What will keep you moving in 2021?

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Motivation can be hard to come by in the North during Winter. Motivating yourself out the door when the wind is howling, the snow is flying, and often it’s bitterly cold. Then there’s all the layers — you just feel weighed down. Or is it just me?

The things that normally motivate me in Winter — the post run brunches, the handful of races, the occasional racecation around my birthday — they’re not things I can do in 2021. Or even did in 2020. So what can you do to stay motivated? I went looking for some running challenges to tackle. They are endless, and once you start searching, of course even more will pop up in your FB feed.

Here’s a few you can consider, and also search on your state. Because every state has a challenge or two.

Run Across America Winter Warmup
Choose your goal to run/walk 50km, 100km, or 250km before Daylight Savings on 3/14. Your $45 entry includes either a long sleeve tech shirt or a winter beanie. Medals are extra. It sounds like a fun challenge, although a bit pricey for what you get. They will match your donation to their charity of choice, Feeding America. Sign up here.

2021 Invincible Challenge
The 2021 Invincible Challenge was designed to keep you moving all year. This challenge is totally flexible to your abilities and goals. You can run, walk, cycle, swim, or row the miles in any combination you see fit. All exercise miles count, indoors or out. Select either MILES or KM.

I have to admit I think the tee designs are cool. I know I’m not doing 2021 miles. But 2021 KM? Reasonably priced at $32 (includes just the tee), but no charity component. Sign up here.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Winter Mile Club
All Winter Mile Club Participants will get access to a 12 week half or full marathon training plan (including mobility, stretching, strength), you’ll log miles on RunSignup to show on our leaderboard, will receive our awesome Boco Gear Winter Beanie, and receive an exclusive Customized CSWS Running Mileage Goal Sticker with your accomplished mile tier.

It’s pricey, again, $50 for a 3 month training plan — plus $7.50 shipping. But I do like a training plan (even if I’m probably not running a Spring half). Sign up here.

I Live to Run Gold Challenge
Run/Walk 500 and/or up to 2000 miles in 2021. $50 for a tee and medal, $34 for just the medal. I’m not a bling-driven runner, but it’s a cool medal. I don’t think it’s cool enough to pay $34 for, but maybe you will. Sign up here.

Race Through the States Challenge
Each month, race through a different state and get a medal representing that state. You choose the distance for each “race”. 20% of your registration goes to feeding America. You can purchase a tee separately. Sign up here.

The same company has a similar challenge with Zodiac signs here. Actually, they do have a lot of cool themed virtual races that can keep you “racing”, including their Neptune Challenge (here) which allows you to pick a running/ walking goal for 2021.

Jenny Hadfield’s Winter Warrior Challenge
This challenge aims to keep you running strong through the Winter, and includes: 3 virtual races of varying distances; nutrition, health, and training tips; access to Jenny’s training plans; a finisher’s medal; access to Jenny’s warm-up, cool down, strength, and stretching workouts. It’s $49 for the Winter Challenge or $147 for the full year. Sign up here.

Zooma Run Club
The Zooma Run Club is free, and you can pick your mileage challenge. You can also choose to pay for some swag, but you’ll get the camaraderie, the mileage trackers, and the monthly challenges for free. Sign up here.

AMR Many Happy Miles
AMR Many Happy Miles is a year long program. It includes a training journal, monthly workouts, guest coaches, expert workshops, and a lot more! It’s $185 per year. Sign up here.

Final Thoughts
There is a challenge out there for everyone! From free to inexpensive to a bit of an investment. One of the good things to come out of 2020 was all the way runners and race companies were forced to get creative. Will I sign up for one of these? Stay tuned.

I have also come up with an easy challenge for myself in 2021: walk outside every day, unless I’m injured, or am getting sick, or am actually sick — or the weather is really too dangerous to walk outside. I already do this for the most part; Bandit gets walked most days. There are days it’s too cold for him to walk outside, though — but not necessarily too cold for me (except for that dog mom guilt he always gives me when I walk out that door).

I need gentle challenges, because I tend to cling too tightly to them sometimes. I just need something that will push me to do a little more. Anyone want to join me?

Have you ever signed up for a challenge to keep you moving?

