Training Update Week #4

Yo! Checking in on week #4 (with some help-me! questions at the end). I know it sounds a little silly, but I can’t believe I’ve been running for four weeks. If you would have told me this six months ago I probably would have pulled a muscle laughing at you. Instead, I pulled a muscle running. Go figure.

Week #4’s Workouts

-Monday: ran 2 miles (about 11:00 minute miles with a very short sprint at the end) on the treadmill (Hunger Games #2 is still getting me through these treadmill runs but we all know Katniss won’t last forever)
-Tuesday: I was in the car driving at 5:30 a.m. (5 hour drive) to snuggle a newborn for the next three days hence the lack of workout
-Wednesday: no workout (newborns smell soooo dreamy)
-Thursday: drove back home later in the evening and was determined to run when I got home but ended up staying up late talking to my mom who was in town helping with my kiddos (way better choice since I only get to see her a couple times a year)
-Friday: ran 2 miles (about 11:30 minute miles) on the treadmill really early before taking the boys to school
-Saturday: ran 3 miles outside (I actually ran with someone if you can believe it); didn’t time it exactly but probably right around 11:00 to 11:15 minute miles with a couple stretching breaks thrown in there

Some Thoughts:

-After so many of you chimed in about me needing to get over my fear of running with someone, I finally ran with another human being on Saturday (that 3 mile run above): my sis. She flew into town with her three boys for the weekend and so we ran together and I kind of realized why it’s hard (hello…talking and breathing? Riiiiggghhht). But the time did go faster than normal and we were able to say things like “dude, I’m going to die” or “I need to stretch” (for the 50th time) without feeling like we were being judged by the other. Sisters are great.

-Here she is, all like: “Three miles? I guess I’ll run the other half by myself.”

Training Update Week #4

-Even though I didn’t get in any workouts Tuesday through Thursday, it was worth it since I was helping out my sister-in-law with her new baby and 3-year old. The sweetest little sweetie baby ever and totally worth the brutal runs on Friday and Saturday to make up for it.

Training Update Week #4

-I’m realizing more and more how I need to channel my inner flexibility (and I’m not talking muscles here) and go with the flow when exercise/running plans don’t work out or life gets in the way and needs to come first. Believe it or not, that doesn’t come easily for me but I’m trying.

-Thinking of registering for one or two local races (5K or 10K) this spring to get a little racing experience under my belt even at shorter distances.

-Totally appreciating and enjoying all the feedback and support you guys give through the comments and LOVE hearing from those of you who are running right now, too (and those of you who are relatively new runners like me).

This Week

Monday: 3 miles (I’ll be doing this one again with my sister slow and steady outside)
Tuesday: Cross-training (probably an early morning PiYo or strength workout)
Wednesday: 3 miles (gearing up for an early morning treadmill run)
Thursday: Cross-training (not sure yet, any ideas?)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4 miles (I’m really nervous for this one; my mileage is increasing and it gives me a little anxiety, hopefully this will be a positive experience and not make me rethink my life as a whole)

Some Questions

Foam rollers: how do I use it…them…help? Are they essential?

Eating: if you run in the morning, do you eat before or after? Silly question but inquiring minds want to know.

Best Armband: I have an armband for my iPhone (audiobooks, music, calls for help when I can’t.go.any.further) but it rubs my arm and chafes into an ouchy rash so I’m looking for other recommendations. Something tight and comfy.

Chime in on the comment thread with how you are doing or any thoughts/advice. 

Happy running, everyone! 

59 Responses to Training Update: Week #4

  1. Becky says:

    Looking forward to those armband recommendations!! I’m in the same boat.

    Question for some more experienced runners out there: I’ve never been a runner. Like never ran more than the timed mile in high school before I started training this year. I’m 8 weeks into the couch to 1/2 plan, and getting along okay with it… but I mostly find myself getting bored of running. Unlike in the past, I don’t dread working out any more, I just am finding running a bit boring… any advice out there? I think I would enjoy watching TV to distract me, but don’t have access to a treadmill, so that may be out of the question. Thanks for any advice anyone may have!

    • Cara says:

      I know lots of people do audio books or podcasts on their phones. Once I get my updated phone (I have the old original iPhone) I will be looking at podcasts!

      • Becca says:

        I second podcasts! There are so many Free options, you are sure to find something you’ll like. Sometimes I get motivated by listening to a running podcast, other times I like comedy podcasts to distract me.

