Tag Archives: running gear

My Most Important Pieces Of Running Gear

Alrighty my friends! Do me a favor; quickly scroll through this list and then come back here…

Done?

Ok. πŸ˜„

Notice anything missing from this list? Running shoes, right? I mean, aren’t those literally the most important piece of running gear after all? And then after that a good sports bra, right?

Both of those things are super important, but here’s the thing, we all know that at this point! I mean, look at Runner’s World. At this point the magazine is 90% shoe ads. I stopped subscribing after they got a new editor and chief, but I’ve heard it’s just been going downhill ever since. But they aren’t the only company constantly telling us that we need shoes. Shoes shoes shoes shoes. Runners need their running shoes! Alright. We get it!

But I personally believe that finding the right running shoe for yourself is a very personal thing. Everyone’s feet, body, running stride, etc, are different. Therefore the perfect running shoe for someone else might be an injury waiting to happen for you!

So yes, maybe do a little bit of research before buying a pair of running shoes, but the best possible thing you can do is try on a variety of brands and styles. Run around in them a little bit at the store, and then just kinda hope that they’ll end up working for you. And if not, try again. I know that sounds like a lot of trial and error, but I really believe that’s the best way to figure out what’s going to work the best for you. You can also go to a reputable and trustworthy running specialty store, but take whatever they tell you with a grain of salt. Yes, they want to help you, but at the end of the day no one knows your feet and your body like you do.

Also if you have a particular shoe that works for you, don’t let anyone convince you that you’re wrong! I’m looking at you, people who say you can’t run long distances in Nike Frees!!

And don’t even get me started on sports bras. There is a lot wrong with that particular part of the athletic wear industry right now. I can’t find anything that isn’t super heavy duty that feels like you’re clipping yourself into a straight jacket, that has no pads or underwire (I get why some people like padded sports bras, but I hate them), or that had a bottom band that digs into and chafes the rib cage. I’ve seen women who end up bleeding pretty badly from these terrible sports bra bands. Nike used to make THE PERFECT sports bra for me, but they don’t anymore and I’m so freaking pissed! It’s been YEARS since I’ve had a sports bra that was actually comfortable…

But anyway. That’s why sports bras are also not on this list.

Hahaha oh wow. I really didn’t mean for that to turn into a rant like that. It just kinda happened. πŸ˜‚ But really I think someone needed to say it.

So, let’s get into a more positive track, shall we?

Obviously I’ve got a bone to pick with certain areas of the running gear/athletic wear industry, but there are actually quite a few brands and products out there that I love, trust, and believe in! Which is great because obviously running gear is fun! But it can also make or break your workout (I’m looking at you, terrible sports bras!), help you keep track of your training, progress, time, mileage, mile splits, or whatever, keep you comfortable in certain weather conditions, help keep you safe, provide you with a little extra piece of mind, or just make you feel like a total badass. Which is also super important!

So, today I wanted to share what I would consider to be my most important pieces of running gear. Obviously if asked, most runners would give you different answers as to what their most important gear is because we’re all different and need and want different things! How awesome is that?! 😊 But for me, these are a few of the things I just can’t live without when it comes to running.

ROAD iD

Safety first, my friends!!

My ROAD iD contains my name, birth year, blood type, and emergency contact. All things that could definitely come in handy in case of an emergency. Plus having all of that right on my wrist means I don’t have to carry my ID or anything else with me while I run, which is nice. πŸ˜„

At this point I WILL NOT run without my ROAD iD. Heck, I rarely ever take it off! It just gives me so much peace of mind knowing that if something were to ever happen to me my husband would be contacted right away. I seriously think everyone should have one!

(PS if you don’t have one yet, you can follow my special link to get you one and save 20% on your order. πŸ˜‰)

Garmin Fenix 5

I am a run by feel kinda gal, so I actually don’t pay a lot of attention to or get distracted by the paces that my Garmin is constantly providing me. Which is a problem that some people run into on occasion and something that can become a bit of an issue.

But, since it’s not a problem for me I always run wearing my Garmin Fenix 5. It’s a super fancy GPS watch and I do enjoy all of the data it can provide me, the biggest thing I’m looking for is my mileage. Yup, I’m the kind of person who can’t end a run at 4.8 miles even if I’m standing right in front of my house (and even though I know that GPS watches aren’t 100% accurate). But keeping track of my mileage is super important to me. It’s how I know if I’m being consistent and actually working hard instead of just phoning it in. Some people can measure that with time, but I prefer miles. Everything else that my Fenix 5 can do is just an added bonus. πŸ˜„

Oiselle Pocket Jogger Capris

You guys, the pants CHANGED MY LIFE!!!!!

I know that’s a little dramatic. πŸ˜‚ But seriously, the amount of pockets on running gear is too damn low!! I don’t need to carry much with me on my runs, but at the very least I like a pocket that my phone will fit in along with a few other pockets that I can keep fuel and chapstick in. But I literally never had that until these pants came into my life. I LOVE them. Now I just need to get the Pocket Jogger Shorts! Not one pair of my running shorts contains enough pockets.

I do have photos of my pair of pocket jogger capris, but they aren’t as good as this one from Oiselle’s website. πŸ˜‰

Trucker Hats

Oh trucker hats! Where would I be without you?!?

