Hydrate Like a Champ: Running, fluids, electrolytes, and Nuun Energy

Hydration is not something runners can afford to skimp on. Fun fact: by the time you actually FEEL thirsty you’re in a state of dehydration. The key is sipping those fluids consistently, throughout the day, and ensuring you’re urine is rocking the clear-light yellow hue rather than radioactive yellow-orange.

With summer fast approaching and the hotter temps that accompany, it’s important runners are issued a reminder just HOW crucial it is to stay hydrated. If you don’t, your performances will suffer but more importantly it could become dangerous. Dehydration can also wreck havoc on your stomach and intestines.
nuun hydration sample
For runners, hydration is more than just drinking water. Water is essential but so are electrolytes. When you sweat you lose more than just H2O; electrolytes, like potassium and sodium, are also lost through sweat and are just as important to replace. When electrolytes get unbalanced, that’s when you run the risk of heart issues and other complications due to an overly dilute blood stream. Not fun. Besides, before you even get to THAT dangerous of a point, your running will be sub-par if you’re not hydrated fully with water AND electrolytes.

Our good friends at Nuun have been supplying those cool tablets that you can drop into your water bottle, shake, and voila have your electrolyte-infused (and tastified) drink for years. They’ve introduced their new Nuun Energy line and I served it at my Ezzere Launch Party even! Nuun was generous enough to give samples to all of my guests and put together a prize pack for this lucky winner…
nuun energy
He’s excited, he’ll never be dehydrated. ;) Here’s the scoop on the new Nuun Energy:

* Electrolytes: These new Nuun tablets have all the essential electrolytes as the pervious Nuun Active Hydration line as well as extra B Vitamins and a bit of caffeine.
* No Sugars: There’s not any extra sugar added, meaning you can replace your electrolytes without tons of excess calories. Each tablet is less than 12 calories which, unless you need immediate glycogen while running a marathon, is what most runners are looking for in this type of hydration performance supplement. Unless you’re needing to gain weight, a common mistake runners can make is drinking too many unnecessary calories by way of sports drink. Namely because of a high sugar content. Not so with Nuun.
* Caffeine: The extra caffeine (40mg) perks you up and certain studies have shown that a small dose of caffeine pre-workout or race can give you a boost there.
nuun energy
The Taste Factor:

I like that Nuun adds a nice flavor to my water but doesn’t turn it into Kool-Aide. It’s not overly sweet. “It’s fizzy!” one of the guests of my Ezzere Launch Party squealed in delight. These new flavors have a cool fizz to them and I liked that, as did my guests.

The new flavors are Wild Berry, Lemon Lime, and Cherry Limeade. My favorite was the Wild Berry. They come in the portable vial which is handy to take anywhere and infuse your water. Thank you, Nuun, for joining my party and donating your new Energy drink!

NO EXCUSES, Runners, you can stay hydrated all day long. Your running will thank you, heck, even normal people need to be conscious of staying hydrated…it’s just when you’re asking your body to perform at its best it’s THAT much more important you give it the fluids and electrolytes it deserves!

Check out my latest Active Article: How to Settle Your Race Day Jitters

SUPER stoked to be able to catch up with David Torrence, he’s killing it this year and only going to be setting more records, so check out my story on him over at RunBlogRun: Records Falling and David Torrence is Hungry

Review: The Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Running

When minimalist running turned from a concept into some kind of near-cult ideology, I’ll admit to shaking my head. More correctly I was soured that with the launch of the Vibrams and ‘Born to Run’ book release the masses became obsessed with immediately running barefoot. Everyone wanted to jump headlong into this running trend with no other reason than they thought it was the cool thing to do. I mean “Waaaaaaz up” was the coolest thing to do for a time too, no?
vibram shoes
Misinformed runners were getting hurt, and THAT was really what I was stuck on or against. Well, and in all honesty I think the Vibram toe-thing is silly. I’m not anti-minimalist, in fact I began implementing Nike Free running in 2004 in order to increase foot strength and mobility. The key word there is IMPLEMENTING.

Scott Douglas, multi-running book author and editor for Runner’s World, just released “The Runner’s World Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Running” for which I was given a copy to read and review. I was nervous at first only because of that buzz word minimalism but I also have read enough from Douglas to have faith that rather than just glorify barefoot running the book would be true to name and act as a manual. There IS sound reasoning and logic behind minimalist running, it then becomes a matter of ensuring enough runners learn and understand just HOW to go about running in ‘less’ without just getting themselves hurt.

I was relieved because right off the bat because Douglas tackles the logistics and starts not at the aspect most minimalists and runners begin, the foot, but instead explains that the running body is a package. A runner’s body is an interconnected machine, you can’t take a single injury or problem at face value, but rather trace it back to the underlying cause of it. A problem with your foot can be stemming from your hips, you have to fix the underlying cause before the foot gets any better.

minimalism running book

Source: Roadale, Inc.

