winter sweat wicking socks.  I am a huge fan of Smart Wool.  They make great socks for all sorts of winter athletes.

Keep in mind that running tights actually keep you warmer than running pants.  The material is meant to make your cold runs more comfortable and streamlined.  I know, I know, most of us don’t love wearing tights.  But once you get past that first awkward feeling, you will wonder why you didn’t convert sooner.  That goes for you too, gentlemen!

Stay hydrated.  Just because it is cold out, doesn’t mean that you no longer need hydration.  Make sure you drink plenty before you leave.  If you are training for long distances, have a game plan for how you will hydrate.  Many parks turn off their water fountains in the winter, making it difficult to get water along the way.

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What I would give to be running with this on the beach right now!

This is the time of year that I love using my Simple Hydration bottle.  Because it sits up against my body and under my jacket, my body keeps the bottle warm enough to avoid freezing the water!

How do you like to stay safe in the winter when you run?

Summer Running: Tips To Deal With Heat And Humidity

Summer is in full swing, and that means I am getting a lot of e-mails regarding humidity and training.  Just about anywhere you are running right now you are likely experiencing heat and humidity.  In my opinion, humidity is one of the most difficult factors to deal with as a runner.  I personally experienced this at Grandma’s Marathon in June.  It took me down.  And it took me down hard and fast.

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Unfortunately, when humidity rears it’s ugly head, there is very little we can do in the midst of a run.  However, there are a few things you can do to prepare as well as a few things you can do to make running more tolerable. 

First, remember that it will get better and you will come out on the other end, a stronger runner.  While running in muggy conditions can be very difficult, our bodies do adjust over time and will handle the weather more efficiently.  You likely won’t be running at your normal pace or feel as great as you do under perfect conditions, but your body will begin to deal better after approximately two weeks.

If you allow yourself to slow down and work through the conditions, your body will adapt and you will actually find that you become a stronger runner.

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Slow it down.  As I mentioned before, you will need to slow your pace down.  Be patient with your body.  If you try pushing it too hard, it will revolt and give in.  If you need to do a six mile training run and you try to push at your normal pace, you might fall short of your planned mileage.  It is much better to slow down and get those miles in.  You will likely feel much better about your training.  Falling short of mileage often leads to frustration.  Running your miles at a slower pace will give you a sense of accomplishment once they are done.  Remember that slower running has many great benefits for your training.  It will by no means destroy your pace.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Hydration during the hot and humid season is essential.  You will sweat a lot under these conditions.  Proper fluid intake is essential to get through all of training.  Keep in mind that hydration begins days before a run and not just the 24 hours prior to one single run.  It is essential to aim for maintaining euhydration, which is a normal state of hydration; meaning neither dehydrated or over hydrated.  Aim for light yellow to straw colored urine as a way to ensure this status.

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Source: usada.com

If you are having trouble finding a hydration system for your run.  I highly recommend the Simple Hydration bottle.  It hooks to your shorts or running belt and you will quickly forget it is even there.  I am a big fan!

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Source: usada.com

Consider retaining some water.  If you see that the forecast calls for hot and humid conditions, consuming something salty the night before can be helpful for retaining water.  Something like chicken noodle soup, soy sauce, or even pizza has a high salt content.  This can help facilitate some levels of water retention for your long run or event the following day.

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This is how I feel the morning after eating sushi or pizza!

Be patient and give yourself some leniency.  Some days are better than others.  Some runs are most definitely better than others.  If your body isn’t feeling it, give yourself the option to slow it down, take walk breaks, or cut it short.  Missing a run or two is not the end of the world.  It won’t hurt your training or make you a slower runner.  But it could keep you safe and healthy.  Always listen to your body and do what is best for you.

How do you prefer to deal with summer running conditions?

A special best of luck to Chicago Rock n Roll runners this weekend.  An extra special shout out to Pamela and Elaine.  Super proud of your hard and smart work!

Stroller Running (Ahem…Jogging).

Several months ago I did my first run with Mary in the stroller.  I came home from a long training run and popped her in the seat for two miles.  I was hesitant to see how it would go, but excited to introduce her to the world of running.

Stroller2

We have a great running stroller, but it is slightly bulky for travel and we had to leave it behind when we went to NYC for the spring.  We recently pulled it back out and took Mary for a 6 mile run and Rock and I took turns pushing each mile.

While Rock was coaching hockey last week in Wisconsin, I had the chance to push Mary during her naps.  My goal was to get her to take her shorter morning nap in the running stroller.   We tried it out for an entire week and it was fantastic!  The first day it took her 15 minutes to fall asleep and the second day she fell asleep within the first mile.

Each morning she slept for just about an hour, which was long enough for me to get in my daily mileage.

Here are my pointers for running with a stroller:

Invest in a nice timepiece.  When doing our baby registry, we were overwhelmed.  What the heck do new parents really need?!  If you are a runner, you need a jogging stroller.  If you are a walker, you need a jogging stroller.  They are pricey, but please take my advice and do your research.  Figure out what your family needs.

Rock and I looked at all of the available strollers and went with the BOB Revolution SE.  It is comfy for Mary and has great attachments for baby and parent (snack table for baby and coffee holder for mom).

Stroller1

This thing has shocks like a car and an air pump to make sure the wheels are good to go.  There is a sun roof and pockets galore.  The only drawback is that while it does fold down, it isn’t nearly as compact as an umbrella stroller or our Maclaren (yikes, kids are expensive!).

Make Sure Baby Is Ready:

Our pediatrician recommended that you do not run with your baby in a stroller until they are able to sit up on their own.  While Mary was able to do this during the winter, I didn’t want to subject her to crappy weather.  So we waited until spring.   You definitely want to wait until they are able to hold their heads ups comfortably, as you do not want them bouncing around and out of control.

Ease Into It:

You don’t need to do a marathon on the first day.  Try doing 20-30 minutes the first time.  I put her snack tray up and added some treats to make the jog a little more enjoyable (for her)  A quick trip for your first attempt is a good idea.  It will be challenging for you and you also don’t want to overdo it for baby and make it a bad experience for them from the start.

Plan To Run Slower:

Pushing a stroller with a baby is no joke.  It isn’t super hard if you have the right stroller.  But it isn’t also won’t be easy.  I run a minute and a half slower per mile with a stroller than I do on my own.  There are great benefits to slow running and you can chalk it up to resistance training too!

As I mentioned on Monday, I ended up running a really solid race the weekend after doing 5 days of slow mileage pushing the stroller.  It won’t ruin your pace in the long run.

Always Be Safe!

Running with your baby presents new challenges.  Make sure you always wear the attached safety strap for the stroller.  While you may be the strongest and most diligent parent/runner, accidents happen.  If you trip, the strap will ensure that the stroller stays with you and doesn’t stray down the road.

While I love listening to music to keep my mind from focusing on the miles, when I run with Mary, I keep my phone handy for emergencies, and I am 100% sans technology.  If anything, I spend my time chatting with her.  Music should be left for your solo runs.

Be smart and obey the rules of running on the road.   Always run against traffic.  Run on sidewalks whenever you can.  And run defensively.  Assume that drivers are not paying attention.

Do you run with a stroller?  What tips would you add?