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Running Isn’t Everything

Running Isn’t Everything

This week, my “on this day app” showed me seven years ago, I had my official diagnosis of a tibia stress fracture.  It was my first real running injury.  The diagnosis came a month after the actual break.  I think the original diagnosis (with a clean X-Ray) was tendinitis.

Stress fractures rarely show up on X-Rays.  In fact, I’ve never had a stress fracture that did show up within the first weeks of the break..  I tell people that X-rays are the gateway to MRI’s.

I know exactly how I caused what caused my tibia to break and it was by running my runs to fast all of the time.  I ran between 7-7:10 pace every day.  You can read about my running history in my running about page, so I’ll spare you all of those details.

In summary, at the time my PRS were much slower. I was always tired, and my training was dumb.  I was a new runner (I had been running off and on for about a year), so I didn’t know the importance of easy runs.

Most runners go through the phase of running in cheap shoes, running all their runs to fast, and then get injured.

On that day 7 years ago, I sat in the doctor’s office, crying my eyes out as they read the results.  My dad was sitting there, probably rolling his eyes.

He looked me square in my 21-year-old face and said: “Hollie, it’s just running, get ahold of yourself.”

I’ll never forget that statement because at the end of the day it is…just running.  Races, events, and running will always be there.  I don’t regret the injury, and I don’t regret any of my injuries because they have all taught me something.

This is my 21st birthday when the reality was I had a broken tibia.  The doctor told me it was “tendinitis” so didn’t boot it for a while longer.  My youngest brother seems thrilled to celebrate my birthday. 

In 2011, my tibial stress fracture taught me not to train like a moron.

In 2014, my second metatarsal fracture taught me I can’t outrun injury.  Nipping things in the bud is essential.  If I rested a week, I wouldn’t have sat out 2+ months.  You will never outrun a stress reaction, and they turn into a fracture.

In 2016, my ankle fracture taught me I have a lot more hobbies than running.  I like to run, and I blog about running but I like a lot of other things including hiking and just being active.  I mean one of my first “real” hiking adventures and I was doing yoga.  JK…yoga is not my thing.

That being said, of course, there were hard times and tears shed but running isn’t everything.

I’ve had multiple doctors visits to make sure my body is healthy, and it is.  I have the right amount of calcium, vitamin D, and I get my period every month.  My injuries have been either overuse or form.  I stress my metatarsals with how I run, so I need to be overly cautious in changing shoes as well as running too much.  It took me a long time to realize that but better late than never.

So that leads me to where the post is actually going.

I don’t rely a lot on paces and for the most part train for time versus pace.  I’ll never be a runner who cares about an 8:30 mile versus 8:33.

rabbit running me

I’m not a data nerd and don’t even log into my Garmin app very often. Strava doesn’t interest me for many reasons including safety, but I also don’t care enough for the data portion.  I don’t need head pats and likes to get me out of the door.  I do it because I like it.

It’s another reason I don’t see the point to log pace and lose sleep over an of an easy run.

(Since my tibia break, I’ve never had the issue of going to fast for recovery and easy). I want to know that data for races or workouts, but I just listen to my body on easy run or recovery runs.

To tell you the type of runner and person I am, this morning I finished a run with my friend Alexis and she asked: what does your watch read?  I said 9.95 and she asked if I wanted to get to 10…I just shrugged and said it didn’t matter.  One of my most significant personal accomplishments for my anxiety is not to sweat the small things.  Will I remember next week I ran 9.95 versus 10.01…no.

I’m not lazy, and I do work hard.  I don’t feel like I have to prove that to anyone because I know it for myself.  If you cut corners in your training, you are only hurting yourself.  I’m not hurting “X the Instagrammer” because I’m lying about workouts, runs, or races…I’m just hurting me.

Originally, this was written in more of a diary format and I wasn’t going to post it.  Sometimes it’s just cathartic to get information out there.

Then I was told, and I also realized, I have been lazy with my training logs because I don’t really know who reads them.  I don’t care if I get 10 comments or none but if no one ever comments, how on earth would I even know someone is reading? So I figured people weren’t reading my blog anymore.  That is totally fine and I never expect anyone to read anything I write.  In fact, I’ll tell personal friends stories and they’ll say: oh I read that on your blog.  I never think anyone reads anything. It’s fun when people do, and the commentary is fun but I don’t expect it.  Bloggers aren’t celebrities and having the most followers is like having monopoly money…when you log off the computer…no one cares.

