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Fit Blogger We Love: Knead to Cook

Written on September 5, 2013 at 10:43 am , by

Robin and her hubby after the speedster pounded the Maine pavement for the Beach to Beacon 10K in August.

Need to stir up your go-to healthy eats? Robin over at Knead to Cook has what you crave—muffins, cookies, pies, you name it—without the guilt. And whoa, it shows! The fit mom who sticks to an impressive six-day workout regimen (three days running, the other three hitting the gym for cardio and lifting) cut down on sugar and recently lost over 30 pounds, making major PR strides. We’ll have what she’s having! From lightened-up, homestyle Italian dishes to perfect pre- and post-workout fuel (check out her addictive No-Bake Energy Balls below), this gal cozies you up to her table like you’re a part of the family and proves that nutritious cuisine can taste good, too.

My favorite way to workout: Running, especially in the fall and winter. I’m definitely a cold-weather runner.

My biggest motivators: My two daughters. I want them to look at me as an inspiration for what is possible. They shouldn’t use age as an excuse—ever!

My favorite fit snack: Non-fat Cabot cottage cheese. It’s packed with protein and I mix it with Justin’s almond butter; it’s such a treat! I cannot get enough of it.

Motivational mantra: “No one ever drowned in his own sweat,” by Ann Landers. I actually have it written on the chalkboard wall in my kitchen and I look at it every single day.

My “I did it” moment: Even after running a marathon, my biggest “I did it” moment was recently, at the Beach to Beacon 10K, when I ran it in 49:01. That’s my fastest race time yet, thanks to my recent 31-pound weight loss.

These little protein-packed nuggets are highly sought after at Robin’s daughter’s swim meets—and for good reason. Sweet, tasty and filling!

 

No-Bake Energy Balls

  • 1 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c almond butter (or whatever nut butter you have in your pantry)
  • 1/2 c flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 c + 1 /4 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

 

Mix together in a bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Remove and roll into balls. (Robin uses a small scooper!) Place in an airtight container to refrigerate for 5-7 days, although they will most likely be long gone before that!

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Some Swag for Your Running Stride

Written on August 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm , by

Nike, New Balance, or Saucony? What’s your fav?

True story: I was out for a run last week when a friend of mine saw me run by his apartment. He sent a text saying, “Stop! Turn around! Come hang out!” Cue the girly-girl rant in my head, “Oh gosh, I can’t believe he just saw me running. I’m a sweaty mess. This is so embarrassing. I can’t go over there!” But since I suffer from a small case of FOMO (c’mon ladies, admit it, you do too!), I couldn’t resist the invite. So after finishing my loop, I ran back to his pad, sweaty mess and all. As I walked in, my friend said, “You look super official. Like a sponsored athlete or something. What should I be wearing so can I look as cool as you when I run?”

At first I thought he was being facetious, being that I was decked out in neon shorts, neon sneaks and a tank that had neon lettering (A little obnoxious? Maybe), but he was serious. And I gladly took the compliment.

Now to the point of my story: I get asked about running gear a lot; specifically sneakers. My job as the Fashion Assistant here at FITNESS lends me the title of “sneaker expert” amongst my friends. I know which shoes are the best for marathon training (see my pick below!), which brands have the best minimalist styles, and which sneakers are the coolest each season.

All tech-talk aside, if the shoes aren’t cute, we’re not buying them. Right?  So from a fashionable stance, these are my fave running sneakers for logging miles this summer:

Saucony Kinvara 4: These shoes are my obsession. Seriously, they’re that good. I’ve trained for countless half-marathons in Kinvaras, and I’ve turned lots of runners into Kinvara fans (Saucony, you can thank me later). I love the explosion of hot pink and neon yellow on my newest pair, and feel pretty awesome running down the streets of my hood. You might need sunglasses to protect your eyes from the brightness. #justsayin

Nike Air Pegasus 30+: So we’ve seen the Free and become fans of the Fly Knit, but this Nike style should totally be on your radar, too. I’m a sucker for a good throwback, and these kicks have a serious old school vibe. And when you’re done running, you can rock them with a cool pair of boyfriend jeans and a tee for a laid back look on the weekend.

New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez: Space age shoes? Sure, why not? These awesome weightless sneaks have a futuristic feel that will be sure to make people look twice as you run by, and not in a bad way. Plus, you get the minimalist feel, without going totally barefoot. It’s a win-win situation, people!

