Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Five Tips for Staying on Track During Winter Running

Fall has arrived and that means that it is time to bring out the winter running clothes. As an Oregon native I am prepared for anything the weather throws at me. Boots, hats, scarves and a winter running wardrobe for any condition is something that keeps me lacing up my shoes and heading out the door through the cold winter months. I actually find that I run faster in the winter. I wish summer running had the same effect, but I tend to melt in the sun. Winter just suits me better! I love layering up for fall and today was no exception. 

This afternoon, I went for a short three mile training run and layered up in Hyperwarm tights, running vest, long sleeve top, Nike Free's and my GPS watch. This outfit kept me toasty warm and not too hot so I could focus on speed instead of my core temperature. When looking for winter running gear be sure to get something that is breathable, fits well, wicks sweat and also keeps you warm. Athleta and Nike are my go-to brands for winter running gear. 

Every year sportswear companies like Athleta, Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas come out with new products to protect us from the elements. I really have no excuse not to exercise during the cold winter months. Plus, I have a reason to do a little shopping for myself as the seasons change. If a new pair of running shoes or tights will get you out on the street then they are a great investment. 

Here are my top five tips to keep you on track with your fitness goals during winter training:
  1. Buy the right gear. Get a pair of lined running pants or rain proof shoes so you can't use weather as an excuse.
  2. Find a workout buddy to keep you on track! If someone is counting on you then you are much less likely to skip a workout, even if it is cold outside.
  3. Sign up for a race or a class at the local gym. If you have something you are training for you will be more motivated to put work in. 
  4. Plan your workouts the week ahead so that you know how to budget your time. This one is important, especially with the holidays coming up. Make a schedule of your workouts and stick to it!
  5. Reward yourself after a certain amount of successful workouts or when you reach a goal. Maybe you get a massage when you stick to your workouts for three weeks, or perhaps you get that new sweater your were eying at the store. Whatever your reward - treat yourself to it when you reach a goal.
Staying on track with training in the winter and during the holidays is hard. Chances are you will miss a workout, but if you follow my five tips for success, you should be able to keep up your fitness strong during the winter months.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Turkey Trot Season!

Happy Thanksgiving week! I started the week off with a trail race this morning. I ran the Ukiah Turkey Trot. It was a 3.5 mile out and back course that ran along Lake Mendocino. It was a chilly morning and I had to bundle up more than usual to stay warm. You can see my warm race gear below.  

My Athleta and Nike race gear

I haven't been running too many trails lately so I wasn't sure what to predict as far as time goes. The 
course itself was challenging with a lot of rolling hills. It was an out and back loop and I kept a pretty good pace in relation to my training. I finished to cheering locals and enjoyed hot beverages and scones at the finish. One of the girls from the running group invited me to yoga after the race and I decided to try my first hot yoga class.

I have always been terrified to try hot yoga. I sweat enough in yoga class without extra heat added. I braved it today, partly because I needed to stretch my tight muscles and partly because I didn't want to let my friend down. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bas as I thought it would be. I do still prefer regular flow yoga and if given a choice, I'll stick with yoga in a cooler room. I am proud of myself for giving it a try though. 

What do you think? Are you a fan of hot yoga? Do you have any Thanksgiving races coming up? Let me know!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pretty Muddy is Returning to Sacramento

Usually I don't plan my races too far in advance. This coming year I plan on really sticking to a race schedule and planning my training around it. Not only will this keep me on track and motivated, it will also save me money on race fees. Yes - signing up early for local races can save you a lot of money. One race that I plan on doing this year is the Pretty Muddy Women's Mud Run in Sacramento on May 3, 2014. 

What is the best part about signing up for this race (other than the fact that it's a super fun race just for women) is the fact that it is 50% off! For a limited time, the first 200 participants to sign up can register for a huge discount. You can sign up for only $34.75, which is a great price for a mud run.

Mud runs are great events to let yourself loose to just enjoy a run. You don't have to worry about time or pace. You just have to worry about having fun and getting pretty muddy! This event is specifically focused on women, so grab your girls and take a day to enjoy yourself in a fun exciting mud and obstacle course. 

I hope I see you in Sacramento. Come get muddy with me!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Reebok Spartan Race World Championship is Coming!

Coming up on December 7th is the Spartan World Championship! It will be broadcast live on NBC Sports from 4-5pm. The Spartan Race series has always appealed to me because of what it represents. The Spartan series provides a way for anyone to challenge themselves to push past obstacles and fears. I am all about someone taking fear, looking it in the face, and accepting the challenge it represents. Reebok Spartan Races are more than just events - they are life changing moments where you can become the person you always wanted to be. They provide a platform for ordinary people to become extraordinary.

Why am I excited about this race? I was signed up for my first Spartan Beast Race in October, but due to injury after running a marathon the week before, was unable to participate. I fully plan on taking on the Spartan Beast challenge this coming year. Until then, I am going to learn everything I can about becoming a Spartan and cheer on those who are at Spartan Races around the world. The Spartan World Championship race will be inspiring, motivating and riveting to watch. Who knows, maybe someday I'll even participate!

We all have the chance to become more than we are and to constantly challenge and better ourselves. The Spartan Race series has taken the best of endurance races and created a culture that defies odds, pushes barriers and creates champions. Don't believe me? Check out the video below on the journey someone goes through to become a Spartan. 

