Rainy Day Running Tips

April 5, 2013
Rainy Day Running Tips

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of pitter patters on the window. Just like it had been doing the night before when Marcus and I walked Winnie, it was raining. I had 6 miles on my schedule to finish up my week of running before tomorrow’s big 22 miler. I needed to get in the workout at some point yesterday, so my mind started to go through whether I should or shouldn’t head out in the rain. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before heading out for the puddles, and a few tips as well if you do choose to run in the rain.

Rainy Day Running Tips

1. Is there thunder and lightning?

Yes –> Go back to bed. Lightning is not something to play with! Instead of just listening for thunder, be sure to check a weather app or radar on your computer or phone. You can set the overlay to a lightning detector to see if there is anything in your area, or coming your way. Remember, according to Walpole Emergency Management “Lightning can strike as much as 10 miles away from the rain area in a thunderstorm; that’s about the distance that you are able to hear the thunder from the storm. In some instances when a storm is ten miles away, it may even be difficult to tell that a storm is nearby. However, IF YOU CAN HEAR THE THUNDER FROM A STORM, CHANCES ARE THAT YOU ARE WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE OF THAT STORM. Also, remember that each thunderstorm has a first stroke of lightning, which is just as deadly as any other stroke. If the sky looks threatening, take shelter before hearing thunder.”

No –> Move to step 2

2. How hard is it raining?

Really Hard –> Don’t bother heading out. If it is raining extremely hard, it is dangerous not only for you, but as well for the drivers on the road. The may be focusing hard on keeping their vehicle safely on the road, rather than looking out for pedestrians, which they probably would expect to be inside when it is pouring. If you head out on a run when it is sprinkling, and a down pour happens mid workout, just be careful and never expect the driver to see you.

Just Drizzling –> Move to step 3

3. What season of the year are you in?

Winter –> Brrr, get back inside. Running now will just lead to sickness!

Spring –> Still probably too cold in most part of the country, but play it by ear

Summer –> Get out and run! Just watch out for those thunderstorms. Summer is the most common time of year for them

Fall –> If you live in Florida (or a warm weather state) like me, then fall is pretty much summer, so running in the rain is a piece of cake. Other places across the U.S., this isn’t so common. Use your judgement on whether the temperatures are indicative to not getting sick.

Rain

4. Do you have time to run later?

Yes – Cool, then plan on that!

No – Already have plans at night that you can’t back out of? Get to your wet run!

5. Do you have access to a treadmill?

Yes – The treadmill is always an option if you are an anti-rainy day runner. Getting to the gym when you didn’t plan to go can be tough if you didn’t plan for the commute time early in the morning. You can always adjust your workout to fit in the allotted time. Remember, a shorter run is better than no run!

No – Welp, that rain is looking more and more inviting 😉

If you do decide that running in the rain is the right option for you, here are a few quick tips!

Wear a hat – This is a big one for me. It helps so much to not be pelted in the face every second. The hat keeps your vision at a much higher level!

Put on extra Body Glide – Everywhere, seriously. Your body chafes in different spots when you are wet compared to when your clothes sit on you nice and dry. This one is non negotiable

Wear a tighter fitting outfit – When you get drenched on the rain, your clothes start to sag. If you are wearing spandex, then the clothes will pretty much stay put. That comfy baggy tee that you love to run in – leave it at home this time and opt for the lycra tank.

Wear a rain jacket  – Only if you decide to run in cold rain. If it is hot outside and you decide to wear a jacket, then you are going to get pretty toasty under there!

Rainy Day

Hop in the shower quickly after you finish – This is the quickest and easiest way to warm up after you have been running in the rain!

Leave the gadgets at home – You wouldn’t want that awesome iPad shuffle or fancy phone get ruined, would you? Just leave it at home – gadgets are not meant for rainy day running.

Have fun with it! – One of my favorite activities as a kid was playing in a sun shower. It would downpour for a few minutes, but be sunny as can be the whole time. We always took advantage of these days to play in the rain! For me, running in the rain makes me feel like a kid again.

Most importantly, if you don’t want to run in the rain, then don’t! Skip the day of running if you have to. Far too many people think that skipping a single day  is going to hurt your training. It’s really not that big of a deal. Life (and mother nature) gets in the way sometimes. Learn to be flexible, and just make your run that much better the following day.

Do you take off if it is raining outside or do you bear the elements? Any other tips you live by when running in the rain?