Gagging and choking on my hair, and constantly trying to keep my bangs out of my eyes, probably. πŸ˜‚

Trucker hats are an absolute MUST for me during the warmer months. I have what I affectionately refer to as a “choppy hair cut”. There are multiple layers, bangs, it’s kinda long, messy, and nothing is the same length. It can be hard to contain. πŸ˜‚ Even braids and headbands can’t keep it all out of my way. But trucker hats help without holding in too much heat thanks to their mesh backs. Plus I like to have some kind of brimmed hat anyway to keep the sun/wind/rain/who knows what out of my eyes if need be. πŸ˜„

Moisture Wicking Socks

Honestly the brand and style don’t matter much to me. Sometimes I wear compression socks. Sometimes I don’t. As long as my socks keep me feet from getting too sweaty and gross then I’m good to go!

The thing is, one time in my early days as a runner I forgot to switch into moisture wicking socks. It was a miserable experience for my poor, sweaty feet and I have never and probably will never make that same mistake again. I always double check my feet before I hit the pavement, just to be sure that I did indeed put on a pair of my running socks. πŸ˜‚

I’m a simple girl with simple needs. Aside from my Garmin I really don’t have any super duper fancy gear. Obviously there is nothing wrong with having the latest/expensive/technologically advanced/super spiffy gear. But I like to remind people that while all of that stuff can be fun, you really don’t need much to start running. That’s one of the cool things about this sport! It really doesn’t take fancy equipment. You just need a pair of shoes that work for you and whatever allows you to move comfortably over however many miles you want to cover.

Alrighty! That’s all from me for now!

What running gear can’t you live without? I’d love to hear your answers!

But for now I’ll wish you happy Monday and a wonderful new week!!

~Ashley

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Team ROAD iD

You guys!!!!! I’m super duper excited to finally be able to announce that I get to be apart of ROAD iD’s ambassador program this year!!!!!!!! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

If you’ve been following me for a while then you might already know how much I love my ROAD iD. I wear it all of the time! When I’m running, walking my dogs, or doing anything or going anywhere, really.!I seriously consider it to be one of my most important pieces of running gear. I even wrote a blog post about what ROAD iD is and why I wear it a few years ago. So I’ve been pretty loyal to this brand ever since I just kind of stumbled upon it back in 2015.

Lol as I was looking for photos for this post I realized that my teal ROAD iD band had seen 3 different Garmins before I finally broke it. πŸ˜‚

I had honestly never heard about ROAD iD until the day before my very first race/half marathon ever back in 2015. I went to packet pick up the day before my first half feeling super excited and very nervous since I literally had no idea what to expect, about the race and whether or not I could actually cover 13.1 miles on foot sure, but also because I had never done anything like this before and had no clue what to expect throughout the whole process. So when I revived my packet I didn’t even make it to the car before I had torn into the envelope containing my first ever race bib (it’s still displayed on my bedroom wall along with all of my medals and other race bibs 😊). Number 136. I admired it for a while, just kinda soaking it all in. But of course I was curious as to what else was in that envelope. I found advertisements for other local races, a coupon for the KC Running Company Stores, and a coupon for $5 (at least I think it was $5. Hahaha it might have been more. Cut me some slack guys, it’s been a while! πŸ˜‰) off of a ROAD iD order.

At that moment I didn’t think much of it. I was too busy freaking out about my first half/race ever. But a few weeks after I finished my first race (which you can read about here, if you’d like 😁) I decided to visit this ROAD iD’s website. I did have a coupon after all. πŸ˜‰ Hahaha I hate to sound super dramatic, but my life kinda changed at that point!

I immediately fell in love with the idea; a customizable, wearable ID tag. A place where you can put super important info that you never really want to need, but would definitely be happy to have on your person just in case anything were to happen. Better than having to carry your ID with you for sure! Especially since your ID doesn’t usually include your emergency contact’s info. So I ordered one that day, along with a super spiffy 13.1 badge, since I was a new half marathoner and all. πŸ˜‰ And now about 4 years later I still have my original face-plate and that 13.1 badge. They have certainly stood the test of time! They haven’t worn down at all and they barely have a scratch on them! 😊 I did eventually manage to snap very pretty teal stretch band by taking it off and putting it back on thought. But it took me almost 4 years to do that! So I’d definitely say they are durable!!

I wear mine EVERYWHERE! At this point I rarely even take it off! In the summer I end up with some really funky tan lines because I also wear my Garmin pretty much all the time. So my left wrist always ends up with two weird pale spots on it.πŸ˜‚

For real though I think everyone should have one! At this point I’ve got my mom and dad wearing them and i’m currently working on my two sisters and my brother. πŸ˜‰

My mom has a seizure disorder which is included on her ROAD iD, along with a medical alert badge. She wears hers all of the time and it make her feel like she can actually go out in public and live a normal life despite her medical issues.

My mom is rocking some super sweet badges on her pretty pink ROAD iD.

My dad does all sorts of crazy things!! He hikes, runs, and climbs mountains, when he’s not busy driving semi trucks, training drivers, or basically running a trucking company, often accompanied by his Russian Bear dog, Niko or the “All American girl”, Barbie. So it was a pretty obvious choice for him to wear a ROAD iD during his many adventures.

My dad also rocks a pretty pink ROAD iD. If anyone needs a male model for anything you should probably hit him up on Instagram @martiniiijames.