Douglas starts by taking running and your BODY as a whole, explaining the interconnectedness of it all and then delves into minimalist theory. I believe with most things it’s a matter of understanding the ‘whys’ before you can get to the ‘hows’. It’s also refreshing that, while the author states from the beginning he’s always loved running in less shoe, he shares both sides of the story, and in quite an engaging tone. The book’s informative, but it’s not a text-book read.

Some of the actual running shoe stats and numbers may not have been absorbed as fully by me as others, as I’m not a total running shoe ‘addict/geek’, but I still got the gist. What I was more interested in was that the book tackles more than shoes and feet: the importance of running form, the importance of GRADUALLY transitioning and that injuries aren’t caused or cured merely by a shoe-swap and there is still the need for strengthening and mobility work (the book includes exercises). These are all, in fact, fundamentals of running people should read outside of shoes and minimalism.

The book was written with the input and thoughts from an array of different running coaches, shoe experts, and exercise physiologists. Among them, and someone I’ve often sought keen insights from for my own articles, was Steve Magness. I appreciated his parts not just because of the knowledge and science there, but explaining why elite distance runners aren’t all striving to run barefoot all the time, but that they still get minimalist style miles in the form of racing flats and spikes. Finally, the drills are things all runners should do and the suggestions for cooling-down or doing striders barefoot get back to that gradual implementation.

Bottom line, both from the book and in line with my own reasoning: Shoes and whatever people end up running in shouldn’t be dictated by a running trend or fad, but rather what keeps them running healthfully and ideally as fast as possible. Everyone wants to be faster, right? ;)
Scott Douglas’ “The Runner’s World Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Running” can be purchased in stores or online.

1) What are your thoughts on minimalism and/or barefoot running? What kind of shoes do you prefer to run in?

2) Have you wound up with an injury tied to making the jump to minimalism too quickly? If so, have you learned and then gone forward with a way to include minimalist style running without an injury?

3) Douglas also asks a very poignant questions in his book along the lines of: If you are a minimalist, where does your journey to ‘less shoes’ end? It doesn’t necessarily become when you’re running barefoot all the time.
best running shirts

Running the Paces: Fitting the effort level to the numbers

I’m a runner who hates excuses. If it’s windy I’d rather run into the wind instead of having it ‘help’ me to a faster time. Sort of like if there is going to be a kind of handicap I’d rather have it work against me.
tornado runner
My line of reasoning is that I’d rather be EXTRA sure I could hit the splits myself. It’s silly logic, but hey, I won’t judge your running quirks so don’t be judging mine. ;) The thing is, EVEN though I hate giving myself excuses the benefit of the doubt, there comes a point where it’s NOT an excuse, it’s legit.

Wind. Heat. Frigidity. Altitude. These are legitimate factors that effect your running, racing, and performance. A 6 minute mile at sea level is NOT the same as running it at 6,000 feet, in a windstorm, and with sweltering temperatures. It’s just not.

Figuring out what your paces are equivalent to under ‘perfect’ conditions is tricky; lots of math and equations involved. But for training and race planning it’s important to KNOW those numbers.
jack daniels
Brain Rosetti, who founded The Run S.M.A.R.T. Project, recently told me about a new pace calculator their team just launched, The Jack Daniels’ Running Calculator (Daniels is one of the expert coaches offering private training services through The Run S.M.A.R.T Project; the others are all National and World class runners themselves with too many titles to prattle off here!).

The calculator is free for anyone to use, and doesn’t require any more math than a pre-K’er. You can take one of your recent race results, plug it in and the calculator it will give you some training paces to shoot for.

Additionally, you can have it factor in temperatures, wind speeds, and altitude. That way you are able to get a solid idea of the ‘effort level’ versus the actual black and white numbers. Because in going back to running that mile run at 6,000 feet in our windstorm the numbers aren’t the full story.

Now any logical “I want to run faster” runner will get smart and put in the goal race time and let it spit out the training paces. Works well for motivation as much as planning ahead.

I do have to say that I’m of the thinking that if you’re seriously training for something it is SO beneficial to have a coach to give you a kind of training program. Mostly because as a runner it’s far ‘easier’ to just run and take the mind out of it as much as possible. Let a someone else (a coach) do all the thinking; a runner who OVER-THINKS their training is headed for a disaster. Not everyone has a coach, so at least with tools like these more runners are able to wisely go forward in mapping out their own training.

That said, runners can be numbers nerds, and it’s fun to play around with. Did you know that if you wanted to run a 30 minute 10k you should be doing mile repeats at 4:55. If you’re at altitude that could affect it by 5.5 seconds/mile. ;)

1) Excuses are one thing but LEGIT factors are another. How do you try to factor the elements into your training? (ie: wind, temp, etc.)

