Six For Saturday – Cool Stuff I Learned About Running This Week


Happy Saturday and I hope it is warmer wherever you are than it is here! We have another sub-zero wind chill morning, and the sad thing is this is going to be the warmest day in the next week! Fortunately the temperature should hit the 20s for my run today … so you can be sure I’ll take advantage!

The image above is my new running shoes – Merrell AllOut Rush. I have these to review from Merrell, so you can look forward to my impressions going forward – I loved the Vapor Glove but they were just ‘too little shoe’ (2mm cushion) for me. These are rock-solid trail shoes with much more cushion – and they are very heavy compared to my New Balance Minimus!

Anyway, I seemed to keep finding cool and interesting things about running … so here we go with another set of six things about running!

1. Eating Disorders and Runners – Because this is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I wanted to highlight Eating Disorders and runners – which was the topic that started me writing about eating disorders in early 2013. I really had no idea it was such a big thing.

Over at Runner’s World they talk about the Role of Running in Eating Disorders, talking about how running can be such a structured and positive thing, even when someone with ED is at risk due to running … it might be all that they have. Stride Nation further discusses those dangers, as does Lauren Fleshman in her blog.

One powerful quote about those who suffer:

“The victims of such illnesses are often very ambitious, outwardly successful young women who pursue these ideas of control and achievement,” she said. “We’re driven, compulsive, obsessive, competitive, persistent and seek perfection. That can be channelled incredibly negatively.”

What I learned? This disorder is again incredibly complex and heart-breaking: because what at once puts you at risk for injury and death while you are suffering from ED can also be the thing that makes you sane and keeps you alive.

2. strong>Injure Yourself Like a Pro! – While looking at Lauren’s site I came across an article she wrote this week for Runner’s World. She was just coming back to racing, and was thinking about all of the silly mistakes she’s made through the years:

2. Rest days are for babies
I like to run, and I want to get better, so why would I take a day off? The hard-core don’t take days off, do they? I bet Shalane worked out twice today. What will I do on my day off, anyway? Think about working out while my mitochondria evaporate? In one day my jeans feel tighter. There is no way this is from being hydrated for the first time in a week. It is fatness as a direct result of laziness. It’s only 9:30 p.m. . . . still time to get in a quick four-miler.

The funniest thing was that the same article was highlighted at Running With Wine, and again this morning at Loving on the Run … so I think it is safe to say this has resonated with the running community in a big way – and I totally love Lauren for all of her incredible commentary.

I chose the rest days comment, because I realized that when I took 2 days off last week I had only taken 4 rest days so far the whole year (4 out of 49 at that point). So … maybe I need to work on resting better?

3. Excuses for Not Running

I have talked about how mentally I feel like the cold was kicking my butt this week – after our warm-up last weekend to near 50F, seeing -17 again on Friday, had me muttering and sputtering like Ewam McTeagle (Monty Python) or Jasmine (from Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine).

So I was amused reading this ‘motivational’ article about ‘getting past excuses not to run’. Here was one:

5. “It’s Too Cold (or Hot) Outside.”
Photo by altrendo imagesI always tell runners, “There’s no such thing as bad weather — just bad clothes.” In other words, if you’re dressed properly and prepared to deal with less-than-ideal running weather, you can still go for a run — and actually enjoy it. Get tips and precautions to take for running in the cold, heat, and rain.

Um, yeah. Pretty sure they are talking about temperatures in the 20-30F range.

4. Learning to Relax – Anxiety-Induced Insomnia and Performance

An interesting article this week looked at endurance athletes who suffer insomnia due to anxiety and how it impacts their performance. Here is a quote:

Dr. Katz says he encourages athletes to take control of the variables they can control; when you go to bed, what you eat, how much alcohol you drink, if any. “That can be very comforting,” Katz said.

Katz noted that athletes tend to fixate on the outcome before the race is even run, which can be paralyzing. “People worry they are going to fail,” he said. Katz likens the pre-race anxiety to the race itself. “When you are running a marathon, you need to focus on the mile you are running. Once you get ahead of yourself, or conversely, start thinking about the two miles you just ran, it takes time and energy away from the task at hand.”

I was also reading a lot about the ‘mental game’ of running this week. First because I am working to push through the cold for the coming week and actually enjoy my runs, but there were also a number of posts from bloggers I follow that focused on their running anxieties, due to injury, weather, keeping with the plan and so on. There are a couple of good articles specifically about relaxation here and here. Here is one quote:

I know that with nothing more than my enhanced focus and breathing, I am able to immediately change the way I feel and perform.

5. The Benefits of Heart-Rate Training

I got heart rate monitors along with the Polar RC3 GPS and Magellan Echo, so I sort of backed into heart-rate training. This winter has been cold enough where I haven’t worried about it yet, But I have frequently worn my heart-rate monitor and will glance at the charts to see how I am doing. That is good enough for now, but come spring I plan to put it into action!

An article at Competitor looks at the basics of setting up a heart-rate monitoring training plan. Here is a quote:

Heart rate-based training involves targeting different heart rate zones in different workouts. The most popular zone system is the following.