I think it’s such an important piece of gear for anyone who has medical issues, does any kind of adventuring, traveling, or just enjoys walking their dog around the block. It’s certainly one of those things that’s better to have and not need it than to need it and not have it. Mine has definitely given me and my family a little more peace of mind while I’m out running. I literally will not run without it.

I think at this point I’ve gone on enough about how much I love my ROAD iD. Hahaha I’m just so super stoked to be able to represent a brand that I love and believe in this much! And to make things even more exciting I have a special link you can follow to get 20% off of your next ROAD iD order!!

Click here to save 20% on your ROAD iD order!! 😁

Seriously my friends, if you don’t have a ROAD iD yet, if yours needs updating, or if you know a friend or family member who could use one, follow the above link, save yourself some money, and get yourself a little extra piece of mind!

Stay safe out there my friends! Wishing you all many happy healthy miles and lots of amazing adventures!

-Ashley

Weekly Recap: January 21st-27th, 2019

I’ve felt kinda tired and off this week. By Sunday I was definitely feeling run down and like I was right about to come down with a cold or something. Damn. Like and I had been doing incredibly well at not getting sick this cold a flu season. But I guess it was inevitable that I’d end up getting sick eventually. My immune system isn’t the greatest…

Monday:

  • 4 miles

Monday was a cold one!! Felt like 8 degrees out and was cloudy and windy. I felt kinda like Randy from A Christmas Story in all of my various layers, but at least I was relatively comfortable during my run. πŸ˜‚

I talk all about how I gear up for super cold winter runs here, if you’re interested! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜Š

Tuesday:

  • 3 miles

I was feeling very, very meh on Tuesday. I didn’t exactly want to run but I felt pretty decent once I got out there.

Anyway, it was drizzly and cold. Warmer than the day before though. Hahaha we’ve still got some big piles of snow, slush, ice, and mud everywhere. So it’s been an interesting couple of days. πŸ˜‚

Wednesday:

  • 4 treadmill miles

Woke up to an inch or so of new snow!! I was super duper excited about getting another snowy run in, but my husband texted me and told me the roads were super slippery. And they were…it had rained before it snowed so there was just a nice little layer of ice underneath it all. So I took to the treadmill for 4 miles on Wednesday.

It was no fun… every once in a in a while I can get a decent treadmill run in, but most of the time treadmill running just saps all of the life out of me. But about an hour after I had finished and was laying around feeling sorry for myself and just messing around on my phone I got some really exciting news!!! I can’t tell you what yet, but I am so freaking stoked!!!!! It made my day so much better after that sad treadmill run. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜„

Thursday:

  • 45 minutes strength training
  • 25 minutes yoga

Woop woop! Got a decent strength workout done on Thursday!! Then a nice yoga practice done in the afternoon, including a few headstands. I used to practice my headstands a lot and at one point I was really good at them! But I kinda fell off for a while. But I was super stoked to find out that I’m still capable of holding one for a while! I’m currently using the wall as a safety net because I do kinda fall backwards sometimes, but still, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be! 😁

Also, my watch says my strength session was 55 minutes long because that’s including the warm up and cool down. I just can’t be bothered to keep track of that and sets and whatnot. πŸ˜‰

Friday:

  • 35 minutes on the stationary bike

I was pretty sore on Friday! Tired too. Decided to spend some time on my stationary bike to help loosen up my legs a little bit. Mission accomplished! πŸ˜„

Saturday:

  • 7 miles

It was another cold day on Saturday! Not as cold as Monday was, but still pretty chilly! I got 7 miles in for my “long run” this week. Hahaha for me personally, that’s not really a long run. Especially since I’ve been doing “medium long” runs at 5 miles. So really I should probably be doing at least 10 for my actual long run. But oh well, still happy with my 7. πŸ˜‰

I felt pretty good for the most part! All in all it was pretty decent run.

Sunday:

  • 30 minutes of yoga

I actually woke up feeling ok today, but as the day went on I started feeling a little worse. I’m tired, a little bit achy (but not from my run yesterday), and my throat has been a bit scratchy. I’ve been hoping that I’d make it through cold and flu season unscathed, but it’s looking like that’s not gonna happen.

I spent my day resting, drinking tea, and I did a little bit of restorative yoga with a couple of headstands thrown in just for fun! πŸ˜‰πŸ™ƒ I’m hoping a little bit of rest will help keep this from turning into a full blown thing, but we shall see.

Total Weekly Mileage: 18.10

I’m moving that weekly mileage up at a snail’s pace. But hey, a snail’s pace sure beats not moving forward at all! Or even worse, going backwards! So I’ll gladly take it!!

Slightly unrelated, but does anyone else feel like the month of January is going by at a snail’s pace as well? Like, I swear it’s been at least 3 months since Christmas, but nope, it’s been about 1. What the heck is up with that?!?

Anyway, wishing everyone a happy Sunday!

~Ashley

How I Dress For Cold, Dry Winter Runs

How do you dress for cold runs? Well, I’m not sure. But I can tell you how I do it. πŸ˜‰

Honestly I think that gearing up for any kind of weather condition is a very personal thing. Everyone runs at different temperatures and everyone experiences the elements in different ways. So while one runner might be wearing shorts and a t-shirt when it’s 40 degrees outside another might be wearing tights and a light jacket. Neither runner is wrong. If you feel comfortable then you are dressed properly!

