Tuesdays on the Run

If you’re like me and like to get a great deal on running gear either for your self or as gifts, here are a couple of options:

Skirt Sports (affiliate link): Why wait til Friday to shop? My favorite running gear is on sale for up to 70 percent off now with — bonus! — free shipping with your $40 or more order. I already ordered my favorite running skirt, the Happy Girl, in yet another pattern; this time in the very colorful Tantrum because it matches just about any of my race-shirts. I should note that it’s Skirt Sports’ longest skirt and has two pockets in the built-in shorties plus a zippered pocket on the back. I specifically bought this skirt to wear on our spring break cruise because I can wear it to go sight-seeing without having to bring a purse, then wear it on a run before I have to wash it.

The Happy Girl won’t be the only Skirt Sports gear I’ll bring on that trip. It’s the perfect double-duty option to save room when packing for a trip. Rolled up, it doesn’t take much room in my suitcase, it won’t wrinkle and I can hand-wash it and hang it up to dry to wear again. Consider Skirt Sports gear for your next vacation, or buy some for a loved one who likes to travel.

If you fall in love with something on the Skirt Sports site at full price, you can use my LCR20 discount code for 20 percent off. The Toasty Tights, for example, are on my short list for when I get some birthday or Christmas money to shop with. They have panels to prevent your thighs and butt-cheeks to keep you from getting frozen. These, too, have built-in pockets.

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Skirt Sports Toasty Tights.

Road IDI’m not affiliated with this company, but I would love to partner with them. I certainly talk about them a lot on my blog and with my friends because I don’t think any runner, biker or swimmer should ever leave home without wearing a Road ID.

Road ID already has an offer this week where you can get half off a Road ID with the purchase of one at full price, plus free shipping. I started out wearing their cheapest band, the Wrist ID Slim, and loved it, but took advantage of a sale and got the Wrist ID Elite because it can be adjusted, plus has a clip that lets me take it on and off much more easily.

My Road ID in black with the 26.2 badge.

My Road ID in black with the 26.2 charm.

And remember that you can get other ideas for gifts for your friends and family from last week’s Tuesdays on the Run link-up. As I do most weeks, I’m once again linking up with hosts MCM Mama RunsMy No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice. I can’t wait to see what deals the other runner bloggers share.

Happy shopping!

What are your best Black Friday deals? What’s on your short list of things you’d like to get for yourself or as gifts?

In the spirit of helping your loved ones find appropriate gifts for you (read: running related items) this holiday season, I’ve compiled a list of suggestions as part of this week’s Tuesdays on the Run link-up hosted by runner bloggers MCM Mama RunsMy No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice.

runner-gift-listBecause I know that most of us can’t afford $500 for the latest expensive gadget, I’m focusing on ideas for the budget conscious.