Now you tell us: What’s your sneaker of choice?

Why The Color Run Really is the Happiest 5K on the Planet

Written on July 30, 2013 at 9:54 am , by

Bright and early and ready to do this.

Running sometimes feels like the bread and butter to getting fit. Oftentimes, people put one foot in front of the other to start their weight-loss journey. Others use running as a way to de-stress or bond with friends. And sometimes, people accomplish crazy running feats to test their strength. For instance, Robin Azron, a corporate lawyer turned ultra-marathoner, freelance writer and running coach, ran five marathons in five days for MS Run The US for her mom, who battles the disease every day. Or there’s Zoe Romano, 26, who just ran the entire Tour de France course—yes, I said ran—over nine weeks, averaging 30 miles every. single. day. (For those of you counting, or know the TDF, that’s a total of 2,000 miles.) She did this to raise money for the World Pediatric Project, which provides medical care to children in Central America and the Caribbean, aiming for a $150,000 goal. Running is not only the basis of so many of our workouts, it’s what motivates people, like Robin and Zoe, to get out there every day and accomplish BIG things.

However, if you’re just taking baby steps, and maybe like me, dreaming of a 100-mile race stays at that just that…that’s okay. There are plenty of ways to get into the sport or even spice up your daily runs with fun events like The Color Run or the Electric Run and even the Mudderella 10K.

Before picking up training again for my second marathon this Fall, I finally checked off the Happiest 5k on the Planet (The Color Run, as it’s otherwise known) on my bucket list and headed out to Brooklyn to have some fun. I really didn’t know what to expect as I entered the party zone (really, this race is one big party). But lining up for the race, which over two days 10,000 people came out to run, was surely the ideal way to kick-off what is going to become a long summer of logging miles. Here’s what I learned at my first Color Run:

My best friend Emily couldn’t resist a morning of painting by my side.

1) It’s a family affair. Running really has become a way for families to bond. I saw so many parents with their small kids dressed up in white and ready to get blasted with paint. Some kiddies enjoyed the fun from their mom’s running stroller, and I constantly nudged my husband to remind him that when our time comes, we’d be taking our little ones along, too.

2) Paint is your friend. If you want to cross the finish line a different shade of color than the clean canvas you started with, tell your paint buddies at each mile marker to color you up! I really embraced the yellow, red, green and blue color stations—and secretly wished for a pink one. (Hint, hint.) I think I accomplished my goal of getting as messy as possible.

3) Every age, size, height and weight are welcome. This was really a race for all. I was inspired by all the people who came out to have a little fun and work up a sweat, too. Some runners may have taken the race a bit seriously and sprinted it out, while others had a good time jogging with their friends or even walking the entire way. Regardless, everyone there logged 3.1 miles with a big smile on their face.

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Calling All Runners! Help Fight Cancer By Joining a Coast to Coast Relay

Written on July 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm , by

Lymphoma survivor Michelle Flattery filled her shirt with the names of everyone she was running her 26.2 miles for. (Photo courtesy of Above + Beyond Cancer)

How many people do you know who have been affected by cancer? A shocking 41 percent of people will be diagnosed with some form of the disease during his or her lifetime, according to research by the National Cancer Institute.

Another surprising stat: One-third of cancer cases are caused by poor diet and lack of activity. A group of ambitious athletes, many of then cancer survivors themselves, are seeking to inspire others to affect that statistic, all while raising money to support more research about the disease.

For the past month, the Million Dollar Marathon (and a baton stuffed with prayer flags which honor those who have fought/are fighting cancer) has been making its way from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. About 160 people signed on to run or walk a marathon along the route while raising money for cancer-related charities, with an overall goal of fundraising $1 million. To date, the team has raised nearly $500,000 and has its sights set on Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on August 1.

Yesterday, FITNESS hopped in along the course in Illinois as Ames, Iowa resident Ashley Poppe ran her first marathon in honor of her friend Kerri. Despite struggling with tendinitis all through training, Poppe completed all of her miles (and finished with a smile). She has raised more than $6,000 for the cause, too. The “magic” baton has inspired participants to power through rain, 100°+ heat, injuries and the longest runs of their lives.

