Last Stretch of Winter Training

We can only hope that the groundhog was wrong and we only have a little bit more of winter. Regardless of what that little fur ball saw, runners need to push through the last of the cold winter weather.

20170208-blog-02-08-17_v3
Minneapolis Cedar Lake Trail

I am doing so with a combination of running, cross training, and weight lifting, but the way that I am going to get through the last bit of winter is by splitting my time outside and indoor training.

I love to run outside. Unlike others, I think it is a lot easier for me to run outside than on a treadmill. I like to be able to change-up the route and be able to enjoy the lakes, city, river and other runners around the Minneapolis area. This winter, I did most of my running on the treadmill. About 25% of my training was outside. This is a combination of it’s too damn cold in Minnesota and it’s too damn cold in Minnesota. Whenever I did whether the weather and head outdoors, I did not leave the apartment without my Buff for my face, my warm running clothing, and my Brilliant Reflective (for night-time running).

20170208-blog-02-08-17_v1
Minneapolis Loring Park

Now that it is getting a little warmer out, as in it’s above 20 degrees, I am starting to run outside more. There is a transition that has to happen. It is not good for your muscles and joints to dive into the deep end of running on pavement after splashing around on the treadmill the past two months. Running on the treadmill is different from running on pavement. The treadmill is more forgiving on your legs, on the treadmill you are keeping up with the tread rather than propelling yourself forward like on the road, and on the treadmill you do not have the outdoor elements such as weather.

I am starting my outdoor running slowly. To begin, I will be running my easy midweek runs outside while doing the harder workouts indoors. As weather becomes better, I will add more workouts to the outdoor routine. I am also going to try to do some trail running to ease into the hardness of pavement. This way I am not taking a huge leap.

Here are three tips that I have for transition from Treadmill to Pavement:

  1. Take it slow – don’t move your whole training schedule to the road all at once
  2. Take is easy – remember that the treadmill doesn’t have the elements, so adjust to the cold, ice and wind
  3. Take it to the dirt – throw in some trail runs to ease on to the toughness of pavement

Keep The Run On

Instagram
Twitter
Youtube

For more tips check out: http://www.runnersworld.com/ask-coach-jenny/how-to-transition-from-the-treadmill-to-the-roads ; http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/How-Transition-From-Treadmill-Road-2921548

Must Have For New Year: Rudy Project

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Rudy Project Fotonyk sunglasses as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

rudy_6-1

I am very skeptical when it comes to sunglasses. I have had maybe 30 different pairs. They usually break, get lost or get donated away because they don’t fit. It becomes frustrating that it takes that much effort for me to find a pair that works. I have been running with a crappy pair that I stole from my buddy. They are not even meant for running and they kill my ears.

rudy_1-1

Lucky for me, I was able to snag a pair of Rudy Project Fotonyk shades earlier this month. Once again skeptical, I told myself that I needed to give these a fair chance. That was before I received them in the mail. All the skepticism went into the trash, just like my other sunglasses.

rudy_2-1

There are two important things when it comes to sunglasses for me; the need for them in Minnesota and the fit/quality of the product. It may seem that sunglasses are not needed in MinneSNOWta. Heck, it snows all the time here right? Not quite. Since there is so much cold in Minnesota, it is important to be protected. The Fotonyk’s delivered on that front. They covered my eyes from the cold so that when I ran, the wind and the air would not cause me to tear up or hurt my eyes. Also, it is extremely bright here when fresh snow is on the ground. So even when you are running and not staring at the sun, you need to project your eyes from the bouncing reflections.

rudy_4-1

Quality of the product has always been an issue for me. Everything from the fit, to the lens quality, to the material that the frame it is made from. These sport sunglasses get the job done. You can feel that the material the frame is made out of is quality material. The frame is also adjustable, The nose guard can be adjusted to the needed fit and the needed size away from your face. This was really helpful. Also, the frame’s lower part that goes below the lens can be removed. This helps to adjust to your style and it allows for changing out the lens. Speaking of the lens, this is where you cannot put half the effort into. The Fotonyks kill it on the quality of the lens. The lenses use Rudy Project’s technology to allow you to utilize the maximum surface of the lens and they are interchangeable so that you can put a new color on or a clear lens when you are running in cloudy conditions.

