Favorite Running Gear (That Isn’t Shoes!)

June 26, 2013

Pretty much every runner raves about the shoe they wear – it’s kind of an important part of running. But what about everything else? Here are a few of my favorite running items that have nothing to do with footwear.

iPod Shuffle

I’ve been using the iPod shuffle for as long as I can remember. I actually had the frist generation one – USB stick and all! I love how I can fit plenty of music, and it isn’t big and bulky. I slide it right over my waist band, and I am good to go. I never have to fuss with it while I’m running, and it has a pretty great battery life too.

iPod shuffle

Nike Running Hat

I am super picky when it comes to hats – they have to fit perfectly! I found my perfect hat 7 years ago, and have worn it in every race since! My Nike running hat from Gasparilla back in 2006 fits my head like a glove. It doesn’t itch or get bunched up in weird places. It’s like it was meant for my head!

nike Running hat

Lululemon Running Skirts

I absolutely love running skirts from Lululemon! Yes, they are a bit pricier than others, but they fit so amazing! The shorts underneath have anti-slip tabs to make sure they don’t ride up. The best part – they actually work! I never have any sort of chaffing with the running skirt, and its even super functional. All of their skirts have a pocket located for easy access, so I can store my Gu Chomps, a credit card, and usually some chapstick. I wear them in just about every race!

Lululemon Run skirt

Balega Running Socks

These are my latest and greatest obsession. For years, I ran in cotton socks. Little did I know, they are not the ideal sock to run in. Instead of wicking away moisture and bacteria, they actually hold it around your feet. Our shoes are all made up of synthetic material, so wouldn’t we want our socks made of the same thing? They cut down significantly on blisters and chafing too – a win-win in my book!

Balega Running Sock

Under Armour Tank Top

About 6 weeks ago, Under Armour sent me a few items to try. My favorite, hands down, was this crazy light and airy tank top! Usually, I tend to stick to tops that are a little more form-fitting. This is the first one I wore that wasn’t, and I must say, I’m hooked! For these hot summer months, wearing a tank that isn’t hugging every curve is quite refreshing. My body is able to breathe so much more, and I feel like it keeps me quite a bit cooler. I highly recommend this tank!

under armour

Nathan Waterbottle

I know I have mentioned this a few times since it is summer and everyone needs hydration, but I fully endorse the Nathan Quickdraw water bottle. It holds plenty of fluids and has a nice pocket that is perfect to put a few Nuun tablets in to fill up along the run!

Nathan Waterbottle 009

ProCompression Socks

I haven’t been using them as much lately since my long runs are currently non-existent, but I swear by compression socks! I use them in every long run, as well as in every race that is longer than 3 miles. I truly believe in the benefits of compression and recovery. I can feel the difference right after running, and especially the next day when my legs are significantly less sore.

Pro Compression Socks

What is your favorite gear to run in?

My Best Friend’s Wedding

June 25, 2013

I have a confession to make – the past 4 days have included very limited running. I had to throw it to the wayside (other than 2 runs that were 3 miles each) because my best friend got married!

Last summer, around this same time, we witnessed them get engaged. I helped scheme with the groom on how he was going to be able to surprise his bride. Chris and Allison chose Marcus and myself (along with our other friend Mary) to be their Best Man and Matron of Honor. I was so thrilled to have such an important part in the wedding, and thoroughly enjoyed being able to walk down the aisle with my husband again :)

Congrats to the newlyweds! Here is a quick photo montage  of the weekend! Thanks to Ashley for letting me use some of her photos :)

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding

Welter wedding

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding 1

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding 2

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding

Welter Wedding

Congrats Allison and Chris! I wish you both nothing but the best!

How to Survive Summer Running

June 21, 2013
Nathan Waterbottle 010

When people say two these two words, summer running, in the same sentence, I can’t help but cringe. Of course, I absolutely love running and feel blessed to be able to be able to do it day after day, but summer running is very challenging for me. Here are a few ways that I survive running in the summer.

Cut yourself some slack

So many of us are slaves to our Garmins. We watch our pace at every mile, and can become quickly discouraged if we don’t see the ideal pace on the screen. Here is a tip – don’t worry about your pace. Your body will be operating at a slower pace during the summer. The heat causes muscle fatigue much quicker, which in turn, slows down your running considerably. Give yourself a break, and just get out for a run, with no goal pace. Just running is a big accomplishment in the summer heat, regardless of how fast you are going.

Garmin 11 mile run

Get out before the sun

Waking up early and starting your run before the temperatures are at their peak is key. Unfortunately, for those of us that live in Florida, its already 80 degrees before the sun comes up. But even so, 80 degrees is much more tolerable than 90+, with pavement that has been being baked all day. Just the heat radiating from the ground can make a huge difference in how long you are able to last.

Marcus triathlon sunrise

Bring hydration

I was never one to bring water with me on the run – that is, until I trained for the Chicago Marathon in the summer. I found my performance was drastically different on the days I had my Nuun with me, versus the days I did not. I found the Nathan water bottle is best for me, but there are tons of options out there if you don’t like this one. Don’t forget – not only should you bring hydration with you on the run, but also when you are just hanging around. Your body loses a lot of water in the summer trying to keep you cool, running or not.