Eat This Much

April 3, 2013

Meal planning is not an easy task. It takes a lot of thought, plenty of preparation, and a bit of creativity to think of new things each week. I have to admit – I have never food prepped in my life. I have grand plans to do so each weekend, and then plenty of other things get in the way – usually couch time, naps, and really just being lazy. Marcus introduced me to a new (to me) website a few days ago, and I feel like I really need to share it. The idea behind it is awesome, and I really think it is great for a few reasons:

Gives you the chance to vary up your meals

Helps you learn calorie counts of certain foods

Introduces you to the macro-nutrient balance

Customizes your nutrition to your lifestyle

So what is this awesome site – Eat This Much!

Eat This Much 1

I would say the site is in its early stages, as it isn’t exactly all to visually appealing. However, it gets the job done. You start by entering in the number of calories you want to eat a day, based off of a nutrition calculator, which is customized to you. Of course, it doesn’t take everything in to account, but does a good overview. Eat this much calculator

After the calculator generates your requested calorie intake based on your information, it automatically uses the information to create your meal plan.

Eat This Much Calculator 2

Eat This much Menu

The meal plan is easily changed and altered if you don’t like an item. All you have to do it press the change button. Each item is broken out into ingredients, calorie count, and price per serving.

Eat This Much Choice

Do you follow a specific diet or have any allergies? You can make everything to be exactly the plan you follow – yes, including vegetarians, vegans, and even the paleo diet. There is a dedicated section where you can uncheck foods that you are not interested in keeping on the menu.

Eat This Much Options

You can also dictate which meals you want to have the most calories in them, based on how you eat each day. I know that I like to have a big breakfast each morning, as I usually workout early and need the extra fuel.

Eat this much meal size

After you put in every preference and option (you need to register to have all if the info saved), you are emailed a grocery list each week, complete with ingredients, recipes, calorie count, nutrients – you name, it has it! Note: The menu below is a sample menu from their site – it isn’t one specific to my choices above.

Eat This Much Sample Menu

You can get a free 14 day trial for the site, which is actually enough to give you a pretty good variety of meals if you aren’t up for paying the $9 a month fee (I didn’t pay for it either ;). 14 days of 3-4 meals per day leaves you with 56 meals to choose from, which may be out of the ordinary for you. The big part of this site that I am taking away is just the ability to vary up meals a bit more. I get stuck in making very similar items quite often, so I am hoping to change that soon.

There aren’t too many changes that I think need to be made to the site, but there are a couple:

  • Incorporate similar ingredients into multiple meals so that money is saved by buying in bulk
  • Have the option to plan for more than 1 person if food preferences are the same

Are you a meal prepper/planner? What do you think of Eat This Much? Is there anything you think needs to be changed?

Disclaimer: Eat This Much did not provide me with anything for this site review. I came across and thought I would share. I am not a registered dietician or nutritional professional. Please approach a professional (like Anne!) for nutritional coaching. 

My Summer Race Calendar

April 1, 2013

Happy April Fools Day! Has anyone had an jokes played on them yet? With the first day of April here already, I can’t even help but start to think about summer, which of course leads me to … triathlon season! There are a ton of races around my area, and I have my eye on a few. Now, to find the funds for all of these races! One thing at a time… 😉

The IronGirl Triathlon

IronGirl

I am completely bummed that I can’t make the Irongirl Triathlon it Clermont, Florida. If you haven’t heard of it, The Irongirl Triathlon was formerly the Danskin triathlon, but Irongirl took it over, and is going to make big improvements for 2013! The race is the week following my marathon. I know I can complete it, but I also know that rest is far more important for me during those first 7 days post 26.2. I am hoping to at least get over there and watch it (or volunteer!), since I have a few friends competing. It is being held on May 4th this year, so it is a great race to kick off tri-season!

The Crystal River Triathlon Series

Crystal River Triathlon

DRC Sports hosts a 3 race series held in Crystal River, about a 90 minute drive from Tampa. These races are held on May 25th, July 6th, & August 31st. I will not be able to compete in the July 6 race because I will be on vacation (wooo hooo!!), but it is possible for me to make the other two. They are nice and short sprint races (.25 mi swim, 15 mi bike, 3 mi run) so a whole lot of training isn’t necessary. As long as I can get on the bike and swim more regularly, I will be ready.

Dunedin Sprint Triathlon

Dunedin

I am super excited for this race! I am going to compete in the Dunedin Sprint Triathlon as part of a relay team! Lululemon is forming a few teams and they were nice enough to ask me to be a part of it. I am not sure which leg I will be covering, but I am hoping for either the run or the bike portion. I can swim, but it’s not exactly the sport that comes to me easiest.

The Twilight Triathlon

Twilight Triathlon

This race is a bit different from the rest. As I am sure you have guessed, the Twilight Triathlon is held at night, with 90% of finisher’s coming through the chute at sunset. It is held on the same course as the Crystal River Triathlon Series, so it will be a familiar course. A very unique part of this race is if you combine it with the Top Gun Triathlon, which is held that morning, you get a special shirt and recognition for finishing the Sunrise Sunset Triathlon Challenge.

