This month we are talking about our running essentials. The things we’d hate to run without.
I like to think of myself of a no frills runner. Yes, I do like high tech, fun stuff but I’d be just as happy to run with nothing but my running shoes on. Now, I’m not saying I’m going to do a nude race (one word: ouch) but for me, I just need the bare essentials to hit the road or trails running.
By far, shoes are my #1 essential. I cringe every time I see someone running barefoot in a race. All I can think of is stepping on broken glass or something nasty like dog poop with a bare foot. I like the support and cushion of a shoe. My favorite shoe right now is the Saucony Ride 10 for roads and Saucony Peregrine for trails. I like to rotate through shoes for different runs. Currently in the rotation, I have Altra, Hoka One and New Balance along with a couple pairs of Saucony. If you’ve never been professionally fitted for running shoes, do it now. It’s the best thing for your running.
I couldn’t imagine running without a good supportive sports bra. I don’t have a big chest but I like the girls locked and loaded while running. If my sports bra makes the girls bounce at all, I’m not a fan. Those bras are reserved for low impact workouts like biking, strength training or yoga. Currently, I’m loving the Saucony Bounce Trouncer and the Handful Y-Back.
Over the years, Feetures socks have become my favorite for road running. I prefer lightweight over cushioning. That just makes me feet too hot. The Elite Ultra Light is usually my go to. For trail running, I like Darn Tough for a little bit of cushion. I’m also more likely to wear calf sleeves on the trails. CEP Compression is my fav. It’s kind of weird that I can’t stand wearing compression sleeves or socks when on the roads but love it on the trails. Maybe because it provides extra protection for my shins from rocks and sticks?
You guys know that I love taking Run-fies (i.e. running selfies). For that reason I take my phone on every single run. But even more importantly, my phone comes along for an extra dose of security. After having a creeper following me while out for a run a couple of years ago, I’ve been extra vigilant about running safety. I don’t want to run with my phone in my hand so I use a belt. Usually, any type of belt annoys me, particularly hydration belts. Those things do not stay in place. I started using a belt from Fuel Belt last year. I don’t think they make the one I use anymore, but THIS one is similar. No bouncing and stays in place for the most part. If it does start to creep up my hips, I’ll tighten the belt and it stays put.
I could absolutely run without a watch. I have a general sense of the mileage for different routes around town. I like feedback and data, though. I’m not a slave to pace but I like to see how far I ran or at least how many minutes I was out there. I’m not afraid to leave the GPS at home and use my simple Timex instead. But then there’s the Strava data…what can I say, I like the data! For the past 6 months, I have been using a Epson ProSense GPS but last week I started adding my trusted Garmin Forerunner 230 back into the mix. Right now I’m doing a mix of both watches to see what’s more accurate.
Want to know what my running blogger friends can’t run without? Be sure to click on the image or their name to find out their essentials for racing and running.
Last week’s workouts were going along swimmingly until Friday when my throat started to feel weird. At first, I hoped for allergies. But when I started to get chills, aches and feel like crud, I knew it was a good ol’ fashion cold. Yippee.
20 minutes Arc Trainer
20 minutes Stepmill
reverse grip bent over row
eccentric pull ups
band pull ups
KB around the world
bench step up with heavy KB
plank with KB pull thru
Morning Flow Yoga @ Bending Bodhi Yoga
5.1 mile run, 8:54 avg/pace, 271 ft elev/gain
After last week’s wonky times when uploaded to Strava, I ditched my Epson and went with my ol’ trusty Garmin GPS. My times were exactly the same on both. I guess I’m back to being a Garmin Girl!
7 mile run with 4 hill repeats, 9:20 avg/pace, 794 ft elev/gain
Kyle and I ran about 2 miles to the beastly hill in town before doing 4 repeats. The thing about hill repeats is that you can feel the strength you’ve gained. That hill will never be easy but you just get stronger and more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Sweaty hair + pink cheeks = great workouts
5 mile trail run, 10:39 avg/pace, 226 ft elev/gain
My running buddy from last year, Lori, was in town so we met up for an early morning trail run. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to catch up and cover more miles. The woods are so lovely right now with everything so green.
