How to continue running with an IT Band issue

Earlier this week when I was complaining about my annoying IT Band issue, Laura reached out with some amazing tips! Since many of you were interested in her comments and recommendations, she wrote up a blog post today that I want to share with y’all.

How to Continue Marathon Training Despite IT Band Issues

If you’re a runner or have ever had knee pain associated with an IT Band injury, I highly recommend this post!

Runner’s Rage

After reading the title of this post, you’re probably wondering to yourself what the heck is runner’s rage and why it is today’s topic.

For starters, I definitely have runner’s rage at the moment. If you’re confused to why, take a gander at yesterday’s post. (BTW, thank you so much for all of your suggestions yesterday! As soon as it doesn’t hurt to walk, I’m definitely going give the elliptical a whirl!) What exactly comprises runner’s rage? Well, I think that just depends on the runner. For me, it’s the fact that I cannot run right now and that I’m not happy about!

The runner’s rage is currently…

1. Making the hunger ninja angry. Since I’m no longer running a bajillion and two miles each week, I can’t eat as much as I have been over the past few months. I mean, I could but the last thing my knee needs right now is more weight pounding down on it with each step. Did you know that the knees feel approximately 3x your body weight with each stride? Youch! Even 5 additional pounds add up to 15 pounds of pressure with each step… and that’s adds up to a lot more over 26.2 miles. Needless to say, the hanger ninja is not happy about not getting anything and everything she wants on weekends… and either am I ;)

2. Making me hate everyone posting photos of their awesome, long runs. Yes, hate is a strong word. I don’t really mean hate, but I actually had the urge to glare at a runner yesterday. I know… It’s a good thing I was wearing sunglasses so she couldn’t see my eyes. I’m fairly certain that it was just the jealousy monster thinking: “NOT FAIR!! I WANT TO RUN TOO!”

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3. Causing me to regret stating the fact that I will never race a marathon again on my last run long with my group, the 16-miler. Why the heck did I ever make that statement!? I mean, if I can actually run the marathon come October, I’m sure I’ll say the same thing again but really, I’ll be happy if I can run 26.2 miles at this point!

4. Making me second guess my stretching and strengthening throughout training so far. Did I not stretch enough? Probably not. Did I not roll enough? Definitely not. Did I not do enough strengthening exercises the past few weeks? I think I did? I mean, hello BODYPUMP! IT Band and quad injuries are far too common among runners training for a marathon and I probably could not have done anything to prevent my current injury except to run less which wasn’t really an option ;) As I mentioned yesterday, I was told that this is a super common issue and that they’ve been able to help other marathoners with the exact same pains so fingers crossed!

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5. Increasing my time on the weekends. Yes, I know that’s not actually possible but when you don’t spend 4+ hours running/recovering, it definitely feels like your Saturdays are a lot longer!

I’m really hoping this rage of the running variety disappears soon. As in, I hope my muscles heal ASAP so I can get my 20-miler in next Sunday and be happy that I can run. Seriously, I promise I will never complain about running again (yeah, right… ask me that post marathon, haha!) if I can just get through this last month of marathon training!

Have you ever had runner’s rage before? I haven’t until now! It’s an odd, odd feeling.

Bad News Bears

Bad news bears… Kinda…

As I’ve been posting multiple photos on the ‘gram complaining about my darn knee, I thought it was time to update y’all on my current sitch.

So, the story of my left knee… actually, it’s my left IT Band and quad giving me the troubles. I’ll take you back to the beginning.

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After running my 12-miler on Labor Day almost 2 weeks ago, I noticed some stiffness (I wouldn’t say I had any pain at this point…) in my knees but shook it off to a faster than normal pace and a long weekend, hello ALL the food and drinks! I was fine a few hours after my run.

Then came my mid-week long run, a 9-miler with my CARA running group. I felt good going into the run. Everything felt great – I had a ton of energy (Thanks O2Gold!) and felt like I could run for days, until I hit mile 3… My knees started to feel sore but not painful at that point. It was at mile 5 when I was changing my gait and the outside of my left knee felt like it was ripping apart that I decided it was best to take a cab home and to not finish my run.

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I limped around that night but followed protocol and iced/stretched/rolled and was feeling much better the next day. My following few runs followed the same pattern.

Run… Get to Mile 5… Feel pain… Stop… Ice/Stretch/Roll… Feel okay the next day.

