New Running Lessons..from a New Runner

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!


I’ve seen so many people post about their “run-a-versary” but honestly I can’t remember what I did yesterday, let alone when I started running.  Even still, I feel as though I’ve learned a lot within the past year and I wanted to pass along my top 5 mistakes lessons I’ve learned in my first year of running:

So, you’ve decided you want to try this whole “running” thing. You’ve laced up your shoes and took your first steps. Way to Go!  As you get into running more and more you will realize there is lots to learn! 

  1. The “I am not a REAL runner” mantra: You know…only those people who are training for a marathon are the “real runners”.  Those people who can run really fast or who can go really far are the real runners.  Not me.  Excuse me…do you run more than you walk?  Do you go a little bit farther every time?  Then you are a runner.  End of discussion. runner
  1. Not wearing proper shoes.  Make sure you go to a running store (Floridians..FitNiche is simply amazing) and get a proper fit.  Ensure you know their return policy in case you need it.  You will most likely increase your mileage as you get into your new passion and your shoes will make all the difference.

                            2A. For my fellow ladies. Get fitted for and invest in a really good sports bra. Trust me on this.

Saucony's rock!

Saucony’s rock!

  1. Hydration and good nutrition everyday are key.  Believe me, no one was more bummed than I was to learn that sweets and beer do not count as “carb loading”.  Your runs will be easier when you take care of your body and what fuels it. Also, hydration is so important, especially if you are running in the summer.  At least 10 glasses of water every day, and I would argue that at least one of those glasses should have an electrolyte replenishing drink if you are going for a long run the next day or just came from one. 
    Better tasting than Gatorade with lots of nutrition to help you put back what your workout took out.

    Better tasting than Gatorade with lots of nutrition to help you put back what your workout took out.

  1. EAT/DRINK PROTEIN SOON AFTER A RUN.  This seems logical, but let me explain.  I would get debilitating, pounding headaches after long runs.  I would drink water like crazy, but I was never really hungry so I would wait a few hours after my run to eat something.  Big mistake.  If you are going for a long run, have something to eat very soon after.  Go for something with a nice mix of carbs and protein.  Once I started having a protein drink 10 minutes after my long run, my headaches completely vanished. 
    Any excuse to have chocolate is alright in my book.

    Any excuse to have chocolate is all right in my book.

  1. Find a running buddy.  Usually I run alone, happily listening to music, a podcast or just the thoughts in my head. However this can get lonely!  The best runs I’ve had are the ones with other runners.  The time goes by faster because you are chatting and, if you run with someone just a bit faster than you, your pace will ultimately improve.  Plus you can ask all sorts of running questions because if there is one thing other runners love to talk about, it is running.
    running partner

    Yep, she counts as a running buddy, our conversations are hilarious!


    Did I miss anything?  Please give me one piece of advice you’d give a new runner!!

Enjoy the Run!



24 Day Challenge

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

**Note: I am a distributor of Advocare.  However, I purchased my own 24 Day Challenge bundle and these are my honest, truthful experiences.  I have not been compensated for my time or opinions**

Some of you may have read in previous posts that I was doing Advocare’s 24 Day challenge.  Well, I am officially on day 25 so I thought I would write about my experiences.

Pre challenge picture..ugghh

Pre challenge picture..ugghh

My shirt didn't even fit!  Yuck!

My shirt didn’t even fit! Yuck!


As some of you may recall, I had a bit of a health issue earlier this year and therefore my nutrition and workouts suffered.  I found myself craving chocolate every afternoon and wanting to take naps more frequently.  Health-wise, I was not at my best.  My patience with my daughter was at an all time low and I found myself being in a bad mood more often than not, which for me is rare.  My dad completed the challenge a few months ago and was completely transformed, so I was looking forward to seeing what it could do to me!