20 minute Arc Trainer
10 minute Stepmill
single leg balance w/ bicep curl to shoulder press
single leg balance bent over row
Smith press bench step ups
tricep rope extension
pendulum lunges w/ KB pass thru
eccentric pull ups
banded pull ups
TRX mountain climbers
TRX pike planks
5.6 mile run, 8:51 avg/pace, 338 ft elev/gain
I slept in a little later this morning because I was feeling run down (the cold was appearing!). I had a short window for a run so I squeezed as much as I could before shuttling kids to gymnastics, soccer and baseball. The highlight of my run? Having a random cat run with me for about a 1/4 mile. I’ve had dogs run with me but never a cat. I wanted to take the thing home with me!
I started to feel worse as the day went on. It didn’t help that it was 55 degrees and windy while I froze my tushie off at the games. I was soooo cold!
Guess what I did when everything was over? I crashed on the couch for a solid 4 hours and went to bed early.
Rest day – I woke up feeling a little better but still felt achy with a stuffed nose and achy sinuses. I always know when a run doesn’t sound good, I’m sick. Today was the day. The most activity I got today was riding my bike casually at the beach with the family.
Catch up on the week in #running and strength training with @happyfitmama #workouts Click To Tweet
Today’s an extra special celebratory Friday – Ron and I are celebrating 16 years of marriage.
Look at those little babies!!!!
I think I’ve shared this photo every single year since I’ve had a blog. Sixteen years ago, digital photos didn’t exist. All I have are the real deal photos. We put disposable cameras on every table at the reception if that gives you any idea how long ago 16 years was. Do they even make those things anymore?
Babysitter is booked for tonight and we are heading out for a rip roaring night. And when I say rip roaring, I mean we’ll be home by 10. Hahaha
So let’s get crackin’ on what I’ve been reading and loving lately.
You run. You strength train. You cross train. How’s your mobility? There’s a difference between flexibility and mobility. You need both to help you stay injury free. Here’s 8 sample mobility exercises for the whole body.
Birkenstocks – I know some think Birks are the ugliest things around. I did too until I got my first pair and fell in love with how comfy they are. They seriously are the most comfortable sandals that I own. Here I am 16 years later, still wearing them. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 40 years is that don’t wear uncomfortable shoes. It’s not worth it! And bonus points that my newest pair make me look like I’m a mermaid.
She’s got legs. She knows how to use them. Besides the ZZ Top song, who else remembers the 80s commercial for L’eggs Sheer Energy pantyhose? Am I the only one who thought of the commercial before the song? Lol! Love this poem so much.
All the questions about your body and running answered. Well, maybe not ALL but a lot of common questions that you may not know the answer to.
Polar Summer Seltzer Flavors – It’s hard to believe that a couple of years ago I thought seltzer was disgusting. Now, I’m addicted. And when Hannaford has the new Polar summer flavors on sale, you better believe I stock up. Don’t worry, this isn’t my idea of stocking up. I went back for 10 more the next day. And the day after. #ObsessedMuch?
How do some athletes keep playing strong at an age the majority are retiring from their chosen sport? Genetics obviously play a huge part but there has to be something more. I think I need to read this whole book.
High Five Friday with great links on running and things in life from the week! #highfivefriday… Click To Tweet
This is a sponsored post on behalf of prAna. All thoughts, as always, are my own. Thanks for supporting companies that I love!
I’ve got summer fever.
With Memorial Day just around the corner and the weather kind of warming up, I’m dreaming of all of the things I want to do to make the most of next few months.
Here in New Hampshire, I think we are very lucky. We’ve got the ocean and the mountains right in our backyard. We are a summer travel hot spot. We get travelers from all over the world to see the beauty our state has to offer. Lots of locals feel like there’s no need to leave the state for summer vacation. Pick a spot, any spot, in NH for a day trip, weekend away or longer, and you are guaranteed to have fun.
Here’s what my summer bucket list travel plans in New Hampshire look like:
I love the beach no matter the season. But there’s something about sand, sun and surf when the temps are hot. Granted, I’ve lived in New Hampshire for over 12 years and have never fully submerged my body in the Atlantic – It’s too dang cold!
Over the years, prAna dresses have become a staple in my summer wardrobe. My newest obsession is this prAna Ardor Dress. Super comfy with a built in bra, this dress can easily go from beach to town with no worries.
FYI – If you are in need of new swimsuit, prAna has THE BEST suits for active ladies. There’s no need to worry about wardrobe malfunctions while chasing after your kids or playing a game of catch on the beach.
Be a Tourist
There are so many charming little towns in New Hampshire that I’ve yet to really explore. Whether it’s finding a hole in the wall restaurant or quirky shop, I love pretending to be a tourist.
