Hi! My name is Emily and I live in Houston, TX with my husband, Brent, and our golden retriever, Nova.
I am the writer, baker, and runner behind EmLoves and I am SO thrilled to be writing for The Runner’s Plate! I have been an avid reader for quite some time now and always leave Michelle’s blog encouraged and ready to run!
(Apologies for the poor quality photos in this post! My computer was being a little feisty and would only allow me to upload iPhone pics!)
After much deliberation, I decided to write about “Happy Running” because I know it is something that most of us struggle with! I am a bona fide running addict, but more often than not, staying in my warm bed sounds much better than running at 5:30 AM. However, there are a few things that help me stay motivated. Here are my top 5!
First and foremost, GET THE RIGHT GEAR!
Go to your local running store and get fitted for running shoes! Most stores will do a gait assessment, ask about your needs, and fit you with the right shoes. A few good pairs of socks, a great sports bra, dry-fit clothing, and a light-weight cap are some of the best gifts you could give your running-self! And remember, NO COTTON!!!
And don’t be afraid to look cute out there! Choose comfortable clothing that you not only feel great in, but look great as well! Yes, high-quality running gear can take a bite out of your wallet, but you can’t put a price on comfortable and injury-free runs!
Second, FUEL YOUR RUN!
For me, the morning is the best time to get a run in. If it is early and I am only planning on a short run (less than 6 miles), I will have something small like a protein bar or a piece of toast topped with peanut butter.
Well, only if I can get to the jar before Nova does. . .
If I am planning on a longer run (anything more than 6 miles), I make sure to get in at least 400-500 calories before I hit the road. This is usually oatmeal (hot or cold) or a bagel/toast topped with jam and peanut butter or Greek yogurt, a piece of fruit, and a cup of coffee.
If I eat something small, I let my stomach settle for about 30 minutes. If it is a larger meal, I wait for about 1 hour.
Third, RUN WITH PEEPS!
I know, I know…we all love our iPods and could not imagine a run without listening to The Cranberries’ “Zombie” at an earsplitting level. No? Just me? Ok, well I have recently discovered the world of “social running” which, if you haven’t heard…is amazeballs.
I was always against group runs because A) I was scared that running without music would be boring and wouldn’t give me any endurance and B) The idea of carrying on a conversation while running sounded like a nightmare. Wow, was I wrong! I still have a special place in my heart for my beats during solo runs, but I am always amazed at how fast the time goes by and the great conversation that are had while running with a group! And, for obvious reasons, it keeps me accountable and is safer. Win-Win.
Fourth, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY!
When training for my first marathon in 2010, I pushed through knee, ankle, and Achilles pain all for the sake of…not running my best on race day. It’s not worth it! Pain is your body’s way of saying “Enough already! I need a break!”.
I am learning to listen to these cries for help and have found that by keeping my endurance up with low-impact cross training (usually on the elliptical trainer), I am able to hop right back in to my runs and my endurance is not effected. In return, my joints and muscles thank me with pain-free runs! It is also important to remember that running is not a passing sport that comes and goes. It will always be there for you when you are ready, so don’t rush your body!
Finally, HAVE FUN & REWARD YOURSELF!
I eat healthy (generally) and make exercise a priority, but do not expect me to pass up an Oreo, cupcake, or a DQ Blizzard with extra toppings (M&Ms and cookie dough please!).
I am just as addicted to baking as I am to running, that is a FACT.
I have to have dessert every single night. Sometimes it is a rich, gooey brownie with a giant scoop of ice cream and hot fudge sauce, sometimes it’s just a few Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups, but either way, this is my reward to myself for running!
Maybe yours is a weekly pedicure, an extra glass of wine, a chick flick movie night, or some guilt-free full-price shopping (don’t even go NEAR the sale rack!) but make sure to REWARD yourself and your efforts.
It will give you something to look forward to and keep you moving!
So there you have it! My main tools that keep me running happy! I hope these help you as much as they help me!
Please stop by EmLoves for more talks on food, fun, and work-outs! Have a wonderful week and RUN HAPPY!