So You’re Running Virtually . . .

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Why not spruce up the scenery?

Virtual races are all the rage right now! So far I have not participated in one, but I might for one or two when the charity is right. Just to run? No thanks! But that’s me, everyone is different.

Maybe the weather sucks, or maybe you have to entertain babies/toddler/young children, or maybe you’re not allowed to run outside. Maybe the treadmill is the only option for you. How will you keep yourself motivated on that treadmill?

I did a little digging to find some options that might make a virtual race feel a little bit more like a real race. I haven’t personally tried any of these, but here goes:

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Make a treadmill run easier by “running” somewhere scenic | Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Virtual Active
Virtual Active lets you pick videos from scenic places to run all over the world. They can be guided or unguided. $7.95 for SD, $10.95 HD. Buy multiples in a pack for a discount. Subscribe to their newsletter for 20% off your first purchase.

You’ll find the running videos here (there are also videos for hiking and cycling).

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Maybe a virtual trail race is the only way you’ll ever run trails | Photo by Ogy Kovachev on Pexels.com

Virtual Runner
Virtual Runner seems to be trying to appeal to more hard core runners. In addition to the videos you purchase in an app, it displays elapsed time, distance, pace, HR, and cadence. Of course most of that information comes from a footpod, and it wasn’t obvious to me where you buy the footpod.

The cool thing about the footpod is that it will slow down or speed up the video to correspond with how fast you’re running.

You must be able to maintain a 15 mm pace to use the app.

There are links to Android, Apple, and Microsoft apps here.

Peloton App
I think most runners, unless they’ve been living under a rock, are aware of the Peloton App (which you’ll find here). Peloton includes running classes and outdoor course videos. You can try the app for 30 days free. Did you know that they’ve stopped selling Peloton Treadmills because of the installation? My 20 year old treadmill better survive this virus.
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Run London on your treadmill | Photo by Samuel Wölfl on Pexels.com
Free Course Videos
Okay, I’ll bet that there are plenty more resources, but how about running the World Major courses with the elites without having to travel anywhere? I found course videos of them all on YouTube — except oddly Boston.
The only thing I could find of Boston was a live stream from Heartbreak Hill (which I walked up, long story) — but seriously, watching runners endlessly battling Heartbreak Hill probably wouldn’t really be that inspiring. Or maybe it would be to you!
  • London Marathon here
  • Tokyo Marathon here
  • NYC Marathon here
  • Berlin Marathon here
  • Chicago Maratho here
There are lots of course videos for other races, too. Google the one you want to run and see if it’s there — it may very well be!

Do you ever run on a treadmill using course videos? 

Do you think it would make it feel easier to run on the treadmill if you did? 

What can you add to my list? 

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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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Then a hero comes along: April 2020

April continued to be a challenging month. It would really help to have Spring-like weather, but it’s not unusual for us to miss out on Spring and unfortunately this was another year that that’s true.

But Spring always comes, and that is a hopeful sign

The flowers are blooming, the trees are slowly beginning to leaf out, the lawns are greening up, every once in a while we come across a blue Robin’s egg. Sure signs that there is a season to everything, and that there’s always hope in the world if you look for it.

Taking a slight break from songs with strong in the title, to songs with strong in the lyrics with Mariah Carey’s “Hero”:

So when you feel like all hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

You know I’m all about looking within (yup, that’s what GoWithYin Yoga is a play on). Or as Dorothy had to learn, the power is within you all along.

Getting in scheduled runs
Although I still seemed to struggle with recovery from runs, unlike March, I didn’t miss any runs. So there’s that. Can’t really decide if I need to train for the June half or not. I caught a video from one of the coaches saying he’s still training as if it will not be cancelled.

I am having a hard time deciding if it’s really worth upping my mileage right now. Considering it’s a race where they have to bus you up a mountain . . . even if they decided to hold it, I can’t see doing it. It may be a #firstworldproblem, but yes, it makes me sad.

Grade Earned:  A

Recording my runs
Pretty much total failure. I guess because I was so busy with 21 Days of Yoga.

