Keep It Simple

February 22, 2013

For those of you that are planners (like me!), I have a question for you. When you go out and run, do you have a certain course in mind? Do you lace up your shoes, and know exactly how far you are going to go, how you are going to get there, and what music you are going to listen to?

If you do all of these things, I have a challenge for you. For your next easy run, go out with the intention of exploring. Run a new route, and see where it takes you (with safety in mind, of course!). Leave the Garmin at home. Keep your iPod on the counter. Just get out and run.

One of the big draws about running is that you only need one thing to actually carry out the sport – a pair of shoes. You don’t actually have to have anything else to find the benefits of pounding the pavement. In recent years, when they running boom has really started to take off, there has been so much more added to running than just the shoes that we wear. We have top market GPS watches, iPods, iPhones, compression socks, arm sleeves, sweat wicking fabric, and so many more great additions to the running world.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the bells and whistles that have taken off. There is obviously a massive market for it, with so many new companies becoming extremely successful in a short period of time. However, there is something very freeing and uplifting when I go out and go for a run that I don’t know what the ending mileage is going to be. Or I don’t have my watch let me know how fast (or slow!) I am going.

We have so many distractions in our world to keep us on track. Most of our lives are pretty scheduled out. Your running doesn’t always have to be one of them.

I have a challenge for you in the next week….

Keep it Simple



No pre-determined route. No GPS. No Music. For one run.

Just you, your running shoes, and the road.

Do you ever run with no distractions? What do you think about it? Will you take me up on my challenge?

6 Tips for Running With Your Dog

February 20, 2013
Winnie Gentle Lead

I obviously love running – no surprise there. A little over a year ago when Marcus and I were trying to decide on the type of dog that we wanted to add to our family, I really only had 2 requests:

  • She had to be a big dog
  • She had to be a runner

Those two requirements were really the only ones that were on the table. Luckily, a friend of a friend mentioned there were puppies being given away, and we jumped at the chance when we found out they were golden retrievers mixes – aka, great running (and family) dogs.

Puppy Winnie

A question I have had plenty of people ask me was whether or not she runs with me. Of course I wanted her to right away, but I would have to wait a bit. Now that she is a bit older, she runs with me all of the time. Here are 6 Tips for running with your dog – once they are ready.

Find The Right Leash

My dog, Winnie, is a puller on the leash. We have tried so many different approaches, and found our perfect solution. The gentle leader is the only one that will work for us, and let me tell you – it works wonders. I used to get back from walks and have an aching arm and hand, just from attempting to control her. The gentle leader is completely different. She isn’t able to pull from the strongest part of her body (her chest), and can be very easily corrected, by just the flick of the wrist. I know it sounds dramatic, but this leash has changed my life when it comes to her. I wouldn’t be able to run with her, let alone comfortably walk, without the leash. Seriously. Find the leash that is right for you and your dog. It may take a bit of trial and error, but you will find it!

Winnie Gentle Lead

Wait Until They Are Ready

Far too many times, I see people running with puppies when they are way too young. Of course, puppies want to run and have fun. That is perfectly ok. But on organized, on leash run when they are still only a few months old – not a good idea. Veterinarians recommend waiting at least 8-12 months before running dogs long distances. The reason for this? Their growth plates have not finished fusing yet, and you could put the animal at serious risk for problems down the road. Take them to the park to play and socialize them with other dogs. That is the only running they need to be doing until they are a bit older.

Winnie tennis ball

I started running with Winnie when she was right at a year old. She comes in around 80 lbs, so I wasn’t concerned about waiting too long to run her. Large breeds are recommended to wait until around 16 months, but by vet standards, Winnie isn’t a large dog. 80 lbs seems large to me, but they are referring more so to the 120ish lb animals.

Ease Them Into It

Just like humans, dogs can’t be expected to just get out and run mile after mile without easing into it. When you first start running with your dog, take them for a half mile or so, and see how they do. It may take them that long just to get used to being on a leash and running at the same time. Try not to forget, just like people, some dogs just aren’t natural runners. Check out this list from Runner’s World on dogs that make good running buddies.

