Tag Archives: long run

My Favorite Cold Weather Running Accessory

6 Jan

I just had to post again today to tell you about my first “long” run post-injury! Now that my knee is pain free from the IT band injury in November, and after being fitted with some sweet running shoes that will adjust my gait, I’m ready to start building up my mileage again. On the agenda today was 4 miles.

Crazy, sweaty, happy post-run face.

Crazy, sweaty, happy post-run face.

I had an amazing run. It wasn’t easy — not by a long shot — but it felt great, I was pain free, and I was in a groove. Don’t you love that?

When I run in the ‘cold’ (some of you may laugh at my idea of cold, as it rarely gets below 30 degrees Fahrenheit around here, and when it does, I run exclusively on the treadmill), I layer it up. I wear my Under Armour running tights with shorts over them, a long sleeve dri fit compression shirt with a t-shirt over that (and if it’s closer to freezing, a jacket over all of that), gloves and my favorite cold weather running accessory:

This Bula hat isn’t actually a ‘running’ accessory, per se. I got it in Snowshoe, WV at a snowboarding and ski shop on top of the mountain. It’s pretty thin, but it’s made of this fuzzy material that keeps my head quite warm. But the very best thing is this:

….built in headphones! The sound quality is great, too! There is a volume control on the wire:

…which allows you to adjust the volume without pulling out your phone or music player. I love this hat so much, that I start to get kind of excited when the weather is cool enough to wear it. I have a lot of trouble with keeping headphones in my ears. Even Yurbuds (which everyone swears by) slip out of my oddball ears, so wearing this hat is a dream. I don’t have to worry about adjusting earbuds the whole time, I just go.

I was a little worried about sweating in this hat because of the built in headphones, but I’ve been sweating in it for 2 winters now with no problems. I assume snowboarders sweat, too, so I’m sure the company took that into account.

I looked on the Bula Website, but I’m not seeing any products on the products page. If you’d like to own one of these hats, you should check your local ski/snowboard retailer.

Yay for a great start to my weekly long runs!

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite running accessory? and Is anyone else as pumped as I am about the Biggest Loser premiere tonight!? 

Wild Wednesday

17 Oct

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Friday! I’m a huge slacker!

Wild Wednesday: Where I dump all the little details I’ve not posted in the past few weeks.

Well, I went to the chiropractor, and I’m pleased to report that everything in my back, leg, buttocks and foot is feeling a little better. My doctor wants me to come back on Wednesday AND Friday, she says I’m extra tight and need a lot of massages. Who am I to argue? There was definitely a little pain during the appointment, but it was all that good, getting the knots out pain.

I’m also pleased to report that I’ve already done yoga twice already this week, and I have plans for at least two more classes!

I’ve been feeling a little ‘off’ since Friday. I went home from work early due to just not feeling well and a massive headache. I ended up in bed for most of the day with a pillow over my head, and wasn’t feeling up to much of anything until Sunday. I did get my long run in though! 8ish miles. The half-marathon is in 3.5 weeks, so I really need to get the long runs in every week until the week before. I will only get up to 10, though. SIGH.

Are you a competitive runner? If you’re outside and there are other runners around, do you try to pass them? I don’t, and I’m fine with it if others want to, but on the last couple of miles of my long run on Sunday, this girl decided she wanted to pass me:

Which is fine, but every time she passed me, she seemed to slow down. I’m pretty sure I was keeping the same pace, because she would pass me and then I would almost be right on her heels again. So, I passed her back. After two more times of this cat and mouse game, I stopped (that’s when I took this photo) and let her go ahead of me. She obviously wanted to be faster and after almost 8 miles I wasn’t in the mood to challenge her. Has this ever happened to you?

Penny always claims my running shoes after I get home from a run.

