A Love Story

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all lovey dovey and sentimental on you guys. This love story isn’t about two people. It’s the simple tale of a girl (me, #duh) and her running shoes (Newton Running).

In the Beginning – High school was all about New Balance and Asics. In college, Nike staged an invasion, first with the LunarGlide, then with the Nike Free. I have no complaints about any of my past shoes, in fact, I still prefer the dynamic movement of the Free for the gym.

The Great Awakening – A friend (we’ll call him Princess) took me to Newton Running in Boulder, CO and I was fit to a shoe based on my gait. I struggled a bit because the shoe was light and airy and felt so natural. But it was… ummmmm…. freakin’ ugly, to put it nicely. But I gave it a try (luckily, Newton has put a little more effort into the aesthetic of their newer shoes).

You Complete Me – Six years, 1,817 miles, and eight shoes later and I am as in love today as I ever have been. My preferred shoe is the Distance Elite, which is minimalist and best for me because I pronate and run very high on the balls of my feet.

QUIZ: Find your Newton Running Shoe

Lug Life: The Science Behind the World’s Most Responsive Running Shoe – The true secret behind Newtons are the four to five lugs under the balls of your feet. These lugs do two things:

  • Action/Reaction™ Technology – Creates a responsive cushioning for quicker bounce-back. With a standard running shoe, your power is absorbed by the foam-core sole, but with Newtons you are boosted with each step.
  • % Grade – Many popular running shoes have a heel-to-toe drop of  12mm, which is an 8% grade (for reference, 8% is the grade at which truckers are given a warning about steep roads ahead). That’s crazy talk! This slope changes your running gait and puts added pressure on unnecessary parts of your leg and foot. Newton lugs help to level you out, creating a more natural gait with anywhere from a 1.3% to 3.3% grade. Much better! See below for reference of popular “flat” or minimalist running shoes that are anything but.

Happily Ever After – Wether you’re a heel-to-toe runner, or naturally stay on the balls of your feet, Newton Running shoes will help improve and power your stride. No more calf tightness, no more achilles pain, just a boost of energy with every step and a whole new view on running. Woo hoo!

READ: Taking my Newtons on the Road

How Do Others Stack Up, Literally – Here is the heel-to-toe drop and grade of some top runners in the market (I specifically looked at women’s, but typically men’s are the same or similar).

  • Newton Distance Elite – 2mm/1.3%
  • Hoka One One Clayton – 4mm/2.6%
  • Topo Athletic Ultrafly – 5mm/3.3%
  • New Balance Vazee Pace v2 – 6mm/4%
  • Asics FuzeX Lyte – 8mm/5.3%
  • Nike Lunarglide 8 – 9.5mm/6.3%
  • Brooks Ghost 9 – 12mm/8%

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Apple Watch & Nike+

bpwatchFor those of you who have spoken to me recently, you probably know that I have been exercising an incredible amount of control on NOT buying an Apple Watch. I’ve mostly been holding off because I have no REAL need for a $300 tether to my iPhone. But…I caved.

The fitness-focused aspects of the Apple Watch coupled with a seamless connection to my iPhone were enough to sway me. I’ll admit, however, that running with the Apple Watch and my preferred app (Nike+ Running) was not as perfect as I had hoped. But I’ll share the good, the bad and the settings for success that I found while using Nike+ with the Apple Watch.

bpwatch2.JPGThe Bad
You still need to take your iPhone with you. Wearing the watch does not free you from the phone because it is not a GPS device and it relies entirely on the iPhone for pace, distance and route.

The Good
It did allow me to put the phone in my FlipBelt for the duration of my run while giving me a quicker way to glance at my stats. The app interface on the watch allows you to see your distance, pace, route and music.

Settings for Success

  • On the Phone – Make sure you’ve enabled Nike+ to be visible on the watch
  • On the Phone – Set the watch’s Wake Screen as “resume last activity.” This will ensure you do not have to push any buttons on the watch, while running, to check the stats
  • On the Phone – Set your preferred Nike+ settings through the app on your phone, not on the watch
  • On the Phone – Set the Nike+ app to start and stop runs automatically so that you do not need to push buttons on either the watch or phone during your runs
  • On the Watch – Pair bluetooth headphones with your watch in order to listen to music on your runs

While it is not perfect, I am very happy with my watch thus far, and look forward to having two free hands on all of my runs from now on.