Cleanse Phase: 

The cleanse phase consists of Advocare’s Spark, Fiber Drink, fiber and probiotic caplets as well as OmegaPlex.  Spark is a sugar-free, multi-nutrient source of energy and mental focus.  It has 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients that provide you with a gentle, yet long lasting energy.  I use the Spark daily so I knew how great it was, but one thing I hadn’t done before was to substitute Spark for my daily coffee.  I could not believe how awesome I felt.  I had no 11am crash (like I do with coffee) and felt fantastic throughout the day.  (Note: You do NOT have to substitute Spark for coffee.  You can have coffee in the morning and Spark only in the afternoon, if you wish.)  The fiber pills were easy to swallow and the fiber drink was delicious.  On days you don’t take the fiber pills, you take the probiotics and both were super gentle, my tummy was never upset.

The OmegaPlex was a great addition as it lubricates and lessens inflammation that a cleanse can cause.  I know that is one of the reasons I felt good during the cleanse.  I never had stomach problems, never felt achey or tired, something that can and usually does happen on other cleanses.  Once the cleanse phase (only 10 days) was done, my clothes were already fitting better, my energy was getting better and I was pumped for the next part.

Max Phase:

The max phase consists of Spark, a Meal Replacement Shake (for breakfast) and MNS packets as well as the OmegaPlex.  What are MNS packets, you ask?  Well, in short, they are chock full of vitamins and supplements to help your body feel better from the inside out.  The MNS packets are clearly labeled so you know what to take when. The Meal Replacement Shakes were absolutely delicious (my 2 year old kept asking for “just one more sip” of it) and kept me full until well past noon.  The first few days I fell into a great groove with the routine and every day that went by I felt better, and better and better.

Shirt fits!!  Oh yeah!!!

Shirt fits!! Oh yeah!!!

My hydration belt kept slipping down during my run :)

My hydration belt kept slipping down during my run 🙂

Post Challenge:

My ultimate goal was not weight loss, but I did lose almost 5 inches during the 24 days.  Please note: I tried to make good decisions about my nutrition but I did NOT count calories, measure portions or cut out any foods during this time.  I did try to severely limit my intake of my weakness…sweets, but found I was not craving them so I actually cut them out of my diet without even realizing it.  My clothes fit better and I can even fit into shorts I couldn’t fit into before I started the challenge!  However the big, big changes that I found were:

  • My energy level is through.the.roof
  • I no longer crave chocolate (honest to God)
  • My skin looks absolutely amazing.  I have always struggled with breakouts and both dry and oily skin (I have no idea how that happens) but last week, I actually left the house without any makeup on and had the confidence to continue with my errands vs. running home.
  • My running is getting much better.  My intervals are getting faster and the long runs are actually easier.  My stamina is higher and my pace is actually improving without it feeling like an effort.

All of the healthy stuff I put into my body has made me happier.  My energy being higher and craving healthier foods has made me a better person.  This part is important: The 24 Day Challenge made me a better mother, a better wife, a better person.  I have the energy to keep up with my day to day life without losing my patience, without exhaustion.  I am ready to tackle whatever life brings, even if it is just a 2 year old who wants me to make her animals talk and a husband who doesn’t know what he wants, but really wants something to eat.

In short, this was an AMAZING experience.  I want every one of you to feel as great as I do right now!!  There are links below so you can research the Challenge and the ingredients as well as the link to my microsite if you want to order.  If you do, I promise I will be there to coach you every step of the way.  You will NOT regret it!!

Information about the Challenge

Ready to order?  Let’s do this!!

Enjoy the Run!




Survive the Sweat

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

Well, when you put it that way....

Well, when you put it that way….    source

I have always been told I am someone who needs to drink a lot of water.  I get headaches easily, feel extreme fatigue during the afternoon and yes, sweat a lot when I work out.  The more I got into running, the harder it became to recover after a run.  Especially from a long run.  I would inevitably have to take a nap on Saturday and would almost always have a pounding headache at least once (usually more) during the week.  I actually thought I would have to stop running as no matter what I did I could not stop the headaches and fatigue from coming.

Recently, I had an eight mile run, in the summer…in Florida, in which I did NOT get a headache after and I did NOT need a nap.  In fact I felt fantastic the entire day!  With summer upon us I am passing along what I did before, during and after that run in the hopes that some of you might find it helpful:

drink up!!

drink up!!  source

Hydrate the day before.  Don’t know about you but on days I don’t run I’m not the best at making sure I drink lots of water.  This time, I was.  I drank plenty of water the day before (for me 12-14 8oz glasses is a sweet spot) and even downed a glass before my run.

