It Was Love at First 400m

Lehigh TrackI ran in my new racing flats for the first time this week and it was love. On Wednesday, I went to the Lehigh University track to tackle some 400 repeats. It was a hot, humid evening with storms looming in the distance but the minute I put on my Fastwitches I knew it was going to be a good night.

Megan came with me and our plan was to do 6-8 400m repeats, depending on how we felt. I’m still very new at speed workouts and my pacing tends to be all over the place. For 400m I usually do anywhere from 1:44-2:00- much too wide of a range. Megan told me to try to hit 1:50 even for all of the repeats.

After a 1.25-mile warm up we stretched and got to work. The first 400m I went out a little fast- 1:37. I chalked this up to excitement and trying to chase Megan and just told myself to calm down and take the next one super easy.

Well, the next three were 1:44, 1:43, 1:43. I was feeling good but usually this is the beginning of a gradual slowing down for the rest of my speed workout. We rested a bit, I took a swig of Nuun-infused ice water and we got back to it. Except now, Megan told me to try to maintain the speed I had been doing and hit the final four 400s at 1:44/1:45.

I hit the next three all at 1:40 flat. We were about to do our eighth and final 400m and Megan gave me a challenge- sub-1:40. I was still feeling great and after all, it was the last one so you might as well go balls to the wall because then you’re done.

That’s exactly what I did and ran a 1:34- three seconds faster than my first 400m repeat. Needless to say, I was absolutely pumped and praising my new racing flats for all of their hard work.

We cooled down and did some hurdle walkovers and called it a night. This was my first run in the new Saucony Fastwitch 6 racing flats and I thought there was a noticeable difference. My feet and legs felt light, I was able to maintain a faster turnover, and they seemed to grip the track better than any of my other running shoes. I know it’s still early on in their running shoe life and I’ll have to try them on different surfaces and different runs but so far so god with the Fastwitch 6s. It was love at that first 400m.

Workout summary:

1.3 mile warmup at 8:40/mile pace
8x400m
(1) 1:37
(2) 1:44
(3) 1:43.2
(4) 1:43.6
(5) 1:40.2
(6) 1:40.4
(7) 1:40.8
(8) 1:34.7 (!!!)

400m cool down

7 Reasons to Get Racing Flats

Between my 5K PR, third place age group win, and the USA Outdoors Track and Field Championships, I’ve had speed on my mind. Now I know I’ll never be able to run an 800 as fast as Kate Grace, her nickname is fast Kate after all, I can’t help but feel inspired by the incredible strength and speed of the runners at Nationals.

In my time off between training cycles, I’ve made a habit of doing at least one speed workout every week. I’ve been going to intervals on the track at work every Wednesday and then I try to make one of my other weekday runs a progression run.

After reading Lora’s post about her coach recommending she buy racing flats, I started thinking, maybe that’s what I need. Last weekend I went to my local running store, Aardvark Sports Shop, to “just look” at what they had. After talking with the owner, he picked out some for me to take some test runs in. But the minute I put my feet into the Saucony Fastwitch 6 I knew they were the ones. They felt like an extension of my own feet and when I went running in them I swear I already felt faster.

Saucony Fastwich 2

Weight: 6.2 oz

Drop: 4mm

If you’re thinking about getting your own pair of racing flats here are 7 reasons that may sway you:

  1. Improve Running Economy- It’s kind of a no brainer that the less weight you have on your feet, the easier it is to speed up your stride. If you need more evidence, studies show the less weight on your feet, the better your VO2 max.
  2. Mental Boost- You will feel faster the moment you put them on (I did!). While this may not be science, feeling fast will give you the confidence boost you need during a hard workout or race to push the envelope.
  3. Elites Where Them- I’m not an elite, and I never will be, but look at the elite field at any major race, are any of them wearing a stability shoe? No. There’s a reason elites where them and it’s because the less weight on their feet, the faster they run.
  4. Shoe Rotation- It’s good to train in multiple shoes. I have two right now in my rotation and I’ll be adding the flats in for speed work and short races.
  5. Increased Muscle Strength in Feet and Lower Legs- This is in line with the theory behind minimalist running shoes. The less shoe you have on your foot, the harder you muscles have to work. This is a good thing! The stronger the muscles, ligament and joints in you lower legs and feet, the better runner you will become.
  6. Better Form- Again, like minimalist shoes, a lighter racing flat has proved to improve running form overall.
  7. They’re pretty!- This is by no means a legitimate reason to ever buy a pair of shoes but there’s something special about putting a pair of racing flats on. With their neon colors and sleek design you’ll be feeling like Shalane Flanagan in no time!