Do you want to challenge yourself? Do you want to get your office together for a challenge that will bring out the best in them and increase camaraderie and self-esteem? Is your running group ready to take a step in a new direction? Then sign up for a Spartan Race today! And if you want a free race entry it's your lucky day! I've teamed up with Spartan Race to give one lucky reader a free entry to ANY Spartan Race in the continental US! Just enter in the rafflecopter giveaway below! Can't wait to see if you have won? Sign up with this link and get 15% off registration! Good luck and Warrior On!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Treat Your Feet

My feet take a lot of pounding. Day in and day out they are one of the hardest working parts of my body. I run miles at a time without allowing them to rest and then I continue to walk, hike, kick, lunge and jump with them. I treat them with massage and try to change out my shoes on a daily basis. Admittedly, switching out which shoes I run with isn't hard for me. As a runner, I have a lot of shoes to rotate through that give my feet varying workouts. Recently I have been rotating through the minimalist Nike Free Flyknit, Nike Lunarglide 5, and a recent addition of the Nike Trail Zoom Terra Kiger. I want to make my feet stronger and less injury prone and mixing up my workouts is one way to do this. Since my marathon, my feet have needed some rest, but it's time to get back on the road and start logging long miles. 

Me and my Lunarglide 5 - NWM 2013 Edition

I have only done one trail race. It was a 10k race just the day after my 20 mile long and run and my body was tired. I had a blast doing it though. Most of my races and distance events have been on the road, which is admittedly harder on the body. I am planning on doing a local Turkey Trot race this next weekend and it is on the trails just outside of town. Trail running is challenging and mixes up the way the body moves. Dodging tree roots, rocks and shrubs on trails is always fun and trains the body to adapt to constantly changing terrain. I'm excited to see where this path takes me in my running journey.

Nike Zoom Terra Kigers

I just recently purchased new trail shoes to help me continue to run in good form while on new terrain. I have never owned specific trail shoes, so I am excited to see how they improve my running. The traction on the sole is excellent and I can really feel it gripping the ground as I run. It's important to have the correct shoes for each different activity that you do so that your feet are properly supported. If you run on the road be sure to buy shoes that are correct for your running gait. If you run on trails, make sure your shoes are built to handle that terrain.

My feet are a part of my body that cannot be replaced. I only get one pair and I want to treat them with the utmost care so that I can continue running for years to come. I encourage you to make sure you always have the proper footwear for your running terrain as well. If you don't know what gear to buy just head to your local running specialty store and talk to an expert. Feel free to ask questions on my blog as well!

~Happy Running! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NWM Recap and Shoutout to my Sponsor!

It has been three weeks since I ran the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I don't always buy my race photos, but this years photos were awesome! Especially the ones from the start line with my friend Tiara! I just had to share some of the fun times on course with you all. 

At the start line! I'm pretty awake for 5:30am.

First, I want to give a shoutout for my sponsor this year, Athleta! I am the sponsored athlete of the Roseville store and I absolutely loved my race outfit. Shoutout to Gabbie for recommending this awesome tank. My top picks for this race were the Turbocharge Tank and Relay Capri. I wore the tank in the color Coralade and the Relay Capri in Cobalt Blue. I love wearing bright colors at races because they make it easier for friends and family to spot me. Athleta did it right with this outfit. Loved it! If you're in need of a new racing or training outfit check them out. They focus on women and they know what they are doing. My racing shoes were the Nike Lunareclipse.

Strong at the start!

I started out this race a little too fast. I was running 7-minute miles - which is not what I would recommend for someone going for a 9-minute mile average. I definitely felt the speed too soon later on in the race. Live and learn.

Coming up the first major hill.

I was strong through the first half of the race and the first hill wasn't too bad. I ran hard and was able to keep a steady pace. As the race went on my pace began to slow. The back half of the course was cold and I started to feel my muscles tightening. At this point it was a mental battle to just keep pushing to the finish. 

The final miles to the finish.

I am definitely not feeling as good as I look here. It's a good thing I saw the photographer on course, otherwise my true feelings of exhaustion would be showing! 

Final strides!

This is my final push to the finish line. It was hard to keep going, but even harder to stop. I've never been so excited to see the finish line before. I was just telling myself to keep going and push through.

Made it to the finish!

I was so happy to make it to the finish and bundle up in a warm sweatshirt. I found my parents right away, then found Tiara and saw Sabrina. I had some snacks, visited the finisher tents and vendor booths and waited in a long line for a finisher towel. It was worth it though. Let's not forget the awesome Tiffany's finisher necklace I received too! For some reason I didn't take a picture in the finisher booths - not sure why - but if I had to guess I would say after running 26.2 miles, I wasn't quite thinking clearly.

This race was a blast and I am already looking forward to next year. I'm hoping to do the half marathon and really enjoy the course and atmosphere without the full marathon pressure. And there is always NWM DC! I hope to be able to do that race again this coming year - but I'm not sure I can afford it. I definitely need a sponsor for that race. Did I mention it's on my birthday weekend again? I think it's meant to be. Hey Santa - I'll take a DC trip for Christmas. 

Did you run NWM or another marathon? How did the race go for you? Share your photos and comments with me!


Friday, November 1, 2013

NTC November Challenge

Halloween is over and November has arrived. You know what that means. Treats, baked goods and cozy sweaters. In an effort to keep myself on track I am creating a November Nike Training Club (NTC) challenge.

To join, all you have to do is commit to doing a 30 minute workout every day using the NTC app on your phone. The app is available for both iPhone and Android. If you live in an area that hosts live NTC classes those count as well! Remember to vary your workouts between cardio, strength and the stretching/yoga workouts so you don't overtrain any one muscle group.

Simply let me know you are joining in the comments below and tweet your progress on Twitter and share on Instagram using the hashtag #NTCNOVEMBER30 and #NTC. Let @nikewomen and your friends know you're participating in the challenge too! The more the merrier!

Be sure to keep track of your progress and send out those tweets. At the end of the challenge I plan to have at least one prize pack for a lucky winner!