Happy National Running Day

It’s How I Run…

June 6 is National Running Day so I thought I would do a long overdue post on running.  Here are some general running tips from me.  Keep in mind, these may not work for everyone, but they are some things that help me with running.

running gear

The Two Most Important Things You’ll Need for Running

The nice thing about running is that you really don’t need to a lot of gear.  There certainly is a lot of gear you can get for running, but you don’t necessarily need it all.  One thing you should definitely invest in is a good pair of running shoes.  Your cool looking Converse are just not going to cut it.  Not only should you go out and buy a good pair of running shoes, you should buy them at a place that knows something about running.  They will check out your feet, ask you questions, look at your shoes (yes, please take your current sneakers, walking shoes, running shoes, etc. with you–they really don’t mind the smell).  We’re fortunate in the Lehigh Valley as we have two great stores (Aardvark and The Finish Line) that will get you in the right pair of running shoes.  Asics have worked the best for me because I have narrow feet and a high arch, but each runner is different, so you’ll want to get shoes that are good for your feet.  Trust me–you’ll enjoy running much more if you’re running in shoes that are right for you than those that look the coolest (besides, companies try to make all their shoes look cool anyway).

Women have to invest in a second important item if you decide to take up running and that is a good, high impact sports bra.  Ladies–you need to protect your girls.  Each breast can ‘travel’ several inches with each stride you take.  Without a good sports bra, your breasts can travel 1/10 – 1/4 of a mile for each mile you run.  And by travel, I mean up and down, left to right, side to side, crazy eight.  If you’re running to look good, you don’t want your breasts to start looking bad after a few workouts.  So take care of them!  Invest in a very good sports bra.  You wouldn’t think of wearing a sports bra as a sexy come-on in the bedroom, so don’t wear your sexy bras when running.  There are many good bras out there, but this is another area where it is a good idea to get properly fitted for your bra.  I prefer Moving Comfort bras, but there are other good ones out there as well by Champion, Lululemon, Asics, Saucony, etc.

Other Running Gear

Your running shoes, and for women, a good sports bra, are the two key things you need for running.  Everything else is bonus and can make your run more enjoyable.  Other gear I like includes good wicking clothing, such as running shorts, tops, running pants, jacket, socks, etc.  I also love my Spibelt, sold at good running stores where you’ll be buying your sneakers.  The Spibelt is a little small personal item belt that can stretch to fit as much or as little as you like in.  I generally have my phone, ID, and key in there, but you can also stick in some protein packs or other fuel/energy gels you may want on your run.   I like to carry my phone with me because I have decided not to invest in one of those fancy running watches.   I use an app on my phone to track my distance, time, speed, etc.  The exercise app I prefer is called RunKeeper and allows you to integrate with all your favorite social networking sites.  You can also program in certain workouts to help keep you on track (pun intended).  I do wear a running watch (a good old Timex Ironman) that serves me well.

Staying Motivated

This may come as a shock to many, but not everyone loves to run.  They may want to get in shape, but running, well, it seems like too much work to them.  So what are some ways to get motivated and stay motivated to run?  One of the best ways to stay motivated is to run with others.  It is much harder to quit running after 5 minutes if you are running with someone else, especially if you have a bit of a competitive streak in you.  Again, here in the Lehigh Valley we are fortunate to have some great groups to help you get into running or to find others to run with.  For women, there is an organization called First Strides that works on progressive routines to help you build up to run a 5K race.   You’ll get to work with some very awesome mentors (like me!) and meet other women trying to improve their running.  For men, women (and even kids) we have the Lehigh Valley Road Runners, which has group runs, races, and a kids series.

Running on your own?  I like listening to a good playlist when I run solo.  Some nights I need a bit more heavy metal, other nights it’s dance music, now and then rock&roll/alternative will do the trick.   Pick music that is going to motivate you and keep you going.

Here’s what I ran to tonight:

  • Say Hey (I Love You) – Michael Franti & Spearhead
  • Let’s Get It Started – Black Eyed Peas
  • Let It Rock – Kevin Rudolf & Lil Wayne
  • Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida
  • Sexy Bitch – David Guetta w/Akon
  • Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Titanium – David Guetta w/Sia
  • Sexy Back – Justin Timberlake
  • Good Feeling – Flo Rida
  • Wild Ones – Flo Rida
  • Lose Yourself – Eminem

For me, personally, listening to a book does not work, but for other it may make the time go by quickly.  I also can’t do country music–that would make me run in front of a bus, which is probably not a good idea.

The important thing is to just start running.  Start small.  Don’t start wanting to do a marathon.  Start with 10 minutes and build from there.  Before you know it you’ll be running much further than you ever thought you could.

So Happy National Running Day!   Go out and get high–a runner’s high, that is!