Grade Earned: F

Dynamic Warmup
I’ve been very good about the dynamic warmup. It’s all part of the great nasal breathing experiment.

Grade Earned: A+

It may not feel good while you’re doing it, but you’ll thank yourself the next day

Foam Rolling
I’ve been great with foam rolling too. I got back to foam rolling most days, sometimes twice a day on the days I run. I just realized how much better I feel when I do it.

Grade Earned: A+

Nutrition
I don’t really feel as though I’ve been eating that badly, although I notice feeling hungrier than usual. My weight stayed pretty steady through April, although there was an uptick last week. Maybe it’s because I’m running slower? Fewer miles? Or is it just stress?

Grade Earned: B

Support

  • Massage? Nope. We all know why.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? See massage.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? Again, see above. I suppose I should take this section out, it ain’t happening in the near future (although the chiropractor is open).

Grade Earned: F

I live for the days I can do Yoga on our deck!

Cross Training
I’ve been doing fairly well with the cross training: Yoga, strength training, stationary bike, dogwalks. I haven’t been hitting it hard, my body just hasn’t felt up to that for whatever reason.

Grade Earned: A

April 2020  gets  . . . 
. . . an A-. I guess for a lot of us in April it became apparent we’re in this for the long haul.

April Goals:

  • Strength train 2 – 3x week. Y. I’m fairly certain I got in at least 2 strength training sessions a week. I often wanted to do more, but my body just kept asking for rest.
  • Continue running 3 x week, adding in more mileage. Y. I upped my middweek runs but kept my long run the same distance — until last weekend, when I did 9 miles.
  • Plan out long runs (in case I run the June half). N. Came to the conclusion one way or another the race is not happening.
  • Foam roll when I’m able. Y. High five for doing it pre-run, post-run, and most non-running days too.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Y. Weight is creeping up just a little. Maybe all I really need is some Vitamin D in the form of sunshine. Sunshine makes everything better, right?
  • Release my 21 Days of Yoga Challenge! Y. I had no idea how much work this would be when the idea came to me shortly after my Dad passed. Thank you to everyone who gave it a try!
  • Carve out a time to read non-fiction daily. Y. Not too surprisingly, mostly Yoga related. Still so much to learn.

Which leads me to May Goals:

  • Add in Lean & Lovely once a week. This is more of a push program with kettlebells I’ve had great results with in the past. I need to lift a little heavier — occasionally. Otherwise I still love working out with Pahla B here. I’m just in awe of how much material she continually shares.
  • Continue running 3 x week, adding in more mileage. I’m not sure how much mileage I’ll be adding in. Maybe I’ll go up to 10 miles. Maybe I won’t. Stay tuned.
  • Strength Train 2-3 x week. That’s my gold standard. Listening to my body is the most important thing.
  • Explore a backbend course in one of the Yoga memberships I have. I can’t do wheel. I can do Camel, I can do Bow, but Wheel still eludes me. It may just be a strength problem, but I know that backbends are good for me, so it seems like a good goal. It could take me a long time to good there, but you already know I’m patient. Besides it totally jives with my Strong theme for 2020. How did I know we’d all need to be so strong?
  • Continue almost daily foam rolling. It’s amazing how much of a difference this makes for me.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. A slight uptick on the weight the end of March. Just a couple of pounds can make a big difference in how my clothes fit (yup, that’s what happens when you’re 5’1″ — happy I haven’t started to shrink yet!).
  • Take the tests for the online Reiki course I’m doing. Okay, I admit Reiki is a bit woo-woo even for me. I try to keep an open mind about things, and for me, it’s not always about the science. I find it really fascinating, though, and I like learning. I might sign up for the animal Reiki course too. Couldn’t hurt, those furkids ain’t getting any younger.

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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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Controlling the C19 Munchies

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I’m not much of a cryer. I don’t drink. I definitely wouldn’t say I’m not worried at times, but I also would say that for the most part, I remain optimistic: that we’ll pull through this, that we’ll come out stronger, that we’ll band together to help all those that have been hurt so badly and so unexpectedly.

Like many people I do find myself wanting to snack more than normal most days. I know some feel what the heck, I’ll get back to healthy eating when things are more normal. Except we now know that that is likely to be months.

