Monday, January 28, 2013

Why Running?

Especially during these cold winter months, I am often asked why I choose to put myself through the “torture” of distance running. Considering how physically and mentally taxing a task running can be, I can understand the question. For those who have never called themselves a runner, it can be difficult to understand why anyone would go out of their way to get a workout in at all hours of the day and night and in all kinds of weather when they have a thousand other things to do. But for those who have, they cannot imagine their lives without the sport. For the non-believers out there, I wanted to share a few of the reasons I make time for running in my busy routine.

Initially, I started running because finishing a race gave me a sense of accomplishment. Racing allows me to test myself mentally and physically, and every time I finish a race in a new personal best time or I overcome whatever obstacles I encountered along the way, I feel like I have passed that test. I love the competitive aspect of the sport, both against myself and my fellow race entrants. Running bolsters my self-confidence and makes me feel like a stronger person who can take on the world. And I do take on the world every time it throws snow or rain or wind or cold at me - and I win!

Now that I am out of the world of high school and collegiate athletics, I have new motivation to run. In a world where we are all busy juggling responsibilities from work to family to education, running forces me to take some time for myself. I am able to collect my thoughts for an hour or so and clear my mind, allowing me to return home to “real life” feeling more energetic and able to be productive. Other days, I am fortunate enough to use my running as a social activity. My running partners are wonderful friends, and they inspire me look forward to my workouts more than anything else. When you train through good and bad days together, you form the strongest bonds and learn to lean on each other when you need it most. Some of my closest friends are those who have laced up their shoes and hit the trails with me over the years.

Additionally, there are a variety of smaller reasons that add up to a lot of motivation for me to keep running. For one thing, after a good run, I have earned the right to relax and eat whatever I want for the rest of the day! Plus, running outdoors gives me a great excuse to buy a new athletic wardrobe when the season changes, which I tend to get fairly excited about. More importantly, running allows me to be involved with the community and support positive causes when I enter road races to benefit non-profit organizations. These races are an exciting way to meet new people and explore different parts of my community by foot.

When it comes down to it, running is a lifelong activity that allows me to get and stay fit. It helps strengthen my mind and body and keeps me feeling energetic. I hope to one day be an excellent role model for my children by showing them how to live an active healthy lifestyle. Each day that I run, I prove to myself that I can meet my goals and overcome difficulties. On top of that, this sport has inspired and developed some of the closest friendships I have ever known. If you have never tried it, today may be the day to lace up a pair of shoes and hit the roads to see how running can change your life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Is it Time to Break Up With Your Sports Bra?

Many of us are still clinging to sports bras that we have had for years because we "have to wear two anyways" or they "still look fine".  No matter how good they have been to you, they can't give you what you need anymore.  It's time to break up with those old sports bras!

Your girls are only connected to your chest by small Cooper's Ligaments, and once those stretch or tear, there's nothing to keep them from sagging.  Prevent damage by wearing a bra that supports them properly (not just one that smooshes them down into a uni-boob) and by replacing sports bras regularly.  You don't need to have one in every color... just rotate through 3 great bras and replace them about once a year.  Trust me - when you explain this logic to the man in your life, he will be more than happy to get you a couple of new sports bras every year.  My husband is deeply concerned for the well-being of my Cooper's Ligaments now. :)

We have a great selection of Moving Comfort sports bras that are designed by women for women and are made for high impact activities like running.  If you are in need of a new sports bra (or two), stop by the store, and we will be happy to fit your girls with their new favorite bra.  You'll never have to worry about missing that old bra that never gave you the support you deserve anyway!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Yoga for Runners... Ahhh-mazing!!

Yoga isn't usually the first thing you think of when you hear "cross training", but if you've never tried it, you are missing out!  It's a low impact way to get your heart rate up and improve your performance by strengthening key muscle groups and working on mental focus.

Both running and cycling can take a major toll on the hips, knees, and lower back. Over time, this tightens the musculature and limits movement. (This is why distance runners notoriously have terrible flexibility.) Endurance athletes who incorporate Moksha (hot) yoga into their training report improved stride length, better mental focus, and fewer aches and pains after runs.

Just last weekend, our very own Moksha Yoga NKY studio did a beginning Moksha Yoga for Runners class for our running groups.  Let me just say - Ahhhh-mazing.  I was new to yoga, and in true runner form, have zero flexbility.  All of the postures can be modified as needed, so our whole group was able to get an excellent workout without overdoing it.  Most of us were newbies, and I have never heard so much positive feedback from anything we have done as I heard about our class at Moksha.  You leave feeling so relaxed!  As a former Division 1 collegiate athlete, I figured yoga would be super easy, but everyone can get a workout if they are truly focused on their form and breathing.  I canNOT recommend trying it highly enough.  Plus, if you're new, you can get your first month unlimited for $40 right now!

New to yoga?

The heat really warms up your muscles effectively, allowing you to do the postures more deeply to get a better stretch and workout with less likelihood of injury.  Plus, hot yoga allows you to develop strength, flexibility, and toned muscles along with a cardiovascular workout.  You get a great core/back workout (which is so critical for runners), and total boday strengthening.  If you've never tried it, get your booty over to Moksha Yoga and see what it's all about!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Be Safe - Be Seen!