“Each time you think you’ve found your favorite moment from the trip, another even more amazing one happens four hours later,” said Steve Cannon, who dreamt up the 4,000-mile coast-to-coast relay after running 40 marathons in 40 days (solo) around Lake Michigan last summer. Recently, the event has taken on even greater meaning for Cannon, as his sister is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Inspired to take part in this epic journey? It’s not too late—and you can carry the baton for as many miles as you want (26.2 miles is not a requirement). The Million Dollar Marathon is still looking to fill slots in West Virginia on July 26 and 27, so if  you’re ready for a challenge, email steve@aboveandbeyondcancer.org.

Conquering a Triathlon, Relay-Style

Written on July 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm , by

Molly and I all smiles post-race. Bring on the full next year!

Swim, bike, run…they’re all amazing workouts when you do them alone. But putting them all together? Now that’s a good time. If you’re a triathlete, you know that already. But if you’re not, putting all three sports together for one epic day of racing can be quite intimidating. Add in over 3,000 athletes, the Hudson River and a bunch of mileage—one mile of swimming, 25 miles of biking and 6.2 miles of running—and you’ve got the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon, which looks downright terrifying.

Luckily, Aquaphor allowed me to dip my toes into the world of triathlon without diving in head first. Instead of tackling all three sports myself, I rounded up two more FITNESS friends—both with more swimming and biking experience than I—and signed up to tri, relay-style!

Despite an obnoxiously-early wakeup call (hello, 3:00am), Emily, Molly and I had the time of our lives out on the course. For Emily, she was courageous enough to swim in the scary waters of the Hudson River. The girl sliced through the water with ease, and before we knew it, she was handing off the timing chip to Molly, our hard-core biker! Here’s what she has to say about riding on the West Side Highway:

After a few anxious hours of waiting for the race to start, the excited buzz in transition was contagious! I grabbed my bike and started jogging toward the exit with a million worries on my mind (Will I get a flat? Do I have enough hydration? What if I crash? Will I make all the hairpin turns?). But as soon as I crossed the mounting line and clipped in, every thought disappeared. It was just me and my bike, like any other day, and I was ready to race! The course was bumpier than I expected—Despite tight cages, I lost my first water bottle at mile 4 and the second at mile 19—and the hills were tough, so I took my time climbing. Since my legs were fresh and I didn’t have to save up energy for the run, I tried to cheer on others along the course. Prepping my tush and upper thighs with Aquaphor seriously saved me from painful saddle sores post-race. Before I knew it, I was already making the last turn back into transition to pass the chip (and my biker’s-high encouragement) to Samantha for the last leg.

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Better, Faster, Stronger: 6 Marathon Running Tips from Celeb Trainer Ashley Borden

Written on July 11, 2013 at 10:30 am , by

 

That’s our editor-in-chief, Betty Wong, partying it up during the 2011 ING NYC Marathon!

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

Summer is in full swing, and you know what that means—the hottest marathons are nearly here! If this is your first time running a major-distance race, the experience can be a bit overwhelming. From finding proper-fitting shoes to mastering pre-run jitters, there’s a lot to learn while powering through all those warm-weather training runs. Luckily, we talked to celeb trainer and FITNESS advisory board member Ashley Borden (Um, she’s worked with Ry Gos. Lucky gal!) to get the top tips every marathoner should know before lacing up her sneaks.

Don’t go at it alone. Developing training habits and discipline by yourself can be difficult, especially if you’re just starting out. “Really try to recruit a friend to help hold you accountable,” says Borden. “Sit down with your training partner and plan out workouts for the month, so it’s in your phone, on your calendar, and it’s non-negotiable.” No nearby friends and zero motivation? “Find a running club,” suggests Borden; “Look online—you’d be surprised by how many free running clubs are all over cities.” We love Road Runners Club of America for finding fellow pavement pounders nearby.

Make a plan. “If you have no idea what you’re doing, or it’s your first time, I cannot stress enough that you really need to be either online downloading a program that will help you understand how to space out your running, or you need to be working with a trainer,” explains Borden. “If you over-train, you’ll be broken down, and if you’re under-trained, you’ll be unprepared. Get a trainer or get a program.”

Find the perfect fit. When you’re running 26.2 miles (those .2 make a difference!) in the pouring rain and brutal heat, shoes can make or break you. “Go to a running store and have an expert watch you run to see what your feet are doing,” advises Borden. “They’ll be able to tell if you pronate or supinate, meaning your feet collapse in or roll out on impact.” After, they’ll make sure your feet land in the proper sneaks for every upcoming adventure. “The arches of your feet are the basis of your entire body’s performance,” says Borden. “So when you have the right support on the arches of the feet, you will notice a huge difference in comfort.”

