Thursday, June 30, 2016

Music to My Ears: 10 Epic Running Songs about Running

This post is sponsored by JLab Audio. All opinions are my own. If I hated them, I'd tell you.

Music is a big part of my life. It calms me, it cheers me, it inspires me, it entertains me and it especially motivates me when I am running.

There is nothing like an upbeat rock 'n' roll running playlist to get me across a 5K finish line a little faster. I often get lost in the music on my long runs and a hard-hitting playlist motivates me when I am lifting weights in the #shredshed.

Maybe it's the two hours on the road but when I race a half marathon, I often listen to song lyrics and notice that there are a lot of songs on my playlist about running. I know that not all these songs are intended to be about running, but music is highly personal so I change the context and use them for my purpose...finishing a half marathon!

10 Epic Running Songs about Running To Get You Through Your Next Race

For the Beginning of a Race:

Cake: The Distance. “He’s going the distance. He’s going for speed. She’s all alone. In her time of need. Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course. He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse, He’s going the distance.”

Foster the People: Pumped up Kicks “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, You better run, better run." 

Florence + the Machine: Dog Days Are Over “So you better run. Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father. Run for your children, your sisters and brothers.”

For the Middle of a Race:

The Kills: U.R.A. Fever “You are a fever, You are a fever, You ain't born typical…..Left right, left right, keep it up son” 

The Dead Weather: Jawbreaker "I run so far away from you. Don't matter where I've been. Run around the world from you. And here you are again."

Meices: Ready Steady Go "Ready steady, go. Ready steady, ready steady, ready steady, ready steady
Ready steady, ready steady, ready steady, go."

Raconteurs: Steady as She Goes "Steady as she goes (steady as she goes). Steady as she goes (steady as she goes).

For the End of a Race:

Young the Giant: My Body. “My Body tells me no, but I won’t quit cause I want more, cause I want more." 

White Stripes: Stop Breaking Down "Everytime I'm walkin', down the streets, some pretty mama she starts breakin' down. Stop breakin' down, yes stop breakin' down."

Awolnation: Burn it Down "Burn it down, baby, burn it burn it down." (I change the lyrics in my head to "run it home, baby, run it run it home" and is the perfect uptempo song for a strong finish.)

JLab Audio sent me Epic2 Wireless Sport Earbuds for review. I loaded these 10 epic running songs about running to my playlist on my phone, easily connected the headphones via bluetooth and headed out to the track. You can check out my new speed and strength track workout over on my personal training site

They easily slipped into my ears and locked into place. Once I connected my phone, I simply put my phone away in my running belt. I was immediately impressed with the sound quality. I've used wireless headphones in the past that had fuzz or the signal would occasionally skip, but not on the Epic2 headphones. The sound was crystal clear, better than even most of the wired headphones I have used. I was out at the track for about an hour and I never lost connection or had a weak signal.

They are waterproof, sweat proof and mostly stayed in place as I ran the track, jumped and climbed the stairs. I had to re-adjust a couple times when they felt like they were coming loose. Hubby said I didn't put them in correctly, but I think I just need to play with the eight different ear tip options to find the ones that are the right fit for my ears. They claim an impressive battery life of 12 hours, so they will easily get you through your next marathon.

I liked that I could adjust the volume and skip songs right from the controls near the right ear bud. I didn't spend a lot of time reading instructions, so when I was running and I wanted to skip a song, I just started pushing buttons until I found what I wanted. It was pretty easy to figure out on the run (pun intended).

music to my ears, powering me up those stairs

For the connectivity, sound quality and battery life features I think these headphones are a great deal for the cost. You can probably find less expensive bluetooth headphones, but I doubt they could match the high quality of the Epic2 earbuds. They are easily the best I've ever tried.

I will use these for my track workouts and long runs in the future and I am definitely bringing them with me when I travel to LA for the IDEA World fitness convention next month!

Do you run with wireless headphones? Do you have any running songs to add to my playlist? Do you ever change the lyrics in your head while you run (or am I the only weirdo?).

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Protein Shake

I am a Premier Protein trainer ambassador and I have been having a great year experimenting with different protein shake flavors and ingredients. I love their pre-made protein shakes and often drink them when I am short on time, like after my regular marketing job when I am headed to teach my boot camp. This post contains affiliate links.