So where am I with Running Now?

This summer I have been running easy and doing workouts when I can.

I am a high mileage runner and I thrive on high mileage and racing all of the time but I absolutely can’t do that year round.  I’ll injure myself or burn myself out. I’ve learned that lesson too many times. This summer I put the brakes on and while I’m running 45-60 minutes and longer runs a couple of days a week I’m not hitting double digits every day.  I will do that again, hopefully in the fall, but I won’t that mistake of doing that year round and hurting myself.  Sure it’s boring because I’m not racing every weekend, and I could put more effort into my training logs.

That being said, I am in shape but I’m not in peak shape, and your body can’t be year round.  If you asked me to race a half marathon right now, I think I could run somewhere around 1:30 but my PR is 1:22.  To get to 1:22, I do have to up training and mileage.  I have to run hard, fine-tune fitness, and train for a goal.

Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

Right now I’m running the Under Armour 25k trail race in Killington, this weekend.  A completely different goal than a PRing half marathon or having any road goal.  My goal is literally to finish healthy.  I do plan to train for a goal (road) race in the fall, but the other component is I’m often at the mercy of my husband’s schedule.  We have a few more things to sort out, but I do plan to train for a fall goal race.   Once I have a decision and bib for a race, the blogging world will be the first to know (well maybe my parents).

This is one of my longest posts about life, running, and everything in between so thank you for staying with me if you did.  I never really anticipated posting it but the timing just seemed right. 

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Blogging is Dying.

Blogging is Dying.

Blogging is Dying.

There I said it.

I’ve actually had a document on my computer titled: “blogging is dying” for a couple of months now.  Past that, I haven’t continued the post.  Maybe I was waiting for the best moment to post it, maybe not.  Either way, blogging is slowly dying.

I’ve contemplated writing this post for a while now, but I don’t know where to begin.  It’s probably a mismatched bunch of words that don’t flow together but when is that anything new?

So here we go:

I started blogging in 2010 when blogging was beginning to grow.  Everyone was blogging!

It was the new thing to do instead of writing a Facebook update that was 10 pages long.  I think in 2010, I followed close to 20 blogs.  I was captivated by their writing, and it ranged from runners, to triathletes, to even a chocolate blog (you know).

I followed people with similar interests.  Most people were posting at least a few times a week, if not more.  To be honest, I think most blogs posted daily, which I did too!

2012-2014, continued the trend and blogging continued to grow.  As the years went by, new social media was created.

There were so many new platforms:

Instagram: To take photos of everything you did!

Twitter: To write short burbs and updates about life!

Facebook pages: When one facebook isn’t enough, get two!

Pinterest and more (to save blogs, recipes, and whatever else you’ll read or follow up on!

I remember kicking my feet at getting twitter…ugh another thing, I couldn’t keep up.  I ultimately got most of them, except for Pinterest, because I just pin cat memes.

Then 2013 was a big year for me.  I moved four times: New York to Virginia to Texas to New Jersey.  I ran my first marathon, and moved in with a boyfriend at the time who put a ring on it (yes Tim).  It was the year where I had no idea what I wanted to do.  I lived off of savings, made some money blogging, and just job searched like any early 20 year old.

In 2014, life settled down a little bit (not much, but enough).  My husband and I got engaged, settled in NJ, and I finally set a half marathon PR.  2014 for blogging was probably my “biggest year”.

What does biggest in blogging even mean?

Most page views?  Most engagement?  Most money made?

All three!

blog stats

Then in 2014, a lot of things on the internet changed.  Social media channels began to grow, and many runners turned to Instagram to document and give running advice.  I tried to go that route with long blog post captions but quickly realized I liked Instagram for taking photos of pretty places.  It isn’t my personal preference to write a novel caption about how inspired I was to get out there.

I run and come home.  I don’t have an inspiring story about every run, I just get out there and do it.  I’m just a woman in the Garden State trying to make it look cool. I don’t like to post half-naked photos and don’t like to give advice about running.  I don’t want my account to be running only and don’t want to create a separate Instagram account for my personal life either.