If you’ve ever struggled to lose weight, you know that it takes much longer to take it off than it does to put it on. If you didn’t know that, well, I’m here to tell you for most of us that’s the hard reality. It could take a week to put on a few pounds and a month to take them back off.

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At least popcorn is a healthy snack. Are you a salty or sweets person? You know what I am! | Photo by Mo Abrahim on Pexels.com

What’s a hungry runner to do?
There’s nothing wrong with occasional emotional snacking (or drinking, if that’s your thing), but we all know when it gets out of hand. When our clothes are uncomfortable is a good sign that we’ve been eating a little bit more than our bodies really need. Here are a few strategies to overcome run-on eating:

  1. HALT. Seriously, just stop & HALT — consider: are you hungry? angry? lonely? tired? bored? missing loved ones? Sometimes just realizing you’re eating for reasons other than hunger will help you put down that bag.
  2. Are you thirsty? Most of us don’t hydrate well enough. Try drinking a glass of something (preferably not alcoholic, alcohol isn’t really very hydrating even if it is soothing). Wait awhile and see if that makes you feel fuller.
  3. If you know it’s emotional eating, try something healthier. If you want something creamy, add some chocolate protein powder and/or nut butter to yogurt. With the right protein powder it tastes like chocolate mousse! Others add pudding mixes, although I’m personally not so much a fan of those — either they have too much sugar or they have splenda, and I personally try to avoid sugar substitutes. For crunch, try baby carrots with hummus or an apple with nut butter. You get the idea.
  4. Sometimes only what you’re craving will do. Don’t fall into the trap of eating out the whole kitchen and then chowing down on what was calling to you in the first place. If you know you’re just going to eat around it, have it — but sit down at a table without distractions. Really taste it and enjoy it. No need to feel guilty!
  5. Sometimes just waiting 10 minutes can help. I’ll be uploading a meditation later this week to help you wait out those cravings. At the very least you’ll feel calmer and not at all guilty before you choose to snack — at the best, the craving will pass and you’ll realize that food wasn’t really what you were craving after all.

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Are you hungry enough to eat an apple? If you’re not, it’s probably emotional eating | Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

I hope that you found something in these tips that are helpful to you. I know how great it can feel to eat that food you’re craving . . . in the moment. What doesn’t feel great is going through your closet trying to find clothes that actually feel comfortable.

Ok, you tell yourself, I can just hang around in my pjs and my sweats all day. What does it even matter? It might matter to you in a month. Or two. What I know for sure:

Times are tough. We all have cravings right now — for food, for movement, for alcohol — whatever your personal poison might be. Don’t trade comfort in the moment for ease in your life.— Chocolaterunsjudy

Do you find yourself snacking more? 

What are you craving? 

Now what are you really craving? 

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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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Looking with Fresh Eyes

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Or the Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

I have a fun challenge for you on your next run: I want you to look for a rainbow. Actually, this also falls in line of balancing your Chakras, which just happen to have ROYGBIV for their colors.

If you’re like me, and you’ve been running a lot in your neighborhood, it can get pretty boring pretty quickly. Not all of us are blessed by great trails steps away from our front door. You may need something to take your mind off of the same scenery run after run.

The idea is to try to find objects on your run in the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, greenblue, indigo, and violet. In the US, you can get the first four just by taking photos of road signs! Cars are good. Houses, too.

The challenge, though, is to really open up your eyes and see what there is around you. Something unusual. The most challenging color for me was violet. Do not walk into someone’s yard, though, for obvious reasons.

Here’s what I found on last Thursday’s run:

This was on a car. Any ideas?

Root Chakra: Its location is the base of your spine & tailbone. Its color is red. It has to do with grounding and security.

 

Getting ready to pave their driveway?

Sacral Chakra: located about two inches below your navel. Its color is orange. Involves emotions and creativity.

Daffodils brighten even the cloudiest day

Solar Plexus Chakra: (that’s solar plexus, btw, if you couldn’t read it). Around your stomach. Its color is yellow. It has to do with feeling secure in your true self and your strength.

