Saturday, November 29, 2014

Runners! STOP DOING THIS! Two Words to Banish From Your Running Vocabulary



I was trying to finish the Cox Running Club Thanksgiving Day 5K (aka the Turkey Trot) in under 30 minutes. Actually, I didn't give too much thought to what my finishing time would be at first. Then hubby put it in my head that I should shoot for finishing in under 30. I told him I wasn't sure I could do that these days. While 30 minutes is slower than my 5K personal record, my training runs usually put me at about 31-32 minutes at the 5K mark. He said if I didn't run it in under 30 then Thanksgiving would be cancelled this year. How's that for motivation? lol

Cox Racing Club Thanksgiving Day 5K at Trinity park in Fort Worth.

I missed the mark by just under 4 seconds. In my defense I spent at least 4 seconds in the beginning getting around the walkers. It's OK though, my eventual success will be that much sweeter. I am working to get stronger and faster every day and soon I will be back! I am considering registering for the Christmas Day Run and the New Years Eve run for my comeback 5K races.

I always do a double take when it says age 40. What? Oh yeah, that's my age now.

This got me thinking about something runners do, and I am as guilty as any.

"I ran a 5K but I was slow."

"I only ran 3 miles today."

"I know my pace isn't as fast as some others, but I feel good that I ran a 10 minute mile."

"I know I don't run as far as other runners, but I ran 6 miles for the first time today."

"I'm not a real runner."

Why do we do this? It's like we have to put out the disclaimer before we share our accomplishments, maybe we say it because we are afraid someone one will say it first.

"Oh Lea, you finished your 5K in 30:03? That's pretty slow." It's like I have to tell you I know I am slow before you tell me first. But the truth is no one cares as much as I do about how fast I run, how far I run, or how many miles I put in each week. Besides, the running community is largely a supportive, inclusive community. I see very little negativity. There is no need to undermine our successes. I am proud of my finishing time.

I got up early on Thanksgiving morning and ran a 5K. I ran it faster than most of my training runs. YAY ME.

We should know better. It is not like anyone is judging us based on our pace or milage. There is no good pace or bad pace. It is your pace, your level, your ability. If you run a 7 minute mile or a 12 minute mile, there will likely be someone faster and someone slower. The key is to compare yourself to you and work to improve based on your own personal best, not someone else's.

I say STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Stop undermining your successes with "But" and "Only" and make this your 2015 New Year's resolution. Repeat after me.

"I will be proud of my accomplishments and not undermine them. I will not compare myself to other runners. I will banish "But" and "Only" from my running vocabulary. I run, therefore I am a runner."

And if you were wondering where Ollie was at the Turkey Trot, you obviously missed the disaster (aka misadventure) that happened last year. 

Hubby granted me a Thanksgiving pardon for my four second shortcoming and Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch.

Will you join me in banishing BUT and ONLY from your running vocabulary? I hope you're enjoying your weekend, friends. I gotta run. I only have to run 10 miles today to train for the Dallas half marathon.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Runner's Ultimate Gift Guide: Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals

I can't believe it is that time of year again. It's time for my annual holiday gift guide for runners, which is really just a thinly veiled personal holiday wish list. So If you are a friend or family member (or extremely generous stranger) I've laid it all out for you.

If you are anything like me, you will get up at 5am (or earlier!) on any given non-work morning to run a race, but you wouldn't be caught dead fighting crowds at the mall (or insert any other retail establishment here) at that hour to save a few bucks. Black Friday is not my thing. I like a good deal as much as the next gal, but I prefer to avoid fist fights and do my Black Friday shopping in the comfort of my pajamas. This year I am sharing these awesome Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals from some of my favorite companies so you can do all the shopping for your favorite runner in your underwear, and save the getting up super early for your long runs.

Disclosure. Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I make a small percentage if you choose to purchase, which helps support the maintenance of this blog. Unless otherwise noted, these discount codes are valid from Friday November 28th - December 1 2014.  These promo codes were provided from the manufacturer. Running with Ollie Blog is not responsible for pricing, typographical, or other errors.

