Archive for the ‘ Fitness ’ Category

Newton Running Clinic

  I wrote a post a few months ago that highlighted Newton Running Shoes and their growing emergence on the running scene. Last week I went to a running clinic at a local running store named The Sneaker Factory that was sponsored by Newton. One of the guys running the clinic was Ian Adamson, adventure racer, ultrarunner, and Guinness World Record holder. He was a great guy, very friendly and I was able to chat with him for a while before the event began. We talked about why he thinks Newton’s are a better running shoe, why I didn’t necessarily need my Nikes (these were my questions, he never tried to push me into buying anything!), strength training for runners among other things.

There are a lot of articles, and more popping up every day, on the benefits of running in a “minimal” shoe, ie. a shoe that doesn’t have a thick heel that essentially throws off your running gait and makes your muscles over compensate for your altered gait thus increasing your chances for injury. I’m always a little incredulous when a new trend pops up and wait to see if a. this is something that would work for me and my body and b. to see if there’s more to it than just a fad following. But the more I read and talk to guys like Ian, the more I’m realizing that it’s time for me to make the switch. Ian also mentioned not switching 100% in the beginning, but combining your runs with maybe a mile at first in a minimal shoe with the rest of your mileage in your normal shoes. I’m sure there are other philosophies as well, but that sounded like a logical method to me!

In addition to chatting with Ian, he and his colleague took the group outside to practice some drills that essentially mimic how you should be running. These drills, with practice, should allow you to run the way your body is meant to rather than the heel striking way many of our bodies have been conditioned to run due to added heel support in the majority of running shoes. To find more on how to run naturally check out Newton’s Run Better page or the book Natural Running by Danny Abshire.

Happy Running! 🙂

Summer Running – Beating the Heat, Part II, Gear

Part of staying cool during summer runs is dressing right. My running gear has morphed through the years (and will probably continue to as running gear continues to change and improve) both through the new products that come out/that I discover and my knowledge of what gear works best for my body when I run. Aside from the water bottles/hydration belts that I’ll comment on below, I could easily see myself becoming one of the women who wears their workout gear to Starbucks instead of just during a workout simply because my running wardrobe is that comfortable.

Head to toe (including accessories, minus undergarments) here’s a list of my favorite summer running gear:

  Nike Zoom Vomero 6 – I’ve tried several different types of shoes and this is the shoe that I’ve found works best for my gait – I supinate, ie. my foot tends to roll out when I run. The Vomero is designed for us supinators and has extra support on the outside to keep me injury free.

  Smartwool Lightweight Socks – I am in love with all things Smartwool. As a runner you quickly realize the difference and importance of having socks that keep your feet cool, comfortable, cushioned, and blister-free. There are a lot of running socks out there each one promising you the best comfort, but I’ve always gone to Smartwool simply because I’ve never had any issues with them. Long runs, in the heat, pounding asphalt, can really put your socks to the test and my feet have come through happy and blister-free.

  Nike Women’s Running Shorts – These shorts have great wicking material that keep the sweat away. They’re loose enough to not be baggy but give plenty freedom of movement. They also come with built in pockets which for me is a must as I often drive to my favorite shady trails to run and need a place to store a car key and a gel pack.

 

  Nike Fast Pace Women’s Running Tank Tops – I just discovered these shirts this year and love, love, love them! It’s hard for me to find running tank tops that are wicking and not super tight and these fit the bill perfectly. Not only do they keep the sweat away, but they hang loosely, not baggy, and are longer than a typical women’s tank top. Not to mention I love wearing bright colors and these come in a variety of cheerful (Hey, look there’s a runner!) hues.

  Sweaty Bands – It’s important to keep my hair out of my face as I run. I tend to sweat, a lot, especially in the heat and humidity of summer, and need something that will not only hold my hair back but will stay securely in place so I can focus on my run instead of fixing my hair every two miles. I’d heard great things about Sweaty Bands and ordered one to see if they were worth all the fuss. They are. I have a few now that I rotate through and they’re great. They can be also be rinsed in a sink, but I don’t put them in the washer as they tend to get stiff when they dry.

  Nathan Sprint Water Bottle – So here’s my disclaimer for these last two items: I am horrible when it comes to drinking and running unless I’m in a race. I drink water non-stop whenever I’m not running and while I’m well hydrated, I should drink more on my runs, especially in the heat. To confess even further whenever I’m doing a long run in the heat I make my girlfriend ride her bike and drink her water. Ha! It’s ridiculous. That being said, this water bottle and the hydration belt below are the two items I plan on buying this season. First, Nathan makes great products for runners and from the ones I’ve looked at in the store, this seems to fit my hand the best without being too constricting or hot. Best for runs when you don’t need multiple water bottles.