2) Do you use any kind of race or training calculators?

3) Do you have a coach? If you’re training for something how do you come up with your training plans?

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Garmin Forerunner 10 Review: Uh-Oh, now I’m stuck in a love triangle

Shhh, you CAN’T tell my Garmin Forerunner 410 but I’ve been cheating on him. It’s horrible, I know, because you all know how much I love him, but I find myself also in love with the Garmin Forerunner 10.
Garmin Forerunner 10
The Forerunner 10 is the new, slimmed down version, and I was SO STOKED when the kind folks over there gave me a lime green one to test out. I took that baby for a spin (uhh, way more than once) and here are my thoughts:

* The Stats: This ‘little’ guy will track your time and distance on one screen, you can flip over to the other screen to see your pace and calories. To be frank those are really the only functions I use my ‘bigger’ Garmin for; since the 10 retails for $130, if you’re not needing all those ‘extras’ I would say your best bet is to go for the 10. To compare, the Forerunner 410 retails for $250. And for the record the 10 does have a virtual pacer feature if you’re into that.

* Alerts: The Forerunner 10 will beep every mile marker, which I really like. Sometimes I feel people can fall into the trap of getting too obsessed with their paces, especially on easy days, so what I’ll do sometimes is not look down at the pace and just keep track of all the mile beeps. It’s kind of like my compromise to going ‘naked’…I’d be a little too freaked not to know the overall mileage but I can handle with running off of effort and let the pace drop wherever it may for the day.

* Fit: The Forerunner 10 really does fit just like a ‘regular’ watch; I know that some of the older Forerunners are pretty wide and bulky and for a runnerchick with a thin wrist it sometimes made me feel like I was wearing a watch sleeve! Lol. That said, my Forerunner 410 does fit nicely on my wrist and that’s comfy; however, I will say the 10 is noticeably lighter.

garminella and prince

Ya…buy me a Garmin and it just maaaaaybe better than a ring. ;)

* Accuracy: As anyone who has a Garmin or understands the Satellite technology, it’s not always exact down to the molecular distance level. (Yes, I made that a word) I’ll run the same routes and some days the mile markers are a few feet either way, I’d say that the accuracy between the 10 and 410 are the same, so you aren’t losing any ‘quality’ for going for the more compact or cheaper Garmin.

* Cait Proof: The real test was I was able to get it out of the box, set, and run-ready all by myself, quickly without reading any of the instructions. Of course, go read the instructions, but my point is that the 10 really is that simple to use…I like that.

* Overall: Honestly, I love my Garmins and I’ve said that long before I ever got a bit of swag. I can’t say anything bad about them; the only slight annoyance I could say I found between the 10 and the 410 is that the Forerunner 10 seems to take a little longer to locate the satellites before my run. Other than that, if you want need Garmin technology and you’re only interested in distance, pace, time, and calories, this is your guy. I’d say it’s the best bang for your buck, and *perk* for me is that lime green is my favorite color. There are also pink and black available.

On that note, now I don’t know what I’m going to be doing with my little Garmin love triangle over here…I’ve been fair though and giving love to both. ;)

1) Do you own and use a Garmin? If so, which one?

2) Are there times when you don’t use your Garmin?
I believe sometimes getting away from the obsessed numbers game can help certain runners in relaxing on their runs and keeping those runs easy…but at the same time I won’t lie and going ‘naked’ is dang hard! :P

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Protect That Runner Noggin: Ambler Heat Beanies Give-away

Every runner head is pretty stinking awesome. The cranium, the noggin, the noodle; while our legs do most of the PHYSICAL work the mentality of a runner defines how well he or she will actually preform.
your brain on running
A runner’s head can be their greatest asset or wind up turing into their greatest obstacle. That’s taking this head metaphor to a deeper level and you can school up on how to train your actual runner brain HERE, HERE, and HERE. Today’s post is going to be about the superficial head…so pull out your best ‘shallow’ model stereotype.

It sure is starting to feel a lot like Festivus and the winter weather generally leaves me curled up fetal position and talking myself up saying that it really isn’t THAT cold. Layers, Baby, layers and the parts of a runner that are most apt to chill over the quickest if not protected properly are the hands, feet, ears and face. It’s important to have weather-prudent gloves and socks but what about that noodle?

I don’t live in a state where snow is the norm, and what I call freezing is actually the ‘technical’ freezing point, not like you crazy Duluthians where 32 degrees would be downright balmy! So I don’t usually wear a hat for my runs but I know that it is ubber important for runners to protect their head and ears when out in the elements. Flashback fact from grammar school: you lose most of your body heat through the head.