I am sure a 5k will pop up here and there, which I will hop into at some point. Since I am not running a fall marathon, I plan to keep my fitness by running shorter distances, participating in triathlons, and completing some fun cross training – hello yoga and swimming! Training in the Florida summer is quite an experience, so finding sports that compliment the heat well is key.

Are you doing any triathlons or focusing on cross-training this summer? Any other Florida triathlons that you would like to recommend?

So You Want To Run A Last Minute Race

March 29, 2013

How many times have you had a race pop up on Facebook, Twitter, or just heard about it from a friend, and then have an immediate interest to do it? First, you count the days until the event. Then, you assess your current mileage. Next, you look to see what your long run schedule would look like between now and then.

You ask yourself a few, very valid questions…

Can I pull it off?

Will I be able to finish?

Will it even be enjoyable if I do cross the finish line?

Seems simple enough, but this is where it starts. Think about races in the past that you ran. Was this same distance easy or hard the last time? How much training did you have back then? Remember, it is safe to increase your mileage by 10% each week. If you end up jumping from 20 to 50 miles per week to fit in a really long run and some longer weekday runs, you have a very big chance of getting injured. An injury could sideline you for weeks and even months if its bad enough. One race isn’t worth that.

Chicago Marathon 3

A very logical question to ask yourself is whether or not this race will hinder other training you are working towards. Jess talked a bit about this last week, and it really got me thinking. She brought up some great points in her post.

Running is supposed to be something that we enjoy. Sometimes it is very uncomfortable, but in the end, you should have a smile on your face. If you think during the whole race that you regret each step, then save yourself some time (and money) and just for-go the registration fee. Put the race on your calendar for next year.

Yes, I still have a paper calendar :)

Yes, I still have a paper calendar :)

So a logical question would be how soon is too soon to sign up for a race? I think it all depends on the race distance, the running base you are starting with, what you have been doing to elevate your heart rate, and your past injury history. I know, probably not the answer you want to hear, but everyone’s body is different. For a 5k, you can sign up for within a few weeks until race day. Even if you end up walking the entire thing, it is not going to put a whole lot of strain on your body. You won’t be on your feet for more than an hour (ish), so recovery is pretty minimal. As soon as you get to the 15k and higher, it gets a bit trickier.

If there is one piece of advice I want to make sure I mention, is please do not sign up for a distance at the last minute, for the first time. If you have never ran a half marathon or full marathon, giving yourself a few weeks to train is a very bad idea. You definitely don’t want your first experience of the distance to be a negative one. And trust me – if your max run has been 16 miles, one time, 26.2 is a heck of a lot further. All I am saying is respect the distance. This is no joke. The last 6 miles of a marathon are incredibly difficult, mentally and physically, whether it is your first or fiftieth race.

Chicago Marathon 11

If you do decide that a last minute race is possible, keep a few things in mind while you are racing:

1. Don’t expect a PR

2. Be ok with walking if you need to

3. Listen to your body – if you need to drop out, that’s ok

4. Don’t set a goal pace – if you end up running quicker than expected, great! But don’t put the pressure on yourself from the get go

5. Have fun! That is the most important part of racing anyhow, isn’t it?!

Are you a last minute sign up kind of person, or are all of your races pretty well planned? Have any other tips to add?

My Running Mantra

March 27, 2013

Ever heard the term that running is 80% mental and 20% physical? Just about every runner hears this at some point – whether it is while training for an event, during a race, or even after you have finished a race. The only real way to understand this is to get through a tough run or race, and have to use it in practice.

I remember first time I really dealt with the mental toughness of running – I was doing a track workout at UCF, where I ran in college. We were doing 28×200, with a 200 jog, at 37 seconds. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that workout. It was tough, and I really thought I was not going to be able to finish the workout. However, I knew that was not in my coach’s plans. It was up to her to have me finish it.

She always told me that I could handle the workouts. I just need to buckle down and conquer each repeat. I needed to believe in myself. From all of that coaching, I figured out the racing mantra during that workout that I have been using now for years.

Mantra

 

This couldn’t be more true. In the past two half marathons that I have recently PR’d in, I told myself this many times throughout the race.

When my legs were burning like crazy…

I am stronger than I think I am.

When I have someone holding onto my back so tight, and I just can’t seem to drop them…

I am stronger than I think I am.

When I just want to slow down, because it would be so much easier…

I am stronger than I think I am.

This holds true to every runner out there. You can push your body so much further, faster and harder than you ever imagined. The moment that it starts getting tough, push a little bit harder – that is the moment that you will start to improve.

Moments in life that are easy aren’t worth working for. The ones that give you the challenge are the ones you will always remember.