Happy training, beautiful people.

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Training for Race Season

Oh hey! It’s been a while. It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve been busy, and the long winter has me feeling unmotivated. I’m tired. Good thing I make more excuses about blogging than I do about working out!

1010706_10202108464698487_568135008458836320_nThis time of year, it seems everybody has a race of some sort that they’re training for. Like the 5k to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer, which my entire family races in each spring, or the GW Parkway Classic that I am running in this month.

So, I wanted to share the training regimen that I have put in place to get myself into the best shape possible for my race on April 24. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a trained fitness coach, and if you follow my below plan, please please please always listen to your body, trainers and/or doctors for expert advice.

Running vs. Lifting + Stretching:

During the five or so weeks leading up to a 10 mile race, I will cut my lifting down significantly, and increase my mileage each week. Also, it can’t be said enough, but stretching can mean a world of difference. I try to use a foam roller to massage my IT bands every single day.

Lifting:

During the weeks that I am training for a race, I will reserve two days a week for lifting. 1 day for legs (never maxing out) and 1 day for arms/chest/back. Both days, and some of my non-lifting days, will include 5-15 minutes of core.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 8.31.53 PMRunning:

The hard part for me is pacing. I am not a distance runner by nature. My body wants to run fast, but then I can’t maintain the speed while increasing my miles.

With that in mind, I have three little tricks that I employ to help me combat this common hurdle:

  • Mileage: I do 3 runs during the week that are between 3-5 miles, depending on where I am at in my training. Then I do one 5-8 mile run on the weekends. I do not pay too much attention to my pace, but I try to stay within a :30 margin. By race day, I am comfortably running more miles and a much quicker pace and it wasn’t even that painful to get there.
  • Track Workouts: I have recently gotten into track workouts, which are full of benefits. They open your stride, boost your endurance, change up your routine and drum roll….. they help increase your speed! I jog to the track, stretch and then do one of the following: Sprint 1 lap, jog 1 lap. Repeat 4-8 times. Or, run 80% pace for 2 laps, jog for 1 lap. Repeat 4-8 times. I also sometimes do pacers down the long side of the track. Start at 50% pace, increase to 75% pace, increase to full sprint. Do a few of those. They feel AMAZING.
  • Hills: They’re the devil. But the best advice I ever received was from Mr. Mahoney, my high school cross country coach. He told us that we should always work to pass people on the uphill. If you train for hills, there will be no issues come race day. You’ll be cruising on up as other runners are struggling and wondering if you’ve got secret jets hidden in your shoes! My standard hill workout: Jog to the hill, stretch. Then I do pacers up the hill, starting off with a slow and open stride leading up to the base of the hill and then try to run about 75% pace to the top.  I jog halfway down, and walk the other half. Once at the bottom,  jump right back into the next one. Depending on the hill grade and length, I will do 5-10 of these before jogging home.

If you’ve got a race coming up, I hope you find my training tips beneficial. Always feel free to reach out to me in the comments below if you’ve got any questions! Also, follow me on IG for training tips, fun pics and weird outfits. 🙂
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Taking my Newtons on the Road

If you run back and forth across the Red Rocks stairs, it equals a 5K!
If you run back and forth across the Red Rocks stairs, it equals a 5K!

This might sound strange, but my favorite part of traveling, whether for work or vacation, is finding new and beautiful places to workout. It is pretty interesting that, like many other sports, fitness is a universal language.