rudy_3-1

The only criticism that I have is that they are a little tight on the face. That boils down to the fact that I have a weird face. They fit great on a medium sized face and even for they still do what they are intended to do. Each pair of sunglasses that they have is labeled with specifications and what face they fit best. For me, I am going to continue to wear them and run in them. I am not looking in the mirror when I run so it does not bother me that they are a little small looking. The quality is great and so is the performance. If they took them away from me, I would spend the $150 on them.

Keep The Run On!

Instagram
Twitter
Youtube

Five Tips to Winter Training

Being from the frozen tundra of the upper Midwest, a large chunk of my training is in cold conditions. I have gained some experience training in the cold and have some tips for a successful winter training season. To be exact I have five tips for a successful winter training season.

winter-training_3-1

If you live in a warm climate, I am jealous and there are only two tips for you: stay there and go run.

Don’t Fall Into The Holiday Trap: with Thanksgiving over, and the countdown to December holidays in full swing, people use this time of year as an excuse for omitting their training until after January 1st. Don’t do that. By starting your training early and powering through the holiday season, you will be able to build up some power and stamina.

winter-training_1-1

Equip Yourself to Avoid Laziness: if you are training in a cold climate you have to be sure that you have all the needed clothing and equipment to be able to go out on your runs at any temperature. By having things like running jackets and warm pants, Buff hats, mittens and wool socks you will be able to whether any weather and avoid making the “It’s too cold” excuses.

Have A Back-up Plan: sometimes there are situations that are out of your hands and an outdoor workout is not an option. Always have a backup workout that can be done indoors. Whether its inclined intervals on the treadmill or cross-training with weights, you should be able to always have a good workout.

winter-training_2-1

Be Seen at Night: this kind of goes hand-in-hand with equipping yourself for the weather but this is for the dark. During this time of year, you must be seen since it is dark at 5pm. I suggest getting the following to make sure you are visible: Headlamp, Reflective Buff, and Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips. The headlamp will help with seeing where you are running. The Buff will keep you warm. The Brilliant Reflective safety strips can be placed on all your running clothing and gear and you will be seen as a human rather than a cone.

Check Your Self: it is easy to fall into bad habits during this time of year. Anything from drinking too much hot apple cider (with a little extra somethin somethin) to eating too many holiday cookies will slow down your training. Make sure to find balance between the things you eat and drink.

So, there you go. It is as simple as waking up with a hangover January first. To find success this winter season, start training now, get the needed equipment (holiday gift list?), and have a workout and nutrition plan.

Let me know if you have your own tricks when it comes to winter training.

Keep the run on!

Instagram
Twitter
Youtube

Mankato Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Mankato Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

A couple weeks back I had the pleasure of exploring a new city in Minnesota via an awesome 13.1 mile run. I can’t believe I have lived in Minnesota for so long and have never been to Mankato, MN. Lucky for me, Mankato Marathon hooked me up and I was able to represent BibRave at the event. While looking into all the details of the race, I imagined it to be a small event without the typical thrills of a marathon weekend. Boy was I wrong!

mankato-v1
Packer pick-up at the marathon expo

Packet Pick-Up: The packet pick-up was the day before the race. They had the expo set up at the Mankato State field house. I was expecting a table with a bunch of numbers but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the whole thing was organized. The expo wasn’t huge, but there was enough stuff for runners to buy, if you forgot your gels or equipment. There was definitely a ton of things for kids to do so it was very family friendly. I was able to grab my packet, grab some fuel, and sign the big marathon poster.

mankato-v2
BibRave Pro look

Race Start: The starting line was in one of the parking lots of Mankato State. That meant that there were plenty of spots to park. That was great for my girlfriend because she was on photo and cheer duty, like she always is whenever I am running a race. Bag drop, water and last minute essentials were all located near the starting line so there was no need to rush around. Once again, plenty of spots to warm-up and get a few runs in. The 10K, Half and Full Marathon all started in the same location.

mankato-v3
Starting the race off!

