Thursday, November 19, 2009

Out for the Trot

I’m a big fan of the turkey trot. This annual Thanksgiving event is tons of fun. It’s a good way to burn calories before your Thanksgiving food fest and entertaining as many people run in turkey and pilgrim costumes. Good times, good times.

Unfortunately I won’t be part of the turkey trot action this year for several reasons. My husband and I are traveling to spend the day with family. Either I’d have to get up early and drive 2.5 hours to trot in our destination city or I’d have to run in my city and delay our trip. Given the fact that my hubby has been extremely supportive of my running – going to races, being awaken at 4:30 a.m. when my alarm clocks went off for my early runs – I’m giving him a break and making it a family day.

But by all means, trot if you can. I did a 5K turkey trot last year and had a blast. While distances vary depending on where you live or will be visiting, fun will be had by all. The Running in the USA website lists races all over the country. Hopefully you’ll be able to find a turkey trot near you.

A Run Today Could Keep that Cold Away

There seems to be a laundry list of benefits of running – weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, stress relief – I could go on. Another benefit is cold prevention and boy am I thankful for it. When I get a cold, I get a cold. I mean I’m congested, my nose runs like a faucet and I cough my head off. I’m literally miserable for weeks. But ever since I started running two years ago, all that is a distant memory. Even working around sickly people who choose to come to work and spread their germs, I have managed to stay healthy. I attribute it to running and being a bit of a germaphobe – I wash my hands regularly and keep hand sanitizer nearby. I think the fact that I haven’t gotten a cold is pretty funny. I run in the rain. I run in 30 degree weather. I run in windy weather. All the conditions you probably learned to avoid going out in when you were growing up. Yet I’m doing just fine. With that being said, if you’re running, keep running during the winter. It’s good for your health. If you’re not running, why not start now. It’s good for your health.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Get Outfitted to Run for Less

Running is a relatively inexpensive sport. All you need is a pair of sneakers. But for those who want to look the part, it can get a little pricey. Fortunately there are deals out there and I found a few from personal experience to share with you.

The key thing to look for when shopping for running tops is moisture wicking. Seek out shirts, short and long sleeve, that pull moisture away from the skin as you run. It makes for a more pleasant experience, helps prevent breakouts, etc. Target and Wal-Mart both carry inexpensive moisture wicking workout shirts. Expect to spend less than $20 for each top depending on sleeve length.

Road Runner Sports is a good resource for shorts, tights and capris. A friend turned me on to the company when she gave me a gift certificate. I became a RRSports VIP for an additional 10 percent savings. So far I’ve purchased RRS compression shorts, capris and tights and paid less than $30 each. They fit and wear well. I especially like that they carry tall sizes since I’m 5’10”.

Running Shoes
Your feet are important so don’t skimp too much in this department. I suggest supporting your local running store because it supports local runners. They’ll help you figure out what type of running shoes you need – neutral, stability or motion control. If those stores are budget breakers, retailers like Sports Authority and Dick’s Sporting Goods often sell the same shoes or have older versions of those shoes on sale or clearance. RRSports lets you try shoes out for 60 days and seems to always have something on sale. Race expos are also great places to get deals on running shoes. A friend got a great deal on a pair of Nike Pegasus at an expo.

Outlet Stores
Nike, Puma, Adidas, Under Armour, and Reebok are among the brands that have outlet stores where you can purchase discounted clothing and shoes. You can find some good deals in these stores.

Where do you purchase your running gear?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Change of Plans

I don’t know if you’re like me but there are times when I am not happy when I have to change my plans, especially when it comes to my running and workout schedules. It’s my “me time” but things happen and I have learned to be flexible.

Just last week, my running schedule was interrupted for a last minute trip out of town. That meant my second tempo workout for the week was cut. I still ran 18 miles but I was planning to do about 25 miles so I fell short. This week I’ll be traveling as well so I am adjusting my schedule to run the next five days straight since I won’t have time to run during a weekend trip to the East coast. And when I return it may be a day or two before I can hit the streets so I want to get my miles in before my trip.

People often ask me how I fit in my runs and workouts. I just establish a schedule and stick with it. Whenever possible, I plan activities and outings around my workouts. For example, a year ago I went to a workout class, rushed home to shower and get dressed with about five minutes to spare before heading to see a musical. Other times, I travel with running shoes and workout gear and use a friend’s gym guest pass or run laps around a relative’s home to get my miles in. This probably sounds a little crazy but my runs and workouts are important to me.