Lawn bags were good for green AND blue!

Heart Chakra: center of your chest, just above your heart. Its color is green. It deals with love — both for others and for yourself, compassion, and empathy.

But I chose the tarp for blue

Throat Chakra: Yup, its location is your throat. Its color is blue. It’s all about communicating your truth and being able to express yourself.

The stars are indigo

Third Eye Chakra: This is the space between your eyebrows. Its color is indigo. It is the area where you can tap into your intuition and a deep inner wisdom.

Violet was not easy!

Crown Chakra: Top of the head. Its color is violet (or sometimes white). Our connection to our spirituality.

Obviously you can completely ignore the whole Chakra stuff if you want, and just go looking for the rainbow instead. Challenge yourself to see what unique things you can find! Feel free to use #rainbowchallenge on social media!

What was the hardest color for you to find? 

What was the weirdest thing you found while looking for the rainbow? 

Did this scavenger hunt make your run harder or easier? 

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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3 Must Haves for a Bad Weather Run

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I have been known to avoid running in the cold wind or cold rain or cold, windy rain with the best of them. Retreating to my treadmill when the weather isn’t great. I can run in bad weather, though, and have many times.

Right now you may have no choice about running outside in bad weather if you want to keep running.

Here are my three must haves to have a good bad weather run

1. Attitude
Attitude is number one for a reason! If you dread getting out there when the weather isn’t gorgeous — guess what? You’re probably going to hate your run. Let’s face it: how often is the weather gorgeous? Maybe if you live in HI or CA a lot. I can tell you up here, in upstate NY, really nice days are few and far between.

I know if I’m dreading a bad weather run, I’ll procrastinate. no doubt hoping whatever nastiness is going on outside will blow over. I may hate every step if the weather doesn’t get better. I’ll ask myself why I thought running was a good idea in the first place.

If I embrace the mindset that it’s only the first step that’s hard, I am more likely to get myself out the door quicker. I am much more likely to feel it’s really not as bad as I thought it was — it rarely is (although there are days it’s worse, I won’t lie to you!). I might actually enjoy my run, bad weather and all.

Attitude is everything!

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The right outfit can make bad weather more enjoyable

2. The Right Gear
Attitude may be everything, but again, I’m not gonna lie: the right gear makes a bad weather run more, well, weatherable. When you get your outfit right, you will realize that you can not only run in bad weather, you can enjoy bad weather runs.

3. A Goal
Why would you ever run in bad weather if you didn’t have a goal in mind? It really doesn’t matter if the goal is big or small, it just matters whether or not it motivates you.

Possible goals:

  • Maintain your base
  • Keep a running streak alive
  • Train for a goal race
  • Meeting up with friends for a social run
  • Maintain your weight
  • Yummy food you might pass on if you didn’t run
  • Get healthy
  • Decrease stress

What outfit advice do you have for bad weather runs? 

How do you motivate yourself out the door when the weather isn’t nice? 

What goals keep you running, no matter the weather? 

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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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Stronger than the Fear: March 2020

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March was a doozy, wasn’t it? It didn’t start out well for me, not feeling well. I get a non specific virus like this often in Spring (relatively sure it wasn’t COVID19 but we’ll never know). I rest, I get better, then out of the blue I feel a little worse, and back and forth for weeks.

I was a little disappointed because I’d really tried hard to clean up my nutrition. For the record, I was never very sick. Maybe that’s the clue — while I still got sick, it was extremely mild. Maybe due to making an effort to eat healthier because I know that this time of year I’m always vulnerable.

Truthfully, if my family and loved ones come through this okay, if we have a roof over our head (and four walls, please!), and enough to eat, missing some racing is a small price to pay.

These lyrics from Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” (which I’ve always loved) seem very appropriate to the times:

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone

Especially the part about not being lonely when I’m alone. I know that a lot of people are really struggling with the lack of social connectedness right now, and I am sorry for the many that #thestruggleisreal.

It doesn’t mean that I love doing everything alone — no. It’s just that I’m okay being on my own. I’ve had a lot of practice, having lived far away from relatives for many decades (until now, although still far away from my brother and my MIL), and also spent a lot of time separated from Mr. Judy over the decades due to his work.

