The Best Running Advice I’ve Ever Gotten (So Far)

I’m definitely not the world’s best runner. In fact, I’m not particular skilled in the art of running at all. And I’m definitely not the most experience runner out there. I mean, I’ve been running for almost 4 years now, but that’s really not very long. Especially compared to the super fit 60 year old dude who’s been running since high school, or the crazy talented 25 year old chick who’s been running basically since she could walk. But I do like to think I have at least some knowledge on the subject of running. I mean, I’ve read a countless number of books, magazine, blogs, and other articles on the internet. I listen to several running related podcasts, religiously follow a bunch of other runners on several social media platforms, and enjoy talking with and learning from my fellow runners whenever I can. So I’m not gonna lie, it’s not exactly often that I stumble upon a new piece of information or advice that I haven’t at least heard or read about before.

So this “best running advice that I’ve ever gotten (so far)” was actually not something that was particularly knew to me. Hell, I’ve actually read the book it came from several times before, but today was when it finally clicked into place for me.

And that piece of advice?

Pecker out.

Now wait! Let me explain!! Because if you’re a woman reading this you may be asking “just what the heck this that supposed to mean? I most certainty don’t have a pecker!” Trust me, I don’t either, but that little nugget of wisdom basically changed my life today. Alright, that’s a bit of an over exaggeration, but it definitely changed my running form for the better.

I read this little phrase in The Little Red Book Of Running by Scott Douglas. Apparently “Pecker out” was a cue that his collage coach (who apparently never coached women) used to remind his runners to keep their hips slightly forward. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard so many variations of how important it is to keep your pelvis slightly tucked and your hips forward so that your feet land under you instead of in front of you. And that’s super important because if your feet are landing too far in front of your body their acting as a break and slowing you down instead of propelling you forward like they should be.

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I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about running. It’s full of all sorts of little nuggets of wisdom like the one I’ve shared with you today. πŸ™‚

Obviously that kinda thing is super important, but I’ve also read that everyone’s running form is different because our bodies are all unique, and what works for one runner may not work for another. And while running form is important, there’s really no need to worry tooΒ much about it if you’re able to run comfortably and without getting injured. So I never really bothered to look too much into my own running form. Waaay back when I first started running I switched from heal striking to landing on my forefoot, but that was basically the only change in form that I’ve made in the almost 4 years of running. Well, until today that is.

For some reason that little phrase “pecker out” was stuck in my head today so I decided to try it out during my run this morning, because why not, right? πŸ™‚ So every once in a while I’d tell myself “pecker out” to remind myself to keep pushing my hips forward a little bit, and holy cow did it make a huge difference! Especially when I was going up hill. I definitely felt more efficient, I feel like I didn’t get as worn out as I usually do on hills, and I was able I was able to get up the hills faster. My hips are a little sore now that I’m done though, but I already have weak hips to begin with and since I was moving them in a way they aren’t exactly used to, I kinda figured that was coming. But even so, I’m definitely going to continue on with this whole keeping my hips slightly forward thing. πŸ™‚

So yeah, I guess the moral if this post is that it’s usually a good idea to try out new things every once and a while, and to keep your pecker out (or hips slightly forward) while you’re running! πŸ˜‰

Happy Monday everyone! Wishing you lots of happy summer miles!!

~Ashley

 

 

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Happy Summer Solstice!!

I guess technically it started yesterday, and depending on who you ask, either yesterday or today is the officially first day of summer! But when the first day of summer is really doesn’t matter to me. What does matter, however, is that yesterday and today were the longest day’s of the year! Which basically just means that on those two days we get the most hours of daylight compared to another day of the year. And after that, we get a just a little bit less daylight everyday!

Grant it, that doesn’t mean it’s going to start cooling off outside. Here in the Midwest we still haven’t made it to the hottest days of the year. Those don’t usually come until July and August. But a just a tiny bit less daylight everyday just makes that just a little more bearable, if you ask me. Plus now we’re just that much closer to Fall!! Haha can you tell I’m very much ready for summer to be over? πŸ˜‰

Anyway, almost every single day of this month, I’ve regretted participating in challengeville’s Tinman challenge. I’m running more than I’ve ever run in the summer and I hate it haha. But at the same time I’m really glad that I’m doing it! I’ve run more than I’ve ever run in the summer (I know I already said that, but it needed said again πŸ˜‰ ) and it’s really keeping me motivated to push through the discomfort of being hot and sweaty and tired. It’s also taught me that I’m capable of a lot more than I thought I was, and that’s a great lesson to learn! I’m just kinda learning it the hard way haha.