    • Ann says:

      Try running in a new area. Get into your car and drive to a park to run. Run on trails instead of the roads/sidewalks to cahnge things up.

    • Marek says:

      My husband was a collegiate runner and it was mostly his rule initially about NO headphones that forced me to learn to just listen to my footfalls and breathing. It’s life changing once you move past the needed distraction when you can run on your own without something in your ears. (Plus, it’s just safer.)

      If you’re bored, try changing your routine up a bit. Do some intervals. Try sprinting for :60 and resting for :60 and doing 10 sets of those. (There are numerous alterations to this.)

      I have a friend who also ran collegiately and has some plyo and weight workouts you can do that can help you as well. Check out her IG/FB or just google Wests Workouts for Moms. She posts mostly 30 minute workouts you could do with your kids present.

      Find a few workout DVDs you like to change it up. I really enjoy Insanity and Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred on days my body needs a break.

      Just stick with it. I grew up playing volleyball and running was always used as punishment and conditioning so I had a more negative attitude toward it. When I met and started dating my now husband (who ran in college), I gave it a shot. Hated it. But now, 10 years later, I’m running almost 50 miles/week and I’m in the best shape of my post-partum life. It helped me lost 50 pounds after my second baby 2 years ago. I love it.

      I have to say that running, specifically, does something for the runner that no other sport can do (in my personal experience, anyway). It creates a stronger person, inside and out, spiritually, and mentally, not just physically. I love that I don’t run with headphones in. I am able to more fully appreciate my surroundings. I am a stronger person than I’ve ever been before.

      When you commit yourself to being uncomfortable every day, purposefully, you can get through the discomforts of life better than you could before. I’ll get off my soapbox now, but just stay positive. Change up the route (for safety reasons, as well). Make small goals and try to meet them instead of one lofty goal, like a race.

  2. Marci says:

    I’ve said it before, I’m gonna try and convince you again! As a mother of a 4 year old and 2 year old twins, the absolute only way I’ve stayed consistent for many years is to run at 4 a.m. No one can take that hour away from you! And in response to Becky, I think there is something that happens to your brain when you stay consistent with running. I remember hating running initially because of the bored factor, but it seems like my Brain goes in to a zen autopilot now when I run and I won’t say I consider running fun like a roller coaster fun, but it is therapeutic and enjoyable. I think consistency is key to breaking through that barrier. Just my thoughts!

    • Mel says:

      Haha! Thanks for another try, Marci. I so admire you for that 4 a.m. running you do. Maybe you’ll convince me at some point but I have a feeling I’m much, much lazier than you are… 🙂

  3. Alissa says:

    I love this series so much! I trained my first half marathon last summer but do issues with a recent asthma diagnosis I have been a little delayed in training for my second one. I have the go ahead to start running again this week and look forward to it even though I know its going to be a struggle to get back into it.

    As for your questions- foam rollers are awesome! There are a lot of good instructional videos on youtube. The foam roller saved my calves when I was training! When I run in the morning, I eat a banana and drink some water about 20 minutes before heading out the door then have a full breakfast after my run. Arm bands have always bothered me but I LOVE my flipbelt. You slide it on and it can hold your phone, keys, ID, tissues, food, ect.

    Additionally, I would recommend getting a Road ID bracelet if you run alone outside. You can list any medical conditions and contact numbers in case anything were to happen to you.

    Enjoy the journey! I can’t wait to read your post about you rocking your race!

  4. Amy says:

    Foam roller – YES! So worth it! You can get them at Marshall’s or tj maxx pretty inexpensively.

    Eating – under 3 miles I can get by with a banana and maybe a larabar, but anything over that I eat a bagel or a piece of toast and a banana

    Armband – I’ve had that problem too. You can rub Vaseline on your arm and that will help prevent the chafing.

  5. Jessica says:

    If you haven’t ever done a race before, I would definitely sign up for one or two before the half. I ran my first marathon last fall – which was super crazy because I had never even ran double digits. I ran a half marathon as part of my training and it helped to calm my nerves so much. Just getting an idea of how to start the race, when the optimal time to use the bathroom is for you, what stuff you feel like you need to carry with you (Chapstick, tissues, etc), do you want a running belt with water when you want it or do you want to just use the fluids at the aid stations? All these things are so nice to get an idea of beforehand. Good luck on the training! You’ll do great, I promise.