Have you ever been driving to work in the morning or heading home around dusk and narrowly missed hitting a walker or runner you just couldn’t see until you were right on top of them?  It instantly makes your heart race.  As the days get shorter, more and more athletes are taking to the streets in the dark, and I get so excited to see people out taking care of their health.  But I am constantly surprised at how many are out with no illumination or reflective running gear.  Don’t be that pedestrian!!

Each year, over 122,000 runners, walkers, and cyclists are hit by cars.  To limit your chances of joining their ranks, do what you can to make yourself more visible to motorists.  The best way to accomplish this is with reflective gear, from vests to wristbands to clip-on LED lights.  These items are especially critical during the fall and winter months when pedestrian accidents are at their highest volume, as reflective apparel and accessories can add up to several hundred feet to visibility.  Reflective gear is more than just bright-colored clothing; it includes clothing and accessories with reflective patches that actually illuminate when light (like car headlights) is shone on them.
My personal favorite piece of reflective gear is the New Balance Tri-Viz Cap, which we sell at the store.  Not only is it highly reflective, but it also has built in LED lights in the brim to light the path ahead of you.  It’s seriously great because it helps you be seen, and it also does a wonderful job of allowing you to see where you are going and improve your footing in the dark.  No more carrying a flashlight with you on your runs!
Other best practices to keep yourself safe include running with iPods on low volume (so you can hear traffic) and running on the left side of the road, facing traffic. You are much more able to act quickly to avoid an oncoming motorist if you can see or hear them approaching.

Tri-State Running Company heavility promotes visibility and advocates safety awareness in our community.  I cannot stress the importance of reflective apparel and accessories enough if you are going to be exercising outdoors early in the morning or later in the evening, when light is limited.  Stop by the store to learn more about the reflective gear we carry and try out a head lamp, reflective hat, clip-on LED light, or any of our new fall/winter apparel with built-in reflectors.  The more reflective gear you wear, the more likely it is that drivers will spot you.  We hope to see you staying safe on the roads this winter!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Running Friends With Benefits

Ever have one of those days where you have such good intentions to be productive, and then suddenly the whole day has gone by and you didn’t get to any of it?  It happens to the best of us (especially when the weather gets ugly), but the problem comes when those days string together into weeks and then months until we are suddenly so completely overwhelmed that we don’t know where to begin.  That has, more or less, been my running for the past several months.  I saw a quote the other day that said, “If you had started running when you first started thinking about it, you’d be done by now.”  EXACTLY!

After I get out and go for a run, I am energized.  I have accomplished something for the day that I can feel good about.   And when I run consistently, I am proud of my strong body and mind.  Plus, being the over-competitive woman I am, I thoroughly enjoy being in good enough shape to embarrass a few people in a race from time to time.  Now, when I don’t run regularly, that’s another story.  And now that I am no longer running for a team with set practice times and a group of people who are counting on my, it is SO easy to come up with reasons why I can’t go.  I’m too busy.  It’s too cold.  It’s too hot.  It got too dark.  Something better came up.  I ate too much.  I’ll run tomorrow.  The list goes on.

So, to get myself back on track, I got an accountability partner.  Let me tell you, it’s a lot harder to skip a workout when you have a friend waiting on you.  When I do feel like cancelling, my accountability partner gives me a little pep talk and gets my sorry little butt a bit more motivated.  And once I get out there, I am so glad I did!  We catch up on each other’s lives, get some fresh air, and don’t have to feel guilty when we get hibachi for lunch afterwards.

For those of you who may not already have this person in your life who is either fit enough to work out with you or motivated enough to hold you accountable whenever you try to pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep, no worries.  You can MEET your someone through one of the various group running programs in the area.  In fact, any of us here at the store would love to be that person for you.  Many of these programs have fees, but if you want to try a free group, stop by our store (Tri-State Running Company in Edgewood, KY) on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM or Saturdays at 7:30 AM to meet some “running friends” as I like to call them.  These people will help you through training setbacks, celebrate with you when you finish a race, and generally make running fun.
Running can be rewarding as a solo sport that allows you to test yourself and gather your thoughts, but you’re missing out if you never run with others.  Runs go by so much quicker when you are able to pass the time talking and laughing with friends.  And distance running, especially when done early in the morning or late at night, is much safer with a group.  Plus, the additional encouragement you receive and the sense of community a group provides are often motivators that end up helping improve performance.  Whether you’re an avid runner or someone who’s always wanted to become one but never knew where to begin, Tri-State Running Company has a running group that can accommodate your needs.  We train for full and half marathons, 5Ks, 10Ks, and more.  Check out our website at for more details on our training groups or come by the store to get a copy of our training schedule.  Currently, our Flying Pig training groups are in session, but we will be starting 5K training programs in mid-February for both intermediate and beginning runners.  We really hope you will consider joining us.  Our absolute favorite part of the job is getting to help you learn to love running!