Compression sleeves, what’s the deal?

  1. Totally loving my awesome new compression sleeves! #fitfluential
    Thu, Jan 05 2012 16:00:00
  2. FitHappyGirl
    Thoughts on compression sleeves for running? #runchat
    Sun, Jul 29 2012 15:37:01
  3. bessharrington
    @FitHappyGirl I love my @zensah compression socks!
    Sun, Jul 29 2012 15:37:54
  4. redrunningshoe
    @FitHappyGirl I loooove compression sleeves. I use them when I race. I’m a big fan of the Compressport stuff. #runchat
    Sun, Jul 29 2012 15:38:45
  5. jamiegusrang
    @FitHappyGirl Have been thinking about this lately. My dad swears by CEP, but felt too tight for me. Curious about other brands. #runchat
    Sun, Jul 29 2012 15:48:40
  6. redrunningshoe
    @jamiegusrang @FitHappyGirl You should try Compressport sleeves. I love mine. #runchat
    Sun, Jul 29 2012 15:50:32
  7. enduroTwerd
    @FitHappyGirl love them! Run all my races in them. @CEPCOMPRESSION
    Sun, Jul 29 2012 15:52:29
  8. bessharrington
    @FitHappyGirl @Zensah really relieves shin and calf pain that I’m susceptible to…also I feel it helps with leg fatigue!
    Sun, Jul 29 2012 16:47:12
  9. enduroTwerd
    @FitHappyGirl @cepcompression I tend to crap from exertion in my races. This keeps the cramps away.
    Sun, Jul 29 2012 17:33:50
  10. redrunningshoe
    @FitHappyGirl They are a very tight knit fabric vs a spandex type fabric. They don’t constrict my calves, they fit like a comfy 2nd skin
    Sun, Jul 29 2012 17:48:41

Monday Motivation: Get Happier

I love this pin I found on Pinterest. I think it’s the perfect motivation to just keep going whether you’re just trying to get through a hectic work week or an insane training schedule, or both! (Like me!) It’s important to remember why we do the things we do. In the end, we all just want to “get happier.” I hope y’all have a great Monday!

“Get Happier” (via Pinterest)

Week 8: Half-marathon update

via Pinterest

This was quite a crazy training week. It involved only three days of running unfortunately, one race and a whole bunch of yoga and strength training.

Monday was technically a rest day so I decided to do my typical rest day routine of recovery yoga and core exercises. It was uneventful but a good workout. Tuesday I planned to run a tempo run after work but I ended up having to stay at work much later than usual and consequentially got stuck in traffic so I decided to nix the run because I was exhausted. Instead, I came home and did some core exercises and rest up for the next day.

Wednesday was my day and to be honest I went hard with my training. I went to the gym after work with my sister and did my first ever pick-up run which was pretty intense. I wrote a post about it earlier in the week that you can check out if you’re interested in trying out a pick-up run, but basically this is what I did:

3-mile run with one interval each of 60s, 120s, 120s, 60s, 45s, 30s and 15s

I really enjoyed the pick-up run because it pushed me to test myself and my speed. I was able to keep up an intensity level of ’8′ during each interval. After running, I did a whole bunch of strengthening exercises with my sister, including some lifting. As a runner, it’s just as important to build muscle as it is to work on speed and mileage. Muscles will help your body respond to runs and support your joints.

Thursday I woke up early and did a 3-mile run that included some hill workouts. It went really well but after the run, my right knee was bothering me a little. I did some post-run stretches which seemed to ease the pain.

I took a break on Friday with some power strength yoga and core exercises, which was perfect because it was a long week at work so it felt great to relax and sweat it out at the same time. I also had to gear up for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics!

Post Color Run color madness!

Saturday I had to wake up super early to get ready to run the New England Color Run in Amesbury, MA (post to follow). In short, the race was tons of fun! I ran it with a group of friends and we were doused in color. We came away with some great photos and memories. Unfortunately, I also came away with a pretty significant knee strain on my right knee. I’m hoping it’s just a strain and nothing serious but it’s pretty painful right now.

Due to the knee strain I decided to make the smart decision to skip my 12-mile run I was supposed to do today. I still have two months until the Smuttynose Half Marathon and risking injuring myself even more is not worth it right now. I was bummed though because I’ve been looking forward to this run all week. After icing my knee all morning I went to the gym and did some cross training (3 miles on the elliptical in 25 minutes) and then a ton of strengthening exercises for my arms and core.