You may notice my prAna Brenna pants. They make an appearance in every season. I love the fabric, the cut and the color. Although I really think I need to get another pair in a different color. I was hesitant about ordering the Yvonna T-Shirt in white but I’m so glad I did.
It’s super cute, lightweight and perfect for summer. Now if I can just keep it free of stains.
Two years ago I fell in love with SUP yoga. My fears of falling in were quickly put aside as I enjoyed the gentle sway of the water under my board. And what if I did fall in? Sure it would be REALLY cold but I’d warm up quickly once back on my board.
First we hike, then we yoga. I only got to go once last year, but it was so fun to hike to the summit of Gunstock Mtn. and then enjoy a yoga class under a blue sky. Have you ever stood in mountain pose on a mountain? It feels pretty amazing to have the sun warming your face and the wind blowing gently through your hair.
Of course, my summer bucket list contains a million things running related too. Like hitting the trails, running up some mountains and soaking in the warmth and sweet sweat before the temps drop again.
A summer bucket list needs a summer wardrobe. Check out all the latest styles prAna has to offer for wherever your summer travels take you. Save 15% off with code TRHFS18 at checkout from prAna.com.
Start building your summer bucket list and summer wardrobe with @prana. Save 15% with code TRHFS18… Click To Tweet
Before I get into last week’s workouts, I need to vent about Strava. How come all of my runs average out way faster than my Epson watch? For instance, my run on Saturday, I ran while my kids were on their bikes. According to my watch when I glanced down at the first mile, my average pace was 9:30. When the run got uploaded to Strava after I was done, it said my first mile was a 9:00. That’s a pretty large difference! I feel like my watch is correct because it definitely felt on the slower side.
I’m too lazy to look up data from two different Apps so for all the paces listed below, it’s from Strava. The data may or may not be accurate. Thanks for making things complicated, Strava!
30 minutes Bike
20 minutes Stepmill
DB bench press
DB pull over
Decline plank/crossover touch
Smith press bench step ups
Eccentric pull ups
Banded pull ups
Morning Flow Yoga
5.1 mile progression run, 8:37 avg pace, 265 ft elev gain
I really wasn’t feeling this run. I hesitated waking up when my alarm went off. It was super foggy and my glutes were so sore from Monday’s workout. The first mile, like always, I was slow to warm up. When mile 2 beeped, I flipped my thoughts and said, “Let’s go!”. I didn’t have an intended pace, I just wanted to run faster with each mile. I mostly achieved it except for mile 3 and mile 5 when I hit mega hills that slowed the pace a bit. Not surprisingly, I felt a ton better by the time I was done.
Morning Flow Yoga
7.2 mile run on rolling hills and 1:00 pick ups @ every mile, 8:33 avg/pace, 464 ft elev gain
Kyle and I met up for a dose of ALL the hills in town. To make it even more fun, we threw in 1:00 min pick ups at every mile. We were having telemetry issues at work so I ended up with the day off from work. Good thing…I was tired after this workout. A nap was calling my name in the afternoon!
5.2 mile trail run, 11:11 avg pace, 412 ft elev gain
It was an absolutely beautiful spring day so I took full advantage of some trail time. I’m so glad I did because I got to enjoy the smell of sunshine baked pine needles. If you have never smelled that smell before, you are missing out. It reminds me of being a kid in Michigan woods.
I had a little too much wine, stayed up a little too late and had a whole lot of fun Friday night hanging with my mom squad at book club. Yes, book club. I know…#ThisIs40. Anyway, I opted to sleep more rather than getting up super early before all the Saturday morning kid activities to get my run in. Once gymnastics, baseball and soccer were over with, I took a nap and eventually rallied myself enough to tackle a run.
The kids rode their bikes with me for the first 3 miles before I did 7 alone in the rain. Maybe running in the afternoon isn’t so bad?
I slept in. We went out to brunch. We hung out at the beach. I ate ice cream. I took a nap. I just wasn’t feeling a run today so I listened to my body and took another rest day. I guess it was my Mother’s Day gift to myself.
Running, strength training, yoga and multiple rest days – oh my! #workouts #running Click To Tweet
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Barlean’s. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that I love.
Mother’s Day is on Sunday. What do mom’s, specifically mother runner’s, want for their special day?
I’d love a pedicure to pretty up my runner’s feet. A deep tissue massage to coax out the knots in my hard working runner legs. A new GPS watch or other running gear. But I just got a pedicure a couple of weeks ago. And I already have an overflowing closet of running stuff.
