Tips for Morning Workouts

Tips for Morning Workouts

Recently I received a question about running and working out in the morning.   I haven’t always been a “morning runner,” but since graduating college, I’m a morning runner 99% of the time.  If I don’t run before 9 am, chances are I don’t run.  Of course, it doesn’t include races, although I did wish they all started before 9.

I will be the first to tell you it’s much easier to run in the morning during the summer.  It gets lighter earlier, and it’s warmer.  You don’t feel as though you’re ripping blankets off to go for a run in the dark and cold.  With my constant change of schedule, it’s better for me to get the run done earlier.

I posted a long time ago that I don’t drink coffee before I run.  I used to drink coffee right when I woke up almost every day. However, I had one bad race (the Distance series in 2013? 2014? And that ruined it for me.

Recently I was sent Alert Caffeine Gum to try.  I’ve heard of caffeinated gum before, and it seems like a lot of people swear by it.  Thinking out loud, I’m not a huge gum chewer, but I was excited to give it a shot.  Like anything, you don’t know until you try!

Alert Caffeinated Gum

Here are some other ways I prepare myself to workout in the morning:

Sleep: I am known to turn my technology off around 9-9:30 pm.  I might go to bed a little later, but I stop fiddling with the computer, texting, etc.  It allows me to wind down and actually get to bed.  Tweeting at the pillowcase keeps me wide awake.

Set an Alarm (or 2 or 10): I’ve adjusted to waking up between 5-5:30 am most mornings.  To be honest, at this point it doesn’t phase me.  However, it didn’t use to be like that, and I needed an alarm to pull me out of bed.

Check the Weather: Mentally I like to have an idea if I’ll be running inside or outside.  Or if it’s going to be snowing, pouring rain, or windy.  Not all surprises are good ones.

Make Sure. You Have Appropriate Gear Clean: Many bloggers will tell you to lay your clothing out, and I think that is fantastic advice, however, for me if I have appropriate gear cleaned and findable, I consider it a good day.

Caffeine! As I mentioned, I no longer drink coffee before I run.  I was lucky enough to be sent Alert Caffeine GumAlert Caffeine Gum to try.  I’ve consistently chewed a piece after breakfast, and I do feel a bit more jazzy during my run.  I don’t feel like I’m slogging through the first mile.

I’ve also tried Alert Gum in the middle of the day, and it doesn’t keep me up at night.  It has half the caffeine of a cup of coffee which is a great amount for me.

Alert Gum is available in Mint or Fruit flavors, and each pack has 8 pieces.  It’s available on Amazon or Walmart for $2.99. Personally, I like the fruity flavor the best.

Finally, Stick to It:  Sometimes we want to change but aren’t willing to give it time.  Give your new routine at least 2 weeks.  If after two weeks, it’s not for you, find something that is!

Thank you Alert Caffeine Gumfor sponsoring this post!

Questions for you:
What time do you like to workout?
Do you have any methods to wake up in the morning?

2017 Goals

2017 Goals

Now that I’ve finally gotten settled in Alabama, I thought it’s a good time to write out my 2017 goals.  Thinking out loud, it’s better late then never to write down yearly goals

I recapped 2016 here and despite an injury, I PRed in almost every distance.  However, most of those PRs were in the first two months of the year so my PRs are almost a year old. 

So What are My Plans for 2017?

Right now, I don’t have any spring marathon plans.  After running a 20 miler last fall, I realized my body and mind were not ready for marathon training.  I have not completely ruled out a marathon again for the fall but I’ll revisit that topic in 6 months. To be realistic, my chances of running a marathon in 2017 are probably slim too.

My major goal race this year is: April Fools Half Marathon:

It’s not far from home and I enjoy the race.  (I ran it in 2014 and 2016…I would have run it in 2015 but I got married that weekend).  While it’s one of the smaller races I plan to run this year, I like the timing, the atmosphere and the race is well put together. I have nothing but positive things to say about the race which is why I chose it for my Spring Goal Race.

Last year at the April Fools Half in the 50 MPH wind

Last year at the April Fools Half in the 50 MPH wind

But If you follow this blog then you know I love racing.  One race per 6 months doesn’t cut it for me.  The rest of the races will be tuneups.  I will still run hard but I won’t taper for them.  Maybe by some miracle, I’ll PR but honestly probably not.  I like running races for the social aspect and because I enjoy racing versus doing workouts. I don’t run 10,000 races per year expecting to PR…I run 10,000 races a year (or about 40), for the sense of community, atmosphere and seeing friends. Plus, I can. It’s something both my husband and I enjoy doing.