In this week of training what I’ve come away with is, it’s so important to listen to your body and if you have a strain or pain it’s better to take it easy rather than pushing your limits and your luck. Fingers crossed my knee will be better by tomorrow and I can get back on track! (No pun intended!)

Happy running!

The 2012 London Olympics are finally here

2012 London Olympics

I am so excited that in less than two hours the 2012 London Olympics will commence! There’s nothing more inspiring than watching the world come together to celebrate the amazing triumphs of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen. I have been looking forward to this for so long and I’m so excited it’s finally here!

Of course I am most excited to watch the track events and the marathon because, as many of you know, I’m a little obsessed with running. I also SUPER excited to see my favorite all-around athlete (literally he already set the world record for the decathlon so he’s kind of a beast) Ashton Eaton. I may or may not also have a giant crush on him, but who doesn’t?

<3

Besides running I’m looking forward to being able to watch some of the other sports we don’t get to see too often like swimming (Team Phelps!) and gymnastics (which I used to do but was never really good at). There are also the other random sports that we really never get to see like steeplechase and competitive sailing- I bet you didn’t know sailing was even in the Olympics, oh it is!

Most of all, watching these phenomenal athletes always inspires me to try my best at everything and give everything I do 100 percent. Since I’ve started running I’ve always been focused on a goal, first it was a 5k, now it’s a half-marathon, and I’m sure pretty soon I’ll be gearing up to run a full marathon. But with the Olympics finally here, I know that these athletes will inspire me to really focus on my training and strive to become better. In the process I hope I can help and inspire other new runners to do their best. Most of us are never going to be Olympic athletes, but it’s not about showing the world how good you are at your sport, it’s about proving it to yourself. I hope y’all enjoy watching the Olympics as much as I know I will! Go World!

In the comments below, tell me how the Olympics inspire you, who your favorite athlete is, or what event you’re looking forward to watching!

Pick Up Runs: Increase speed over long distances

Throughout my training for the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon in September, I’ve been doing various interval workouts and tempo runs to increase my the speed of my mile times. I’ve written about tempo runs in previous posts and explained some of my interval training but the one speedwork run I didn’t mention was the pick up run.

Admittedly, my training has been calling for me to work in pick-up runs throughout the last seven weeks but instead of doing them I did longer runs or other kinds of speedwork. I didn’t do them because I wasn’t really sure what they were and I was already doing two kinds of speedwork training so I thought, why add another? Turns out, they are the best way to increase speed over longer distances. Last night however I did my first pick-up run on the treadmill and it was pretty hard but it felt great after!

Similar to an interval run, a pick up run helps to increase your body’s tolerance to lactic acid buildup without cooling down completely in between intervals. Through this practice, your body will become better able to run at higher speeds without getting tired. The difference between a pick up run and a regular interval run is the total distance of the run and the amount of time spent at the interval speed.

How do you tackle a pick up run you may ask? Well, to begin, start with an easy warm-up running at a comfortable jog. Once you’re warmed up, pick up your speed to a “controlled sprint.” This is another difference between an interval or tempo run and a pick up run. With a tempo run you want to run the intervals at a “comfortably hard” pace, not a sprint. With a pick up run you want to run at a “controlled sprint” during the intervals. What’s a controlled sprint, you’re now asking? A controlled sprint means you’re running at a very hard pace, an “8″ or “9″ intensity level, but not dying basically.

After you run the interval for the designated amount of time you want to slow your pace down to a comfortable jog, but do not stop running. With an interval run you can get away with walking in between intervals but with a pick up run you want to keep running. Another great thing about pick up runs is you can take as much time as you need in between intervals. This is important because during each interval you have to stay at the “controlled sprint” pace, so resting in between is crucial.

Here’s are some examples of pick up runs to test out:

  • A 4-mile run with 1 set of 60s, 120s, 120s, 60s, 45s, 30s, 15s sprints. (Translation: A 4-mile run with 1 set of 60 second sprints, then slow to a jog to rest for however long you need, then 1 set of 120 second sprints, then slow to a jog, etc.)
  • 10 sets of 60s sprints with 90s jog in between sets, 2-mile cool down run
  • 1-mile warm-up with 6 sets of 90s sprints and 120s of jogging in between sets, 1-mile cool down

As always, stretch after! If you have any questions or comments, write them in the comment section below!