So I’ve kinda stopped following the daily running guide that accompanies this challenge. It wasn’t exactly working for me, so I started kinda doing my own thing and that’s been working a lot better for me. πŸ™‚

This morning I did 6 miles. Not gonna lie, I had set out to do 7 (which was a mile more than any of the runs on the daily running guide). But I was hot, sweaty/salty, tired, and very close to home by mile 6, so that’s where I stopped. I’m not too upset about that though, 6 miles is still no joke! Especially when it’s 71 degrees and 82% humidity outside…

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Now that my run is done and I’m showered and have eaten a snack, I need to stretch, water the garden, take care of the rabbits, walk the dogs, clean the house, and once all that is done maybe take a nice little nap? Haha sounds like a good plan to me anyway!

I hope you have a happy hump and a great first (or second) day of summer! πŸ™‚

~Ashley

 

 

Weekly Recap: June 12th-18th, 2017

I’ve kinda had a little mantra that I’ve been reciting to myself all week and it goes like this; a tight athlete is an inefficient athlete. Because, well, I’ve just been tight all over. Mostly in my calves and hamstrings, but also in my quads, shoulders, arms, and even my neck. That’s no bueno and it’s probably altering my running form enough to make me less efficient. Hence my mantra!

Along with the tightness and most likely altered running form, whenever my quads and calves get tight my shins start to ache, and nothing good ever comes from achy shins. So I’ve been reciting my mantra over and over again to remind me that I need to stretch. A lot. And so I have been! πŸ™‚

I found this nifty video on YouTube for shin splints and I’ve been incorporating it into almost every yoga session I’ve done each day. Now it hasn’t completely solved my problem, but it’s definitely made a very big improvement!

 

Now if only I was this dedicated to strength training! Then I’d be all set haha!

Monday:Β 

  • 6 miles
  • 10 minutes of stretching/foam rolling

This week I kinda veered off of the daily running plan that goes along with the Tinman challenge and decided to work down my weekly mileage instead of working it up. So I started out the week with a “long” run, insead of the 5k that the plan calls for, and I gotta say, that ended up working out a lot better for me!!

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Tuesday:

  • 5 miles in the morning
  • 30 minutes of yoga
  • 2 miles in the evening

All of that tiredness and heaviness that I felt in my legs last week was pretty much gone by this point! I had a lot of fun on my 5 miler on Tuesday and I felt so good that evening that I decided I needed to do a few more easy miles. That was the first time I’ve doubled in quite a long time! It was totally worth it!!

 

 

Wednesday:Β 

  • 1.78 miles, got caught in a thunderstorm and had to run home and wait it out for a while, then did 2 more miles
  • 10 minutes of yoga

Haha yeah, things got a little crazy on Wednesday. I talk all about what went down that day here, if you want to know all of the details, but basically, my run got interrupted by a severe thunderstorm…

 

 

Thursday:

  • rest day

After Wednesday’s escapades I decided that I could use a day off from running. And not gonna lie, I didn’t want to wake up at 5 am again and used this rest day as an opportunity to sleep in a little bit. It was glorious! And I mean, I felt pretty shitty during part 2 of my run on Wednesday, so I figured a rest day was in order. πŸ™‚

Friday:

  • 5 miles
  • 20 minutes of hoeing in the garden
  • 30 minutes on the stationary bike

This run ended up being a lot of fun!! We got more thunderstorms last night so they cooled everything off a little bit. I was worried that the humidity would be terrible, but it was only at 77% this morning. Not bad!! πŸ™‚

Saturday:

  • 2 miles

We got another really bad thunderstorm the night before, so it was crazy humid and muggy and miserable outside on Saturday. I had planned on doing 3 miles, but I stopped at 2 because I was basically dying haha. On the bright side, I had a lot of fun dodging and hurdling all of the leaves and tree branches that had been knocked down by the storm. πŸ˜‰

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Sunday:

  • Active Rest Day

Yay no running for me today! Haha I actually feel pretty darn good today, but we had ANOTHER thunderstorm last night, so yet again it’s humid and gross outside. But Luke and I are going to the dog park a little bit later today, and I’m going to work on some stretching as well. πŸ™‚

Also, happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there! You probably are and or have a super cool dad, but my dad is definitely the coolest!! πŸ˜‰

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Me, my dad, and my baby brother. πŸ™‚