Is running a bunch of races more expensive than doing a workout at home? 

Of course! For me, the experiences outweigh the cost and it’s something I’m willing to pay.  Running is a hobby and racing is something I enjoy.  I like the atmosphere, seeing other runners achieve their goals and being surrounded by people enjoying the same hobby.  We choose to spend money on things we enjoy.  My husband and I both enjoy running and that is one thing we spend money on.

Some races will be done on tired legs or with the intention to do a tempo. 

Some will be raced at “how I feel” on untapered legs. 

There will be more local races added to the schedule but for now this is what we’ve come up:

Tune Up Races:

2/4 Double Bridges 15k (Pensacola)

2/12 Mercedes Half Marathon (Birmingham)

The race falls two months after the Dallas half marathon and will be a good way to feel out how my legs are doing and responding to my coach and new work outs.  It will be a key race to determine the next phase of training for Atlantic City.

3/16 Shamrock Half Marathon (Virginia Beach): Most likely, I will not run as hard as possible but it’s one of my all time favorite races so every year I’m healthy…my runderwear toe the line.

4/1 Phillies 5k (Philadephia)

5/1 Broad Street 10 Miler (Philadelphia)

Of course I’ll hop into local 5ks to support schools and local causes.  I like running local 5ks and it’s about getting out there and being part of a community.  Many people I see at those races are people I’ve helped with shoes, athletes that have come into the store or causes that are important to me.

Those are the major races I have for the next few months.

Questions for you:

Which races are you doing this year?

What is one of your 2017 goals? 

Bettering Yourself with a New Years Resolution

Bettering Yourself with a New Years Resolution

This isn’t the typical New Year’s Resolution post declaring my New Years Resolutions.  I have my own personal resolutions, goals, and dreams I want to achieve in 2017 but that is a post for another day.

This also isn’t the post to say that I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions.

Long term readers know New Year’s resolutions is a topic I’ve written about several times.  I feel strongly about them and believe it’s important to share, most, if not every year. It’s also a reminder for myself!

 

So What is this Post about?

Every year on January 1st many people begin a journey to better themselves.  They create New Year’s Resolutions that include anything from fitness goals, life goals, to work goals or chasing dreams.  The majority of the population makes a resolution or goal they are looking to achieve in the new year.

According to studies, only 8% of people keep with their New Year’s resolutions.  If you think about it, that is still 8% more than last year.  That is over 59 million people who better themselves each year. 

While people make many different resolutions, this post is more about running, fitness and gym related goals.

It is about the people that join a gym each year to achieve their goals. 

It is also about the people judging those that are new to a fitness program. 

Each year I see “in shape” or fitness oriented friends complain about their gyms are crowded on January 1st.  I have even seen posts about how dumb having a New Years Resolution is.  There is everything from how silly new people look at the gym or even photos of people working out for the first time.

Please remember if someone has not given you permission to include their photo on your blog or social media, you shouldn’t.  It is never a good idea.  It is never appropriate to take a photo of someone without their permission, especially to make fun of them. 

I’m indifferent towards people who want to begin a new life on January 1st.  I’m happy for them to make positive changes in their life.  If they want to do it January 1st, great!  If they want to do is June 23…also great! I don’t believe you need to wait until January 1st to make life changes and any calendar date will do but if you start your journey then, so be it!

As a member of a local gym, I can relate that sure, having more people can be an inconvenience because there are fewer machines available.  The reality is everyone at the gym is paying for the same membership.  No one is more entitled to a piece of equipment because you have been a gym member for 1 day or 1000. If a person “getting in your way” annoys you, purchase your own home gym equipment.

Every single person from an elite marathoner to a star quarterback started somewhere.  Who knows where someone started, maybe it was with a New Years Resolution?

Judging someone based on their fitness level is ridiculous.  When people first begin something, they are the most self-conscious.

Personally, I can remember the first time I went to the gym.  I was 18 years old and was nervous the rest of the patrons were judging me.  I tried every machine in the fitness center in 10 minutes.  I had no idea what I was doing.

Gradually I found things that worked for me.  The first few months I was hyper aware of everything and everyone.  I had several thoughts including:

Was that person laughing?  Must be at me…

Are those people chatting? They must be chatting about me…

When I go to a new class such as spin or strength training, I still have those thoughts.

So as you ring in the New Years, remember that a New Years resolution might not be your thing, but some people are trying to better themselves.  Sure, some people might fail, but many will succeed.  I encourage you to think about when you were first beginning your fitness journey and not be upset with others for attempting to begin their fitness journey.

