Let’s talk about one of my favorite things, SHOES! And not just any shoes- running shoes. When it comes to running shoes, there are millions of options. How in the world are you supposed to know what is best for YOU? The perfect shoe has more to do with your running style and the shape of your feet than the design or logo. A little advanced knowledge of your running style and feet will help you narrow in on the perfect shoe with just a little bit of trial and error.
First, let’s talk about your feet- arches specifically. There are 3 types of arches, high, medium, and low.
Arches that don’t flex
Pressure typically stays on the outside of your feet
Choose a neutral shoe to offer arch support and provide more even pressure
Do you have any running pains or form problems? Some shoes are specifically designed to help relieve these problems like shin splints or plantar fasciitis. I chose my shoes because they encourage a mid foot strike which helps with knee pain- and yes it actually works!
For relief from shin splints, try these
Plantar fasciitis? try these
Have a problem with runner’s knee? Check out these
Make sure to buy a half size up from your regular shoe size. Your running toes need a little extra room.
Choose a light weight shoe- compare different brands. You may be surprised by how heavy some shoes are compared to others. As runners, we don’t need extra weight on our feet slowing us down.
Hold your shoe upside down and try to twist the sole. You should be able to slightly twist it. You want a sole that allows some flexibility but enough support to keep you stable, unless you are purchasing a minimalist shoe.
Try them on and decide what feels the most comfortable.
Be prepared to spend around $100 on running shoes. I usually can find cheaper prices online, but make sure you try them on before you buy or check the return policy.
If you’re really trying to find a good deal, look into buying older models of the brand you like. You can usually find these on Amazon or eBay.
My absolutely FAVORITE running shoe is the Altra Intuition. I seriously feel like I am running on clouds in these shoes. They are super light, I dare you to find a lighter shoe, provide moderate cushioning, and they encourage a mid foot strike, which is something I need. These are a zero drop shoe, which means the heel isn’t elevated (most running shoes slightly elevate the heel), and they have a large foot shaped toe box to allow your toes to spread out and grip- this helps maximize running performance. This also helps your toes so they don’t rub against each other so much creating painful blisters, ouch.
Other Popular Shoes
I know several runners who swear by Hoka, Asics, and Brookes. I ran in New Balance for years until I switched to Altras. All great brands, just try them on and find what feels best for you!
Wondering what to eat during your runs with your new shoes? Check this out!
Heel pain, one of THE worst running pains ever. Many runners are WAY too familiar with the ligament known as the plantar fascia. While training for my second marathon, I suddenly started feeling that pain in the heel on the bottom of the foot. I didn’t realize what it was at first, so I initially ran through the pain. BAD IDEA!! Once I realized what the pain was, I stopped my training and let my foot heal. When the pain went away, I started running again, but the pain started to come back. I knew that I needed to find what was causing the pain. Then, I learned an easy trick, and the pain was immediately gone and has never been back. I share this trick with every one I know, and so far 100% success rate.
The Trick to Getting Rid Of Plantar Fasciitis For Good!
Many times, running pain is caused by bad form and running too much and too fast- plantar fasciitis is no exception. Once the pain starts, stop running and wait until the pain is gone before you start running again. Now, for the trick- point your toe after each foot strike. That’s it! Easy right? Almost too easy, but I promise it works! When you point your toe, you are allowing the tendon to relax between foot strikes which prevents the plantar fascia from tearing. Yes, stretching, massaging with a ball, and strength exercises are all great too, but pointing the toe is the trick to keeping plantar fasciitis away for good!
Here’s some other great tips on how to get rid of plantar fasciits!
Wear the right shoes- see video below
Stretch calves and bottom of feet
Deep tissue massage with tennis ball, golf ball, or rolling pin
One of the worst things that can happen on a run is a side ache! No matter what your distance, side aches can creep up and attempt to sabotage your run. With a few strategies, you can prevent side aches and learn how to get rid of them mid run.
Proper Breathing- This is key not only for preventing side aches but for more efficient running. Match your breathing to your steps. I breathe in 3 steps and breathe out 3 steps. Some runners to 3:2 or 2:2. Find what works for you- breathe!
Strong Abs and Core- Especially the obliques! A well trained core reduces rotational movement while you run putting less stress on the organs and makes you less prone to aches.