Ambler, a family run business, got in touch with me about their Heat Beanies. Being that I’m doing my own little running shirts lineby my lonesome I’m more than happy to support the ‘little’ guys so to speak! :) Ambler’s mission is: ‘To make quality hats. We create fit, function and design with everyone in mind.’
ambler hat
They’ve got a few different varieties and they’ve fused fashion and function to corner the exerciser niche with their Heat Beanies. I was sporting the Orbit, my favorite color is lime green, and here are my thoughts:

* Fit: It’s a beanie which is nice because I’m pretty picky about ‘feeling’ anything when I run. As in if my gloves/watch/hair tie/hat/etc. are loose it bugs the CRAP out of me the whole way. So I would prefer the beanie style over a typical hat, just because it can get tight on there and stay put.

* Material: The beanies are made of a polyester microfiber with the lining around the headband made of fleece. It’s light and the lining provides more warmth to the ears, which usually chill over the fastest. It’s really light and overall pretty thin, it’s more than warm enough for me and while I haven’t take it out in actual super below-freezing temps or in the snow I’ll note that Ambler is situated in the Canadian Rockies so I’ll go out on a limb and say with the technical material it would trap heat in there and provide the warmth one needs without all that bulk. I would hate trucking around any excess material and bulk.

* Overall: I like the Heat Beanies and usually I’m pretty good at ‘sucking it up’ in terms of weather when it comes to a run (of course I dress appropriately to make it bearable!); but in all other areas of life I’m the biggest wuss, so I’m sure I could put these babies to use there as well.

Now the fun part for you guys, Ambler was kind enough to send one for me AND one to give away to a lucky reader. To enter leave a separate comment below for the following:

1) Visit Ambler’s website and tell me which of their hats you like the best.
2) Like me on Facebook.
3) Tweet, Facebook, or blog about the contest.

The giveaway will be open until Saturday, December 1st!

Protect that precious cranium, runner posse, because ensuring the superficial and gear aspect is covered allows you to focus on the HARD stuff. That being the physical right, left, right as well as taming the MIND which, if you’re not careful, can stage a revolt and make you slower than you’d like. ;)

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The Blister Atop My Runner Toe: Getting the RIGHT socks and shoes to spare your feet extra suffering (Injinji Giveaway)

Let’s talk runner feet. Don’t worry, by now you’ve realized I’m more of the art visuals and will spare you any actual photographs because runner feet tend to be gnarly feet! To be honest though, it’s almost like a little badge of honor…how gnarly can you go?

runner foot

20% Off Your Next Shoe Order if You’re Blister Free! Jk. :P

Runners put a beating to those ten little piggies and if a couple toe nails go, we’ll cite it as collateral damage. Blisters? That’s what extra race-bib safety pins are for, right? We do all we can to avoid blisters and whacked out toe nails but even that will only take you so far.

For blisters though, the right socks and the right sized shoes make a WORLD of difference. Actually the shoe sized issue can account for an appalling number of runner woes; and often times newer runners are unintentionally setting themselves up for far more torture than running alone is, just because their shoes are too small. Or they lace their shoes too tight.

Quick tips for shoe sizing: you want to have a thumb’s width between the tip of the shoe and your longest toe. (Ohh, is that your second one, or Big Mama toe? lol.) Also, your feet swell when you run, so make sure you are trying them on later in the day when your feet have expanded.

For blisters, that rests highly upon the kind of socks you are running in. Blisters are caused by heat and friction; the more rubbing, the more heat and the more chances you’ll get blisters if all of that rubbing is done between the sock and your foot. Moisture build-up also can result in blisters…umm, we are heading into winter and I’m pretty sure that drippy stuff is wet.

That’s why you want a technical material for those socks. Just like with tech material running shirts and other apparel, this will wick away excess moisture, be breathable to air those puppies out AND certain socks are with dual layer technology. That last one is just fancy talk for their being two thin layers in the sock; so all that that rubbing is done BETWEEN the layers of the sock rather than letting that friction occur between the sock and your foot.

So yay for socks and the right sized shoes, right? Well, it’s also getting colder this time of year (unless you’re a southern hemi-reader!) and I don’t know about you but I’m a weather wimp and can’t say I enjoy heading out when I know I’ll be seeing my breath. Those extremities have to bite the bullet and keeping them warm is important and makes running more comfortable too.
Injinji toe socks
Well, friends, the kind folks over at Injinji contacted me about these toe socks they’ve got going. Toe socks?! Yes, it’s okay, you know how I am not a fan of the Vibrams BUT socks aren’t going to mess up with your biomechanics so I was willing to check these guys out. Maybe even try to peel a banana with my feet? No, I didn’t, don’t worry.

The Det’s: Think gloves in the sock form. They are made with technical materials, CoolMax, Lycra and Nylon, to wick moisture and be breathable. There are rather thin and light-weight. I got the no-show kind but they offer other styles and even compression socks.

