Safety Tips While Running

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Many women continue to reflect on personal safety when leaving their homes and participating in something that shouldn’t be enshrouded in fear.

For most women, we don’t have the luxury of a completely carefree run.

Personally, I have been doing long runs outside in the early hours of the morning for many, many years. I don’t let fear stop me from running–be persistent in what you want. However, there are some things that I do as added precautions against dangers, some are just good practice regardless of your gender.

Precautions and Tips:

Use knuckle lights or a headlamp, making you more visible.


Stay in lit areas by choosing routes that have street lamps. Often these routes are also popular and have more people.

Mix up the route. While I do often run the same routes, I try to keep the day unpredictable.

Tell someone where you are going. I try to always tell my husband which route I plan on taking before heading out. I grew up always telling my parents the same information by leaving a sticky note in view.

Carry pepper spray. This is also good for stray dogs, which has been a huge problem in the countries I have lived in outside of the US. I used to rely on this as protection against any creepers too, but I recently made a new purchase. See next tip.

Try wearing Go Guarded, which can’t be knocked out of your hand. I have been wearing it for the last month and I feel like it offers more protection than pepper spray.

Ghost a certain radius around your start/stop location when using something like Strava.

Use one headphone or no headphones. 

Don’t wear a ponytail. Seems a bit weird, but I have watched a lot of those self-defense videos and they always say men try to grab you by the hair. So, try a bun or a hat.

Speaking of self-defense, take some classes. Be ready to fight.

Trust your instinct. As women, we have spent our lives considering if the guy that just walked by us is going to hurt us or not. If you get a weird feeling, cross the street, take out your phone, prep your pepper spray, duck into a convenience store. Stop feeling insecure about your instincts. 

What precautions do you take?

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Homemade Deodorant Recipe

This may seem tangential or tenuously connected to running, but hey, runners get smelly. Deodorant makes you less smelly. So, here is a recipe for a natural deodorant that is better for you and the environment and it is terribly easy to make.

Here you go:

Supplies
Mix the baking soda and coconut oil together.

Put into jars.

Homemade Deodorant Recipe:

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup coconut oil

Jars to store the deodorant in

*optional: essential oils for scent

Simply mix the baking soda and coconut oil together in a bowl then put into smallish jars of your choice. Apply with your fingertips. Voila. Not stinky anymore.

You can make a bigger or smaller batch if you just remember the ratio is 2:1 baking soda to coconut oil. Also, if the baking soda agitates your skin at all, add more coconut oil. It really helps smooth out the baking soda and is also antimicrobial. If you want your deodorant to be a smoother texture, add more coconut oil. If you want it to be thicker, add more baking soda. There really is no right and wrong.

P.S. This works better than store-bought deodorants and you don’t get any of those nasty white streaks all over your clothes.

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

Two years ago, I hadn’t even heard of plantar fasciitis. Now it feels like I only purchase shoes based on this. I also feel like I went half mad and half broke trying to cure myself. If you don’t know what it is, it probably means you are lucky enough to not suffer from it. Basically, what it is a bunch of micro tears to the plantar, a ligament that attaches to the heel bone. It becomes inflamed and super painful. It is a common running injury. Mine actually started during pregnancy with increased progesterone caused all the ligaments loosen up.

For a year, it was really bad. I limped around, I taped every day, I massaged, I wore a medical boot, I rolled out on a tennis ball, I saw a sports therapist, and even tried acupuncture. I’m going to let you know what worked for me, but everyone is different. I am also not a doctor, nor trained in any sports medicine. I just scowered every corner of the internet researching plantar fasciitis. I am not 99% okay, but I do not believe it will ever go away completely. There will be things on this list that I will always need to use and do.

Plantar Fasciitis Tips

Magnesium: I wish I had started with this as soon as I found out I had plantar fasciitis. I firmly believe it is what finally made it livable. I can tell that if I forget it for even a day, it hurts more. When I first started using it, I would take one 400 mg dose in the morning and one at night, spreading out the amount due to it causing stomach distress. I was willing to deal with the stomach troubles, because it made my foot feel better. I tried glycinate magnesium because read that it was better on the stomach, but it also did less for my foot. There are many kinds out there, most have worked for me. I am currently using magnesium oxide and it works great for me. After being on it for a few months, my stomach adjusted and causes no problems now. I listed both below so you can decide what would work better for you (I use the first one).

Taping: I had to use the below taping method to run or walk every day. I used plain white medical tape and found it worked MUCH better than the expensive KT Tape for this particular type of taping. Keep it taut, but do not pull too tight while taping.

