async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Coaches Corner
Showing posts with label Coaches Corner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coaches Corner. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Would You Rather? Global Running Day Fun

It's Global Running Day! It's our day, fellow runners! This made-up holiday has gone worldwide and celebrates everything running. What are you doing to celebrate this special day?

I was looking back on past posts that I prepared for Global Running Day and in keeping with my irreverent themes, I thought it might be fun to play 'Would You Rather?'. Feel free to copy and paste in your answers on your blog!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

9 Tips for Traveling Light Without Feeling That You've Left Something At Home

Disclaimer: I received clothing from prAna in exchange for this blog post and my honest opinion. It's easy to be positive about prAna clothing!

I just love summer and what's more fun than a trip out of town? With airlines becoming increasingly restrictive about carry-on luggage, travelers really have to pack light or risk having to check a bag. I recently took an overnight trip to a half marathon in Alabama and booked a "basic economy" flight on United. While the ticket was inexpensive, I was restricted to what was basically a tote bag which had to fit under the seat in front of me. I researched the bag size and found lots of options online if I wanted to purchase one that met the requirements. Fortunately, I had a small duffle bag which fit the size restrictions and carefully selected which items I needed to bring.

I take weekend trips fairly often and have become pretty good at packing. Here are some tips for traveling light without feeling like you've left something at home!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

7 Reasons Spring Running Keeps You on Your Toes

This post contains an affiliate link.

Ah, Spring! Always welcome after the bleak winter, spring is the reward for those of us who brave the cold and run outdoors.  There's so much to love about spring--the birds are singing, the landscape changes from gray to green, and the flowers start blooming. Spring is a time of renewal and often the warming temperatures are all a winter-weary runner needs to put some pep back into their step.

But...there's always a but...spring running is never predictable, presenting some interesting challenges for runners. After running outdoors all winter, you'd think you're prepared for everything, right? Until you're not...



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Spring Running Things

This post contains affiliate links.

"Super fast splits
and cups full of beer,
Bright colored clothing with soft comfy gear,
Finish lines ending with really cool bling,
These are a few of my favorite things...

When the wind blows,
When the sky snows,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things.... 
and then I don't feel so bad...."   ~ adapted from Rodgers and Hammerstein My Favorite Things




Tuesday, January 30, 2018

I Have Found the Fountain of Youth and It's In The Weight Room

A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a runner friend of mine, another woman who happens to be in my age group. We were talking about how much we are struggling with running paces that just a few years ago were easy for us. Getting older sucks for runners, especially women runners. The number of finishers in the women's' 50+ age groups drops dramatically, especially after age 55.

It is a well-known fact that endurance begins to decline after age 40 for both men and women. Stride length and speed decrease as well (source). Flexibility also decreases. But most importantly, muscle mass and strength decline. Women lose up to 30% of overall strength between the ages of 50 and 70. For women, decreases in estrogen and testosterone after menopause affects the ability to maintain muscle mass.

What if I don't want to slow down? What's an aging woman runner to do? Besides giving up on running? Is rocking in the rocking chair an endurance activity?

I refuse to accept the common wisdom that equates growing older with frailty and weakness. I'm not ready to call it quits and if you're reading this, you probably aren't ready to call it quits either. The good news is you can keep running into old age and maybe postpone or at least minimize some of the inevitable effects of aging. But you do have to change the way you train. Put on your running shoes and head to the weight room. Yep, strength training is the key to staying youthful.



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Why Are All the Best Running Songs About Getting High?

Disclaimer: I do not want anyone to think that by writing this post that I am in any way condoning the use of illicit drugs. 

Why are all the best running songs about getting high? I'm pretty sure most of you've probably never had this thought. I'm also sure it will be no surprise to most of you that I have thought about this. With plenty of time to myself on my last long run, I settled into my pace and my music. I pondered this question while listening to my current favorite running song, appropriately titled High by the alternative group Sir Sly.
"It feels good to be running from the devil, another breath and I'm up another level, it feels good to be up above the clouds, it feels good for the first time in a long time now..."
Maybe you're reading this and you're thinking, "what is she smoking?" or "did she finally accept that medical marijuana from her rheumatologist?" (she offered, I declined) or maybe "I don't know what she's smoking but I want some of that".

Or maybe you are just rolling your eyes. Maybe you listen to pop music when you run or maybe you listen to nothing. But I bet there's a group of us out there who listen to music and run not only for fitness but for the entire experience. Running isn't just a physical act, but a feast for the senses. Running is a mind/body experience. Yep, I grew up in the 1970s.

Life isn't always a peaceful, easy feeling. Maybe you're like me and you run because you are high strung and need an outlet. Road therapy, right? I don't always solve the world's problems on my runs, but when I do, I do my best thinking when I'm running.

Then there are those times when you don't want to think. Sometimes, you need an escape from the reality of life. Music is and has always been, for me, the perfect escape. Running to music? Even better.
"Swallow me whole, finding my peace of mind." ~Sir Sly. 


