A Survival Kit and Sunny Skies

Another perk with these packs? They are designed to stay cold for 20 minutes, so you don't have to time your ice sessions! (Photo courtesy of TheraPearl)

I have to say (and I’m sure Olivia feels the same way), so far we’ve been extremely lucky with the weather here in NYC. There wasn’t a single morning last week where the temperature was below 40 degrees, which made getting out of bed a touch easier for me. I’ve always been a morning runner, but when you can run without snot dripping down your face and frozen fingers, it’s just a better way to start your day.

My runs last week were pretty long. The weekday runs varied between 5 and 6 miles and my weekend long run was 8 miles. Needless to say, I welcomed a 4-mile recovery run on Sunday with open arms! I noticed my pace was a bit slower (about 30 seconds), which I think is due to my legs adjusting to the mileage increase. They are tired, and who can blame them? I’m hoping to get back up to speed, literally, this week.

I also unintentionally assembled a bit of a half-marathon survival kit of little things that make my training easier. Here’s what I’ve been using so far:

  • TheraPearl hot/cold packs: These are great because you can microwave or freeze them depending on what kind of relief you need. I’ve been using heated ones for my back and iced packs for my shins and knees when I start to feel achy.
  • GU Energy Gel: For long runs, anything over 6 miles. I usually eat the tri-berry flavor, but am itching to get my hands on the peanut butter ones!
  • A foam roller: To keep up with my IT band stretches from my visit with Dr. Shure.
  • Lululemon Featherweight Socks: Not only are they comfy, they are so light you feel like you’re running barefoot. Minus the blistering and sweaty feet part, of course. The right one says “run” and the left one says “fast,” so clearly I’m also a sucker for motivational socks.
  • Nike Daybreak Running Hat: It might have been warm last week, but it was also a little drizzly! This cap keeps me dry in rain and shielded from the sun during the summer.

Here’s hoping that stretching, icing and foam rolling will have my legs feeling fresh and ready to go this week. We’ve got a lot of miles to cover!

Tell me: What’s your go-to gear for running or recovering?

Warm Weather Training

Susan soaks up the sun (and gets her training done) in Florida.

Greetings from sunny Florida! It is warm here and I am loving it!

Instead of bundling up for my runs, I’ve been coating up with sunscreen and wearing sunglasses and a visor to protect me from the rays. It’s been hot during my runs, but I’m not complaining because this is a great change from the cold or the treadmill runs I’m used to runs up north. Plus, I finally got to wear my new Maui Jim wrap-around sunglasses, which provide extra sun protection around my eyes and are super lightweight.

To survive in the heat, I made sure to eat a little extra before my run (a full banana) and while running replenished my energy with Gu Vanilla Bean gel and hydrated with lots of water. It has been great to run along the beach and, best of all, to do my stretches at the beach or pool after my long runs. I better not get too used to this!

Last week I mentioned I needed some type of tracking device to help measure my distance. My colleague/friend suggested I download an iPhone app called iMapMyRun. It’s amazing and exactly what I was looking for. I simply push “start” and it uses the GPS on my phone to calculate the distance and time. It even has a voice function and heart rate monitor. It’s awesome because I didn’t have to buy another device or carry another thing while running—and it doesn’t hurt that it’s free! I highly recommend it.

If you’re running along with me, how’s your training going? Have you found ways to spice up your routine?