Journey to a Healthier Me

Living life and getting healthy one step at a time.

On the Run: 7 Tips to a Successful Run August 8, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Running — Cyndi @ 9:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Bonjour! (see yesterday I was Spanish, and today I’m French. So fancy.)

Another weekend has flown by in the blink of an eye, huh?

Well, unless you’re like me and work weekends, then it has probably dragged on. But either way it’s over now, and I have the next two days off. *big sigh of relief*

So as promised, today I’m going to share with you my tips for a successful run. Keep in mind that these are just the things that work for me, they may not work for you, but I encourage you to have fun trying out different routines.

My first tip for a successful run is to get a good nights sleep. It makes a big difference for me, if I go to bed a little earlier the night before a long run, I am ready to go when the alarm goes off. Also, I try to wake up fairly early for my runs, that way the heat isn’t too intense when I go out the door.

My second tip for a successful run is to eat something that will give you energy, but not make you overly full. (Nobody wants runners trots!) I try to eat something that has carbs, protein, and a little sugar. I always drink a mug of coffee, and follow that with peanut butter toast.

(Source)

Just seeing that pictures makes me want to plan a run so I can eat it.

My third tip for a successful run is to wear the appropriate equipment. This picture pretty much sums up how I look for every run:

You want to wear comfortable clothes, preferably moisture wicking, so that when you start to sweat it pulls the moisture away from your skin. The witty phrase is optional, but if you like your running clothes you’re more likely to want to use them.

Good shoes are also a must. I’ll be honest with you I rock some Champion’s that I bought at Payless, but they’re the only shoes I’ve found with a firm enough sole that doesn’t cause me trouble. Some day I plan on getting myself professionally fitted, but for now these will do.

The black band around my arm holds my iPhone, which doubles as my iPod, and I use Runmeter to track my runs. I like having my phone with me that way if something happens it’s right there. And I have to say getting an update on my pace, distance, and the time I’ve been running is really helpful. I find that if I go wireless I tend to way over-estimate my speed and distance. Do you like to run with headphones or without?

My fourth tip for a successful run is to pack fuel if you need to. I’ve only started worrying about this now that my runs are getting longer, but on anything over 4 miles I bring this:

(Source)

You don’t want to get dehydrated while you’re out there. I got this particular water bottle because I can put whatever fuel I’m using (generally a Kashi protein bar) into the pouch.

It felt a little cumbersome at first, but now I can’t imagine running without water. The coolness is a definite pick-me-up when the sun is beating down on you.

My fifth tip for a successful run is to stretch. Like all beginners I didn’t use to stretch, until one day when I was reading another blog about the benefits of stretching. I decided that before my next run I was going to do it, and let me tell you my legs felt so much more limber. If you need ideas on what stretches to do check out this website: Runner’s World.

My sixth tip for a successful run is to listen to your body. If your knees feel out of whack, or you start to feel light-headed, dizzy, or have a hard time breathing, it’s okay to stop. You won’t win any medals for collapsing on the side of the road. To be a successful runner you need to know your limits, because only by knowing our limits can we begin to push them. But there is a big difference between challenging yourself and setting yourself up for injury.

And finally, my seventh tip for a successful run is to have fun. Hopefully, the whole reason you’re running is because you enjoy it. My advice to you is to go with the flow. If I start out a run and realize part way through that I just don’t have the energy to make it, then that’s fine. There is always the next run.

In my opinion when exercise becomes a chore, that’s when people tend to stop. I want to make my exercise fun, because I know it will keep me interested.

With that said, go out there, lace up your sneakers, and hit the pavement. If it wasn’t pitch black outside I would be doing the same. I hope something I’ve said is helpful, have fun out there.

Happy Running, Blogland!

Questions for you:

Do you have any tips for a successful run? What works for you?

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Race Recap July 31, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Race,Running — Cyndi @ 8:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Hi Everyone!

I hope your weekend is off to a nice start. I usually don’t have weekends off, but I lucked out this time around. You won’t hear any complaints from me about that one.

So this morning Kena and I woke up at 5:45 to get ready for our race. We had to drive about 45 minutes to get to Westport, and we wanted to make sure we were able to register and stretch before the race started.

I have to say as soon as I woke up this morning I was a little nervous about how I was going to do. The dog slept in my room last night, since Kena was bunking on the couch, and I swear she woke me up every 15 minutes. It was nuts. Needless to say I woke up feeling a little stiff, and not very well rested.

We got to the Longshore Club Park about a half hour before starting time, which is what we were hoping for. I’d rather have extra time before the race starts than feel rushed to get to the starting line. It was actually kind of chilly down by the water, but the sun was shining, and overall it was a great day for a race. I couldn’t wait to start running so I could warm up.

As we registered and started stretching Kena and I started looking at the people joining us. We were surrounded by hardcore runners. Every single person there looked like they had raced before. I felt a little out of my element, but I tried not to let it get to me. Nobody there knew that I didn’t have as much experience as they did.

Do you ever get pre-race jitters? How do you handle them?

Once I started running I stopped worrying about the people around me, and just focused on myself. The Westport Road Runners, who put on the race, have a no headphones rule so I ran my first wireless race. It was definitely different, and it’s nice to get back to basics sometimes.

I saw Kena running in front of me for maybe the first half mile and then I didn’t see her again until the end. I told you she was fast.