Have you participated in a state themed challenge in 2020? 

Do any of these challenges sound interesting to you? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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I Tried It: Peloton Road to the 5k

Straight from the Peloton Website:

Run a 5k you’re proud of with this six-week training program designed for first-time racers or those getting back into racing. 

So did I?

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The Program
It’s a six week course, with usually five workouts per week — although some weeks have an extra workout.

  1. Week 1: Runs ranging from 10 – 30 minutes. 1 run also had core work.
  2. Week 2: Runs ranging from 10 – 30 minutes, 1 run had legs & glutes work.
  3. Week 3: Runs ranging from 30 – 45 minutes, 1 bodyweight session.
  4. Week 4: Runs ranging from 20 – 45 minutes, 1 run had hill work & 1 run had core work.
  5. Week 5: Runs ranging from 10 – 45 minutes, 1 bodyweight session.
  6. Week 6: 3 20 minute runs — because it’s race week!

Some of the runs do repeat (hello, run + core), but mostly there’s quite a variety, including fun runs, recovery runs, HIIT runs, even run/walk in the beginning.

I didn’t follow the program to the letter. Not even close. Because I’m only running 3 x week at present. I jumped in at week 2, in fact, and skipped week 6 entirely. Usually I only ran two workouts from each week, because I didn’t want to do all my runs (including a longer run on the weekend) on the treadmill. Sometimes only one run from the program.

I was “training” for a virtual 5k at the time, and I enjoyed not having to think much about my training, the variety of the workouts, and the variety of instructors — there were videos from 5 different instructors.

What I didn’t like was that it very explicitly says it’s a program for your first 5k, yet there are several intermediate runs and even one advanced. The one fun run I took wasn’t at all what I would have considered a fun run — it was intervals and it was not easy.

I realize that Peloton is trying to appeal to a wide audience, and I realize how difficult that can be. It would be great if they put out a program that is truly aimed at beginners. The instructors often give suggested paces, too, and as a slower runner — yup, that can be off-putting.

It’s not really that bad for me, I know where I should be. As a new runner though? I might have believed their suggestions, and I could very well have ended up injured. It’s hard to say what they should do, though; plenty of beginners can run those paces. Maybe a better thing to do would be to talk about how you know you’re running too fast (talk test, feeling lousy after the run, etc.).

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This program got me to the “start line” feeling strong

Final Thoughts
I do think this is a nice program for the more experienced runner. I’m still not convinced that it’s really right for beginner runners. I didn’t PR, not even close, but I wasn’t trying to or training as if I was trying to. I felt as though I got to the “start line” feeling strong and ready to push through my 5k.

The real question always is: would I do this program again? The answer is yes, I may very well may revisit for the next 5k.

GWY Sleep Course 2
ICYMI: The second short video Yin Yoga practice designer to stretch you out — or help you sleep — is being released today and you’ll find it here. Don’t skip that meditation that’s linked up at the end if you’re using it for sleep, either. Interested in joining a private Facebook group to talk about Yoga, running, general fitness and healthy living? You can join here.

Have you ever used an online course to train for a 5k other than C25K?

Have you tried this Peloton program? Thoughts? 

Do you have some sort of holiday 5k on tap? 

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Review: Clever Fox Planner

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I am methodical and love to plan. Small wonder that I also love a planner. I’ve been searching for the right one. The Clever Fox Planner (Amazon Affiliate link here) checked a lot of boxes for me. But would I buy it again? Will it work for you?

I started this post in March. Well, we all know what happened back then & I basically abandoned the planner altogether (which is not like me). I have been focusing on marketing for the last few weeks, and I’ve started to use it again. It’s just amazing what a little planning can do for you!

I know this post is a stretch for a running linkup, but the reason I started to use this planner was to combine my running journal with a planner, because I didn’t really like using two journals.

You have to put in the dates — but if you skip month/s nothing wasted.

No dates
Clever Fox is an undated planner. Which means you will have to write in dates for every month, every week, every day. Not a deal breaker for me.

The monthly calendar has room for this month’s goals, this month’s wins, and how you’ll improve going forward. In addition, it has spots for:

  • Habits to Adopt
  • Skills to Learn
  • Things to Avoid
  • Places to Go
  • People to See

So far so good.