2011 New Year’s Resolutions

I started my blog after New Year’s so I didn’t do a traditional New Year’s post about my resolutions for the year.  I’m haven’t always been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions because I, like many, would diligently and thoughtfully think out my resolutions and would do exceptionally well at keeping them…for a few weeks, after which I would falter.  Then forget about the completely.  Of course, I would start the whole process over again each year.  I still do New Year’s resolutions, but I have another system now.  I still treat resolutions as a way to commit myself to self improvement, but I’ve tried to build in more accountability into my system.

I use New Year’s as the time to reflect on where I’ve been and where I want to go.  I write out my goals for that year and I come back to them throughout the year to see how I’m doing.  I no longer get disappointed if I can’t complete a resolution because often it is just a matter of different priorities or sometimes life just gets in the way.  Keeping a log of progress on my resolutions has helped me remain accountable to my goals.  So I thought, why not put them online and just put them out there in the public.

Here are my goals for this year and how I am doing with them:

  • Read Enjoy 25 books

I do read a lot, but I don’t always have time to do the leisure reading I’d like to do.  I started off the year well, as with any resolution, but have not met the pace I wanted.  Part of my problem is when I start a book, I feel obligated to finish it.  I’ve started a few books that I just can’t get into, so that has slowed me a little.  So I’ve changed my goal to  enjoy the books I read now.  Life is too short to read bad books!  With 5 books enjoyed, 3 started but not enjoyed, I’m a little behind schedule, but confident I can do this one.

  • Try a New Recipe Every Week

I haven’t hit a new one every week, but I’ve tried many new recipes this year.  They haven’t all been keepers, but I really have enjoyed trying new things.  And to help me with this, I finally broke down and upgraded my account at AllRecipes.com.

  • Get in Better Shape

I was rocking this one!  One of my Christmas presents was a Wii Fit.  I was walking my dog regularly (which was also another goal…see below).   I was doing pilates regularly.  Notice, I am saying ‘was’ a lot.  Once I get into a good exercise routine I do really well, but once I break that routine, not so well.  With this terrible winter we had, having these indoor activities was working well for me.  Then one day, I took my dog for walk on some icy, snowy sidewalks and came down on my one knee wrong.  It healed quickly, but it I couldn’t really workout for about 6 weeks.  Now I’m getting back into my routine again.   I’m also especially glad that I am able run again and to mentor for First Strides.

  • Walk my Dog Regularly

See above.  Getting back into the regular part of it.

  • Run a Half Marathon

See above above.  I was planning on running the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon May 1st, but my training schedule was tanked.  Perhaps I’ll do the Philly Half in the fall.

  • Start a Blog

Started.  Now I just have to post more consistently.  And perhaps some people will even read it.

  • Be a Better Networker

To accomplish this, I’ve decided to merge two things I really enjoy…technology and networking.  I’ve committed myself to writing LinkedIn recommendations.  I’ve been meaning to do this for a very long time and now seems like the best time to start.  I’ve developed a list of individuals and have even drafted a few recommendations.  However, I never have been very confident about my writing.  These people I am fortunate to work with in a variety of capacities deserve the best.  I hope I can do them justice.

  • Not Have the Ironing Board out All Week

Someone once told me that I’m a rare woman.  Nice compliment, if only it hadn’t been in reference to the fact that I iron.  I iron every week.   Often the ironing stretches out over a week, which leads to the ironing board being out in the family room all the time.  Convenient, yes, but it is not the way I like my family room.  So my goal is to get the ironing started and done in one night, so the ironing board doesn’t stay out all the time.   It’s been working out pretty well.  If only I could get the kids to put their stuff away after it’s been ironed…

  • Evaluate Where I am Professionally

Sometimes life doesn’t work out like you hope.  I’ve been in my current position for a little over five years.  I do love my job, but at the same time, I haven’t come close to accomplishing what I had hoped.  When I took my current position, I had taken a pay cut and a position downgrade, but it was a job change that was needed due to another unexpected life event.   So after five years of being in this position, it is time for me to grow in a different direction.  What that is, I don’t quite know yet.  Right now I am leaning towards taking advantage of my tuition benefit at work and pursuing another degree part-time.  To do that, however, I need to take the GRE, which I will do this September.  I am also evaluating what I want to do over the next several years.  I had applied for a position in library administration recently, which, although I didn’t get the job, reinforced my desire to be in more of a leadership position within a library.  Five years ago I had pulled myself out of a library director search because I didn’t think I was ready, even though several individuals told me I was.  Now I know I am ready, so this particular goal will most likely carry over the next few New Years.

  • Be a better mom, wife, and person.

This one will never be *complete*, but one that I will continuously strive for.

So, this is my public update #1.  Hopefully it will help me stay focused on these goals and in some way hold me more accountable.