Run Performance Hoodie from
I am putting this on my ultimate runner's gift guide because I want someone to buy this for me for Christmas. It has thumb holes (THUMB HOLES, I TELL YOU). It couldn't be more perfect for me (um, I mean for the runner in your life) and it's 20% off through Dec 1st from
PROMO CODE: no code needed
DISCOUNT: 20% off

Bootcut "Runner" Yoga Pants from Shine Athletica
These "Runner" Yoga pants are the ideal pants for your favorite runner. We like to run, but more importantly, we like to talk about running. These "Runner" yoga pants are the perfect conversation starter. I can tell you from experience that they are comfortable, stylish, and slimming. Receive 25% off all Shine Athletica apparel from Friday through Monday December 1 on Shine or Etsy shop. Check it out the sites for a ton more cute designs.
DISCOUNT: 25% off site wide

Convertible Mittens and Goodbye Girl Ponytail Headband from Trailheads
If you know a runner, they are probably gearing up for the long winter running season. Just because it is cold outside doesn't mean we stop running. Haven't you heard the runner's creed? "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...." Wait. I think that one belongs to the US post office, but the runner's creed should be the same. We are running no matter what, we just need the proper gear to stay safe and warm. I love TrailHeads and especially their awesome convertible mittens and the ponytail headbands. There is a hole in back for your ponytail! How cool is that? They are having a sale on these two items now.
DISCOUNT: 20% off Power Stretch Convertible Mittens when you purchase a goodbye girl headband plus all US orders ship for free with promo code SHIPFREE

Compression Socks from ProCompression
I know what you are thinking. You're pretty sure that the runner in your life already has a pair of compression socks. The truth is that runners can never have too many, especially when there are so many color and pattern options. If you know a runner who is running a holiday themed race or has been training for a big race, they will love a new design from ProCompression.
DISCOUNT: 40% OFF plus free shipping is available for orders over $20 shipping to a US address until December 5, 2014

Once I started using the FlipBelt, I never looked back. What do you do with your necessities when you run? When we run we need our phones, our keys, our ID, not to mention fuel! There are other running belts with small pouches, but they usually bounce around a little bit. The FlipBelt is a sleek smooth tubular running belt that holds all your running must-haves close to your body with no bouncing, no moving around, and it's surprisingly roomy. Give the gift of sleek to your favorite runner. If they don't know about this already, you will certainly be their new hero. I need one in every color to match my running outfits.
DISCOUNT: 20% OFF through 12/25

Medal Hanger from Allied Medal Displays
If you know a runner, chances are they have acquired a collection of race medals. They may have them stashed away in drawers, hanging on door knobs, or hidden away in closets. Help them display their accomplishments with pride with an awesome medal hanger! There are tons of designs to choose from, plus if you are feeling really creative, you can design a custom display with their name or favorite running mantra. The best part? Allied Medal Displays created a special discount code just for Running with Ollie readers. Save 10% off through 12/2.

"My Running Partner Has Four Legs" Tank Top
If your runner friend has a four-legged running partner, this is the perfect holiday gift! One of a kind tank top from Running with Ollie Blog! FREE SHIPPING IN THE US THROUGH MONDAY DEC 1
PROMO CODE: OLLIEBLACKFRIDAY on Etsy. No code needed for purchases made from

At some point most runners will have some special running needs, whether it is preventative, performance or post injury support. The entire BioSkin site has you covered with 15% off. Click the image below to check out the site for compression accessories and apparel for all your running needs.