When the cooler weather hits, the sun spot becomes the most coveted napping place in my house:

Shortly after this picture was taken, another cat came along, beat her up and took over the sun spot. It’s big enough for three, but they all fight over it. Also, my future sister-in-law (and neighbor)’s Doberman is sporting a sweatshirt:

..and I’m wearing my favorite tights/socks/boots combo:

I got out my one and only Halloween decoration (I have more, but I’ve been too busy this year), and Zach got a new pair of shoes so we had this box in our living room for days until we had the heart to toss it:

And finally, although this is probably from 2 weeks ago, I had to share this yummy breakfast I made:

It’s a play on my typical weekend breakfast. I chopped up two sweet potatoes (usually I use regular in this dish) and cooked them in my cast iron skillet with some olive oil, onions and green peppers (along with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder) until they were soft. Then I popped the skillet into the oven (about 375) and cracked two eggs on top  and let it cook until the eggs were cooked through. I served it (in case you can’t tell) with some avocado and a whole wheat tortilla. Ho.ly. Cow. was this delicious. Quick and easy too! I highly suggest you try it!

One last thing:


Cookie Crisp is on the “Eat This” side of Eat This, Not That Supermarket Edition. How exciting is that?

Question of the Day:
Does your competitive streak ever come out when you’re exercising? If so, when? 

Half-Marathon Training Series #2: The long run

17 Sep

On Saturday, two things were going on in my town:

One, it was the day for the annual Chilifest! I look forward to this day every year, because I love chili.

It’s tough to find a chili that is both spicy enough and has enough flavor. I went to one booth and they said that they had a ghost pepper chili that was very spicy. Since I’m a lover of spice, I told them to bring it on. They acted as if it would blow my socks off. It was basically cold tomato sauce with some ghost peppers thrown in. Yeah, there was some heat, but there was absolutely no other flavor at all. I almost thought it was a joke. That photo in the middle of Zach is as he is eating the only true spicy chili that we found, and that was only after the addition of the “hottest sauce in the universe” — it was incredibly spicy! It burned the back of my throat, and it also had a good flavor. I think that people are afraid to make things too spicy because not everyone is a fan.

After Chilifest, we went to a Marshall University Football game. Zach and I both graduated from Marshall, so we are big Herd fans!

It was a perfect day for football. Early fall heat in the afternoon with a nice chill once the sun set.

I took the first photo and Zach said, “Wait, my eyes weren’t open!” So that is what happened when I took another. haha.

Our team ended up losing  a really close game! We were pretty bummed about that, but we were impressed with how they played.

Somehow on Sunday morning, I felt fine when I woke up so I immediately got ready to go out for my long run of the week. I haven’t had a long run since before we went to the beach, so I was kind of nervous on how I’d handle the 7 miles I had on my training schedule. Which brings me to the point of today’s post.

Half-Marathon Training: The  Long Run

A ‘long run’ when you are training for a distance race is basically the longest run you’ve done on your schedule thus far, plus one mile. Ideally, you do one long run a week during your training. If you’re a beginner and you are training for a half-marathon, most likely the longest run on your schedule will be 10 miles. The first time I trained for a half-marathon, I did 10 miles exactly one week before my race (no tapering). I wouldn’t suggest doing that, but I didn’t really follow a training program per se. I just knew that I was supposed to get my mileage up to 10 miles and, according to the sources I’d read, the adrenaline would carry me through the last three.

Well, that is true, but after 11 miles, I was pretty spent. I’m glad that this time around I’ll be up to at least 12 before the race:

The Long Run can be a bit daunting. I usually have to really psych myself up for them, and (this is a personal preference) do them first thing in the morning or they just don’t work out.

First, let’s talk about the logistics of the long run, starting with why they are important. The point of the long run is to build your endurance for running distance races. You shouldn’t focus on speed on your long runs, in fact, you should try to run them slower than any other training race. The reason for this is that while you will get the same endurance benefits, but you will recover much more quickly so you can continue your training the next week (or even the next day) without taking too much time off.

If you find yourself huffing and puffing (where you wouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation) during your long run, you are going too fast. It’s even important to take water, stretch or walk breaks during your longest runs of the week. The point is to take it easy, but keep running for a sustained amount of time.

