Today I wanted to talk about a running gear trend that I first noticed during the winter: reflective running gear. During winter there is noticeably less daylight, which forces many of us to run while it’s dark outside. My schedule is still pretty flexible so I didn’t have to deal with that. However, as the weather warms I take up night running more often. I am not a heat runner! On days where the temperatures reach 90 and above, I either skip my run or wait until the sun goes down.
Running night can be dangerous if you aren’t wearing gear that will get you noticed by oncoming cars. I know I’m not the only person who hides from the sun during summer! So I’ve decided to share some great reflective gear with all of you:
If you are a night runner, make sure to incorporate some type of reflective gear. Something as simple as a headband can ensure drivers notice you. Safe running!
- A 5k or 10k walk/run that raises money for the American Cancer Society
- A 10k in NYC for women
Happy Monday Runners!
A few weeks ago I covered when to stretch and gave you all my favorite static stretches. I didn’t comment much on dynamic stretching, but I know many runners prefer it. So I decided to do some research and share what I’ve learned with all of you!
Dynamic stretching differs from static stretching in that you are moving. Livestrong defines it as “stretching comprises controlled movements, such as leg and arm swings, that slowly bring the muscles close to their range of motion limit without exceeding it.” They are useful before activity that requires a lot of mobility. Cough, cough- like running!
Some examples also given by Livestrong are:
- Torso twists (gently please!)
- Arm circles (try large and small circles)
- Knee-highs while jogging
- Stretching lunges while walking
- Standing leg lifts
After reading up on dynamic stretching I realized my team used to do some of them in practice as part of our warm-up.
- Leg swings- stand with your hands on a wall or fence for support and swing your right leg up to the right. Then swing it back down in front of your left leg. Go back and forth a few times and then switch.
- Butt-kicks while jogging
- Karaokes- the strangest movements, but we thought they were so fun! I can’t really explain this one in words so here’s a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEbVqwLX8xY
Dynamic stretches are good to incorporate into your warm-up if you have the time. If you don’t think you have time, it would take less than five minutes to do each one listed above for 20-30 seconds each! Now, power off your computer/phone so you can get outside and enjoy this lovely weather with a nice run.
- Take your wet clothes off as soon as your run ends so that you don’t start to feel cold.
- If you happen to get mud on your sneakers, just wipe them off with a cloth. The washing machine could ruin them.
- Dress appropriately. Water resistant clothing will help keep you from getting soaked during your run. Note that I said resistant, not waterproof. The latter can retain too much body heat.
- Avoid running when there is lightning.
- If you chafe easily, Vaseline can help prevent that from happening.
My next upcoming run is a “fun run” on May 10, 2014 in NYC. In less than two months I’ll be getting chased by zombies during The Zombie Run. It’s a 5k race where zombies chase you (I’m actually pretty excited about this) and try to grab one of your three flags. Once all of your flags are taken, you’re out! That means a whole lot of sprinting as my friend, who convinced me to sign up, keeps reminding me. Sprinting is not exactly my thing, but I keep telling myself it’s only a 5k. However, on top of running away from zombies for 3.1 miles, the course will consist of 10-12 obstacles. I have done runs with obstacles before like Tough Mudder and Merrell Down and Dirty Obstacle Race, but I was able to run those at my pace. So this will definitely be an experience.
I’ve still been having trouble with my foot and I’m starting to believe I might have a stress fracture. I had one back in high school in my fibula- not fun. I had to stand around for a month or so watching everyone else practice and race. I haven’t tried running in about a month, but I know my foot isn’t ready. Which means it’s time to increase my cross-training so that I’m in decent shape by May.
My plan will look something like this:
Swimming- I already swim 3-4 times a week. My time in the pool consists of kicking laps, treading water, and a little bit of running.
Yoga- 1-2 days a week. Two words- flexibility and strength.
Biking- I’ll be adding 2-3 days of biking starting on Tuesday. It is low impact, but will give my legs and good workout. Biking is also a great cardiovascular exercise and can help with my speed.
Strength Training- This is partly for the obstacles since my upper body strength tends to suffer. It is to help my running- strong muscles support bones, making you less prone to injury. I NEED this. YOU also need this. Please don’t skimp on strength training because you think it will make you bulky. Strong does not have to mean jacked. I will most be using my gym’s cross-fit room where there is a TRX setup. I prefer using my own body weight over weights.
I plan on giving myself two weeks to figure out a regimen and then I’ll share the detail with you!
Happy Sunday! And bittersweet Daylight Savings. Losing an hour of sleep on a Sunday is anything but pleasant, BUT it was still sunny at 6pm on the East coast. Which almost made me forget that totaled less than five hours of sleep last night. Almost.
Anyway, I wanted to continue last week’s discussion about stretching. I really can’t stress how important it is to take care of your body, especially for runners. So, tonight I wanted to share a few of my favorite stretches with all of you. These are the basic static stretches I during about a mile into my runs (static stretches are not recommended for cold muscles as it can lead to injury) and afterwards if I’m not being lazy or rushing. If you are the type of runner who prefers to be stretched out before you begin running I would recommend researching some dynamic stretches- they will warm up your muscles and allow them to stretch out a bit.
My top 7 stretches:
I do them in this order and hold each for 15-20 seconds.
1. Arms and Obliques- stretches your triceps and when you lean to the opposite side of the arm being stretched you get a good side stretch. Ever have sore obliques after a long run? This stretch will make you feel so much better!
