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Get Your National #RunningDay On with These Deals and Steals

Written on June 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm , by

In the FITNESS offices, National Running Day truly is a major holiday. It’s almost as big of a deal as Christmas. So many staffers love lacing up and pounding out a few miles, and the post-run high has been floating in the air all day. But there’s still a few of us who need to get their miles in, and for them—and you!—I have a few fun tricks up my sleeve.

First, if you feel like you’re slacking on motivation, my go-to cure is to sign up for a race. After all, there’s nothing like laying down some cold-hard cash to get my butt in gear. So the first thing I did today was head on over to one of my fave race organizers, Run Rock ‘n’ Roll, because as long as you sign up today, you’ll nab $20 off the registration price! And with options to run a 5K, half or full at almost all of their events (or if you’re really feeling ambitious, run more than one during a weekend and score special Running Festival bling), you can find the distance that makes your heart sing. I’ve got my eye on you, Windy City

Now that you’re signed up for a race, feed off that excitement and hit the road today! New York Road Runners is doing an amazing job of celebrating throughout the city, so if you’re nearby, hit up one of these group events to meet like-minded rock stars:

  • Manhattan: Team for Kids Happy Hour at The Parlour, 7 p.m. Runners will meet Team for Kids runners and coaches, and learn how to get guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon. RSVP here.
  • Brooklyn: Brooklyn Bridge Park Water Stop and Giveaways, 5-7 p.m. Rehydrate mid-run, customize a National Running Day bib and score a free five-borough bandana. Want to run with new friends? There’s a group leaving the water stop at 6:30 p.m. and all are welcome.
  • Brooklyn: Singlets Mixer Happy Hour, 7-9:30 p.m. After you wrap up your run, head to Fornino on Pier 6, where you’ll meet people from more than 100 running clubs that you can join throughout the city. RSVP here.
  • Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park Water Stop and Giveaways, 6-7:30 p.m. Same deal as the Brooklyn Bridge water stop, but for runners passing by Clove Road and Cheshire. Head to Pepper Jack Grill afterward for an 8 p.m. happy hour.
  • Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park Giveaways and Group Run, 5-7 p.m. Join the Van Cortland Track Club leaders at 6 p.m. for a run from the Tortoise and Hare statue.

And last but not least, I can’t send you out on a run without some fresh tunes! Aloe Blacc is a fave artist to listen to while banging out some miles, and he just so happened to be the headliner at Run Rock ‘n’ Roll’s half-marathon in San Diego last weekend. Since I already have a ton of his music on my playlist (obviously), my friends over at RNR sent over some fresh tunes inspired by the musician. Plug in and enjoy. 

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 FITNESS’ Half-Marathon Training Guide

Hit the Fast Lane: The 5K Track Workout

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Vending Machine Equals…Running Gear? Westin’s Social Media-Activated Machine Gives FREE Equipment

Written on June 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

It’s that time again—National Running Day! To celebrate one of FITNESS’ favorite holidays, Westin Hotels & Resorts has come up with a truly innovative way to make running interactive, fun and socially awesome. How, you ask? With a vending machine.

Wait…what?

Your typical vending machine dishes out lots of no-good sweets, chips and sugar-laden soda. Others are dispensing cupcakes and candy bars. But this one is more our style because not only does it require the use of social media (because let’s face it, we’re addicted), but it hands out New Balance workout gear…for free.  Yes, free!

The Westin and New Balance companies will unleash this cool, one-of-a-kind machine in New York City tomorrow outside of The Westin New York Grand Central. Stop by anytime after 8:30am to grab your gear, then head out to pound a little pavement.  

Oh, and I should mention one other feature about the vending machine: it runs through social media. What the heck does that mean? Instead of slipping coins into a junk food-filled contraption, the Westin vending machine accepts only one type of currency—tweets. Simply tweet “I want to run with @Westin”, include your gender and size, and the machine will distribute New Balance shirts, shorts, socks, and shoes (among other items) for free! All gear is completely complimentary, courtesy of Westin and New Balance.

And for you city folk who don’t want to go it alone, Chris Heuisler, Westin’s RunWESTIN concierge, will lead a 10:30a.m. 5K run. The Westin welcomes all, whether it be guests, employees, or those who just happen to be strolling through midtown in the morning (lucky ducks!). So basically, you have no excuse not to get your run on.

Whether you wish to attempt your best Usain Bolt impersonation or just jog with a friend, Westin’s National Running Day event will allow everyone to be active, and most importantly, to have fun. See you there!