I find that running is the easiest workout to plan. You don’t have to rely on hotel gyms, or bring any extra equipment. Do you have any big trips planned? If so, here are some running tips to keep in mind:

  • Bring your runners. My choice of running shoes are Newtons. Don’t just run in your regular walking shoes, that’s a good way to get hurt.
  • Running is the best way to navigate a new city. While you’re out, keep your head on a swivel (soccer term, sorry) and look for restaurants, bars, stores, cafes, parks, and museums that you may want to try.
  • Check a map before you head out, or use Nike+ Running App‘s built in map, there may be a park or running trail nearby that you can easily hop on.
  • Always bring your phone and the address of the place you’re staying with you, you don’t want to get lost!
  • Don’t feel bad if you want to stop to take a picture, or in my case, too many pictures. Those are memories, CHERISH THEM!
  • Wave to other runners. Or give them a friendly smile. One thing that I’ve found is that in every place I’ve run, including foreign countries, this is pretty standard etiquette.
  • Document those miles using a GPS-based app, like Nike+. It’s a souvenir that costs you nothing.
  • Stretching on my balcony in Cancun, Mexico.
    Stretching on my balcony in Cancun, Mexico.

    Always remember to take care of your body. On the road and at home. Hydrate and stretch really well after every run. You don’t want any injuries to put a damper on your trip.

  • Have a blast and love yourself for getting out there. You’re #betterforit.

If you’re thinking that I am crazy for wanting to work out while I am on vacation, just try it and you’ll see. It doesn’t feel like a chore, it feels amazing and will probably help create some of your favorite travel memories. Plus, you won’t have to feel guilty for indulging in incredible local cuisine the whole time.

If you haven’t already, check out more running tips from Paige, and more tips on getting creative with your vacation workouts from Molly!

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Get Over It

myfavoritepartofrunningisstopping_nike_bpayne
I actually own this shirt. It speaks to me.

I’ve recently fallen into a bit of a running rut. I feel excited to get out on my runs, but then I just feel tired, and think of excuses to cut the run short. ’Oh look, a Starbucks, I could get some and walk home.’ ‘If I turn back now, I can totally take my dog on a quick run when I get back.’ ‘I’ll just run over to this bench and do some box jumps and call it a day.’

I have a few theories as to why I feel this way. But the important thing is that it isn’t physical. I am perfectly capable of getting out there and doing it, I just have to get over the mental block. This morning, that is exactly what I did.

I’ve been averaging three miles max for my runs recently, which is great, nothing wrong with that distance. But when I have the time, I’d like to get a couple more in. So when I set out on my run this morning, I made one important goal: GET OVER IT.

LaurenConrad_getoverit_bpayne
Get Over It.

I wanted to go past the point where I feel like stopping and then past the three mile mark, and then let my body decide how much further to go. I decided that I wouldn’t watch my pace, I’d let myself take it slow, and if I needed to stop for a minute to stretch that was ok.

I ended up running five miles at a respectable pace and with just a few stops. But what I am excited about is that I’ve grown just a little bit stronger, mentally, and I know that the next time I want to accomplish a goal in a workout, it’s just a matter of climbing over that wall and doing it. I’m feelin’ great!

The Gear: Having new or fun workout clothes usually helps inspire me to get my butt out the door. So, I figured that I will include some gear information at the bottom of some of my posts.

  • Newton Running Shoes: About five years ago, while living in Colorado, a friend of mine introduced me to Newton Running Shoes. While I am always proud to support local businesses (Newton is based in Boulder, CO), I was hesitant to divert from my Nike Frees. But I gave the shoes a whirl, and five years later, I am on my sixth pair. They’re heaven. The science behind them is in the forefoot lugs. With 4-5 lugs (depending on the style) the shoe has a 0% grade, so the optimum part of your foot hits the ground first. Most other running shoes, including my beloved Nike Frees, has a much steeper grade, therefore you will either work harder to make yourself run on your toes, or your heels will touch down first, causing incorrect form and potentially some painful side affects. The shoes come in a limited color selection, but they’re bright and fun.
  • Nike 2” Rival Shorts: Last year, I visited a local Pacers store and decided to spend a little extra money on a new pair of Nike running shorts. I am pretty particular about the comfort of my workout gear. It paid off. I have since really fallen in love with the shorts and have them in a couple of colors. Sometimes the Nike outlet at National Harbor will carry them, which helps save a few. Don’t break the bank over clothes that you’re going to sweat in, but also don’t let discomfort be an excuse to skip a session. The shorts come in multiple colors and patterns!

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