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Posts tagged ‘half marathon training’

All Day I Dream About Shoes

**Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Adidas Ultra Boost X running shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Finding the right pair of running shoes is usually quite the challenge for me.  My second toe is longer than my first toe so it can be hard to find the right fit.  From my experience, it seems that Adidas shoes typically work the best…so I was pretty stoked to have the opportunity to try out the new Adidas Ultra Boost X for women.  You can find them in three different color combos: grey/white, all black, or black/glow orange.  I chose the black/glow orange option!

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I was really intrigued by these shoes because they are shaped differently than any other running shoes I’ve ever seen.  The main part of the shoe kind of “hugs” your foot almost like a reinforced sock in order to respond to your stride.  And the outsole is super flexible so that it adjusts to your foot strike.  They are very lightweight and made to wear in wet conditions as well.  Here is a graphic with more info from Adidas:

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I broke mine in by starting with a 2-mile run and then adding mileage over the following weeks.  I was also training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in San Diego so I was really excited to start building up some mileage in these babies.

Since I live in San Diego, the weather is usually pretty great for running so I didn’t get a chance to test these out in any wet weather conditions.  But I did try them out on the road, track, treadmill, flat, and hilly terrains.  It took a little while to get used to the floating arches and lower cut of the shoe.  But after running a few miles, I finally found a good stride in them.  I really enjoyed running with them on the treadmill and the track.  It almost felt like running on a cloud!

If you’ve kept up with any of my previous posts, then you know I sprained my ankle during one of my training runs. 😦  But no worries, because it gave me the opportunity to try my Ultra Boost X shoes out with some cross-training, like kettlebell squat thrusts and biking!

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And I even got to hang out in them with a nice view and cute little friends. 😉

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Then Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend came along and I got to really put them to the test!  The 5k course consisted of nicely paved streets with a few hills.  I took it easy and kept an 11-minute-pace due to my ankle recovery and the fact that I was also running a half marathon the very next day…so I didn’t want to get injured further or totally wipe myself out.  I even saw another girl wearing the very same Adidas Ultra Boost X shoes on the course!  I wanted to ask her how she liked them, but I figured she wasn’t up to doing a shoe interview during a race. 🙂  At the end of the race, my feet felt great and my ankle didn’t really bother me much. Yay!

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Then, I went home and rested up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.  The race started off well, until the 4th mile when I rolled my same ankle AGAIN! Ahhh…it was a physically and mentally difficult moment…but I pulled myself together and managed to walk/jog the rest of the race.  Besides my injury, the shoes felt great throughout the run for the most part.  When I got home and took my shoes off, I noticed I had a small blister where the shoe was rubbing on the top of my non-injured foot.  This could have been because my other foot was overcompensating for my injured foot or I just had the shoes tied a little too tight.

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My overall opinion is that I really liked these shoes!  I’m already partial to Adidas so I may be a bit biased, but I think they work well with my feet.  I think for these shoes in particular, I would wear them for shorter distances – 10k and under. And I would definitely wear them for track workouts and speed work on the treadmill.   For my feet (and apparently my weak ankles), I think I need something a bit more supportive and less minimal for longer road runs.

Another thing to consider when trying out this model, is that they are cut pretty low and have a sock-like feel.  So you will probably want to try out a few different brands of socks to find out which ones work best for you.  For me, personally, the Feetures socks worked the best.

If you are interested in trying out a pair for yourself, head to your nearest Dick’s Sporting Goods or you can order them straight from the website.  The come in sizes 6-11 and sorry guys, this model is only available for women.

Pricing: The Adidas Ultra Boost X run about $180 which sounds kind of pricey.  However, I consider the right pair of running shoes an investment.  If you are in the wrong pair, it can really mess up your feet, legs, hips, etc.  If you are gonna spend extra money on any piece of running gear, I recommend splurging on the shoes.

And don’t forget to stretch!!!  😉

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What do you think of the Adidas Ultra Boost X?  Is this unique design something that you would like?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~SM

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Living like a LEGend

Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Legend Compression Wear Sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

When I first thought of “compression wear” I thought about something medically related and not necessarily something associated with running or athletics.  So I was interested to try the compression leg sleeves from Legend compression wear.