I think it’s a good thing to be comfortable with being by yourself; not trying to be preachy here, just that it’s a good life skill no matter what’s going on in the world.

 

Running all the hills right now anyway

 

Getting in scheduled runs
Except for the one week I was sick, I kept up with running 3 x week. Missed one long run. Didn’t really matter as I ended up not being in training mode anyway.

Grade Earned:  A

Recording my runs
Again I got spotty with recording my runs. I’ve been working on a big project for my YouTube Channel (which you can visit here), and it’s kept me very busy. Then there was that pesky COVID19 thing.

Grade Earned: B-

Dynamic Warmup
It’s (mostly) getting warmer, so I’ve been doing well with my dynamic warmup — as I wait for my Garmin to find a signal.

Grade Earned: A

Getting back into more frequent foam rolling. Does a body good.

 

Foam Rolling
I have actually been doing well with foam rolling, too. Even occasionally foam rolling on days I don’t run. My long run on Friday was physically very tough, and my hamstrings were complaining. I did yoga, I did a long foam rolling session, and I was very surprised (and happy) to wake up feeling okay the next day.

Grade Earned: A

The hardest part about delivery is finding healthy options. This wasn’t so much healthy, but it was yummy!

 

Nutrition
My weight is hanging steady (even if it’s a few pounds over where I’d like it to be). I really have to stop doing my long runs at lunch time, though! By the time I get home, even with a post run snack, I’ve got a serious case of the rungries. It isn’t pretty.

Grade Earned: A-

Support

  • Massage? Nope. We all know why.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? See massage.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? Again, see above. It’s probably going to be a while. It’s been about 6 weeks since my last cut — even though that’s the “correct” amount of time for me for a cut, I very rarely get it done that often. Sometimes I go months. And I do like to grow it out a bit in the summer to braid it.

Grade Earned: B

Cross Training
I’ve been riding the stationary bike fairly regularly. I was getting back into some strength training too, though somehow I fell off of it the last week of March. I’ve done a little pilates here and there. So hard to squeeze it all in!

Grade Earned: A-

March 2020  gets  . . . 
. . . an A-. There’s always room for improvement, but March, despite the craziness, went pretty well.

March Goals:

  • Strength train 2 – 3x week. Y. I’m going to say I met this goal — when I felt healthy. I felt meh off & on in March, so I rested when I needed to.
  • Continue running 3 x week and maintaining my base. Y. Again goal met when I was feeling good. I only had one week with just one run, and only one missed long run.
  • Begin to write half marathon plans. N. No reason to yet.
  • Start practicing at the Yoga Studio that’s close to me. N. For obvious reasons that didn’t happen..
  • Foam roll when I’m able. Y. High five for doing it pre-run and some non-running days too.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Y. Weight is staying pretty stable, but it’s on the high end. I wouldn’t say I’m overindulging in sweets, but I would say there have been more than I need (or burn off). Need to get a handle on that; clothes are just a tiny bit snugger.
  • Meal plan on the weekends! Y. Not only did I meal plan, I even began to meal prep too. Until COVID19 hit . . . then simple grocery shopping sucked up a lot more time than usual.
  • Maybe a shorter race? N. Again, not my fault. I had actually planned to try for a new-to-me race; it was not to be.

Which leads me to April Goals:

  • Strength train 2 – 3x week. I’m really shooting for those 3 x week, even if one session is just 10 minutes.
  • Continue running 3 x week, adding in more mileage. I’ve slowly been adding distance to my runs, both the long runs and the midweek runs.
  • Plan out long runs (in case I run the June half). I like to look at the race date, and work backwards from there. Even for the June half, it’s time — starting early gives me that wiggle room.
  • Release my 21 Days of Yoga Challenge! Um, maybe. Depends on what happens in life. I’ve been thrown some curve balls with this, again, but we’re getting closer to it.
  • Foam roll when I’m able. Would love to foam roll at least occasionally on days that I don’t run.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Although I’d love to drop just a little weight, I’m still maintaining fairly well.
  • Carve out a time to read non-fiction daily. I read fiction (for the most part) before I go to sleep. I have a lot of nonfiction books waiting for me. Something always seems to get in the way of setting a regular time during the day to just read. Maybe the first step is to decide how long I will give myself.