  6. Lori says:

    I use this video for a good foam rolling routine.

  7. Lori says:

    Oops, I actually meant this video. Sorry!

  8. Heather bell says:

    What a fun week of family!!! We get very few visitors out here so must say I’m happy for you! I eat about 30 min before my workouts. Usually banama bc my tummy gets yucky. I love high intensity interval training. A great cardio! Lots of good ideas on Pinterest. I choose a different one every day. My name on there is heatha100, board is beeeeeeutiful if you want a quick look. I hear of lots of people have protein bars before. Excited for you though! I am almost convinced to sign up for my first half in June msny be. Right now it’s -20 outside so well stick with inside workouts:)

  9. Cara says:

    YES, YES, YES to foam rolling! That is the sole reason why I have my minor leg issues going on, because I was NOT foam rolling. Also, runnersworld.com has awesome yoga videos for runners. I do 2 of those a week, makes a huge difference.

  10. Kathryn Shaffer says:

    Hi! Great job on the training and being flexible! What a beautiful new baby!

    Armbands: I tried a few, and I couldn’t seem to make them work for me. I thought it was easier to just hold my phone in my hand. Especially for shorter distances. (Or leave phone at home.) The flip belt is also a good idea if you don’t mind things around your waist. (I can’t stand things around my waist so I find other ways.)
    Foam rolling is essential. You can also use a rolling pin if you don’t want a foam roller cluttering up your house.

    You are doing so great! I love reading about your journey!
    🙂

  11. Kathryn Shaffer says:

    Oh, and before I run I have a latte. If I’m going to run longer than 10 miles I will have a banana, and then stash a gu in my pocket in case I need it. I think we need less food than we think we do.

  12. You are rocking your training!!!! Whoo hoo. I love reading about your running and of course all your recipes. I am totally loading my Pinterest board with all your delicious meals. 🙂

    Foam Roller: Definitely start with one. It really helps all the muscles stay loose. I love the videos above. I got mine at Target by the yoga stuff. (warning–it will hurt in the beginning but you definitely get use to it and it has saved me many knee pains and IT issues)

    Food: Under 3 miles, some toast with peanut butter and my Mestrength hydration drink. Over 3 miles, I eat some eggs an hour before running with toast and peanut butter.

    Armband: I don’t really like arm bands. I put my phone in my Spibelt and don’t even feel it around my waist.

    Continued luck with your training. And running a 5K before your half is a wonderful idea. Be careful though. Racing is really addicting–because you are going to love the atmosphere and fellow runners and will want to do it every weekend! 🙂

  13. Stephanie says:

    this may sound weird, but try using a sock to hold your phone. Cut off the toes of a long sock (maybe one that’s missing its mate) and pull the sock up your arm. Put your phone on it and pull the sock over it to hold in place. Does that make sense? Comfy and you can wash it easily from all that sweating. Works for me! And it’s free!

  14. Michelle says:

    YES to foam rolling. It will really help you keep your muscles loose. It will take some getting used to and it may hurt at first; you’ll get used to it. I picked up my foam roller at Target and it included an instruction card. Runner’s World magazine also has how-to videos about foam rolling.

    As for eating, it depends on the individual. I can usually get by with nothing beforehand if I’m doing three miles or less. Anything over than and I need something to eat–even if it’s only a slice of toast and a spoonful of peanut or almond butter. I always eat something afterward, usually a banana and a small handful of pretzels.

  15. Mary Sorense n says:

    I just wanted to let you know you’ve inspired me. After making excuses and not putting my health first, I decided to make a change. I signed up for the Ogden Half Marathon in May and I’m training from scratch right along with you. Thanks for these posts, I look forward to them each week.
    I’ve been using an armband I got from Amazon for $17. It’s super comfortable silicone type material and fits my iPhone. It’s called “Supcase Sport Running Armband” I love it. Hope that helps!

  16. Elise says:

    I LOVE my flipbelt. I can’t stand to run with anything in my hands or attatched to my arms, and the bouncing of other running belts was too much, but this one is AMAZING. Even heavy things like iPhones don’t bounce and it has a key ring inside it so your keys won’t get jiggled loose. Also it’s really cute–it looks just like the waistband of yoga pants.