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I was a little skeptical about trying these at first.  I figured they would be too tight, cut off my circulation, or just be really uncomfortable in general.  They come in three different sizes based on your calf circumference and I ordered mine in Medium.  You can learn more about the sizing here.

I first decided to try them out for a few miles on the treadmill!

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I was really surprised that they weren’t uncomfortable at all during the run.  They didn’t fall down and they didn’t cut off my circulation.  Score!

But what are the benefits of utilizing compression wear for sports?  Well, according to umm…Legend (sorry, couldn’t resist)… “They provide calf support, shin splint relief and decreased fatigue.”  They also “promote blood circulation for maximum power, ability and faster muscle recovery.” ~Legendcompressionwear.com

All of this sounds FAN-tastic so I couldn’t wait to try them out after running the Carlsbad Half Marathon.  I had just received the Legend compression sleeves a few days before the half marathon, so I couldn’t actually run with them on race day since I didn’t have enough time to test them out prior to the race.  I have suffered from shin splints and calf pain on and off over the last couple of years and I was worried that after running 13.1 miles my legs would be really sore and fatigued.  So as soon as I got home from Carlsbad, I immediately slipped on my Legend compression sleeves!

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I pretty much wore them for 24 hours straight after that.  And although I had a little overall body soreness, I can honestly say I had NO calf/shin pain or soreness.  At that moment, I was IN LOVE with this compression wear.  The sleeves and I were literally inseparable.  They were in fact…Legen….Wait for It….DARY! (Thanks, Barney 😉

I then wore them pretty much everywhere for a week! Like I said…inseparable…like we were officially in a relationship.  I wore them to the park, hiking, to the grocery store, around the house, etc!

They were great for cross-training too!  I took them on the stationary bike, “rock-climbing” at the park, doing squats, core work, you get it.

Then, my kids passed their little germs to me and I was sick for a week. 😦  But, I finally made it out for a short run and of course I didn’t leave the house without my trusty compression sleeves. 🙂

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Overall, I really loved these sleeves.  I originally didn’t think compression wear was for me, but now these will definitely be part of my running, recovery, and just “athleisure” in general. LEGend’s tagline is #rightnottight and I can honestly say that is exactly what they are.  They even come in some pretty dope colors, now I need some more to match my different running outfits!

As for pricing, they run $44.95 from Legendcompressionwear.com.  It may sound a little pricey, but it’s well worth all the pain and soreness that you will avoid with these babies.

You can also save 20% by using code “Rave20”.

And remember… “Heroes get remembered, but Legends never die.” ~The Sandlot (cause the Sandlot rocks) 😉

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Join me Tuesday, February 7th on Twitter’s #Bibchat at 6pm PST where you can learn more about LEGend compression wear and chat with some awesome running folks!

I’m off to review the next product!

~SM

 

 

Look Fly with a SPI(belt)

If you’re like me, at one time or another you have tried running while juggling at least three things in hand…and not like one of those cool running juggler people either.  More than likely, you probably look uncomfortable and not to mention inefficient. Which is why I was stoked to learn about the SPIbelt!

So what is a SPIbelt, you ask?  Well the name says it all!  A SPIbelt is a “small personal item” belt designed to hold all of your essentials while on the run…and you also kind of look like a rad secret agent with your handy belt. 😉

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I’m gonna go ahead and state the obvious…yes, it kind of looks like a glorified fanny pack at first…but I assure you…they are much cuter and less bulky than a fanny pack.  And if by chance you DO love fanny packs, then I am confident that you will also love this SPIbelt.

There are several SPIbelt options to choose from. I had the chance to review the SPIbelt Performance Series in pink!  Here are a few quick facts about the SPIbelt:

  • It holds most smartphones
  • It’s bounce-free
  • It has 4 loops for energy gels
  • It fits waist sizes up to 52″
  • It’s weather-resistant, but NOT waterproof

And it came with some SWAG! Yippee!

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These stickers are great to spice up boring hydration bottles! 🙂

It also came with some instructions, which is perfect for us visual learners.