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I hit up NovaCare for some physical therapist advice and was told that it was most definitely an inflamed IT Band and to continue what I had been doing (even though it really wasn’t helping in the least). But I was happy because they told me that I could run – whoop!

Well, I ran that night only to have extreme knee pain walking post-run. Like limping, not really able to walk knee pain. Now, I’ve never run a marathon but I’m guessing that if it’s difficult to walk a few blocks, it’s probably somewhat impossible to complete a 26.2 mile run.

Just guessing here.


After freaking out for a few days straight, I decided to take matters into my own hands and pay a visit to Delos Wellness, a place that is known for “curing” marathoners (as well as others that suffer from chronic pain) of their debilitating injuries. I mean, it’s not like anything could really get worse and I was willing to do pretty much anything to run again as of yesterday. #runnerprobs

I made my initial appointment for Friday night because I needed to get in ASAP and was willing to give up my Friday evening for a date with someone who could fix my leg.

All I have to say is AH-MAZ-ING! After discussing my knee/leg and the issues I had been having and telling the wellness therapist that I didn’t have any option except to get better (desperate wanna-be marathoner here!), he took to my leg explaining their wellness theory along the way. You can read about it here, but basically they apply direct pressure to your muscles that are extremely tight (for me it’s my quad and IT Band) in order to get the tightness to subside and the muscles to relax. It didn’t hurt but I also wouldn’t say it felt great either.

I didn’t have high hopes going in, I was limping and in some serious pain walking to that clinic but was amazed at how well I felt when I left! I could walk – I still had a bit of pain, but I COULD WALK WITHOUT WANTING TO CRY!!!!!! I was also able to walk a normal pace with Kyle and Mitchell this morning. Success!

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As with any therapy, it’ll take a few weeks of treatment in order to fully heal so I will be headed back 3x/week until I move to Florida and yes, I already have an appointment booked for the day before the marathon.

As for running, I’m taking this week off. To be completely honest, this terrifies me and I’m in panic mode. Yes, I know I’ve been training all summer, but I haven’t run more than 12 miles since September 2nd and have missed both my 18-miler last week and the 14-miler this morning. My goal is run the 20-miler we have scheduled next Sunday regardless of how out of shape I am at that point. But, fingers crossed that my muscles continue to heal and that I will actually be able to run the marathon in October. At this point, I no longer have a pace goal, I really just want to cross the dang finish line without major knee pain.

I have a ton of emotions and thoughts running through my head right now but I’m saving those for another post because my runner’s rage is taking over, LOL. And if you didn’t know, runner’s rage is almost worse than the hanger ninja. Almost.

So all of you runners out there, appreciate being pain/injury free and fit in a few extra miles for me this weekend!

Have you ever dealt with a running injury? Do you have any tips on how I can stay conditioned while taking some time off from running? Do not say cycling because it hurts my knee and I hate it, haha! I’d rather do burpees than go to a spin class… although jumping on my knee doesn’t feel too hot either.

Marathon Training – Weeks 10-12

Six weeks left (and only 5 more long runs) until go time!

All I have to say is THANK GOODNESS! I’m quickly losing my love for running and each run takes a serious motivational speech to get me out the door. Yup, I give myself motivational speeches and bribes to get myself to run. The bribes mainly consist of food and mimosas and allowing myself to buy copious amounts of Spark but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do ;)

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I only have two more “scary” long runs before the big day – an 18-miler next weekend and then a 20-miler 2 weekends after that. I can do it…

Thankfully, Kyle has my back (I warned him when I first started training that I would want to quit every freakin’ day starting in September) and every time I say that I’m done, no marathon for me, he tells me too bad you’re going to run it. This typically results in a lot of whining and glaring, but he’s right, I’m going to run it whether I like it or not ;)

And then no more marathons for me EVER again. It’s not the running, it’s more of the time commitment that’s a killer. All of you that have run more than one marathon are my heroes.

I’ve noticed a few things over the past few weeks that I think come with the marathon training territory.

1. Everything hurts. Always. Not the “painful I need to see a doctor” kind of hurt, just the “my entire body is worn out and needs a rest” kinda hurt. I think it’s normal but I’m ready to take a break from running come October 13th!

