How to Reach Your Run High for Racing Season with Gear That Won't Bring You Down
Any chance you'll be running this Fall?
I'm running a marathon in exactly 1 month from today. The ING NYC Marathon...heard of it? I've already started preparing for it and not just by training. For me, a marathon is all about putting together a lifestyle, a look and a strategy geared towards avoiding death at mile 17 (out of 26.2, yikes!). I want to perform at my best while finding my happy zone (a.k.a. run high). It's a balance that takes effort to find, but you won't regret it once you're out there FLYIN'! And I want to make sure that's exactly what you do--fly! So I've put together some tips for you below that relate to a range of important topics when it comes to running. There's a GIVEAWAY at the very end, too.
* Finding a race & setting the tone for your new running lifestyle *
I believe every mile you run throughout your new running lifestyle, should make you s(mile). If you just go out there and run forever you won't smile so much. It will hurt, it will bore you and you'll eventually burn out. Here are my recommendations:
Run for empowerment. I am woman, hear me GRUNT! I'm not implying it's bad to run with the boys, I'm just sayin' running with women is super empowering. I've done a few all-women races and they're incredible. The vibe just feels more maternal and sisterly. There's a bonding aspect to it that really warmed my heart. Women are also a lot less likely to plow you down along the course. I've definitely taken some painful (unintentional) elbow jabs from men while racing. Check out Title 9K. It's an all-women annual race series started by Missy Park, the founder of Title Nine activewear.
Find someone you like to run with. I'm running this year's 2012 ING NYC Marathon with my good friend Michelle Thomas (she's the blonde gorgeous ripped model in most of my pics in this article). She and I found each other through a shared love of fitness and started running together. When I saw how well we vibe'd and how similar our workout intensities were, I convinced her to run the NYC marathon with me.
Pairing up with a friend turns running into a social event. I'm not going to lie, running and talking simultaneously is challenging but teaming up will make you stronger and hold you accountable to someone else as you power through training runs and up hills that would otherwise make you want to walk or quit. It can be hard to find a running partner and you shouldn't pick just anyone. But if you find someone you like to run with, entertain the idea and test it out.
I'm looking forward to spending 26.2 miles with Michelle because she pushes me to run at my fullest potential. I might die but if I do, I know she'll carry me to the finish. Michelle Thomas is one of the owners of Naturally Fit gym in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Run for a charity that has meaning to you. I've run every single marathon I've done for a charity. It makes a difference to me because I'm not just running and training for myself, I'm doing it to help other people...or I could even say 'the greater mankind'. Fundraising 'ain't easy and I don't like it. But knowing that all my hard work and sweat is contributing to a good cause, well, that just makes me teary-eyed and want to soar like an eagle to the finish line. When you run for a charity you meet a lot of great people with great hearts. I'm running my upcoming marathon for the DeGregorio Family Foundation. Here's my personal story explaining why and who I've dedicated my run to. I would love it if you could donate to my run...even if it's just $1.
Run for absolute fun. There are all kinds of races out there waiting for you to sign up! Last year, I experimented with mud runs! It was a blast and when I think back, I barely remember the running and mostly recall the fun obstacles and laughter. I highly recommend approaching running this way. It's an excellent way to ease into the sport. Plus, a lot of "fun runs" tend to be shorter and fairly easy to run with a group of friends. This year 5K Color Runs were trending and I can't think of a more hilarious way to run!
* Finding cute running gear that propels and protects you *
I'm not a newbie runner so I know a thing or 2 about picking the right running gear. If it doesn't feel like a 2nd skin when I run in it, attach comfortably or improve my running performance, then it's not going on my body! Consider this a short list of running clothes and accessories that I've fallen in love with this year and which I'm currently using to train for the marathon.
Lorna Jane Running Wear - I'm a big fan of LJ run apparel as you can see from my last big race! For Fall run season, I'm loving LJ's Pammy "RUN" Bra (the cups inside are amazing) and I love the messaging on this one too! The See Me 3/4 Capri Tight is thin (but not too thin), angled at the calves for comfort and has glow-in-the-dark detailing along the sides for night run visibility. LJ singlets are the best too because they're moisture wicking and respect your curves! You really can't go wrong with LJ run wear as long as you know your size before you order. As you can see, I took the liberty of dressing up Michelle in my favorite pieces...her abs were bored so she let me play dress up with her.
ViewSport Apparel - I usually preach to all of you about wearing moisture-wicking apparel so that people CAN'T see you sweat but in this case, with ViewSport tanks and tees, your sweat is part of the appeal. The way "sweat-activation" works is that your sweat stains reveal a fun, motivational message. I can only wear my ViewSport tank for short runs because at a certain point, sweat just rubs me the wrong way. But I do like the mood-boosting appeal of this brand.