The Toe Feel: I will be honest, I am sort of weird and don’t like ‘feeling’ things on my feet, if that makes sense. I don’t like flip-flops because they bug me having that prong between my big toe. So I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about these; I will say that the longer I had them on the more I did get used to the extra material between my toes. But to be totally honest I could still feel it and given the choice I’d probably still stick with a normal styled sock, especially if I were out running when the last thing I want on my mind is something clothing or hair in my face related.

Warmth: I think the major draw for me would be a little extra warmth by way of sock; I’d venture to say that the casing around my toes probably helped keep them a little warmer. Not a huge amount, but then again I wouldn’t want a fat, thick sock out running anyways! I really do love the material on these guys and they do a good job of the moisture wicking.

Pilates/Trail/Yogi Peeps: A big thing for Injinji is the draw from trail runners and those doing things like yoga or pilates. For trail running you’re putting yourself out in more extreme environments and you want gear and socks that will keep you warm and dry. For yoga and other times you’d want to be able to have a firm grasp on one toe or specific ones, I could see these as being really great for that. I know there are some models that have grippers on the bottom, again, that would be a definite perk for yoga or mat work.

Overall: I respect the creativity of Injinji and can appreciate where they are coming from, their tech material is comfy and I like it. I think if you’re into trails and yoga stuff you should give them a shot. For me, personally, because of my weird detest for feeling anything on my feet, I can’t say I’d go running in them. Maybe just every-day sorts of things or if I were doing pilates.

Well, do you want to try some Injinji socks out yourself?! The kind folks didn’t just give me some pairs to test out but gave me some extra socks to giveaway too. Yay for you…so to enter leave a separate comment below for doing any of the following:

1) Tell me what you’d do with your feet if you could use them like hands. [ie: peel a banana]
2) Go to the Injinji website and tell me which is your favorite sock
3) Follow me on Twitter
4) Like me on Facebook

This giveaway will end on Wednesday!

With that my friends, I hope you’re having a wonderfully blister-free Friday!

Tales From the AAAAA: Runner bodies and being just a Handful

I’m a flat runnerchick. Truth be told I’m more than okay with that, and I swear it when I say I’ve never once wished I had a bigger chest. That said, I’m a single runnerchick at the moment and there may or may not be a correlation there. I also will find any excuse to wear running clothes in public everywhere so…

runner gluttony

The pizza is hiding my chest there, but trust me it’s not hiding much.

Everyone has their ‘thing’ though, runners and non-runners. I hate my stomach. She can’t stand the cruelty of Mother Nature in that she runs 70+ miles per week and still has some dimples on the backs of her thighs. He wears long socks in an effort to hide his small calf muscles. We all have things we don’t necessarily love, and at times begrudge, about our bodies.

Sometimes it’s okay and a positive motivator to have things we’d like to change: the man who peels off 100 pounds when he took up running because he’d finally decided he couldn’t keep living the way he was. Other times though, getting hung-up on certain aspects only steals mental energy that could be much better put to use elsewhere: the woman who obsesses over said thighs and ignores the fact that she’s running on those thighs faster than most runnerdudes.

It’s a line to walk, or run rather. I bring up running because I think it can make both instances of these battles better for most people. With running it naturally makes you stronger and leaner, so it tackles the physical. It also forces you to look at your body more from a performance standpoint and what it can actually DO for you, rather than how it looks all wrapped up in a pretty bow. Running, and the mentality that comes with it, goes so much deeper than the muscles and tissues, and even bones. Your thinking shifts, your goals change, and your perspective of what is important and what is worth siphoning the mental energy into also changes. It’s worth busting your @$$ to get a PR…it’s not worth busting your @$$ obsessing over the jiggle on said @$$ if you’re PR’ing.

Though getting back to my opening, I’m a flat runnerchick, and to be honest kinda proud. I never have to worry about a twin offending someone with any type of cleavage. :P That said I also recognize there’s nothing wrong with other women not so stoked on a AAAAAA chest; I’ve got a friend who literally wears two bras even when she works out: a normal sort of padded bra under her sports bra. I’m not kidding, and I make fun of her (in a non-mean way) for doing that, but she tells me to shove it and goes about her two-bra merry way.

Handful Adjustable Bra…I got the purple!

So when I started hearing about Handful bras, I first couldn’t help but love the name, even though I’m more like a pinkyful, and was excited when they wanted to send me one of their new adjustable models to try out. Here are my Handful Bra thoughts:

* First Impressions: Okay, the bra, I got the purple adjustable, came in this cute purple, mesh bag. I like the little things and know that anything that sets you apart from your competition is a plus. Good job, there Handful.

