Monday, September 24, 2012

Top 5 Mistakes New Runners Make!

Running is an empowering, exciting and liberating form of exercise! However, running can also end up being a long journey of misunderstood injury. As much as I think everyone can be a runner I believe its best to take every precautionary measure possible to ensure that both novas and experienced runners alike do not get injured. Here are my tips for those interested in starting to run!

1. Don't just grab your old running shoes or gym shoes and start running - Depending on how old your shoes are and how many miles you've already put on them its really best to start with fresh shoes. Gym shoes and running shoes are not the same! Go to a running store (not a general sports store) and get your feet fitted for the best shoe for you. It's best to save your running shoes exclusively for running. A mile in your shoes is still a mile in your shoes no matter if you ran or walked it.

2. Do not ignore the importance of form! To make this as simple as possible, make every effort to follow these simple guidelines: 1. "Lead with your knees" to prevent heel striking. 2. Do not overstride; it leaves your knee and hips vulnerable for injury! 3. Swing your arms forward and back, not side to side.

3. Don't do too much, too soon - Many new runners are so excited and inspired to get out there that they put their body through too much too soon. Start by just getting out there for 20 minutes three times a week. This will not only get your body prepared for running consistently, it will help you be consistent about running. A 20 minute run sounds much more doable than a 5 mile run.

4. Don't forget to ice and stretch - A dynamic warm up is best before running followed by stretching and icing post run if necessary. Really focus on proper warm up and cool down to lessen the likelihood of injury.

5. Don't forget to listen to your body - Just because a certain training program says you should be able to run a certain amount of distance it doesn't necessarily mean YOUR body is ready for it. If something doesn't feel right, take a break. Try your best to isolate the issue, ice, stretch and rest as necessary. Common culprits for running issues are: shoes, terrain, not resting enough, muscle imbalances, tight muscles, not stretching enough, heel striking and improper form. Running an extra mile is not worth setting yourself up for a long term injury!

What was the best advice you ever got as a runner?
Mine has to be that it gets easier over time. The more your put into it, the more you get out of it. I never imagined I'd actually enjoy hauling my body 13.1 miles and would look forward to a momentous 26.2 miles someday! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Skora FORM

You know how people tell you that some things in life should just feel right? As clique as it may sound, that was my initial reaction to these shoes!

I was given the opportunity to review Skora's FORMS. Here's a little about the shoe from their website:

  "FORM is definition of premium performance. Featuring a full-leather upper made of Pittards Goatskin leather with WR100X leather lining, FORM is designed with asymmetric lacing and no-tongue construction to provide a glove-like fit in combination with stitch-down construction and an Ortholite sockliner."

The shoes really do fit like a glove. I like shoes that give my foot enough room but not so much room that my foot can't feel the shoe. The more I ran in them, the more my foot seemed to "mold" with the shoe.

The Ortholite sockliner was really comfortable. In other shoes I've tried the liners have sometimes dug into the side of my heel or felt too hard on my foot. This liner is shaped just right and never gave me any type of irritation. 

"FORM is built on the R01 platform composed of the REALFIT™ last. The R01 platform also features a zero-drop outsole/midsole with minimal cushioning and a curved section profile in both the forefoot and heel. This allows for optimal natural movement and performance."

REALFIT™ is designed to compliment the natural shape of the foot. I didn't have to "work these shoes in" whatsoever. The Goatskin leather really allowed my foot to move naturally and didn't "fight" my foot. I was also pleasantly surprised that I never got one blister! Like I said before, these shoes just feel right.

I like that the shoes were enhancing my running instead of changing my running. In other running shoes I've tried I felt like the shoe was separate from my foot which caused me to run and land in different ways (aka increased my likelihood of injury.) I didn't run into that problem with these shoes at all. I was able to land properly without fighting the shoe.

As stated above, these are zero-drop shoes. I was surprised at how easily my foot adjusted to the zero drop since I had never run in zero-drop shoes before. I really thought it would take a few runs to get used to them but I honestly only had to go a few miles before I felt normal.

The shoes are lightweight, have a good amount of flexibility and are very breathable. They are so breathable that you have the option to wear socks in them or not. I was unsure if I'd like wearing the shoes without socks but it was actually way more comfortable than I expected. I did the majority of my runs in them sock-less because it felt more natural that way.