2. I’m realllyyyy tired. I’m fairly certain that I could sleep for 12+ hours/per night at this point. Running 30+ miles/week really takes it out of you! I’ve been trying to let myself sleep more and fit in my running where it works best. On that note, I should probably get my iron checked again just to make sure that’s not a contributing factor to my sleepiness.

3. Hanger is real. I’ve been getting better at containing my hunger by eating larger meals and more protein, but when the hunger ninja strikes, it isn’t pretty. I always carry snacks with me (I’m think I may be reverting back to my toddler years, ha!) in case my stomach starts growling.

Okay, now for the last 3 weeks of running…

Week 10 called for 15 miles. It also fell on my Vegas weekend. I knew in advance that those 15 miles were not going to happen on a Saturday morning in Vegas so I moved them to Thursday afternoon. I was super nervous – 15 miles was going to be the most I had ever run at one time, but the weather turned out to be perfect (slight breeze, 70 and sunny) so I was excited to try it out. I ran along the lakefront to take advantage of the frequent drinking fountains and I managed to complete my run at my training pace. This run definitely left me feeling like I could easily (it’s all relative…) conquer the marathon!

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Week 11 was a completely different story. I had 16 miles on the agenda and it was hot and humid in Chicago that Saturday morning. The run sucked. There’s no other way to describe it. Thankfully, it didn’t just suck for me and our running leaders said multiple times to not let this run make us discouraged about our training. It shouldn’t be (fingers crossed!) that hot or humid come October in Chicago. Regardless, I finished the 16 miles, had some good conversations along the way and am more than happy that the marathon is in the fall ;)

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Week 12 definitely required some pep talkin’ for myself. It was only 12 miles (again, it’s all relative at this point!) so I decided to run it by myself. It didn’t happen Saturday morning or Sunday morning, so this morning (the Monday morning of Labor Day) I made myself crawl out of bed at 5am. That was painful… Okay, painful isn’t the right word but I just didn’t want to gooooo (whiny voice). Not surprising, once I was out getting my run on, the 12 miles felt great! Yes, it was really humid and my knees kind of hurt but it was really peaceful and I felt accomplished at the end. Anddddd… now I’m getting ready to go to brunch with my friend. It will involve mimosas (part of my personal bribe) and then I’m getting a massage as 12:30. #treatyoself

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Did you miss my previous marathon training recaps? Find them here!

Do you ever bribe yourself in order to get a workout in? Fellow marathon trainers, what tricks do you use to stay motivated through the last few weeks?

Marathon Training – Weeks 7-9

Well y’all, I’m halfway there.

I have 8 more weekends until my marathon. Err… come again? Eight weeks… EIGHT WEEKS!

This is where I should begin panicking but oddly enough, I’m actually quite calm. Running with a training group has seriously changed my running life. I don’t have to think about when/where/how to run because they tell me and I follow until they say we’re done.

It’s really that simple.

No, all of my runs aren’t fun. They don’t all feel fabulous. Some of them downright suck, but I push through because the runs that are good are REALLY good.

Do you want in on a little runner secret about which runs are the best? The best runs are those that are already done ;) I think most marathoners will agree with me on that one!

Alright, now let’s break down the past 3 weeks and then I’ll share a few things that are on my running mind at the moment.

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Week 7

I had 12 miles on the schedule for Week 7. I was nervous. The last time I had run close to this far was last October at the Long Beach Half Marathon. I fueled up with my typical pre-run supplements and eats and headed out the door to meet my CARA group. That Saturday was hot and humid and I knew I had to get ready STAT post-run (we had a wedding to drive to), so I felt rushed going into the run.

My group – per usual, was great and the run felt amazing up until Mile 9ish. The heat and humidity got to me and I got a little lightheaded. I started drinking Gatorade at our water stops after that point and began to feel MUCH better. I need to make sure I’m properly hydrating myself with both fluids and electrolytes during my long runs in order to avoid that icky, lightheaded feeling!

Overall, I’m calling Week 7’s 12 miles a success. It taught me a lesson in staying hydrated and I felt pretty good throughout most of the run. Yay!

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Week 8

Week 8 was my ZOOMA Half Marathon! You can find a full recap of that run here.

