Every year I put together some sort of running workout that incorporates my age into the reps, the time, etc. of the workout. It's a way of grounding myself in gratitude for what my body can do as it naturally ages. Being 25 weeks pregnant on my birthday this year, I let my husband choose the workout for me (no joke, my creativity is zapped when I'm pregnant).
He kept me moving with 34 Tabatas of running, sprints, and lunges while pushing my toddler in the jogger, per usual. I've definitely slowed down, but on those days when I can drag myself and Braxton out of the house it so worth the mental and physical reward (if not a little painful on my loosening ligaments).
What birthday tradition could you implement as a practice in gratitude?
If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know how crazy I am for Podcasts. One of my favorites is the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. After listening to All About Running Streaks and How To Make A Running Streak Safe And Enjoyable I decided to go for it. I didn't wait for a memorable occasion or date on the calendar, but instead started right away for fear of laziness and excuses creeping in.
A running streak is considered running at least one mile every day for a period of time. I was running pretty consistently with Braxton in the running stroller until the temperatures started to drop. While we've had a very mild winter in Cleveland so far, I am in a transition period figuring out how to incorporate running workouts into my routine while being indoors and a part-time working mom with a toddler. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person. Knowing I need to find a way to run every single day without fail is a great way for me to get creative and reprioritize my workouts. You can keep up with my streak on Strava and I hope that perhaps you'll even join me!
Any other Run Streakers out there? What made you decide to start a Running Streak? Please share!
Every year I try to accomplish some sort of birthday run to incorporate the literal number of years I have been alive into my training. Some years it's a birthday month-long goal, others it's a week-long. This year it was just one run on my birthday. I chose to do intervals, which is the type of training I do most often these days having a toddler on board. So I set out with my little guy to bring in my 33rd year in the Cleveland Metroparks with this workout:
So hey! Start off your birthday year with a physical challenge! It can be as simple as 33 squats or as complex as 33 x 33 minute runs over the course of your birthday month. Use your age to be specific about your movement and be creative enough with this number to challenge the difficultly. You can use your number to change distance, repetitions, time, intervals, you name it! Default to more difficult and you'll be so glad you did.
If you are a parent and you've never run with a jogger before, check out this old post I wrote about how to get started. It's way less intimidating then it seems!
Please share in the comments what you try out or what you've done in the past!
So... I ran a half marathon last Saturday, the Akron Half (which I have run before and I love). I wasn't even planning on blogging about it because I didn't put in the work to run the distance and I was not happy with my time (seriously, I ran the same race in the same time when I was 7 months pregnant). This was because I was given the opportunity to enter for free one week before the actual race. Needless to say, I did not train for this event. I have run many half marathons, but at this point in my life Braxton and I run frequent short distances with some hills and Tabatas mixed in.
Even though this distance isn't new to me, it isn't too surprising that this race was filled with pain in my hips and quads (the result of fatigued muscles untrained for the endurance I was requiring of them) and the feeling of hardly moving forward. I finished feeling tired and a little disappointed.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. // Theodore Roosevelt
Even though I am living nowhere near how this quote is saying to live, I really admire the idea of this kind of life. In some ways I could look at this half as yet another race I did not train to my fullest ability for: a waste of ability and talent (I always remember late runner Steve Prefontaine's quote "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.") However, in this instance, I did not have a half marathon on my race calendar so doing this race was more about the "sweat and blood" to know "the great enthusiasms, the great devotions." This can apply to so many areas of our lives. We need to push ourselves to do difficult things, even when they are a fight.
3 Tricks (That I Used On Saturday) To Get Through Any Race
Positive Visualization Will Get You Where You Want To Go
There is value in pain and pushing limits. While I don't recommend running a half marathon without training, I do recommend doing something that will push your limits, something that is just so plain hard that all you can do is will yourself to finish by making finishing your only goal. During my race (and during every race I do) when I am having a hard time I visual my husband, Brian, at the finish line, smiling and clapping at my accomplishment. This achieves two things: mentally, it convinces my brain that I will cross that finish line, and physically, it convinces my body I am strong enough to finish because my brain is in charge.
Gratitude Changes Everything
I did something a lot of runners do, but I have not yet tried, to get me through the grueling middle miles of my half on Saturday. I dedicated individual miles to people in my life. I chose people who have been on my mind for one reason or another and used the time during that mile to think about, pray for, and be thankful for that specific person. It took my mind off the race and provided me with short-term goals within miles 5 through 9 of that daunting 13.1 miles.
I also used my time to remember how fortunate I was to be in this place, outside on a gorgeous September morning running, with my capable muscles and mind that I maintain nourished and trained enough to just get out there and do it, all time considerations out the window.
Walk-Run Is A Valid Racing Method
Mile 9 was a walk-run mile. I definitely promote walk-running as productive way to work up to and achieve what you don't think possible in your running. Olympic runner Jeff Galloway even trains new and seasoned runners alike in the Walk Run Walk Method. While I know it is a valid method, I still had to put my pride aside to do these short intervals of walking and running. Changing up the muscles I was using to move forward gave my running muscles just enough time to recover. Using intervals kept me motivated to continue running, as I was setting even tinier goals (30 seconds run, 30 seconds walk) to get through the whole race.