The chocolate shake has 30 grams of protein, 1 gram of sugar and only 160 calories. 160 calories is a little light for a meal replacement, so I add in some additional healthy fats and carbs to make a complete meal. This is one my absolute favorites because chocolate and peanut butter are a great flavor combination. With only four ingredients, it is simple and quick to blend and go!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Protein Shake

1 fresh or frozen sliced banana
1 Premier Protein chocolate shake (cold)
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1/4 cup of uncooked old fashioned oatmeal
Additional ice if desired
Blend and serve

Delicious chocolate peanut butter Cookie Protein Shake
As part of my ambassadorship I hosted and led a free community workout sponsored by Premier Protein. They gave our boot camp participants these amazing gift bags that included a Yoga mat, sweat towel, water bottle, hat and protein bar!

I'd love if you would check out my recap of the event. The theme of the workout was partners, so we did a special partner giveaway on the blog to win one those gift bags for you and your favorite workout partner. Let's announce the winners now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to everyone who came out to the partners workout at ComCardio, to Premier Protein for sponsoring the event and the prizes, and to everyone who entered online.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday: 5 Ways My Head Exploded at BlogFest / IDEA WORLD Fitness Convention

If you follow me on social media (and you should) you probably have figured out that I am getting really excited about the upcoming Blogfest with Sweat Pink and the IDEA world fitness convention. I had an amazing time last year, did a ton of fun workouts, met so many awesome people and am looking forward to it again this year.

For Throwback Thursday, I thought I would share my post about my Blogfest/IDEA world experience in 2015. I'd love it you would click over and check it out!

Will I see you in LA in July? Have you ever attended a blogging or fitness convention?

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Friday, June 17, 2016

The Power of Partner Workouts & Premier Protein Giveaway

I am a Premier Protein Ambassador. Premier Protein sponsored a community bootcamp workout at ComCardio, covered the cost of the class for the participants, provided the protein samples and gift bags. All opinions are my own.

A dedicated workout partner can be your secret weapon in fitness. Sometimes we are all too willing to cancel on ourselves but we'll show up in order to not disappoint a friend. A workout partner can provide accountability, some friendly competition and motivation for just one more workout. Surrounding ourselves with supportive people can be so uplifting!

I am very fortunate that I have two three regular workout partners in my life: my husband, my best friend and we can't forget, Ollie. Hubby is always up for a run or a circuit workout in the #shredshed. My BFF is my Yoga, walking and weight training buddy. Ollie is a beast who is always willing to go for a run at the drop of a hat (or a bone).

ComCardio Grand Opening Celebration

This past weekend I led a bootcamp class at ComCardio in Hurst, TX as part of their grand opening celebration. Comcardio is a brand new studio catering to the local community. Premier Protein sponsored the workout by covering the cost for the participants, provided delicious protein bars, shakes and ahh-mazing gift bags for our boot campers!

Premier Protein SWAG Bag. How cool is all of this?

Shopping is my Cardio

We were very happy to have Shopping is My Cardio drop by to try some bootcamp moves with us and taste Premier's tasty protein! It was a ton of fun filming with them and we were thrilled to have them there! I can't wait to see the TV segment in September....stay tuned, I'll be sure to let you know when it airs.

Linda Cooper of Shopping is My Cardio

Chris from ComCardio getting mic'd up for the interview segment 

Linda helped me demonstrate the next partner exercise

Premier Protein

#myonemore. Whether it is one more workout for the week, one more mile on your run, one more rep during your set or one more serving of protein, Premier Protein understands that it is the small consistent actions that can lead to big results. They encourage you to share how you can do #myonemore this week! Let me know in the comments!

Our boot camp participants gobbled up the protein! After a hot workout, a cooled shake with 30 grams of protein was the perfect post-workout recovery drink.

Six delicious flavors of protein bars! The fiber chocolate mint is my favorite!

The awesome Stephanie from You can check out her recap of the event here!

Thank you Premier Protein!

Post-workout recovery protein drinks and laughs
A little friendly plank competition in the studio after the bootcamp! #myonemore

The Workout

Keeping with the theme of the workout partners, I developed a partner circuit workout so our boot campers could work together achieve their reps, motivate each other and cheer each other on! I encouraged everyone to think about their own #myonemore during the workout.