Prioritize your week

Weekly Plan
Before you get into the meat of your week, it’s time to set yourself up for success with:

  • This week’s main goal
  • This week’s priorities
  • Work to-do list
  • Personal to-do list
  • Habits/Skills list with a checkbox for each day of the week
  • Spaces to write out what you want to do in: healthy & sports, family & friends, romance & relationships, fun & recreation, personal development, and spiritual

I love being able to tick off the habits/skills I want to work on — and pretty much everything else, if I’m honest.

Now on to planning your day
Each day there is a place for:

  • Today’s main goal
  • Today’s priorities
  • Schedule (broken down hourly from 6-9)
  • To-do list
  • Rate your productivity
  • How I’ll improve

When I kept this with me, I found myself really focused on the things I needed to do. There is a page for each day of the week. You will need to write in the day and date.

Since going back to using this journal, I have discovered the schedule portion really isn’t necessary for me. I use it take notes, LOL! It takes up most of the page, though, which is a lot of space for something I don’t really need — you might need it, though.

What went right? What didn’t? What will you change next week?

Review your week
There is a blank page after all the days of the week for weekly notes. I used this for blog ideas, ideas for my YouTube channel, meal planning & meal prep.

Next to the Notes page is the Weekly Review, which includes fields for:

  • A checkbox for this week’s main goal
  • This week’s wins

Then there’s a series of questions for you to answer:

  • What didn’t get done & why?
  • What habits were not completed & why?
  • What did you learn this week?
  • How do you feel about your progress this week?
  • How will you improve next week?

There is actually a lot more in the planner, including spaces for a vision board, a mind map, goals in various areas of your life, and even more.

Final Thoughts
Would I buy this planner again? No. It is too darn thick, and it’s only for 6 months! The 6 month thing wasn’t a deal breaker for me. The thickness is. I like to travel with my planner. I will take notes on what we did, where we ate, etc. I’ll track my runs and write notes on my race (because travel is almost always for a race for me!).

ETA: Yes, I wrote the above in March. I haven’t changed my mind; The Clever Fox is an awesome planner, but it’s not the right planner for me. The thickness is a big reason. The wasted space on an hourly schedule is another. I wish there was just blank space for actual journaling in the daily pages — I could use that for tracking runs (which I’m not doing anyway right now as we all know) or just journaling in general. I’ve been looking at the Simple Elephant Planner (Amazon Affiliate link here) and the Panda Planner (Amazon Affiliate link here)– not sure why I’m drawn to animal journals but of course I do love animals.

Writing down priorities keeps me focused, but I didn’t need the schedule space — you can see I used that space for notes on runs.

I found I didn’t really need all that daily space devoted broken down by time. A blank space, probably smaller, would have served me just fine.

I did learn that picking a main priority for each day, then several other (but not too many) to-dos was a real game changer for me. Of course I didn’t always do everything on my list, and some days I did other things that were just as important.

In the end choosing a priority and the other things that were truly important to me each day kept me much more focused and productive, and that is a great takeaway for me and something I’ll continue to do no matter what planner I decide on next.

ETA: Now that I’m back to using the planner, the above is still very true! I actually get more done if I think about the next day’s priorities the night before.

Do you need to be more organized?

Do you use a planner? Electronic or Digital or both?

Any recommendations for me?

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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I tried it: Zensah running gaiter & mask

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It seems forever ago that I bought this copper infused mask and gaiter from Zensah. They’re made from a relatively heavy cloth material, which actually feels quite nice when it’s cold out.

The heavy material was the reason I hadn’t tried them until now.

If you want a large gaiter you can wear different ways, this is your gaiter

The Gaiter
As a gaiter, it’s great. As I said, it’s a somewhat thick material and that feels great (to me) when it’s colder out. It’s infused with copper, which has antibacterial properties.

It’s also huge. While it works well as a gaiter, it doesn’t work as well as a face covering — for me, anyway. Like most gaiters, it just doesn’t stay up so you have to run holding it in place if you want your nose and mouth covered.