One of my favorite parts about the shoe is the wide toe box. I do have wide feet in general but this was really the perfect amount of space for my toes. I hate when my toes are cramped especially when I'm running since my feet swell up. My toes could move freely without feeling cramped for the entire run. That has never happened in any other shoes I've worn before!

I am very honored to be reviewing these shoes because I'm not an elite athlete or an ultra marathoner, I'm just your average runner with a long road ahead. I think this is proof that these shoes are suitable for all levels of running. Overall, the shoe felt natural and comfortable to wear. The condition of the shoes has stayed very well so far. I think I've put about 40 miles on them. I plan on using them in my next half-marathon so I will update you on how a race goes in them. I would definitely recommend them to anyone who wants to move into zero-drop. The adjustment process is fast and very doable in these shoes. If you have any other questions about the shoes please let me know! For further information about Skora and their products check out their website here. Thank you to Skora Running for this opportunity, I am so very grateful!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Skora Running!

I am so excited to introduce Skora Running to you guys! After attending the DHP running clinic a while back I really started to understand the importance of not depending on a shoe to do the work for me. Skora emphasizes the importance of running biomechanically correct and makes shoes that allow runners to do so most naturally. They are not trying to sell you a shoe with unnecessary bells and whistles; their products are quality, simple and effective at what they do. Their philosophy is to "Run Real" and the science behind their shoes reflect just that.

Founder and CEO David Sypniewski, a long time runner, set out to create a shoe that would lessen the likelihood of injury by allowing the foot to run more naturally. Skora prides themselves on the fact that their shoes are made by runners, for runners. Although Skora is still relatively new, they've already made's list of Top 25 Independent Sneaker Brands of 2012! I have a feeling this is only the beginning we are seeing from them.

Skora is all about Running Real. What does that mean exactly? Well, if you check out Sypniewski explains what running real is really about.

In his letter to both runners and the running industry, Sypniewski proposes the argument that the running industry should not only run real, but be real with consumers. From the letter: "We can differentiate in design, specifications, materials and features. We can argue if 8mm of cushioning is better than 9mm or 6.5oz is better than 7.2oz. But, for the benefit of all runners, let's agree on something -- let's use labels to inform, educate and communicate rather than obfuscate and confuse."

He continues, "How can we expect the consumer not to be confused when some brands tell them the "best" shoe for them is one with maximum cushioning and support, and yet offer another shoe that proudly proclaims that a "barefoot feel" is "best"? Let's end the hypocrisy, take a stand and show respect for runners. Healthy running is more than trend or the latest marketing bandwagon to join" also has straight forward advice for all runners on how to correctly run real.

In my honest opinion, Skora is not about a gimmick sales pitch but rather a calling for straight forward communication and quality products for the benefit of all runners. It's not enough for a brand to just provide a shoe anymore; runners need to be equipped with knowledge. It's time to debunk the junk and focus on healthy running.

They offer shoes for both men and women
Click here to find out more information on both the FORM and BASE models.

They are also very interactive on their Facebook page which I really appreciate. I think it shows a company's true character in how much support and interaction they have with customers. I don't think I've ever seen a question from a potential customer unanswered.

Here's a sneak peek at their 2013 line! They are expanding their line with the PHASE and CORE models. I LOVE how they are sticking with bright colors. Keep an eye out for these shoes February, 2013.

Guess who will be posting a review on the Women's FORM soon!

I cannot wait to share my shoe review with you guys! I will post that this Friday, September 21.

If you would like more information on Skora you can visit their website here. They also have a Facebook page and twitter account.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quick tips for eating out!

I've heard so many people say that they just throw in the towel when they go out to eat because there's "nothing healthy on the menu." Eating out does NOT have to be detrimental to your fat loss goals!

Don't be afraid to customize your order anywhere you go! I guarantee you won't be the first or last person to put in a request.

Here's a few tips for eating healthier anywhere:

1. Ask for sauces on the side so that you can use them minimally if at all
2. Go bun-less (order lettuce wraps)
3. Hold the bread basket
4. Drink water or iced tea instead of soda
5. Get a side salad instead of fries
6. Share your meal with someone
7. Drink at least one glass of water before your meal comes
8. Limit alcohol or skip it completely
9. Ask for brown rice or cucumber wrapped sushi rolls
10. Eat strategically by going for your veggies first, protein second and save the carbohydrate portion of your meal for last.