Despite the fact that I sort of dread getting started on a long run, I never, ever, ever regret completing one. Sure, there have been times that I’ve not completed my mileage because I just wasn’t feeling it, but I always try to get at least a few miles in. Also, a good tip is that even if you split up your mileage (do half in the morning and half in the evening), it still counts as a long run on your training schedule, but remember that on race day, you won’t be able to take a several hour break at the halfway point.

One point that Jeff Galloway makes when talking about long runs (and one that is often overlooked), is the mental benefit of the long run. There is something about finishing the longest run of your training schedule that really builds you up for the rest of the day. Also, I love ending my week with a long run in the morning, because when you’ve completed 1+ hour of running, you get to be completely lazy for the rest of the day 🙂

What about entertainment on long runs? Well, for me, music is fine for a run that is less than 5 miles, but once I get into higher mileage, music gets a little old. Two things that have really gotten me through longer runs are the NPR  This American Life app (a great radio show about remarkable things in everyday life), and audiobooks. If you have a smart phone or an iPod touch, these two things are right at your fingertips.

While we were at the beach, I read about half of a book that was at our beach house. Of course, I had to leave it behind when I got home, so I picked up the audiobook from the library and I’ve been listening on my longer runs. It’s the perfect way to get in some “reading” while running!

Question of the day:
What is the longest distance you’ve ever run? 

A Long Run and Sunday Eats

20 Aug

I slept so well last night.

Like, the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a very long time.

I did not wake up during the night one time. I did wake up at 5:45 AM long enough to decide that I’m going to be keeping Monday as a rest day, and then rolled right back over and went to sleep until Zach’s alarm went off at 7. Ahh, sweet relief!

I’m in a great mood today, because we have officially entered the period of time which it is appropriate to count down to vacation! Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve really been counting down since August began. I really can’t wait, and I have a few vacation related blog post ideas formulating in my mind.

Yesterday was long run day, and I had such a great run! I took a ton of pictures:

From left – right: Me taking a break near my favorite water fountain, my favorite view, and my nemesis/lucky charm, the Muscovy duck that lives in the park where I run. I would have gotten closer to him to take a photo, but I harbor a healthy fear of him, so that’s all you get.

Backtracking a bit, I thought I’d share my meals from yesterday with you. Prior to heading out for my run, I had some greek yogurt with granola and “fruit” (it was really just fruit syrup):

I also had some instant coffee (still no coffee pot), which is surprisingly not bad. I followed it all up with a glass of water and a probiotic (I’m going to do a probiotic post soon, because I’m loving them!) and caught up with some magazines while my food digested.

I had a great run, as I mentioned. My training plan called for 6 miles, but I had to pause my CardioTrainer app (which was tracking my miles) at one point because some guy and I were running a ridiculously similar pace. It was awkward, so I stopped and pulled over to let him go ahead a bit. Apparently I forgot to restart the app, because I didn’t notice it until much later. I estimated I had ran about a mile or so, so I just added an extra loop on at the end of my run just in case I was shorting myself. Well, when I got home, I logged on to Map My Run and I had done 6.81 miles! To be honest, I could have kept running too, so that felt great.

I had planned to make brunch for me and Zach when I got back, but he decided to go golfing with his dad, so I whipped up some lunch for myself. I was surprised that I wasn’t famished right after my run like I usually am, I guess the yogurt/granola combo is a winner for staying power. I’ll have to remember that come half-marathon race day.

I bought some local tofu at the Wild Ramp market which I really wanted to try. I’ll tell you this: I’m never buying any other tofu again. This tofu had the best consistency, I only had to press it for 5 minutes, and I was able to cook it without the tofu breaking up and turning into a scramble. Even when I buy extra-firm at the grocery store, it doesn’t have the firm texture I’d like. I made the Cast Iron Tofu  using Caitlin’s method (Healthy Tipping Point is hands down one of my favorite blogs!), added it to some sauteed Kale and served it over Ramen noodles. Yes, Ramen noodles! I’ll admit I love ’em.