  17. Becca says:

    I have to eat before my runs, even if it’s something small. I’d recommend a banana, like previous commenters, or applesauce. The go go squeeze size is perfect for three or so miles. If I’m running four or more, I eat peanut butter and a banana or piece of toast, but I also crash really hard after if I don’t eat enough protein around my run – not everyone needs that much. I usually wait an hour or so after I eat that though, so if you’re running within a half hour of waking up I wouldn’t go that route!

    I’ve also heard of people eating oatmeal or something similar before bed and that is enough to get them through an early morning run, haven’t tried that though.

    Good luck!

    • Mel says:

      I kind of giggled reading your comment, Becca because my husband (Brian) works for the GoGo Squeez company. I sent him a text letting him know he needed to bring some pouches home stat so I could use them for running. 🙂

      • Jackie says:

        That’s awesome. We live just a few miles from the go go squeeze plant in Nampa and when we heard that it was opening we joked that my then 2 yr old should get a job there because go go’s are his absolute favorite food ever. He once ate an entire case of them while I was in the shower.

  18. I totally recommend a Spibelt. I’ve had the same one since I started running 4 years ago. I also second what someone else said above about getting a RoadID. I think they’re super important if you’re running alone.

  19. Mary Ann says:

    For food before a run, you need carbs. Whole wheat is good – toast, waffle, english mufin, and then a bit of protein like almond butter. A cup of coffee is also on the menu for most runners I know, mostly before those morning workouts…to get things…er…moving….if ya know what I mean. 🙂

  20. Erika says:

    Loved the foam rolling Lori above shared. I have rolled out before but this video had so much great info on how to do it better & get more specific muscles better than I had been able to. Thanks for sharing! And yes Mel I would recommend foam rolling!

  21. Ryan says:

    Question #1: Foam rollers are amazing. As long as you actually use them. You should foam roll every day for at least 15-20 minutes (while watching some TV works best for me). That said, my foam roller has been pretty lonely lately and my legs and back have been pretty sore.

    Question #2: If it’s less than 3 miles, I just eat after the run. More than that and you should definitely eat before, during and after your run. I eat Belvita biscuits before my run but have also had great success with peanut butter and toast. You just have to see what works for you. Also, be aware that running makes you very “regular”, if you get my drift, so I would stay away from any foods that are high in fiber. During the workout I like Honey Stinger waffles because they are easy to eat, aren’t too sweet and i can break them into smaller pieces to eat throughout the workout.

    Question #3: Ditch the armband and get a flip belt. Best investment I ever made. Just make sure that you flip the flip belt (so the holes are next to your skin) or your valuables may not be the most secure.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  22. Tracey T says:

    Yes, to foam rolling. I do it before workouts. And it definitely was uncomfortable to begin with but started feeling great after about a week of use. Keep up the good work! It is a journey and every journey has it’s bumps, twists, turns, great vistas and sunny days. All give us growth and perspective 🙂

  23. Adrienne says:

    I love reading these updates! I agree with everything the other comments have said. Yes on the foam rolling, and about 3 miles is my food limit also. If it’s longer than 3 I usually do a piece of toast, since bananas tended to upset my stomach during runs. And as a couple other people mentioned, before really long runs, definitely look into a cup of coffee before hand so you aren’t searching for a portapotie halfway through the race ha!

  24. Marek says:

    You do not necessarily need a foam roller, but if you use one it does matter how you use it. YouTube videos above are probably okay for beginners. You can also use a toy rolling pin for quads and calves effectively. Stretching afterward is critical.

    Food is a very personal choice. I usually run a minimum of 7 miles a day unless I’m doing intervals and I always eat first. When I was running shorter distances, I still always ate first (although there have been occasions when I’m rushed and I completely space it). You just need to find a food that works for you. Starting out, I’d recommend something more processed so your gut doesn’t have to do all the work until you figure out what makes your tummy happy. I used to do PB or PB with a banana. I now prefer kids CLIF bars (I find them at Costco). Staying hydrated all day/week is important in keeping your tummy happy, too.

    I hate arm bands; and everyone I know who got one ended up going with a belt. I’d look for a belt of some sort. I have friends who use Amphipods because they’re so customizable. I went with a Salomon belt because I wear it around my hips/butt and it doesn’t move. Plus I have plenty of space for phone, gels/gummies, TP, and the accompanying hydration bottle.

  25. Sarah says:

    For runs under three miles a banana works for me. Anything between 3 and 6 and I try to add in some protein like some toast with peanut butter. If you’re running longer than six you might want to try a gel like Gu; the texture bugs me but they definitely make a difference on long run endurance!