Nathan Waterbottle 010

Wear loose fitting clothes

I still tend to see people running in heavy cotton tees and gym shorts, and it boggles my mind. If you invest in a few technical workout tops, and some running shorts, you will be shocked how much cooler it keeps you. Cotton keeps in moisture – synthetic fibers wick it away. I am in love with my Under Armour top for running in the heat. It doesn’t stick to my skin, and I really feel a difference when I wear it compared to my tight tank tops. The same goes for your socks. Invest in a few pair of thin running socks. It will keep your feet so much cooler, and in turn, help you to get in a few more miles.

under armour

Dabble in other sports

There will be days when you just do not have the motivation to get out and pound the pavement. Guess what?? That is OK! Don’t run that day. Mental rest is just as important as physical rest from running. Biking and swimming are wonderful summer exercising alternatives, and they actually help your running. Every once in a while, hang up your running shoes for a pair of cycling shoes or a bathing suit. Your body will thank you!

How do you survive running in the summer?

National Guard Soldier of Steel™ Workouts

June 19, 2013

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Soldier of Steel™.

As I mentioned last week, we are all looking to vary up our exercise routines. You just can not do the same exercises, day after day, and continue to get good results. Luckily, National Guard’s Soldier of Steel™ workout plan is the perfect remedy for those needing some workout inspiration.

Physical fitness is an essential trait for every Soldier. National Guard Soldiers are trained to be ready for anything. Just as Clark Kent transforms into the MAN OF STEEL™ (now playing in theaters) when needed, National Guard CitizenSoldiers transform when their communities call. Mark Twight, Hollywood fitness trainer pushed cast and Soldiers with a unique workout plan, helping them to transform for their respective roles.

Motivated to begin your transformation and train like a Soldier of Steel™? Go to SOLDIEROFSTEEL where you can:

    • Download a one-month training routine developed by celebrity trainer Mark Twight
    • Learn how Mark transformed Henry Cavill into the MAN OF STEEL™
    • Watch fitness training webisodes
    • Receive training tutorials on 23 different exercises

Being a personal trainer, I love having access to fun and different workouts. My favorite aspect of the National Guard’s Soldier of Steel™ workout plan is there is plenty of explanation as to how to do each exercise. You don’t just read what you are doing – you get to see it. This is extremely helpful for those just starting a new routine, or even those who are looking to just refine their form.

Fitness Training Soldier of Steel


I had never heard of Mark Twight before looking more into the National Guard’s Soldier of Steel™ workout plan. The more I have learned about him, the more I am extremely impressed (and really want to do his workouts!) Here is a quick bio on him:

Mark Twight is the founder of Gym Jones, a strength and conditioning facility where he and his wife, Lisa, train fighters, football players and endurance athletes. Gym Jones is noted for its work training the cast and stunt crew of the movie “300” (2007), “Repo Men” (2010), “MAN OF STEEL™” (2013) and “300: Rise of an Empire” (2013).

One of America’s leading alpinists at the turn of the 21st century, Twight was the first to solo the “Czech Route” on Peak Communism and the fastest to climb “Slipstream,” a three thousand-foot-high waterfall in the Canadian Rockies (in two hours and four minutes; most parties take twelve hours).

Twight aided in the development of the Protective Combat Uniform (PCU) cold weather clothing system, which is currently issued to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) personnel. He teaches climbing, nutrition and fitness to SOCOM operators.

If you are interested to learn more, or  if you have a fitness question for Mark Twight, then you can join the Twitter chat on Thursday, June 20th.  Mark Twight will answer fan questions on the @NationalGuard Twitter handle. Follow the conversation from 3PM EST – 4PM EST at #TwightTakeover.

Have you ever done a military style workout?

I’ve done multiple bootcamps, but that’s really the extent of it for me!

5 Tips to Keep Your Workout Challenging

June 14, 2013

How many times have you headed to the gym to do weights with really no goal in mind? You just hop from machine to machine, and leave feeling like you just had a so-so workout. This has definitely happened to me in the past, so I am going to share a few tips on how to keep your gym workouts interesting!

Come in with a plan

Ok, so this is kind of obvious, but so many of us walk into the gym blind. No plan, no time commitment – aka, not the best idea. Do some research before you go and write down what you want to do before you get there. You will find that you are able to complete a lot more exercises in a shorter amount of time since there isn’t much thought needed once you are actually working out. For a few idea, check out here, here, here, and here.

Workout Collage

Throw in some variation

I love completing a superset, and then hopping on a cardio machine for about 3 minutes of high intensity exercise. It helps to spike your heart rate and really makes a difference in the effort you put towards the workout. Think about it – if you have an hour to workout, add 3 minutes of cardio at the end of a couple of exercises – you end up having about 25 minutes of total cardio during your strength workout. That is a solid calorie blast right there!

Recruit some help

Personal trainers are at the gym for a reason. If you are unsure of how to use the machines or even how you should really strength train, hire a trainer for a few sessions to help you. Our jobs are to show you how to work out effectively, which includes varied routines and injury free sessions. It is a great investment if you really don’t know where to start, or if you are just looking to change it up a bit.

Change the plane

Exercising on a different plane than you are used to can really change the exercise you are doing. Going from a more stable plane (the floor), to a less stable plane (a foam pad, bosu ball, etc.), can really make you engage your muscles in a different, more effective way. I tend to do most of my exercise on a bosu ball to keep my core engaged the whole time. This makes my mid section much stronger, reduces low back injuries, and cuts down on the ab-isolating exercises I do in a workout session. Seems like a win-win to me!

Stability and Medicine Balls

Exercise with a friend

Have a friend that loves hitting the gym? Tag along with them next time. Just seeing how someone else travels through a workout can give you some more ideas of different and challenging exercises to do. Oh, and it is a lot of fun to chat through sets with someone – it makes the time fly!


What are some ways you vary up your workout routine?