  1. Running store gift certificate. Your runner will love any denomination and will revel in the opportunity to browse the whole store and touch every new shoe, running jacket and sock in the place. Most stores have smaller items like the prerequisite 5K, 13.1 mile and 26.2 mile stickers or magnets for the car in addition to the high-tech gizmos of the season.
  2. Race photos. Did your runner have a recent race? Check the race’s homepage for information on race photos, which can be bought online and shipped directly to your runner. Many race photographers tag your runner’s photos by his or her bib number. If you don’t know their number, try the race website again; most will list race results by name and bib number. Or just check their Facebook and Instagram accounts since they probably posted selfies of themselves with their bibs before the event. Bonus points for a nice frame to hold the finish-line photo.
  3. Your interest and support. You don’t have to run to show your runner some love. Join your runner on a long walk on a rest day or show up at a race to cheer him or her on. I know you’re already spending an inordinate amount of time listening to him or her go on and on (and on and on) about their training. Go see them in their habitat and make them feel special in the process.
  4. Music to their ears. Build a song list for their next race. Doing so takes tons of time and he or she will appreciate getting a head start. You can buy the songs for them, give them a gift card toward music purchases or even create a Pandora station for him or her and hand over the log-in information.
  5. Support their race habit. Contribute toward a race fee or lodging at the next away race. If your runner likes to race, many races will allow you to pay for all or part of the race fee. Some have gift certificates. A gift card to a hotel at their next destination would also be appropriate and welcome.
  6. Non-stinky running clothes. Runners love gear and clean, non-stinky technical shirts, so those are always good ideas if you know your runner’s size. Places like Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx and Target have great deals on good gear. I absolutely love Skirt Sports for women (I’m an ambassador for the company). Or check out the website for one of their races; sometimes they sell race-specific gear like jackets, magnets and hats.
  7. Running magazine subscription. Your runner will think warm thoughts about you every time an issue shoes up. I’m partial to Runner’s World.
  8. A goody bag. It could be multiple samples of hydration tablets so they can try different flavors, or different types of protein bars or fuel (like Gu or SportBeans). Or create a pedicure set for your runner. We have notoriously gnarly feet.
  9. Recipe book. Put together some healthy, runner friendly snacks and meals. Most running magazine websites have tons of resources. Better yet, cook a runner friendly meal for your runner. We’re always “rungry”, so this will be a huge hit.
  10. Love and understanding, of course.
Regardless of what you decide, your runner will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Especially the part where you pretend to listen to us with interest when we’re talking our running.
What’s the best running-related gift you’ve ever gotten? Given? (Click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

 

As the temps start to drop here in the Michigan tundra, some of us tend to hibernate. Sure, we dig our winter gear out of the bottom of the closet or drawers and still make most of our runs outside. But there are days when it’s genuinely too cold or too icy for even the craziest most-dedicated of us to run outside.

So it’s a perfect time to pretend to be concerned with our cross training because it’s typically something we can do inside. And that’s the topic of today’s Tuesdays on the Run link-up hosted by runner bloggers MCM Mama RunsMy No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice: our cross-training plans for the next few months.

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When I genuinely can’t run outside, I turn to:

  • Yoga. It’s typically too slow for my taste, but I do the Runner’s World Yoga for Runners videos by Rebecca Pacheco. They’re short (about half an hour long), relatively easy to do and work on most of our trouble spots. Oh, and they’re free.
  • Walking. When it’s just too icy to run outside, sometimes I bundle up in snow boots, snow pants, a heavy parka, hat, gloves and a scarf. Think Ralphie’s brother in A Christmas Story. Or the Michelin Man. When that’s not do-able, I turn to the used treadmill el husbando got for me last year and walk while I watch TV shows the rest of la familia just don’t like. Justified is a favorite. Timothy Olyphant. Swoon.
  • Videos. If I’m feeling remotely ambitious, I pop in a Jillian Michaels DVD and sweat for 30 minutes. This is another great, quick option for getting in some much-needed cross training without having to leave the house or taking too much time.

The list is short, but realistic. I used to practice my tae kwon do forms in the hopes someday I would get to go back to the dojang and take my black belt test. It’s not looking like I’ll be doing that anytime soon, but I may pull out that DVD this winter just for variety’s sake.

Thankfully, it’s still relatively mild (if cold) outside, so I won’t have to give up outdoor running quite yet. But when I do, I have a plan so that I can continue to be active in the months to come.

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What’s your go-to activity for cross training? How good are you at doing cross training in the first place?

The prompt for this week’s Tuesdays on the Run link-up hosted by runner bloggers MCM Mama Runs,My No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice has me thinking about, well, the way runners think: If you could go back and run/train for a race differently … what would you redo?

I’m not one to obsess over mistakes I’ve made during a run or race, so I’m not sure that I’m the right person to answer that question. Take the Run Woodstock 50K.

I could dwell on the buckets of rain that kept my four friends and I up the night before, leaving us with just a few minutes at a time of actual sleep. Instead, I choose to focus on the giggling we all did as we kept whispering “are you asleep?” to each other over and over as the wind and rain pelted my RV, ensuring no one could get any sleep.