My Instagram is my life whether I have a blog or not.  It isn’t limited to running, because my life isn’t limited to running.  Maybe I’ll never have a niche, but that is fine.  My blog talks more about my training and life, while Instagram is just photos and short captions.  A couple of weeks ago, my husband I celebrated our anniversary. Not running, but part of my life.

View this post on Instagram

Celebrating our 3 year anniversary.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Anyway, with the growth of Instagram and other social media, came the slow fall of blogging.

It isn’t just blogging that has fallen, and many running publications have ceased too.  For instance, Competitor magazine only exists online.  Runners World was acquired by Hearst.

This post isn’t too bash anything or anyone.  It’s just to briefly explain what I’ve observed in the last several years.  It’s not the only view, and for some their blog has gotten bigger, which is great!

In summary, social media such as Instagram has grown.  People would prefer free advice versus paying, and to be honest, people don’t want or have the time and interest to read blogs anymore.

So How do You Support Blogs?

The easiest way to support any blogger or let them know you’re reading is occasionally comment (and no I’m not begging for comments).  Commenting or sharing posts/articles are two big ways to support bloggers without doing much.

Many people have told me in person, “love your blog” and to be honest I’m shocked they read.  Sure, right now I average about 500 page views a day, but I rarely get more than 1-2 comments per post, so I have no clue who reads, if anyone!  No one is a mind reader.  I don’t expect anyone to read, but it’s always nice to hear from people who are.

I will still blog because I like too.  I’ve stopped blogging every day, but I’ll continue to blog.  This post is not meant to be negative, or put anyone down.  It’s just the trend i’ve noticed throughout several years of blogging (which of course different people notice different things).

Questions for you:

How long have you been blogging? Is blogging dying? Discuss?

Saucony Triumph ISO 4 Shoe Review

Saucony Triumph ISO 4 Shoe Review

Recently, I integrated the Saucony Triumph ISO 4 into my rotation.  It’s one of the few shoes I seem to try each updated model.  In summary, I personally liked the original Triumph ISO the best.  As the shoe is updated more, I’ve found other Saucony shoes that I like better included the Freedom and even the cheaper Saucony Ride 10.

saucony triumph 4 shoe review

Fit:

The fit is different than the Triumph 3 and actually reminds me a lot more of both the original Triumph ISO and the Triumph ISO 2.  The shoe is actually a little longer than the 3, but still narrow.  Throughout the years, I’ve worn anywhere from a 9.5-10.5 wide in the Triumph.  This year, I find the 10 wide to be the best fit for me.

I found an interesting issue, I haven’t had before with the Triumph that the midfoot is much more snug.  Typically, I have liked the Triumph ISO, because it is a wider shoe model.  While there is sufficient room, I did find the updated model to be much narrower (even the wide) in the midfoot region.

Finally, if you have never run in Saucony shoes, the heel counter is much lower than other models.  I’ve never had an issue “running or slipping out of the shoe,” and don’t know anyone who has, but it is something to be aware of!  We have many people that come into work that don’t like the shoe because of the low heel.  It’s also a hard shoe to put orthotics and inserts into.

Ride:

The Saucony ISO 4 has gone through a few significant changes.  One is that the entire bottom is lined with the Everun foam.  Previous models included about half EVA and half Everrun.

Now, it’s full Evverun.

Why does this matter?  It makes the Saucony ISO 4 much firmer than previous models.  It’s has become much more responsive, but still cushioned shoe.  In fact, it’s much more similar to the Saucony Freedom.

Changing to an entire bottom of Everun means the shoe’s dynamic drastically changes.  If you have run in the Saucony  Freedom, it will feel much more similar.  The Triumph ISO 4 feels much less soft and much firmer than the previous Triumph models.

Summary:

  • I do personally like the Saucony Triumph ISO 4.  I’ve put just over 100 miles and not had an issue.  While the midfoot is tighter than previous models, it’s not uncomfortable.
  • The shoe itself does feel drastically different, both in fit as well as ride.  It’s definitely not a model of shoe I would buy blindly online.
  • Sadly, with the integration of the full bottom of Everrun, the retail price of the ISO 4 has gone up to $160.
  • Personally, I’ll continue running in it, and I think it’s one of the better versions Saucony has made in the last two years.  The original ISO was still my favorite.