Bulu Box
It's the gift that keeps on giving. Give a healthy subscription box! For three months, your favorite fitness enthusiast will receive a Bulu Box filled with 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands. (Picture shown is a couple of boxes combined to show the variety and types of samples.) Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sale! Get a 3 Month Subscription ($30 Value) For Just $10! Use Promo Code Wowzas Today and Save!
DISCOUNT: 3 month subscription for $10 ($30 value)

Free FootNotes Charm from Momentum Jewelry
Every runner loves running jewelry. These adorable Footnote charms slide on your shoelaces with motivating messages. They're free on Cyber Monday only (December 1st) with any $40 purchase from Momentum Jewelry.
PROMO CODE: No code needed
DISCOUNT: Free FootNotes charm with any $40 purchase

More discounts from amazing companies:
Lorna Jane: Fit Friday sale on now, over 100 new sale items. Use the code FIT20 – to receive $20 off (Min spend $100).
Tommie Copper: Friday, 28th - Tommie Copper Email Exclusive: 4 hours only- $25 off of $100+FREE SHIPPING
Apera Gym Bags: All Apera bags are marked at 20% off and all the Duffel Packs are 40% off.

If you must brave the stores on Black Friday, I recommend visiting your local running store. Support these independent businesses in your community. Don't forget that Saturday is small business Saturday, so whether you do you shopping in stores or online, remember to support the small business.

Do you hit the stores on Black Friday or do prefer to shop from behind a keyboard? What's on your wish list? Will you be taking advantage of any of these deals? If you want some of the goodies on this list, please share this post with your loved ones. What's your favorite thing from my runner's ultimate gift guide? Tell me in the comments! I'll consider it your Christmas present to me.

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Not to Train for a Half Marathon (Again)

Hi. My name is Lea and I make bad decisions. Then I don't learn my lesson and I make the same bad decisions again. It seems I never learn.

Back in 2012 I signed up to run the San Antonio Rock n Roll half marathon. At that point, I had run plenty of half marathons before, so this was just another race. But then I forgot to train for it. Yeah, let's go with "forgot." A month before the race, I panicked about being untrained and wrote a blog post about how NOT to train for a half marathon, a humorous look at my pain.

I ran the race. I apparently didn't die. I was slower than usual and it was painful, but I did it. I swore that I would never again attempt to run a half marathon without training for it. Who did I think I was?

Now here we are again two years later and I am once again panicking about being untrained for an upcoming half marathon. It is not as if I haven't been running, it is just that I haven't been putting in the time and miles into those longer runs. This morning I ran six miles and before I could be proud of myself for a run before sunrise, I felt a sense of dread because I realized that six miles is not even half of my upcoming half marathon. Can I do this?

As a throwback to 2012, here are my best tips for how not to train for a half marathon.

How NOT to Train for a Half Marathon:

1. Talk about signing up for a half marathon for months. Talk about it some more. Don't actually register. Wait until the pricing structure is at the highest cost before finally taking the plunge and registering for the race.

2. Don't run any long runs until four weeks before the race. After all, you have run eight half marathons to date, who needs to train? Get cocky.

3. As a matter of fact, barely even run at all. Once a week should be fine. Forget all about speed work, hill repeats, and tempo runs. 

4. Get off track on your diet and gain a few pounds in the weeks approaching the race.  Being properly fueled is probably not that important.  

5. Wait until four weeks before the race, then panic that you are not properly trained. Beat yourself up over it. Tell yourself that you will probably finish in last place. Convince yourself that you will absolutely finish in last place.

6. Don't have a plan, just wing it.

7. Increase your weekly training mileage more than you should every week to play catch up on those long miles you haven't been running. Risk injury.

8. Let your ego get in the way and run too fast for the distance. After all, you wouldn't dare want to post a run on the internet for all the world to see, with a pace over a nine minute mile (gasp! the horror!). You know people are probably definitely judging you by the pace you run. People care about your pace.

9. Don't overly concern yourself with safety or avoiding injury. All that matters now is that you finish this race without a minute of walking and that you set a new personal record, despite the fact you have not been training to do that. 

10. Write a blog post about it dripping with sarcasm.

Maybe one of these days I'll learn my lesson. I plan to fumble through this Dallas half marathon in a couple of weeks, then I'll make my comeback at the Pittsburgh half marathon in May 2015. I promise to train this time. Starting today.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Four Paws Pacer: Can running with your dog make you faster?