Race Time: How have I never heard of this race before? Besides absolutely perfect weather, the entire race just destroyed my expectations. The whole course was very well marked, there were plenty of aid and water stations, the elevation change never seemed to be an issue, and they had MN Pacers running different pace times. I had a blast running with the 1:50 pacer. I think her name was Erica and she was the best! The whole race runs through the city, the parks and through some farm land. The parks that we ran through were very beautiful and pleasing. The big surprise was around mile eight where there about 100 spectators cheering everyone on. There was music and a ton of energy, which really rocked! Then the finish line brought you right into downtown where there were tons of people cheering you on through the finish! The only criticism that I have is at times in the park you were running down a path which was a little small. Not a huge deal though.

mankato-v5
Face i make after I finish a race

After Race Party: The finish area was spread out through about three blocks. Upon the finish, I was given a sweet medal and an empty bag. Which I was like, “What am I suppose to do with an empty bag?”. Well the answer was stuff all the amazing food and drinks that they had at the end! After I grabbed my bag filled with my warm-ups, I was able to enjoy all the other festivities. The local bars and restaurants were all open and had outdoor seating and the road was blocked off with tons of activities for families. My girlfriend and I opted to sit at one of the bars, listen to some awesome music and have a, well deserved, Mankato Brewery craft brew! And yes she deserved it too because she went to three different places to cheer for me!

mankato-v7
Cheerleader and I

Overall the race was awesome! I am waiting for registration to open, because I want to do the Full Marathon next year!

Keep the run on!

Instagram
Twitter
Youtube

Importance of Your Cheer Squad

Every day it takes me an hour to drive home from work because of the traffic in Minneapolis. I just wanted to complain about that really quick. Actually it all relates because I listen to the BibRave Podcast on my drive home from work. For those that do not know what BibRave is, it’s a review site for running races. You run a race, you review it, I am interested in running the same race, I can go and see your review before signing up. Super cool stuff! Anyway, I was listening to podcast number 11 where Julia and Tim were talking about the importance of spectators and supporters. I want to expand on that with two topics: during the run and all the time before and after.

img_3432

 

When I run a race I do almost everything possible not to think about the actual race. Distraction is my best friend. Spectators play a huge roll in that. Random spectators are always cheering, they have amazingly hilarious signs, and some even hand out beer. More importantly, my own personal spectators can make even the worst race of your life feel a ton better. Like what Julia and Tim discussed, you get to take your mind of the race for a good 5 minutes because of your awesome spectators being there to cheer you on. You spend time looking for them near the mile marker that you agreed on, usually you are falsely getting into perfect form so that they don’t see how bad you are breaking down. Then you see them 50 yards (ish) out and those 10 seconds are the best. You are jacked that you found them. You are throwing your arms up yelling that you are feeling great, even though that is a complete lie. Then the couple minutes after you see them you have that extra energy boost. Also, it is so great when you see someone that you were not expecting to see. You are always like, “Alllllriiight!”. Seeing your family and friends on the course is a very powerful thing.

img_3406

Preparation before the race and survival afterwards is the other part of running races where spectators are amazing. Getting help with drop-off and pick-up, having someone to give your stuff to, getting your picture taken, and having encouraging things said to you are everything a runner needs before a race. Also, it is always awesome having someone to complain about how sore your are. I love having the support of my girlfriend, family and friends before and after a race. It’s such a good feeling to get the “good luck” and “congrats” texts and encouraging messages such as, “Don’t screw it up!”.

img_3222

On behalf of all runners, I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone that has ever supported us during training, helped out during race day, dealt with our horrid mood swings, cheered for us during runs, and constantly find ways to support and cheer us on! Thank you!

Keep the run on!

Instagram
Twitter
Youtube