That being said, dressing for the cold and I mean the real cold, I’m talking single digit temps here (or even real feel temperatures in the single digits) can be kinda tricky. But before we get started on how I gear up for the bitter cold I just wanted to note a couple of different things;

First and foremost the importance of moisture wicking material! It is absolutely CRUCIAL to wear materials that are going to move moister away from your skin in the winter. Being wet and cold is a dangerous state to be in. You can develop hypothermia rather quickly in very cold conditions so you’re going to want to stay as dry as possible. Moisture wicking material will help. Especially the layers closest to your skin. I try to wear only moisture wicking material, but when it’s super cold and windy out I’ll usually throw a cotton pullover hoodie on over the rest of my moisture wicking gear.

Secondly, I’ve specified dry conditions for a reason. Running when it’s cold and wet (snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, etc.) is a whole different animal. We’ve already talked about how important it is to stay dry when it’s cold out, but that’s not to say you can’t run when it’s cold and wet out. That just takes a little bit more prep, slightly different gear, and the ability and willingness to exercise caution (especially in icy conditions) and modifying or cutting your run short as need be.

Okey Dokey! Now that that’s out of the way, here is how I dress for cold, dry winter runs!!

So yesterday was a pretty cold day here in Kansas. Cold enough that even I wasn’t super stoked about running outside. πŸ˜‚ It was 22 degrees with a real feel temperature of 8, cloudy, and with winds coming in from the south east at about 16 mph. Honestly it’s the wind that always gets me. I HATE it.

But, I would most definitely rather run in the cold wind than run on a treadmill (which I am lucky enough to have as an option. I’m well aware of that fact. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜) so I decided to gear up and do my run outside! One of the most important aspects of gearing up for the cold is layers! Layers that you can take off or adjust as need be are also very helpful. But layering your clothing probably will make a huge difference in how you feel in the cold.

(Sorry in advance for the not-so-great photos. I’m working with the bad lighting in my house and an iPhone camera here. πŸ˜‰)

My layers laid out on my bed.

Alrighty, let’s start from the bottom and work our way up! I like to go with one pair of socks. Crew cut to help keep my ankles warm. I’m kinda tall so my pants sometimes don’t cover them. πŸ˜‰ In life in general my feet are always freezing, but when I run they are always hot and sweaty, so one pair of thin socks is all I need when it’s dry out.

I always go commando while running. I’m just more comfortable that way. So when the winter winds start to blow I double up on pants. At least when the temperatures are super low. That wind can really cut through a single layer and that can make your crotch really cold and nobody wants a cold crotch. πŸ˜‰ So I like to wear a pair of fleece lined leggings with with either a pair of windbreakers or nice thick sweatpants overtop.

For the top I wear a sports bra of course, followed by a thin shirt. I’m rather fond of quarter length sleeves, but a long sleeved shirt is also a good option. Followed by a running jacket. I LOVE my Nike one. It’s got thumb holes which are always fantastic. Vents in the armpits and a little bit thinner fabric on the back and under arms where most people tend to get hot and sweaty. Plus it’s a quarter zip which can really come in handy if you start feeling a little too warm. You’d be surprised how big of a difference that can make!

Anyway, like I mentioned before, on particularly windy days I’ll wear a pullover hoodie on top of all of that. It really helps keep me from feeling that cold wind. A nice windbreaker jacket would also probably help but I do not have one of those. πŸ˜‚

Then come the hat, gloves, and a bandanna that I borrowed from my dog. πŸ˜‚ So the hat and gloves are pretty obvious. Gotta keep those ears and fingers warm! I just wear cheap little cotton gloves. Nothing fancy, but they work for me. And I’m sure they’re are better beanies for winter running, but my Carhartt has never done me wrong! I know some people prefer to run with just earmuffs or whatever because a whole hat on your head does get pretty warm. I’m not a fan of just having my ears covered though so I like a full on hat. If I start feeling too hot I just take it off for a few minutes.

Now, on to the bandana! Honestly I really need a good buff or something, but I do t have one and this is what I’ve got to work with. A buff or a bandanna or a balaclava will give you some extra face and neck coverage, which can be necessary when it gets crazy cold out. You can also pull them up over your nose and mouth to give your lungs a little break from the cold air. I know some people like to run with their nose and mouth covered the whole time and I’m sure that’s pretty practical in places where it gets even colder, but I prefer to just wear the bandanna and pull it over my mouth and nose as I need it.

And last but not least sunglasses!! I actually wear my sunglasses during a good majority of my runs for several reasons. First off, my eyes are pretty sensitive to bright lights. So even if it’s cloudy out I still like to wear them. Especially if there is snow on the ground. They also offer a little more protection from the cold. Sure it’s not a lot, but it is something! Especially on those really windy days or when it’s so cold it feels like your eyes are gonna freeze.

And that’s it! Once all of my layers are on, I lace up my shoes and head out into the world ready to face the elements! Sure I feel a little bit like Randy from A Christmas Story, but hey, at least I feel relatively comfortable whenever it’s extremely cold out! πŸ˜‰

So this is what works for me on dry, windy days, when temperatures get into the single digits. As you can see, while I do have a few really nice pieces of winter running gear, I don’t have too many crazy fancy things for when the weather get crazy cold, but I am able to make it work! I do have the option of running on the treadmill but I like to avoid that whenever possible. πŸ˜‚ But obviously that’s not an option for everyone, so I just wanted to say that it is possible to get out there and be relatively comfortable even in low temperatures!