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Week 9

Ahhhh… A cutback week. Cutback weeks are my favorites! Week 9 called for 10 miles and somehow 10 miles seems a heck of a lot more manageable than 13. I wish I could say this run was super easy and fantastic and full of rainbows and butterflies, but since Katie and I ran in the Texas heat, it was most definitely NOT easy. The heat, plus the lack of sleep plus the hills (isn’t Texas supposed to be flat??!) didn’t help this run, but I was SO happy I had a friend to push through the miles with me. And I’m happy it was a friend who doesn’t think I’m super gross when I look like I just jumped into a pool post-run ;)

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At this point, running for me is becoming more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Obviously, long runs are physically challenging – they’re supposed to be! – but getting yourself into a run mentally is the bigger challenge mid-training. Your body is tired and it is far too easy to skip a run – That’s where the mental toughness comes to play. If you’re not in it mentally, you’re going to have a miserably rough time getting to that marathon finish line in a few weeks.

Not being in the game mentally is why I didn’t run my marathon last year (Do you remember that?) – I wasn’t mentally prepared for everything happening in my life and my body (more like my mind) couldn’t take the additional challenges at that time.

With that being said, this year I’m more determined than ever. I’ve had bad runs, I’ve had spills, I’ve had hot, sweaty and gross longs runs. But you know what? I’ve also had great runs. I ran a half marathon in UNDER 2 hours. I’ve had people cheer me on with inspiring words of encouragement. And that is pretty darn awesome.

Is it going to be easy from here on out? Heck no. I guarantee you there will be multiple times that I want to call it quits and take the easy way out. Like I said, I’m going to be playing a big mental game with myself and I am determined to win. Bring it on brain ;)

And can we talk about hunger for a minute? I’m typically a pretty hungry person (Kyle can attest to this!) and I rarely, okay NEVER, skip my 6 meals per day, but marathon training has brought out a whole new hanger beast. There are moments where I just need to eat and I need to eat NOW. Or 5 minutes ago. This typically hits me right after I wake up or post-long run or in the middle of a 4-hour long meeting without snacks or when I’m without any food or, even better, right after a huge, 5-course dinner.

It’s like a ninja, I tell ya!

My hanger ninja also doesn’t like snack bars, including my beloved Quest. Well, she likes ‘em but they don’t come close to satisfying her in the least. Nope, she likes big ol’ meals that include main courses like French toast and hamburgers and sweet potato fries and chocolate cake and tacos and margaritas. (Okay, maybe margaritas don’t satisfy the ninja’s hunger but they sure do make her happy!)

The ninja and I have had words but we both decided that it will be easiest to just give her what she wants until October 12th. After that, she has to fend for herself ;)

Did you miss my previous marathon training recaps? Find them here!

Do you have a hanger ninja inside of you? Fellow marathoners, what tips do you have for me in the last half of my training? (Please tell me I must have massages weekly… I’ll pass the word onto Kyle ;) )

A few running questions…

Today I have a few questions for all you marathoners and half-marathoners and non-racing runners out there. I still plan on posting my 3-week marathon training updates to let y’all know how training is going, but I have a few questions I’d like to get your perspective on before my next update!

  1. Hydration – This is a tricky one for me. Obviously I want to be hydrated for my long runs (and in general), but I don’t want to be over-hydrated and have to stop for bathroom breaks every few miles. Currently, I am drinking TONS of water the two days leading up to my long runs, typically Thursday and Friday. Since I am hydrated going into my long run, I drink 30ish ounces of Spark and water an hour before my run. I also drink 2-3 ounces of water at the water stations every 2-3 miles. I haven’t had to take any breaks yet (knock on wood) but know that they will be needed once my long runs are 3+ hours. So here are my questions – How much fluid do you intake prior to a long run? How much do you drink while on your run? What are your best tips for bathroom breaks while running? (And no, peeing my pants is NOT an option – I’m not that hardcore!)
  2. Chafing – I thought I was doing so well with this common running issue until my 12-miler on Saturday. I wear capris while running so my legs aren’t the issue… It’s the girls. #ifyaknowwhatimean I didn’t notice the issue until my post-run shower. The water didn’t feel great, so I knew something was up. Lo and behold, under both there was a little chaffing. It’s still not super painful (I honestly don’t notice it) but I do know that if it continues each week, it’s going to become an issue. Question – Do I need a tighter sports bra/top? A looser sports bra? Should I buy the anti-chaffing wax cream? Too bad I can’t run topless like men can… That would totally solve the chaffing issue although it might cause other issues ;)
  3. Post-Run Rituals – Training-to-date, my post-run ritual is a little like this. Stop running –> Chug water –> Walk home while eating some carbs –> Shower –> Eat my 3rd breakfast –> Nap. If I don’t get a nap, I’m pretty crabby and cannot function, but I established that yesterday. Is there anything I should be adding post-run to boost my recovery time? (I’ve been taking my AdvoCare Performance Elite supplements post-run as well and they have been helping.) Do I need to foam roll immediately after walking home? Should I throw on compression socks post-shower? What have you done that has helped your long-run recovery?
  4. Long Run Eve Rituals – Can you tell that I like to have a schedule when it comes to EVERYTHING?! #typeAprobs I honestly haven’t had much of a ritual for my Friday nights so far in my training. I’ve gone out with friends, not eaten the best foods for marathon training, and have had one too many cocktails. Starting this week though, my Friday night rituals are beginning! Here’s my plan: Drink A LOT of water, eat Whole Food’s organic, whole wheat pasta + chicken breast for dinner, get at least 8 hours of sleep (which means being in bed by 8:45pm), and avoiding alcohol. Other things I like to do on Friday evenings pre-long run is to have my running outfit and shoes set out to make the early morning easier, have my marathon bag with fuel and running goodies ready to go and have all of my pre-run supplements and breakfast set out in the kitchen. Question – What do you typically do to prep yourself the night before a long run?