Photo courtesy of Westin 

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What’s Next for Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi

Written on May 13, 2014 at 12:10 pm , by

“USA, USA, USA!” It was these patriotic chants echoing through the streets of Massachusetts’ capital last month that carried Meb Keflezighi to the end of the Boston Marathon…first. Winning the epic race “was the missing link” and career “exclamation mark” Keflezighi had been working toward for years, not to mention a fairytale finish driving home that Boston Strong spirit.

“I really [ran] with three goals in mind: win, top three or at least personal best,” Keflezighi told us during a cookie break at our office (he’s a fan of Wichcraft’s Peanut Butter Cream’wiches!). “I did all three and to run in 2:08:37 on this tough, difficult course, to become the first American in 31 years to win it…is beyond belief.”

Like many runners, Keflezighi, who left last year’s race five minutes before the bombings, trained for 365 days to turn tragedy into a positive moment. “We were running for something greater than just a race. It was an attribution to the people that had been affected,” he said. “As runners, we were resilient. We didn’t give up!”

Insert chills here.

So, how can you succeed like this speedster? Persistence is key, he said, both in running and life. “It’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame. It’s about doing what you were created to do on this Earth,” the ElliptiGO Project athlete said. “That’s what drives me every day, no matter what. Can I tap that potential?”

If you’re looking to PR this summer, listen up! Keflezighi will be pacing the 1:30 half-marathon group at the Suja Run Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon on June 1st. “San Diego is where I grew up and where I’ve won two titles in Rock ‘n’ Roll…I’m excited!” he said. Talk about runspiration! Register now, and get amped before race day with the play-by-play of his big win below.

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One Year Later: The Boston Marathon

Written on May 6, 2014 at 11:16 am , by

In our April issue, runner Marissa Hill gave readers a first-person account of what it felt like to be in the Boston Marathon at the time of last year’s bombing. Hill, running for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, returned to complete the marathon this year. Here’s her story:

Hill getting ready to head to the start line. (Photo courtesy Marissa Hill)

It would be hard to pick a day in my life in which I had experienced more positive energy, more love and hope and community support, than on that special Monday last week when I ran the Boston Marathon. As I headed into my corral I was surrounded by other charity runners, yet no one was really talking about last year.  Everyone seemed positive­–focused on the race ahead and how he or she was going to do that day. I popped my headphones in my ears without the sound for the start – I wanted to be able to hear the cheering crowd as I crossed the starting line.

It was hard to believe I was there. While training for and running the 2013 Boston Marathon, I had no interest in ever running a marathon again. And then everything changed. With the terror attacks at the finish line, I felt at a loss.  What could I do to help, to make this better? I quickly vowed to run again—to finish the race. Of course, this was easier said than done.

Training after the tragedy was difficult, and I found myself avoiding thinking about it and not running at all. When I did begin running again, I focused solely on mileage and the training plans; I put the bombings to the side. It was only in the last few weeks up until this year’s marathon that I realized I was still grieving. I knew that after months of training hard and pushing myself physically, I needed to focus on the mental aspect. Really, with any exercise, it is less about physically doing it, and more about mentally willing yourself. During my long training runs in the snow I focused on positivity—how else can you run in freezing temperatures for 20-plus miles? You tell yourself you can.

So that is what I did—that last week before the marathon, I told myself, “Yes, you can.” It was my new mantra. I focused on the anniversary of the bombings, and gave myself permission to feel upset, to feel sadness, loss and heartache. And then I reminded myself that my way of coping, my way of doing something about last year’s tragedy, was to run, to show up again and finish this thing.

I have heard people say there is nothing quite like running Boston, and it is true—the Boston Marathon is special. The people cheering you on, the historic course, the memories from last year—they all came together and pushed me forward. I kept looking for the spot where I was stopped last year, near Heartbreak Hill.  I obviously passed it, but didn’t recognize the exact spot. I knew I was close and kept waiting for terrible hills, and then all of a sudden I saw signs saying “You made it past Heartbreak Hill.” Thanks to training and the willpower to keep going this past year, I didn’t even realize I was on the hill!

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Gold Medalist and Two-Time Boston Marathon Winner Joan Benoit-Samuelson’s Secret to Success

Written on April 30, 2014 at 5:22 pm , by

As the title of Joan Benoit-Samuelson’s documentary so perfectly states, “There Is No Finish Line” for the inaugural Olympic Women’s Marathon winner. The soon-to-be 57-year-old still trains her heart out (Nordic skiing is her go-to winter cross training) and crushes races (NBD, she just finished the Boston Marathon first in her age division!)—all the while serving as an inspiration for the sport.

