This winter my running mileage tapered off and as I got back into building my base I landed on and stuck with four mile routes and routines for a couple weeks. Three just wasn’t enough and for some reason I didn’t have the time or the motivation to get much beyond four. I know that doing the same thing over and over can sometimes minimize results and effectiveness but I used my four mile runs as a way to experiment and achieve more out of each run. By using four miles as my distance I had a good measurement of what I could achieve in those four miles; I either improved or I didn’t. I wasn’t trying to add miles, I was trying to make those four miles as good as they could possibly be. Continue reading
I joined the Big Vanilla gym in Arnold in January 2006 during a typical New Year’s resolution high and at the time happily signed a two-year family contract for my husband and myself that seemed to be the best deal they had to offer. The Big Vanilla is extremely convenient to where I live–I can get there in about 5 minutes–and my membership is inclusive of the lap pool, spin classes, pilates classes, racquetball courts, and an enormous spread of treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines, weight machines, and free weights. All of these perks are bundled into my family monthly membership of $79. Since joining in 2006 I’ve really not had much I could complain about. Sure, I could nitpick, no gym is perfect, but there hasn’t been anything that really pushed my buttons…until now. Continue reading
I’m not a huge fan of running on treadmills. It’s also not something I’m good at which makes me like it even less. But when it’s 45 degrees outside and there is a steady, heavy, cold rain, I have to admit I’d rather run on the treadmill than in that weather. The trouble is that I’m on week 12 of training for the Richmond Marathon and I already lost one 7 mile day to the weather and my own schedule. The weekend called for 8 miles and 15 miles and I started agonizing over how I was going to make this happen as soon as I saw the forecast earlier in the week.
I had already planned to flop the 8 and 15 so that the 15 was on Saturday and the easy 8 would be on Sunday. I believe I’ve run 7 miles on a treadmill before but I literally couldn’t wrap my brain around doing 15. For the first Saturday in a very long time I did not have to set my alarm clock and I was able to just let my body sleep as long as it needed. And apparently I needed sleep; by the time I got to the gym it was 10:45 a.m.! I was headed to the gym thinking I’d shoot for 8 miles and if I could get to 15 that would be awesome; I decided to deal with the remaining miles as best I can on Sunday and if I don’t get to this week’s full 47 then I’ll just have to deal with that. Continue reading
Buying new running shoes, especially for experienced athletes, is not just a fleeting shopping moment or a purchase made on a whim. It is a thought-out, planned experience. For some, like myself, the process of buying new shoes begins months before it’s actually time to buy. For many athletes, the buying process includes researching shoes, studying their own foot type, or becoming familiar with local running stores–the act of buying new shoes is a very deliberate process.
Over a week ago my friend invited me to join her in her new shoe purchase. Like the athletes I just described she was well armed with information long before it was time to buy shoes. She knew what stores she did and didn’t like in the Baltimore and Annapolis areas, she knew why she was ready to move on from her trusty Asics, she could describe her fitness level and walk/jog work-outs, and she was well versed in the different arches of her feet and the orthotics she uses to get a comfortable fit with shoes. So when we met up at the new Charm City Run store at the Annapolis Towne Centre I knew it would not be your average shoe purchase experience.
For many of us who are dog owners, there is no question about the motivation a dog can provide to get you out of your seat and out for a run. They need exercise just as much as we do. But what if you’re really not a runner, never were, and never plan to be? But your dog is, or easily could be. I was discussing this exact scenario with a girlfriend of mine who is queen of the elliptical machine at her gym and a proud new puppy owner.
As a dog owner, she is well aware of the dog’s need for exercise and walks him regularly, but the walks don’t do for her what her regular gym routine used to do. It’s been weeks since she’s been in the air conditioned gym, bobbing along to her iPod, and sweating it out on the elliptical. While she wouldn’t trade her new pup for the world, something about dog walks that involve lots of stops for training and ‘doing business’ just isn’t cutting it for her own exercise.
What to do? Continue reading
One would think that proper running form is proper running form. To a certain extent I believe that there are fundamental components to running that apply whether one is running on a treadmill, grass, a track, or the sidewalk. However, I’m keenly aware that I run different on the treadmill than I do on my outdoor routes. For starters, I use an ipod on the treadmill as I think it’s the only way to survive the boredom of running in place. I know that running with music outside distracts me from focusing on my form and breathing so there’s a good chance that the same things happens on the treadmill but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make in order to get in those runs.
To get an idea of proper treadmill form, I paid close attention to my own form and position on the treadmill on my recent gym trip. Let’s just start with the ipod. I set it on the cup holder platform on the machine and the wires to the headphones seem to cross in front of my body in the exact area where my arm should also be moving. To compensate, I tend to swing my arms either a little lower or a little higher (depends on the day) to avoid the wires. The simple solution is to get an arm band that fits so that I don’t have to worry about the wires. However, even when I’ve run without the ipod, the angle of my arms always seems to be inconvenient. I have banged my knuckles many a time on the dashboard part of the machine. Continue reading
I am a somewhat obsessive weather checker. Weather.com is almost always an open tab on my web browser and at a minimum I look at the the forecast for the day first thing in the morning and before I go to bed I check the hourly forecast for the following morning. Knowing the temperature and predicted precipitation and wind is typically what determines what running clothes I get out in preparation for the next morning.
If there is more than a 40% chance of rain I am on the treadmill. If I wake up and it’s drizzling, I’m on the treadmill. I’ve never voluntarily gone out to run when it’s already raining. I can’t even recall a time where it started raining while I was running. Snow, yes. Rain, no. I’ve not even gone out in a warm sprinkle. But I want to. I don’t want rain to stop me from running outside. A torrential downpour? Sure, I’ll stick with my treadmill routine if it’s dumping, but I am frustrated that I let a simple spring rain keep me inside. Continue reading