Total Weekly Mileage: 24 miles

Went over my weekly goal by a whole mile! Go me!! πŸ˜‰

Total Monthly Mileage: 48.62

So, I’m definitely hanging in there on this challenge! I’m a little bit behind, but I’m not too worried about it. Even if I don’t hit the total monthly mileage goal for this challenge I’m still going to be super proud of myself! So far I’ve hung in there when things have gotten tough, I’ve hardcore upped my mileage which I’ve been trying to do for a while now (and in the summer too! I never accomplish much in the summer, running wise), ran more miles than I ran in the entire month of May, and I’ve definitely learned that I’m capable of much more than I thought! I think all of that is much more important that hitting some arbitrary number of miles anyway. πŸ™‚

I hope you’ve had a great week!

~Ashley

Friday Fives: Motivational Videos

Back when I was training for my first half marathon I struggled quite a bit to find the motivation to do my long runs and harder workouts. Mostly because a lot of that stuff was relatively new to me and my body was still adjusting to the harder work load. So to amp myself up before these harder workouts that were all new and unfamiliar to me, I’d get onto YouTube and search for “running motivation” and watch a few of the videos that came up. That usually got me excited to get out on the road and made the first step of just getting out of the door that much easier.

I actually haven’t done that in a while though, but getting up at 5 am to get a run in before it gets too hot is kinda draining a lot of the fun out of running for me. So early this morning while I was getting ready to do my run, I thought I’d go revisit some of my favorites and then share them with you guys!

1. Best Running Motivation

This one is actually my all time favorite! All of those quotes and the epic music gets me every time! I like it so much that I ripped the audio from the video and uploaded it to my phone so that I can listen to it while I run haha.

 

2. Running Motivation: Rise and Shine

“Welcome to the grind.”

 

3. Running Motivation

“Anything is possible as long as you want it, you work for it, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks.”

 

4.Β Best Running Motivational Video – Motivation To Run

“You must now be focused on your why. You must be focused on your dreams. You must be focused on your goals.”

 

5.Β Motivational Running – Our Deepest Fear

“It aint about how hard your hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”

 

 

 

The Story Of How I Ended Up With Lily

Today on Vidme I told the story of how I ended up with Lily. It’s an interesting story! You should go check it out!! πŸ˜‰

Here’s the link (I really wish the video would just show up in the post like it does when you add a YouTube link, but whatever.):

https://vid.me/5gj8

And here’s a little video montage of some of my favorite photos of Lily. πŸ™‚

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Running In A Severe Thunderstorm Is A Great Way To Add A Little Danger To Your Running Routine

First, let me preface this post by saying I don’t recommend running during severe weather. Along with the obvious risk of getting struck by lightning, there’s also a chance of getting hailed on, getting hit with tree branches or other debris, and if is raining hard enough it may be difficult for drivers to see you, which can get very dangerous.

Also, I didn’t go out and run during this “dangerous” thunderstorm (as the weatherbug app called it) on purpose. That just kinda happened because I decided that checking the weather once was probably good enough. It was not haha.

So let me explain what went down this morning…

I woke up and got out of bed at 5 am, as I’ve been doing for the last week and a half ish. I made coffee, ate breakfast, then got dressed and checked the weather bug app while I drake my coffee and sipped on some water.

According to weatherbug, we were under a dangerous thunderstorm alert until 6 am, so I checked the radar, and saw that yes there was a chance that we were going to get hit with a pretty bad storm, but the dark orange section of this storm on the radar map was relatively small and it looked like it might not hit us at all. I decided that I was probably going to get rained on and experience a little bit of thunder and lightning since it looked like the yellow section of the storm on the radar map was coming right at us, but I figured that since the dangerous thunderstorm alert ended at 6 I should be ok. After that I didn’t bother to check the weather again and that ended up being a huge mistake.

I set out on to do my 4 miler at 5:30 am. Still assuming that the dangerous thunderstorm alert ended in half an hour and that I’d probably be ok to run. Plus even though I know it’s probably not the best idea, I do like running in thunderstorms as long as they aren’t too bad, so I was actually kind of excited!

Initially I was seeing a lot of lightning, but I didn’t really think much of it. A lot of thunderstorms here in the Midwest produce a lot of lightning, even if the storm really isn’t all that bad. Plus it hadn’t even started raining or really thundering yet so I thought I was going to be able to finish my 4 miler without any problems.