Pre Run Food- Eat a light meal low in fiber and fat. Experiment to find your perfect pre race food.
Warm Up- Warming up primes the muscles and helps you establish optimal breathing.
How To Get Rid Of A Side Ache
Rhythmic Breathing- See above for proper breathing technique.
Breath in while you step on the side with the ache- seems weird but it works.
Use your hand to press on the ache
As soon as I feel a side ache coming on, I immediately start rhythmic breathing and step while I inhale on the side with the ache. If the side ache is on the right side, I breathe in while I step with my right foot. Usually, this gets rid of the side ache. If it doesn’t, I slow down or even walk while breathing deeply until it is gone.
Do these tricks every time you run and they soon become part of your running routine. I barely think about side aches any more, and they used to haunt every run!
EVERYONE loves chicken noodle soup, I mean, really, have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love a hot bowl of comforting chicken noodle soup on a cold rainy day or on a sick day? There’s just something so soul satisfying about a bowl of delicious chicken noodle soup.
Growing up, I thought Campbell’s canned chicken noodle soup was the bomb. But the sodium in canned soup, wow, way too much. From scratch chicken noodle soup is waaaayyy better than canned, but even some from scratch soup recipes call for cream of chicken soup or a white sauce with butter and flour. I definitely prefer the white sauce method to the highly processed cream of chicken soup method, but I have found the perfect way to get a creamy, delicious, soup with no cans, no butter, and no milk. Yep that’s right. It is amazing!
The secret ingredient? Cashews. Yes, cashews!! Blend cashews with almond milk or chicken broth to create a delicious dairy free creamy soup. I use this cashew cream to replace white sauce and canned cream of chicken soup in every recipe! I also use this to add a little creamy taste to sauces like spaghetti sauce, so yummy!! I use unsalted cashew pieces. I buy them from the bulk section at Winco.
Cashews have awesome health benefits too! They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Cashews help with heart health, blood health, eye health, and weight loss. Cashews are an amazing nut!
Here’s to half marathon training, sort of. Ha ha. I don’t have a race selected, there are none in my town and travel right now is out of the question, but I’m still training. I’m really trying to improve my speed to qualify for Boston and since I’ve hit my goal for the 5K, I’d like to focus on the half marathon next. Which is kind of a big jump, but I’m going for it!
I’ve completed one half marathon with a time of 2 hours and 10 minutes. My goal this time is to finish in less than 2 hours.
Just a few quick notes: This is a plan to increase speed! You should be able to run 5-6 miles before starting the training plan.
Track repeats should begin and end with 10 min warm up and cool down.
Strength training is to maintain muscle and avoid losing bone mass. This is not an intense weight routine.
hmp- half marathon pace
Half Marathon Training
12 x 400 with 90 sec recovery
2 mile easy
2 miles fast
1 mile easy
4 miles at half marathon pace (hmp)
400, 600, 800, 1200, 800, 600, 400 with 400 recovery
1 mile easy
2.5 miles fast
1 mile easy
5 miles at hmp
6 x 800 with 90 sec recovery
2 miles easy
3 miles fast
1 mile easy
6 miles at hmp
5 x 1000 with 400 recovery
1 mile easy
3 miles fast
1 mile easy
5 miles at hmp
3 x 1600 with 60 sec recovery
1 mile easy
3.5 miles fast
1 mile easy
7 miles at hmp
2 x 1200
4×800 with 2 min recovery
1 mile easy
2 miles moderate
1 mile easy
2 miles moderate
1 mile easy
6 miles at hmp
6 x 800 with 90 sec recovery
1 mile easy
4 miles moderate
1 mile easy
8 miles at hmp
2 x (6 x 400) with 90 sec recovery; 2 min 30 sec in between sets
Ideally, I would do spin on Tuesday with Yoga/ Stretching on Friday, but my schedule doesn’t allow that, so I just gotta do what I gotta do. Feel free to switch it up and make it your own!
If you have the time, I strongly recommend adding in 2 or 3 recovery weeks. I like to have every fourth week be a recovery week. These are NOT rest weeks. Use the recovery week to allow your body to heal from the running. Trust me, this will help reduce injuries and get rid of any aches or pains you have. Recovery weeks should be high cardio weeks, just not running or very light running.