We moved it outdoors and sweated it out in the parking lot under a covered porch. I recruited some of my boot campers to fitness model and I shared our partners workout over on Lea Genders Fitness strength & Running blog. I'd love if you would grab a friend and give it a try!

Stretch it out!

The Giveaway!

The Premier Protein Giveaway

I would have loved if you could have joined us at ComCardio in Hurst, TX but I know that is not possible for everyone, so I have two Premier protein gift bags that I am giving away; one for you and one for you to give to your favorite workout partner! The gift bags include a Premier Protein Yoga mat with carrying bag, a sweat towel, a hat, a water bottle, a gym bag and protein bars! A big thank you to Premier Protein for these amazing gift bags! Show them love!

Thanks again to ComCardio, Premier Protein and all the amazing people who showed up to sweat it out with us. I teach an indoor bootcamp every Tuesday night and lead a free run club on Thursdays at ComCardio. I'd love to see you there!

Contest runs until 6/27/16
No purchase necessary
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older
Must have a shipping address in the US
Winner will notified via email and will have three business days to claim prize
If original winner does not claim prize within three business days an alternate winner will be selected
Winner will be drawn randomly from all registered contestants in the US
Prize will be shipped directly from Running with Ollie in Fort Worth, TX

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Race Day Strategies for a Successful Half Marathon (San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon)

I spent last weekend in beautiful San Diego to run the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego half marathon. I had a great race, decent finishing time (considering I stopped to use the porta-potty after the first mile) and a fabulous experience. As a Texas resident, I thought San Diego had the ideal weather for an early morning race, very cool and comfortable, even if the local news broadcasters thought otherwise. The high was 78 degrees that day. This really cracked me up.
"Extreme heat LOL" - every Texan.
I had a great time but made a few rookie mistakes despite the 15 or so half marathons under my belt, so I thought I would share with you my strategies for a successful race day. AKA do what I say, not as I do.

Eat Normally the Night Before the Race

I live in Fort Worth, Texas so the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll half marathon was a race-cation for us. As a running coach, my typical half marathon advice is to never try anything new in the days leading up to a race. That goes for clothes, shoes and food. The more consistent you are with your choices, the less likely you will have surprises on race day. It's risky to try anything new before or during a race. It was hard to follow my own advice this day, because we were traveling and our normal made-at-home meals just weren't possible. I had sushi and wine for the first time in five months the night before the race. Let's just say I was worried it was all going to end horribly. Spoiler alert: It was fine. Don't risk it. I got lucky.

Rest Your Legs Leading up to Race Day

I like to have fresh legs leading up to a big race so I usually take the week off from any serious running, long walks or leg workouts. It is a strategy that works well for me, but during a race-cation there is a lot of walking to do! We were walking distance from the convention center for the race expo, from the downtown restaurants and many San Diego sight-seeing hot spots. I got over 25K steps on my FitBit both Friday and Saturday before the race.

My nervous smile at the race expo. 25k steps and only 13.1 miles to go.
Site seeing in San Diego means a lot of walking before the big race.

Know Where to Go

We stayed at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter and paid a hefty nightly hotel rate (and don't get me started on the $45 a night parking fee) for the convenience of a room that was walking distance to the start line. I know I could have paid a lot less and stayed out a little farther, but I didn't want to mess with traffic, parking or trains that I was unfamiliar with on race morning.

Because I knew I was 1.8 miles from the start line, I briefly looked at a map and figured out the general direction I needed to walk to get the start line. I got up an extra 30 minutes early to give myself plenty of time to get there without rushing. I patted myself on the back for great planning and went to bed.

When I stumbled out on the street at 5:30am on race morning, there were plenty of runners around, so my brilliant plan was to follow the crowd of race bibs. This strategy worked for about 3 blocks until everyone started to turn right when I was 100% sure that I needed to go left to get to the start line. I panicked when I realized they were turning right to jump on shuttle buses. I briefly considered my options. Maybe if I would have read more of the email communications I would have been aware of the bus option. Note to future self: read the race communication emails. I asked an official-looking person if I needed to ticket to get on the bus and he said, yes technically, but I should be able to hop on anyway. I started to walk towards the buses but the lines were very long. There were at least 50 people waiting, if not more.

Panic-stricken I worried that I would waste time waiting in those long lines and would be refused boarding for not having a ticket. I opted to walk it. The streets were bare going in the direction that I thought I had to walk because all the runners were lined up to get on the buses. I was genuinely freaking out and wished I had spent a few more minutes the night before figuring out exactly where I needed to go.