I don’t know if I’ll ever cook tofu another way again. It was so crispy on the outside! I love the texture of tofu, so I left the cubes to be kind of on the large side, but if you made them smaller this would be even crispier. I had a few strawberries on the side also. All of the meals I had yesterday had amazing staying power, and this was no exception. I was full for a long time after I chowed this down.

I went to a 5:30 yoga for runner’s class (which was incredible!) Our instructor focused on the Piriformis, which is a muscle in your glute area. It’s a deep muscle that is hard to stretch, but we sure did stretch it. In fact, I didn’t even know that mine was tight until we started stretching it out. My legs feel  great today! I’m on a budget, so I don’t know if I can afford to shell out the $8 a week to go to this class, but I think I’ll try to make it at least a monthly thing.

After yoga, it was late and we had movie plans with friends, so I whipped together a quick dinner. Earlier in the day, I had made a batch of Indian Curry veggie burgers from the No-Meat Althlete veggie burger formula (found here.) So, burgers it was:

This was an amazing veggie burger! I basically just used the recipe at the end of that post for the Indian Patties, but I didn’t have chickpeas so I used Great Northern instead. Also, I subbed carrots and yellow squash as my veggies. Yum! I made it a double decker because I was quite hungry. Add some baked french fries (yay, health!) and some steamed broccoli w/ a bit of shredded cheddar and it was a yummy meal. I decided to put a dollop of plain yogurt on my burger, and it was a very good decision. After dinner, I was ready for some dessert, so I had a frozen greek yogurt bar (flavor: blueberry), and it was delicious.

It was a great day for food at my house, and I didn’t realize how much yogurt I ate yesterday until I typed it all up. I swear, that isn’t typical!

Question of the day:
What is the best thing you’ve eaten recently? 

Top 10: How to Make Sure you have a Terrible Run.

6 Aug

If you are a runner, you know that not every run is a good one. I think the bad runs make the good ones just that much sweeter, so here, I give you the top ten ways to ensure a bad run*:

  1. First, drink way too much the night before — Even though you know you have a long run on your schedule, and portion out your drinks for the evening, go ahead and have an extra beer. Or two. Or three….
  2. Wake up to a hot, hazy and humid day — or any bad running weather really, and then…
  3. Put off running until the weather is at it’s worst 
  4. But, no, really. Put it off — You definitely should make refrigerator pickles, run errands, put away the laundry, read blogs and read one more chapter in your book before you run.
  5. Make sure you eat a really terrible breakfast — like Tudors biscuits. Really delicious, but not very good running fuel.
  6. Have technical difficulties — Your running app can’t pick up the GPS, your music app keeps stopping.
  7. Every time something malfunctions, stop running
  8. When you stop running, sit down and pout.
  9. Stop at your favorite water fountain once, then run a half a mile, then double back and stop again. 
  10. Stop and pout some more.

*Of course, I’m kidding. You shouldn’t TRY to have a bad run. But it’s fun to make light of it, because they happen. A lot! 

Obviously, today’s “long” run didn’t go as planned.  Last night, I went over to Zach’s sister’s house for some puppy play time and girl talk. I took a very specific amount of alcoholic beverages, but of course after I drank those, my inhibitions disappeared and I had a few more. Bad idea, because I woke up way later than usual, with a headache and craving a greasy breakfast. When Zach suggested Tudor’s I was way on board. If you’re ever in West Virginia, just indulge a little and trust me. Yum!

This is Courtney’s adorable new Doberman puppy, Margot. Notice I only have photos of her sleeping. She is too quick for pictures when she is awake.

After I ate, I obviously couldn’t run right away, so I decided to run some errands, make some refrigerator pickles with the giant bag of cucumbers my boss gave me last week, sew a button on my favorite black work pants, put away our clean laundry, drink an iced coffee — Even though I could have just waited an hour for my food was settled, it was 1 pm before I finally made it out the door. Of course, it was hot, the sun was blazing and it was very humid. Not great conditions for a run. Plus, I had tummy problems from eating such a heavy, fat-laden breakfast. Lesson learned. But, like I said above, the bad runs make the good ones sweeter, so I’m glad I went out. I ended up “running” (I walked a LOT the second half) 5 miles, so it wasn’t a total bust.