I absolutely loved the movie Moana. I was so happy that Disney finally made a movie that didn’t involve the parents dying in tragic deaths, they were actually good parents, and it wasn’t a love story. Seriously, Disney really broke the mold with this one-in a good way.
There were a few things that really stood out to me in the movie that I will be discussing with my kids- love these learning moments.
Find Happiness Where You Are
In the first song, Moana’s parents are trying to teach her to find happiness where she is. While she ends up leaving the island, I still think this is a good message. Life doesn’t always happen the way we want it to- everyone has trials and disappointments. Despite this, we can still find happiness where ever we are. We can choose to focus on the positive in life, we cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control our thoughts. This is a really hard concept to teach young kids- to change your thoughts and focus on the positive- so I’ll take any chance to reinforce this concept. (The Trolls movie is another great show that teaches that happiness comes from within, not outside sources).
Along those same lines, when Moana returns the heart, she sings, “This is not who you are, you know who you are.” What happens to us does not have to define who we are, we can choose who we are. Again, this reinforces how important it is to have positive thinking and not to dwell on the bad things that happens to us.
Understanding Your Past To Know Who You Are
Can I say Family History? Ha Ha. But seriously, it wasn’t until Moana learned about her ancestors that she understood herself better and why she felt so strongly about the ocean. Family History doesn’t have to be researching back generations ago, it can be learning more about your grandparents. My kids are always fascinated to see pictures of their grandparents when they were kids or even young parents. You may find that your kids have similar personalities to their grandparents. I’ve definitely noticed that my son is a lot like my dad- who knew!!
Follow Through, Never Give Up, And Chase Your Dreams!
Life rarely works out the way we plan, and at some point everyone has to reconcile reality with their dreams, but I still want my kids to have the courage to chase after what is important to them, stick with it, and overcome obstacles. Every child needs to learn to not give up when tasks get hard – like homework, school projects, friendships, relationships etc.
Running seems like such an easy sport, right? Just grab your shoes and go! But once you get started, you might suddenly realize that it’s not so easy. What’s that pain in my knee? I’m so exhausted! My feet hurt. It hurts to walk down stairs. I get side aches. What’s a runner to do?
Here’s 10 mistakes runners make and how to avoid them
Too much too soon
Not taking rest days
Not cross training
Other shoes you wear
Not moving post workout
Eating new foods before a run
Starting too fast
Too Much Too Soon
You’ve just signed up for a race, and you start running every day. You’re so excited and motivated you run more and more miles. Suddenly, you have shin splints, your IT band hurts, your hip hurts, what is happening??
Your body needs time to adjust to running. Take it slow, slower than you feel like you should. Most training plans encourage you to be running consistently for 3 months before you start training. The general rule is to increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week. Be conservative, take breaks, don’t be afraid to walk!
Over striding is landing heel first with your legs out in front of you. Unbeknownst to me, I had this problem for years! I had severe knee pain that I just couldn’t quit. I finally went to a running coach and learned the cause- over striding.
Over striding wastes energy, adds extra pressure on your knees, can cause runners knee, and shin splints.
The solution, land on your mid foot with your feet underneath your body. Practice running with light quick feet.
This includes slouching, swinging the arms too much, clenching your fists, over striding, and twisting the upper body.
Your back should be straight (poke your chest out), and you should have a slight lean from the ankles, not the waist! Your upper body should not twist and your arms should never cross the mid line of your body. Keep your hands and shoulders relaxed- don’t waste your energy and create tension by making fists and hunching your shoulders.
This one can be tricky. Breathing improperly can lead to side aches and lightheadedness.
My high school cross country coach clued me into the secret of matching your breathing to your stride. It’s a little bit different for everyone. I breathe in 3 steps and breathe out 3 steps, some runners breathe in 3 and out 2. Play around with different rhythms and find what works for you.
Take deep breaths from your belly, avoid shallow breathing.
Not Taking Rest Days
Your body NEEDS to rest! Even if you feel energized, still rest. Otherwise, after weeks of training, you will have more injuries and less energy. Be kind to your body!
Not Cross Training
Runners who do nothing but run are more likely to have injuries. The more you run, the more you strengthen your running muscles. If all you do is run, this can create an imbalance as some muscles get strong and others get weak, which can cause problems like runners knee.
The solution, cross train and strength train every week to maintain balance within your body.