What have you done that was so hard you had only the goal of finishing in mind?
I have hit the sweet spot! At nearly a year and half old, Braxton is obsessed with going outside! He loves running all over the place as well as going on rides in the stroller. Lucky me, because I love being outside too! But, the running with the stroller part did not come easily. I was able to get out several times when he was an infant, but it was very unpredictable how long or how often I'd be able to go out. For me, getting into a good running groove again has taken time and a lot of trial and error. Here are a couple practical tips I've come up with:
1// Pick Your Running Stroller
While testing out a stroller in the store is great, I really didn't know what I was looking for so I chose to go the online route. I chose my jogger through online reviews written by runners (click here for an article I found helpful). I knew I wanted one that was used by actual runners for its comfort and easy transport. I planned to use just one stroller for everyday outings as well as my runs instead of investing in two. I ended up choosing the Mountain Buggy Terrain Jogging Stroller, an investment well worth it for me.
2// Time Your Runs
Practicing consistency in my running has helped. Experiencing stroller runs over and over has acclimated Braxton to the feeling of the ride. Planning the right time of day is important too. Most often we go out in the morning when Braxton is fresh and ready to start the day. Running soothes him and he often goes down for his nap soon after a run outing.
3// Run A Short Out-And-Back Or Loop
Running a route that is never too far from home is crucial. I most often run a one-mile loop at a park nearby. This allows me to get in some mileage, while never being more than a mile from my car. Running the same loop repeatedly is not my ideal, but it is much better than trying to run three miles back home with a screaming baby who just isn't interested in a run that day.
4// Manage The Weather
I keep this lightweight muslin blanket as well as any extra clothes in the cargo compartment of my jogger. I like having it with me for extra warmth or for covering Braxton's legs to protect them from the sun. The strollers's sunhood can adjust for shade from the sun no matter where it is coming from. Depending on the day, I usually keep it open for at least 10 minutes for Braxton's skin to be exposed to the Ultraviolet B rays for his skin to benefit from Vitamin D development. I manage how long his time in the sun is each day, instead of using sunblock, which is why utilizing the sunhood is so important.
5// Bring A Snack + Water
In part to keep my babe occupied, I always have a snack on hand for the run. Water is also essential, especially on hotter days. I'm not a huge fan of pre-packaged baby food pouches (not that I don't resort to them sometimes because they are so easy to grab), so I usually pack a cup like this for on-the-go snacks. I also love this heavy duty hook for carrying essentials like my glass waterbottle (that is too fat for my cup holders) and Braxton's mini version.
6// Bring Your Headphones
I love my time during my runs when I can throw my headphones in and listen to a Podcast. Sometimes I'll play music without the headphones so Braxton can enjoy it too.
7// Bring Shoes + Allow For Baby Run Breaks
Braxton is a runner already. Now that it is warm out, he goes barefoot in the stroller a lot, so I make sure to pack his shoes so he can get out and run around. I usually get my workout in first before I let him get out and do his exploring.
8// Share + Observe With Your Little One
I am always prepared to stop and talk about what Braxton sees. We both absolutely love nature, so currently a lot of our run is soaking in the relaxing environment. I most often go to run at a local park where we see ducks, geese and dogs. Now he beats me to it, but I try to point these things out for him. As Braxton starts talking I think playing a game like "I Spy" would be great for stroller rides.
9// Use The Front Wheel Lock, Wrist Strap + Brake
I learned to tighten the front wheel of the stroller just enough for it to move with ease in a straight line. This makes for a much more smooth ride for baby and ease of steering for me. If I'm running a loop I won't necessarily tighten it because of how often I need to make turns. I frequently alternate which hand is holding on so that I can pump the other arm like I normally would when running without the stroller. When I'm on a downhill I put the wrist strap on for safety. I wouldn't want the jogger getting away from me on a hill! I also utilize the brake when I'm on an incline to help with keep the stroller from flying down the hill. While I disagree with his take on locking the front wheel and using the wrist strap, I think this article has some other great tips as well as benefits for running with a jogger.
10// Be Flexible With Your Goals
Don't give up! If your runs keep getting interrupted because Baby doesn't want any part of it, try again the next day! Starting when they are young and persisting to figure out how it looks for you and your baby is a big part of succeeding. I've had to change my mindset on running and remember that workouts with a jogger are very different than without one. Walking and taking breaks to talk to Braxton happen and I'm okay with that. I realize that my times are slower than before, yet I can still work on my split my consistency. I run flat trails mostly, but I'm excited to find some hills to challenge myself. I view pushing the extra weight as a bonus and look forward to discovering more unique ways to workout with it. Currently, I track my milage with the Strava GPS Cycling and Running App so that I have something measurable to use for improvements.
Do you run with a jogger? If so, what are your best practices + tips? If you haven't tried it yet, head out there and let us know what you think!
Check out this article for some benefits of running with a stroller that you may not have considered.
Hi. I'm Suzanna.
I like running outside, eating real food and crafting beautiful images. I am captivated by documenting everyday life–revealing what authentic, adventurous and lovers of life we all are.