Wellness In Real Life

“Keepin it real”

If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed my handles have changed. I didn’t get hacked, I’ve changed the name of my blog and moved to a new site – Wellness In Real Life.

Please join me there and let me know what you think! I’m still working on the site and fully transitioning, so there are still some hints of ‘Run Like A Girl’ there too. It’s still me so I hope you’ll stick around and keep reading.

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Throwin It Back and Looking Ahead

“Something old, something new”

No, not a blog about wedding season. Although, if you’re planning to get married this summer and dreading the thought of a wedding diet, I offer you this older blog on why I chose NOT to diet for my wedding.

This week marks a big day – June 1.

What? Why is June 1 a big deal? Well, technically, it’s not…other than my friend, Lindsay’s birthday (Happy bday, Lins!).

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Fear no food. Even in the summertime.

June is the first month of summer. For the majority of you, that’s exciting news! Most people love summer. Me, I’m more of a winter gal, but I still look forward to weekends at the lake, more daylight, and swapping out my winter garb for summer threads.

No matter who you are or how much you like summer, many feel a pang of anxiety as the new season approaches. With shorts, tanks, and swimsuits on the horizon, I want to share my opinion on detox diets. Feel free to read the three reasons I say forgo the crash diet, then, do as you will.

With that old blog, here’s something new. There’s a change coming to the blog. A big one. I’m rolling out a brand new site and a brand new name. Same writing, same me, so I hope you’ll come along for the ride!

What’s your old and new for June? An old fitness goal you’re reviving or perhaps something new you’re trying? Comment below or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311.

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Don’t Run a Marathon Without Training

“Respect the process”

College student runs Fargo Marathon without training.

That’s not clickbait, that’s an actual headline of an actual story about an actual guy who actually ran a marathon without actually training.

Initial thoughts that might cross your mind would be “I don’t believe it.” Or, “How did he do it?” Or even, “Wow, that’s amazing!”

The first thought that came to my mind? “What a dick move.”

As the story goes, this guy planned to train, but kept putting it off, never got around to it. Still, he showed up on race day and stepped up to the starting line. Apparently he thought running a marathon was no big deal and do people really need to put in all that time and training to run it?

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High fives to this awesome crew of runners rockin the 4:20 pace group

Let me tell you something, sir. Part of what makes a marathon so special and what makes a marathon runner so remarkable is the weeks and months of dedication they put in, before race day. The training is the true test of grit, determination, and discipline. Running the actual marathon? That’s the reward. The icing on the cake.

Now, this kid does admit that what he did was a really bad idea. After capturing his journey on video, he proved that it was pretty much the most awful experience ever, one he said he’d never do again. And that makes me sad. Running a marathon is tough but it can be a great experience. One I personally can’t wait to have again in October.

I’m not even going to touch on the dangerous message this sends to others who feel they don’t need to put in the time and effort, then wind up horribly injured. The only other thing I’m going to say is, to me, this comes across as disrespectful, and is a giant slap in the face to the people who put in the time to train and run their race.

So, now that’s out of the way, let me put a positive vibe on this blog. Hats off to you, marathon runner! The one who got up before dawn, every Saturday for 16-plus weeks to get in your long run. The one who sacrificed post-work happy hours to make sure you met your weekly mileage goals. The one who followed a diet designed to nourish and fuel your body.

You’re the real story, the one the local news stations should have celebrated. So, allow me to celebrate you. You rule.

Did you run the Fargo Marathon, or other race recently, after weeks or months of training? Post a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311. And if you liked this post and think fellow hardworking runners would too, please share on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Hardest Part of Marathon Training – After 26.2

“You can’t start the next chapter if you keep re-reading the last one”

Another Fargo Marathon in the books. This year’s race was one of the most fun for me, as I had the privilege of leading one of the pace groups. While I was nervous for my first assignment as a full marathon pacer, those nerves quickly went away, as I laughed, encouraged, and bonded with some great people throughout the streets, bike paths, and college campuses of Fargo and Moorhead.

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Two members of my pace crew – started together, finished together.

Like other marathon runners, the hardest part of marathon training is here – what to do next. There are several reasons post-marathon time is tough but unlike other marathon runners, I don’t have the “whats” part of it to deal with. You know the “whats”:

“What could I have done differently?”
“What if I had run the first few miles a little faster?”
“What should I have changed with my training to do better?”

Runners are notoriously hard on themselves, often dissecting and analyzing every part of the race, every step in the training process, all to know what they could have done better.

As a pacer, I had a different approach than most runners hoping for a personal goal; I simply had a job to do and, I’m happy to say, I believe I did it well. So I get to look back on this year’s event and training with no regrets, no “whats,” but I sympathize with runners right now who are dealing with, both the scrutinizing “whats” and that big one: “What do I do now?” That’s why I offer up a throwback blog, how to beat those after-marathon-blues.

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What’s next for me? More fun runs with Ainsley’s Angels.

Those of you who recently ran a marathon, whether Fargo or other, I invite you to read as well. Remember to celebrate your accomplishment. No matter how race day turned out, you worked hard for months and that alone is worth recognizing. Most importantly, it will help you move on to a better one of those “whats” – what’s next!