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So before I tell you about my experience with the SPIbelt, let me tell you how I lived life without one.  Now, I usually push a stroller on my runs which normally blows cause of the extra weight, uneven terrains, hills, etc.  However, the one great thing about pushing a stroller is that you always have a place to store your things.  My Bob Revolution has cup holders, zippered pockets, and a huge storage basket.  It’s basically like the Cadillac of strollers.  But a couple of times a week, I do have the opportunity to run stroller-free and this is where I run into logistical problems.  Where do I put my keys, cash, phone, etc.?  Most running shorts don’t have pockets.  At best, there is a tiny inside pocket that will hold one key and maybe some cash.  I’ve had to run many races with my key tied to my shoelaces, money hidden in my shoe, all while holding my phone. It’s awkward and annoying.  Which by the way, phones are getting bigger so they aren’t as easy to hold for 3+ miles anymore.

So I was overjoyed to finally try a SPIbelt!  It was perfect timing since I am training for the upcoming Carlsbad Half Marathon and I have been adding in some longer runs.  I couldn’t wait to ditch the kiddos so I could try this puppy out.

It was super easy to put on and adjust before heading out for an afternoon run.  It took a little time to get used to running with it the first time.  It almost felt like trying to run when your six months pregnant.  The extra weight on the lower part of your stomach feels awkward at first, but then you get used it after a mile or so. I was really surprised at how well if conformed to my body and didn’t bounce throughout my runs.  Even when climbing some pretty steep stairs!

I also liked that I had place to store my pepper spray!

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Another one of my running adventures was to Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach.  This is also a very hilly and windy area and I liked being able to store my keys and phone without the worry of my things falling off scary cliffs.

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Another great time to use your SPIbelt is when taking your dog on the run!  It’s a great place to store baggies so you can quickly clean up after your dog and continue on with your activity!

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And if your dog is big enough, they can rock the SPIbelt too! 😉

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So let’s talk about the functionality of the pocket and the loops.  I’m not a huge energy gel person just because I’m not a fan of most of the tastes and textures, but I like the energy blocks or anything that has more of a “gummy bear” texture.  The loops were kind of tight and I had to work to get anything in there.  Design wise, I imagine it’s to keep the SPIbelt as small and flexible as possible…but function wise, I wasn’t a huge fan mostly because I don’t have a ton of patience for that type of stuff.  Not a big deal though, because I can easily throw the energy supplements into the zippered pocket part.

And speaking of the zippered pocket, I thought it was great except for one thing – Getting the phone in and out was kind of a hassle.  I think if I had taken the case off (I have an iPhone 6S), it would have fit a little better.  However, due to my children I never take the case off.  I also run with Bluetooth headphones sometimes and I felt that at certain points during the run (mostly if I had to stop), the phone and the headphones didn’t sync as well – meaning the song would go in and out or completely stop.  But it was only if I stopped in certain spots and wasn’t a complete deal breaker.  The other issue is if you want to change a song or if you needed to pause your run (like when using a running app).  I typically run with a Garmin so pausing or stopping wasn’t an issue, but changing a song or declining a call was kind of a pain.  If you are going to keep your phone in there with a few other things, I suggest trying to keep it in there for the duration of the run.  Or else you will be spending extra time trying to squeeze it back in the pocket.

I think the SPIbelt Performance Series comes at a reasonable price as well – $25.99 with free shipping on U.S. orders.  And you can save 20% using code “BibChat2016” until November 18th, 2016.  There are also come nifty accessories that you can add, like a race bib holder (so you don’t put holes in your fancy race day shirts) and an H20 companion.

Overall, I really liked the SPIbelt and I know I will be using it more as the half marathon draws closer and my runs become longer.  I think it’s a great tool that all runners should check out and they make great gifts for a runner in your life! I know I’m grateful for mine!

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Don’t forget to catch #BibChat this Tuesday on Twitter at 6pm PST.  You will have the chance to learn more about the SPibelt and maybe even win one of your own!  Chat with you then! 😉

You can also read what some other BibRave Pros thought of the SPIbelt Performance series:

Erica’s Review

Carolyn’s Review

*Disclaimer: I received the SPIbelt Performance Series for free to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Can’t wait to review the next product!

~SM

My First Running Coach

*Disclaimer: I received 6 weeks of online coaching from Ekiden for free in exchange for an honest review.  This is an awesome perk of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out Bibrave.com to review and write race reviews!

So what is Ekiden?  Well the name Ekiden comes from a long distance relay race that takes place in Japan.  Relays are a team effort and require a great deal of communication to be successful, which is what Ekiden is all about – communication between coaches and athletes.