Luckily after few blocks in the right direction, I ran into a steady flow of people heading to the start line. I ended up with a very nice two mile walking warm up before the race.

I made it to the start line.

Know the Weather

Despite the local news forecast of extreme heat, I know I am cold-natured and was planning to run in shorts and a tank top. I knew my race outfit would be fine during the race, but I was worried I might be cold leading up to the race waiting for my corral to kick off. The night before I dragged my husband around town looking for a throw-away sweatshirt that I could wear before the race. I didn't pack anything I was willing to lose (another mistake) so we were on a cheap sweatshirt hunt. We bargained for a $10 sweatshirt in a small shop near the hotel.

Turns out the two mile walk to the start line warmed me up sufficiently and I never wore that stupid sweatshirt. It stayed hanging over my arm until I reached the start line where I left it on the side of the road.

Give Yourself Sufficient Time for umm.. Bathroom Time

The alarm was set for 5:30am for a 6:15 kick off. I drank my morning coffee, ate two bananas and sipped on a bottle of water as I walked to the start line. I used the bathroom in my hotel room before I left, but I knew I had to get going if I wanted to get there on time. Being late gives me anxiety so I usually plan to arriving extra early to help alleviate any unnecesary stress.

I took me about 30 minutes to walk there and, of course, I had a full bladder once I arrived. They were kicking off with corral one, the porta-potty lines looked exceptionally long and I was more concerned with securing my spot in my corral than using the bathroom. Another rookie mistake. It took about an hour from corral one to corral 17, so I had more than enough time to wait in those bathroom lines. But I didn't.

After running that first mile, my bladder was so full that I was very uncomfortable and was running even slower than I planned for mile one (and I planned to run pretty slow the first mile). I knew there was no way I could run twelve more miles like this, so I stopped on the course and used the restroom. My finish time took a hit, but other than peeing my pants, it was my only choice at that point. I should have taken advantage of the long corral kick-off to use the rest rooms.

Plan Post Race Meet Ups

I made zero plans to meet up with my husband after the race. I had no idea where the finish line would be in relation to our hotel. I gave no thoughts to how I would find my husband and/or hotel after the race. After I crossed the finish line with my head phones still in my ears, I collected my finishers medal and made a bee line for the water bottles. With music blaring in my ears, I looked up above the water bottle stacks and spotted my husband standing and waving at me amongst the spectators. It was really a miracle. He said he was waiting for me about thirty minutes and starting yelling once he saw me cross, but I had headphones in and didn't hear a thing.

This is what a $29.99 finish line race photo looks like. Pricey but I am smiling so I thought it was worth it. 

Despite some poor planning and bad choices I was lucky and had a successful half marathon race day at the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll half marathon. I suggest that you do what I say and not what I do and follow my race day strategies for your own successful next half marathon.

The 2016 San Diego half marathon finishers medal
We had a great time in San Diego but were happy to make it back to Fort Worth to see this face.

If you want to run a Rock 'n' Roll half marathon or full marathon in 2016, you can use my discount code to save $15 off your registration! Some restrictions apply.

What was your biggest race day mistake? Any races planned for the near future? Do you ever race-cation?

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Furry Friday Feature: Jen and Cooper from Marathon Mom

Happy Friday, Friends! As you are reading this I am likely on a airplane headed to sunny San Diego. We are vacationing for a long weekend to run the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll half marathon!

It's time for my favorite post of the month, Furry Friday Feature! I love to introduce you to the furriest runners on the internet and their favorite humans. This month is one of my favorites! Meet Jen and Cooper from Marathon Mom

Hi, Jen. Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.

Cooper is a 2 year old lab mix we rescued in April 2014 after my previous running buddy died of osteosarcoma in January 2014.

Hi, Cooper. What a sweet face.
Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?

We run at the park trails near our home.

Time for a run? All dressed up with no where to go.

Have you ever raced with your dog?

Not yet but would love to!

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud! 

When I BQ'd after years of trying! My first BQ was a 12 minute PR and 8 months after my daughter was born.

What running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?

Relax, have fun and stop to enjoy the run!

Do you want to tell us anything else about you or running with your dog?

I've run 29 marathons, love running my easy days with Cooper!