So here’s a few other things that I would really love to have gifted to me.
An injury free body that can run, run, and run some more with no worries of how her body will react to the mega mileage.
Time to run at her own pace rather than squeezing it in at zero dark thirty before the slew of kid sports activities takes over on a Saturday morning.
Enough time in the day to run, lift weights, do core work, go to a yoga class and get a massage and do all that other mother stuff that needs to be done.
Having my kids run a race without me and no one complaining about it. I know, I know. That will never happen!
A PR. Any distance will do.
The ability to take a nap or even to sit down for more than 2 minutes after a long run on the weekend.
Having a nutritious breakfast prepared for me and that is ready the moment I walk in the door after my long run. Of course, it would have the correct ratio of carbs:protein for optimal recovery.
The odds of any of these things happening are slim to none EXCEPT the nutritious breakfast option. I’m sure Ron would be happy to make me breakfast. If not, I’ll make my own pancakes, thank you very much.
Who loves pancakes? We are a pancake loving family. It’s one of those foods that can be enjoyed with zero complaints by anyone. Hmmm…that’s another mother’s dream, right? However, one thing I don’t like is that a lot of times I’m starving within an hour after eating pancakes. They just don’t fill me up. I usually will beef up a pancake recipe by upping the protein or topping my ‘cakes with nut butter or Greek yogurt.
Enter my Hearty Oat Pancakes recipe.
I subbed a 1/4 cup of oat flour with Barlean’s Superfruit Seed Blend that contains ground flaxseed, unsweetened shredded coconut, strawberry, raspberry and blueberry powders. It adds texture and flavor to the pancakes. It makes it more like a dense bread than a fluffy pancake. I like that. It also adds more nutrients like Omega-3’s, antioxidants and fiber.
Lately…It appears that maybe spring is here. I did my first run of the season in a tank and shorts yesterday. When I was getting dressed for the run, I realized that I have 2 short sleeve workout shirts (besides race t-shirts). I never think to buy short sleeves. I go straight from long sleeves to tanks. Does anyone else do that?
Lately…I’m in need of a new lip balm to wear when I’m running, hiking, biking or outside. Can anyone recommend a great lip balm with SPF? More specifically one that doesn’t taste like I’m eating chemicals and doesn’t need to be reapplied every 5 minutes?
Lately…I’m still goal-less. I was wavering about running the New England Mountain Series. The big draw back was that most of the races are far away, like 3 hours away. I’d have to do 6 of the 8 to get an automatic entry into Mount Washington next year. That was my whole point in doing the series. Since I hemmed and hawed too much, the decision was made for me. The first race sold out a few days before I decided to do it. That kind of sealed the deal. Weekends are already crazy with kid sports. Adding in 6 hours of travel time for a race (that is relatively short), doesn’t seem worth it to me.
Lately…there is a chance that I might do THIS race. We potentially will be in Michigan at that time. The race has been on my radar for years so maybe this is the year. If I do it, it’ll most likely be the marathon. But we’ll see what happens in the next month. Why does a trail marathon sound appealing to me but a road marathon is a definite NO right now? Hahaha!
Lately…I’m still scared to train for anything. I think that’s why I can’t pick one race to go after. Running is going very well but I still have fears that I’m not over that hump yet in the injury comeback. For instance, after Sunday’s 12 mile trail run, my toes, feet and ankles were feeling pretty sore. Not hurt, just fatigued from running muddy trails. But if you could have heard the thoughts in my head…did I sprain my ankle again?…it feels tight. It doesn’t feel good to push on that…is it a stress fracture? When stuff like that pops up, I question everything and fear slams on the breaks of any progress I had made.
Lately…I’ve been loving how light it is in the morning. I was at the gym on Monday morning and was shocked to see shadows from the sun. It didn’t do that last week! Crazy how much daylight we are gaining each day. I LOVE IT!
Lately…I’ve been reading actual physical books! Amazing, right? Years ago, I picked up Jay Dicharry’s first book, Anatomy for Runners (affiliate link), and got some great injury prevention ideas. His newer book, Running Rewired, (affiliate link) is even better with more exercises and workouts for stability, strength and speed. I’ve been incorporating a lot of the exercises and have noticed a difference. I highly recommend it to any runner.