Questions for you:

When did you start your fitness journey?

Do you have a New Years Resolution?

2016 Race Bucket List

As 2016 begins, I have started thinking about a race bucket list.  In a world where I stayed injury free and my schedule allowed I would be able to do all of the races I’ve had my eyes on. Who knows, I doubt I’ll get to all of them this year, but there are a few races I’ve had my eyes on!

2016 running race bucket list

January: 
The Carlsbad Half Marathon
I’ve heard this race is scenic and beautiful.  I was born in San Diego, and I’ve been dying to go back.  The half looks much flatter than the full marathon, plus San Diego weather beats the East Coast.

March: 
The Shamrock half marathon
2016 will (hopefully) be my fifth year running Shamrock.  I love the race series, and J&A does an excellent job putting the race together.  I recommend it to anyone!

It’s a flat, fast and crowd supported course and I would like to better my best Shamrock time of 1:25.14, if not just flat out PR.

At least I look jazzy right?

From last year

Shamrock Legacy: 
Year 1: 1:33.30
Year 2: 1:25.14
Year 3: 1:25.29
Year 4: 1:33:06 (two weeks post marathon and having hamstring/hip issues)

April: 
The April Fools half
The April Fools half marathon is where I set my PR 1.5 years ago.  The Atlantic City Race directors do an incredible job.  For being in such a large city, I love how low key the race is.  Plus it’s in a decent time of the year, and the only thing to worry about is how windy it is.

September: 
Air force half OR full
It scares me to put potentially another full marathon on the calendar. The fall is a very long time away.  My training has been going well, and if I can remain injury free, I would like to run either the Air Force half or full this year.  I’ve run two marathons and not enjoyed either but maybe the third time is a charm…or maybe not.

But hopefully I'll be more prepared than this if I choose that route.

But hopefully I’ll be more prepared than this if I choose that route.

I won’t run another full marathon until I have not only Pred in my shorter distances but am satisfied with my progress. Marathons are always there, and there is no reason to sign up until I’m ready to run another one.

Those are just a few races that come to mind.  I do plan to fill my schedule with plenty of 5ks, 10ks and halves, but these are a few I’ve had my eyes on!

There will be many races I’ll train and race untapered as a workout, and there are many races I’ll run after tapering and resting.

Questions for you:
Do you have a race bucket list? 
What is your all time favorite race?

FitStudio

As most people know, I was a SEARS ambassador throughout the Holiday months.  In exchange for Holiday gift cards (which we bought lots of Christmas lights), I posted about my Holiday shopping.  They have asked me to continue working with them on another campaign and I could not be more excited.

Sears has partnered and created a new website called Fitstudio.  My role as a Sears blogger is to bring awareness to this new website.  I don’t receive  compensation if you click the link, ect. I wanted to wait a few weeks to test out the website for myself to gather my own thoughts.  I can’t bring awareness to something I don’t know anything about.

————-

The website FitStudio.com by Sears allows you to put your fitness apps and tools to good use and get rewarded at the same time. Not only that but it features gear reviews, rewards, exercises, workout programs, and tips.

The short summary is: Fitstudio is a new social media website that allows you to exchange exercise for points.  You can use the points to shop at Sears.   One thing I personally like is that the app is completely free.  There are a lot of online workout programs that cost a monthly fee to belong too.  They also give exclusive deals to their members.  Yesterday I could have saved a bunch of money on a new elliptical (just for being a member).

Not only is it free but it rewards you for being active with the Points for Progress program’s #Achieve15 (wahoo more hashtags)

How to Earn Points:

The #Achieve15 program encourages members to run or walk 15 miles or burn 1,500 calories each week.  Then they reward you for achieving these goals with $5 of Shop Your Way.  So each 15 mile week goes towards Sears store credit.  You can break this up however you like: 15 mile run…1 mile walk 15 times…whatever.

Before I was a Sears blogger I had a general idea of items Sears sold.  I have bought several pieces of clothing, power tools (not for me LOLZ), furniture and jewelry at Sears.  When I became a Sears blogger and did more research, I learned how extensive their online store is.  I had no idea Sears has almost as much stuff as amazon.  It’s overwhelming.

online shopping meme

Fitstudio allows you to earn SEARS credit to purchase anything online.  You earn money just by being active.  For some people (which is easily the majority of people reading LOLZ!), they could be earning 5 dollars a week just by utilizing the new fitstudio social media website.

healthy rewards

Questions for you:

Would you use a social media website like this?

I am now because who doesn’t like free things for staying active.

Do you shop at Sears?

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