Marathon Training Week 6: Favorite Running Gear

Since I’m late to the Weekly Wrap party, I thought I’d kill two birds link-ups with one stone post. Training is going well and I’m surprised at how quickly that double-digit long run showed up in the training plan in comparison to half-marathon training plans. Considering that I had not run longer than 4 miles since the Utah Valley Half in June, I was pleasantly surprised that I handled that 10 miler on Saturday like I’d been running long all summer. That’s not to say it was effortless …you’ll never hear me say any long run is effortless because I just don’t believe they exist. Anyway, let’s see how last week’s workouts played out and then chat a little about running gear.26.2 Continue reading

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Review: Heart Zones, Inc. Blink 3.0

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the #1 reason the majority of people give for beginning an exercise program is weight loss with a heart health coming in second. However, it may surprise you to know that statistics show over 50% of those individuals beginning a new exercise program will not stick with it more than 6 months. Why? The most common reason is that their expectations were not met.

Heart rate training has been used successfully by elite athletes for decades. With the rise of fitness trackers and sports watches on the market, heart rate training is now possible for not only the moderately experienced athlete but beginners as well.

If you’re a seasoned runner, cyclist and/or fitness enthusiast, you already know the importance and benefits of heart rate training. Therefore; this post is geared more for those individuals who are just beginning their fitness journey, unfamiliar with heart rate training and are focused on losing weight. Heart Zones, Inc. Continue reading

Cycling 101: Five Must-Haves for every Cyclist

Ask any cyclist what their “must-have” gear would be and you’ll likely get a wide array of answers based on the individuals style, needs and type of riding they are most interested in. For example, if you ask Major Hubs what is the one cycling “must-have” he just can’t live without, you’ll most likely get a mischievous grin as he tells you ….a kickstand! This is a long running joke between us as I tell him that “real” road bikes don’t have kickstands and he laughs every time I have to prop mine up against something while airing up the tires or when we stop for a rest during long rides. Inevitably, mine will fall at some point and he loves to say “now who has a ‘real bike’?” as his is standing perfectly poised on its kickstand. However, whether you want a kickstand or not, if you’re new to cycling, there are a few things that every cyclist should consider buying.Cycling (1).png

1. Helmet

Well, this is a no-brainer ….unless of course, you want to be a “no-brainer” and have your brain splattered all over the pavement. I’m always amazed at how many people still ride, even casually, without a helmet. Just because you’re riding on a ‘rails to trails’ type of path doesn’t mean a helmet isn’t necessary. Any debris along the path or critter darting out in front of you can cause a bike wreck. Please people, protect your head anytime you are riding!

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Besides protecting my noggin, my Giro helmet also accommodates my ponytail! Win, Win!

2. Sunglasses

These are an absolute necessity when cycling. In addition to giving you that uber cool and badass look, they protect your eyes from the suns damaging UV rays, tear inducing winds and kamikaze bugs! They can range in price from $20 up to several hundred. Find what works for you and just be sure they have a good nose grip to prevent them from sliding down your nose when you get sweaty. My personal favorites are these from Ironman …they don’t slip and are comfortable behind the ears.download

3. Gloves

Okay, so these may not really be a necessity ..but for me they are. Not only do they absorb the shock from the road, they also provide an extra layer of protection from some nasty road rash in the event of a crash. You can choose from different levels of padding depending on your preference. I, personally, prefer just enough padding to absorb the bumps of the roads while still allowing me to have a good ‘feel’ for the handlebars.847223

4. Padded Shorts

Trust me on this one …if you’re planning on riding longer than an hour, you need cycling shorts! They come in many different lengths, rises and degrees of padding to suit everyone’s needs. The padding in cycling shorts is called a Chamois and it not only provides a cushioned barrier between your nether region and the saddle of your bike, but it also provides added support for your tail bones and aids in chafing prevention. Triathlon shorts have a much thinner chamois which allows for ease of running off the bike and women’s specific cycling shorts have a chamois that is designed specifically for a woman’s anatomy. However, it’s important to note that none of them will do their job if you are not willing to go commando. That’s right…. cycling shorts = sans underwear. Seriously, just do it!