Saucony Fastwich 1

I haven’t run in them yet (besides the test run at the store) but I think I’m mostly going to use them on the track and maybe for racing short distances. As I look toward the beginning of Marine Corps training I’m planning on taking note in my log of what shoes I wore with what workout. I didn’t do this with Big Sur but I think it’ll be beneficial to keep track. I can’t wait to try out my new flats this week, you can be sure I’ll write a follow up post.

Do you run in flats for speedwork or races? If so, what’s your go-to pair?

The “Gear” Necessities of Marathon Training

As I enter into week 1 of Big Sur Marathon training, I wanted to ask the Twitter-sphere what are the absolute essentials (gear-wise) for marathon training. Clearly, a water bottle and GPS watch are favorites, but there are others too! – H.M.
  1. Working on a post: What are the “gear” necessities of marathon training? #marathontraining #runchat
  2. @FitHappyGirl water bottle! Garmin, music (for me at least), great socks, COMPRESSION SOCKS/SLEEVES- an absolute must! foam roller!
  3. @FitHappyGirl Handheld water bottle or water belt. GPS watch, all the way. And some way to carry phone in case of emergency.
  4. @FitHappyGirl GPS watch! I don’t carry water but I’m a weird one =) LOL I stick my gels in my sports bra =) I also don’t foam roll. HA
  5. @FitHappyGirl shoes that are worn in but not worn out that you’ve been fitted for. A very light nutrition belt – I have the SIS one
  6. @FitHappyGirl I used the Nathan Fuel series and added bottles as needed. The gel holder works really well, too. nathansports.com/our-produc…
  7. @FitHappyGirl Nathan water belt and @TPtherapy ultimate six kit. Better than just foam roller IMO!

Fit Girl Happy Girl’s Gift Guide for Runners

I was looking at my calendar earlier and couldn’t believe Christmas is in less than two weeks (and Hanukkah has already started!). I’ve been wanting to make a gift guide for awhile now but haven’t been able to get around to it until now so I guess this can be a gift guide for last-minute shoppers like myself who are buying for the runner in their life.

Also, this gift guide may look vaguely familiar to my own Christmas list submitted to my mom roughly two weeks ago because well it is. I figure many of the runners I know would also like the same things I like however, I’ve also made some additions to include my favorite tried-and-true running gear, accessories and apparel. I hope your runner likes them! (Sorry boys but this list basically applies to girls only… maybe you’ll find a great idea for your girlfriend or significant other?)