Conclusion: I will definitely use this as a neck gaiter. I don’t intend to use it as a face covering while running.

Surprisingly breatheable (even inside out — oops!)

The Mask
When I bought my mask, the only style was with loops going around your neck and and back of your head. I actually like this feature and I didn’t think I would — it’s easy to take the back of the head strap over your head when you want to pull the mask down — with no worries about losing the mask.

Zensah has since come out with masks with elastic ear loops.

According to the Website:

Excellent sports mask for light to mild running, walking, grocery shopping, and wearing throughout your everyday activities. Perfect for wearing to work, no matter the occupation.

I agree on the light running. I wore the mask for my warmup and cool down miles, and my pace was pretty normal and I could breath. I did not wear it during the bulk of my run, which was a virtual race — I can’t imagine wearing it while running that hard.

When not on the face it works well as a gaiter

I also wore it for my warmup and cool down walks, as well as some light hiking at the end. It was a cool morning, and I have definitely found that wearing a mask when it’s cold can actually feel quite nice. Don’t worry: I will be more than happy to put masks aside when it is not longer necessary to wear them!

Final Thoughts
I could absolutely see myself wearing this mask on a cold easy run. I’m not sure how many miles I could take with it, but my guess is a short easy run would be fine.

The mask fits me comfortably, too. I have a small face and not all masks fit me. I like the behind the head loops instead of ear loops. My pace didn’t suffer at all while wearing a mask and running easy.

Do you ever run actually wearing a mask (not just having it hang off your chin)?

What are your thoughts on using gaiters as face coverings? I personally don’t think that works well, although I have tried it quite a few times. I find it frustrating.

What has 2020 made you try? 

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Recovery Hot Chocolate

I actually do drink hot chocolate year round. Hello, Chocolaterunsjudy! It definitely hits the spot even more when it’s colder out. Some like it hot, what can I say?

Fairytales and Fitness

What makes hot chocolate a recovery drink?
Protein, of course! I get mine from Vital Proteins, which you can buy on Amazon here (Amazon Affiliate link). I use a variety of healthier hot chocolate mixes, rather than making it from scratch.

Cocoa mix + collagen = Recovery Hot Chocolate

I use home made almond or chocolate cashew milk. On running days I throw in some extra chocolate chips because you can never have enough chocolate in your life — at least I think so.

  • Scoop of Vital Proteins in my mug
  • Scoop of hot chocolate mix in a small dish mixed with water — and sweetener, if needed
  • Some chocolate chips in a glass measuring cup
  • 2/3 milk cup of your choice milk in that same measuring cup
  • Microwave the milk in the measuring cup on the beverage setting
  • Pour the hot chocolate mix into the hot milk; add sweetener if desired; stir to combine
  • Pour the hot chocolate over the Vital Proteins in your mug and stir to dissolve — enjoy!

Hits the spot after cold runs

I sometimes like to make Mexican hot chocolate by adding some cinnamon and just a tiny pinch of chili powder.

Healthy hot chocolate mixes I use
If you use a coca mix, just take a look at the sugar content. It can really add up! Chocolate on its own is bitter so it needs some type of sweetener. I prefer to use a mix with minimal or no sugar, and just add some honey.

Don’t heat the hot chocolate with the honey, add it afterwards — it’s actually not a great idea to cook with honey, something I learned in the last few years. See this link here for more information. You can heat maple syrup, though.

Here are some of the hot chocolate mixes I use:

  • Elements Truffle Ashwaganda Dark Hot Chocolate Mix. You can buy it here. Although this mix does have coconut sugar in it, I still add a little bit of honey to it. The ingredients are fantastic.
  • Pukka Herbal Maca Chocolate Latte. Buy it here (Amazon Affiliate Link). Another great list of ingredients! Yes, I add a little honey to this one too.
  • Golde. You can buy it here. It took me a while to warm up to this one (get what I did there?). The ingredients are fantastic in this mix too, but I needed to add honey to enjoy this mix.
  • Matcha Bliss by Amoda. You can buy it here (Amazon Affiliate Link). Matcha + Chocolate? Yes, please! Yes, this one also needs a little honey. Unless you’re really hard core.
  • Earth Echo Cacao Bliss. This is the mix I use most days. I add some home made turmeric paste to it, and then I find I don’t need to add any sweetener. That’s me, though. Even though it’s sweetened with Monk Fruit, I need a little more sweetness. I have tried it with Earth Golden Superfood Bliss, too — I love the tasted of the Golden milk and that doesn’t need extra sweetener for me. Yes, this is unfortunately very expensive — but then again, I never go to Starbucks. it’s far less than those Starbucks drinks! You can buy it here or on Amazon, but it’s more expensive on Amazon.