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Spiky ball: I found the spiky ball made for plantar worked better than a tennis ball, but when I was in the midst of severe pain, a harder ball like a golf ball or a racquetball worked best to break up the damaged scar tissue.

Hokas: Once I discovered Hokas, I didn’t need to tape anymore. I cannot suggest these enough. They are great for the injured runner or walker.

Inserts: I do put the PowerStep insert into my running shoes still. I think it is a necessity for anyone with plantar fasciitis, but even if you aren’t injured, they are just more comfortable.

Birkenstocks: Wear these from the moment you get out of bed until you go to sleep. Your feet need them. For two years, they were all I could wear. They are ugly as sin, but have recently come back into fashion as a tongue-in-cheek style statement. Just pretend you are in on the trend when really you are just luxuriating in the Birk. Anyone raised in the 90s know that a ‘cute Birkenstock’ is an oxymoron, but who cares if your feet don’t hurt.

Lacing shoes: Don’t mind the mud. Check out the lacing. Basically, you lace the first holes normally and then skip over middle ones, lacing normally again on the last few holes. Works to alleviate pressure on your arch. I still have to do this with my shoes, and probably always will.

Medical boot: I had to sleep in a medical boot like the one below for quite a few months and will still pull it out when my plantar fasciitis feels like it is making itself known again. It is a little uncomfortable to sleep in all night, so try to start with a few hours at first, then increase the hours as you get more used to it. It helps quite a bit to stretch the plantar all night. I can tell that the first step out of bed doesn’t hurt as much after wearing this, and then proceeds to be better the rest of the day. It certainly didn’t cure it, but improved it.


Foam rolling: I personally roll out on the back of my calf and the tibialis anterior, the muscle to the side of the shin bone. I included a video on how to foam roll your shins. It starts the technique around 1 minute into the video. It helped a fair bit, but again did not cure it.

Other things that others said to try that did not work for me:

Frozen water bottle to roll your foot on.

Stretching your calf

Stretching your toes

Massage

Night sock that stretches your foot

It is really hard not to get depressed when you are injured and lead an active lifestyle. I know how frustrating it was for me, which I don’t think is unique. Keep trying different things and be patient. Adjust what you need to. Know I sympathize with you.

Stay rad, my friends.

No-Bake Energy Bites

There has been an energy bite craze in recent history. I myself, have been susceptible to this craze. They are perfect for dense energy that you can eat before or during your run. They are easy to make, simple to switch up ingredients for when you want a change, small but full of fairly good calories, taste awesome, and are easy to take with you on a long run. I wrap mine up in a piece of plastic wrap to fuel my long training runs or for trail races where I have my hydration pack.

Ingredients that I already had in the house.

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Final product. Pairs nicely with black coffee.

No-Bake Energy Bites

1 3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup honey

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

*I included cinnamon and chia seeds in mine today.

Optional: cinnamon, cocoa powder, dried fruit, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut flakes, Stevia, even a little protein powder
Cream together the honey and peanut butter Then mix the rolled oats into the sticky goodness. Lastly, add the chocolate chips. Eat a few bites for good measure before rolling into balls. You won’t regret it.

You can also freeze them to reduce any stickiness that might occur when running in the heat. I wrap mine in a little bit of plastic wrap, stick them in the freezer, and then am good to go for my run.

Stay energized, rad, and happy!

When to Retire Running Shoes

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As it is time for me to retire my old running shoes, it seemed like a good time to do a new post about it. The general advice is after 350-500 miles. For me, I run about 550-600 miles in three months, and that is when I start to notice that it might be time. Even if they don’t look like they need to be recycled on the outside, there is still a lot of internal wear and tear that happens and can eventually lead to injury. In fact, that is the first sign that I have telling me it is time to hang up the old and bring in the new. I start to get aches and pains in my knees, which I do not normally have any problems with. As soon as I start to get a twinge in my knee, I go back and check how many miles I have covered in my shoes. Thus far, switching out old shoes has consistently solved any knee problems I have had.

I vlogged about it. See below my transition from old to new–Hokas to Altras.

Gear to Help You Run Longer Distances

So you have been running and you want to start kicking it up a notch in regard to distance. When you first start you may think you only need a good pair of shoes to run. Well, it is one of the cheaper sports out there and it really doesn’t require too much to get it done, but different kinds of running gear is available that will make you more comfortable and keep you motivated. I put together a list to get you started on increasing your mileage.