5. Safety Lights

According to the CDC, there were an estimated 1,000 deaths of cyclists due to accidents involving motor vehicles and over 400,000 injuries reported. With a growing number of cyclists taking to the roads each year, it’s even more important to take every possible precaution to be visible at all times. There are many different options available on the market today to make yourself and your bike more visible to motor vehicles. LED lights are the most effective and affordable and generally very easy to install. I recently purchased these Lumintrail High Intensity LED safety lights with quick release and waterproof batteries on my bike ….and let me tell you, they are BRIGHT!

 

According to Runner’s World, cycling is one of the best methods of cross-training for runners and a great choice for those looking for a low impact activity with maximum calorie burn. Now that you know all the health benefits of cycling, the cycling gear that really isn’t necessary for beginners and my ‘must-haves’ for getting started …what are you waiting for? Come on …..pump up those tires, lube that old rusty chain, strap on that helmet and go for a spin around the block, down the road or through the park. Be careful though, you just may get addicted to ‘life behind bars’!

Carpe Cycling!

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one mile at a time!

 

Cycling 101: What You DON’T Need

Are you a beginner cyclist, an injured runner looking for a great cross training activity to keep up your endurance, new to fitness and looking for a low impact way to get fit or just looking for a great way to beat the summer heat while blasting some major calories? Or maybe my recent post, Cycling For Your Health, struck a chord with you and now you are wondering ….”how do I get started?”

Ask any of your cycling friends or any salesman in a bike store and before you know it, you will be dressed like Lance Armstrong and have at least a couple of grand invested in your new interest. So, in an effort to keep things simple, here are five things that you don’t need in order to get started cycling.

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Cycling For Your Health

cycling.pngNext to running, cycling is my favorite way to stay active. There is just something so liberating about hopping on a bike, taking in the sights and sounds of the great outdoors, leaning in to the curves of the road and flying down hills with the wind (and a few bugs) in your face! I don’t think I’ve ever gone for a ride that, at some point, my mind didn’t wander back to childhood memories of all of us neighborhood kids riding around on our bikes all day exploring and maybe even getting into a little trouble from time to time. If you’re as old as I am, you would most likely have had a bike with a ‘banana seat’, streamers hanging from your handlebar grips and a basket on the front ….and you would have been one of the ‘cool kids’!

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You could ride two people on those seats!

Now that I have you reminiscing, I’ll also tell you that aside from the liberating feeling and the wind and bugs in your face, there are quite a few health benefits to cycling as well. If you are new to the whole fitness scene, trying to lose weight or an injured runner, cycling may be the perfect way to get the body moving again.

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My Top 5 Race “Must-Haves”

I always procrastinate packing for a trip because, frankly, I always want to take too much “stuff”. There’s always the essentials, the non-essentials, the accessories and then the “just in case” stuff. However, when I’m packing for a race weekend, it’s always fairly easy since I know what I absolutely have to have, what works and what I can’t imagine running without. Here are my top five race “must-haves” for the Utah Valley Half Marathon ……
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Hydration on the Run

With the arrival of Spring and Summer knocking on our door, the inevitable rise in temperatures and humidity makes hydrating for our workouts even more important. This weeks Tuesday’s on the Run topic is all about hydration. And just as unique as every runner is, their hydration preferences are as well. What works for one person may not work for another, but there’s something to be learned from everyone ….so let’s talk H2O!Hydration.png

Pre-Run Hydration

fcde401c40e589cd110eec285cb24bb3Nothing magical here, I have a cup of coffee every morning, so naturally, that means I have coffee before a run …except race day. I’ve never had coffee before a race …too many other things I’m focused on race morning and then there’s that little “bathroom issue” to contend with. All runners know how active the GI system tends to get on race morning …why add fuel to the fire!