Keep in mind, these are all personal preferences.  Saucony is not paying me to review their shoes.  What works for me, might not work for you.  All of our feet are different. 

Current Rotation:

Daily Runs: Saucony Triumph ISO 4, Brooks Glycerin 15 and Hoka Clifton 4
Workouts: Altra Escalante, Nike Zoom Fly
Races: Saucony Type A and Saucony Endorphin

Questions for you:
What is your favorite running shoe?
Is there a model, you’ve run through several models?

60 Days with Collagen

60 Days with Collagen

Last month, I asked twitter what people preferred to see on LOLZ blog.  This is a blog about my life, journey, running, training, fitness, diners, military life and run on sentences and poor grammar.  While hard to classify what is LOLZ blog, it’s mainly about my life and journey.  If readers are interested in something in particular than I always try to include it.

benefits of collagen

One thing that popped up was more about food and diet.  Please keep in mind, I’m not an expert.  I’m not a dietician, and I’m not a nutritionist.  I do have a public health degree and took several college classes in health.  I still have a hand in the general public health environment (and no, it not because I blog LOL), although not as much in the food realm.

Moving forward, I’ve decided to share a new supplement I’ve been taking over the last 60 days.  With any review and supplement, I think it’s important to give it time.  Like running shoes, you can’t say you “love” something after 1-2 runs and you certainly can’t know a supplement is life changing after a week.

That being said, I started taking Collagen with Vital Proteins 2 months ago, and I’ve found myself recovering faster from workouts and runs.  Vital proteins sent me the original sample, but because I’ve found myself to be successful with it, so I’ve continued to purchase!  

What is Collagen?

When Vital Proteins contacted me, I wasn’t familiar with every benefit of Collagen.  I knew what Collagen was, but that was about it.

Collagen is a protein in the body found in muscles, bones, skin, nails, joints, the digestive system, and tendons.

Why Supplement and Why Vital Proteins?

While yes collagen exists in food, it’s hard to find. Due to the nature of collagen, it comes from the broth of animals.  That is why you see more and more athletes drinking bone broth!  Here is a few source of natural collagen:

  • Bone Broth
  • Eggs are one of the other few foods to contain collagen
  • Salmon

Thinking out loud, as delicious as both eggs and salmon are, it’s nearly impossible to eat them every day.  That is why finding a supplement like Vital Proteins is worth it.

vital proteins collagen benefits

My favorites as of now are:

Like protein powder, Vital Proteins dissolves well in water.  Each scoop contains 35-40 calories and about 10 grams of protein.  It also includes your daily dose of collagen.  I feel healthy just thinking about it!

Why is Collagen Great for Runners? 

Joint Health

Runners are constantly pounding their joints.  This decreases the cartilage in the knees and other areas.  In the running world, it’s not uncommon to hear athletes talk about “bone on bone” and needing surgery to repair it.

How does Collagen Help your Knees?

  • Increases lubrication around joints to make more mobile
  • Helps to increase bone density (A BIG ONE FOR RUNNERS!)
  • Reduces inflammation around joints and improves healing of connective tissues
  • Every seving contains 10 grams of protein in 35-45 calories.

Lastly, Skin Health!

One huge benefit outside of running is Collagen helps to replace dead skin cells.  If you know me, you know I’ve never had perfect, flawless skin.  I suffered from acne in high school as well as adult acne a few years ago.  No amount of makeup or Instagram filter made it better.  I do see a dermatologist, which has been great but I’ll never have perfect skin.  Collagen doesn’t treat acne or medical conditions but it will help to replace dead skin cells and make your skin look smoother.  I can personally say I’ve had success with that.

While Vital Proteins, sent me an initial sample, I’ve now been using and purchasing it for myself.  I feel better, and my skin looks better, and it’s something I’ve found helpful for me!

Questions for you:

Do you take any supplements?

Have you ever tried a collagen supplement?

New Balance 880 Shoe Review

New Balance 880 Shoe Review

I haven’t run in many New Balance Shoes since college.  Since working at a running store the last few years, I’ve tried New Balance shoes on, but I’ve never run a significant amount of mileage in them.  The only New Balance shoe I’ve tried in the past few years is the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante.