  • Oiselle Roga Shorts - I just ordered these not too long ago and have fallen completely in love with them- honestly I don’t know if I’ll ever run in anything else! The beauty of these shorts is really in the waistline because it is designed similarly to the waistline of yoga pants. Therefore, unlike some other running shorts I have, you don’t get a super sinched in, pinching feeling around your waist when you’re running and they feel like they aren’t even there! Also, there’s a pocket in the back for keys/ID/Gu and built-in undies (I happen to know some runners who go cammando with these- that’s how comfy they are!).
  • Sparkly Soul headband – I have tried many headbands in the past while working out and they ALWAYS fall off my head. Not Sparkly Soul headbands. They have stayed put through some of my longest, sweatiest runs and haven’t budged during my fastest races. Also, they are super sparkly and I get tons of compliments for them all the time!
  • Garmin Forerunner 10 - This is the perfect GPS watch for runners who don’t need all the bells and whistles of a standard GPS watch. This is Garmin’s “beginner” watch and it does everything you need it to – distance, pace, time, calories burned and records. Also, it is $129 which is vastly less expensive when compared to some of it’s more advanced counterparts.
  • Lululemon Hot Cheeks running skirt – I mean this is unnecessary but it’s too awesome not to add. I told my mom I really wanted this for Christmas and when she asked me why I couldn’t come up with any other reason except it’s cute and sometimes my butt gets cold! It’s really for the runner who has everything.
  • Race bib holder - I think this is the greatest idea ever! It’s a great way to display your bibs and accomplishments for all to see and it’s decorative!
  • Zensah compression socks - I’m a huge fan of these compression socks! They aren’t too tight but they feel great while running or after for muscle recovery. I wore them in a recent 5-K and felt great the whole time even though it was a little chilly out. They helped to keep my blood flowing in circulating in my calves.
  • Erica Sara Say It Do It bracelet – I love the whole idea behind the Say It Do It bracelet because it is customizable for your running goals. You can get a goal or motivational saying engraved onto the bracelet and pick your band of choice! This is a great way to personalize a gift for the runner in your life.
  • Believe I Am Training Journal - Super cool stocking stuffer, especially as we are approaching a new year! The Believe I Am training journal was inspired by elite runner, Lauren Fleshman, and it’s the perfect way to keep track of your runs while staying motivated. Also, I just think there’s something amazing about putting pen to paper especially for a running log (no offense, Daily Mile!).
  • Oiselle Flight Kit - The Oiselle Flight Kit is really perfect for any runner on the go. It’s packed with Nuun Hydration tablets, Picky Bars (can’t get them here on the East Coast yet but you’ll get them in the kit!), a Runfinity scarf and so much more! It’s a totally new take on a “gift basket.”
  • Pedicure – Although it’s winter and most of us aren’t strutting around in sandals, a little primping is always welcome, especially when we keep our feet crammed into running shoes and winter boots during the colder months.

Also, because it’s the season of giving, nothing says Happy Holidays to the runner in your life like donating to their favorite charity. If you don’t know what their favorite charity is, or you think they might not have one, consider donating to Girls on the Run or Mighty Milers, two great outreach programs with a mission to get kids running.

I was not compensated for any of these suggestions. Any of the products I already own I paid for myself.

A new take on race bling: Erica Sara Designs race jewlery

A lot of runners set major goals to keep themselves motivated like deciding to run their first marathon or half marathon or maybe tackling your first 5K. No matter how big or how small a runner’s goal is, success is so much sweeter when there’s a reward on the other side! Most races give runners a free t-shirt for registering and more and more races are giving finisher medals to everyone who finishes the race.

These are all great and everything but honestly, how many race t-shirts can you have? I have at least a drawer-full and I’ve only been running for 8 months! Finisher medals are really cool too because they definitely feel great around your neck at the end of a race. But after race day, what do you do with the medal? You can’t wear it out and about or show it off really, so they usually end up around a mirror, maybe on display but not many people will see it.

Enter Erica Sara Designs, a New York City jewelry designer and runner herself. Erica Sara has a whole line of race jewelry designed to mark the accomplishments of runners of all abilities. Her designs are chic and sophisticated and are the best kind of reward a runner girl could ask for after crossing the finish line. According to her website, her mission is:

On our paths to becoming accomplished & empowered women, we’re constantly taking on new challenges, from the office to the gym, from our family to our friends, from our bodies to our minds. Something we can all agree on? It’s tough work! At the end of the day, we can also agree that our hopes and dreams, our beliefs and convictions, and our values and achievements, are well-worth the effort—and well-worth celebrating.

Wear your sense of encouragement, that burst of wisdom, that source of inner power, with Erica Sara Designs, an ever-growing collection of feminine jewelry for fiercely strong women everywhere.

So of course I had to order a 13.1 “Run Like a Girl Distance” necklace after completing my first half marathon. Erica Sara lets the runner personalize her necklace too by giving you the option of picking the metal, the font and even engraving something on the back. I got the sterling silver necklace with 9.30.2012 (the date of my first half marathon) engraved on the back.

My necklace was shipped to me super fast and came with a lovely little note from Erica herself! I couldn’t be more pleased with my necklace and I wear it now every day to remind myself that I did run 13.1 miles and I can do it again!

Interested in commemorating your race accomplishment with some race bling? Check out the Erica Sara Designs website! She also has a ton of other amazing pieces of jewelry that are not running related but beautiful! Be sure to follow her on Twitter as well @EricaSara and wish her luck on her upcoming New York City Marathon which I’m sure she’s going to rock!

What’s your reward for accomplishing a major running goal? Share your story with me in the comments section below!