Winnie reflection

Watch the Temperatures

Dogs can not regulate their body temperatures as well as people can, so be careful taking them out in too hot of weather, especially mid day. They soak up an extreme amount of heat through their paws, which is obviously a huge issue if the sun has been baking the pavement all day. The same goes for cold weather too, especially places that ice accumulates on the side-walk. Salt is very bad when it comes in contact with dog’s paws. Be sure to wash them off every time you come back from outside. Read more on that here.

Winnie paws

Be Patient

The first time that I ever ran with Winnie, it was quite the site, I’m sure. She was a jumping bean, and didn’t understand that her leash wasn’t for a speedy game of tug-o-war. I was very patient with her, and corrected her each time she decided that she was going to dictate the run. She got used to it pretty quickly – she was easy to run with after about a week of consistent training.

Winnie big stick

Look out where you are going

Along with being patient, it is very important to look where you are going when running with your dog. Since they are not used to necessarily running in a straight line, a small veer of course could mean tripping you and causing:

1. embarrassment

2. a possible injury

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want either of those things (especially not the injury!) Just stick to one side of your body or the other, and don’t let them switch sides. I both walk and run with Winnie on my right side. Now, she won’t even attempt to go over to the left side. Consistency is definitely key!

Do you run with your dog? What tips can you share with the rest of us to make the most out of running with your furry friend?



34 Ways To Get In 30 Minutes

February 18, 2013

According to the American Heart Association, adults should get 150 minutes of exercise per week – aka, 30 minutes of exercise, 5 times per week. This seems easy to many people, but very difficult to others. Here are few ideas to help you get those 30 minutes!

1. Jump on a trampoline with your kids

2. Go for a hike

3. Complete a Wobbly Leg Workout

4. Play a game of ultimate frisbee

5. Walk your dog for 2 miles

Winnie at the Beach

6. Take a salsa dancing class

7. Go for a 3 mile run

8. Complete the Jello Leg Workout

9. Participate at a free skate at the local ice hockey ring

10. Have a hula hooping contest

11. Go to a barre class at your local studio

12. Pump up the heat

13. Practice Yoga

Lululemon Yoga

14. Do squats, lunges, sit ups, jumping jacks and push ups between chores at home

15. Play beach volleyball on vacation

15. Swim 1,500 meters

16. Play a round of Wii Sports

17. Go down-hill skiing

18. Rock Your Bottom

19. Walk during your lunch break

20. Dance at your best friends wedding

Meghann Wedding

(photo from Meghann)

21. Go for a bike ride to get coffee 15 minutes away – ride back

22. Do a few Yasso 800’s

23. Learn to rock climb

24. Go kayaking with a group of friends

25. Melt It Off

26. Buy a pair of snow shoes (and use them!)

27. Meet some friends and go bowling

28. Take a paddle boarding lesson

Group Shot SUP

29. Play hide and go seek with your kids (or friends)

30. Go for a Body Pump Class

31. Do a shoulder shredder workout

32. Start (and finish) a new gardening project

33. Practice Pilates

34. Walk up and down the stairs as you talk on the phone

What other ways can you get in 30 minutes of exercise. Please share!












Amanda’s Spring Booty Buster Challenge!

February 15, 2013

I hope you all had a fun Valentine’s Day! Last night, we went to power yoga followed by pizza, beer, and caught up on a little Modern Family. We have been doing that for years now, and wouldn’t have it any other way!

Valentine's Day

Before we all get ready for the weekend, I want to make sure I mention something to all of you! My friend Amanda, over at Run To The Finish, hosts a Holiday Booty Buster Challenge every year. This year was such a success, that she is implementing a Spring Booty Buster Challenge!

Here is a quick overview of the program:

Amanda's Spring Booty Buster Challenge

If you become a part of the program, you will become a part of a network of other participants that are working towards similar goals. There is a huge support system with the Spring Booty Buster Challenge that is extremely beneficial! You don’t need to live in a particular area to participate either – everyone is welcome!

Amanda has also enrolled a panel of experts for the program, and asked me to be a part of it! I will be answering questions that participants have in regard to running! I am thrilled to be a part of it! The fun starts on March 4th, so be sure to register soon.