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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

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

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So You Can Only Work Out at Home

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I know so many of you rely heavily on gyms. It may be the social aspect, it may be the competition, it may be the equipment, it may simply be the variety. Most of us can’t go to the gym right now. I have belonged to gyms on and off, but hadn’t been a member of one for a while. Fitness pros are taking to the Internet in droves! There are so many ways to work out on the cheap at home right now (and many are free!).

Today I’m simply sharing a few resources for working out online:

  • My YouTube Channel here (gotta toot my own horn, although I’m sure you’re kinda tired of that by now)
  • Pahla B Fitness here. Her workouts are fun, hard, and plentiful!
  • AMR Stride Through Social Distancing here, 3/23-4/26 for $10 — get ready for racing again — yes, we will race again! — for only $10.
  • ZOOMA Fitter Stronger Faster Challenge here. A 6 week challenge to get you stronger to run faster. It’s totally free if you don’t want swag, and it’s reasonably priced if you do want the swag. Tough decision!
  • No Meat Athlete has a free 30 Day Fitness Challenge here. Free 15 minute workouts daily!
  • Final Surge Free Virtual 5k. More info here.
  • Merrymaker Sisters are offering their membership for free until April 1 (no credit card required) here. Pilates, Yoga, Meditation. They’re Aussies, so the accents are fun, too.
  • Lauren Roxbourgh’s Immunity Boosting Movement Medicine here (also no credit card required). Yoga, foam rolling, meditation.
  • Skirt Sports Women Who Move FB group here. Live workouts and inspiration to get moving.
  • OrangeTheoryFitness daily workouts on YouTube here. Thanks, Kim @ Kookyrunner!
  • Danette May offers some free workouts on her blog here. HIIT, Yoga, Fusion.
  • Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner’s list of a year’s worth of challenges here(seriously, Deborah, how did you know we’d need this?).
  • Debbie @ Debruns cross training and bootcamp workouts here.
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Almost four years later — still using it!

What’s in my gym
I thought I’d share what’s in my home gym:

  • Treadmill
  • Stationary Bike
  • Free Weights
  • Kettlebells
  • Resistance Bands
  • Yoga Wheel
  • Yoga Mat
  • Yoga Blocks
  • Yoga Strap (Resistance Bands work just fine, too)
  • Foam Rollers

You can get great workouts with nothing at all — just your own body! At the minimum I’d suggest some resistance bands and weights. I still love my FitDesk (Amazon Affiliate link here and review here), especially that it doesn’t require any electricity and can be fairly easily moved around. No power? No problem!

What resources can you add? 

What’s in your home gym? 

Are you still exercising outside? As long as I can, I will!

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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So Your Race Was Canceled

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Almost all runners have been effected by race cancellations in recent days. Unless you’re one of those runners that just likes to run (there are many!),  you’re left wondering: I’m all trained up, now what? Or should I keep training for a race that’s coming up in a few months?

Race virtually
I know that’s what some of my friends have done. A lot of my friends, actually. If it helps you calm down and feel better, go for it.

I’m not sure I would do that, and here’s why: running is hard on the body. Even if it makes you feel better, your immune system is probably taking a hit — and is that what you really want to be doing right now?

Keep in mind I wasn’t really training, only sort of, maybe training. I was getting excited about going to DE, but I’m a firm believer that things have a way of turning out for the best, and that maybe there’s something better out there for me.

I am not a virtual race kinda gal. I enjoy the atmosphere of a race, conquering new territory. But I don’t what I would have done if I’d put in a lot of hard training.

Keep on training
My “goal” race isn’t until June. Hopefully with the warmer weather by that point the virus will have died down, although no one really knows. Since it’s still a few months out, though, I’m going to train as if I’m going to be racing it.