If you are stuck dealing with blisters or raw skin from ill-fitting shoes, Borden recommends keeping some bandages in your gym bag. Her go-to? New Skin liquid bandage, which she keeps in a bubble-wrapped container for running emergencies.

Do your loop. Before race day, drive or bike the marathon route so you can visualize it before the big day. “When you see what you’re going to be doing, you’re not as defeated out the door on the first day,” says Borden. “You won’t be like, ‘When is this going to end? How long is another three miles?’ You’ll learn your distances and your mile markets when you’ve ridden through it.”

Get rolling. When you’re strength training and preparing for a marathon, recovery is crucial. “If you don’t have a foam roller, you better run to the store and embrace a foam roller as your new best friend,” says Borden. “The rolling out helps to flush lactic acid, which speeds recovery the next day and helps with both mobility and performance.” To prevent post-run ouch, roll out before and after you run to loosen up muscles.

Start a journal. “After each of your runs, record in a journal how you feel physically and mentally,” suggests Ashley. “Always note what you ate before the run and how you felt after, so you can chart how certain foods impact your performance.” Don’t be afraid to experiment during training runs. After all, you’ll need to follow the long-distance runner’s cardinal rule: Nothing new on race day!

More from FITNESS:

From Non-Runner to Marathon Runner

You Know You’re a Runner When…

Running in the Heat Safely

Get Running with Kara Goucher’s Ultimate Playlist

Written on June 5, 2013 at 10:46 am , by

 

Blasting Goucher’s favorite tunes = an automatic PR, right? (Photo courtesy of Victah Sailor/Competitor Group)

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

From cardio to cool-down, a good music playlist can work like magic on your motivation (we’ve pushed out more than a few extra reps to JT’s new album!). And today, in honor of National Running Day, Olympian marathoner Kara Goucher has teamed up with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series to share her top tracks that keep her running strong and speedy.

We took a listen and can guarantee you’ll want to get moving once the first track begins (at least, that’s what happened to us). Lucky for you, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is offering a whopping discount – $20 off any of their races in the country, so you can put your pumped-up motivation to good use (Assistant Web Editor Samantha Shelton is tackling Philadelphia and Vegas later this year – join her?). Visit Rock ‘n’ Roll today to sign up for a run, and check out Kara’s ultimate playlist below. We’ll be here, celebrating the day Goucher-style.

Happy running!

More from FITNESS:

15 Best Marathons

Music Monday: Marathon Training Playlist

“Why I Run”

 

Run to Fund Boston on National Running Day (And Win A TIMEX Watch!)

Written on June 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm , by


Follow us @FitnessMagazine on Instagram and Twitter to find out where our runs take us on National Running Day! (Photo by Laura Doss)

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

If you’re like many of us over here at FITNESS, you probably don’t need to be poked or prodded to lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement. Running is what gets many of us up in the morning to sweat; the thing that keeps us (relatively) sane during our hectic weeks. We do it because we want to—and on Wednesday, June 5th, we’ll celebrate National Running Day as we do most days: with running.

The running community is a tight-knit one (how else could anyone stay motivated to finish a 26.2-mile marathon?), but we’re not the only ones who are excited about tomorrow—Timex is in on the fun, too. The watch company launched its “I Am A Runner” campaign last month to celebrate runners of all levels and to provide a place for people to share their most inspirational and motivational reasons for why they run.

To get in on the conversation, tweet your tale or Instagram a picture with the campaign’s #IMARUNNER hashtag by June 5th. Your story will show up on Timex’s Facebook page, and they’ll donate $5 to One Fund Boston, a relief fund for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Bonus: You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win one of the 60 Timex Ironman watches the company is giving away!

To find out more about the “I Am A Runner” campaign, or to directly submit your photo or story, check out the Timex Sports Facebook page. We’ll be reading through the stories for an extra dose of inspiration ourselves, so start tagging those posts!

Now you tell us: How will you celebrate the sporty holiday?

Really Good Read: “Boston Billy” Is Back in Marathon Man

Written on May 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm , by

Read this and you’ll be lacing up those sneaks faster than ever before. (Photo courtesy of St. Martin’s Press)

Long before the time of Gatorade, GU or GPS watches, Bill Rodgers set a 2:09:55 American record at the Boston Marathon. There were no clocks or traffic control for his 1975 victory and medals were awarded only to the top three runners.