* Chesty-Besty: My two-bra wearing friend, this is right up her ally, in fact I showed it to her. It really does have some padding already put in there and has to be more comfortable than two bras. I will be honest though, I’m sad that now I can’t keep making fun of her…oh well.

* Comfort Factor: The material is very nice, it’s technical material just like a sports bra should be to wick off all that sweaty-beast style runner drip.

* Adjustable Straps: The latest models are the skinny, adjustable straps. I actually prefer a thicker strap, myself, but know that’s not the case for all. I still find the skinny straps supportive enough (again refer to AAAAA chest) but I do sort of wonder if a thinker strap may be the way to go for runners with larger chests and going all out in a workout or race situation. Though I don’t have experience with that so can’t really give an opinion there!

* Overall: I think Handful has hit its niche market really well. It’s cute, unique and with some feminine flair lots of women runners are looking for today. (Enter running skirts.) If you’re not totally jazzed with a concave chest than I do think it would be worth checking out.

The bottom line is that I believe SOO many people would be much happier if they were runners (duh) but in this instance because by being a runner you begin to look and think of your body as a performance vehicle. You respect it, maybe even admire it at times, and you want to treat it right…so that you can beat the heck out of it in workouts. Sounds maniacal, but aren’t us runners all a bit maniacal??
Soo, in case you haven’t heart, Handful is one of the awesome brands offering up some loot for all of you running the Miles Madness Competition! That means if you women (or men too, I’m totally equal-opportunity at the blog!) want to snag a freebie, you best be getting your running on. The awesome news is that anyone on the winning team has a shot at winning, so recruit more friends to join and run to increase YOUR chances to winding up the winner. Tweet, Facebook, blog, stand on the corner in your running clothes screaming about Team Cait. :)

1) What’s your ‘thing’ or hang-up?

2) How has running changed or maybe helped your dislike for that?

3) Women: skinny strap or wider?

4) Men: Have you seen the Seinfeld episode with the Bro? Are you Team Bro or Team Manzier?? ;)

Runners Drinking by the Gallon: Beating the hydration issue into your brain and Nuun’ing your water

I’m a runner who sweats like an elephant and drinks by the gallon. It may mean waking up in the middle of the night a half dozen times but at least I know I’m hydrated. The big H.
melt on track
I’m still floored every time I hear runners talk about how they ‘hate water’ or the only liquids they consume is in the form of coffee. Soda doesn’t count either, and that could actually be making matters worse and dehydrating you.

Luckily thanks to savvy marketing and all that is the internet runners are getting all things water, hydration and liquids almost poured down their throats for them. Knowledge is key people and you’ve now got no excuse not to know:

* If you’re actually feeling thirsty you’re already in a mild state of dehydration
* Hydration works on consistency:
Just like with your running and training, you can’t just never think of about your fluid and electrolyte levels until the morning of a race and pound the liquids. You have to be drinking consistently on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
* Heat exacerbates things but… even in the dead of winter and running in a snow storm you still sweat and lose both water and electrolytes
* It’s more than water: Elecrtrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, are lost through sweat and you need to ensure to replenish these stores. These micro-nutritents AREN’T found in the water from your tap so you need to drink liquids that contain these.

I’ve done some previous posts on all things liquids HERE and HERE. Revisit those my friends but because this is crucial information I’m going to beat it into your heads. I’m also bringing it up because one fluid of choice that offers runners the chance to electrolyte enhance their water is Nuun. They contacted me after revamping some of their products and wanted me to give it a test. You can read my first review of them HERE. Let’s see what’s new, shall we?
Nuun Blueberry PomegranateSource
Nuun All Day Hydration

Premise: Nuun comes in little tablets that you add to water, then watch it fizz and work it’s magic. Give it a shake or stir and your water is both flavored and infused with electrolytes.

Taste: There are a variety of flavors, I’d say my favorite was the Blueberry Pomegranate. Now, I’m also one of those people who has no problem drinking straight water, sort of a plain jane in the taste bud department. The Nuun tabs are a nice flavor perk but not overly sweet.

Cost/Damages: There are 15 tabs per little vial and 4 vials to a pack. When you order online a four-pack comes out to just under $30 without shipping.

What’s New: So Nuun All Day Hydration is widening it’s target audience to include whole families and the little kiddies. Hydration is IMPERATIVE for athletes but it’s still important for everyone, so let’s help cut out the crazy sugar waters and remind kids of their smart drinking habits. Dentists be warned. ;)

What it’s not for: Now, Nuun tabs are a great way to perk up your water and make sure you’re drinking those electrolytes throughout the day. But they don’t contain many calories (under 8 per tab) or energy for your muscles. So if you’re actually out running a marathon and working on an energy fueling plan these aren’t going to do it. Also, if you’re just finishing a run and in that crucial 30 minute restorative refuel window, you can drink these for the electrolytes but you would still need something of substanance, giving you protein and carbs.