Alrighty! I think that about covers it for today! Happy Tuesday!!

~Ashley

Training For β€œOperation Two Half Marathons In Two Days” Begins Today!

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I’ve been trying to figure out just exactly what I wanted to call this training cycle. Haha is that weird? Last year I went with “Half Marathon Training Round Three” but that wasn’t exactly going to work this time around, so after some thinking I figuredΒ β€œOperation Two Half Marathons In Two Days” worked just fine! πŸ˜‰

But yeah, my training plan officially begins today! I am Kicking off this training cycle with a rest day, as is pretty usual with the Garmin training plans that I use haha. I’m ok with that though. Mostly because I basically forgot this was coming up until some point yesterday evening. That’s my bad. πŸ˜‚ I guess being in vacation mode for most of the week kinda threw me off but it’s all good! At least I’ve got today to start to mentally prepare for all of the training that’s coming my way. πŸ˜‰ Especially since I did absolutely no running while we were in Branson. The little town our cabins were in seemed super sketchy and I didn’t feel safe going anywhere alone, let alone running several miles by myself. And it turns out it was a super sketchy place because we ended up getting some fishing gear (along with a leatherman’s tool that my grandpa gave me…) stolen. So it was probably a good decision not to run there.

But while we were there I did get a new pair of running shoes at the Nike outlet store, so at least there’s that! The pair of Free’s that I had been running in were getting super worn out and were pretty much at the end of their running life, so they’ve officially become my new everyday shoes. And the pair of Free’s that were my everyday shoes got thrown away. They served my very well, first as running shoes and then as everyday shoes, but they were basically ripping to shreds and it was long past time to get rid of them.

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From left to right; my new running shoes, my now everyday shoes, and the shoes I finally threw away. Haha it’s hard to tell in this photo, but they were in rough shape.

I think it’s pretty exciting to kick off a new training cycle with a new pair of shoes! And of course I’ve still got my Nike Pegasus to run in as well. I like to have at least two pairs of shoes to rotate between. So now I’m all set on that front!

Anyway, getting into half marathon training mode should be interesting, considering that I haven’t done a whole lot of running this month. Between the heatwave and our family vacation I just haven’t really been feeling it. But the weather has gotten a little less hot, our vacation is done, and I’m feeling ready to get this show on the road! So things are kicking off with an easy 3 miler tomorrow and we’ll just see how that goes! πŸ™‚ I’ve learned a lot training for and then completing my first 3 half’s, so now that I’m armed with that knowledge I’m pretty confident for this training cycle. Well, I’m also a bit terrified because I’m running two half’s in two days, and I’d be very confident if I was just doing one, orΒ  a couple a few months or weeks apart. But all in all I’m pretty exciting to see how this all goes!

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Mile 11 of the Longview Half Marathon, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Okey dokey then! Getting back into the swing of things and back into running. I’m ready to go! Bring it on!

Until next time,

~Ashley

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Ashley’s Tips For Surviving Summer Running

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Ah, summer. For some the thought of summertime brings up wonderful thoughts of days at the beach, road trips, ice cream, fireworks, fun in the sun, and relaxation. Not me though. While those things are fun in their own right, I’m a self-proclaimed cold weather person and I don’t particularly enjoy the summer months. The thought of summertime makes me think of super early mornings, that gross feeling of your thighs sticking to a chair on a warm summer day, getting third degree burns while trying to buckle your seat belt in a boiling hot car, and of course hot, slow, miserable runs, feeling like I’m drowning in my own sweat, and bugs. So. Many. BUGS!!

Haha alright, alright, I’m a bit melodramatic, I can admit that. I can also admit that summer running does have its perks and sometimes it can be down right enjoyable! Still though, I can’t wait for fall to get here. πŸ˜‰ But since summer is in full swing and we’ve got a while before fall blesses us with its wonderful presence, I thought it would be a good time to talk a little about surviving summer runs. It can be a little tricky sometimes! But these are my tips for making running in hot, humid weather, more bearable! πŸ™‚

1. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you could ever do for your body! Dehydration can cause a slew of unpleasant side effects such as feeling tired and sluggish, headaches, dizziness, and rapid heart rate. Yeah, that’s not a good way to feel in general, but side effects like that can make running an absolutely miserable experience, so staying hydrated is a must!! And not just before your run either. When the weather is hot you sweat a lot more and that dehydrates you pretty quickly, so it’s usually a good idea to take in some fluids while you run too. Water is always a fantastic option, but if you’re like me and sweat super salty, or are planning on doing a hard workout or are just going to be running for more than an hour sipping on a sports drink to replace electrolytes might be a good idea as well.

As for when and how much you should be drinking on a run, well, that’s going to vary from person to person. I generally like to take a few sips of water and maybe a sports drink if it’s particularly hot or if I’m going longer around every 2-3 miles. But that’s just what works for me. You’ll have to do a bit of experimenting to find what works for you.