Warm Up Oakley Sunglasses - OMG! These sunglasses DO NOT fall off or irritate during running. I still don't get how it's possible. I've never really been into running with sunglasses but this specific style really changed my mind about it because they don't slip...even as you sweat! Unfortunately I lost them while paddle boarding on the Hudson River (they didn't slip off, I fell in and they went bye-bye). Stick to running in them because I regret losing mine and wish I had them for the NYC Marathon...oh well.
Mummy iPhone Case from Loop Attachment - Speaking of no-slip grip, the Mummy iPhone Case fits that category too. I know a bunch of you like to hold your iPhones in your hand while you run. I do this when I spontaneously DJ my runs instead of listening to a playlist. For my upcoming marathon, I want to take lots of pics along the course and the Mummy is perfect for this because it's rubberized and light, making it easy to handle my iPhone while I'm running. Learn more! If you want to try and score a free Mummy (in pink), just mosey on down to my GIVEAWAY below and enter to win. Your iPhone will thank you for dressing it up for Halloween!
The Vesp by Vespertine - This pretty much classifies as one of the coolest safety vests ever made, aside from THIS ONE that I happen to own (also made by Vespertine for biking). If you train outside at night (like me) or you're one of those people who has nightmares about getting hit by a truck, then The Vesp is for you! It's the sleekest and funkiest safety vest I've come across for runners. When you're done using it, fold it up into its own pouch.
Under Armour Spine Running Shoe - Love this sneak because it's extremely supportive and protective on the outside but flexible on the inside. If you have weak ankles, this is a good shoe for you. Structurally this shoe is tough but without being heavy. It's great for all kinds of strength training in addition to running. I wear it to run on rainy days because I feel safe in it. Skier Lindsey Vonn trains in it and endorses this shoe. *Stay tuned for my interview with her in the coming weeks.
Brooks PureCadence Running Shoe - These are the sneaks I'm running the NYC marathon in on November 4th. They're a fantastic medium support shoe that tricks you into thinking you're wearing a minimalist shoe. The PureCadence is designed to encourage a more forward, healthier foot strike. I particularly love how soft and lightly cushioned they feel.
They're very different from the UA Spine and a lot less cage-y, but I wouldn't wear them on anything but a dry sunny day. The PureCadence is amazingly breathable but also sponge-y and capable of soaking up water in an instant. Let's hope it doesn't rain on Nov 4th!
* Finding a realistic routine that you can actually stick to *
This means eating right and training right. I'm not a nutritionist but I like to read about it, especially about Performance Nutrition. Everyone is different and that means there is no 1-way that's "right" to eat for training. But to help you make wise choices, I recommend these 2 books which I'm actually in the process of reading right now and finding very helpful.
- Runner's World Performance Nutrition for Runners: How to Fuel Your Body for Stronger Workouts, Faster Recovery, and Your Best Race Times Ever
Earlier this week, Well+Good NYC featured me in their Fridge Look Book. I was so honored they chose to interview me and pledged to be candid about my eating habits. I got a lot of positive feedback from women who said it was nice to see that I wasn't so perfectly healthy and restrictive with food. I also got some negative feedback. One person, aghast by all the yogurt and tortillas with cheese I consume, wrote me this:
I had to email you to let you know you're killing yourself with that food in your frig. You're going to hate me for saying this but it's horrible. I mean you eat better than 90% of women but still not optimal.
I chuckled because there's no exact formula. Listen to and consider what experts have to say, then make the decision that's right for your body. You will know if your body isn't happy because you won't feel good while you're running. As much as I love dairy, I actually do lay off of it 2 weeks before a race to avoid congestion (which dairy often causes) but then I up the ante on PB&J sandwiches! Also, at the end of the day, I'm not perfect. I run for s(miles) not miles, remember?
The other resource I have for you is a really cool training guide called the Athleta Iron Girl Training Guide. Go to the link to download the guide which is tailored for 5K, 10K, half marathons and sprint triathlons. The most important part of training, in my opinion, is checking all your boxes. This means that you create a checklist of goals. You should be pushing yourself a little bit harder and getting stricter with yourself every day as race day approaches.
If you're a freak like me, you spend more time picking out your oufit/gear for race day than actually training. Don't be a freak. I have a bunch of marathons under my belt and I've been running my whole life. Pretend like you're learning a new language. Don't limit yourself to conversational run-speak. To get through 26.2 miles you've got to be fluent! Use the Athleta training guide to inspire you and help you set goals, but ultimately set your own and make sure they're realistic enough so you won't quit.
* Enter my RUN HIGH GIVEAWAY to win a Mummy iPhone Case *
I'm going to make it really easy for you. I want to know which, of all the products/gear mentioned above, you think is the best example of "fitness meets fashion". This means you have to leave a comment below telling me why you think it's equally stylish and functional. There will be 1 winner who will receive a magenta Mummy iPhone Case from Loop Attachment so make your comments good! I'll pick a winner on Friday, October 19th 2012. As always, thanks for reading my take on fitness + fashion and I hope my running suggestions serve you well. Go out and find your run high!