Bottom Line: This runnerchick is a fan overall. That said, I’m off to the bathroom…

1) Where do you stack up on the hydration issue, are you really good about keeping your fluid and electrolyte levels stocked up and balanced?

2) What’s your top drinks of choice? For running and performance which do you go for to drink throughout the day, and do you have a different option for viable energy while you train?

3) Have you tried Nuun at all?

4) Are you one of those people who can’t stand drinking much straight water or find you need a taste perk as an incentive?

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To Tote or Not to Tote: Running with a water bottle…Clean Bottle Review and Giveaway

Seems like the hot topic of as late is hydration. You can revisit my post earlier in the week about hydration tips for runners and wouldn’t you know that when I popped on over to the Running Times website there was an article just posted about the very same thing. Great minds think alike, maybe? I’ll kid myself into believing that even if it’s not true…hehe.

friend running

That's Running Times and me running with the same great idea...it's a stretch but roll with that. :)

Their article got really scientific about the whole ‘weigh yourself pre and post-run’ and then take the percentage of sweat lost from your entire body weight and apply that to the amount lost…etc. I sometimes feel that getting too wrapped up in these calculations and conversions may be a little much; certainly more knowledge can be better but at what point is it just over complicating things? In the end the article sums up that even outside of the fanciest tests, scientific equations, lab results and simulations everyone is different and should get to know their body and how they react to certain stressors. Isn’t that pretty much across the board in anything, hydration and training alike?

Athletes, the longer they are at it, become incredibly attuned to subtle nuances that the ‘average person’ probably wouldn’t think twice of. The thing is, when you’re constantly asking your body to perform at it’s best, you can sense those small degrees of deviations from the norm. Feeling 10% off of your best may not mean much if the most physical thing you do all day is stroll around the block, but in the quest for a PR 10% in a HUGE difference. Just some food and drink for thought.

Back to running and hydration, I’m not someone who carries a water bottle with me. I never have and unless I embark on marathon distance-plus training I don’t really plan on doing so. I’m a less is more type of runner and get annoyed if my watch is too big and bulky. Everyone is different and I know my body, I can make it through my runs without needing water or gels…that’s just me.


Taking hydration to an extreme.

But there are lots of runners who DO prefer to carry water and gels; there are the fanny-packs, the belts, and other similar contraptions. With today’s tech age I’m seeing runners taking their phones along like they are just as vital as the actual running shoes. Again, I’m a less is more person, but whatever floats your boat. It does make for some more interesting blog trolling as I can see the pictures other people post of them getting all sweaty with it. :)

I was contacted by a new company, Clean Bottle, who have come out with ‘The Runner’ and wanted me to share my thoughts on it. Even though I’m not a bottle-toter myself I’ll give my opinion on it to help runners who do carry hydration and other items on their runners.

The Runner Run-Down: Clean Bottle’s ‘The Runner’ is pretty neat in that it’s been able to combine a couple of different things in a smaller package. It’s a handheld water bottle with a mesh strap to hold onto; attached is a clear, pouch where you can slip in your phone or iPod in through a side zipper. There’s also a little cinch strap on the side that can hold some gels or other fuel. So it’s able hold quite a number of items that a fanny-pack would but it’s a lot less bulky.

The Pro’s: Like I said it can hold a lot of things and it secures them safely. There are loops where you could fasten your keys into as well, even a pocket behind the phone/iPod holder to stuff some money or identification. The strap to hold onto while running is tight enough that it’s not slipping around, and as for a water bottle that’s pretty much self-explanatory. It gets the job done. I don’t usually run with a bottle but I do carry one around other places and I’d take this guy along with me just in everyday life.

The Con’s: Personally I just hate holding onto things when I’m running and a filled water bottle could be a pound or two, but I know you drink it down and it gets lighter. It’s also a little tough to manage your watch or Garmin if you’re taking splits or something; hitting a button while still clutching a tote can be a little tricky. Other than that though, I can’t really say anything bad about it. If I did take hydration on my runs I’d think this would be preferable to a fanny-pack just because I really can’t stand those.

The Company: Clean Bottle actually really impressed me on the whole and not just because of their products; I like the start-up stories and this is one of them. As to their Clean moniker there is a strong tie to being eco-friendly, for which all of their items are, and 10% of their sales go to an environmental related charity you can choose from. They are currently on the Kickstarter website and if you’d like to help support their burgeoning business check it out and support.

Clean Bottle also gave me one of ‘The Runner’ bottles to give away to a reader, so if you’d like to score one leave a separate comment for each of the following:

1) Follow Clean Bottle on Facebook or Twitter.
2) Follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
3) Tweet, blog about, or Facebook about the giveaway
4) Visit Clean Bottle’s Kickstarter fund and if you sponsor them leave two comments and get a double entry there.
5) Tell me, do you carry water, gels, your phone, etc on your runs?