Hydrate along the way: While in the winter I don’t usually take my hydration belt with me, the summer is a different animal.  I made sure I had plenty of water and, much like a race, took a “water break” every mile.

Any excuse to have chocolate is alright in my book.

Any excuse to have chocolate is A-OK in my book.  source

Protein right after your run: No less than 10 minutes after completing my run, I had a cup of chocolate milk.  There is a great article about using protein as a recovery tool here.  If you are like me and never hungry after a run, but always thirsty, chocolate milk is a great choice.  I have no doubt the protein really helped aid my recovery from the heat and intensity of the run.  A spoonful of peanut butter, protein bar or protein shake are also great substitutes for chocolate milk if you aren’t a fan of milk (I’m assuming we are all fans of I right?)

Better tasting than Gatorade with lots of nutrition to help you put back what your workout took out.

Better tasting than Gatorade with lots of nutrition to help you put back what your workout took out.

Hydrate the entire day: Oh you better believe I had not one but two bottles of water with me the entire rest of the day.  Actually one was full of water, the other with Advocare’s Rehydrate.  I like Rehydrate better than Gatorade because it has more “good for you” amino acids without that sickly sweet taste (interested in purchasing your own package of rehydrate to give it a try?  You can do so here).  I would also recommend having Rehydrate the day before your long run or race.  

Don’t forget the importance of sleep: As someone who struggles with frequent insomnia, this one is a toughie for me.  It is hit or miss if I get a good nights sleep.  I usually have a cup of Sleepytime or Sweet Dreams tea before bed and that usually helps.  Try to go to bed the same time every night and do what you need to do to get some shut eye.  An eye mask, soothing sounds, a fan.  Whatever it takes.

I hope these tips help you have a fantastic long run and an even better rest of the day.  Please let me know if they work for you (oh I would love to hear that!) and if you have any additional suggestions, please clue me in!!

Enjoy the Run!




Let It Go…

Good Afternoon Fellow Runners!!

Well, the day is finally here…yes it is National Running Day!!  Whoo hooo!  Have you gone for your run yet?  No matter if it is a 10 miler or a short sprint up the street to catch a loose dog (or in my case, toddler) get out there and get air into those lungs!  I will be running later today and hopefully bringing my favorite running partner with me.  More on that run later this week….

 National running day badge

(Like this badge? Make your very own here)

The past few days I have been participating in Advocare’s 24 Day Challenge.  You can read about my experiences here, I will be updating it every few days.  It is a “challenge” that gets you eating better, feeling better and revs up your energy.  Some could also call it a diet.  I am not a fan of that word because diet suggests that  A) it is temporary, when eating right should be permanent and  B) whenever you hear the word diet people, including those on the diet, just groan.

diet ecard

In an effort to not look at this challenge as a “diet” I am looking at this as a good time to take care of me.  So often times we worry about everyone and everything else: our family, our jobs, our homes, and we forget to take care of ourselves.  I’ve vowed to get a massage (oh yeah!!) to get extra sleep and to try to stop worrying about things I can’t control (note: number 3 is a big one for me)

As part of this, while on a run the other day I began to think about all the things that I worry about.  Goodness, there were a lot of them!  So many things I that worry about are out of my control.  Then there were so many things that were IN my control.  I could stop being so shy around new people (I worry they won’t like me), I can stop worrying about my running times and up coming races and just run, what a concept!).  On that run I decided I would, to steal a phrase from Disney, just “let it go”.

I am the one person in the world who has yet to see this movie.

I am the one person in the world who has yet to see this movie.

On my first run back with my running group, I made it a point to not run away right after my run and stay for the “happy hour”.  I not only caught up with some friends but made new ones!  I stopped worrying about my pace, I even took time to walk with two lovely ladies who were walking (I never would have done this before..have to keep up the pace!).  I didn’t worry about my “burdening” my husband, to take care of our 2 year old while I went out for my run.  In fact I came into the house and immediately heard laughter and giggling.

