Archive for the ‘ Healthy Running ’ Category

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! 🙂

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! 🙂

I am a ___________

  I am a runner.

I am a daughter.

I am a reader.

I am _________.

On a run yesterday, I got to thinking – I always do my best thinking on runs – what makes us who we are? A little philosophical, yes, but mostly just curious. It started when someone my fiance spoke with said she wasn’t a runner, but then went on to say “Yeah, I only run a couple half marathons a year and a few other races…” Um…what?? But it got me thinking, what makes us who we are? When would that person say definitively – “I am a runner.”?

So here’s what I’ve come up with so far in my theory: 1. You are who you desire to be or 2. You are what circumstances have placed upon you. For example, I am a runner. I feel confident in saying I am such because every day I either think of running or I am running. No, I don’t run marathons. No, I don’t figure out my split times. Yes, I strive to be a runner by practicing, reading and talking about it as much as possible, hence, I’m a runner.

As for the other requisite, I am what circumstances have placed on me. For example, I am a daughter. I didn’t choose to be a daughter, but as soon as my parents had me that’s what I became. I’m reading John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars – a wonderful, real book about kids trying to live with cancer – and in one part, a parent laments that she won’t be a mother anymore if her child dies. I disagree with her statement. I think that if you become a mother nothing can take that from you.

And as for this weekend, I strive to be a writer and so a writer I shall be. 🙂

Happy writing!

Fun with Yaktrax

  I had a great weekend! I got a chance to take my new Yaktrax out for a trial run. So much fun! 🙂

Yaktrax are well, exactly like you see in the picture, steel coils attached to a rubber frame that fits snugly over your shoes. They’re designed to provide extra traction on ice and packed snow. Not just for running, they also are ideal for walking and hiking.

We had just gotten a influx of snow on Saturday, so Sunday, once I knew the snow had been packed down a little, I strapped on my Yaktrax and headed out to my favorite nearby trail. The weather was beautiful and there were only a few other people out on the trail including a bunch of cross country skiers – so want to try that sometime!

I ran five miles although it didn’t seem far because I was enjoying it so much. It took a little while to get used to running on the snow as the terrain was uneven and my foot stride was different from normal because my feet would sink into the snow more so than during my typical asphalt runs. But once I got used to it, my pace picked up a bit.

I did see a couple other runners during my snow run who didn’t wear Yaktrax and seemed to be doing fine, although I didn’t stop to ask. 🙂 I would recommend them to someone nervous about snow running or wanting a more sure footing when they headed outside for the day. Next up: trying them out on ice! 😀

Happy running!

Racing through the Holidays

  After finishing the Philadelphia Half Marathon this past weekend, I’m looking forward to taking time off from having to train so much. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop running! Because there’s already enough stress and running around for the holidays, I want my runs to be laid back and fun. No stress, no training, no record-breaking times. Just a t-shirt and a good time. 🙂

Here are three great races that are guarenteed to make you feel great all around:

Turkey Trot – These races are almost always held on Thanksgiving morning and usually involve people dressed in turkey hats, pumpkin pie prizes, and spirited participants. What better way to start a day filled with eating than by burning a few calories that morning?

Jingle Bell Run – Usually around Christmas, these runs also feature fun hats (Santa, elves and reindeer abound), food prizes, and the sounds of jingling all the way.

Resolution Run – Sometimes called a New Year’s Run or something similar, these runs are growing in popularity as participants are eager to start the New Year on the right foot (then the left foot, then the right…). Usually held later in the day on New Year’s Day to give participants a chance to recover from the night before, it makes for a great way to get a jump start on any fitness resolutions one might have!

To find these races and more near you check out: runnersworld.com or active.com.

Happy Running! 😀

Running Around

I feel like I’ve been running around all week – both figuratively and literally. Between getting in some last training runs before my half marathon on Sunday and working on my novel, I haven’t gotten many opportunities to blog as much as I usually like. Despite next week being Thanksgiving week, I’m looking forward to the free time I’ll have as a result of NaNoWriMo winding down and my race training coming to an end.

I’ve managed to find blocks of time to concentrate on my writing which has been awesome! It’s always rewarding to see that word count go up even though I know it’s only my first draft.:) I hope you are faring well in the writing of your novels as well – whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo or not. The only downside to working diligently on my novel is that I haven’t had as much time to devote to blogging or visiting other blogs. ARRRGGGHHH! Do you think it’s possible to duplicate myself in order to multitask to my heart’s content??