Cacao Bliss Testomonial

Final thoughts: I think healthy hot chocolate + collagen makes a perfect recovery drink when it’s colder, although I’m happy to drink this first thing in the morning whether or not I’m running! I have actually posted a mini review of Earth Echo’s Cacao Bliss on my YouTube channel; you can find it here.

Because it’s so pricey, and people pretty much love it (yes!) or hate it, I’d suggest trying the single serving packets first, if you’re curious. I wouldn’t want you to waste money on something you don’t like. I am not kidding when I say that I drink this pretty much on the daily, though!

Can you tolerate cold recovery drinks after cold runs?

Do you have a favorite hot chocolate mix?

Can you live without Starbucks (or Dunkin, if that’s your thing)?

I Started It: a 40 Day Kriya

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Kriya is a Sanskrit term. Essentially it’s a set of exercises to help move energy throughout the body. Although there is some resemblance to “normal” Yoga asana, it’s quite different too.

Fairytales and Fitness

I am definitely no expert in either Kriyas or Kundalini Yoga, which is the type of Yoga Kriyas are often associated with. I have dabbled a bit, though, taken a course here and there and read a few books. So I am not doing a deep dive here — if your interest is piqued, I will point you to my teacher, Brett Larkin. She has a YouTube channel here (just search Kundalini), and also an app which is amazing, but not free.

Often when you start a Kriya, you do the same set of exercises for 40 days. The exact same exercises in the the exact same order. I did one last December I think. I haven’t done another one since then . . . until the other day when on a whim I picked up one of my books and just did one. I did it the next day, and the next . . .

According to the “rules”, if you skip a day, you have to go back and start from day one until you complete forty days straight. Many Kundalini practitioners practice in the morning — for the same reason many runners run in the morning. Get it done before the day gets away from you!

So it’s sort of like a run streak, except that there are consequences if you skip a day — unlike a run streak, which you can break at any time. Of course you could just stop doing your Kriya; I don’t think you’d be struck down by lightning or anything.

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That’s all my AM Yoga that you see on my weekly run downs!

Kundalini is different
There are many different types of Yoga. Kundalini was shrouded in mystery for centuries. There were few books, and of course way back when no Internet. Generally it was passed down from Guru (teacher) to student. In fact, for thousands of years that’s how all Yoga was taught.

Now we do have Internet, and the veils have been pulled aside. In Kundalini Yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation are all bundled up together. “Regular” Yoga, for instance, has you practice asana, then pranayama, then meditation. Kundalini may have you do asana, pranayama, and meditation all in one pose.

Many poses have movement in them, or involve holding your legs or arms up for fairly long periods of time. It can be very challenging physically, and sometimes triggering mentally. It can also help tone your body all over — especially in areas we don’t get to as much as we should, like our core, lower back, and hamstrings.

Why am I doing a 40 day Kriya?
I didn’t really have that intention when I picked up my book. I guess my intuition guided me to try something different. You can practice Kundalini Yoga without doing a 40 Day Kriya.

I settled on a Kriya for energy. Because I feel as though I’m always lacking energy. You know what? I definitely felt better after I practiced that particular Kriya! That’s why I decided to just keep going with it.

My teacher advises not judging a Kundalini pose/Kriya on how you feel during, but how you feel after (sound familiar, runners?).

Final Thoughts
I don’t really recommend that you just search YouTube for Kundalini videos. You can trust Brett’s videos.

Committing to something — much like running a long distance race — can give you such a sense of accomplishment when you finish. Some days you’ll be excited and some days you really won’t want to do it, but in the end, you just know that you’re going to come away a changed person — in a good way.