Other Shoes You Wear
Hard soled shoes like ballet flats and flip flops are more likely to lead to plantar fasciitis, an enemy to all runners.
The solution, wear proper foot wear with cushion throughout the day.
Not Moving Post Workout
Keep the blood flowing after a run with walking, gentle stretching, and foam rolling. This will help with stiffness and soreness! You may not feel like moving because you are so tired, but remember, motion is the lotion.
Eating New Foods Before A Run
Just don’t, don’t even try. Nothing is worse than having the runs on your run. Figure out your foods while you train and don’t try anything new on race day.
Starting Too Fast
If you plan to run a certain pace, start at or below that pace. Don’t let the excitement at the starting line push you to go faster. My last marathon I started running with the 9 mile pace group- unfortunately they started at an 8:30 pace. I felt fine for the first 10 or so miles, but couldn’t maintain and eventually fell behind. Save your energy for the end of the race when you will really need it.
Chili is one of the best foods to eat on a cold winter day, especially if you’ve been out running or driving your kids all over town. During the winter, we have soup at least twice a week, I love it!
I made chocolate chili for the first time a couple weeks ago and was blown away! Why did it take me so long to add chocolate to chili??? The recipe I used was an all meat no beans recipe, so I switched it to all beans no meat. What’s a chili without beans?
For Christmas, I got the book Run Fast, Eat Slow. The first recipe I made was the Fartlek Chili. I love how the whole book is based on whole foods and the chili especially is full of vegetables and beans. Their recipe calls for a hint of cinnamon, and after the first bite, I knew chocolate would be a perfect addition.
I ended up having to change the recipe so much because there was too much heat! I’m a baby, and I knew my kids wouldn’t touch it. I combined the Fartlek Chili recipe with my version of chocolate chili to create a master piece every one will love!!
Did you know the average adult body is 50-65% water? No wonder we hear so much about the advantages of drinking water. Even with knowing how important it is to drink water every day, I still struggle to get my 8 glasses. Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to guzzle more H2O. Here’s the tricks I’ve found to help:
5 Tips To Drink More Water
Drink through a straw- I’m not sure why, but I drink way more water if I sip it through a straw.
Add fruits, veggies, and herbs- My favorite combo is strawberries and lemons!
Take a water bottle with you- whenever you leave the house, bring along your favorite water bottle.
Add flavor packs- I always pick ones sweetened with stevia-no aspartame or sucralose.
Track it- Use an app, mark your bottles, set reminders, etc.
Hydration is especially important if you like to exercise in the morning. Early morning runners- I’m talking to you!! Your body is dehydrated after sleeping, and proper hydration can improve the quality of your workout. Warm lemon water is a perfect way to start off the day!
Here’s some other benefits to drinking enough water:
Helps with headaches
Aids in digestion
Here’s to running further, feeling better, and drinking more water!
For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much running has helped me keep sanity as a stay at home mom. And not just sanity, running has helped me feel grounded. Let’s be completely honest here, being a SAHM is tough, and not just because you are taking care of kids all the time- it’s lonely, isolating, and sometimes unfulfilling- and then there’s the guilt for feeling this way, right? Because being a SAHM is such a blessing- so where’s the happiness?
In The Beginning….
When my husband and I were engaged, we talked a lot about our future-classic, I know. We were going to be an unstoppable team that would change the world together. We were co-captains of our own destiny. We were motivated, we had dreams, and we were pumped! After we got married, we both worked hard, we both graduated from college, and the world was ours to conquer.
Then, the most amazing thing happened- I got pregnant! We were so excited, we made plans for me to stay at home with our new baby- and honestly, it was exactly what I wanted. I couldn’t imagine not being with my baby all the time. After the baby was born- it was bliss, and then reality sunk in. This baby ruled my life. It was joyful and tiring. I kissed my husband good bye every morning and watched as he left for an accomplishing and successful day. He interacted with people. He had lunch dates. He helped improve other people’s lives. HE LEFT THE HOUSE! I wasn’t used to staying inside all the time but taking a newborn- my very first- out in public was scary not to mention dangerous, I mean what kind of germs would my sweet vulnerable baby pick up out there? I was hardly getting any sleep at night and sleeping whenever I could during the day. My house was a mess, I constantly felt groggy and gross. And nine months later, I was pregnant again. I’ll be honest here- I cried. I wasn’t ready for another baby when I already HAD a baby!
