4 Ways to Revive Your Running This Summer

Hey gang!  Long time, no update!  I know, I know.  You all have been sitting on the edge of your seats!  Well the wait is over!  Today I want to talk about ways to revive your running this summer.  A lot of you are just starting or are about to start training for a fall race.  Right now, everything will be just glorious!  But by the time September rolls around, you may dread running the same 5 mile loop every.damn.day.

Here are some of my top ways to avoid burnout and keep running fun!

#1- Change your route.

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went to his parent’s place in Chester County PA. He just got a new road bike so we were both itching for some quality exercise and been wanting to explore the Chester Valley Trail. Neither of us have explored this rail trail before. I think this trail wins as my new favorite!  It was so refreshing to run in a new place and really appreciate the surroundings.  I even saw a newborn deer!! Mama was close by so I kept it moving. LOL.

Even if you can’t get to a new running destination immediately, just change the direction of your normal route.  You’ll be surprised at how different it will feel!

#2- Join a social/fun run.

‘Tis the season for running stores to have weekday fun runs to pubs and bars. Why not join others in the agony of running in the heat but taste the glory of a cold beer after the run? Charm City Run has some fun events scheduled this summer. I am hoping to join in on the Pub Dog run in Columbia later this summer 🙂

#3- Create a new playlist.

Summer is all about concerts. So why not incorporate the new summer hits into your playlist? I tend to listen to the same songs over and over again. Is there someone else out there that does the same thing?!  Here is my latest favorite.  I’ll be listening to that for the rest of the summer on repeat 😛

#4- Follow a summer fitness challenge and invite others to join.

Runners are creatures of habits.  We tend to eat the same foods, run the same pace, not stray far from our routines. Participating in a summer fitness challenge can get you out of your routine and hold you accountable to a goal. My favorite is the 100 Pushup Challenge. Do I ever get near 100?  Heck to the no. Most I ever did was 35. But the pushup is arguably one of the most effective exercises since it activates biceps, triceps, shoulders, core, quads, and chest. Last time I completed the challenge, I felt significantly stronger and it helped my endurance since I was able to maintain good posture longer on a run.

So that’s it folks! Which one of these will you do this summer?  Feel free to add other ideas to the comments.

 

“I Fell in a Hole”

Friends, this is a real subject line from an email I received from a client. Here was my response:

Me: “You what? What were you doing? How does something like that happen? Were there sticks and leaves covering the hole like a booby trap?”

Client: “I was running and then I fell into a hole and hurt my back. Now my back hurts. What do I do?”

(Me still wondering why is there a random hole in the ground…)

Ok, so I still don’t have the full story as to why there was a hole in the ground. Maybe that’ll be a follow-up post?  But this story easily shows how quickly one can become injured even if you are perfectly healthy. Injuries happen, especially in running. As runners, it’s something we will all deal with at some point.

One of the most common questions I get is whether to use heat or ice. Check out the infographic below for specifics.

Have you experienced any running-related injuries?

Stay healthy out there my friends!

Back to Basics: How to Fuel for a Run

Happy April everyone! Running season is upon us and it’s the time of year where I receive the most questions.  So in the spirit of the season, this month I am going back to basics with (the appropriately named) Back to Basics Series. Yay!!

Last week, a coworker and I got into a discussion about fuel.  He scored an amazing deal (like $3?! Normally $33) on a 24-count box of Honey Stingers that were “about to expire”…in August! If you’re training for a half marathon you could definitely eat all those by August. What a lucky dog…

Long story short, I get a lot of questions about fueling. How much? How often? Which kinda? Well if you haven’t figured it out by now, today I want to talk to you about…

Do I need to consume fuel during my run?

It’s important to know that fuel is only necessary for runs longer than 60 minutes, regardless of the distance. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3 miles or 7 miles, after 60 minutes your body needs carbs.

How often should I take in fuel during my run?

The ideal rule is 1 package every 45 minutes. So if you plan to run over an hour, start at minute 45, then another an an hour and 30 minutes and so on. If your stomach is feeling “off” or you feel full, don’t feel like it is mandatory to take something.  Listen to your body.

Which kind of fuel should I consume?

Beer!  Kidding.  Don’t do that.  I did that once during a race. I immediately regretted that decision. The most popular fuel is gel. They come in a variety of flavors and are easy to carry with you. Next are chews, which are pretty much like gummies. They are a nice way to switch it up if you get tired of eating gel and want something to chew, hence the name. Next up, sport beans!! Basically jelly beans you feel less guilty about eating. Sport beans are a favorite of mine around mile 17 of the marathon when you are losing your mind and all you can do is count beans…yeahhhh. Frankly, none are greater than the either. Experiment and see which one works/tastes best for you!