Can running with your dog improve your pace?

The inspiration for this post came from two places. The first was an entry in the My Running Partner has Four Legs link up party where the Car-Free, meat free runner wrote about his faster running times when running with his dog. The second came after I ran with this brown-eyed guy, for the first time in a long time.

who could say no to this face?
Truth be told, even though this blog is called Running with Ollie, I haven't been running with Ollie much lately. Mostly because the summer temps in Texas are too hot for Ollie. They are too hot for me too, but I can suffer though it. I don't want to force Ollie to suffer, so we go most of the summer without running together. His safety comes first. His dad takes him for a two mile walk every single day, so I know he is still getting his exercise and quality time with his owners parents.

Then it simply became a habit to run without him. He eventually got accustomed to staying home when I ran. Gone were the days when he would hear the first beep of the GPS watch and would go crazy. Gone were the days when the act of putting on my running shoes threw him into a frenzy. He learned over time that it was his dad that would take him out every day for his daily walk (and I would join them on the weekends).

Today I was feeling a little lot unmotivated. The weather wasn't cooperating. There was a very light mist outside. It was cold and dreary. There was no chance the sun would make an appearance. I was feeling a strong pull towards Sunday laziness.  It would have been easy to take another day off, but I knew I wanted to put in a few miles today. I slowly started changing into my running clothes. First my running tights and shoes. I wore those around for awhile. Then later I changed from my regular favorite Pittsburgh Steelers sweatshirt to my wicking running jacket. I figured if I was at least dressed, I was half way there.

It was go time. I hit start on the GPS watch to sync the satellites and Ollie's ears perked up at me. The look in his eyes showed he remembered what that beep meant, even if he knew that it didn't mean much for him. I made a swift decision. "Let's go!" and with all the enthusiasm that you can expect from a dog getting ready to go on a run, we were out the door. How can I channel that same enthusiasm, every single run?

We took off down the road along our usual route. Ollie was fast. I forgot how fast. He isn't the most well-trained dog, we have some work to do (but he makes up for it in cuteness). He pulled me along my first mile and I finished it one minute faster than usual! That is quite an improvement in pace. My breathing was certainly more labored than usual, but I wasn't dying. Maybe I am not pushing myself hard enough? This was a pace I felt I could sustain for a short run. I finished the 2nd mile at a similar pace (save the time lost for stopping to tie my shoe. AURGH!). Then during my final mile, I had a short exercise-induced asthma attack (that is usually brought on by labored breathing) that killed my pace during my third mile, but my overall pace including the stops and asthma attacks still was between 30-45 seconds faster per mile than my last run.

Ollie makes a great pacer for tempo runs! I sure wish I could bring him with me to the Fort Worth Turkey Trot in two weeks, but I learned last year that is a terrible terrible (did I mention terrible) idea.

Now that the weather is cold, My four paws pacer will be joining me for a few runs each week. It's time to rekindle that running relationship with Ollie.
Ollie shows his gratitude with a sweet leg hug. I need a pedicure.
Do you run with your dog? Do you find that you run faster verses running alone? Or is your dog more well-behaved than mine?

Does your running partner have four legs

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Harnessing the Power of Routine: This is the New Normal

If I had the choice, I would prefer to be independently wealthy. Wouldn't we all? What if we didn't have to go to work every day? What if we had all day to do as we pleased? Would our work outs be more consistent because we would have more free time? Or would they be more sporadic because we would have less structure in our schedules?

I've been running in the morning ever since we set our clocks back for the end of daylight saving time. I set the clocks back, but I pretended that I didn't, woke up the same time as always (ignored the "new" time on the clocks) and used the extra hour to run in the morning. Worked like a charm. I'm well into the 2nd week of morning running (and No Empty Boxes November) and it has been great. It has almost become routine. Sometimes when my morning brain tries to convince me to go back to bed, I remind myself that "This is the new normal." It's my personal morning mantra. Even on the days when I don't work out, I've been getting up at the same hour. I am working to harness the power of routine.