  26. Shannon says:

    I use the Ironman Yurbuds armband (http://www.amazon.com/Pocket-Yurbuds-Ironman-Armband-iPhone/dp/B00AAEUKO2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424727925&sr=8-1&keywords=ironman+yurbuds+armband). I found it at Walmart once upon a time. I’ve had it for awhile and, if you don’t wear it too tight at first (a common mistake), it shouldn’t cause any problems. The only time I noticed problems with it rubbing was when it was brand new and I was running outside in the hot summer. But once I kind of wore into it, it’s been great since. Used it this morning!

    I had IT band issues between half marathons last year (that was the first time I ever decided to get into running and then I went and got engaged and married so I’m trying to get back into it…) and I was told that a foam roller is the best for keeping that band in good shape.

    Also, I don’t usually eat before I run and I go first thing in the morning. The only time I eat before is if it’s a long distance, then I’ll grab a granola bar or banana for a little bit of extra energy. Just personal preference.

  27. fmandds says:

    I don’t use a foam roller. I guess I just grin and bear it.

    I joke with everyone that the moment I wake up I have 2 things on my mind. The first is – I got to pee – and the second is – breakfast! No matter what miles I’m putting out for the day I always eat within about 10 minutes of waking up. What I eat differs depending on what mileage I’m running. Small runs of 3-6 miles, my regular breakfast of either oatmeal, waffles or toast with smashed avocado. Medium runs of 6-18 miles, I eat fruit of some sort and either yogurt or toast. Sometimes I eat less when I run these runs because I have my snacks I take on my run and then afterwards I usually will eat what I call 2nd breakfast. Long runs of 18+ miles I eat an hour or two before running and its usually oatmeal, yogurt, a bagel and fruit or two. Yes, that is an AND. Usually after running long runs I never feel like eating for several hours. I force myself to eat slices of meat and cheese though. I’m ALWAYS willing to drink my chocolate milk after every run. They say it aids in recovery and no one can convince me otherwise now.

    I don’t use an arm band so I can’t recommend one. I’ve got a super old tiny ipod shuffle that just clips to my clothes. Earbuds bother the daylights out of me that I have tiny speakers that I clip to my clothes as well and I play my music through them. Luckily, I’m pretty slow and no one else is usually around. Ah, peacefulness with my tunes; I wouldn’t trade my spot for anywhere else.

    • Mel says:

      Hey, we must be related because those are my first two thoughts in the morning, too. 🙂 I have to admit I kind of choked on my water when I read that your “medium runs” are 6-18 miles. Holy moly. You are a serious rock star.

  28. Nancy says:

    I would say to wait on the foam roller because it is VERY painful if you have never used one before. It will do more harm than good. Start with “the stick”- on amazon search “the stick self roller massager” You can control the pressure on your calves and IT band much better than a foam roller in which all of your body weight is used which HURTS! All track and cross country kids bring these to meets and it works great. You can start with this and work up to the foam roller. good luck!

  29. Mel says:

    Thanks everyone so much for all the recommendations! I love reading about what other people are doing (eating). You guys are awesome. I’m going to look into the flipbelts (and the few other brands mentioned) since so many raved about them. I need to check to see whether I can still listen to headphones if I stash my phone in there. Having that distraction is helping me get through the pain of running right now (haven’t hit that nirvana feeling yet). Anyway, thank you! I’m sure I’ll be referring to this thread often. I appreciate every one of you who chimed in. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out my own eating preferences and since I love to think about food, this will probably be the best part of the running process. 🙂

  30. Holly says:

    Foam roller…I like it! There’s a lot of you tube routines that I like. There’s one by the salt lake running company that is really good.
    I bought a flip belt instead of an arm band…no chafing!!
    I don’t eat before I run uness I’ll be running more than an hour. If I am, I prefer to pack real food (pb sandwiches cut into bite size are good, not pretty after being carried around for a while but they get the job done!) I’m not a big fan of those gu packs or shot blocks.
    You are doing so great! Keep up the good work!