2. “Tejada” Stretch- This one was introduced by my first track coach in high school, which is why it bears his name (for me and my teammates at least). It is a deep calve stretch and even stretches below the calves. It can be done on any slightly elevated surface, like stairs or bleachers, or with the ball of your foot against a wall. Stretch both calves.
3. Quadriceps Stretch- When doing this stretch take care to not strain your knees by pulling your leg back farther than what is comfortable to you. Stretch both sides.
4. Calve Stretch- Place your hands on a wall and lunge back with one leg far enough to get a good stretch. Then switch legs.
5. Hamstring Stretch- Place your toes together and reach down towards them. If you cannot touch your toes right away, don’t worry! Your flexibility will increase over time if you stretch regularly. Doing this can also alleviate lower back pain if it is caused by tight hamstrings.
6. Inner Thigh Stretch- Begin this one standing straight. Then step to the side with your right leg and lower yourself to the ground. I you feel a good stretch midway you can also stay there. Switch legs.
7. Hip stretch- Place one foot over the opposite knee and lower your self into a chair position. Then switch. I didn’t start doing this one until my senior year of high school. I had been having problem with hip pain and the new cross-country coach showed it to me. Now, I make sure to always hold it for a full 20 seconds and I have not experienced the pain I felt that year again. Seriously, this one saved me!
That’s all! I hope you guys like the stretches. Comment below and tell me some of your favorites!
This week I wanted to discuss a question I believe a lot runners debate about. Stretching. And more specifically:
When should you stretch?
Before? After? Mid-run? Never? (Not good!)
Back when I ran track in high school, each time my team got a new coach, he or she had a different idea of at what point in practice we should stretch. One favored stretching before our run. Another preferred stretching during our run. The last coach I ran for preferred having us run a half mile to a mile, stretch, and then begin our actual run. One thing they all believed in was stretching afterwards. Very important! It helps prevent soreness, speeds muscle recovery, and may help prevent injury. Although, I am guilty of skipping that part sometimes.
Today, I prefer to stretch after I’ve ran about a mile. Then, I just continue my run. It gives my muscles a chance to warm up. Ever since I switched to this method, I have felt stronger during my runs.
Now, since I am not a professional, I cannot tell you definitively when is the perfect time to run. I actually don’t think anyone can. Research on this matter is constantly changing. What I will say, is to try to figure out what works for you. Experiment a bit with the timing of your stretching- see what feels right and commit!
What do you all think, when is the next time to stretch? Comment below and let me know.
A few weeks ago, I ordered the Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch from Road Runner Sports. I had been looking for one that was small enough for my wrist (Most GPS watches are men’s watches) and received good reviews. What I found was that these watches were expensive! The watches with the consistently good ratings were around $200.
Then, in September I received a catalog from Road Runner Sports. While I was flipping through it, I came across a page full of watches and there it was! A bright green (LOVE) GPS watch from Garmin. Now, let me say that I am not very tech savvy, but I’d asked other runners and all of them told me to go for either Garmin or Polar. So when I saw this watch I immediately looked it up to read the reviews. And they were good! Aside from a view people saying that the GPS was buggy in the woods (I live in a city; I rarely even see trees outside of parks), customers were happy. What made it even better was that most of the reviews were from women, or husbands who had bought the watch for their wives. The watch came in two sizes and my lime green was the smaller size. 😀
After signing up for the half marathon, I decided to order the watch from Road Runner because I’m a VIP member and get 10% off of every purchase. The watch was reasonably priced at $129.99 and with my discount it was about $116.
Now, about the watch..
Features (via RRS):
- Large color options: Orange and Red: size: 4.55 cm x 5.72 cm x 1.57 cm; weight: 1.5 ounces (43 g)
- Small color options: Black/Silver, Green, Pink and Purple: size: 4.01 cm x 5.22 cm x 1.57 cm; weight: 1.3 ounces (36 g)
- Free software updates at Garmin Connect
- High sensitivity GPS receiver
- Records position, speed/pace, distance and calories
- Lap pace: average pace in the current lap
- Average pace: average pace for the duration of your current activity
- Lap speed: average speed in the current lap
- Average speed: average speed for the activity
- Easy-to-use, button operated
- Identifies personal records
- Virtual Pacer compares current pace to target
- Run/walk feature Auto Lap and Auto Pause
- Store and share workouts at GarminConnect.com
- Water resistant up to 50m Automatic time zone
- Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery: up to 5 hours battery life in training mode, up to 5 weeks in power save mode
- Display: 55 x 31 pixels
- Temp range: -4F to 140F (-20C to 60C)
- Package includes: Forerunner 10 GPS, charging/data clip and manuals
***This watch does not monitor your heart rate.
What I think:
I’m really pleased with this watch. I’ve tested it out on runs that I had previously mapped out on Google and it is accurate. I like that it tells me my mile splits- I’ve always hating doing the math. The auto-pause is great for city runners, since we often get stopped by red lights or cars. It’s easy to upload everything to Garmin Connect and I find it very convenient for keeping track of what I do. Or what I don’t do, haha. My only gripe is that sometimes it takes the watch a minute to pick up my location. This happens mostly outside my job (I work near the Hudson River and I’m surrounded by tall buildings), but I’ve found that it works much faster if I walk up the block. I should have known; service at my job is pretty awful to begin with. Other than that, I think it’s exactly what I was looking for! 🙂