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Phew – LOTS of questions! I’m sure I’ll have more as my training progresses, so I appreciate your help with my newbie marathoner questions ;)

Oh, and also I have an update on my #sexyscab from my graceful fall a week and a half ago. First of all, it’s going to turn into a pretty mean scar so if anyone asks, it’s my marathon tattoo! Every time I look at it in the future, I can think, “Dang, I’m pretty bada$$. I ran a freakin’ marathon!” And I didn’t have to pay anyone for the tattoo ;) #positivethinking

Secondly, it was still pretty sore and swollen last weekend. Since we were in Madison and Kyle’s family is full of doctors, I had his uncle take a look. Apparently I have a hematoma (same thing that Mitchell had in his ear earlier this year!) where I fell. It’s nothing to be worried about – a hematoma is basically a pool of blood outside of your blood vessels and with time your body will reabsorb the blood, and I only need to head to the doctor if it gets red and streaky. Those are signs of infection.

Running is such a dainty sport. #saidnoRUNNERever

So, if you could, help me out and answer one of my bajillion questions above. Thanks in advance!

Marathon Training Weeks 4-6

Wow, I’m one-third of the way through marathon training! This summer is flying by.

Since I left you off at Week 3 on my last marathon training update, let me get you up to speed on Weeks 4, 5 and 6!

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I went into Week 4 very nervous. 9 miles was on the schedule and I did not feel ready to go that distance so I was far from optimistic. I was pleasantly surprised on how well the 9 miles went however! Running with a group makes a huge difference – you can talk (although I gasp and talk while running, haha!) and get to know each other which helps you push through and ignore any pain or fatigue you might be experiencing mid-run.

What I ate pre- and post-run, Week 4: Pre-run included O2Gold + Spark + Catalyst + Banana + Peanut Butter Toast; Post-run I chugged Rehydrate along with more Spark while I walked the 1.5 miles back home.

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Week 5 was a dramatically different story than Week 4. I knew I was going to be gone over the weekend in Omaha for a family reunion, so I planned to get my run in before the weekend. For some reason that I am still trying to figure out, I decided to attempt the 10 miles on the schedule on the treadmill.

Worst. Idea. Ever.

You all know how much I despise the dreadmill. Every mile feels like 5 miles and the time passes slooowwwwlllyyyyy. I also ran in the afternoon and like I said in my last update, I am not an afternoon runner – Morning running is my jam. I made it just past 9 miles on the dreadmill and then called it quits. I felt lightheaded and dehydrated and figured that it was good enough considering how much I had walked throughout the day.

What I ate pre- and post-run, Week 5: Obviously I did not eat correctly for a run! I didn’t pre-fuel with my normal Advo-routine and I don’t remember what I ate that day. Whatever it was, it did not properly fuel my run ;)

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If I thought Week 5 was rough, I should have just waited for Week 6.