I was a little over half a mile in when it started to sprinkle a little bit, but I like running in the rain, so I wasn’t worried about it at all. When I was about a mile in, the wind started to pick up and the temperature started to drop very quickly. I think it ended up dropping close to 10 degrees actually. That’s when I started to get a little bit worried. A minute or two after I started to worry about this storm, there was a huge flash of lighting and a loud boom of thunder.

That’s when I knew that things were going to get really bad and that I should probably start heading home. So I ran passed the street I was originally going to turn on and turned onto my street instead. At that point it was absolutely pouringΒ down rain, the wind was getting crazy bad, tree branches were falling down, I got hit with a few stray leaves and sticks (luckily it was nothing too big. That probably would have ended badly), and there was a lot of really big lightning bolts and very loud thunder. And I was still almost a mile away from home.

I kept on trucking though and I made it home without indecent! I ended up stopping at 1.78 miles, which was super unsatisfying, but there was no way I was going to try to get in that last almost .2 miles done during that storm.

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I actually made it home right before Luke left for work, so I got to talk to him for a little bit. And don’t worry, he did in fact tell me that I was crazy and that I probably should have waited to run haha. After he left I did a little bit of yoga to try to loosen up my calves (they were feeling quite tight today) and then I sat in my wet running gear for probably around 30 minutes while I waited for the storm worst of the storm to pass.

So once the really bad part of the storm was over (and this time I made sure to check the weather several Β times before I went back out πŸ˜‰ ) I set out to finish my run. It was still raining and there was a little bit of thunder and lighting, but it wasn’t too bad. So I was excited about that! Those are the kind of thunderstorms I like to run it haha. But unfortunately after sitting around for a while I just wasn’t feeling the whole running thing anymore. I was cold and my legs were feeling really tight (probably from sitting around in wet clothes) and I just wasn’t having fun anymore. So I did another 2 miles, decided that that got me close enough to 4 miles for the day, and then called it quits.

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While finishing up those 2 miles, I ran past the street that I hadΒ almostΒ run down earlier and I am very glad that I ended up turning onto my street instead. There are so many downed tree limbs in one part of that street, that they’re almost completely blocking part of the road. It’s a very good thing I didn’t decided to take that way home, because that probably wouldn’t have ended well for me…

I mean, there are downed tree limbs everywhere now, but it looked like that street was the worst. Luckily the worst damage to storm did to us was knock a decent sized branch onto the garden fence. It didn’t even hit any of the plants! So we got off pretty easy. My next door neighbor has a huge tree limb on his roof now. I sure hope it didn’t damage his roof. It doesn’t look too bad, but I guess it’s kinda hard to tell.

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Anyway, it’s almost 10 am as I type this, and the sun is shining, the birds are chirpping, and it’s looking like it’s going to be another beautiful, albeit hot and humid, day. Eventually I’m going to have to go out and enjoy it (and probably complain about how hot it is haha), but for now I’m thinking I need to take a little nap. My little storm chasing adventure kinda wore me out! πŸ˜‰

Happy Hump Day!

~Ashley

 

 

 

 

A Short Mile-By-Mile Summary Of This Morning’s Run

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Mile 0:Β Maybe I should give GU another shot. I mean, I did get one in my StrideBox so I guess there’s no reason to waste it. *eats half of it* Yeah, it’s just as gross as I remembered it being. Actually, I think this flavor might be even more gross.

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Mile 1:Β I did put on moisture wicking socks today, right?! *Glances at feet* Yeah, I did. It’s just so humid out that no amount of moisture wicking material is going to save me from drowning in my own sweat.

Mile 2: Shit my legs are sore. Why did I thing running 6 miles today was a good idea?*Stops at home for a sip of water and to put on compression socks* Well, at least the compression socks seemed to help my legs a little bit.

Mile 3:Β Β IΒ hateΒ running in the summer.

Mile 4:Β *Stops at home for another sip of water and to finish my GU* Yup. I’m never eating another GU in my life. EVER.

Mile 5:Β Dude! Sweet car!! Also, this hill is a bitch.

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Mile 6: I’m so done with summer running. I hate the hot. I hate the humidity. I want to die! Can a person hibernate in the summer? Like, I’m just gonna spend the rest of the summer hiding in the air conditioning, eating, reading, and napping. That sounds much more pleasant than attempting to continue running.

Post Snack/Shower/Nap:Β Well, I guess that wasn’tΒ too bad and I’m definitely going to keep running. But I’m still very much ready for fall to get here! Also, I need another snack. πŸ˜‰