New Balance 880v7 shoe review

After a couple hundred miles, I realized it wasn’t enough cushion for me and looked cute so I made it a kick around shoe.  The 880v7 sells well at our store and it’s a comfortable shoe. Since I’ve been enjoying various models and brands lately, I thought it would be the perfect time to come back to the brand.  The 880 is a neutral shoe and lift weight shoe.  It’s the 7th version, but I haven’t run in any of the previous versions.

I’m not sponsored by New Balance, nor are they paying me to write this. My opinions are my own. 

Fit:

I haven’t run in previous models but based on trying previous versions I can tell the 880v7 is wider. The shoe itself comes in both wide and double wide.

Like many current styles of running shoes, the 880v7 has a seamless upper which accommodates bunions and wider feet.  New Balance is usually known to fit more full feet and to be honest, I find this to be one of the widest neutral shoes out there.  I usually wear 10-10.5 wide in shoes, and in the 880v7 I wear a 10 in the 880.

New Balance 880v7 shoe review

Ride:

The New Balance 880v7 has standard cushioning.  It’s not a minimal shoe or a high cushion shoe but somewhere in the middle.  It’s great for training for the mile or marathon, in fact recently Emma Coburn said it was one of her favorite shoes!  It must be good right?

The cushioning technology is called TRUFUSE which is softer than many other brands.  It has a 10 mm drop and weighs 9.2 ounces for women.  It feels a lot more cushioned than it is, and not as flat as many New Balance shoes.

New Balance 880v7 shoe review

I’ve run anywhere from 2-10 miles in the shoe and it feels good at both the beginning at the end of the run.  Compared to other brands, it does feel a little heavier on my foot. That’s not a bad thing.

Runs I’ve enjoyed the most for soft services such as trails and compacted snow.

Summary:

Right now, the 880v7 is in my rotation as a shoe for an everyday run.  I usually keep it to my days around an hour, but there isn’t a reason for that.

So far I’ve put just over 100 miles on the shoe, and it’s been good to me.  New Balance, themselves, have done a lot of fantastic updates with their shoes recently and definitely different from that stereotypical, “all white leather shoe” which they still make too.

Current Rotation:

Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin 15, Hoka Clifton 4, Saucony Ride 10, and New Balance 880V7

Speed Work: Nike Zoom Fly, Altra Escalante

Racing: Saucony Type A or Endorphin

Questions for you:

What brand of shoe are you running the most in?

What is your favorite shoe?

Staying Fit During the Off Season

Staying Fit During the Off Season

Some off seasons I work hard to keep a base and stay fit.  Some off seasons, I don’t.  This year, I didn’t and I can definitely feel the difference.  I have no regrets about that and fitness will come back.  Last week, a reader, Mike, asked about keeping a base in the off season.

Everyone needs a break in their running.  Running year round can result in injury or like me: burnout.  Feeling completely out of shape isn’t the most pleasent way to begin running again, and there are ways to cross train and get the most from an off season.  Ultimately, the off season should be used to rest and recover.

Here are a Few Methods I’ve Used to Keep Fitness:  

Create a Schedule or Plan:

Like when you are running, it’s important to create a plan.  Whether you want make a goal to run 2-3 times a week, cross train, or whatever, just make a plan.  When you aren’t training for anything, it becomes easy to just not do anything.  Believe me, from late April until early June, I took a week of rest which turned into 2 months.  I worked out sometimes, but not enough to keep any base fitness.  I was fine with that though!

Create a Realistic Plan:

Sure you could dedicate the amount you currently dedicate to running, but it’s an off season.  Thinking out loud, you aren’t supposed to go hard, you are supposed to relax and enjoy other things.  I typically recommend about half the time you would dedicate to running but make the plan realistic for you.  Find new hobbies you enjoy, do new things, or heck do nothing at all.

Do New Things:

If all you do during your running off season is run or run fewer miles, it’s not really an off season.

Here are some other examples of other great fitness options:

Strenght Training: Some off seasons I get into it, some off seasons I don’t.  I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable in it but you can get great strength training advice from those who are or a certified coach.

Swimming: If you read LOLZ blog long ago, you might remember I swam far before I ran. Swimming is a great full body workout.  Let’s be honest, it’s more fun in the summer and outdoors but it’s just as good in the winter too.

Yoga: Yoga is becoming trendy.  Especially hot yoga, now that it’s getting colder.