“You didn’t see lots of couples or families showing up to races,” the legendary long-distance runner reminisced in his new book-meets-memoir, Marathon Man, which he co-authored with Matthew Shepatin. “I didn’t know any running couples, and to see a woman runner was shocking. Some would think: Oh, good grief, there’s a woman runner. My attitude was: Good going!”

Running as both a sport and culture has made drastic strides over the past few decades—something I rarely considered before reading the 26.2-mile journey of the infamous “Boston Billy.” The book’s chapters alternate between play-by-plays from his first big victory and life prior to the momentous moment in history, as he falls in, out and back in love with running.

The pavement-pounding passion that burns within so many of us used to be quite the enigma “for freaks and fairies,” although seemingly simpler. Perhaps that ease was just the spirit Bill conveyed despite his quick pace. With each turning page, I craved the same sweat and pain that comes with training territory, but it was Bill’s natural, liberating take and mindset—something no gadget could ever provide—that I found truly moving.

“Running wasn’t an escape from life; rather it was an embrace of it,” Bill explained. “As I bounded along the park trail, I wasn’t sailing around in chaos. I was charging forward with purpose.” For Bill, rising to the top of the running world wasn’t about the fame or a collection of tech tees (well, those didn’t even exist yet!). It was a sense of freedom he couldn’t experience anywhere else.

Road races before the late 70s running boom were nuts and bolts affairs, a morale-boosting medicine that wasn’t so much about the time, but a hunt for the win. Bill sported ensembles from dumpster dives (stiff jeans in the colder months—yikes!) and hydrated with an old shampoo bottle. He ran the same way he did as a kid catching butterflies in the fields of Connecticut, even stopping to tie his shoes with six miles to go before winning the Holy Grail of marathons.

Yes, we now know a lot more in respect to the athletic do’s and don’ts, something we here at FITNESS love to keep you all up on. But if this invaluable book taught me anything, it’s to lace up my sneaks without much of a thought and simply enjoy the ride. Who knows, maybe I’ll leave my pop playlist behind, turning to the birds and sound of my own breath to pace my stride. This book is more than a good read. It’s my new Bible. Pages are folded, quotes are highlighted and it will be a go-to gift for my fellow running pals. You learn through Bill’s mistakes, defeats and triumphs, cheering him along as if the historical race is live. I won’t be fueling up on ketchup-smeared brownies anytime soon—sorry, Bill, that’s a little much—but I will pour myself full force into what Bill often referred to as his “channel.” His perseverance sparked a fire under my tread that lead to a race-filled summer. Who knows, maybe I’ll even go for the full 26.2 soon, too.

Now you tell us: Where do you find your run-spiration?

We Run DC

Written on April 26, 2013 at 9:32 am , by

photo courtesy of Nike

I’ve become a half marathon veteran sorts. Not that I’ve run hundreds of races or anything, but I can’t seem to shake the inevitable runner’s high, and  I’ve found myself adding more and more races to my 2013 roster (I even put in an application to run the NYC Marathon in November!). I guess you can say I’m somewhat of a 13.1 junkie. At least after running two halves in two weeks,  I’d like to think so…

One of the races that I’ll be ticking off my list for sure: the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC, which is happening for the first time EVER  this weekend! You might be familiar with the race that happens out in San Fran every fall, but luckily for us East Coasters who haven’t had the chance to run out west, Nike is bringing the fun and excitement a little bit closer to home.

For the women participating in the race, a full weekend of events are scheduled at the Expotique at Nike Georgetown, including the release of the most awesome shoes I’ve ever seen, and a concert with platinum selling singer-songwriter, Ellie Goulding, who will also be running the race. She’s been training religiously like the rest of us, and says, “Running has become a huge part of what motivates me and I’m excited to join so many other women in this inaugural race. I’ve been working hard to balance my training while being on tour this spring, and I’m running the Nike Women Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. with the goal of achieving my personal best time.” Maybe superstars are more like us than we think…personal bests? Let’s do it Ellie!

If you live in the DC area, be sure to swing by the Expotique this weekend, and come support all of the runners at Sunday morning’s race (here’s a course map…I’ll be looking for you!). I’m super stoked to be racing alongside 15,000 women who have a passion for running, just like me, and I feel honored to be a part of such an awesome inaugural event. Watch out DC! I’m coming for ya, and I’m ready to pound some serious pavement!