Clothes

-Get yourself a pair of comfy running shorts for your summer running plans.  I like Salomon, Under Armour, or Patagonia. and I almost always buy black, but they have them a bazillion different colors. I have started running in a few different running skirts too, which are a fun way to mix it up.


-Running shoes are really important for obvious reasons. You want a pair that is going to work for you. The Hoka One One, Brooks Adrenaline GTS, and ASICS Gel-Nimbus are all great road shoes. I personally have used them all. Hoka’s are my favorite, but everyone is different. One thing to know and keep in mind, running shoes have an expiration date of around 350-500 miles, depending on the quality of shoe. After that point, they can start to cause injury. Try to keep track of the miles you put on them. I have found I get more miles out of Hokas and Brooks.


-I personally have yet to find a really supportive sports bra, but I have found that I can double up nearly any kind of sports bra to be comfortable.

-Compression socks are great for recovery. I sometimes wear them while I run, but mostly after a race or a long run.

-I just started using arm compression sleeves and like them quite a bit. It is nice for when you need a little added warmth on a slightly chilly day. As you warm up, they are easy to take off.

-Wear clothing that is meant for sports. They are designed to wick away sweat, keeping you drier and less smelly.

Devices and Gadgets

-My Garmin Forerunner 235 is my favorite running gadget of all time. It tracks my run, connects to Strava and My Fitness Pal, keeps track of my steps, sleep patterns, heart rate, and a lot of other features that you can customize. There are different faces you can download to fit your style. You can even buy different bands if you get bored of the color.

-Foam rollers are a must for every runner. I have used mine to work out nearly every running injury that has come my way. You can YouTube different ways to use it for specific problem areas or just for loosening up your muscles.
-Body Glide or good old fashioned Vaseline to prevent chaffing. Body Glide lasts longer after application, meaning it does not need to be reapplied as frequently.

-My Nathan hydration pack is super comfortable and durable. I have had it for years and it is still in good shape. I only use it for longer trail runs.

-Pepper spray is worth it. While it might be slightly annoying to have one more thing on you when you are running, it is has come in handy on more than one occasion.

-I use cheap headphones, but there is a wide variety of headphones to choose from out there.

-Sometimes I don’t listen to anything, but often I listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music when I run. I think it is smart to bring your phone even if you are a purist and don’t listen to anything.

-Running logs are available for purchase, but I personally just use free printable calendars online and write in details about my run each day. I also use Strava to help me track my progress.

Fuel and Hydration

-Gels are my go to for half marathons distances or longer. They are easy to carry, consume, and have mostly the right balance of nutrients. Personally, I like GU and Stinger gels.

-Tailwind helps keep you hydrated properly. Water seems to work fine for me until a certain point. Around 20 km or longer, I start to need something a little more and something like Tailwind works great. I just discovered Tailwind single packets, which make it much easier to take along with you on a race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I definitely have more gear than this in my closet, but this feels like a good list of things to get you started.

Happy running and stay awesome!

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3: Worn, Dirty, and Loved

I would just like to preface with I am not being paid by Hoka to write this. I just really, really like Hokas.

Men’s Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

The Hoka ATR 3 is technically for the trail, but because it is light weight, it can easily be worn for both the road and trail. I have been running 70-90 km (44-56 miles) a week for over two months in mine now on both road and trail. My one complaint with the Challenger is that for extreme conditions, like lots of slippery mud or snow, there isn’t enough grip. However, for a standard trail in good weather conditions, there is plenty of traction.

As for the fit and comfort, it is pretty perfect for me. The toe box offers plenty of room, which from what I have read, is an improvement from previous models. It feels stable one rocky terrain. The arch support is really good, but I put in an insole for added support. I have tried a few different insoles but the one below seem to work best for me.

Sof Sole

I have struggled with plantar fasciitis since my last pregnancy, but running in Hokas has completely fixed it for me. For a year, I had to tape my foot a special way before each run or I would be in excruciating pain. I had tried everything to fix it, down to acupuncture, but nothing worked. I read somewhere on the depths of the internet about Hokas being good for plantar fasciitis. I bought a pair, started running in them, and within a week, I was nearly pain free. I didn’t need to tape my foot any more. After a couple of weeks, it was 99% gone, and that is where I am now.

I just ran my first 50k Ultra in the Hoka Challenger ATR 3, and I only lost one toenail (not bad for an ultra!), had one blister, and my plantar fasciitis didn’t bother me at all. They are good for the long run.