And there’s no slowing down the legend. Just six days after finishing the 26.2 course she won twice, Joanie headed to Washington D.C. this past weekend to join more than 15,000 women (myself included!) in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. Whoa, my legs hurt just thinking about that. So how does she do it? What’s her secret—besides boosting muscle recovery with lots of “carbos” and lean protein? “As long as there’s a story to tell, inspiration follows,” Joanie said 48 hours before tackling Capitol Hill. “That’s how I continue to push myself.”

Last year, it was all about running within 30 minutes of her Boston course record she set three decades ago. To mark the 30th anniversary of her L.A. win this year, Joanie had her mind set to finishing Boston under three hours, which she accomplished with seven minutes and 50 seconds to spare. Ambitious? No wonder she’s known for breaking barriers, single-handedly defining women’s running and oh, you know, just making history. All in a day’s work.

“I think if anyone is going to have success in their life, they have to go to the beat of their own drum and do what they think is right,” she said. “When it comes down to the true meaning of success, it’s going out and believing in yourself and running your own race.” Talk about the best pep talk ever. No wonder I PR’d this weekend! And ahem, running behind her with my speedy gal pal for a solid half of a mile: highlight to my running “career.” She truly is the definition of brilliance.

Photo courtesy of Nike

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Ready to Run: Fuel for the Boston Marathon with Nutritionist Heather Bauer

Ready to Run: Fuel for the Boston Marathon with Nutritionist Heather Bauer

Written on April 17, 2014 at 9:51 am , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

Springtime, sunshine and sweaty success—could there be a better combination? We just wrapped up our own 13.1 miles this past weekend with the More/FITNESS Women’s Half-Marathon (thank you to everyone who came out!) and our tired legs confirm that race season has begun. That’s why we turned to nutritionist Heather Bauer, R.D., founder of Bestowed.com and coach of Team Stonyfield, to ensure we’re making the most of our miles. I mean, the iconic Boston Marathon is on Monday, after all. Get ready to push your pace with Bauer’s top training and race-day fueling tips:

Fuel your fire: Look for snacks that have whole ingredients, no GMOs, no antibiotics and no growth hormones, suggests Bauer. “Eating clean, organic food just guarantees that your body is going to get the best possible food and power to get through that race.”

Power up with protein: “Most runners know about carbs, but I think protein gets downgraded,” says Bauer. That’s because after a long run, the muscle-building grub aids in recovery time and makes you stronger for tomorrow’s training. Check out her protein-packed recipe below.

Pick the right carbs: Carb-loading is a no-go for Bauer. Instead, she suggests taking in more modified carbohydrates to prevent that dreadful bloated and heavy feeling that comes along with gorging. “It’s about picking more low-glycemic options,” says Bauer. Stock up on whole-grains, fruits and veggies instead of a massive plate of pasta the night before your race.

Watch your weight: “There are people who experience between a five- and eight-pound surge of weight when they are training [for a marathon] because they overcompensate on calories due to how hungry they are,” explains Bauer. Control is key, so stick to “snacks that have a clear start and end.” Instead of reaching for that family-sized pack of pretzels, grab a bar with less than 180 calories or an apple with a single-serving packet of almond butter. “Being a healthy, lean weight on race day is really beneficial to getting through 26 miles,” says Bauer. “Having an extra 10 pounds is like carrying a backpack!”

Photo courtesy of Stonyfield

Read more

Run the World’s First Digital Marathon—Hello, London!

Written on April 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm , by

After I ran my first half-marathon in 2011, I decided right then and there that I was going to run at least one half in every state. So far, I’ve crossed 10 off my list and love the combination of traveling and racing. It might be cliche, but it’s true: you discover so many fun, interesting things about a city when you’re running the streets rather than speeding by in a car or on public transit. Unfortunately, I haven’t crossed international running adventures off my bucket list quite yet—blame it on the lack of excess money hanging out in my wallet—but thanks to Paofit and the Virgin Money London Marathon, I can get one step closer (pun intended) without breaking the bank, or even leaving my treadmill.

Now, if you read the word “treadmill” and immediately felt your eyes start to glaze over, stick with me. As much as we all love to complain about logging infamous dreadmill miles, it turns out more of us are doing it than not. According to Paofit, 53 million U.S. runners spend time on the machine compared to 49 million who run outdoors. Say what?! While I’m no stranger to using the treadmill to get me through my weekly Scandal fix, that stat still shocks me. But now, if you want to use your treadmill time for something a little more useful than watching Olivia Pope get hot ‘n heavy with President Fitz, you can. Like, by running a virtual course of the London Marathon, one of the most iconic races in the world. Here’s how:

  • Download the Paofit app for free, along with the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon Showcase.
  • If you have a Life Fitness treadmill, plug in your iPad (iPhone and Android versions are coming later this year) to the Track+ or Discover Tablet Console. Once you do, your speed will be accurately recorded and the treadmill will automatically adjust its incline to reflect the course terrain. You’ll also get to see fellow runners on the course in real-time, so you still get that sense of competition many of us use to keep calm and power on.