A good way to gauge your hydration is actually your urine color! If it’s a darker yellow (think apple juice) then you need to drink more. If it’s a nice pale yellow you’re probably adequately hydrated. If it’s completely clear then you might be overdoing it on water and might need some electrolytes as well. Now more likely than not, when you finish a run your urine is probably going to be a dark yellow. That’s perfectly fine! Just make sure you drink enough to get it back to a pale yellow as soon as you can. I’m always weirdly proud when my urine is just the right color hahaha.

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My long run necessities.

2. Dress Appropriately

What you wear can make a really big difference on how you feel! In the summer its best to opt for light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, made with a breathable, moisture wicking material. When it’s really hot shedding as much clothing as you’re comfortable with and the law allows (as far as I know, most states in the US frown upon displaying your more intimate bits in public πŸ˜‰ ) can also help keep you cool.

The goal in the summer is to keep sweat and excess body heat moving away from the body and everything mentioned above will help with that. Tight fitting clothes can can actually trap in some heat and cotton material gets weighed down with sweat and doesn’t breathe the way moister wicking material does. That can leave you feeling more hot and even a little weighed down. Plus that can cause all kinds of uncomfortable chafing and blisters. Take it from someone who accidentally wore a pair of cotton socks on a hot summer day, moister wicking material is important! I’ve literally never made that mistake again haha.

3. Wear sunscreen

I’ve heard several conflicting things about sunscreen; That it prevents your body from absorbing as much UV rays and therefore keeping you marginally cooler. Or that it can block your sweat glands and prevents you from sweating as much and therefore making you retain more heat. Now I’m not sure if either of those things are true, but what I do know is that sunburn sucks. Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen.

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In 2013 Luke and I went on vacation in Florida. On our second day there we spent the whole day at the beach. I told him he needed to put on sunscreen but he didn’t listen. He spent the rest of the week we were there in a lot of pain. Seriously, WEAR SUNSCREEN!!

4. Wear A Hat

Hats have become one of my all-time favorite pieces of running gear. I started out my running career as a headband girl, but that quickly changed once I learned just how versatile and useful hats are! Now I rarely run without one. In the summer hats with a mesh back are probably your best option. That will allow some heat to escape while keeping your face nice and shaded (and in my case it also helps keep my hair out of my face and mouth. πŸ˜‰ ). Visors are also a good choice for the summer, but if you wear one you one really be able to do #5 on this list.

5. Put Ice In Your Hat

Obviously the logistics of this one can be a little tricky, but if you’re running near home, have the ability to stop at a gas station/restaurant/store, or have an awesome person supporting you on a run or who is willing to meet you somewhere, putting a few ice cubes in your hat can be a real life saver!!! It cools you off pretty quick but since it takes the ice a little bit to melt it can help keep you a little bit cooler for longer than just dumping water in on your head. Although in a pinch, dumping water on your head is also refreshing! It doesn’t keep you as cool for as long though, that’s why I prefer ice! Another good place to stick a few ice cubes is in your sports bra! Cool boobs are happy boobs, that’s what I always say! πŸ˜‰ Hahaha ok, I’ve never actually said that, but a few ice cubes in the sports bra when it’s crazy hot out is also nice way to cool off a bit. πŸ™‚

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6. Run In Shade If You Can

Never underestimate the cooling effects of running in the shade!! It can feel around 10-15 degrees cooler in the shade. Not because it’s actually cooler or anything, the temperature is still the same, but while in the shade you get hit with less solar radiation and therefore don’t feel as hot. It also might help you avoid getting a sun burn, but you shouldn’t have to worry about that, because you’re wearing sun screen, right? πŸ˜‰

But anyway, planning a route with some nice, tall trees can be a life saver on a hot day, when the sun isΒ out!

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7. Get Out Before The Sun

Did you know on a hot summer day asphalt can get up around 140 degrees?? That’s why it’s usually not safe to walk your dog on in when it’s hot out, but that’s another post for another day. πŸ˜‰ But you know what happens to the heat the asphalt absorbs on hot days? It reflects it right back up. So imagine this; your out running on a hot summer day, it’s about 85 degrees out, the sun is shining directly on you, and the asphalt is just reflecting even more heat back up at you. Doesn’t sound too pleasant, right? So the solution to this little problem is to get out before the sun comes up and heats up the asphalt. Which unfortunately requires waking up pretty early haha. Don’t get me wrong, running has turned me into a morning person, but like, a 6:30-7:00 kinda morning person. Waking up around 4:30-5:00 am is justΒ too muchΒ morning, ya feel me? πŸ˜‰ It’s usually worth it on a hot summer day though. Running at 5 in the morning is a lot more comfortable than running at 5 in the afternoon, after the suns been out all day and the asphalt is burning hot. Plus you’re usually greeted with some pretty amazing sunrises!!

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8. Slow Down

I know this is something that a lot of people don’t want to hear, but when it’s really hot and humid out one of the best things you can do is slow down. Maybe even take walking breaks if you have to. I know runners are constantly striving to better themselves and get discouraged when they feel like they’re working really hard but their paces don’t reflect that. Well Ashley is here to tell you that that’s ok!! The heat can really slow you down and if you’re not careful you can easily end up overheating. Heat exhaustion is no joke! So stay safe out there. Slow down. Don’t over exert yourself and end up sick or injured. Summer is the perfect time of year to focus on running by feel instead of running by whatever pace your GPS watch is reading. I promise you’ll end up feeling better when your run is done, and once the weather starts getting better you’ll be able to run faster again.