The other book I’m reading is North by Scott and Jenny Jurek. I’ve been of fan of his for years since we are practically related anyway (see THIS post if you are wondering what I’m talking about). When he broke the speed record for the Appalachian Trail in 2015, I followed along with his journey on social media. It was amazing to see his transformation along the grueling trail and to now read all the behind the scenes info. Another highly recommend book to read for inspiration.
Last week’s workouts were not the norm. My kids were on school vacation and I had most of the week off from work at the hospital. I missed my gym workouts. I missed yoga at the studio. And I started the week with a rest day which felt really bizarre.
Rest day at Great Wolf Lodge
If you’ve been there, you know it’s not a restful place for adults. But thankfully, you can drink anywhere.
3.7 mile trail run, 1176 ft elev gain, 15:00 avg pace
When you have two moms with the week off from work AND with childcare for the morning, you head to the mountains. This was my first time running Mt. Major in almost a year. It was muddy, wet and a little snowy/icy in spots near the summit. We had to power hike a good portion because of run off but it was heavenly.
7 mile run, 346 ft elev gain, 8:51 avg pace
My quads were feeling it on this mornings run from the descent of Mt. Major the day before. But I got to wore shorts, ran with Kyle AND I beat the rain. I call that a win!
30 minutes Arc Trainer
10 minutes Stepmill
DB bench press
Bench step ups with curl/press
Pulley reach and pull single leg balance
Eccentric pull ups
Pull up shrugs
TRX single arm pull and reach
TRX mountain climbers
KB single leg squat/deadlift
4.1 mile run, 214 ft elev gain, 8:43 avg pace
I enjoyed the most spectacular sunrise for the duration of this run. Always worth the early morning alarm!
5 mile run with 1:00 pick ups at every mile, 263 elev gain, 8:40 avg pace
As with most Saturday mornings, I gave myself too little time to run before having to leave from morning kid sports. I didn’t intend for this to be a “faster” run but I was running out of time.
11.8 mile trail run, 744 ft elev gain, 10:35 avg pace
I joined a group of old and new friends (plus one fur friend) for what was supposed to be a 9 mile run. But we added a little more with a detour which turned out to be just fine. It was muddy, wet, pouring rain at times and so much fun. My toes are a little beat up but other than that I feel great. Not bad for my longest trail run in over a year.
Returning to the trails + a week off workouts #workouts #running Click To Tweet
After last month’s depressing tales of our worst race ever, we decided to raise everyone up with stories of our best race ever.
My best race ever had nothing to do with the finishing time on the clock. (I was quite slower than I thought I’d be). It wasn’t because I ran a perfectly executed race plan. (What race plan? I forgot I was racing a few times along the course!) It wasn’t because my training for the race was on point. (My training was a mess). In fact, if I looked at all of that, you would say it was an absolutely horrible day.
So why was it my best race ever?
Back in 2016, Mount Washington was the first race I ran in 14 months. It was the first race after my worst race ever and DNF at Boston. I had to deal with months of injury rehab, no running, and not to mention the emotional roller coaster that goes along with that. I was so afraid to run a race again for fear of getting injured and not being able to run my pre-injury paces.
When I entered the Mount Washington lottery in February of that year, on a whim, I never thought I’d get in. The chances were slim to none! But then I got in and was scared out of my mind. Doubt crept in like crazy. Should I train for race this intense when I’d only been back to running for less than 5 months? Will I get hurt again? How am I going to finish an all uphill race when I get injured running on flat ground?
My training for Mount Washington was marred with a cranky piriformis, a niggle in my quad and an L4/L5 that hated me for almost half of the 12 weeks of training. Once I got all of those things calmed down and was feeling strong and confident, I rolled my ankle 6 days before the race and didn’t run a step up until race day. Whomp. Whomp. Whomp. So much for my confidence. If you looked at all of that, you’d be surprised I even made it to the starting line.
But I made it. I felt strong for the majority of the race even if I wasn’t running the pace that I thought I would. I soaked up the race environment. I enjoyed the scenery. I worked hard and pushed my body to do things it hadn’t done in months. Surprisingly, my body responded well. It remembered it could do hard things. It remembered that it wasn’t fragile and easily broken.
Mount Washington was just what I needed to get that feel good running feeling again. It wasn’t an easy race by any means. It still is the hardest race I’ve ever done, but it was exactly what I needed to make me feel strong, confident and ready to dream big.
If you want to feel on top of the world, I highly suggest running a mountain race that does, indeed, finish on top of the world.
Sometimes, it’s not all about the numbers.
Ready for more feel good best race ever recaps? Check out what my friends are sharing.