Oh  man, where do I begin?! First of all, I didn’t not sleep well at all during the week which left me exhausted come Friday. When my alarm went off at 5am on Saturday morning, I told myself I would just stay in bed and look through my phone for 5 minutes before I got up. Well, 5 minutes on my phone turned into sleeping until 6:45am! Oops. Obviously my body needed the rest so I wasn’t too upset, plus I told myself that I only had 7 miles and I can easily run that distance without group support.

I jumped out of bed at 6:45, downed my Spark and pre-run supplements and got dressed for my run. The morning was beautiful and I was enjoying the weather until all a sudden – BAM, I was on the ground. The sidewalk I was running on was uneven and broken to pieces and my foot must have gotten stuck in one of the many cracks and down I went.

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I pushed myself up to assess the damage and realized that the left side of my body must have hit the hardest because my left leg had major road rash. I figured that I could at least finish my run (I was just under a mile in…) until I thought I was going to have to call Kyle to come get me because 1) my leg was bleeding a lot and 2) I couldn’t put a lot of weight on my left leg. Needless to say, I did not finish my run on Saturday but I was able to walk home and get cleaned up before Kyle made it out of bed.

The only good part of the situation was that my phone made it out unscathed and that’s a miracle if I’ve ever seen one.

Regardless of the soreness and my scabby leg (so sexy…), I made it out Sunday morning and pushed through 7 miles at a fast-for-me pace! I was mad at myself for missing my group run and falling so I was determined to finish those 7 miles no matter what. Once my leg heals, I’ll consider this a successful week!

What I ate pre- and post-run, Week 6: Same as Week 4 – both days ;)

One out of three runs is a good percentage, right?! Haha – let’s hope the next 3 weeks go a bit more smoothly than these past 3!

On the schedule… Week 7: 12 miles; Week 8: ZOOMA Half Marathon; Week 9: 10 miles.

Wish me luck!

What has been your worst fall as a runner? Any tips on fueling during my long runs? I’m going to have to start fueling with my 12-miler and I refuse to do anything gels – They taste awful and make me gag!

What’s in my marathon bag?

As a runner, I’m always interested in what other runners carry with them during race training.

Training for a marathon – or any long-distance race, is all about trial and error. It is about finding out what works for your body and what you need in order to have a successful run. Now that I’m on Week 5 of training (woohoo!) I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do pre- and post-run in order to feel my best.

My CARA running group meets at a local running store downtown on Saturday mornings, so I have the ability to leave my marathon bag (aka – whatever lulu bag is hanging out in the apartment, hehe!) at the store while running. This was a huge win for me since I walk to my training runs on the weekends. There is NO way I could carry all of this stuff with me on my 10+ mile runs. #runnerprobs

So, what’s in my marathon training bag?

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1. Visor or hat – I absolutely cannot wear sunglasses while running. They fog up and slide down my sweaty face and are a huge annoyance for me. Enter my trusty visor! This not only keeps the sun out of my eyes, it also shades my money maker from UV rays ;)

2. O2Gold – This stuff is aptly named because it is liquid gold. Seriously. I pop 2 of these an hour before my run begins (basically as soon as I wake up) and they have powered me through each run so far. I currently have an email out to the doctors on the AdvoCare Medical Board to see if I can take O2Gold more than once per day. Once my runs get longer (18+ miles), I’d like to take this an hour before go time and then about 60-90 minutes to push me through the end.

3. Kleenex – I always need a Kleenex post-run. Who’s with me? I don’t know what it is, but my nose goes into high gear once I’m done working out. If anyone has a cure for this, send it my way!

4. Sunscreen – Before leaving my apartment, I lather up my arms/chest/back with SPF 55+. I carry a sunscreen stick with me for my nose, chin and cheeks though. And, as much as I’d like to apply it to my forehead, I don’t because it runs into my eyes and burns something awful when I start sweating! I figure my visor covers my forehead so it’s protected from the evil UV ;)

5. Spark – I carry A LOT of Spark with me on my marathon training days (Well, I carry a lot with me always but we’re talking running today!) I drink one with my O2Gold before running and then I always drink one post-run as well. I never go to bed as early as I’d like on Friday nights and I need that extra boost of energy to get my legs home after a run. Also, I have a few extra in my bag to share with fellow runners. I gave one to a girl last week – she loved it and now everyone is curious about Spark and it’s magical energy powers!

6. Chapstick – My lips get crazy chapped and/or burnt while running. I think it’s a combination of sweating, breathing hard and the sun. I found this Blistex stick that has an SPF 30 – great for keeping my lips moisturized and NOT burnt while running.