I do try to increase my water intake several days leading up to a race, but I will not guzzle a bottle of water on race morning. There’s nothing worse than hearing and feeling too much water sloshing around in the gut during those first few miles …been there, done that, learned my lesson.

There are two packets of BeetElite in my kitchen that a friend of the Major’s gave him to try. Based on the look on his face while he tried to drink it, I’m not sure if I even want to try it! However, I am curious about it ..anyone use it? Like it? Any tips on how to drink it other than mixed with plain water?

 

Hydration During a Run

I will be honest and say that I haven’t really tried a lot of different hydration fuel products and there are so many out there. In the good ‘ole days, it was just plain water and Gatorade. (I still love some grape flavored Gatorade for my long bike rides)  Then I started using nuun tablets in the summer months and on all long runs until they changed the ingredients, which unfortunately changed the taste. I just can’t deal with that aftertaste they now have. It’s really too bad, because I used to love mixing the flavors and creating my own tropical explosion in my water bottle! I bought one tube of GU tablets and if it’s possible, I think they may have tasted even worse.

In anticipation of the relentless heat and humidity of summer, I recently ordered an assortment of Tailwind to try. The idea was to try each flavor, decide which one I liked best, then purchase a bag of that flavor. TW-Stick-Packs

….so far, I like all of the flavors I’ve tried, love the subtle taste and feel it is very effective at not only keeping me hydrated but also energized. Even better, there is no nasty aftertaste! Score!

Post-Run Hydration

Well, this all depends on the run, distance, temperature outside, time of day, etc…  I’ve been known to re-hydrate post race with a Bloody Mary, Mimosa, glass of wine ….you get the picture. But most of the time, for everyday runs and weekend long runs, I turn to a glass of chocolate milk, for short runs and a protein shake for longer runs. During the summer months and after long runs, I will usually mix a packet of Advocare’s Rehydrate with a bottle of water to replenish the electrolytes lost during my run/workout.618c1e04fbb454a4574c35c53e012cb1

Now, for me, the biggest issue is how to carry this hydration during my run. I mentioned in a recent blog that I was thinking about trying out a fuel belt that I’ve had stashed away but never used. Currently, I’m using a small handheld Nathan water bottle and it works fine …if you don’t mind having it in your hand the entire time.59fd9d87717303f687e3cfddb73145fc

It’s small, shaped to fit your hand, doesn’t leak, has reflective straps and the opening is wide enough for an ice cube or two. I will continue to use this for short, hot runs. However, I am still in the market for something that I can use on long runs that does not require being held the entire time.  Darlene, from My First 5k, recommended the Flip Belt hydration bottle. black_main-900x600

This is something I haven’t even thought about! I love my Flip Belt and honestly, had forgotten all about the fact that they now make hydration bottles for it. Anyone else use these? Do you prefer the small or the large bottles? Which is easier to get in and out of the belt?

Another option I’m considering is this nifty little bottle from Simple Hydrationsimplehydration-splash1

I like the fact the it can be “hooked” onto my flipbelt without actually taking up valuable space inside the belt. However, despite its glowing reviews of comfort, I’m just not convinced. Anyone have one? Thoughts/opinions?

In summary and in response to Deb’s “word of the month” in this month’s edition of Wednesday Word ….. there are a multitude of ways a runner experiences victory. Crossing the finish line, PR’s, rallying back from injuries and even simply lining up at the starting line is a victory for some. But right now, with half marathon training ramping up just when the temperatures are heating up, finding the perfect combination of hydration and how to carry it on all of those long, hot and humid miles is nothing short of a ….

Victory!

Thanks to MarciaErika and Patty for hosting Tuesdays on the Run and Deb for Wednesday Word. Be sure to visit these blogs and others to see what victories they’ve conquered or working towards and to get advice on hydrating your body for more efficient running.

 

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one victory at a time!