If you like this post and think other runners would too, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. As always, if you have questions or something to say, please leave a comment or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Why You Should Run With a Pacer – And Why You Shouldn’t

“Follow the leader”

Iiiitttt’ssss Marathon Week! After a long winter of training, it’s hard to believe the big day is almost here. On Saturday, along with thousands of runners, I’ll step up to the start line at the Fargo Marathon, my eleventh consecutive year running my beloved hometown race.

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I’m THIS EXCITED for Marathon Day

What’s different about other years I’ve run the full marathon is this year I’m doing it as a pacer – my first time pacing a full 26.2 endeavor. I’m leading the 4:20 finish group so hoping I have a couple first-timers run, at least part of their journey, alongside me.

As a pacer, I’d love to tell you all the reasons why running with us is a great idea. And, as a runner who never ran in a pace group myself, I feel I should give you the other side of the story, too. So here they are, the reasons why running with a pacer is a great idea – and, why it may not be for you.

To help illustrate, I’ve identified five types of runners; hopefully you can see some of yourself in one – or all – of these.

1. If You’re a First-Timer
I identify the First-Timer as, maybe not a rookie racer, but a first-timer in his or her respective race, whether a full or half marathon, a 10-miler or 10k.

Why You Want to Run With a Pacer
The most obvious of all, it’s your first race! A pacer will help calm your nerves, keep your adrenaline in check, remind you to take fluids or gel, and, most importantly, keep you positive. Not only that, you’ll get the camaraderie of the full pace group – you’re all in it together.

Why You Don’t Want to Run With a Pacer
Especially for your first race, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and push too fast to keep up with a group. Conversely, you may end up underestimating yourself and be held back by the group you thought would be the right pace for you. Remember, a pacer knows how to run the race really well. But you know YOU really well.

2. If You’re a Type A Runner
I identify the Type A runner as the runner who has a plan on race day. Not only do these runners have have a goal finish time, they likely have a target pace per-every-mile. They’ve looked ahead at the course and have strategy for navigating turns and hills. They even a plan when they’ll take their gels and water stops. Full disclosure, I am the Type A Runner.

Why You Want to Run With a Pacer
The only scenario you’re likely to even consider running with a pacer is if you aren’t totally confident in the ability to pace to your goal. While it’s hard for the control freak to put their trust in someone else, the Type A Runner may see the pacer as a way to maintain the target and, ultimately, achieve their goal.

Why You Don’t Want to Run With a Pacer
The Type A Runner needs to be in full control of every aspect of the race possible. That’s pretty much the end of this story.

3. If You’re a Lazy Runner
No, not an oxymoron, there is a type of runner who I’d identify as “lazy” on race day. They’re the ones who put in the training but, when race day comes, they back off and don’t push it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with this. I myself have taken a day or two off from being a Type A Runner to enjoy the spoils of a lazy marathon.

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Pacers make it fun – mascot selfies and all

Why You Want to Run With a Pacer
Another pretty obvious one – if, deep down, you want to achieve a PR or other time goal, running with a pacer will give you the push you may not otherwise do on your own. Also, you’ll likely enjoy the fun of running in a group.

Why You Don’t Want to Run With a Pacer
Often, the Lazy Runner is lazy because that’s how they enjoy running. Taking in the sights and sounds of the race, getting lost in the moment, not worrying about their watch. If this is how you enjoy running, make no apologies, and just enjoy it.

4. If You’re An Energy Feeder
Kind of the opposite of the Lazy Runner, I define the Energy Runner as one less disciplined during training but then feeds off all the energy and excitement on race day. They’re energetic early on, but may start to fade before they see a mile marker with a number in the 20s.

Why You Want to Run With a Pacer
All that energy in one bunch? A leader keeping the group motivated? Extra cheers from the crowd directed towards the entire group? You’ll love all the added motivation and camaraderie built-in throughout the course. And if you choose to line up with a group that’s running a pace realistic to what you can maintain, it might help from going out too fast, too early, and conserve your energy.

Why You Don’t Want to Run With a Pacer
The extra excitement and early energy bursts might cause the Feeder to experience an earlier-than-usual bonk. If you’re prone to this, it might be best to stay focused on you vs. others – notice your breath, how you’re feeling, your stride, and do what feels right.

5. If You’re A Repeat Offender
Repeat Offenders – many of us fall into this category, even if we’ve already identified a fit in one of the four above. I identify the Repeat Offenders as the ones who have run their particular race, from 5k to marathon, numerous times. They know how their body and mind react through the miles, and probably have a good idea of how to pace themselves on their own.

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Repeat Offenders: my pal, Dakota and me

Why You Want to Run With a Pacer
If you haven’t yet hit that PR or time goal you’ve been wanting, this is a great chance to do so. Because you know these miles really well, you’re likely to choose a realistic pace group and use that to hit a goal.

Why You Don’t Want to Run With a Pacer
It has been said before and will be said again – the pacer knows the course and mile splits, but no one knows you better than you. If you’re seeking a new PR, running on your own is a great opportunity to teach yourself the art of pacing and make you a stronger runner. And, as an experienced runner and one who keeps coming back for more, you certainly don’t need the energy and extra push that a pacer provides.