I could blame my 10-and-a-half-hour finish time on the ridiculous amounts of mud on the trails, which made us slip and slide, and even sucked up one of my friends’ shoes. Instead, I get to remember one of my most-memorable running-related stories: the race volunteer who gave the socks off her own feet to a runner who was getting blisters.

I could complain about a number of minor irritations, including the stinky vault toilets, wet socks and swollen fingers. Instead, I choose to remember the kind and encouraging words from fellow runners, race volunteers and my friends who traveled to the race just to cheer us on.

This may mean that I’m going through life with rose-colored glasses. But it’s a quality I’ve admired in my friends who run. We may be facing health crises, family drama or job-related insanity and still get up at 4:30 on a Tuesday morning to meet up with each other to start our day with four miles.

Several of the always-optimistic runners who let me join them week after week.

Several of the always-optimistic runners who let me join them week after week.

Do the running-induced endorphins make us ridiculously positive or are already-positive (or furiously happy) people drawn to running?

Like the week’s prompt, it’s not a question I can easily answer. But I’ll just leave it here for y’all to answer because I have to go get my running gear together for our morning run.

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You’ve spent a season training for your big race. You’ve put in hours and hours on the road or trail, you’ve run your race, gotten your medal and posted your accomplishment on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Now what?

First, it’s normal to have a bit of a letdown after achieving a big-deal-whoopie running goal. So much of your time and energy has been focused on getting to the start line that few of us spend much — if any — time thinking about what comes next.

What’s a runner chico or chica to do? That’s why I’m writing about the most challenging aspect of running right now for the Tuesdays on the Run link-up hosted by runner bloggers MCM Mama Runs, My No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice.

For me, it’s figuring out what to do after meeting a big audacious running goal, so I turned to my runner friends. Here’s what they said:

Kari: I’m new to running as of last October so I have some hefty goals ahead of me. With that being said, I started small and my race distances just keep growing. Is there really a limit? I truly don’t think so. Only thing that is limiting is our imagination and belief in ourselves. If a new runner sees a 100 miler in their future, I’d say “you got this” and encourage. Setting a new goal (signing up) is what has kept me motivated to succeed.

Erinn: Set another goal. A smaller goal — but still a challenge goal. Like best 5k (work on speedwork) or another fitness goal like pull ups, more paddle boarding for core strength, and all the while looking at other options. Word of mouth is the best way to ultra. If another runner tells you that “you’ll like this race,” heed their advice.

Shannon: I’ve both taken time off and just ran for health. I’ve also gone bigger and longer. Currently, I’m racing a lot, and I look forward to late November when I don’t have any more planned races. But the reality is that in November I’ll feel like I have no direction and I’ll feel lost, just like the last time I didn’t have any goal race scheduled.

Emily: I kind of just keep training for the next thing, even if it’s smaller than the big goal race, it helps keep me moving. Though, in autumn I don’t really need to extra motivation. The perfect weather is usually enough to get me moving because it’s just so beautiful.

Barb: I make a new goal after a big race. I already know what my next goal is, speed. I now know I can do the distance but now I want to get faster.

Janet: After the big goal, relax, enjoy the time and then get back to running. I run because I’ve experienced life when I couldn’t run and that sucks! So run because you can.

Corey: I’m typically depressed and irritable and eat non-stop until I sign up for the next big race. Running Grand Rapids marathon Oct. 23 which will qualify me for marathon maniacs, a goal I set for 2016. I’m looking now for my next big goal after that though, otherwise I’ll fall into winter holiday hibernation and gain 10 lbs.

Samantha: Bringing down the miles and giving our bodies a break is healthy. But … I’m scouring the Internet for upcoming races because I’m feeling crazy.

As for me, I haven’t yet decided what I’ll do next, whether I’ll be focusing on distance or speed, for example. But what I do know is that I’ll take a cue from my mentors Brandess, Janet and Shannon: I’ll be focusing on helping my friends reach their goals. Because that’s what I love the best about running: other runners.

What’s the most difficult aspect of running for you right now? Feel free to share your own blog posts below. (Click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)