It was, by far, the best morning I had in a long time.  All of this because I decided to just let go and enjoy.  To not worry, to not let my nervousness, my shyness, get in the way of my day, my life.

On this National Running Day, I encourage you to just “let go” and enjoy life.  Do one thing YOU want to do and see what happens!

Enjoy the Run!


Why I Focus on Wellness, Not Just Fitness

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

Today’s question in the fitness blog challenge was to describe my most embarrassing fitness story.  I am happy to say I don’t have one.  Honestly!  Believe me, it is just as shocking to me as I am quite the klutz so the fact that I don’t have an embarrassing trip or a story of me running into a post or a tree is pretty surprising.

Instead I am going to skip to the next question which was why did I get into fitness?  This is a great question, mainly because there wasn’t any one reason.  When I was very young I was a swimmer, swimming competitively in both individual and team events.  I really loved the group atmosphere and I loved swimming.  I didn’t do any sports from about 5th grade until high school. This little break gave me the opportunity to miss sports, miss the camaraderie and miss those wonderful endorphins following through my body.  It is because of this break that I continue to make fitness a part of my daily routine.

In high school, I became a cheerleader and as part of cheering I found that stretching and weight training was something I needed in addition to cardio.  Luckily for me, my parents had a family membership at our local YMCA and I would go there almost every day.  I tried everything, weights, cardio equipment, aerobics classes.  Funny enough I tried everything except running.  I would talk to other patrons and the instructors and learned a lot about fitness and nutrition.  I continued this in college when I worked at our campus wellness center.  My job was focused on students wellness, overall health.  I like this approach so much better as it looks at nutrition and fitness as part of a overall healthy lifestyle, rather than the only two focus points.

As an adult, I find it is harder to incorporate any type of wellness into my daily life.  There are so many other needs: work, home, family, kids, friends.   You have to make taking care of YOU a priority, this is the crux of the wellness philosophy.  This means setting aside the time to go for that run, ensuring that you buy healthy fruits and vegetables for your meals or finding the time for that overdue massage (yep, that is wellness!).

Obviously, this is so much easier said than done.  The drive thru at McDonalds is way easier to do than preparing a full meal for the family.  It is much more tempting to sleep in than to get up and work out.  That Fettuccine Alfredo dish smells much more delicious than this grilled chicken with vegetables.  This is where wellness comes in.  We can all have cheat days.  Heck, we can all have a cheat week if we want, so long as we eat properly the rest of the time.  Sleep in if you need, but make sure you go for that run the other 4 days of the week.  Treat yourself to fast food, but for the next two weeks, it is healthy, nutritious meals only.


I am so happy that I have made fitness and wellness part of my daily routine.  Yes, I do stray from time to time, but I try to eat as healthily as I can so I CAN stray and not feel guilty.

Enjoy the Run!


Fitness Blog Challenge & a GREAT Run!

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!


There is a good possibility I looked exactly like this on my run this morning

My husband has a new schedule at work, which makes my solo early morning runs almost an impossibility.  So this morning after my daughter woke up around 7:30am, I decided to take her with me on a run.  I loaded up the munchkin and the 6 different toys she just had to bring, along with her cheerios and water into the trusty BOB stroller.  We started out like most of my recent runs, me huffing and puffing and struggling to take another step.  However, I started getting into a groove and low and behold I found my running mojo!  She and I had a blast chatting and looking at the flowers, puddles and birds along the running route.

Around mile 2 she actually ditched me to hang out with my parents, (we run by their house) and I continued on, sans stroller.  I was not prepared for a solo run and was happy to see my running mojo didn’t leave me like my daughter did.   It was about 57 degrees, bright sunny skies and let me tell you it was an absolutely glorious run.  I knew my pace was slower than I had hoped and I did walk a few steps every few miles, but none of that mattered.  I ran with a smile on my face, simply happy to be taking in the beautiful day.  I even ran a mile more than I had planned.  It was awesome.