Here are my stats:

Warning: If you’re looking for Speedy Gonzalez that’s not me. I’m focusing on distance rather than speed at this point. And heck I’m just grateful that I can run at all.

Total Distance: 4.62 miles (I was disappointed that it was less than the website said it was.)

Total Time: 48:08

Average Pace: 10:33

Mile 1: 10:37

Mile 2: 10:17

Mile 3: 10:58

Mile 4: 10:28

Mile 4-4.62: 6:50

I came in 127 out of 150. Kena rocked it at 42:13, and came in at 110.

Overall, I accomplished both of my goals, I finished, and I didn’t finish last. But I still think I could have done better. I know I have it in me to run faster than I did today. I think a part of it was that I was nervous because it was my longest race to date. I didn’t want to burn myself out too quickly, but I never really pushed myself either.

When we finished the race I let my husband know how we did and he responded, “did you get any free stuff?”

And when I couldn’t think of anything to say Kena replied, “we got free experiences.”

Which isn’t entirely true since we had to pay the entry fee, but it definitely was an experience.

Stay tuned for our next race on August 15th. I promise to have a camera by then so I can actually get some pictures of the course.

Here’s your reward for reading a post without any pictures:

This is the Bear I’m always talking about.

I’m off to pick the husband up from the airport. (I’m so excited it is not even funny.)

Until next time Blogland!

 

Wish Us Luck! July 30, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Race,Running — Cyndi @ 10:25 pm
Tags: , , ,

Howdy Friends!

It’s that wonderful time of the evening where I entertain you with my blog shenanigans. My work day was a little crummy, but the festivities after definitely made up for it. I got to go bowling with some of my nearest and dearest. Spending time with friends always puts me in a better mood.

I took the day off from running today, since I have a race coming up tomorrow. The Westport Road Runners 4.7 miler.

I’m fortunate enough to have my cousin, Kena, running this one with me.

She’s a lot faster than I am, but that’s just incentive to get me moving faster.

I’m big on race day ritual. For every race that I have run I eat the same breakfast. I can’t leave the house without eating my whole wheat toast with peanut butter and drinking a cup of coffee. I usually try to wear at least one item of clothing from the race I did before too. I figure if I did well in my last race it makes sense to keep the good vibes going by not changing much.

I also like to have a goal in mind when it comes to my races. My first goal is to finish. I always want to cross the finish line, once that is accomplished I like to hope that I haven’t finished last. But I try to take every race as an opportunity to learn about what works for me as a competitor.

I want to be a good sport.

There is no use in being hard on myself if I can’t come in under a certain time, or within a certain part of my age group. The best I can do is use my performance as a way to evaluate my training and how to prepare better for next time. For example when I did the Red Dress Run on July 10th I was trying to come in under 30 minutes, but when I crossed that finish line the clock read 30:28. I was 29 seconds over my goal time. I was pretty bummed at first, but then I realized that it was not my last 5k. There will be others, and that gives me plenty of time to get faster.

Wish us luck for tomorrow. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with a race recap, as well as our results. Sleep tight, Blogland!

Questions for you:

Do you have any race day rituals you complete before crossing the starting line?

Do you have a goal in mind when you sign up for a race? How do you decide what it will be?


 

Off to the Races! July 27, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,My Story,Running — Cyndi @ 8:02 pm

Hello everyone! I hope your day is treating you well.

Mine has been pretty alright. Even though the husband is in California, I’m keeping busy. (You can read that as lounging around, and spending time doing not much of anything.) As I promised yesterday, today I’m going to write about exercise, and what I do to keep it interesting.

When I started out on this lifestyle change I hated exercise. I used to tell people that the only time that they would see me running is if there were an emergency, and even that was pushing it. But when I started Weight Watchers I realized that if I really wanted to see the number on the scale change I would have to do more than just eat better.

So I started trying to figure out what exercise would best fit into my life. Enter my awesome bicycle:

You know, I’ve always wanted a green bicycle. I can remember being so disappointed on Christmas morning when I walked out of my room to find a blue one. But you better believe that as soon as I had the chance to pick out a bike it was going to be green.

For the first month I rode that bike everywhere. It was fun, and it was exercise. And for my efforts I got to watch the number on the scale steadily decrease. But after a while bicycling wasn’t feasible. The New England weather wouldn’t allow it. So I turned to workout DVDs. 30 Day Shred anyone? But I got sick of that pretty fast.

Enter my latest love:

(source)

Running! (I wish I looked that good running.) I started running in January of this year by doing the C25K program. It was slow going at first, and I doubted my ability to do it. But the program was so easy to follow, and before I knew it I had signed up for my first 5k.


I felt amazing! Crossing that finish line was, and still is one of the highlights of my life. After that I started signing up for as many races as I possibly could.

But when I don’t have a race to look forward to I find that my running starts to slow down. To the point where I’m only hitting the pavement once or twice a week. So that leads me to what I’m doing now:

Training for the Hartford Half-Marathon on October 9,2010.

13.1 miles.

Me. The girl who wouldn’t run unless forced to is going to willingly run a half-marathon. This might be the miracle my gym teachers were looking for.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What am I going to do once I finish my half-marathon? And I don’t have an answer to that. Not yet anyway.

One challenge at a time.

Who knows maybe a sprint triathlon is in my future. Anybody have any suggestions for what I should train towards after my half?

Well, I have to go walk the Bear. See you later Blogland.

Cyndi

Question for you:

What exercise to you enjoy? How do you stay motivated?