So there you have it!  The basics of fueling!  I didn’t include hydration in this post because that is a separate post in itself 🙂

Happy running!

 

Snow Day Workouts!

Hey friends! If you live in the Northeast, you are getting slammed with snow!  Makes sense after last week’s 70 degree days right? One morning I’m running in a tank top/shorts and the next morning I’m in a winter jacket/running tights. Cray.

Well, just because the roads are covered in snow and ice doesn’t mean we have to hit pause on our training. Besides I don’t know about you, but I reaaallyy don’t want to be this girl….

Here are some ways to get in some training without running….and subsequently falling.

#1 Yoga 

About a year ago, I bought a Groupon for a subscription to online yoga classes for $8. Even if you only use it once it pays for itself versus going to a studio and paying $16 for a class. The nice thing about yoga at home is you can do it any time you want.  So if you want to sip some coffee and watch the snow fall, before working out, go for it! Also, you don’t have to worry about looking cute in your latest Lululemon.  Yeah I said it!

#2 Strength Training

Now I’m not talking about anything heavy duty here.  I mean a snow day is meant to be a relaxing day right? This is actually the perfect opportunity to do what I call “maintenance training.” Pretty much all of the little stuff that is going to help prevent injuries later down the road that runners tend to neglect.  Currently I am doing the workouts (an 8-week training plan) from “Quick Strength for Runners” by Jeff Horowitz. These are simple but effective exercises like squats and push-ups.  Oldies but goodies!

#3 Shoveling!!!

Ok so this isn’t fun for everyone but shoveling is a great conditioning workout.  Not only is it cardio (gets that heart pumping!) but also strength training (squat to scoop the snow, wood chopper to throw the snow). It’s really a great total body workout.  Just remember to stay hydrated…don’t eat the yellow snow 😛

#4 Call it a Rest Day

Like I said, there’s something about a snow day that brings hopes of hot beverages and sitting by the fireplace under a blanket.  If you don’t want to work out then guess what?  Don’t workout! Remember rest days are a healthy part of your training.  Yes, rest is just as important to your training as running is.

So tell me, how do you workout on a snow day?

How to Find a Running Partner

Happy Wednesday gang! I am hoping for a snow day tomorrow for us Baltimoreans.  We all could use a fun day off to frolic in the snow! Weird thing is, it got up to 70 degrees today. Say whhhhaaaa?! I ran this morning in a tank top and shorts!

Can you spot my little troublemaker in the photo above? 🙂

But tomorrow with snow in the forecast, I’ll be back in my winter jacket and fleece tights!  Crazy!

In the spirit of February and all things relationships, I want to talk to you today about how to find a running partner.  Last week I talked about why you should have a running partner, which got you psyched, right? That’s all great, but finding a good running partner can be challenging.

You can find a running partner by:

#1- Joining a Running Club

Your local running store will likely have weekly training runs/meet-ups.  This is a perfect way to make friends and train with someone around your fitness level. I guarantee there is going to be at least one person running your pace, so do not be afraid of being left behind.

#2- Meetup.com

Meetup.com is an online website where you can join or create a group that has similar interests. You can easily search for many small, informal groups to run with. Remember there’s safety in numbers!

#3- The gym

This was kind of a ballsy move for me, but I randomly approached a stranger at the gym…who is now my running partner.  If you go to the gym often enough, you’ll quickly figure out the runners.  They are pretty much the ones killing it on the cardio equipment but barely lifting weights haha

#4- At a race

I actually became friends with someone I sat next to on the bus to the start line of a race.  We struck up conversation and became instant friends!  We do not train together, but it’s fun to check-in with each other through Facebook to see if we are running the same races. Last year we ran the same half marathon and ended up running next to each other for most of the miles.  We both pushed each other harder and it definitely paid off with fast times.  It was like having a cheerleader/coach right next to you!

Well that’s all for now folks!  Tomorrow I might be back with a picture of myself in winter running gear 😉

 

 

MCM Runners Club + Benefits of a Running Partner

Happy Friday Eve everyone! It’s February and I can’t believe us Marylanders have made it this far without one snow storm! I hope mother nature is just saving it all up for one massive blizzard 😛

This month, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I want to talk about a special relationship that no one talks about, a running partner! I have had a running partner for about 9 years and he has been critical to my training.  So each week in February, I will be writing a special post about running partnerships.