  Fuelbelt Hydration Belt – I tried this belt on recently and think it will work perfectly for my long summer runs. The breathable, padding makes it fit comfortably on my waist without moving around and chafing. It also has a removable race pocket that’s perfect for keys, cash, and gel packets. Fuelbelt also makes a four-bottle option as well.

 

 

 

Happy running! 😀

Summer Running – Beating the Heat, Part I

  First day of summer and the weather responded by climbing into the 90s replete with humidity. Lovely. I’m much better at running in cold weather than I am in heat. At least in cold my body gradually warms up to a point where I’m comfortable running. In the heat, however, it’s easy for your body to overheat and that can be dangerous if not fatal. Yikes!

Here are some tips I’ve gleaned over the years and try to implement throughout the dog days of summer:

1. Run early in the morning – This tends to be the coolest part of the day before the sun has baked the world all day.

2. Dress smart – Wearing light colors that will reflect the sun’s rays away and loose fitting clothing that breathes as you run. Also, fabrics other than cotton that will wick away sweat and keep you cool are a great idea too.

3. Water, water everywhere – Drink. Water. Lots of it. Your body craves more water more in the heat and the more hydrated you are the more your body will function as it should without shutting down. Shutting down bad. Water good!

4. Choose your path wisely – Asphalt radiates heat in the summer and while you probably won’t endure the sneaker-melting stories that you hear from the Badwater Ultramarathon it definitely will make your hot runs even hotter. If you know it’s going to be a hot, muggy day and the only time you can run is after work, choose a trail instead of hitting the road. You can find shade and running surfaces that reflect more heat than they absorb.

5. Protect your skin – Don’t forget to wear sunscreen whenever you go out. Sunglasses also help protect your eyes from the sun’s glare.

6. When all else fails, run (egad!) inside – Treadmills are often not the best friend of the outdoor runner, but when the mercury rises and the humidity envelopes you like a blanket it might be the smartest choice.

Remember your safety is your top priority. Training is key, but training smart is even better. Stay cool and happy running! 😀

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

This weekend seemed like a small sampler of how buy my June is going to be. Not only is it one of the busiest months for me at work, but I already seem to have plans piled up around my ears. Lots of it will be fun just not as laid back as these past couple months have been. Saturday I got to see Olympic hopefuls for the U.S.A. Equestrian Team compete at a course in Devon, PA. Today, went to a christening for the son of close friends that took up almost the entire day. While it’s great to see friends and enjoy the beautiful weather, I also thrive on my alone time to write, read, and relax. 🙂

I can’t complain too much as I have been reading a lot lately. Here’s what’s new:

  Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs – I’ve been on a Reichs kick lately and have devoured her last three books. She’s a perfect summer on the porch read. Her books are filled with detailed mysteries, heart pounding plot twists, and great characters. Also perfect for a day at the beach!

  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – This is another book that I should have read a long time ago, but for some reason never had. I appreciated this book, but felt as though it would have been more profound if I had read it when I was younger. I remember reading 1984 when I was young and it just blew me away. This one, not so much. It’s a thought provoking concept of the future and playing with the idea of a utopia (kind of) society. If you haven’t read it, it’s definitely one that should be on your TBR list.

  Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed – When a colleague of mine saw this book she exclaimed, “Oh, that sounds like a horrible story!” I was confused as I had read the blurbs on this memoir and thought the idea of a woman hiking to find herself again sounded like a great story. But what she thought when she read the title was that this woman got lost literally and then was found literally. I could see how the tagline would be a little confusing without any prior point of reference. Regardless, I’ve been listening to this one on CD and loving it. I love memoirs to begin with, but combine one with soul-searching and the outdoors and it doesn’t take much to win me over.

  Jubilee by Robert Kirkman – I picked up this graphic novel because it was penned by Robert Kirkman and I’m a huge fan of his Walking Dead series. So far though I’ve been a bit disappointed by the lack of wow factor. While the story progresses, it’s not very exciting and definitely not what I would consider a good representation of Kirkman’s work. Still, it is a fun, fast read.

Hope you have a great week! Happy reading! 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

Another amazing weekend! Not only did I get to go to my favorite trail for my long run, but I also went to NYC to watch the half marathon. Members of the American Olympic running team, Meb Keflezighi and Kara Goucher, participated as well as other amazing runners from around the world.

We got front row spots right along the finishing chute and were able to see the runners sprint (SPRINT!) past us then run back within touching distance with the flag of their countries draped across their shoulders in a victory jog. Incredible. I felt a runner’s high just from watching. 😀

I have to admit, I’ve been too distracted by bright and shiny cookbooks to finish any of the novels I posted last week. I love cooking and I wanted to integrate more seasonal ingredients into my dishes and find more fun vegetarian recipes to try. Here are some of the books I picked up this week:

  Bean by Bean by Crescent Dragonwagon – First, this cookbook might sound a little gassy, but it is chock filled with dips and stews and salads that are filled with healthy goodness that look and sound delicious! Second, how can you not read a book by someone named Crescent Dragonwagon? I mean, really.