Ekiden is an online coaching program that pairs athletes with coaches and communication occurs through phone calls, text messages, and an online messaging system.  I’ve been running for several years, but mostly casually with a few races here and there.  I’ve run one half marathon about two years and recently decided that I would like to run another in a few months – The Carlsbad Half Marathon to be exact!.  Since I have two kids under the age of four, it can sometimes be difficult to map out a running plan and stay consistent with training.

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I was really excited to try out Ekiden!  I figured this was the perfect time to experience this whole coaching deal and I liked the idea of it being online so I didn’t have to worry about scheduling appointments with the kiddos.

I was a little nervous about getting started with a coach.  I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect and I was kind of worried that the coach would think I was too slow or just not coachable.

The first step with Ekiden is filling out a questionnaire where you enter in your running routine, past races, racing goals and overall goals that you have with Ekiden.  Then you are supposed to pick from three coaches chosen for you by Ekiden.  They apparently skipped this step with me as I was automatically paired up with Coach Fiona.  Then you wait for a phone call from your chosen coach and get to know each other a little bit better.  This is the number that will be used to text back and forth between your coach.  Note: the coach can call you, but if you try calling the number you will learn that it’s an automated system.  I’m assuming this is so the coach isn’t bombarded with phone calls at all hours of the night.

Coach Fiona and I spoke for about 10 minutes.  I let her know how many days a week that I wanted to run and that I wanted to run a half marathon soon.  She was very friendly and explained her running accomplishments and qualifications as a coach.  Then she loaded up the first week of my plan into the Ekiden scheduling system!

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The Ekiden coaches use Strava to keep track of your activity so you will have to create an account.  If you use a Garmin, you can also sync your activity automatically to Strava using Garmin Connect.  I liked that my coach not only scheduled my runs, but also my cross-training days as well as my rest days.  They also use a “blue dot” system.  If you complete your daily goal you get a blue dot, if you don’t then you get a red dot.  And much like grade school, nobody wants any red marks on their record.

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One unexpected thing came out of my coaching experience – I started to enjoy yoga!  I’ve never been into yoga before because it takes a lot of focus.  But since I was already sticking to a plan I wanted to challenge myself to a new activity.  I also knew that I would be doing longer runs and  I wanted to get in more stretching and breathing.  So on most of my cross-training days I chose yoga as my exercise.  The kids even joined a couple of times! 😉 I really felt like I was getting stronger throughout the weeks as I was able to hold poses for longer periods of time.

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Coach Fiona also wrote in some encouraging messages along the way and asked how I was feeling a couple of times.  She also adjusted my plan when I let her know that I was actually running a 10k on one of my scheduled off days.

After a couple of weeks she began adding in a few more challenging runs.  Like asking me to run my last mile faster than the previous mile or incorporating some interval training and longer runs into my routine.  I liked that this happened gradually so that I wasn’t overwhelmed right away.

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So how much does this whole shindig really cost?  There are different Coaching Levels and packages that range in price from $59-$199, but you could do a personal coaching plan for as low as $49 per month.  Would I pay this?  Meh..for me personally, probably not as there are many free running plans available online and on Pinterest.  However, if I were super competitive or just had no idea where to start with running, then I would be all over this.

There were also two things that I thought could be improved in the system:  1.  It would be more convenient if there was an “add to calendar” option when the coach texts the daily goal to you.  2.  The coach uploaded my weekly plan every Sunday or Monday.  I would have preferred to know my schedule more in advance – perhaps every two weeks rather than each week.

Did I enjoy my overall experience?  Absolutely!  I loved the accountability!  Some days I didn’t want to run, but knowing that Coach Fiona was “watching” gave me the boost to get it done!  I also wanted to see how many blue dots that I could get in a row and wanted as little red dots as possible.  I think this online coaching system is great, but just like any new program or product, there are always kinks that need to be worked out.  I’m just glad I was able to meet my goals while running with the kiddos! 🙂

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You can try Ekiden for yourself and save a little by using code “BibRave16”.  This will give you a free month of training when you purchase three months!  How’s that for swag?!

What do you think?  Have you tried a running coach?  Do you think online coaching is effective?

Can’t wait to review the next product!

~SM

 

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