Are there any strategies you use when eating out to ensure that you don't go overboard?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Motivational Monday #1

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but do not quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far, 
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Advice for Over Night Races

Reader Jess asked, "any advice for over night races? I seem to always be frantically looking for something race morning!"
I hate to pack almost as much as I hate to unpack. I am also notorious for forgetting something every time I go out of town or forgetting where the heck I packed it! So, ziplock bags are my BFF and seg-way into becoming more organized.

I try and keep all of my electronics and chargers together.

(I forgot to snap a picture of just the electronics but they have their own little bag, I promise!)

As well as my hair accessories, bobby pins, back up hair tie, etc.
I even put my pre-race food and Gu's together just for convenience. 
Inside the Lululemon bag is my race outfit (top, sports bra, bottoms, socks and underwear.) I do this so that in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping I can just grab the bag, sneak into the hotel bathroom and change quickly.
Do you guys have any tips for traveling?

Just got this sample pack in the mail! Can't wait to try all of the flavors out. So far I'm all about the lemon lime flavor. Have you tried Nuun before? 

A few thoughts...
I loved what you guys said in this post!
When you decide to commit to a healthy lifestyle do it for you, not because someone tells you to. Be confident in the direction you're going. Don't let people's negative comments get you down. You will find that many people don't understand this "lifestyle" but its only because they're so accustomed to what society has told us a diet should be not what our bodies actually need. Always remember that you're doing this for YOU! Many people will question what they don't understand but don't be disheartened. Your body will be your biggest feedback tool for if your lifestyle is healthy or not. Trust me, if your body wanted more food, less exercise, etc. it will let you know in more ways than one!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Disneyland Half-marathon

I was so ready to go and so excited for this Disney race but I had to wait for Eric to get out of work since he's an accountant and it was month end. Boo! The life of an accountant's girlfriend Eric's girlfriend... always waiting.

Anyway, we arrived Friday to the Paradise Pier Hotel. 
I really like this hotel! I thought it was super cute inside!

When we got there we essentially scarfed down some food, watched the fireworks from Downtown Disney and went to bed. Real party animals we are!

Saturday morning...

Eric's aunt, cousin, and sisters were running the Cars Land 5K Rally so we went to watch it. It looked really fun and ideal for all ages - but not if you actually cared about your time. They didn't have individual timing and it looked pretty crowded so I wouldn't recommend this 5k if your taking it seriously.

After the 5k race we headed over to the expo to check in and pick up our bibs. I love race expos! Some people hate them but I enjoy browsing around.

The rest of the day we hydrated, walked around Downtown Disney and just hung out. That night as I was getting ready for bed I got a bunch of good luck texts from my friends and family wishing me well for the race; even from the most unlikely people. Maybe it's just me, but having support like means the world to me. I don't know if they'll ever understand how much I appreciate it.
My stuff all laid out and ready to go for that 4:45AM wake-up!

The Race!
Luckily, I was in corral B so I got to start pretty quick! Is it just me or are huge races (17,000 runners) like this hard to start off strong in? I felt like I couldn't get in a good rhythm the first few miles because there were just so many people running at different paces and stopping right in the middle of the road.

By the time we got into California Adventure I was over my annoyance and just started to enjoy the race. I wasn't running the apex, I wasn't really even looking at my Garmin I was just trying to soak it all in.
My pictures from inside California Adventure are just as blurry as my memory of running through it, though. There are just so many things to look at (and people to avoid bumping into!)

Same with Disneyland. Clearly I have yet to master picture taking while running.
This one of the castle I literally had to stop to take the picture to ensure that it wasn't blurry. 

After the first 4 magical miles it got a little tougher mentally and physically. We were now just running on streets and overpasses (FYI: I hate running overpasses!) and it was starting to get hotter.

Running through Angel Stadium was pretty neat at mile 9!
But the path up to Angel Stadium but pretty un-neat
No Disney magic at this point in the race. Boo!

The last few miles were also pretty un-scenic 
...but that didn't stop me from snapping pictures of myself! 
I was also texting during the race too. Shows you just how distracted and unfocused I was!
For how unfocused I was I'm happy finishing with a 2:16. Oddly enough, I wasn't even sore the next day. That just shows you how much I didn't push myself. I know I am better than that and I know next race I will PR (this is positive self-talk, people!) It was a great race to jump start my training for next race on October 21st. Camarillo Half, I'm comin' for ya!

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