  Cooking Light: Cooking Through the Seasons – A perfect start to more seasonal cooking, this cookbook offers a wide selection of dishes that make use of the freshest ingredients in every season. While this book offers a selection of meat based meals, it also has recipes like Roasted Baby Spring Vegetables and Banana-Rum-Coconut Cookies. Yum!

Farmstead Chef by John Ivanko & Lisa Kivirist – Highlighting foods that can be homegrown or farm fresh, the authors are the owners of the Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast and want to bring their passion for eco-friendly foods to people everywhere. This cookbook has recipes from pancakes to breads to pizza, pasta and sandwiches.

  Welcome to Claire’s by Claire Criscuolo – A collection of favorite recipes from Claire’s Corner Copia, a vegetarian restaurant in New Haven, CT. Some of the 350 recipes include: Spicy Thai Sunflower Noodles, Summer Tomato and Basil Quiche, and Grilled Cheese Florentine. I may need to run to the grocery store soon!

Despite all the healthy, fresh ingredients found in the pages above, all this food makes me happy I run regularly! 🙂

Happy reading!

Are Newtons the Next Running Craze?

   I have a confession to make. I’m a sucker when it comes to neon workout gear. So when I saw the latest issue of Runner’s World and its article on Newtons running shoes with all the glossy, brightly colored photos of brand spanking new shoes, I was a goner. Utterly. Hopelessly. Done for. I am that person that advertisers hope to attract. The raccoons of the human race. The ones that see something bright and shiny and must have it. Ok, maybe I’m not that bad, but that was my initial reaction. And that coupled with my interest and intrigue with the concept of minimalist running, made me want to read all about Danny Abshire and his neon shoes.

Without reiterating the entire article, Abshire wanted to make a shoe that would “Make you run like you were born to run” (a slogan on the Newton website). After years of research and development, Abshire made the latest addition to the Newton family of shoes, one that has a lower heel-to-toe drop that promotes a forefoot strike. Ideally, one should run on her forefoot not her heel which, developed properly, will make you more efficient and less prone to injury.

One of the problems of transitioning from a cushioned shoe to a minimalist one (be it a pair of Vibrams or Newtons) is that users are often still running with the same gait as before and therefore not running more naturally and still run the risk of injury. But if a shoe can almost force your gait to change, like the Newton heel drop design, then maybe that’s a good thing. I’m not convinced one way or the other in regards to minimalist shoes vs. more cushioned running shoes, but I do think that Newtons are going in the right direction. Maybe my next pair of running shoes will be a pair of neon Newtons. 😀

Happy running!

 

 

Is It Running Season Yet?

   My Pilates teacher asked me during my last class if it was running season yet to which I replied – “It’s always running season!” But I do understand where she’s coming from. It’s tough running, or doing anything really, outside during the short, cold winter days. Especially for those who just beginning to run and aren’t fully into the addictive power of the sport yet.  Now, as the days grow longer and the weather warmer it’s easier to get outside and be active.

But if you still need motivation to move from your bum and into a healthier life, here are some things that might give you the kick you need.

1. New workout gear – I’m not saying to go buy an entire new fitness wardrobe, but having clothes/shoes that make you feel good about getting outside for a run/bike/swim. I highly recommend going to a running or sports store to try gear on first or read reviews before purchasing as every person’s body is different and you want the best support and comfort to make your workouts as enjoyable as possible.

2. Find a routine – There are some great programs for those looking for that extra push toward their fitness goals. For example: Couch To 5k (C25K) that encourages participates to ease slowly into running to prevent injuries and burnout from going too hard, too fast.

3. Workout Buddies – Find a friend to partner up with and get your butt in gear. Having someone who will keep you accountable when you don’t feel like working out is great motivation to stick to your plan. If none of your friends schedules jive with yours then hit up your local gym, running or biking store where there are often group runs, rides, or people searching for workout buddies.

4. Rewards – I know how easy it is to get sidetracked on the way to reach your fitness goals, so build in little rewards along the way to keep you motivated. A new piece of clothing, a new download for your Kindle, or some dark chocolate. 🙂

5. Setting a goal – Having a goal helps in making sure you stick to the habit of exercising on a regular basis. Maybe, like with the C25K, you sign up for a race in a couple months, or a bike ride or a sprint triathlon (a very short swim, bike, run tri).