Thank to Jen and Cooper for sharing their story! You can follow Jen over on Marathon Mom blog or see more of her and Cooper on Instagram or Facebook

Does your running partner have four legs? Would you like to be featured in a future furry Friday post? Fill out this form for consideration. We have some great four-legged runners lined up for the upcoming months.

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Happy Global Running Day: A Sweat Pink Running Survey

Happy Global Running Day! Of all the made-up fake internet holidays, this one is my favorite. I wrote a post over on my Lea Genders Fitness blog called 5 Ways to Celebrate Global Running Day! I'd love if you would click over and get some ideas of how you can celebrate. Besides I already used up all my corny jokes over there, so head over and (not) laugh so I don't have to repeat them.

In honor of Global Running Day I am joining up with some of my Sweat Pink sisters for a Global Running Day survey and linkup.

Why do you run?

I run to stay sane. For real. I often wonder why people who don't run aren't punching people in face all day, because I think I would. If I go a few days without exercise, I notice a significant decline in my emotional well-being. My husband knows me too well, while on a rant about something he will say, why don't you go run? He knows no matter what the problem, a run will make it a little better. 

How do you plan to celebrate Global Running Day?

By running, of course...and blogging about it. Since this day falls on a workday, I won't have the time to join an official running group or event. I'll just strap on my shoes, hit the pavement and celebrate solo. Sometimes it's the best way. 

How many miles have you run so far this year? Do you have a mileage goal for the year?

Oh geez. I have no idea. Depending if I am training for a race or not, I run anywhere between 10-20 miles a week. I definitely don't put in the heavy mileage like I used to. I try to balance my running with strength training to stay healthy and injury-free.

What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

Good question! So many big ones! On Friday hubby and I are heading to San Diego to run the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon on Sunday. I am running, he'll be sleeping. We decided to make a race-cation of it. 

I can't wait to head back to beautiful San Diego.

I usually take the summers off from racing because...Texas. It's hot here y'all. (My y'all comes out when I talk about the heat. I'm from Pennsylvania.) Long runs in triple digit temperatures aren't that appealing. 

But then in November I have the Vegas Rock 'n' Roll half and San Antonio in December. I ran both of those races last year and it was a fun way to end the year with a bang! (I am a member of the Rock 'n' Blog team for the Rock 'n' Roll marathon series, so if you want to run a Rock 'n' Roll race in 2016, you can use my discount code "LEAGENDERS" to save $15 off most half marathon and marathon distances.)

Picking up my bib at the expo. Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll half marathon

San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll half marathon

Before I leave for a run I must have:

My FitBit because I wouldn't even think of taking that many steps and not tracking them. I'm kind of obsessed. I don't really even need my GPS watch for neighborhood runs, because I know these streets so well, I can tell you the mile markers from all directions. Are we friends on FitBit? 

Do you track your runs? If so what do you use?

Not always. I use the TomTom Runner GPS for my long runs, but I am not diligent about digitally recording every run, unless of course you count Instagram. Hubby and I have paper monthly calendars on the fridge where we write down our daily workouts. It keeps me motivated to see what I've done, but we throw them away at the end of the month. 

Who is your favorite running partner?

Is this a trick question? Of course my favorite running partner is my four-legged one, Ollie. Hence the name of the blog. But honestly, I took him for a run last week and we had to turn around after a mile and a half because he was panting so heavily. Did I mention it was hot here? 

Hubby comes in a close second, although I don't know I would call it running together. He runs faster than me, so he is usually about a quarter mile ahead at all times. I still like running with him though, he pushes me to run faster and challenges my comfort zone.

Me and my favorite running partner

What races have you run so far this year?

I ran the Dallas Rock 'n' Roll half marathon. I run so many out of town races, it is really fun to explore your own city on foot. 

from the Dallas Rock 'n' Roll half

If you have to give someone one piece of advice about running, what would it be?

Running is no doubt a fantastic exercise for losing or maintaining weight, for building endurance and feeling great. To improve in running you have to run more, but as a personal trainer, I highly recommend balancing your running routine with at least some weekly strength training moves, Yoga or cross training. It will help you become a stronger runner, help avoid injuries and keep you running healthfully long into the future! 

Describe your relationship with running in one word:


This was fun! How are you celebrating Global Running Day?

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Keep Running,


Does your running partner have four legs

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