I sat at home and watched as my husband went on to get two master’s degrees. Of course this left me at home alone even more while he juggled work and school. Then, the feelings of jealousy came. I suddenly felt like we were no longer co-captains, I had been sidelined and was suddenly the cheerleader while my husband continued to be the star. I know life wasn’t easy for him either, working full time and doing school full time, but to me, at least he was feeling accomplished, at least he was working towards something that had an end, and at least he was out in the world achieving his dreams. Not wanting to seem ungrateful and feeling guilty for my feelings, after all he was doing this so I could stay home with our kids, I kept everything inside. And then, before I knew it, I had four kids ages 4 and under.
The Early Years
Four kids broke me. I no longer had any control over anything. Everyday felt like chaos. I still struggled with jealous feelings of my husband’s experiences and success while I was at home covered in spit up, with no makeup on, and feeling gross. I was missing connection with the outside world and then feeling guilty for feeling unfulfilled. I mean, I had the best job in the world, right? I struggled with feeling lonely all day even though I was never alone. I would have all these ideas and no one to share them with. And the guilt!! I had been taught that being a mother was the greatest calling God could give a woman. This was what I was born to do, this was my calling in life, this was my greatest blessing, and it was, it truly was, but I’d look around and think, this can’t be it for me. I am capable of more! I can be a mother AND be more! I can contribute more to the world! I CAN!! I realized I needed to discover who I really was outside of being a wife and a mother. It wasn’t that I didn’t want motherhood, I just also wanted me. I didn’t know how to find ‘me’ in mom.
This is where running comes in. Running helped me discover me! I can set and achieve goals, I can be successful, I can push, and I can achieve something amazing. I can be amazing- amazing to myself and no one else.
Finding The ‘Me’
I’ve always loved running but during the 4 and half years of being pregnant, breast feeding, and then being pregnant again, I never got into a good routine. After my fourth baby, I was determined to get back into it. I wanted to run a marathon. I started running again. It was hard. I was out of shape. I had knee pain, something I had been struggling with for years, I felt awkward, but I kept at it. I met with a running specialist and fixed my knee. I ran a 10k- it was miserable! But I did it. I kept going, I kept running further and faster. With each step, my world seemed to settle around me. I felt grounded. Running became so cathartic for me. It was my time, my time to think, to ponder, to push, to be. I started training for my first marathon. I remember the first time I ran 11 miles. I felt amazing! I couldn’t believe my body was capable of such a thing. Each week I went further, and I was constantly surprised by what I could do! And then I ran 26.2 miles. I mean, WHAT? That is sooo far, but I did it! I DID IT!!!! I pushed my body and my mind further than I ever had, and I came out on top.
As running became a routine in my life, I noticed that things started to change. I no longer felt jealous of my husband. I felt accomplished. I felt a connection with people. I no longer felt lonely, even though I wasn’t necessarily around people more. I felt me. I was happy. I really started to love being at home with kids, and the guilt was gone. I really started to love life. I had found me.
Being True To Myself
I started to notice a pattern, whenever I started to feel off or depressed, I’d look around at my life, and think what am I doing or not doing that’s making me feel this way? I came up with a list that I call my Being True To Myself list. Whenever I start to feel off, I go to my list and double check that I am living true to myself. This is what is on my list: early bedtime, run/exercise, eat healthy whole foods, spiritual study, clean house, and having fun!! Without fail, every time I start to feel in a funk it is because I am not doing something on my list! So I adjust and life starts to feel better. Running is a crucial part of my list and living true to myself. Running is my me time and my peace time and my kick butt time! When I live true to myself, I am a better wife, a better mother, and a better person!
Find Your Thing
Running is my thing, but it may not be your thing. Find your thing. Find the thing that makes you shine for you. What makes you feel accomplished? Happy? Peace? What helps the world shift and settle around you? Find it and incorporate it into your life. It will bring you peace, and it will help you find you! Live true to yourself!
*Don’t get me wrong here, I love being a mother and have loved it since my first child was born. I have found joy during the whole journey; I was really good at stuffing those jealous and guilty feelings into a deep dark hole and not acknowledging them. In all honesty I was happy, but I still struggled with these feelings. I am eternally grateful for my husband and his hard work so I CAN stay home with my amazing kids. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
SAHM running mom
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