9. Be Aware Of Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke

Just as you must be wary of frost bite and hypothermia in the winter, you must be wary and know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Especially if you plan on being outside in the sun for long periods of time (and remember that it can happen in a short amount of time as well). This kind of stuff can and does happen, even to the most fit and prepared people, so I think it’s very important to know the symptoms and what to do if you, your running buddy, or some guy out mowing his yard, starts exhibiting said symptoms. THESE ARE SERIOUS CONDITIONS AND CAN TURN ANY RUN OR OUTDOOR ACTIVITY INTO A LIFE OR DEATH SITUATION!

Stay safe out there guys! The point is to enjoy running for as long in life as possible, not to push yourself so hard that you end up sick or in the hospital.

10.Β When Worst Comes To Worst, Stay IndoorsΒ 

You wake up early in the morning, before the sun is even out and get ready to run; you drink some water and enjoy a nice breakfast, apply a liberal amount of sunscreen, don your lightest colored, loose-fitting, dry fit tank top and shorts, your most favorite trucker hat, and bad-ass reflective sunglasses, you plan to stop back at your house every 2-3 miles for a sip of water and to cool down with some ice. You’re ready to roll! “But better check my weather app first” you think to yourself as your about to walk out the door, and are greeted with several alerts about the heat and air quality.

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You know you’re a heat sensitive person with asthma. Your also smart enough to know that sometimes running outside just isn’t worth it. Right??

Haha obviously that’s a situation I’ve found myself in several times in the almost 5 years that I’ve been running. And usually I am smart enough to know that running outside just isn’t worth it. There have been a few times I was not smart though and tried to run anyway. Luckily in those situations I’ve always ended up cutting my runs short after realizing I’d made a bad decision, and so far I’ve always managed to realize that well before I’d run into any serious trouble. Luckily for me, I’ve become a little more cautions about this kind of thing as I’ve gotten a little older and learned more about running and life in general.

The lesson here, my friends, is sometimes it’s just not worth it. If the weather is ever detrimental to your health or safety, it’s usually best to stay indoors. Maybe run on a treadmill instead, or do some laps in a pool, take a spin class, try out some yoga, or something. I know getting in your miles or doing certain workouts are important, but that’s never more important than staying healthy. There really are times when you’re better off doing nothing than risking injury, illness, or even death. Don’t risk your well-being on something as stupid as some arbitrary number of miles or a specific work out. It’s not worth it.

Alright, I know those last 2 points were kinda serious and I’m not trying to scare anyone off of summer running or anything. Summer running can be fun and has all sorts of benefits! I just think it’s important to keep those things in mind.

Enjoy your summer (or at least try to if you’re like me and dislike the heat haha), have fun, stay safe, and remember; summer miles bring fall smiles!

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Happy summer running, everyone!

~Ashley

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Treadmill Running

I started out my running journey almost 5 years ago on a treadmill in my old apartment complexes fitness center, but once I started running on the paved trail that was near by, I ditched the treadmill and never looked back. In that time I’ve forgotten a little something about myself; I’m super duper awkward on treadmills!

So just going back a little bit, last weekend Luke and I went to Illinois for one of his brother’s high school graduation party. While we were there we picked up my sister’s old treadmill from her boyfriend’s mom’s house. My sister (actually, both of my sister’s, my brother, and both of my parents) live in Colorado now. It would have been more expensive for her to rent a truck and drive all the way to Illinois just to get it, and since she knew Luke just recently bought a new truck, she told me that we could take it. And that, my friends, is how I ended up getting a $600 treadmill for free. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me!! πŸ˜‰

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Originally I wasn’t going to take the treadmill. “I’m a road runner!” I told myself, “I pride myself in running in ALL OF THE WEATHER CONDITIONS!” And that is true, but in the summer months I always end up runningΒ a lot less and basically not doing any kind of speed work, because I do not do well in the heat. It absolutely drains me and my running kinda suffers because of it. So after thinking about that for a while, I figured why not take the treadmill? I could probably utilize it in a way to supplement my outdoor running and actually do some speed work in the summer! So at this point I’m pretty stoked to have it. Even though it’s kinda huge and taking up a lot of room in my living room haha.

Anyway, back to my original point. I run weird on treadmills. And I’ve kinda forgotten about that little fact until now. Once I had started running on that trail back in the apartment days I realized how natural treadmill running felt to me. I also realized how quickly I tore shoes up while running on a treadmill. Once I started running on asphalt my shoes started lasting me a lot longer. Probably because running on a revolving belt is just naturally going to wear them out faster, but also because my running gait is just super awkward while moving on said revolving belt and I’ve never been able to get into a good rhythm on one. And honestly I probably never will.

So I’ve only run twice since Sunday when we brought this thing home. Both runs were on the treadmill and both runs felt super weird. Now, I know I’m slow, but a little simple math told me that my Garmin wasn’t reading correctly with that first run on Monday and that I was going somewhere around a 13:30 pace and not a 15 minute per mile pace. Haha that was a huge relief! Because that first run felt HARD! So I’m not actually sure about the distance on this run. I’m not all that worried about it though, I figured out how to calibrate my watch to the treadmill and it was pretty close to what the treadmill was reading on Tuesday. Still not sure how accurate the treadmill is, but I’m just gonna roll with it haha.