For this week’s post, let’s start out with the basics, the benefits of a running partner.  There are a TON of benefits I could put down but then this would become a novel and not a blog post 🙂 So here we go!

Reason #1: Accountability

I run outside year round.  From every weather condition from 85 degrees to 9 degrees, sunny to rain and wind, you’ll see me out there.  How do I do this consistently? Easy, my obligation to my running partner.  If someone is waiting outside for you in the freezing cold at zero dark-thirty, you are not hitting the snooze button. Period.

Reason #2: Support

It’s nice to have a cheerleader AND be a cheerleader for someone else.  When I’m going on my first 20 mile training run of the season, I know I can count on my running partner to say “you got this!” and make sure I am hydrated and fueled. Let’s face it, not everyone is going to be excited about your running (haters gonna hate) but you know your running partner is going to be there every step of the way (pun intended).

Reason #3: Fun!

Through the miles, you will see and do lots of funny things. My running partner and I constantly bring up the time we were at a race and the volunteers (cough paroles cough) were, well, I guess out doing community service?? There was a street that runners had to cross to get to the starting line and a volunteer was placed there to help assist with traffic.  There were these two tiny cones that apparently you had to cross between.  But with the large crowd, you couldn’t see them.  The volunteer would yell aggressively “I SAID CROSS BETWEEN THE CONES!!!” At some point we were almost certain he was going to take out his glock and start shooting in the air LOL!

Reason #4: Safety

This is probably one of the best reasons to have a running partner. As a young female, it can be nerve wrecking to be running in the dark and hear a wrestling in the bush or see a silhouette walking down the street.  It’s especially scary after this past summer when 3 women were brutally murdered while running. My running partner always walks me to my house after our run and checks on me during a run. I’m definitely thankful for my running partner!

Ok that wraps up the first post for our running partner series, but in other news…

I was accepted into the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Runners Club!!!

I am BEYOND excited about it.  By completing 5 Marine Corps Marathons, I am now guaranteed annual access to early registration for the Marine Corps Marathon.  No more worrying about the lottery process!  I am still undecided about running this year’s race because I am holding out hope that I actually made it into the New York City Marathon.  Fingers crossed!

So do you have a running partner?  If so, what other benefits can you think of?

 

Running While Sick- To Do or Not To Do

Disclaimer: If you are ill, please consult your doctor for medical advice. I am not a doctor and I am writing from my own experience and research.

Runners are creatures of habit. We LOVE routines. This mostly works in our favor (determination, consistency, etc.), but there are situations when it can be our worst enemy. Running while sick can fall into that category.

Yesterday I had a very minor surgery where the doctors removed some cysts from my head. Fun times right? Like any seasoned runner, the first thing I asked the doctor post-OP was if I could run the following day. I imagine the doctor doesn’t hear that question very often.  He advised me to see how I felt and go from there.  Sounds reasonable right? But how do you determine the difference between an excuse or a legit concern?

Women’s Running posted an article in 2013 with a handy dandy flow chart that makes it easy to figure out if you should run or not.

sick_flowchart

Link to the full article here: http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2013/06/training-tips/too-sick-to-run_13620#wTVZ04cS2ujIKeQD.97

I always ask my clients this, “does the illness pass the neck test?” If you are congested and that’s really it, go for a run!  It can actually help clear you out and temporarily alleviate the discomfort. On the other hand, if you have been vomiting, have stomach issues, and/or muscle fatigue, skip it. Running while experiencing these issues could only make matters worse.

You might be thinking, “well there goes my training and I won’t meet my goal!” Well not so fast.  There are other ways to train for running without actually running. Yeah…I am about to blow your mind people. Training encompasses so much than the physical aspect.  There is mental training, nutrition, education, fashion…okay I threw that last one in there 😛

Here are some other “cross-training” ideas:

-Read an inspirational book. Two of my all time favorites are Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek.

-Watch a movie about sports.  I have to say, Rocky gets me every time.

-Research new healthy recipes to try out. Don’t worry I already did the heavy lifting for you with Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hollym604/healthy-food/

-Treat yourself to some new gear via online shopping.  Don’t spread your illness at the store 😛

 

Take the rest day and give your body a chance to do its job. You’ll be back at it soon enough.

Happy running my friends!