  31. CindyP says:

    Okay, okay~ I know I’m late in chiming in and it looks like you have some gReAT advice… so count this as just another two cents. 🙂
    #1-I would compare the foam roller to running as a rolling pin for pie making. A must! 🙂
    I also use the roller stick when I am too sore to use the foam roller on my calves and thighs….. like a much smaller rolling pin for more tender dough. lol

    #2- Ditto to SO many comments above. 🙂 Added note, when you hit over 6 mile mark (oH yEs YoU WiLL and probably still won’t believe it when you actually do)~
    and you like jelly bellies, you will find the sport beans quite a fun treat to carry during your runs. 🙂 It may be the only time in your life that you literally ‘need’ jelly bellies. (maybe I’m the only one who feels completely blissed and empowered by this, ha!)

    #3- I have an arm band with belt envy…. I just like to fiddle with my phone too much during runs to justify digging into my waist band… If you are the same way, you might not be worth the trade off. I know this might seem kinda ‘simple’ since I like to see my phone, I tend to position my phone right in the crook of my arm which causes lots of rubbing. I always have to consciously position my band a bit higher and turned more facing the outside of my arm, and tightened ‘almost’ uncomfortably tight…. When I want to change a song or see my phone, I still have to loosen band and spin a bit on my arm see when I run, kind of a pain, but for me, a little easier than pulling it out of my waist belt and it does avoid the rubbing. Maybe that will help.
    Before I end with ALL this blah, blah, blah advice…… that I think you are aWeSoMe!!!
    I am SO glad you have invited us to follow along in your journey along the way!
    Thank you! You have already accomplished three weeks of aMaZiNgNeSs!!!!! Keep up the good/hard work~ We are ALL cheering you ON!!!

  32. Jessica Harwood says:

    I love that you are getting into this! When I first started running, all my avid runner friends (talking marathon, triathlon, and iron man runners here) told me I would love it and how much it would change my life and I was inwardly scoffing at them. Running was super hard for me to start! When I first started, I ran three days a week for several months and pretty much thought I was going to die every.single.time. Then we found out I have asthma and got me some inhalers and my lungs stopped feeling like they were on fire every time I ran. But I wasn’t getting any faster, which was frustrating. Then I started XT with Tabata and HIIT workouts, which basically kicked my trash, but wow! My stamina improved a ton! I haven’t gone running for several weeks (I have a miserable case of morning sickness to thank for that) but as soon as I feel better I plan to start back up because it does feel good!
    Anyway, I mostly just shared all that because remembering to give your body time to adjust when you start a new thing is tough. Running is a lot different from walking (coming from an avid walker turner runner!) and I think you can be pleased you are just doing it! Also, I used interval running for a year and a half before HIIT workouts increased my stamina and I didn’t need to anymore. I’m a big believer in HIIT now. 🙂
    So good on ya for trying something new and for being brave enough to share your journey with all of us! That’s a hard thing to do and you’re doing it. 🙂 Keep it up!

  33. April M says:

    Okay, Okay… I guess I will get on this train too. Yesterday I started the couch 2 5k program. Which is actually a big deal since I never have been a runner. The 12 minute test in HS/College killed me every time. Thanks Mel… I hope everything is going well for you guys. At least you are somewhere warmer so you can run outside.

  34. Nicole says:

    I have yet to do a long run with an armband. I just got my first one a few weeks ago from Groupon. So far I haven’t had any problems with it up to 5 miles. I have no idea what brand it is though. There is no tag on it or anything. I think it’s this one http://www.groupon.com/deals/gg-athletic-armband-for-iphones-4-and-5 .

    Before I got the armband I would run with my phone in my hydration belt. I have the same one you just got. I don’t run with headphones generally. If I want music I just let it play from the phone speaker. Even if I don’t want music I still bring my phone to track my miles.

    I have never used foam rollers. Never felt the need, but maybe if I did I would change my mind.

    If am running early, pretty much right after rolling out of bed, I don’t eat much. I do generally drink a little water and maybe some juice. If I feel like my blood sugar is a little low I might have a few spoonfuls of yogurt, a few bites of a banana, or a little smoothie before heading out. If I won’t be running for an hour or so after waking up then I will eat a bit more than that. I definitely eat after though. I like Carnation Instant Breakfast or something else with protein for after.