If your race is closer, it’s a toss up whether or not you should keep training (again, because while running can boost your immune system, hard training — or every just long distance running — can also give your immune system a challenge). We’re challenged enough right now.

So a race 1 month away: I’d maintain my base and do speed work once a week.

A race a few months out: I’d train normally.

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Running will help you burn off the crazies

Keep on running
Even if you live to race and you can’t, you don’t want to let your base go. We will be racing again some day. No need to start over from scratch. Running will help you stay calmer, too. It will get you outdoors, which will help you feel better, especially now as the weather begins to get nicer.

Get strong
Are you always saying you want to get strong but you’re always training for a race? Now is your opportunity! It’s a crap shoot on whether or not gyms are going to stay open, but there are so many wonderful ways to strength train online. For free!

Becoming a stronger person will make you a stronger runner.

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Keep an eye on the eating and drinking
It’s so easy to turn to food and alcohol after a stressful day. There’s nothing wrong with that — in moderation. It’s also very easy to overdo either — or both! — when times are stressful.

Both eating comfort food and drinking feel really good in the moment. They don’t make us feel good in the long run. They can pack on the pounds if we overindulge too much, which becomes a vicious cycle: you’re heavier, it’s harder to move, you continue to eat crap and get heavier, you don’t want to move, and so on and so forth.

Comfort food tends to be the opposite of healthy food, and when we’re going through a stressful time, eating healthy can actually help us stay well (or lessen an illness if we do get one) — and can help you feel better physically (maybe even mentally).

Last but definitely not least . . . 
Now is the time to do the things you normally don’t do because you don’t have time. Maybe you’re working from home. Maybe the kids and/your husband are home and they’re driving you nuts.

It’s the perfect time to try out that Yoga you know you should do, or begin to meditate, or foam roll more often. Of course you knew I’d go there, but so many teachers are offering incredible deals — or free workouts! — right now. Take advantage of it (and check out my YouTube channel here, of course — I’ll be adding a meditation to help you reduce anxiety this week!).

Final thoughts
As crazy as life might seem right now, maybe there’s a golden opportunity for us all. Haven’t we all said that we just don’t have the time for certain things — things that we know will actually make us better runners and better people?

You can complain about what you can’t do or you can try something new. The choice is up to you.

Will you run your race virtually if it’s cancelled? 

Are the kids home and/or are you working from home? 

Do you have another suggestion?

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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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Trail Running Maybe?

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It’s hard to believe that it was 3 years ago that I got the bug to run a trail race. My first. A half. Because . . . chocolate. Not kidding!

None of my friends were the least bit interested in trails, so I trained alone. In fact, I ran four halfs that year so it was just a matter of getting in some trail time. I managed to stay upright (for the most part) on my runs.

My pace was super slow. We were having a warm Spring, those trails were hilly, and I logged some of my slowest miles ever in my running career. Which went nicely with my trail half, which was one of my slowest ever, too.

But I did it.

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First trail race: Mud & Chocolate & it lived up to its name!

Did I get the trail running bug?
Not really. I did go on to run a trail 5k later that summer. Trail running was a nice change of scenery, but trail running is also hard, y’all. If you’ve never run trails, a 5k can definitely feel like a 10k.

I remember trying to keep one trail run a week in my training that summer, but that only lasted until the grass got about thigh high. No thanks.

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A drier day with friends (although I made a couple of friends at that first trail half!)

Then my friends got interested in trail running . . . 
Sort of. When I first started, pretty much all of my friends. local and online, professed their fear of trails. The first words out of everyone’s mouth is always “I’m afraid of falling”. It’s a legitimate fear, but I’ve fallen on roads as much as I have on trails, which thankfully isn’t very much.

So my friends finally started to go to our Summer trail running series. I joined a few times. It was nice not being on my own, but they’re in the evenings, and that’s just hard for this early bird.

Last Summer I did run a trail 5k (on my own) and then a 10k (my first at that distance on the trails) with a friend.