Spinning and Cycling: I’ve done a few spin classes before.  I don’t need (or want) to invest in a road bike and fun spin classes are good enough for me.  Plus normally they have top 40s music, which I like.

Group Classes: Personally, I like group classes in strength and cardio because I feel like it’s more fun, I actually do core and strength, and I like pop music.

Cardio Machines: Most runners like cardio marchines as much as they like the treadmill. I like them because I can catch up on Netflix, TV shows, or just be mindless for an hour and still get a good workout in.  Sometimes, I catch up on the social media too.  You can go nuts and raise your heart rate if you want, but gym equipment is all about what you put into it.  If you slowly pedal an elliptical, you won’t get as good of a workout as if you go crazy pretending you are racing the elliptical user next to you.

Finally and Just as Important as Working Out: Don’t Forget about your Diet.

When you aren’t burning as many calories, you don’t need to eat as much.  This is something I’ve always personally struggled with and I typically gain anywhere from 5-10 pounds.  I did from April until now too.  You should not deprive yourself but you probably don’t need to eat 5 cookies after a strength session.  It’s all about balance.

Keeping a base has it’s place, just like everything else in the fitness world.  I am a firm beliver, that it’s important to take a fair amount of rest so your body will be ready for the next training cycle.

Related Posts:
How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy
Why Building a Base is So Important for Running
Quick Core Ideas for Runners
Why Rest? Why Cross Train?

Questions for you:
What are your favorite things to do during an off season?
Do you take an off season?  Why or Why Not? 

How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy

How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy

A few weeks ago, I posted about building a base for running.  Since then, I’ve been trekking along.  I’ve slowly either increased mileage or added speed work (in the form of races).

Over a month ago, thinking out loud, my longest run was about 6 miles.  Last week, I ran 10, and while I was tired, I wasn’t injured.  My paces have slowly gotten faster, and my body has become less and less fatigued.

After writing the post, several people emailed and asked to write different posts about the importance of the base building.  Believe me, without a foundation your training will crumble, and you will get injured.  I’ve been there, and the last thing you want is to be injured shortly after training again.  So here we are, back to base building.  Please keep in mind I’m not a professional, coach, or getting paid.  I’ve just been around the injury block a few times…

In Short, to Build a Successful Base, you Should Focus on Three Principles:

  1. The Length of Your Longest Run (don’t increase it too quickly)
  2. The Length of Your Weekly Runs
  3. Don’t forget rest!  Take an easier week every 3 weeks (the rest is the most important!)

After about a month, you should see an increase in endurance and less injury prone.   

That fitness increase is currently what I am seeing.  When I began running again, my paces were probably closer to 10 min miles.  Now I’m running about 9:15 and race.  I’m running longer and a bit faster.

During your base building phase, you should run longer to build more endurance and stamina. 

First, I do not mean go out and run 20 miles every day (or ever…running 20 milers every day isn’t wise).  You should slowly increase your mileage and keep it easy.  There is no point to race your training runs.  That will also lead to injury.

You should slowly increase your mileage and keep it easy.  There is no point to race your training runs.  That will also result in injury.

But What are the Benefits of Running Longer and Easier? 

  • Build Mental Toughness
  • Improve Muscular Strength
  • Become More Energy Efficient

So How Fast Should I Run? 

Once again, I’m not an expert and I’m speaking purely on experience.  Personally, I’ve found that running anywhere from 60-90 seconds slower than your race pace has worked.  Most of the time during base building, I don’t bring a watch with me.

During easy runs, you should be able to “talk” the entire time.  Realistically, you shouldn’t increase your long run by more than 1-2 miles every week.

Finally, The Importance of a Rest Week: 

Around 4 weeks, you should cut back your distance. Otherwise, you’ll set yourself up for an injury.  You cannot continuously build your mileage, or your body will break.  You will lead to a small injury or issue.

Taking a couple of rest days can save an entire season of running.  Stress fractures aren’t a single injury but form over weeks of continuous stress.

In short, building a base takes time.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is fitness.  

Related Posts:
Why Building a Base is So Important for Running
How Easy is it to “Get Out of Running Shape”?
Racing My Way to Fitness

Questions for you:
How do you build your base?
What is your favorite type of run?  Easy? Long Runs? Tempo? Race? 

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