Now on to the the fitness blog challenge question of the day.  The task today is to list my five favorite fruits and veggies.  Ummm..just five?  While I admit, I have a wicked sweet tooth, I also love fruits and vegetables!  In the summer in Florida there is nothing better than a delicious salad on a hot day.  To pick a only five is hard!!  Let me give it a try:






I also love a salad that combines both fruit and veggies together, some of my favorites are from Publix Grocery stores (their Strawberry Fields Salad is simply delicious) and Panera Bread (Fuji Apple Chicken Salad…yummy!!).  The best part of both of these places?  They both have absolutely delicious cookies and desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth!  Everything in moderation, right?

Enjoy the Run!


Fitness Blog Challenge-Nutrition and Diet

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!


Today’s question as part of the fitness blog challenge is “do I diet” and if I follow a specific diet.  Easy!  I watch what I eat and I am very aware as to what I am eating, but I do not follow a specific diet.

In the past I have tried diets, Herbalife, Weight Watchers and they all work.  They take work, diligence and consistency, all of which are hard to do day after day in the real world.  But, for those motivated enough they DO work.

I had to stop all dieting when I was pregnant (naturally) which was an interesting time for me, diet-wise.  I was super diligent of everything I put in my body when I was pregnant.  I wanted to make sure anything I ate was also in the best thing for my child.  Being responsible for the entire well-being of another person really helps your dietary choices!  I was also much more diligent about my workouts.  I made sure I was at the gym almost everyday; walking, using the elliptical and even light weights.  I did prenatal yoga at least once a week.

After I had my daughter, I was still very cautious of everything I ate and drank as I was nursing her.  I took her for lots of walks, knowing that fresh air and the movement of the stroller would be something she enjoyed.

All of this had me thinking.  I was so careful as to what I put in my body when I was pregnant, why wouldn’t I be like this all the time?  As the primary caregiver for my child and one half of an amazing team with my husband, shouldn’t I take care of myself at all times, not just when I am carrying a baby?  The answer is yes!!

Given that, I started using the MyFitnessPal app and documenting my food intake.  I’ve been trying to snack healthier (fruits and veggies vs. cookies) and I’ve even partnered with a wonderful company, Advocare, which specializes in healthy food and supplements.  I find that when I fuel my body with vitamins and nutrients I not only feel better, but my body operates on a higher level.  My runs are easier, my energy is higher and my mood is lifted.

To this, I say find a diet plan that works for you and stick with it!  The first few weeks will be hard, but you will see results soon!  And for those of you who want to jump start your road to health, energy and wellness I highly recommend the 24 Day Challenge.  You can find information about it here and you can order it here.

Enjoy the Run!


Wait..what’s my weight?

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!


Today’s fitness blog challenge is all about that dreaded contraption…the scale.  The question posed today is how much do I weigh myself.  If this question was asked a few years ago, I am certain my answer would have been “daily”.  However as I have gotten older, I find myself turning to the scale less and less.  Sure I still weigh myself and foolishly take off my shoes and explain to the nurse how heavy my clothes are when I am at the doctors office, but the scale is no longer how I measure my fitness level.

I tend to focus more on how I feel, how my clothes are fitting and how much energy I have vs. my weight on the scale.  Sometimes I will go months without stepping on a scale.  When I do weigh myself it is generally to only confirm what I already knew, either I am losing weight or gaining it.

I think the focus off of the scale comes not only from age and being comfortable in your own skin, but also in knowing more about nutrition.  For most people weight loss is simple, take in less calories than you expend.  I know that the pasta dish brimming with melted cheese and the chocolate explosion dessert I am eating are most likely going to cause me to gain weight  I also know that if I have wine 6 out of 7 nights, that is not helping either.  Conversely, if I am exercising, watching my food intake and trying to eat more fruits and veggies, chances are after a few weeks my clothes are going to be looser.

So stop checking the darn scale!  Do an internal check every so often to see how you feel, how your body feels and use that as your guide.  Check the scale only a few times a month, and not only after eating a big meal!  Your body will thank you, your family will thank you and your mind will thank you!

Enjoy the Run!


Tracking Calories-there’s an app for that!

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

For today’s Fitness Blog Challenge, I want to talk about logging workouts (yay!) and food intake (boo!).  Does anyone else feel the same way as I do?  I LOVE seeing my average pace, number of miles or minutes and especially that calorie burn on during my workout, but LOATHE entering food into my tracker.  Why is that?