Does this just sound really bizarre to you or interesting?

When have you committed to doing something for some amount of time (not running!)?

What did you gain from that commitment?

Playing Cards for Running

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Did you know that there are card decks for all sorts of topics? Yes, I have a few different card decks for Yoga. I have a couple for positive affirmations. Imagine my surprise, though, when I went looking for running card decks and came up empty.

Fairytales and Fitness

So I decided to just make a few running cards. Not a whole deck (maybe someday?), but just a few. Feel free to right click (PC) and save them if you want.

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If you run, you’re a runner

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Celebrate every finish line!

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Find the good in every run/race

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Smile! Your run will feel easier!

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Will run for chocolate!

Enjoy!

Running isn’t always serious!
It’s always good to put a little fun into our running — and into our days! If you had a whole deck, you could pick a card at random every day. Maybe we need a famous runner deck with short bios? That would actually be a fun project.

Do you have any fun decks of cards you use?

What quote would you like on a running card?

How do you put the fun in your running?

Finding Good Even in Pandemics

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We can all agree that 2020 has been “interesting”, right? And by interesting I mean the gift that keeps on giving — not in a good way. Or is it?

Of course there is just so much about 2020 to hatedislike, to want to move past, to want to forget. I often spend time thinking about how I can make people feel better with a blog post — if only for a little while. Here’s my rundown of some good things to come out of 2020.

Fairytales and Fitness

Less time on the road
Since I wasn’t working outside the house, I already drove much less than most people. Which is why my car is 20+ years old. For many months I didn’t take Lola to the vet, but now we’re back to regular visits.

I go grocery shopping about once a month (the rest is delivery). Dinner “out” is usually delivery. I spent months not visiting my mom, and I’m back at it twice a month, but unless they start letting us inside, that will come to a halt as it gets cold.

I rarely drive to run these days. Well, you get the picture. It saves wear and tear on the car, saves money on gas, and it helps lower pollution. If you’ve seen those photos of heavily polluted cities — the difference is astounding.

Getting stronger
I wrote my thoughts about why strength training is important here. Ironically I also chose Strong as my word for the year (se why here). It’s still totally appropriate for 2020, for many of the same reasons — although at the same time things changed, too.

I have made the personal choice to run less — some choose to run more, to each their own. With less running I have more time to cross train and strength train, and there is less stress in an already stressful year.

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More time on the phone, more Zooming — who would have ever guessed my mom would Zoom (with a lot of help)

More time with family
Well, more time with Mr. Judy. Not so much with my family. I know some families have had much more time together though. The reason sucks, but spending time connecting is a very good thing in our unconnected world.

Getting creative about get togethers — and other stuff!
I will admit I haven’t been that creative about get togethers, but some people really have! Where there’s a will, there’s a way, as they say. It’s also amazing to see how creative some companies are.

Speaking of getting creative, how about those Blogger Zoom calls?
It was fun to put voices with faces of people you haven’t met. I’ve met some bloggers, but I haven’t been able to make any of the big blogger meetups, so that was nice.

How have you gotten creative this Summer?

Do you feel you’ve gotten closer to your family?

What good can you find in 2020?

4 Running Masks . . .

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. . . I Haven’t Run In

I do wear masks:

  • I wear them when I go grocery shopping or take Lola to the vet (even though I don’t actually go in with her).
  • I wear a mask when I visit my mom (even though we’re outside at either end of a bench).
  • I wear a mask when I get together with friends, even outside.
  •  I often have a mask in my pocket on our daytrips (and wear it as needed).

I have yet to wear a mask on the run. When it was colder I wore a neck gaiter, which is how I run when transitioning from Winter to Spring anyway.

In the summer the neck gaiters annoy me. I run in my neighborhood or on the sides of the roads bordering my neighborhood. Sure, there’s a lot more people out there these days, but the roads are wide and most (but not all) people are respectful of your personal space.