Twitter talk: can’t-live-without, favorite running gear

If you’re a runner you know we love our gear. I’m always stopping by my local running store to see what’s new, reading gear reviews on other running blogs and obsessing over the latest and greatest new product. But we all have our favorites and I wanted to know what are the absolute favorite, can’t-live-without running accessories and gear from my Tweeps! For me, I really don’t think I could live without my Zensah compression sleeves or my foam roller. Without them I’d be running with hair in my eyes and cramps in my legs. Here’s what my Twitter followers had to say!

Due to technical difficulties on Storify’s end, I could not export the story to my blog. To see what people thought visit:

Twitter talk: favorite running gear and accessories

To take part in my weekly Twitter Talk, simply follow me on Twitter at @FitHappyGirl and be on the lookout for my question of the week every Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.

Thank you to Oiselle for amazing service!

I want to send out a huge thank you to the lovely ladies over at Oiselle, a women’s running apparel company based out of Seattle, for sending me a complimentary Start Line t-shirt! I had ordered the On the Fly shirt a few weeks ago but the color I ordered was on backorder. I was completely fine with it when I found out because I knew it would be worth it but I was very pleased to receive a personal e-mail from an Oiselle customer service representative asking me if I’d be alright with the delay. Talk about customer service! The generosity doesn’t end there though folks.

After my Fly t-shirt arrived in the mail I was so excited to wear it! The cotton was super comfy and the fit (I ordered a size small) was perfect. What surprised me even more however was two days ago when I came home to find a package adorning the beautiful light green and bird patterned packing tape, waiting for me. I immediately thought they had made a mistake and accidently sent me two of the same shirt. But I was wrong. I opened the package to find the very cute Start Line t-shirt with a note from the ladies at Oiselle. The note read:

Compliments of Oiselle. So sorry for the delay on the backordered t-shirt- thanks so much for your patience!

Seriously. Talk about customer service! Not to mention the shirt was also very comfy and I absolutely LOVED the starting line graphics. Needless to say I will be ordering much more running gear from Oiselle in the future. Not only do they have a commitment to running but also they have a commitment to serving their customers and I think that’s something any consumer can appreciate. Thank you Oiselle and as your saying goes “Head up, wings out!”

Gear review: Zensah compression sleeves

When I first heard about compression sleeves, I didn’t really know what their purpose was. I had seen people wearing them while running and also after running, but besides coming in cute colors I didn’t really get it. So, I started looking into it.

I took to Twitter and asked some of my followers if they use compression sleeves and what brand they use. After going through the responses I saw an overwhelming preference for Zensah Compression Sleeves. According to some of my followers, the Zensah sleeves aren’t as tight on your calves as some other brands and provide great support, so I decided to order a pair.

Of course I ordered the sleeves in the hot pink color (how could I resist?) and when they came in the mail I tried them on immediately. They felt great on my calves and weren’t too tight. So what are the benefits? Well according to Zensah, “gravity can cause a build-up of fluid in the muscles and surrounding tissue, which increases swelling and recovery time.” Long, hard runs can amplify this inflammation and cause recovery time to be much longer than needed.

Through their seamless compression technology, Zensah claims their sleeves can relieve these post-run symptoms and reduce any aches and pains related to exercise. After wearing them for a couple of weeks after my runs I have to agree. The sleeves pinpoint tension I feel in my shins and calves and leave my legs feeling fresher than ever.

Some other benefits?:

  • Improve performance- there’s a much shorter recovery period after long or hard runs when I wear my Zensah sleeves post-run.
  • Increase oxygen blood flow to your lower legs- this will help you legs feel strong and fresh. More oxygen in your blood, the better!
  • You can wear them before, during or after runs- So far I’ve only worn them after my runs (it’s too hot right now to wear them during) but they make my legs feel amazing! But you can test it out and see when it works best for you!
  • Provide stabilization for muscles during runs
  • Overall leg health- increasing circulation in your lower legs, ESPECIALLY post-run is so important for your overall leg health. Gotta keep that blood pumping!
  • Quite frankly, they make you look like a serious runner!

As you can see, I’m a big fan of these things. They can run pretty expensive (mine were about $40) but the benefits you’ll get for reducing your post-run recovery will be so worth it!

(Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I bought my Zensah Compression Sleeves with my own money.)

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

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.)