Fit Girl Happy Girl to attend Healthy Living Summit 2012

I am so excited to announce that I will be attending the 2012 Healthy Living Summit presented by HealthyLivingBlogs.com in Boston! I just registered last night and am looking forward to meeting other bloggers interested in sharing their healthy lifestyle and helping others become more active. The summit focuses on “eating well, staying fit and general wellness” according to their website. However, it also offers useful workshops on blogging ethics, social media tools and other topics related to health blogging. There will also be a 5k fun run/walk to conclude the summit.

I think I’ll learn a lot at the summit, especially since I am still relatively new to the healthy blogging community. I will take insane amounts of notes and report back to all of you what I learn. The summit is not only for bloggers, but for blog readers as well. There are still open spots so if you are close to the area (or willing to travel) sign yourself up!

Gear Review: SparklySoul sparkly headband

This is me before a 12-mile run with my ice pink Sparkly Soul headband!

If you’re very into running and semi-active on Twitter with the running community, you may have heard of a company called Sparkly Soul, a sparkly athletic headband design company. (I apologize to all my male readers, this post may not apply to you.) The company was founded by two women, one is a marathoner and one is a triathlete. In search for the perfect headband to hold back those pesky wispy hairs, the two women designed this non-slip headband.

I read some reviews of the headband on other blogs and saw the praise they were getting on social media so I decided it was time to try it out for myself. I have to admit, I was skeptical. I have tried many athletic headbands before that claimed to be non-slip but each and every time, I’d get about a mile into my run and those headbands would slowly start to slip off. I saw these headbands and thought, “It’s impossible that these headbands are that cute and actually functional.”

Well, turns out, they really are that cute and extremely functional. I’ve tested the Sparkly Soul headband on different types of runs- tempo runs, easy runs, long runs, sprints- and without fail it stays glued to my head. It even stayed on during a 12-mile run without me having to adjust it at all! The reason this adorable, sparkly headbands stay in place is because they are backed with a velvet-like material that grabs onto the hairs on your head. The headband stays put during other exercises as well. I tried it with yoga and it was fantastic. It didn’t budge when I did downward dog or slip when I did my vinyasa. I swear, it doesn’t move.

Moral of the story? If you’re in the market for a highly functional and unbelievably cute and sparkly headband for your runs, check out Sparkly Soul headbands. They come in two different widths,the thin headband, 3/8 of an inch wide (the one I’m wearing in the picture), and the wide headband, 5/8 of an inch. They also come in an endless amount of colors, all of which are super cute! If you have any questions or if you already have a Sparkly Soul headband and love it, let me know in the comments section!

(Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review. I bought a Sparkly Soul headband with my own money.)

Monday Motivation: run the day

I love this for the beginning of the week because it’s so true! Either you run the day or the day will run you. Have a positive outlook for each day and you’ll be able to conquer it no problem :) What will you choose? Happy running!

Run the day or the day will run you. (via Pinterest)

P.S. I found this on Pinterest. Follow my boards so you can find even more motivation!

Week 7: Half-marathon update

This was week was definitely a redeeming week after my rough long run last Saturday. Although I only ran three days this week (I really wish I could have run more) but according to my training that’s all I was supposed to do.

I started off the week on Monday with a tempo run at my local track. It was a risky move since the sun was boiling down on the track raising the temperatures above 90 degrees, but besides sweating my butt off it was a good run. I ran 400-meter intervals for 2.14 miles. my average pace was 9:21 per mile and my fastest pace was 6:57 per mile. Considering the heat I thought this was pretty good!

On Tuesday I woke up early to do some power yoga before getting ready for work. It was just one of the Lululemon YouTube videos but it was definitely good for some strengthening. I couldn’t run after work unfortunately because I had to cover a meeting that went until 10 p.m. But work has to come first.

Wednesday I braved a torrential downpour to meet my cousin, who is also running the half-marathon with me, at the gym. She had to do her tempo run for the week and I decided to do a quick 2-mile run. After my run we moved over to the conditioning area and did some weight-lifting, ab work and of course stretches.

On Thursday, my training program called for more yoga so I did another strengthening class. It was great and I can tell it’s been helping my breathing while I run. I gave myself a 100 percent rest day on Friday because my long run on Saturday was definitely going to be intense.

So here it was, my long run- 12 miles. I have to admit I was really excited because I knew my training thus far has prepared me for this run and I was ready. I had never run 12 miles before and the route was going to be hilly but I couldn’t wait to tackle it. I woke up at 7:30 a.m. to get ready before the run. I had a cup of coffee and a bunch of water and headed out. My cousin and I mapped out the run on Map My Run so we knew the route would work out to 12 miles.