Fairytales and Fitness

BOCO is one of my favorites. Cute! Lightweight! Nose piece — which I didn’t even realize for a while

Here are four running masks I own (and one that’s not made for running):

 

  1. Athleta. So far the Athleta masks are my favorites — although it’s neck and neck with the BOCO mask. They don’t come in a huge variety of colors, but it’s a pack of five for $30. Surprisingly affordable, which Athleta is not known for. There’s a bendable nosepiece and little circle thingies on the ear strings so that they’re adjustable. It took a very long time to get these; they might be shipping quicker now and they’ve come out with a slightly different design — but it still has the adjustable ear pieces. Buy them here (the link is sneaky — it’s not just the masks).
  2. BOCO. BOCO is a close runner up. It’s cute, and it actually fits my face well. I have a small face, so I wonder if it might be too small for larger heads. Cute designs, but they sell out quickly. Shipping was quick. They are $11.99. You can also custom design one. Buy them here.
  3. Pro Compression. I was ordering some socks recently and saw that they sell masks. Very plain jane. Kind of heavy for running. You can’t choose what color you want, you get what you get. Shipping was quick. They are $12.50. I had a coupon. Buy them here.
  4. Zensah. I have to admit I haven’t worn this mask at all yet. I’m sure it will come in handy during the colder months. It’s also quite plain and seems even heavier than the Pro Compression mask. I bought the gaiter as well: both the mask and the gaiter have copper woven into them. Copper has anti bacterial properties. The gaiter is huge though! Regular masks are $16. They come in a variety of colors, US flag, and camo. The one I got goes behind your head & neck; they have newer masks with ear loops (same price), but in fewer colors. Buy them here. Ask Cari @ Travelingcari about them, I’m pretty sure she’s run in them.
  5. April Marin. This mask isn’t for running, and it was not cheap at $24. It’s linen, and also a bit heavy. It has a bendable nose piece. They’ve come out with it in some really cute prints, and of course you know me, I’ve been tempted, but no. I can’t use it for running and I don’t want to pay that much for a mask. I’m pretty sure I had some kind of discount initially. I was getting so frustrated at masks that were too large for me that I had to constantly adjust, but this one stays put. I wore it on a hot walk with a friend, and yeah, it got kind of stifling in there. But so did my friend with a regular cloth mask — it was hot! I may wear it more when summer is over. Buy it here.

It’s a toss up between BOCO & Athleta. Athleta is actually a lot cheaper.

Pro Compression verdict: meh. Can’t choose the color. Heavy. Maybe good when it gets colder.

Ultimately the I don’t really like this one so much, but it will go with anything and the truth is as far as spreading any germs, thickness is a good thing.

I am not going to lie: I don’t like wearing masks. I don’t like how they look. I don’t like that it makes it harder to breath — or even tell people’s facial expressions. The main reason I’ve bought so many:

  • I prefer to wash my mask after wearing rather than throw it out (or see masks everywhere out walking or running — seriously, I do! how lazy are people?).
  • The cheaper masks irritate my skin.
  • Yes, a little vanity; just like I like cute running clothes, I like cute masks and somewhat matching my mask to my outfit.
  • I said a while ago that I think mask wearing is going to be with us for a while — I’m sad I was right, but I don’t see mask wearing going away anytime soon.

It’s still important to wear your mask. It’s being kind to human kind. It’s a relatively small sacrifice to make to help bring this pandemic to a close. We all want that, right?

I wrote a post about where to get running masks a month ago. You can read it here. Now it seems everyone is making & selling masks!

Here are more options for you:

  • Headsweats. They sell regular and small size masks, and they’re reversible. They are $13, but if you don’t care about the design and just want to be surprised, you can get one from their “grab bag” for $7. Find “elite” masks here, and grab bag masks here.
  • Rabbit. A company I’d never heard of. They sell both regular and kids sized masks. They’re made from scraps from their clothing line and there are cute designs. They sell for $15. Buy them here.
  • Addidas. A reusable face mask that apparently comes in black or blue. They sell for $20. Buy them here.
  • Under Armour. A reusable face mask, apparently just in black, but in a variety of sizes. Glancing through the reviews, though, I wouldn’t plunk down $30 for it. For that amount of money it ought to be the most comfortable running mask! At the moment they’re on pre-order. Buy them here.
  • Asics. Hey, you thought UA was expensive? How about $40? Yup, that’s what Asics will set you back. No, I don’t plan to be buying Rabbit, Addidas, or UA, (although the Rabbit masks are tempting . . . maybe). It’s an interesting design with adjustable ear pieces but seriously, for that amount of money I could be buying running clothes (well, on sale maybe). I’m just giving you options here. Oh, and it’s another pre-order. Buy it here.