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First treadmill run in a very long time on Monday!

You might notice in the photo above that I’m not wearing any shoes. Haha remember how I said I tear shoes up while running on the treadmill? Yeah, I don’t want to be doing that right now. You see, I’m down to one pair of running shoes (I just had to retire my current pair of Nike Free’s. It was a sad day), my Nike Pegasus and they’re getting close to being halfway through their running life with me. I can usually get about 300 ish miles out of a pair of shoes before they have to retire to my “everyday” shoes, and then I can usually wear them for about another year before I have to get rid of them. It’s a good system for me. πŸ™‚ But anyway, since I’m down to one pair of running shoes and currently not able to spend $100 to get a new pair (that whole trip to Illinois, our up coming family vacation that Luke’s mom has been planning, and having to pay bills, buy food, and other adult stuff like that is really slowing the whole getting new running shoes thing down). So in order to preserve my current pair of shoes I’ve done both of my runs this week in my socks!!

(Just a little side note here guys, I have a ko-fi account now! You might have notice the “Buy Me A Coffee” button on the side of my blog. I actually spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I should join ko-fi, because I didn’t want anyone to think I was like, begging for money or anything. And I’m totally not! But you know, I do work pretty hard on this blog and my other social media accounts. I put myself out there and share my story in some pretty up close and personal ways. So I figured why not give people a way to show me some love and support in the small way of “buying me a coffee” if they want to. And if they don’t, no big deal and no hard feelings. It’s not like I started this blog to make boatloads of money. Although I’d be lying if I said that wouldn’t be nice. πŸ˜‰ But anyway, just thought I’d throw that out there really quick. I probably wont be bringing it up much though.)

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So anyway, in order to preserve the life of my remaining pair of running shoes, I’ve done both of my runs this week in just my socks. I figured it wouldn’t be that big of a deal though. As kids my sisters and I would run around the farm barefoot all the time. We’d walk around corn fields, cow pastures, the woods, our gravel driveway, and even ride our bikes all sans shoes, and it was great!! And it’s not like I wear shoes all the time anyway. Nowadays I always walk around my house in just socks. I ride my stationary bike barefoot, tend to my garden barefoot or in flip flops or rubber boots (so, shoes that basically have no support whatsoever). I’ve even played tennis and helped Luke practice for softball either barefoot or in socks. Haha we’ve actually discoverd that I pitch better without shoes on! Although that’s probably just a weird coincidence, but now whenever we got out to the softball fields and there’s no home plate out we just use my shoes because I’m a-ok with not wearing them haha.

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P.S. I’m totally in love with my Zensah watermelon compression socks!!Β πŸ‰πŸ˜„[/[/[/[/[/[/

I’ve also got an affinity for minimalist shoes. Hence why I love Nike Free’s so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love myΒ Pegasus. They’re a great training shoe and a good way for me to switch things up a little bit, but I wont do races in them haha. Compared to the Free’s they just feel heavy to me. I don’t even like wearing them on long runs, but I do because I know it’s good for me. But anyway, since I’m quite often barefoot, or wearing socks or minimalist shoes, I figured my feet, ankles, and legs would be strong enough to do my treadmill running in just my socks. But I think I might have overdone it a bit yesterday. I ran 4 miles on the treadmill, very awkwardly because like I said, treadmill running is weird and hard, in just my socks. I’m not hurt or injured or anything, but my calves are just super tight today! My guess is from running super duper awkwardly on the treadmill two days in a row and now wearing shoes probably didn’t help.

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Haha yesterday I actually spent those 4 miles watching part of a full Green Day concert on YouTube. I have no idea how people can go to a concert and record the whole thing! I’m too busy singing and dancing to even consider taking decent pictures, let along record a video! But I am incredibly grateful to the people who do! Haha yesterday’s 4 miles flew by thanks to whoever recorded this concert! I find treadmill running to be incredibly boring, so I never thought I’d say treadmill miles just flew by! So that was really nice!! But like I said, I woke up with super tight calves today, so I figured I needed to rest them and stretch them, so that’s been my goal for today.

I actually wanted to run outside today. The weather has been a little less hot thanks to some rain we have in the forecast, so it would have been nice to take it outside today. But my tight calves are making my heels hurt a little bit. I’ve dealt with plantarΒ fasciitis before (and ironically I got it from running in a pair of shoes that were waaay to supportive for my feet. I have very high arches and I’ve found the less support a shoe has, the better!) and I definitely didn’t want to go through all of that again, so I figured taking the day off and getting my calves to loosen up a bit was obviously the better option. So I spent about 30 minutes on my yoga mat doing just that. I still felt a little tight, but a lot better after that!

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So I’m hoping tomorrow they feel even better and I’ll be able to run on them. The weather forecast is saying that it’s supposed to be in the 60’s and cloudy with a chance of rain, so I’d like to run in that before it starts getting hot and gross again!! But once it does, at least I’ll have the treadmill as an option. πŸ™‚

I’ve also got another dentist appointment tomorrow to get my permanent crowns put on. So hopefully that all goes well. But that is all I’ve got for now, so happy hump day everyone!

~Ashley

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