My cold morning selfie
When Saturday arrives I still get up early, but there is no need to get up as early as I do on the weekdays. I don't run as soon as I get up like I do during the week. I eat breakfast. I drink coffee. I tell myself I will go later. Sometimes later means after lunch. Sometimes it means late afternoon. Sometimes later becomes never. When I have all the time in the world, getting in my workout isn't an urgent matter because there is always time later (until there isn't any left).

I know when the alarm goes off on a weekday morning, I am in a now-or-never situation. I could exercise after work, but then it's dark outside, I'm tired, something comes up after work, I work late, or (insert a million other reasons here). It made me realize what I already knew, I need structure in my daily schedule. It's the routine that gets me out of bed in the morning to run.

We often think of habits in terms of bad habits, but developing a good habit can start with small changes that lead to a new healthy routine. The goal is to harness the power of routine to make exercise habitual so it's not something that you have to think about, just something you do, like washing your hair.

"This is the new normal." Do you have a morning mantra?

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

No Empty Boxes November

I like technology as much as the next gal. Technology may fuel me almost as much as my energy gels on a long run. I use the Nike + GPS watch, the Polar Loop daily activity tracker and both of their companion websites. I make running playlists on my iPod and my phone (as a back up in case of a music-less emergency). I've been known to track my calories and daily miles on a few different apps. I even love EveryMove, the app of all apps, which pulls all these devices and apps together. But when it comes to tracking my daily workouts I tend to resort to (and be motivated by) the simple monthly calendar printed out and posted on the fridge. Call it old fashion, but I prefer the pen to paper method for keeping track of my daily workouts.

There is something motivating about seeing the empty boxes of the calendar days and being responsible for making sure they get filled in. My November challenge for myself is "No Empty Boxes November." 

What does that mean, exactly? It is the simple task of filling in the box every day with my workouts. Does it mean I work out like a feign the entire month of November? I say no. I just means that I do something active (and purposeful) each day. That could mean a run or a home gym session. It may mean I pop in a Yoga DVD and it may just mean that I take Ollie for a 30 minute walk.

It's not about killing myself with workouts every day, it's simply taking 30 minutes each day to do something active. Some days will naturally be more intense than others, but every day in November will be an active day, even if it is an active recovery.

I find that when the boxes start to string together with all my activities, I become motivated to make sure there are no empty boxes, even if it just means taking Ollie for a walk at the end of a long day.

No Empty Boxes November.

It's simple.

This is about as non-technical as you can get.

Do you have any November challenges? What are your November goals? More importantly, does anyone print out calendars anymore? 

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Winner of the "My Running Partner has Four Legs" tank top + a #Giveaway

Welcome to November! I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

Not to freak you out or anything, but we have 26 days until Thanksgiving, 54 days until Christmas, and only 61 days until New Year's day! I think I am going to blink and it will be 2015! Yikes!

I have a winner of the Running with Ollie "My Running Partner has Four Legs" tank top Giveaway!

I used to choose a winner from current subscribers of Running with Ollie Blog.

The winner is Linden M. 

Congratulations Linden! I'll email you for your shipping information.

Thank you to everyone who entered to win! If you weren't as lucky as Linden this time, you can enter again in November's Rafflecopter giveaway.  The tank top is also available to purchase for only $15.99 in the store.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Same rules apply. All your have to do is sign up to receive Running with Ollie Blog updates by email (and then make sure you fill out the Rafflecopter form above). If you already are subscribed, then all your have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form with the same email address you use to subscribe.

No purchase necessary
Contest open to US and Canada, ages 18 years and older.
Contest runs until end of day November 30, 2014
1 winner will be randomly from blog subscribers who register on the rafflecopter form.
You must be currently subscribed the blog to win.
Winner will notified via email and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.

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