Health Benefits of Running

I know I have been giving many tips about running like what shoes to wear, treadmill vs. outdoor running, and tips to stay motivated, just to name a few posts. But I have not covered the most important question: why should we run??

Other than the rewarding emotional benefits you receive from finishing your goals, running also comes along with many health benefits that I’ve noticed in my body over the past year. I thought I would share some of my favorite advantages that come from running that I found on my favorite running websites.

Active.com, one of my favorite running websites, listed a reason that has helped me – running helps lose weight. My freshman year of college definitely showed me it’s easy to gain weight – even with my cheerleading team working out twice a week. When I began to notice I gained about 7 or 8 pounds, I realized I needed to start something to help me lose a few pounds.

I quickly began to notice a difference in my weight – I dropped the unwanted pounds without changing almost anything to my diet. Running is an excellent and easy way to drop and maintain a certain weight limit. It is a fast way to burn off extra calories in a short amount of time, which makes it convenient for a busy schedule.

Another benefit for running that I found from medicaldaily.com is running reduces high blood pressure. Although I have never had high blood pressure, I can notice a change in my blood pressure and my breathing levels during my runs. My last few doctor trips in the past year have noted that I have excellent blood pressure, which has really encouraged me to keep running to maintain my health for future purposes.

This article explained that even though your blood pressure spikes while running, this should not be anything to worry about. It also mentioned that any type of aerobic exercise, including running, could lower the risk of not only high blood pressure, but also high cholesterol and diabetes.

Running can be very beneficial to your health, and it can also be very rewarding at the same time. There are plenty other benefits that running has to offer, and I suggest you look into them if you are considering to begin running or if you have been running for year. I hope you have enjoyed my favorite benefits!

Best Clothes to Run in for Warm Weather

With the weather finally starting to warm up here in south Alabama, I am super excited about continuing my half marathon training!! It is so much easier to run in warmer weather, because you do not have to worry about what certain layers to wear for those chilly winter days.

Running in warmer weather also helps to keep me motivated, because who doesn’t want to go out in this beautiful weather?? I

I am going to share what my favorite go-to styles are for warm weather running. It is so simple and easy to get your running outfit ready to go for the summertime.

My favorite shorts to run in are the Nike Tempo running shorts. I have way too many pairs of them, but they are so comfy and perfect for running. These shorts are not too tight and they have plenty of room for your legs to stretch during your run. I wear them all the time, whether it’s for my daily workout or for a lazy day when I don’t feel like dressing up.IMG_0853_2

When it comes to what top to wear, I don’t have one favorite brand preference. I also run in t-shirts some days and tank tops on other days. When the weather begins to get really hot in the summer, I prefer tank tops so I don’t have any extra fabric sticking to me. Old Navy has an Activewear brand that has the best tank tops. They are light, breezy, and usually pretty cheap! This tank is an Activewear top from Old Navy, and it is definitely one of my favorites!IMG_0856_2

On some of my running days, including race days, I like to wear hats occasionally, especially when the sun is super bright outside. It helps to provide coolness and shade.

It is important to make sure you are dressing appropriately according to the weather for your runs. The main goal is to be comfortable during your run, and having the wrong clothes on that makes you either too hot or too cold can make your run pretty miserable.

I hope these examples of running clothes for warm weather help you for your future runs!

My Next New Pair of Running Shoes

Which type of shoes to run in is always a major question for all runners. When I first started running, I got a pair of Brooks, which you can clearly see it’s about time for a new pair.

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I always heard Brooks are a great pick for running shoes. And I have to agree because mine have lasted over a year now and are still holding up, even though they look pretty rough. There are plenty of different options to choose from depending on choice of support, lightness, and even whether you run more on pavement or on trails. Brooks has a five-question survey that will give you the best shoe picked for you to give you the best run possible.

Since I am getting ready to retire my Brooks, I wanted to look at a different brand of running shoes just to try. When I have been at races, I always look at others shoes to see what they are running in, and the shoes I found most popular other than Brooks are Asics, Saucony, Mizunos, and Nike.

I have a pair of the Nike Free 5.0’s and I love them, but I cannot run in them because they do not have enough support. I mainly wear them just for fashion or to the gym when I am going to be on the elliptical. These shoes could probably use a good cleaning too, since I have been wearing them for the past year!IMG_0813

So, to figure out which brand I want, I looked at some different websites to see what others thought was the best. Runner’s World listed a 2015 Spring Shoe Guide, which I found very helpful. The editor’s choice is the Saucony Triumph ISO, and the reviews were very helpful, describing the shoe as having comfort and also great support.

The price for this type of shoe is $150, which is about average, maybe a little over average. But most tips I found have always said to spend the extra money on shoes because you will definitely fell the difference in your runs.

I hope you have enjoyed my pictures and also my information that has helped me to decide on my next pair of running shoes!

Long Distance Running Tips

Since I am getting into to my longer runs, I thought providing some tips for long distance running would be perfect for this week’s post. This week, my long run is 9 miles, so these tips I found the most helpful will hopefully guide me through my long runs in the next few weeks!

 

Tip #1: Think of your long run as just another run. I personally believe long distance training is more of a mental game than a physical game. So to conquer your mind, active.com suggested to just prepare for a long run just as you would any other shorter run.