I realize everyone isn’t able to do this. Family, work and life often get in the way. But I encourage you to give it a try. Just like work, sleep and cooking for the family are important, you’re health is important too. Make you a priority and stick with it. And let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Race Recovery Update

I’m two weeks post half marathon and I feel good. About 6 days after the race, all the pain in my quadriceps was gone. I’m close to my prerace weekly mileage of 25 miles – last week I ran 21. This week my plan is to run 6 miles Tuesday, 5 miles Wednesday and 6 miles Thursday with another 6 miles on Saturday. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s runs will include tempo work. I still haven’t figured out what my next race will be but I plan to be ready.

Flex Diet Update

So I’ve been a practicing flexitarian for a week or so and I’m doing okay. It made me realize how little fruits and vegetables I had been eating lately. I spent most of week one eating cheese pizza, which I don’t think was a good thing. Oatmeal or a multigrain, high fiber cereal is my typical breakfast. Lunch is peanut butter and jelly or a salad. Dinner (when I usually eat meat) is teriyaki chicken and jasmine rice or a turkey burger or grilled chicken and veggies. This week I started with cheese pizza again but I also had tuna salad. Snacks include almonds, dried cranberries and nonfat strawberry yogurt. I plan to hit the library and the Internet for more vegetarian meal ideas. Feel free to send your suggestions my way.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Treadmill Training

If you’re like me, you probably don’t like running on the treadmill. When you’re use to running outdoors, it’s hard to run in place. Funny thing is when I started running it was on the treadmill. It was the only place I would run and I didn’t mind it. Now I dread hopping on the thing but it’s a necessary evil for me during the winter. When it’s dark outside or the weather is too cold or snowy, that’s just where you’ll find me.

Over the years, I’ve discovered a few ways to push through those tedious treadmill runs. From beginners to experienced runners, here are some things you can try:

Beginning Runners

Starting slow is the key when it comes to beginning runners. I would listen to music or watch television and use them as distractions to get me through short periods of running. For example, I would walk at a 3.5 mph pace during the verse of a song and then run at a 5 mph pace during the chorus or I would walk at the same pace during whatever show I was watching and then run during the commercial breaks. I would continue to do this until the show went off – 30 or 60 minutes. Over time I would reverse the pattern and run during the verse or show and walk during the chorus or commercials. Using music or a television program is a great way to set small running goals that you can build upon over time. And as you become stronger, you can gradually increase the run pace.

Experienced Runners

The treadmill can be great for tempo and speed workouts. Lately when I run on the treadmill, I do a two mile warm up at a 6 mph pace. If it’s a tempo workout day, I run half a mile at a 7 mph pace with a .10 mile recovery walk. I repeat this for two miles. If it’s a speed workout day, I run a quarter mile at 7.5 mph pace with a .10 mile recovery walk. I repeat this for two miles, gradually increasing my run pace .10 mph each time. Whether it's a tempo or a speed workout day, I do a one mile cool down at a 6 mph pace. Sometimes to mix things up and to hit different leg muscles, I put the treadmill on a 15 incline and a 2 mph pace and walk backwards for 5 to 10 minutes. This really hits the quadriceps. I still like to watch television or listen to music because it gives me something to do during the workout.

How do you push through your treadmill workouts? Share your tips.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall Back But Not Off

It’s getting colder. It’s dark when you get off work. There’s snow and ice on the ground. The wind is really whipping out there. My bed is really warm right now. These are just some of the possible excuses you will use to convince yourself not to run. The challenge is not to give in to them.

Winter is a tricky time for runners. All of the above is true, especially the part about your bed being really warm. But you’ve worked too hard all spring and summer long training for your fall race to let it all go to waste. I have listened to several friends complain about how hard it was to start running again after taking three months off after a half or full marathon. They felt like they were starting over. Why do that to yourself? It makes no sense to let the elements keep you from progressing as a runner.

I will admit I’m not a big fan of running in the cold or in the dark. I especially don’t run in the dark alone for safety reasons. So with the weather getting colder, I am forced to wear more layers when running outdoors. And with the time change, I’ll be doing more workouts indoors.

I refuse to stop running and neither should you. Soon I’ll share how I get through treadmill workouts and offer ideas for running outdoors in the winter. How will you get through the winter months?