7. Sunglasses – Like I mentioned above, I don’t wear these while running, but I do wear them pre- and post-run. They’re prescription and – believe it or not, I actually like being able to see while walking to and from running ;) Plus, they hide my ugly post-run, red from sweat eyes on my way home, haha!

8. AdvoBar – I’m not sure about other runners, but I am one hangry runner post-run. Like I need food NOW or there will be a price to pay. Since I can’t have a hot egg and cheese sandwich ready for me as soon as my run slows to a halt, I have been throwing an AdvoBar into my bag to tide me over until I can shove a copious amount of brunch into my trap eat breakfast. It has only whole ingredients as well as 5g fiber and 5g protein so it definitely does the trick for my hangry, health-conscious self.

9. Inhaler – Thankfully I’ve not had to use this yet, but it’s there if I need it. I don’t have really bad asthma (just exercise-induced), it just tends to pop up on super hot and humid days.

Depending on the week, other items might make an appearance – small towel on hot and humid days, deodorant/body spray if I’m meeting up with friends post-run and gum. Also, I do carry a form of ID and a dollar or two ON me while running – you  never know when you’re going to need to buy water and to be safe, an ID is always necessary.

If you’re a runner, what do you have to have with you on training runs? What about on race day? If you’re not a runner, what’s always in your gym bag? 

Marathon Training Weeks 1-3

Before my marathon training started, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to recap my experience. I knew weekly updates would be too much. I mean, I wouldn’t have much to say besides, “Yay, I ran again!” I think they’d be super boring for y’all, so I’ve decided to do recaps for every 3 weeks of training.

I’m not going to cover every detail, but I’ll share what I think to be the important highlights of the last few weeks and how I’m feeling about my upcoming marathon adventure. Also, I’m not going to discuss paces in these recaps unless something drastic changes. Since I’m running with a CARA and I’ve already selected my running group pace, my long runs will always be at a 10 minute/mile pace.

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Now, let’s jump into Weeks 1, 2 and 3!

Week 1 was right after Blend and it was most definitely a doozie. I was exhausted and barely had enough energy to get myself to work let alone to the gym. I fit in 2-3 mile runs and a Body Pump class as well before my long run that Saturday.

The 6-miler I had with my running group on Saturday morning turned out to be excellent. As a first-time marathon-trainer (not counting last year because I didn’t go through the full training program), I was nervous to start training and to meet my CARA running group. Thankfully, both the run and my group were fabulous and it was a great way to kick of my training!

What I ate pre-run, Week 1: O2Gold + Spark + Catalyst + Banana <– I should have added in a spoonful of peanut butter as well, but thankfully, the O2Gold pushed me through.

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Week 2 training was also a tad disorganized due to my trip to Colorado at the end of the week. I fit in 2-3 mile training runs and a few strength classes at my gym and pushed my long, 7-mile run to Thursday evening rather than Saturday morning.

My Thursday evening run confirmed my hatred of working out after work. My body has zero energy, I’m either under- or over-hydrated and I have no idea how to fuel myself during the day to make for a successful evening run. Plus, races are in the morning and my body has adjusted accordingly.

With that being said, my 7-miler was not fun. I forgot to take my O2Gold and ran solo and it was humid and it just plain sucked. Big time. I pushed through at just under 10 minutes/mile (my running group’s pace) and was more than happy to be done and suck on my inhaler for a few minutes ;)

What I ate pre-run, Week 2: I have no idea what I ate during the day (I need to journal my food on running days!) but I’m annoyed that I forgot all of my AdvoCare essentials pre-run. I’m certain they would have made my run go from hellacious to “not-that-bad.”

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Week 3 training has been the best training week so far. It kicked off with a 3-miler in Estes Park and although that run was severely lacking in oxygen, it set the week off on the right foot. {pun intended… hehe!} I fit in a few Body Pump classes along with another 3-mile run and a 4-mile run before my 5-miler with CARA on Saturday. And good news, the 5 miles were great! It was crazy humid and I think I sweat out about 10 pounds, but it felt good to get back to running with my group again.

Also, as a side note, every third week is a “drop-back” week in marathon training. I’m not exactly sure how it helps your body, but I believe it has to do with muscle recovery before the next weeks’ mileage builds. Regardless, I was happy to have a shorter long run on Saturday.