  35. Tanya M. says:

    I love keeping up with your training and success!! I feel like I’m in this crazy adventure with you!! 🙂 I ran my longest distance so far on Monday.. 6.3! Wahoo!!
    I’ve used an armband like this link below for more than 3 years (older style, same brand and design) and I love it. I haven’t ever had any chaffing or irritations with it. I like that I can change songs/podcasts/check time so easily. Thanks to all those who suggested the mapmyrun app! I’ve used it running and on my road bike. I checked it against my speedometer on the bike and its right on!
    I love all the advice from those are much more experienced than me! 🙂 Thanks!!

    http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-EaseFit-Armband-iPhone-Black/dp/B0094CX0NO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424983590&sr=8-1&keywords=belkin+armband

  36. Kayla says:

    Go Mel! I keep trying to be a runner…then the weather gets cold and I can’t stay as motivated on a treadmill staring at the wall. Still freezing here so I am really struggling to keep with my running plan! Help.
    Anyway…for cross days I have fallen in love with Fitnessblender.com. Seriously try it! Daniel and Kelli are so positive, and you can search for any type of workout/time limit/etc on their website for free! You can even set up a free account and fill in your calendar. I also love what they are about–Not body shaming/image but working towards better health and doing what you can.
    Love your website!!

    • Mel says:

      Great timing, Kayla – I stumbled upon the fitness blender site a couple nights ago while pinning some HIIT workouts. I agree, I’m super impressed with their workouts and love that they are free and well made.

  37. morgan says:

    Some people swear by foam rollers – they use them to massage their sore muscles, You can use your hands to push down on your sore spots or what I think most people do is place them on the ground then put their body weight on them and roll the sore muscle across the roller – I have never used one (and I ran over 2000 miles last year). Maybe I should get one.

    Unless it’s a really long run (like more than 18 miles) I don’t eat before running in the morning. Some say that a little something before can help make the workout more effective (when doing speed work, for example) by giving a little bit more energy than would otherwise be had on an empty stomach. But food can also “wake up” your system and you might have to stop before your planned finish.

    Armbands are dying fast, and for good reason – phones are getting too big for them. Get a SPIbelt and don’t look back.

  38. This last year has gone by so fast with so much work, for a minute I thought you’d had another baby (not hard to imagine coming from you,jaja!) and I hadn’t even realized you were pregnant!
    After checking that, I really have no idea what the rest of the post said…

  39. Danielle says:

    I don’t eat before running unless it is a longer run. OR if I am famished when I wake up I will eat like half a banana or half a green smoothie…just enough to have some energy. And foam rollers are the best- I learned the hard way after IT band issues, but they help a ton.

  40. Sara H. says:

    I have run a few marathons and have never even heard of foam rollers…where have I been? Needless to say, I have been fine without them. I don’t eat before running, it makes me feel sick when I run. I just chew gum and drink water. I am among the few other runners who don’t listen to much when running. I enjoy the peace and quiet. However on longer runs (greater than 7 miles or so) I do like some music so I am interested in a good armband too. Just to comment on running with others- I enjoy both running alone and running with others, it is nice to have conversation and the time goes faster. I am not a hugely competitive runner so when I am training for marathons I cross train in any way that I want. I don’t like to do all running. I go to water aerobics, ride a bike, etc. in addition to running. Do what works for you and don’t beat yourself up about missing a workout. You will still make the race
    🙂 Keep up the awesome work!

  41. Diane says:

    You should check out the scoop section on Our Best Bites! They are doing this whole fit club thing and have a few awesome workouts posted there! I do those in place of running sometimes and they are awesome and only take 20-30 minutes!

  42. Sarah says:

    A couple things about foam rollers:
    1. They should not be painful to use. They’re applying pressure, yes, or enabling a deep stretch, but pain is not the goal.
    2. They come in a variety of firmness levels. I’ve been using one for about a year and am glad that I have a softer one. I bought the OPTP Pro-Roller (soft pink marble) on Amazon for $36.
    3. They are like a giant toy but not indestructible, so … small boy children beware. 🙂

  43. Kristen Norby says:

    Glide for the arm band. I eat half a granola bar before a short run (3-6 miles) and a full granola bar plus more fuel during the run for long runs (8-12).

  44. Colleen says:

    Re: flipbelt. I tried it but had to return because though the correct size, it would still bounce either above my waist and jostle loosely around or below my hip…so depends on your body shape. The Fitletic belt works for me-adjustable and stays on my hip with no bouncing. Enjoying your posts!

  45. Amanda W. says:

    Really late to the party…and I didn’t read all the replies. But my sister loves her flipbelt which I see mentioned. I LOVE the SPI belt on amazon…..I have 2….one for my phone and one for fuel on LONG runs:) I just ran my first half with my sister about a month ago….so I found these old posts of your and I am LOVING them and relating so much!

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