For my workouts I use two tools.  First my trusty Garmin.  I love the fact that it tracks me in real time and I just have to look at my wrist to know where I am and how fast I’m going.  I also use the “workouts” feature.  The watch keeps me on track for interval training or tempo runs.  It is so fun to see how fast I can go during an interval run and then think “this is the actual pace of people who run the entire Boston Marathon…Sweet Jesus”  (said as I am literally wheezing).

Second is an app for my phone, Endomondo.  I found and began using Endomondo when I was just starting to walk/run.  It tells me when I’ve hit a mile distance and what my pace is.  At the end of the workout it tells me all sorts of stats very similar to my Garmin but it also shows me how much water I need to consume based on the weather and the duration and intensity of my workout.  I find this extremely helpful, especially because I struggle daily with drinking enough water.  I also love the “shout outs” people can send me during my runs, that pipe right into my headphones!  There are loads of activities to choose from, so even if you aren’t a runner or a walker this is still a great app to use to track your workouts!

For those of us competitive types, they have different “challenges” each month for you to join and you can win some pretty neat prizes!  It also allows you to see friends who use the app and where they are in the challenges and on their fitness journeys.  There are way more features than what I am writing about here, so if you don’t have an app that you currently use, I would highly recommend it!  There is a free and a paid version, with the paid version offering more stats as well as training plans for various running distances.


I might be a *little* competitive

As for my calorie tracking, I use myfitnesspal.  One of the main reasons I started using this app is it pairs up with Endomondo so when I finish my runs, the caloric burn information is automatically updated from Endomondo to MyFitnessPal.  It is really neat to see that instead of 1400 calories I have to consume, I actually have over 2000…happy day!!  The app remembers your favorite foods so they are simple to add plus their database is extensive which makes finding foods pretty darn easy.  They also have a bar code scanner, there have been times when I can’t find the foods I want to enter by typing them, so I just scan the bar code and it pops right up!  I wish they had this option for restaurant menus!  Again, you can see what friends and family who use the app are doing (if they’ve lost weight over the past week or if they were under their goals, if you are competitive like that (I am).

There are tons and tons of options for tracking your workouts as well as your food intake.  I recommend you download a free version and give it a try for a week.  If you don’t like it, try something else!

Enjoy the Run!


Question: How do you track/log your workouts or food intake?

Flashback Friday-You want me to eat Goo?

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

If you have spent anytime around fellow runners or on running blogs you may have heard of something called “Gu”.  It is a nutritional supplement athletes take if they are going to be exercising for long periods of time.  Gu helps to put back some carbohydrates (and simple sugars) your body needs after putting forth so much effort for an extended run.  It also has vitamins and electrolytes which work to replenish your body of nutrients so you can keep going.  Some have caffeine, some don’t.

Like most of you, I read this information and thought “that is for real runners, not me”.  Wrong.  If you are going to be out for longer than an hour (or even 45 minutes), drinking something like Gu will help you.

The first time I had some Gu, I was running with a friend and we were out for longer than I anticipated.  I was exhausted.  I just wanted to walk (not run) to the nearest IHop and eat pancakes and drink all the coffee in the restaurant.  My friend, an experienced marathoner, suggested I try some Gu.  I was a bit shocked, I mean I am no marathoner!  But, I took it and holy mackerel, it did the trick!

Not only was it super tasty, I immediately felt better!  I had more energy, felt full and was ready to finish the run.  Since then, I have taken some out with me on my long runs and usually look forward to when I can take it!  Personally I like to use it sporadically, not even as often as they recommend, simply because I like to see how far I can go without it.  The manufacturer does recommend that you drink water with it and I have found I can get more thirsty just after taking a dose.  So I would recommend timing your Gu intake with a water stop.

It is not for everyone, people with sensitive stomachs might want to try it close to home and some might like the alternative products better.  However I suggest the next time you are in the running store, you pick up a few packets to try.  It may be the difference between going 6 miles and going 10!

Enjoy the Run!


Do you have any goodies you bring on your long runs?

**Note: I am not paid for my opinions.  I simply swear by this stuff because it works for me.