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

5 Tips for Surviving the Treadmill

Disclaimer: This is an update of a post from 2015. 

Here we are, once again, with another polar vortex or whatever you want to call it. The east coasters have their bomb cyclone. Even the Floridians are cold! Mother Nature seems to be angry. I live in Chicago, but it's been colder here than Antarctica. The winter weather has been hard, except for Californians, although they've had wildfires and smoke to contend with. Running outside has been a challenge for everyone!

For most of us suffering in the cold, moving to a warmer clime, while attractive, is not a viable option.

If you've been following me at all,  you know how much I despise running on my treadmill. I'll run outdoors in extreme conditions just to avoid running on my treadmill. The cold doesn't bother me much when I'm dressed appropriately. But during the winter, unpredictable conditions make outdoor running a challenge. Wiping out on black ice is never fun.

There have to be pretty extreme weather conditions for me to take it to my 20 year old treadmill, and so far this winter, I've only had to use it once. Yes, it was a slog. But I survived and came up with a few suggestions about how to push through a run on the dreadmill.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

8 Rockin' Songs for Your Running Pleasure

I've got 99 problems, but a running tune ain't one.

In an effort to ramp up my motivation, I've been updating my running playlist. Out with the old, stale songs and in with the new! There's nothing like a fresh mix of tunes to make your long runs feel fun again. Not being much of a pop music fan makes finding high energy songs a bit of a challenge. But I think you'll agree that my eclectic mix is interesting, to say the least.

It's like having a party on the run!



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

6 Challenges of Fall Running and Why You Need to Get Outside

Fall running can be amazing. After running in the heat of summer, the cooler temperatures can be a welcome relief. Mother Nature takes out her paintbrush and provides us with a feast for the eyes. The sound of fallen leaves crackling underfoot is like music to the ears. And need I mention thumbholes?

I woke up Sunday morning with visions of a leisurely fall long run on the bike path. Reality quickly set in as I heard the rain hitting my windows, wind whipping outside. The transition from summer to fall isn't always pleasant. But a runner's gotta do what a runner's gotta do, and that is to run, no matter what the conditions. I could have taken it to my treadmill, but that's not who I am. I run outdoors, no matter what. And you should too.

Originally, this post was planned as a tribute to fall running. If it's beauty and colors you're looking for, there are plenty of posts out there showcasing all that is good about running in the fall. Inspiration comes in many forms, and this cold, rainy, run provided me with plenty. This run reminded me that running in the fall isn't always pleasant, but there's the satisfaction of pushing through tough conditions.



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Why Runners Should "Keep it Real"

After I posted yesterday about my race fail from Sunday aka my first ever DNF, the floodgates of support opened. I was overwhelmed and touched by all the messages I received from other runners, readers, and followers. It's humbling and it's amazing how much we all care about each other. One comment that I received multiple times and that stood out to me was: "thanks for keeping it real."

I never gave it much thought that so many people aren't "keeping it real". When I think about it, though, keeping it real is probably the exception rather than the rule. Fitspo? Curated feeds? Humble brags?



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

3 Reasons I Can't Run Naked

**Thanks to Courtney at Eat, Pray, Run, DC for the inspiration! This post contains affiliate links.

A few years ago, I told my husband I wanted an Apple Watch for my birthday and he asked me why. "You don't need it", he said. Truth. But I wanted one. I do love my gadgets and the Apple Watch was no different. I had high hopes for the Apple Watch. I thought it could be my every watch, my all-in-one running gadget. Well, not so much. While I love my Apple Watch for its functionality, I still rely on my Garmin to keep my running stats. I've got a few other gadgets that I don't hit the road without as well.

This post is all about my 3 favorite running gadgets. Because even if I tried to hit the road without clothes, I couldn't leave home without my gear.

Naked running? No one wants to see that.



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Let's Talk about Inflammation

Disclaimer: Through my affiliation with Mambo Sprouts, I received GOPO Rosehip with Galactolipids as well as compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

As a runner and an athlete, I am very familiar with inflammation. While physical activity is generally anti-inflammatory, endurance training or high-intensity training can lead to oxidative stress, increasing the production of free radicals, which leads to an inflammatory response by the body. You might notice this as soreness, swelling, or tiredness. If you take it easy after a tough workout or event, you start to feel better. But if you keep pushing yourself, over time, this inflammation can affect the immune system and make the athlete more prone to fatigue, illness, and injury. (source) Clearly, athletes have to find a balance in their training to prevent inflammation from becoming chronic. That isn't always easy to do when training for an event that requires a high output for a prolonged period of time.

Athletes can prevent oxidative stress and inflammation to a certain extent through supplements and diet. Certain foods are known for causing inflammation, while others are known for helping reduce inflammation. There has been a lot of research demonstrating the benefits of tart cherry juice, blueberries, and quercetin, which is found in many fruits and vegetables. I've shared my love for my morning smoothies--I try to eat the rainbow every week all in the name of fighting inflammation.