The pickles sure did turn out great, though.

I stopped by Family Dollar at the end of my run to pick up a few things we needed for dinner, and I’ve added a new caveat to the old adage “Don’t shop while you’re hungry” — it’s “Don’t shop after a long run” — I bought the most random things. I couldn’t stop looking at all the liquids (I wanted orange juice so badly) because I was so thirsty, and I ended up buying:

I went for spaghetti only.

I have no idea why I bought that BBQ sauce. Plus, I could have sworn that Family Dollar carried whole wheat pasta, but apparently not. I’m not a white pasta fan, but oh well. Zach wants Carbonara for dinner, and I’m determined to make it for him. The brownie mix, however, will be put to good use — I plan on trying out a new twist on black bean brownies. Depending on how they turn out, I’ll share it here.

After my run, I went about my typical Sunday routine: Lunch, giving Zach a haircut, napping, watching a movie, and cleaning. I actually got a lot accomplished yesterday, which seems to be the case when I am procrastinating doing something.

Question of the Day:
Do you ever get a lot done when you are procrastinating something else? 

Top 10: How to get Through a Long Run.

28 Jul

I took no photos on my long run today, so I’m going to attempt to do this purely from stock photos and/or old photos I’ve taken. Here we go.

10. My pre-run meal:
Which is always, always, always: A cup of coffee and a piece of whole wheat bread with nut butter and half a sliced banana on top.

9. Music:
But, specifically Songza. Have you heard of it? It’s kind of like Pandora, but instead of internet radio stations, it has playlists for any type of activity, mood, etc. They have a ‘concierge’ option which is pretty neat. I’m obsessed with the various workout playlists.

Since I workout a lot, I get this question a lot, “I need some new workout music — any suggestions?” I always falter, because I’m TERRIBLE at making playlists, so this is a way for someone else to do it for me.

8. My long-run route:
Huntington has a great layout for long runs. I live one block from the park, so usually I’ll run away from the park, through downtown, then to the West End of town to the far end of the park, where I re-enter and run the last 2ish miles home. It works out well, because it’s about a 6 mile loop, but I can add miles in various ways — add a few blocks here or there, take a loop around the park, etc.

The far end of the park, early morning.

7. My planned pit-stops:
I have two: When I get to the grocery store, I stop to use their bathroom. I always stop, even if I don’t feel like I have to go. It sucks to be a mile away from the bathroom and have to go. The grocery store is a great bathroom pit stop because usually they don’t glare at you for using the bathroom and not buying anything. Plus, I spend $300 a month there, so I basically pay rent anyway.

My second pit stop is when I re-enter the far end of the park, there is a really great water fountain. It’s got a big strong stream of cold (ish) water which I can drink and pour on my head. It’s really a great refresher for my last few miles.

6. Planning future blogs:
This is a recent one, obviously, as this is a new blog, but this morning I killed a considerable amount of time thinking about blog ideas as I ran. However, you have to remember to jot them down as soon as you get home.

5. Dogs/People watching:
This is fun. I like to remember the best breeds of dogs as I run to tell Zach what I saw when I got home. Plus I like to look at people’s shoes and fitness outfits. There is this couple who walks in the park all the time, wearing the brightest neon outfits. I saw them today, and tried to take a sneaky photo. I’m terrible at it, but luckily they are hard to miss:

They are pretty adorable.

4. Walk breaks
Let’s face it: Sometimes it’s necessary

3. Meal planning
It’s fun to think about what you’re going to eat when you’re done. Because I love food.

2. The last mile
I can always push it that last mile because I know I’m super close to being done.

1. Pigeon Pose

The BEST post-run stretch. Photo courtesy of Yoga Journal

Question of the day:
What gets you through a long run or a workout?