Friday, July 20, 2012

Fitness Friday: Run Like a Girl

When I decided to stop being a couch potato in 1999, the first thing I did was tie on a pair of running shoes and step outside.  And, although I will never be anywhere near what I would describe as "fast", I've continued to enjoy running (or jogging, as some purists will claim that under a certain per-mile speed, it isn't considered true "running").

There's no mistaking, though, that running is hard work!  And running isn't the same for guys and girls.  So today I'm sharing some of my favorite tips and resources for running (I know there are tons out there - this is just my "top five").
  1. I run with gum.  For me, having a dry mouth from all that huffing and puffing is a major distraction.  I don't gnash on it constantly, but it's there to wet my mouth every so often so I can concentrate on other things.  I wish I could credit the source of this idea, but I read it so long ago that I truly can't remember.
  2. Watch your pace.  One of the top reasons I've cut a run short is that I've come out of the gate too quickly and used up all my gusto too quickly.  This is easy to remedy on a treadmill, but not so easy outdoors.  The best method I've read and tried is to inhale for three strides - exhale for two strides, as recommended in The Complete Book of Running for Women.
  3. Fuel and hydrate for your body.  One size doesn't fit all and some folks run better if they hydrate ahead of time, while others find a sloshing stomach annoying or downright painful.  Same story with a snack.  My success formula is having two Honey Stinger chews before I head out and water mixed with ElectroMIX immediately after.  Use some trial and error and find what works for you.  
  4. Find what motivates you.  Whether it's a cute pair of pink running shorts (or skirt!), some rockin' music, the challenge of an organized 5k race on the horizon, or a workout buddy, think about what will get you up and keep you moving.  There are a million articles out there about motivation, but the best idea is the one that works for you (sense a theme here?).   
  5. STRETCH! The #1 reason people give up running - or any fitness routine - is because of pain or injury.  Stretching can help: both immediately after a run (my favorite stretch is the Cow Face Pose from the yoga tradition to stretch out glutes and hips), and a longer restorative stretch on a rest day.  Below is a {free}twenty minute stretching video from fitness personality Jessica Smith that I love to use to get the kinks and soreness out at the end of the week.

Your turn!  Tell me - what are your favorite running tips or products?

Disclaimer: this post contains some affiliate links.


  1. I hate running or really jogging, since my slow laborious pace can't even remotely be considered as running. I also top out at 2 miles cuz I just get too bored and winded. However, I keep it up because I've noticed my overall fitness level improve tremendously. That's interesting about the gum and your fueling techniques - I sip coconut water during my workouts since it gives me the energy boost and hydration without the sugar of regular energy drinks.

  2. Great stretch video. Thanks for sharing!