Zone 1 Active Recovery 106% LT HR

Each zone carries its own benefits and is appropriate for different types of workouts. Zone 1 is so light it barely qualifies as exercise, and is appropriate on days when you are especially fatigued from prior days’ running and for “active recoveries” between high-intensity intervals. Zone 2 is very comfortable and quite useful for building aerobic fitness, fat-burning capacity, and endurance. You should run in Zone 2 more than in any other zone.

Polar has a great article about the benefits of heart-rate training here … and I look forward to when it is warm enough that I can relax and focus on that as a part of my training plan!

6. Winter Fueling Tips

When you want to go for a long run on a really cold winter day … how should you handle fueling? Water can freeze, same for Gu and even every bars can get too solid to consume easily. It is all about adjusting to the temperatures – I know on my daily runs (just under 7 miles) I don’t worry about it. But on runs longer than 9-10 miles I make sure to bring a water bottle and some fuel, and fortunately haven’t had a freeze-up yet … and keeping fuel near my body handles any solidifying effects of temperature. Here is another one from this article:

Liquid Logistics
Sari: “On days when I use a hydration bladder in my pack, I’ll use an insulated hose sleeve and stick as much of the hose as possible in my jacket. If I’m carrying a bottle, I’ll keep it inside my race suit and use body heat to keep fluids from freezing.”

Zeke: “For really cold days, I’ll use bottles instead of a bladder with a hose. On days when I do use a bladder, I blow the water back into the bladder after I drink, so it doesn’t freeze in the hose.”

Bonus. Impact of Dehydration on Our Body

I talk a lot about hydration – because I simultaneously dehydrate easily and have the bladder the size of an acorn – and I constantly refer back to Megan’s hydration post. And we know that the body is lousy at differentiating hunger and thirst – I tell my kids that if they think they are hungry between meals to have a cup of water, do something else, and THEN eat. So I totally loved this huge info graphic that details all of the issues associated with dehydration. Head to the official site for the full-sized image.


Happy Saturday! Did you find any cool running links to share?

14 thoughts on “Six For Saturday – Cool Stuff I Learned About Running This Week

  1. Love that article as you know 🙂 I think runners tend to have an obsessive personality (or maybe thats just me?) that is why it is so hard to break some of those habits. My injury was awful but in a way it brought me back to reality on changes I needed to make!

    • I think a lot of us get so focused that we can’t see our own mistakes … so it is good when we DO learn. It is unfortunate you had to get hurt to put the brakes on, but fortunately you are coming back to running slowly!

  2. I think in the winter it is really hard for me to remember to stay properly hydrated. I don’t feel as thirsty, and therefore don’t drink as much water. I noticed earlier in the week I was feeling fatigued in the evenings of my hard workouts, and I blamed dehydration. I’m going to be working on making a better effort to drink enough water, even when I don’t feel thirsty.
    I think its pretty awesome that you can take so few rest days and haven’t been injured (you’re very lucky!) but it might be interesting to see if there were improvements in performance with more rest. I know that right now one rest day a week works for me, but during my last training cycle I rested 2 days per week. If I continue on without injury and feel good, I may move to resting every 10 days or so. Everyone’s different so we all need to do what works best for ourselves.

    • It always is a struggle to keep hydrated – when it gets really cold I don’t want to deal with things like keeping my shoes tied, hydrating, etc …

      As for performance, I probably could – and I might explore that once spring arrives. I plan to mix things up this year and see where I can go with it …

  3. As usual, this is a great post, I always find myself mentally composing a response point by point but get lost in the rich content. Thank you!

    To join the empathy party, yesterday’s 4 miler was in -3 degree actual, -20 with wind. The squirt nozzle on my water bottle froze shut half way through and one of my eye’s upper and lower lashes froze together, so i was a cyclops for about a quarter mile until enough tears melted it.

    I appreciate your info about dehydration. As soon as I saw the part about “when you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated”, I realized that’s me right now, so I filled up my bottle and started chugging.

    • haha … have to laugh, I had some killer ‘eye-cicles’ as well!

      And I did my run today without hydration – my water bottle sat safely on my counter at home the whole time. So I spent all afternoon re-hydrating, and still need more!


  4. Great infographic! I heard the bit about drinking a glass of h2o first thing in the am three times last week, never hear that before, I mean obviously makes sense and is a great way to start the day off hydrated!

    • I know – and I am lucky I am such a creature of habit … I drink a big cup with my thyroid pill every morning regardless of whether or not I’m thirsty. I am working to drive it home with the boys, because it is a good and healthy habit.

  5. Agree with Sara that runners tend to have obsessive personalities, but I hadn’t yet seen Lauren’s article so thanks for the share! I admire Lauren Fleshman so much and think she has great things to share. Always a good reminder on the water, and I had to laugh on your comment on “they’re talking about 20-30 degrees.” Completely agree!!

    • I figure with you living for a few years in cold cities you could appreciate the diversity of what ‘cold weather’ means … heck, you were cooking at your marathon and now ice storms are rolling through today!

      And I don’t think there are ever too many hydration reminders!

  6. Pingback: Motivation Monday – Just Do It | Running Around the Bend

  7. Pingback: Raleigh Marathon Training Week 10 and More Snow? | Running Out Of Wine

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