Becoming a Runner Step 1: It’s in the Shoes

In case you live under a rock missed it, it’s 2016, folks! For many people (myself included), the New Year is a reminder to get serious about accomplishing goals. My visit to the gym today reminded me how many people promise to themselves to get fit each year; however, many resolutions go unaccomplished by December. I think the reason why is that people lack practical advice on how to achieve these goals. Whether you’ve decided to get fit this year, or you want to accomplish a goal like a half marathon, I wanted to share some of my experiences to help you become a successful runner beyond the month of January.
FTR_Shoes360

I’ve learned that the first thing you should do before doing any kind of running is finding the right shoes. Here’s how:

Don’t just search the internet for shoe reviews… Go to a store that has a specific section for running (like Luke’s Locker, Road Runner Sports, or any locally-owned running store) and get fitted.

Set a reasonable budget for yourself. Especially the first time you get fitted, this isn’t the place to cheap out. For me personally, I try to stay under $120, and if you have neverdone this before, $100 budget is about the lowest budget I would set. That’s a lot of money, but when you factor in the advice you are paying for and the ability to try a range of styles and price points to find out what works, it is worth it. It is waste of money to purchase a pair that doesn’t work for you, and you could potentially injure yourself.

Set aside an hour or so for this endeavor, and wear athletic clothes. The first time I got fitted, I went on my lunch break in business casual attire. This was not the best decision, because you will likely have to run/walk around the store. The associate needs to be able to see your gait and the way your feet move when you run.

Bring in your current running or athletic shoes. Being able to review the wear patterns on your soles also helps the associate to see how you walk or run.

Here are some great examples of the wisdom I have acquired during my shoe fittings over the past 2 years:

  • My foot pattern and arch height: I underpronate. Underpronation is a typical pattern for people with high arches, so I assumed I had high arches; however, I have low to normal arches.
  • Correct shoe size: Running shoes should be 1-2 sizes larger than your normal shoe size and have about an inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. I normally wear a 6.5-7, and I wear an 8-8.5.
  • Fit/feel: The shoes you wear should “feel like you’re running on a slipper;” they should feel comfortable to you!
  • Correct shoe type: There are different foot patterns, and different types of shoes. For example, I wear a neutral shoe because I underpronate. Having a neutral foot pattern is different, and it doesn’t mean you should wear neutral shoes.
  • Looks (they don’t matter): Color shouldn’t be the deciding factor, but if you really like a shoe and they don’t carry your favorite color in the store, it may be possible for the associate to order it online.
  • Price: If you have a strict budget, local stores can sometimes offer discounts to meet your budget. They have a vested interest in making sure you pick a shoe you are happy with.

Finally, enjoy the experience. You’ll rarely find a sales person at a department store invested in which shoes you pick, for running or otherwise. These associates care and can offer great encouragement and advice.

FTR_Shoes_TracktoTrail

Your new shoes should last anywhere from 200 – 500 miles. If you want a long-lasting shoe, be sure to tell the person who gives you a fitting. My shoes above are still going strong, from treadmill to trail, at almost 400 miles (can you believe they’ve seen a marathon and half marathon?). Keep a log of your miles to determine when it’s time to replace. If you start having random injuries, then it’s definitely time.

Once I find a shoe I LOVE, I stick with it for as long as I can. I found my Brooks Ghost 7’s and I have been able to purchase discounted pairs online. Expensive initially, but they work for me and now I’m able to save some money. That’s why the fitting was so important!

Any advice I missed? Please feel free to leave it in the comments below! This will be the first in a series of blog posts this month, so please check back for more tips.

Cheers to the New Year!

Disclaimer: I am not a physical therapist, running coach, or a medical professional. I’m a runner sharing my personal experiences, and this does not replace advice from a licensed healthcare professional or running coach. Please consult a licensed professional if you are in need of in-depth advice on an exercise regimen that works for your personal needs.

 

2015 Holiday Gift Guide – For Her (Plus a Giveaway)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small amount of monetary compensation if you end up purchasing something from one of the links. All opinions are my own.

Hey there! The holidays are (finally) here and I’m giving away a pair of Feetures Elite Socks and Camelbak eddy Water Bottle to celebrate. Enter and find contest details below… then read on for some awesome gift ideas for the special someone in your life!

ENTER HERE!

 

2015 HGG For Her Women_Final

Looking for a gift for your active lady? Here are my top picks for 2015.