Most importantly – have fun!!! Make your workouts fun and before you know it you’ll be wanting to get out and moving! 😀

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

Had a great weekend running around in the beautiful weather. Got to go on a much needed 7-mile run. It started as a “I think I’m going to go for a nice 3-mile run maybe longer if I feel okay” and then my legs didn’t want to stop moving! I loved it. 🙂 Mid-fifties, sunny, with a nice breeze that cooled me off without being challenging. Ahhh…

I have some great books in my reading pile too. Here’s what I’m reading now:

  The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks – I’m listening to this YA book on CD. I have to admit I don’t immediately jump on every vampire/werewolf book that comes out because a lot of them seem so similar that it’s like reading the same plot over and over. What grabs me is a story about a boy who doesn’t know he’s a werewolf, who isn’t charming and brooding and filled with an overabundance of wolf testosterone. (Is that such a thing?) That’s how this story begins and with a title that makes it seems more like a PETA story, I’m already hooked.

 

 

  Timeless by Gail Carriger -Here’s another series that involves vampires and werewolves, but in such a quirky way I can’t help but devour each new book. There are vampires who are more concerned with fashion than blood, werewolves that act as babysitters, a preternatural that turns supernaturals mortal, and a toddler that blends all these aspects together. Not to mention the delightful steampunk elements that are threaded throughout. A perfect book for any mood.

 

 

  All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps by Dave Isay – StoryCorps was started in 2003 with the idea of capturing stories and preserving them for future generations. A person visits a StoryCorps booth, sometimes alone but more often with someone they love, to tell a story that they want to honor the memory of. This book is a compilation of the love stories both happy and sad from those sessions. I got choked up at almost every story just because they captured such beautiful memories of the human spirit.

 

 

I hope you’re reading week is just as enjoyable as mine is! Happy reading! 🙂

De-Stressification

  Have you ever had one of those days where you feel pulled in a thousand different directions and thus can’t fully focus on any of the tasks in front of you? Oh yeah. It’s been that kind of week for me. Ugh. As much as I love my job, family, life, etc. I need to sit back and refocus on how to find my Zen. 🙂

If my brain were capable of writing more than this post, I would totally put that on my de-stress list, but, sadly, that’s not going to happen today. Here’s my top ten list of ways to unwind before tackling more of my Things To Do list:

1. Run

2. Read

3. Go to the gym

4. Pilates

5. Yoga

6. Walk the dog

7. Bake

8. Get a pedicure

9. Get a massage

10. Grab a pint with some friends

I feel less stressed just writing that list! 😉 And none of those things require any brain power, or very little, which is a great way to recharge for the tasks that lie ahead.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

Happy (Almost) Valentine’s Day! I hope everyone gets shown – and shows – a little extra love this week. Although I do fall in the “I want to show my loved ones that I love them every day, not just Valentine’s Day” I still think the holiday is fun. 🙂 I had off from work today which has afforded me the opportunity to catch up on my To Do list. I’ve gotten a chance to do some writing on my novel, which is progressing nicely, and watch the most recent Downton Abbey – yay! Love days off! 😀

I’m reading and listening to some wonderful books right now. Here’s what I’m enjoying this week:

  Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – I’m really enjoying this book on CD. The narrator is wonderful and it doesn’t hurt that the topic is interesting too. McDougall seems to have done a thorough job in his research on running and, more specifically, why some runners are faster, healthier, and seemingly indefatigable. I’m not quite finished, but I believe the argument and conclusions that follow are on the merits of barefoot running and going back to the days before the running shoe revolution. Stories about the featured runners and the history behind some of the longest, most challenging races are really interesting. Makes me wish I were reading it so I didn’t have to stop when my drive was finished! The only aspect I don’t like is how McDougall writes like he has a bone to pick with Dean Karnazes, another, very well known, ultrarunner. I don’t know if Dean turned him down for something, but McDougall comes across as being petty. It’s strange when the rest of the book is so positive and really detracts from the story McDougall is trying to tell.

 

  Legacy by Molly Cochran – I’m not very far into this YA paranormal book, but I’m already in love! Cochran has a wonderful way with storytelling. It has everything I look for in an engrossing paranormal read – mystery, attractive love interest, protagonist with unrealized powers, delightful setting and side characters. I have a feeling I’m going to rip through this one quickly! 🙂

 

 

 

 

  100 Bullets written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Eduardo Risso – What would you do if a stranger offered you the chance to get away with murder? Thus begins the graphic novel series 100 Bullets. With a premise like that, how could I not read it? The illustrations are classic and keep in tune with the integrity of the plot. There are actually, as the title suggests, a hundred untraceable bullets, one gun and a promise that no repercussions will take place against the person who decides to use the gun and the bullets. Although I’m only on the first one, I’m already intrigued and am looking forward to reading the others (there are 12 in the series).

 

 

 

Happy reading! 🙂