The run was absolutely beautiful! I wish I had a camera to capture the breathtaking views we had along the ocean, through the harbor and by the lighthouse in York, Maine. It was awe-inspiring. These amazing views also helped me to keep going along the run, especially when my legs began to feel heavy around mile 8. I also may have experienced some dehydration especially at mile 7 when I really started to feel thirsty. My cousin never drinks water along runs but I really need it. We still had about a mile to go before we would reach a water fountain so I just pushed myself to that point.

Once we got water and I stretched out my legs a bit, I felt great and ready to go. We only lost a few minutes for our stop but this was good because the hardest part of the run was still ahead of us. During the last 4 miles, we had ascents of 165 feet and descents of 195 feet. This was hard on my quads and my knees but I made it through. However, my cousin got about 5 minutes ahead of me which started to get me down a bit but I reminded myself that this was for me and the only competition should be against myself.

After the hills the last two miles were an absolute breeze! I was definitely in the zone because I ran these last two miles faster than any of the other miles. In fact, when I got home I realized I ran a negative split! I was excited about this because I had never run a negative split and this is going to be really good for my half-marathon.

In the end I ran the 12 miles in 2:00 flat (minus a few minutes for water and stretching). This was very exciting because my goal is 2:30:00 for the full half-marathon so I think I’m in pretty good shape! I still have just over two months to go until the race but now I can focus on increasing mileage and speed. I learned a lot this week though. I need to fix my hydration situation and I need to focus on my own goals and not be intimidated by other faster runners around me. Remember, a training run is not a race! Happy running!

Water debate for long runs: hydration belt v. handheld water bottle

  1. FitHappyGirl
    Hydration belt or no hydration belt? How do you stay hydrated on long runs? #runchat
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 14:43:06
  2. oiselle
    “Hydration belt or no hydration belt? How do you stay hydrated on long runs? #runchat” @FitHappyGirl
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:00:26
  3. ashleychandra_
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl Water belt for the win! Makes you look hardcore (YES!) and feel hydrated at the same time! #winning
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:04:35
  4. ultimatestamina
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl I use a small hand-held to stay hydrated on longer runs #runchat
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:09:55
  5. rfaura
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl I must use the larger Amphipod in the Florida heat and humidity!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:18:51
  6. bleung
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl Hydration vest with Nuun in my water! I don’t like the belt but haven’t tried hand water bottle yet!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:22:05
  7. bleung
    @FitHappyGirl I love it! I get the lemon lime flavor. Sometimes I overhydrate and forget Nuun, I end up w/muscle cramps! Nuun prevents that!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:28:03
  8. SarahChan
    @bleung @oiselle @fithappygirl def Nathan hydration vest with Nuun. Worked for my half on Sunday. Also big fan of handheld for short runs!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:50:47
  9. azrunparents
    @oiselle @fithappygirl I used to use a belt but now prefer a small hand held.
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:52:10
  10. enduroTwerd
    @oiselle @fithappygirl no hydration belt! Handheld or water fountains or stashed water bottles.
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 16:11:41
  11. mrshallberg
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl love amphipod handheld – but don’t go more than 13miles, I’d think a belt would be in order for longer runs #runchat
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 16:17:11
  12. RoadBunner
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl Nathan handheld 99% of the time.
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 17:39:42
  13. TriCoachDawn
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl Belt for anything longer than 10 miles. Will carry a bottle for 1-2 hours or if it’s hot. #stayhydrated
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 17:57:51
  14. SolanaLeigh
    @oiselle @fithappygirl if its over 16 km I wear my belt, or I base my route around water stations on the Vancouver seawall!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 18:51:46
  15. SolanaLeigh
    @oiselle @fithappygirl shorter runs I run with a handheld, I have both amphipod and Nathan bottles, both are great!!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 18:52:53
  16. paulettezf
    Water bottle with hand strap or public fountains, don’t like anything on my waist. RT @ap10k: @oiselle @FitHappyGirl #runchat
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 21:00:12
  17. oiselle
    @FitHappyGirl Handheld may be the way to go, lots of positive feedback. We like it!
    Wed, Jul 18 2012 08:58:08
  18. azrunparents
    @FitHappyGirl handheld feels like it is weighing me down a little less. I didn’t like the way the water bounced around on the belt.
    Wed, Jul 18 2012 09:08:29