I definitely do look forward to the day masks are a thing of the past. It’s coming. I don’t know when, but there will be a day when we can all breathe easy again.

Do you run in a mask?

Do you have a favorite mask?

If a race required you to run in a mask: would you do it?

Keeping the girls cozy

bwoolbras

I Tried It: Wool Bras

I have sung the praises of the Skirt Sports Wonder Wool line many times (get yours here). I seriously just love it so much. The skirt with attached leggings are great for in between weather (about 30-40), and the tops are all I run in in the Winter these days. Because, wicking.

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There are also Wonder Wool Jackets which is a nice light, warmish layer

I realized, though, that one of the reasons I become so chilled after winter runs is the dang bra. Sure, I wear good bras, they say they wick . . . not so much. I just have really sweaty boobs, apparently.

Then I had my lightbulb moment: what if I bought some wool bras? Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing. Now, I know what you’re thinking — that must be awfully itchy! But is it?

Medium support, no chafing at all

Smartwool PhD Racerback Bra
I first tried out the the Smartwool racerback bra (Amazon Affiliate link here). It fit much like the Champion racerback bras I get from Target — I’d say medium support, which is fine for me as I’m very small on top.

On the first run it seemed just a little itchy under the arms and the band when I first put it on. I put on some anti chafing cream just in case, but there was no chafing and I wasn’t bothered on the run.

The second run I’d lost just a little bit of weight and it felt more comfortable and I didn’t use any anti chafing stuff — still no chafing. Keep in mind my runs are very short (1-3 miles) at the moment, so I can’t say how these bras will do on a longer run.

These are last year’s season, by the way, and a fairly reasonable $30 – $45, depending on size and color. Works for me.

I got my normal size in a running bra, a M, and that fit just right.

Light to medium support

Icebreaker Merino Sprite Racerback Bra
Is anyone else amused by the description Women’s Bra? Do men wear bras (well, I guess some may, but still). This bra seemed rather skimpy for a running bra (Amazon Affiliate link here), but it was surprisingly about medium compression, too. It was less coverage, which again was fine for me — it actually gave me some cleavage though.

This bra didn’t feel itchy when I put it on. I’d ordered a slightly different version of this bra first, and my normal M was way too big. I read the comments and ordered a S in this model instead, and that fit much better, although the band was just a bit tight — it will probably be perfect when I’ve lost just a couple more pounds.

Not a lot of coverage and no padding

This bra also felt less itchy than the Smartwool bra when I first tried it on, and I didn’t use any anti chafing — again, there was no chafing and no discomfort in the bra, either. I came back home after the run and walked the dogs without changing out of the bra — it was a cool day, and I never felt terribly chilled.

Saturday I did my mentoring run (just a little over a mile), waited for my friends, ran a couple of miles with one friend, and then hung around for a while with the other while we waited for one friend to finish up.

It was in the low 40s, cloudy, and again — I never felt chilled or particularly sweaty after either run. Still no itching and no chafing, but again it was a short, easy run. So far, so good. Still no long runs in these bras.

Final thoughts on wool bras
The pros are the wicking — you can get sweaty, but the sweat will mostly wick away and the bra will dry out quickly. Which also means that you can wear them more than once without them getting stinky. They are not itchy, and so far I have not experienced any chafing at all — but whether or not that remains true for longer runs is up in the air — probably until next Winter.

If you are a large breasted women who needs a lot of support (I am not), I don’t think this will work for you. The Smartwool bra has more support, but you larger women would probably have to  wear this underneath another bra (for support). I wouldn’t want to do that.

I think for myself wool bras will be a huge game changer next Winter. Especially wool bras plus the Wonder Wool tops — they keep me much drier, and that keeps me warmer in the “long run”.

  • Have you ever worn a wool bra?
  • Is that an area that gets really sweaty for you?
  • What is your favorite piece of cold weather running gear?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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