Just as every runner is different, every runner on race day is different. Between the weather, nerves, sleep, and about a million other variables, you never know how race day is going to shake out. Always do what feels right for you.

If you’re considering running with a pacer, the best advice I can give is to start in the group, then either get ahead or drop back depending on the feels.

Have you ever run a race with a pacer? Why or why not? If you did, was it a good experience? Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

As always, if you liked this post, please share it on Facebook or Twitter, along with any upcoming races you’re training for.

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Taper Goals for Marathon Training

“Make the best of what’s around”

While most Fargo Marathon runners began their taper last week, I was enjoying my peak week. Pacing Get in Gear the weekend prior required an adjustment to my overall training schedule. Normally, diverting from a schedule would have been impossible for my Type A running personality but in this case, it resulted in me getting to delay my taper a whole week.

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Yep, looks like it’s taper time.

Those of you new to the blog won’t be surprised to know I’m not a fan of tapering. I certainly have blogged about it…a couple times. Those who have been around awhile may recall last year’s blog where I turned things upside down, actually offering some positivity for tapering.

This year, I’m again making the best of the taper instead of cursing it. Especially with it being a week shorter, I’m choosing to put a positive spin on it – or, maybe more distracting myself from it – by giving myself a new goal to achieve during the next two weeks til race day.

As much as I’ve been trying to take more time for mindfulness and meditation, it’s not a habit yet so it’s often forgotten or deprioritized. Not during the next two weeks though. I set a goal for focused, mindful time at least three times a week during my taper.

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Burton helps me stick to a regular yoga routine.

This will be good for me in general, but also a really good exercise in quality psychological prep before a race. I’ve been putting in so many miles and weight days, my body has gotten the prep it needs for 26.2. Now it’s time for a little mind prep. I believe remaining focused, calm, and aware on race day will allow me to be my best, to lead my pace group through the miles and have a great run.

Anyone else tapering right now? Have you thought about setting a little side goal that will benefit you on race day and be a nice distraction during your taper? Comment or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

As always, if you like this post, please share it on Facebook or Twitter, along with what race you’re running! A little #runbrag is always good to keep the mental energy going this close to race day.

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Why You Should Run the 0.1 or 0.2

“You don’t have to go the extra mile, only part of it”

I’m fresh off pacing my very first 10k event, part of the annual Minneapolis Get in Gear race series. It was a great time, filled with several of my usual pace experiences – running with awesome people, getting hugs, at least one person asking about my pacer sign, and even a post-race photo request with a proud finisher.

What was interesting, though, was a question I got about a mile into the race; one I had never been asked before but is part of my strategy every race. A fellow runner asked how I factor the 0.2 into my overall pace to hit the goal finish.

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Respect it, train for it

Let me tell you, I respect that 0.2, both in a 10k and a marathon. Same with the 0.1 in a 5k and half marathon. Whether I’m training, racing, or pacing, I’m very conscious of races that don’t end on an even mileage number, which is most of them, and I factor that mileage number into my overall time and pace strategy.

In a nutshell, I always – repeat ALWAYS – train for the 0.1 or 0.2 by adding that little extra mileage onto my long runs, and some of my shorter ones, too.

This isn’t just me, I do it when I create running plans for others. I recently created a half marathon training plan for my friend, Jess, and you can bet her long run goals ended with a 0.1.

Why do I feel so strongly about the 0.1 and 0.2? Why do I always train for it and suggest you do too? Here’s why, summed up in four key points.

Train for Distance
A 5k is 3.1 miles, not 3. A marathon is 26.2 miles, not 26. So, I see this question as, not, “why do I train for the extra distance,” but “why would you NOT train for the extra distance?” And, p.s., it’s technically not ‘extra’ distance, it’s simply the total distance. It’s going to show up on race day so it needs to show up on your training days.

Train for Mental
You know the joke, “A person who says a minute goes by fast has never been on a treadmill.” If your mind has you banking on ending your run as soon as the watch chimes on the even mile, those last few paces are going to feel incredibly long and painful.

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Enjoy the 0.1 or 0.2, and that last stretch down to the finish

Train for Extra-Long
All watches don’t track distance the same and rarely does a race end on the exact distance it’s advertised. More often than not, races go long. My 10k I just paced, for example, ended as 6.3 miles, while a full marathon I ran a couple years back was closer to 26.4 (according to my watch). In these cases, the total distance was closer to a half mile more than the even mileage number – pretty significant. All the more reason to get yourself prepared to push a little further with every long run.

Train for a PR
Remember how I talked about the mental aspect of having to keep running those last fractions of a mile when your brain thinks it should already be done? If you’re going for a specific time goal and you don’t factor in that extra distance, it can be the difference between a solid PR or blowing up your time. If you train for the added distance, you’ll already be used to accommodating it and the extra time it adds to every run.

How many of you already train for the 0.1 or 0.2? Just me? Comment or tweet me, @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

As always, if you liked this post, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. If you want to go ahead and include a photo of your watch, showing the miles you ran – with the 0.1 or 0.2, of course – that would be supercool!

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