Head over to her site to check out the full details. There is soooo much more to it – points, prizes, supports, and a lot of amazing goals!

Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day? Have you ever participated in a Virtual Challenge?

10 Reasons When You Should (and shouldn’t!) Run

February 13, 2013

How many times have you gone back and forth on whether or not you should get out on your run? You lay in bed, just trying to convince yourself to get out the door (or stay in bed). Here are a few reasons that I think you should (or shouldn’t) get that workout in.

You Should Run If…

1. You are feeling a little tired in the morning, and the covers are way more appealing than a running outfit

When your alarm blares in the morning, no matter when it is, you aren’t going to want to wake up. Whether it is 5:30 am or 6:30am, your bed is going to look much better than the sidewalk you are about to run on. Get up and get out the door! After all, how often have you really said, I regret going for that run –> I am more sleepy now than when I started. I’m guessing never. I know I never have!

2. You have plans with a group of friends to meet up for a run

You surely can’t leave your friends hanging so that you can skip your run! No way, no how!! Just lace up your sneaker and go meet them. Some of the best conversations are had on a run with friends, so don’t miss out on your chance.

OUC group photo

3. Your allergies are bugging you so you have a bit of a runny nose

If the sickness is only up in your head, then you are ok to run. The rule of thumb is if the sickness in your chest, then you need to take the day off. A stuffy nose shouldn’t halt you from getting outside. If your allergies are really acting up, hop on the treadmill and don’t go outside. A run is a run in my book.

4. You think going home before heading to the gym is a good idea

Always a bad idea! When you get home, it is far more appealing to plop on the couch and relax for a few. In reality, it’s not very likely that you are going to get back up and make it out the gym to run on the treadmill. Bring your clothes with you to work and go straight from the office! You will be so happy you did!

You Shouldn’t Run If…

5. You are making up mileage from yesterday.

Yesterday you were sick, but think that a two-a-day today will help so that you don’t miss any runs on your training plan. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. When you are sick, it is because your body needs the rest. It is breaking down for a reason. Give it the rest that it needs by taking some time off, and not trying to make those miles up. You will end up coming back much faster and stronger than if you would have tried to make up those miles.

Winnie Big Dog Face

6. You have a fever and feel that sweating it out is going to cure you

Fevers are tricky. I even try to justify sweating the sickness out. But this doesn’t really help. Your body needs to repair itself, and pushing yourself by exercising is not going to help. When your body repairs its muscles, it can’t get you better as quick as if you were to just relax. Embrace a little time off. It is good for you (even if you think it isn’t).

7. Your foot (or any body part for that matter) is bugging you a bit.

You know that you have to get your runs in this week you just want to test and see if running is really the cause of your aches and pains. I don’t recommend it. What if you injure yourself on your easy 5 mile run, when taking a few days off could have made the ailment go away. One of my friends here in Tampa had to take off an entire week during her marathon training – a whole week!! She was pretty hesitant to do so, but healed up just fine. She came back stronger than ever, and I know she is glad she did.

8. You feel like you are on the verge of burnout

If you actually feel like you are on the verge of burnout, then you probably are. Sometimes, your body just needs a rest, and it is important to be able to recognize these times. Just know that an unscheduled day off here or there is not always a bad thing. Or substituting a yoga class for that easy run could be very beneficial – good for the body and the mind.

Sleepy Winnie

9. You think this last workout the week before a marathon is going to help you run faster during the race

It takes 3 weeks to see results of a workout. Yep, 3 whole weeks!! You taper for a reason. Your body has been put under a lot of stress for those past 3-4 months of intense training, and you need to rest before you rock your marathon (or whatever distance you are doing). Just know that any fast workouts that you do the last week before a race will only hurt you, rather than help you.

10. You haven’t been getting enough sleep

It is so important to be well rested for many reasons – getting good runs in is one of them. If I do not get my 7-8 hours of sleep a night, my body is off. I can not perform well, and my body craves the shut-eye. There are some mornings when I know an extra hour of sleep beats out the run. Switching a run from the morning to the evening isn’t always a bad thing – and yes, I understand this goes against #1. But hey, sometimes you just need to sleep!

When are some times you will and will not run? Do you agree, or disagree, with any of the points I made?