What about supplements? Is there anything an endurance athlete can take to help prevent inflammation and/or reduce inflammation after a tough workout?



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How To Be a Complete Jerk at a Race

We've all seen them. Race jerks. Some of us might have other names for them. Anyone who has run a road race knows what I'm talking about. And if you don't, well maybe, you're a race jerk.

A race jerk? That would be a person who is guilty of one or all of the offenses I've listed below. If you've done any or all of these things, it doesn't necessarily make you a jerk. Maybe you've done something once, by accident. Oops! Live and learn right? Did anyone call you out on your behavior? Or did you realize that you crossed a line and became a jerk?

If you do any of these things repeatedly and/or intentionally, that might make you a jerk. We seem to be living in a time of narcissism. Sure, we all want the most of our race experiences. I get that. Life is short and it's all about living to the fullest. Everyone feels this way. Let's run together and make it fun for all.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Race Recap: Shake and Bake 5k Run

When Holly invited me to visit her and water ski, I asked her to find a race for us to run. I couldn't go all the way to Alabama without running a race, right? Apparently, finding a race in August in the south is a bit of a challenge. Kind of like finding a race here in Chicago in the middle of winter. Holly found a 5k, the Shake and Bake. The price was right: $20. Even though I haven't run a 5k in years, I was glad for that distance because I was a little fearful of running in the heat and humidity down south!



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

8 Ways to Cope When You Can't Run

I've been doing really great, I think, since my diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis in December. I've run a 10 mile race and 2 half marathons. This summer, I came in 1st in my age group in a local 10k. While I haven't been symptom-free, I've had relatively mild symptoms. Any flare ups have been short lived and easily managed. I thought I had this thing in the bag.

Until I didn't. 


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Race Recap: Humana Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Disclaimer: As a Rock 'n' Blogger, I received complimentary entry to the Humana Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon as well as a VIP pass. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe that I've never run the Humana Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon before? There's only one reason and that's because this half marathon takes place in July. July in Chicago can be brutal! The last half marathon I ran in July, Zooma, was a steam bath and I struggled with the heat. But as a Rock 'n' Blogger, it made sense for me to sign up for my hometown race. Once I started incorporating those 4:1 run/walk intervals into my training, I realized that I had a plan that could work in the heat. There would be no time goals (well, ok, maybe...) but the ultimate goal would be to finish.

I finished, but what a journey it was to the finish line! It was an epic 24 hours for this runner. This is a long post, so sit down, put your feet up, and pour yourself a cold one!




Tuesday, July 4, 2017

7 Unconventional Tips to Help You Run Faster

Let's face it. Running is HARD. When you are a non-runner, you see runners and maybe you think that it looks easy. A seasoned runner can make it seem that way. What you don't see are the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the training that makes that runner's movement seem effortless.

There are no shortcuts to becoming a stronger, faster runner. You just have to run. Sounds boring? I've got some possibly fun, unconventional, and far from boring suggestions to help you become the runner you want to be. All it takes is a pair of running shoes and the desire to move.



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Deep Thoughts on the Run: There Are No Accidents

Although I recently wrote a post about being more mindful on the run, I'm not practicing what I'm preaching. I've been thinking about pretty much everything except for running and lately, my thoughts have been all over the place.

Deep thoughts ahead, so buckle up for the ride. It could get bumpy.

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the concept of fate. Do you believe in predetermined destiny? Can you influence your path in life? Does anything happen by chance? Or is everything in life already laid out for you?



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

5 Reasons and 6 Tips to be More Mindful on the Run

I often comment that I look at my running as a moving meditation. There are times when I'm in "the zone" and am completely focused on my run, oblivious to everything around me. While those runs are some of my best runs, for a myriad of reasons, not being aware is probably really bad for me.

Being mindful has become a cliché. That's too bad because being mindful is really important in everything you do. So many times off the road, we are being asked to pay attention to more than one thing. I might be working on the computer and my husband tells me something, but I'm only half listening to what he's saying. It happens to me at work too, where I have found myself writing a prescription while the patient is telling me a story. Do I listen to the patient or finish the prescription, and risk making a mistake?

Staying focused on the task at hand, being mindful--it's something we all need to do more of, both in real life and on the road.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

10 Must-Have Items for Summer Running!

"Summer running, had me a blast....summer running, happened so fast...
Found a race, crazy 'ole me, tried to train, hot as can be...
Summer days, runnin' away, oh training for those fall rites..."

Ok, so I kind of paraphrased this from Grease. But seriously, who doesn't struggle with training in the summer? I recently wrote a post about training in the heat. This time around, I'm sharing some of my favorite summer running gear. Living in a place where we have extremes of every season, it never fails, come summer, that I always need a reminder what I like to use on my hot weather runs.

This week, we're in the blast furnace of summer and I pulled out all my favorites! I've got some new gear this year too. Some of the things I've listed are affiliate links. Which means cash in my pockets for water or snacks if you purchase them.


"Tell me more, tell me more,
Do you get very far..."