Everyone is afraid of falling on a trail. Of course it’s possible. It’s also possible on the road — the road tends to be far less forgiving. You simply have to check your ego and run slower. Whether you fall in love with trails or not, it’s a nice change of “pace” and scenery. An added bonus is how laid back trail races tend to be. — Chocolaterunsjudy

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I suspect I’ll always be mainly a road runner, but trails are a nice change of scenery

Final thoughts
I’ve seen some of the trails that other runners post. They look amazing. Ours tend to be rather technical, rarely a nice groomed sand or gravel path. The nicer paths are at least a good 30 minute drive away. It’s hard to justify an hour’s drive for running less than an hour!

I’ve been envious of some of my online friends who seem to have hooked up with local  trail running groups and had a great time. I know a few trail runners here, my friends are now into it, but as usual, the right group still eludes me.

Are you afraid to try trail running because you might fall? 

Or are you a trail lover? 

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’m a Gadget Gal and . . .

Proud of It!

It’s no secret that I love my gadgets. You won’t find me running naked (aka no GPS watch). Some runners can’t be bothered to check their stats on the run. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with running naked — or using your watch to guide you through a run. It’s all good. You do you.

Gadgets help me recover wisely, actually

Why I enjoy my stats
Some runners can just run, never thinking about their mileage or pace, and it all works out for them. Other runners have a tendency to push their bodies too hard, for one reason or another.

A GPS Watch can help you check yourself before you wreck yourself:

  • I have definitely enjoyed being able to keep my eye on my heart rate (HR) while I run. It’s really easy to run easy runs too hard — and then wonder why you’re not hitting paces — or not feeling recovered (for those who don’t care about pace).
  • I have also found that running by HR, I need to start out slower than I really think I do — even for easy runs, not just speedwork or races! — to make sure I’m not burning up all my fuel right out of the gate. It’s so easy to just run fast at the start of a run. Keeping my HR lower than I want it to at the beginning can mean the difference between feeling good at the end of the run or feeling like I’m dying.
  • Totally unrelated to pace, I like to know my distance. I rarely have a route in mind when I go out for a run, and while I have loops I do all the time, they’re varied and I don’t really know their distance.
  • Hand in hand with knowing the distance I’ve run, is knowing when it’s time to turn around. Although I’ve been guilty of poor runner math many times and had to walk way longer to cool down than I planned on — in the cold, in the heat, in the rain.

Why it’s good to run naked
I admire the people who love to run “naked”. I’m good at not paying attention to pace at times, but I like my stats, so the watch is always running. There’s still something to be said for ditching the watch:

  • Your body is pretty smart. Running without checking your pace allows you to check in with your body more, and lets you learn what a pace actually feels like (if pace is important to you).
  • Again, your body is smart. You may have speedwork on your plan, and your body might be telling you no way, jose. Running naked (by feel) is a good way to honor your body.
  • Sometimes it’s a bummer when we’re trying to run a certain pace, and we come up short. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
  • It can be more fun to do whatever the heck you (or your body) feels like doing. Feel like your burning out? Ditch the watch. Just run. Enjoy.
  • When you’re not looking at your watch, you’re much more likely to take in the scenery around you. That can make you happier — and make a hard run feel easier.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with running with a watch — or without it. Can’t we all just get along? If you’re happy, I’m happy, and let’s not try to convince each other that our way is the best way. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Final thoughts
I won’t be joining the naked running brigade any time soon. I’ll probably continue to keep an eye on my HR during easy runs. That’s the only thing I check during easy runs, though, just to make sure I’m actually taking it easy.

I do feel as though I’ve become much more aware (most of the time, anyway) of what my body wants this year. It probably helped that I haven’t been training for any big goals in a long time. There was enough pressure in my life. That is one of the most important things about running naked: getting back in tune with your body. Yoga can help with that, too, of course, and there has been lots of Yoga this year as well.

I am not going to try to convince you that data is important. Please don’t try to convince me that running by feel is the be all, end all of running. There’s room for all of us in running.

Are you #teamgadget or #teamnaked?

Do you enjoy your runs more when you’re unaware of pace? Since starting to train by HR (loosely), I’m rarely aware of pace on most runs. I don’t think it makes a difference to me mentally. I do think it helps me to keep things easy when they should be easy.

What’s your favorite running gadget? 

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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