What I ate pre-run, Week 3: O2Gold + Spark + Catalyst + Banana + Nuttzo = WINNING! I felt awesome and this combination is most definitely a winner.

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So, how am I feeling now that I’m on Week 4?

I’m obviously still at the very beginning of my training so that 26.2 miles seems like a very distant thought in the future. However, I am feeling optimistic (ask me this when I get to my 15-miler weekend…) and am looking forward to building my mileage and friendships throughout my training.

I’ve started to understand the importance of fueling my body well with optimal food, supplements and LOTS of water while cutting out crap.

I’m also starting to understand what type of apparel I will need to wear in order to be as comfortable as possible on my long runs – capris, a tight sports bra and a hat are going to be requirements for this girl!

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Overall, training has been going great so far. I have been going with the flow and taking each day at a time – if I’m tired, I don’t push it, but if I have energy and feel strong, you better bet I’m out there running or lifting! I know I’m going to need more rest days as my mileage grows on the weekends, but I’ll tackle that once I get there :)

What is the longest distance you’ve run? 13.1 miles… twice!

What do you typically eat before a long run or workout? Obviously I’m obsessed with bananas and nut butter (why fix what’s not broken?!) but adding in AdvoCare has really helped my performance and stamina!

The series of unfortunate decisions…

… That led up to my first marathon training long run should never be repeated. By myself, by you, by anyone with half of a brain.

By some miraculous event (aka – O2Gold), my long run actually went quite well but I do not plan on gambling my luck with the marathon gods again anytime soon!

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Take this post as a “do what I say, not what I do” lesson when you’re training for a marathon.

1. After a girls’ weekend away, always take a vacation day the following Monday. It’s inevitable that you will be exhausted after a fun weekend getaway and if you are not well-rested, the week will be miserable, your workouts will suffer not happen, and you will eat utter crap that will mess with your digestion system, a runner’s nightmare. Lesson learned.


2. Unless you are injured, do not make up excuses to skip a mid-week training run/workout. If you start making excuses at the beginning, it will just be that much more difficult to stick to your plan in future weeks. Yes, life happens and you may have to miss one or two scheduled runs. Don’t panic if this happens, move on and get back to your schedule ASAP. Lesson learned x2.

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3. Eating fiber and fat rich foods along with alcohol, such as Chipotle tacos with lotsa beans and a charcuterie plate and big ol’ glasses of red sangria (not that I know would from experience… ahem…), the day/night before your long run is probably not the best idea. Your stomach will hateeeeee you the next morning and all of us runners know that an angry stomach is not a fun stomach to run on. Third lesson – check!

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4. Sleep. For the love of all things precious and holy, SLEEP. Do not set out on your weekly long run with 5 hours or less of shut eye. Just don’t. Trust me, being called a loser or a granny or a fun hater is so much better than exhaustion during a long run.  Plus, closing your eyes for a quick nap mid-run is not only unsafe, it will also cause your running group to think you’re a big weirdo. Remember, you’re spending 18+ weeks with these people, it’s best to make friends ;) Lesson #4.

On a related note, as appealing as it might sound late at night, once you arrive home from a night out do not proceed to take multiple photos of your dog in his new bandana and text them to your husband who is still out with friends. He knows what the dog looks like and does not want to have to explain to his friends why you are sending him photos of your animal at 11pm.

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5. Eat more than just a tiny banana before putting your body through an intense physical workout. #twss Get some additional carbs and some peanut butter and whatever else works for your body into your system before your run so you don’t turn into a hangry monster post-run. Hangry monsters call their husbands before they’ve woken up for the day and demand brunch as soon as they return. Hangry monsters + tired husbands = crisis mode and an expensive (albeit tasty) breakfast at 7am on a Saturday. Hangry turned delicious lesson #5.

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I am thankful that my addition to love of AdvoCare and my fabulous running group pushed me through my first long run. I will not, however, be repeating any of my actions from the last week in the foreseeable future. #girlfrandsnotarisktaker

And with that, who wants to run 7 miles with me on Thursday morning?! I will be in Colorado next Saturday and plan to fit in my run before leaving because running at mountain elevation is terrifying so I can have more time for hiking and sleeping and eating and drinking!

What are your common sense tips for running?

And seriously, who wants to run with me on Thursday morning?! 5am. 10 minutes/mile. Be there <– and by there, I mean Chicago.


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