Don’t have a Life Fitness machine? No sweat. Still download the Paofit app and Showcase, and set it on your console. The vibration generated by running on the treadmill will cause the course ahead of you to speed up or slow down to properly reflect your cadence. And if you want even more of a pace guarantee, you can calibrate Paofit to match your stride. Seriously, this may be the coolest treadmill technology I’ve ever heard of. Not to mention it totally helps familiarize you with the course (hello, Tower Bridge!), in case you ever do decide to leap over the pond in run the race IRL.

Oh, and if the idea of running the London Marathon course doesn’t quite sway you, I have two things to say:

1. We need to chat this out, because I don’t understand how this doesn’t sound awesome.
2. The Paofit app has eight sample running locales around the world, so you can experiment with other places and purchase locations starting at $1.99.

Now, I’m off to go get my own miles in. Let me know in the comments what famous course you’d love to run and maybe we’ll meet up to tackle it together.

Photo courtesy of Paofit

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3 Reasons You Should Dress Up for a Race

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3 Reasons Dressing Up for a Race Is Completely Legit

Written on March 27, 2014 at 5:54 pm , by

As someone who’s raced 10 half-marathons, some for PRs and others just because I could, I can tell you one thing for sure: dressing up for races is FUN. Now, I haven’t gone all out in a head-to-toe costume quite yet, but even just tossing on a Sparkle Athletic skirt with matching Sparkly Soul headbands is enough to add a little pizazz to my racing adventure.

I’m not the only one inspired to costume it up, either. Just a quick search of “race costumes” on Pinterest brought up thousands of pins and hundreds of boards, all with creative, quirky and sometimes totally insane ideas of how to dress up for a running adventure. So, now that I know this trend is completely awesome to more than just me, I went to the experts. And it turns out, my friends, that if dressing up is what gets you from start to finish with a smile on your face, then you could totally have the best race of your life. Here’s why:

Read more

MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon Runners: Score A Discount on the Official Race Jewelry!

Written on March 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm , by

Whether I’m running my first, 10th or 50th half-marathon (someday!), commemorating it in a special way is always at the top of my wish list. So when one of FITNESS’ favorite jewelery-designers, Erica Sara of Erica Sara Designs, agreed to create the official race jewelry of the MORE/FITNESS Women’s Half-Marathon, I jumped (and possibly squealed) a little in excitement. Erica’s line is gorgeous, and wearing a necklace or bracelet every day is more feasible than sporting that medal around your neck. Well, unless it’s the week after your race. Then all bets are off…

As the official race jeweler, Erica has created a custom necklace and bangle bracelet for all racing the MORE/FITNESS Women’s Half-Marathon on April 13th. First things first, though: if you’re not registered yet, do it now! As the largest women’s-only half-marathon in the country, there’s nothing quite like this race. There’s so much encouragement, girl power and positive energy pulsating through every footstep of those 13.1 miles through Central Park. I remember the first time I raced it (my first half ever!) – I could NOT keep a smile off my face.

Once you’re registered, head over to Erica’s website and check out the bling. You can get the necklace for $78 and  the bangle bracelet for $118 – both are amazing deals – and personalize the back of the logo charm with race details (Central Park, NYC/April 13, 2014/finishing time). Want to score an even bigger deal? Purchase your new bling by April 20th and enter the code FITNESSHALF on the website to score 20% off the entire race collection.

And while you’re at the expo to pick up your race bib and other goodies, be sure to stop by Erica Sara’s booth. She’s offering a 20% discount on all race-specific pieces, and 10% off the rest of the collection shown. Who knows what else you’ll fall in love with! Personally, I want one of everything.

Photos courtesy of Erica Sara Designs

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Music Monday: Bring It Back with the Beatles

Written on February 10, 2014 at 9:32 am , by

It’s hard to believe, but 50 years ago the Beatles made their first appearance in the United States. The iconic band has made an impact on our society in a way like no other, and fortunately for us, we can relive their music in more ways than one (we all remember Across the Universe, and I highly recommend seeing Cirque De Soleil’s Love). But rather than sitting through a performance that takes you back in time, try sweating instead. This 50-minute playlist from our friends at Run Rock ‘n’ Roll honors the monumental anniversary of the guys jumping across the pond, so take it for a whirl during your next workout. Better yet? Consider signing up for the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon and Half-Marathon, and make sure to bring these tunes along for the ride. Nothing like a little John Lennon to get you through a tough training run, especially when you’re going to his homeland.

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