Deadline will be next Tuesday!

Until later, keep on sweating and swigging…water, that is. ;)
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I’ll Give You The Shirt Off My Back – Let’s talk running clothes and a Zensah giveaway

I’m really picky about my workout clothes. I’m the kind of person who will keep my favorite pair of shorts, shirts, sports bras, etc until they are so threadbare they are wisps that eventually float away into the wind and force me to buy new ones.
runner in forest
I don’t like things that are too loose, but they can’t be too baggy either, I hate long shorts (and my definition of long is still runner shorts style skewed…lol), I wish more running shorts had splits, I don’t like the skinny straps that slide around…you get the picture. I’m like the Goldilocks of running attire I suppose.

The right fit for running clothes is important though, the last thing you want on your mind during a race is, “Gosh darn-it these boy-cut racing shorts are riding and giving me a major wedgie!” The same goes for any other run. I actually hate the boy-cut trend, in my mind the bunhuggers are the way to go when it’s GO time on race day. But of course I’d only bring them out when I’m in good enough shape and I’m not going to embarrass myself out there. Tempo shorts are my everyday pick.

We’re finally getting some sun poking through which I’m happy to see, and it will soon be time to bust out the running tanks. I get hot quickly so tend to go the less is more route; even in winter it has to be BAD out for me to wear a jacket. It took me a long time to be comfortable enough to wear just a sports bra, but when the temperatures got to be over 110 degree I chose to don the bra over melting into a pile of goo with a shirt. ;) In the end I got over my mental hang up of thinking, “Are people going to think I’m trying to show off or that I think I’m the shiznit and in my mind think I’m so hot looking I should just wear a bra?” The truth is, that’s not how I feel but I can’t control what others will think of me. To be honest they probably don’t even care enough to think of me, it’s funny how in our minds we can unintentionally feel that they world revolves around us, when in reality nobody even notices such things.
running graffiti
Back to clothes though, I also admit to being more than a bit brand loyal, but every now and again a girl has to step outside of her comfort zone and try something new. I’ve been reading about Zensah and their new line of running and workout clothes, heard lots of good things, so I decided to check them out.

Zensah’s capitalized a lot on their compression sleeves and socks, they even have compression shorts and capris, but they do have tops and sports bras as well. I am a backer for compression attire, especially when used for recovery, but I wanted to get a feel for one of their tank tops.

I got the Racerback Tank, brace yourself for the sweaty monster:

zensah racerback tank

Post-workout stunner...I think the hair is in my finest hour. ;)

Pro’s: The material is uber-soft…I won’t lie, it’s something that I wanted to curl up and sleep with. The Racerback Tank only comes in two sizes: XS/S or M/L and because I hate that it seems all of the workout tops these days are cut really tiny or the material fits me like a cased sausage, I was afraid that the tank would be tight in the XS/S that I went with. I was happily surprised that it’s not sausage casing tight and the fit was nice and comfortable; I was able to breathe but it still wasn’t too loose that I was annoyed with extra fabric flapping around. I liked the cut on the top, it didn’t slide around at all and I even got to show off my major guns. ;)

Con’s: It’s a little longer than most running tanks, but that actually didn’t really bug me. To be quite frank the really only big con in my mind is the price. Did I mention I’m kind of a cheap-o (read as dirty poor runnerchick…hehe) and I cringe when I have to plunk down the necessary money for shoes even though I know how important they are! The Racerback Tank is $43 each, so I will keep mine locked away in a safety deposit box between uses. ;)

Overall: I’m a fan. There are four colors to choose from: black, purple, pink, and blue and if I could I’d get all of them if for no other reason than to be covered in that nice, soft material. (Triple points to anyone who thought of George Costanza wanting to drape himself in velvet.)

Here’s the fun part…the kind folks over at Zensah are going to give you an opportunity to win one of the Racerback Tanks yourself…yay! The contest in kind of unique in that it’s through Pinterest, so here’s the deal on how to enter:

1) Go check out Zensah’s Racerback Tank
2) Pin it to one of your boards
3) Send an email to: customer@zensah.com telling that you did the pin

Then you’re set. The fine folks at Zensah will then pick a winner and let you know if you’ve scored the lucky prize. ;)

Questions for you guys!

1) What kind of runner are you, do you keep the clothes that you love until they are worn into nothingness or do you continually love to shop and get new running clothes? Are you pretty picky when it comes to workout and running attire?

2) How about shorts, what’s your style? When it comes to racing do you don boy-cut shorts or bunhuggers?

3) Summer weather clothes, do you wear a sports bra?

4) Have you ever tried something from the Zensah line, if so, what and what did you think?

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