And the Philadelphia Half Marathon is finally here! This Sunday (at 7am – the race organizers are sadists) I’ll be running with thousands of others participating in both the marathon and the half marathon. I’ve been training steadily for this race since the spring as I was coming back from an injury and wanted to give myself plenty of time to up my weekly mileage and my long runs without injuring myself. Fortunately, it seems like my plan worked and I feel great! Because this is my first long race after an injury though I’m not looking to set any PRs instead focusing on crossing that finish line strong. 😀 Even better, two of my uncles and my cousin are also running so I’ll have a built-in support system on race day. Sweet!

Does anyone else feel like this month has them being pulled in twenty different directions?

Write on my friends! (The finish line is in sight!)

Winter’s Here: Cold Weather Running Gear

  With the first snow already hammering the East Coast in October, I’m not optimistic when it comes to having a mild winter this year. It’s forced me to think about how I’m going to continue my outdoor running while staying warm and not falling on my tukhus. 😉

Although there are many great cold weather running options, I’ve listed a few of my favorites. And while the items below are the clothes and I gear I favor, I always try to buy bright colors or, if that’s not possible, gear that has reflective strips is a good second choice. Cold weather almost always goes hand in hand with less daylight making it even more important to buy bright colors that are easy for motorists to spot.

 

Nike Element  – This lightweight jacket makes for a great transition jacket going from cold to colder. I like to switch over to a heavier Nike jacket that’s full zip and has thumb holes and pockets inside the sleeves that you can tuck your hands into once it dips below freezing. Not only do these jackets wick sweat, but they keep you warm while still having plenty of ventilation. The only downside is that they don’t cut wind as much as a wind-breaker type of running jacket would, but because I don’t live in a super cold area these other jackets work perfectly.

 

 

 

Nike Long Sleeved Dri Fit Shirt – I layer as needed when it starts to get cold and I love my dri fit shirts. They wick away sweat and keep me warm and comfortable during my run.

 

 

 

 

  Nike Women’s Running Tights – I have a couple pairs of running tights that are very similar. I prefer ones that have no zippers up the calves and a pocket to keep a car key or gel pack. Running tights are surprisingly warm so I’ve never layered anything like socks or skirts or shorts over them, although some women like to do this for either added warmth or because they feel more comfortable than just wearing curve-hugging tights alone.

 

 

 

 

SmartWool Running Socks – Wool running socks? You’ve got to be kidding, right? That’s exactly what I thought until I tried a pair. Now I wouldn’t try anything else. They keep my feet warm and blister free even during my long winter runs.

SmartWool Beanie – Once again SmartWool makes a great product that keeps me dry and wicks the sweat away. It is definitely worth spending a little extra money to get such a quality product.

 

  Stablicers & YakTrax – To be honest I’ve always wanted to try these over my running shoes to see how they work for me. However, anytime I would use them the snow is too deep and my shoes would get soaked in minutes. Maybe this will be the year. If so, I’ve heard that the Stablicers, although more money, are more comfortable and work better than the more commonly used YakTrax, so I’d invest in those first.

As for gloves, there are several pairs that look great, but I tend to go the cheaper route and buy the three packs of cheapo black gloves from Target and those have always gotten the job done for me. 🙂

Hope you’ve gotten some good ideas. 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!

Snow in October! ARGH! Normally I do my long runs on the trails close to my house because they are relatively flat and stretch for miles and miles. But with the snow and the frozen crust of ice on it that formed overnight, there’s no way the trails will be clear for my run today. So I decided to hit the gym, although 9 miles on a treadmill is not fun :(, only to get an email that the Y is closed until noon! What a bust! Meanwhile I had a shindig planned Saturday that had to be postponed until Sunday afternoon, so I need some time to prep for that so my time is sadly limited. Oh well, best laid plans and all that. 🙂

I’m still listening to The Marriage Plot by Eugenides and really enjoying it. It took a little while to get used to Eugenides style of narration, but once I did I quickly got sucked into the depths of the novel. I highly recommend the book or, rather, the book on CD.

Other than that, I’m only reading one (only one?!?) book this week:

  The Taker by Alma Katsu – I’m enjoying this debut novel by Katsu with it’s unique story about a doctor that has a chance run in with a woman who has a mysterious past. The present is interspersed with flashbacks of who the woman is and how she came from 1817 to live to today. The novel reads almost like a fable or a fairytale, which feels fresh and unique.

I hope you are enjoying your readings this week as much as I am! 🙂