 

Tip #2: Strengthen and stretch muscles on the days you’re not running. Fitday.com gives a lot of good tips about form and how to carry your body to prepare you for the longer distances. This tip has already helped me especially with the strength training. Building up your leg muscles will give you the strength you need to push through those extra miles.

 

Tip #3: Practice posture while running.

This website also gave good tips about keeping your upper body strong so you can run with your shoulders back and chest up throughout your run. Running with your shoulders slumped over causes you to fatigue easier and will make you give out quicker which will make your run much more difficult.

 

Tip #4: Pace yourself.

I really had to learn this one because I was used to running faster on the shorter distances. Training for long distance is a different story; if you start out too fast, you will very quickly burn out. Womenshealthmag.com says you should be running slow enough to have a conversation (even if it’s a slightly breathless one) so that you can keep the same pace throughout your entire run. A good tip for this is to focus on the distance, not your time when you begin training.

 

While there are countless tips found on so many different blogs and websites, I thought these were my personal favorites and these are the ones that have helped me so far with my training. I hope they help you as much as they have me!

 

 

How To Be A Morning Runner

Since I’ve been training for my half marathon, I have been playing with different times to run during the day. I started doing this because I’ve been getting in a slump after I come back from school and then I begin to dread trying to figure out when to go run, which means I would have to leave again after I’ve been going all day. Yes, the horrible life of a college student where all we have to do is go to class and take naps. But seriously, it gets busy with cheerleading plus a new job that I just got the opportunity to accept.

So with that being said, I’ve found that I enjoy running in the morning (usually).

Morning running is a preference to every runner. It just depends on how your body reacts act different times of the day. I personally enjoy running in the morning because it fits better with my class schedule right now and I also enjoy starting my day off with a run and having the rest of my day to get everything done with.

Here are a few running tips that I have found helpful to become a morning runner.

  • Set a plan to wake up and run and stick to it. There have been plenty of days where I have hit the snooze button and ended up having to plan an afternoon run since I didn’t get up. Don’t do this – you will be so angry with yourself later that you didn’t stick to your plan. Set a time and stay determined to get up at that time.
  • Allow yourself time to wake up and get going before your run. If you have somewhere to be such as work, school, etc., then make sure to allow yourself enough time to wake up and get ready to run.
  • If you are going to eat before a run, get up in enough time to let your food settle. When I am running for my longer runs, I will get up at least an hour and a half earlier than when I want to run to let my food settle, because the last thing you want is to start your day off with a bad run. But on my short runs such as three or four miles, I usually just eat after I am done.

I hope these tips help you to become a better morning runner!

Cancer Freeze 5K Recap

My most recent race was a 5K in Florala, Alabama about two weeks ago. I finished with a new personal best time of 25:15, and I am very excited to share my race photos with you!

IMG_0701Everyone is getting very excited and anxious to start the race! The weather was perfect for a race – cool, but not too windy and chilly. Plus the sun was out for a great morning run.

 

 

 

 

 

The race course went around the beautiful Lake Jackson                                                                                  in Florala, which provided great scenery through the run.

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The t-shirt is always an added bonus to every race!

 

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Running with friends always helps with support and motivation during the race.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0706 Finishing the race is always a great moment to savor and be to be proud of. This was a very enjoyable race, with many supportive fans at the end cheering everyone on to finish. Also, there were many yummy foods for a post race snack, including bananas, oranges, grapes, and apples. The food is an important part for me and they definitely succeeded in this part.

 

Overall, this race was very fun and it was also for a great cause. This race was only one of the events that was held during the Cancer Freeze day. I enjoy races that have great causes such as this one, because I know the money raised will go to families and people who are battling and have battled cancer. It was an awesome experience and it was very fulfilling to know I supported such a great cause and had a great race! I would recommend this race to every runner out there!

 

 

 

 

What Do I Need To Be Eating?

I started my half-marathon training plan last week and I am getting very excited/nervous for the upcoming weeks of training. Jumping into this training is going to require more focus on a healthier diet, especially before going on those long runs.

I was never conscious of what I ate before I ran until one morning after eating apples and peanut butter. I thought this would be a nice, healthy pre-run meal to eat. I was wrong very, very, wrong. As soon as I got done with my three miles, I took off to the bathroom, and I was very sick the entire morning, to say the least.

After that experience, I began researching which foods to eat and what not to eat. Keep this in mind also, that everyone’s body is different and some of these foods may or may not affect you.

What Not To Eat: running.about.com gave a list of foods that should be avoided before your run. The first on the list was foods that are high in fiber, which was were I went wrong on my pre-run meal. Although apples are healthy and a great food to consume, they are considered high in fiber, which explained my horrible morning run.

Now, whenever I want to eat any vegetables or fruit, I make sure they are not high in fiber if I eat them before my run, or I wait until after to eat them. Another no-no to eat is foods with concentrations of high fat. Yes, everyone is going to have some cheat days, but for the most part try steering clear of foods such as French fries, cheeseburgers, etc. a couple of days before your races.

What To Eat: U.S. News gave a great article on their health page about a lsit of foods to eat before a run. It also included foods to eat considering how long you will be running, because running for 30 minutes or less does not require as much nutrients and carbs as a run over 30 minutes would. A few 30 minute and under foods would be foods such as bananas, peaches, or an English muffin with jelly.

For the longer runs, carbs are definitely a must. Foods such as slices of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and grains are great choices that will keep your energy up throughout your run.

I hope these foods help you out for your runs!