  1. Asics Fit-Sana Zip Hoody
    Here in Texas, though it’s not often, when you need a running jacket, you need it! However, because I don’t need to run in a jacket often, it has to look good when I’m not running for me to actually get enough use out of it. This jacket is both stylish and warm, and who doesn’t love a good hoodie? ($90)
  2. Athleta Crunch and Punch Tank
    Kill two birds with one stone wit this built-in bra top from Athleta. Love all of the colors (and Athleta quality). It would also be perfect for yoga, or the gym, so you really can’t go wrong! ($69)
  3. Lucy Zenergy Bra
    I’m a big fan of bright colors and fun details on sports bras. I also love the double straps for the summer, which means no thick tan lines! ($49)
  4. Adidas Adizero II Cap
    This is the only hat I’ve tried on that is both flattering and affordable. Seriously though, no one likes a hat that makes them feel derpy; this one makes me feel the opposite – like a seasoned running pro. ($20)
  5. Nike Exhale Running Sunglasses
    I have a hard time finding sunglasses that are both pretty IRL and functional for running, but these fit the bill perfectly! ($146)
  6. Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf
    Up your athleisure game with this scarf from Lululemon. I would totally pair this with an oversized sweatshirt, running pants, and a pair of boots, if I was meeting up with someone for coffee or lunch post-workout. ($46)
  7. Running Bib and Medal Display from Strut Your Stuff Sign Co.
    What I love about this medal holder is that it is super-stylish, with customization options available to tie in with most décor styles. This company offers styles for triathletes and other sports as well. ($29.99+)
  8. Run Janji Printed Running Tights
    I like that these tights have an understated print – no loud colors, but still something different. What’s even better is that your purchase of these tights provides water to a person in Tanzania for three years, so you can gift responsibly. Love this company and their passion. ($68)
  9. Adidas Squad II Duffel Bag
    Adds a whole new meaning to the term “squad goals,” right? This bag is the updated version of my current adidas duffel bag that I LOVE. It has special pockets for tennis shoes, jewelry, your cell phone, and swimsuit, making it super convenient for the girl on the go. Great buy! ($45)
  10. Oiselle Women’s Wazelle Long Sleeve Top
    Apparently there is a debate in the running community about thumb holes. Well, if I cared to debate such issues, I’d be pro-thumb holes, which is part of why I like this shirt. The other part is that Oiselle does a great job of making great running products. ($66)

Have anything to add to this list? Be sure to mention it in the comments below.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway and check back later this week for the next section of the gift guide!

What are you most excited about giving this year?

Cheers!

Gear Guide: Fun Fall Faves

It finally is cooling down a bit in the hot state of Texas and I couldn’t be happier. The longer the summer, the more welcome is the first breezy run of autumn. The flavors, the clothes, the crisp air outside, etc. – everything about fall warms my heart! In honor of the best season ever, I put together a guide of my favorite running gear and active living items to help you celebrate in style.

FTR Fun Fall Faves

Clockwise from top left corner.

The North Face Thermoball Vest

While I myself am relatively frugal, I feel investing in certain high-quality items you will wear for years is also a wise decision. That’s why this vest is on here. I recently purchased this vest and I love that it’s warm, lightweight and folds up into one of the pockets for storage. How cool is that? Wear it for running or running errands, as it looks great for both. And this print is so fun!

Under Armour Women’s Boho Headband

This headband strikes the delicate balance between having enough fabric on your forehead to keep the sweat out of your eyes and so much fabric that your head gets hot. Plus, it stylishly keeps your flyaways in check after you leave the gym or the track, so you can run post-workout errands without feeling self-conscious.

Brooks Distance Long Sleeve Tee and Fineform Sports Bra

Cute and versatile, these items will keep you warm (and reduce chafing due to the flat seams) on a cooler run, or lounging around at Thanksgiving. I love how the color is bright without seeming springy. The sports bra especially is versatile and can be worn year round, with two different ways to wear the straps (hello, summer racerbacks). The soft long sleeve has odor-fighting fabric, which is all-too necessary any time you sweat.

Gu Maple Bacon Energy Gel

I was looking to include the Espresso Love energy gel in this guide, but I had to include these when I saw them. Such a strange combination, but it sounds yummy! Like bacon dipped in pancake syrup… a sweet and salty flavor explosion.

adidas ar-10 Shoes

These are awesome for going to and from yoga class, or wearing out to a football game. I wanted to show support for my Aggies, because fall = football, but unfortunately this is the only technical item adidas offers for women (sigh), and they’re not for actual running. Still, I would wear them often with leggings, jeans and anything comfortable.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Biscotti

Ah, the perfect pre-run snack. I’ve been on a biscotti kick lately because it is a quick, easy snack without making me feel super weighed down. The pumpkin flavor is present and slightly spicy, without overpowering my taste buds with saccharine syrupy-ness  (I’m looking at you, pumpkin spice lattes). It’s also a great way to add in some extra carbs during carbo-loading. Pick it up at your local TJ’s.

Burt’s Bees Medicated Lip Balm

I don’t wear lipstick or gloss very often; just the balm for me, please. Burt’s Bees lip balm is my favorite. When my lips get cracked by the drier air, I need a medicated version and this hits the spot. No one wants to be fighting cracked lips on the run, and this helps.

Nike Women’s Filament Capris

I ran my marathon in these capris – they are so comfy! The fabric feels more like cotton leggings than shiny thick tights and I like that they are matte, too. The panels are sewn in a way that’s really flattering, and the length is just right. There is a nice drawstring to keep them from riding up or down, and a decent-sized pocket in the back conveniently stores Gu’s, keys, or whatever else you want.

 

What would you add to this list?

Cheers and happy fall, y’all!