5 Tips for Working Out Without Breaking the Bank

*Original post date 2016, updated May 2019*

When you think of getting fit and healthy, you don’t have to also see lots of dollar signs. There are ways to be healthy, get fit, and reach your goals without breaking the bank. You only have one body, so it needs to be a priority when it comes to the money you spend in your budget. Check out my 5 tips below for help:

1.) Really do some thinking about your gym membership.

If you go to your gym 4 times a week and use multiple pieces of equipment, the pool, the childcare, etc. then you should probably stick with it. But, if you go to the gym 3 times a month, or only use it for the treadmill, then maybe you should consider alternative means of exercise. If you only go to the gym for a treadmill, consider buying one for your home. You can find used ones on craigslist, or at a second hand fitness equipment store. If you lift lighter hand weights, maybe buy a set or two of lighter and heavier weights and a resistance band (We have had luck on Facebook Marketplace). If you love yoga but cringe at the thought of forking over a high amount for a month at a studio, maybe buy a mat and download some free yoga videos from the internet.

The FASTer Way to Fat Loss has a “home” version of workouts, so if you join one of my rounds, you can workout at home with just dumbells and lose fat!

2.) Set a budget for races and make finding good/cheaper ones a game.

Let’s face it, racing, especially destination racing, can be pricey! One option is to set a yearly or quarterly racing budget that includes not just entry fees but also what you would spend at a hotel or on transportation, food etc. as well. A lot of times, you can find fun races that aren’t publicized on the big race websites if you do a little digging (hello Google!)  Trying to fit races into your budget is like putting together a puzzle, and can be fun if you are a planner like me. Also, try to find things to help your budget, like run a destination race close to where your aunt lives, and ask if you can spend the night at her house to save money on a hotel. Yes, you may end up sleeping on her couch with a cat on your face, but it’s better than forking out 150+ dollars for a hotel room. Maybe you can find a friend online running the same race as you and share a hotel, or a cab from the airport. Every little bit helps!

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3.) Think of things around your house that could be considered cross training.

Look around you, there are plenty of things you could probably do or that NEED to be done that would work up a sweat and be considered cross training. Some things to do are work in the flowerbeds pulling weeds, scrubbing wood floors on your hands and knees, raking leaves, wiping down baseboards, painting your dining room, scrubbing the shelves in your refrigerator, vacuum/mop, walk the dog, stain the deck (no…I am not listing all the things I need to do…yeah…of course not). Not only will you work up a sweat, but your house will look awesome! Put on some music and maybe add in some lunges or squats as you go.

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Painting a fence counts, too!

4.) Be Social and know your city.

If you did a little research, you may find a hiking trail you didn’t know about or a walking club for moms that meets every Tuesday morning. Being in the know will help you to make decisions that are right for you and your family. Do you know an elderly lady with a big dog that needs some exercise? Volunteer your time to get to know her and her dog and then take it (the dog, not the old lady) for a run. Introduce yourself to the neighbor who just moved in and ask if they want to go on a walk around downtown with you and you can point out things like the best stores, restaurants, etc. as you go to help them learn their new town. Join a local mom’s Facebook group and start your own running or walking club! Getting exercise but also helping out someone else makes you feel good. Bonus points!

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I found a trail!

5.) Don’t spend a fortune on fitness gear.

This one is hard for me because I love cute running gear! Wait for sales or free shipping for online products. Hit up the outlet mall. Sometimes you can find affiliates who are offering discounts on products you love online. Buy the model that is not in production anymore and they are usually cheaper (for shoes at Runningwarehouse.com). I also take good care of my fitness gear. I wash it every time I sweat in it (totally can’t imagine re wearing sweaty workout gear. ew.) I hang dry everything, and it lasts a long time. Also, when people ask what to get me for Christmas/Birthday, I often tell them running gear,  or a running store gift card.

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QOTD: What is your best fitness on a budget tip?

10 Easy Tips for De-cluttering Your Home

When we moved, I came to the conclusion that we have too much stuff. The things we have aren’t particularly expensive or fancy…just…STUFF we have accumulated over the past 14ish years of knowing each other. Also, when we unpacked the house, I found things still in boxes from when we moved last time! If I haven’t needed it in a year, there is a good chance it should be tossed anyway.

It’s kind of overwhelming when I think about purging things from my home, and to be honest, I have to be in a particular “mood” to get this done, if that even makes sense (hopefully someone knows what I’m talking about so I don’t feel crazy? Well, at least not crazy in this instance.)

I decided to just do a little at a time as I felt like it, and start where I felt I could do the most damage…I hit up our office and guest bedroom closets and just started pulling things out. I ended up with a couple of huge piles of things and I already feel better and cleaner. I wanted to share a few tips that I used to help me decide what stays and what goes.

What Stays and What Goes:

1.) Pick a room: Pick a room and focus on it until it’s completely done instead of hopping all around your house. This will help you feel more accomplished once you get a complete room done. (I know this TOTALLY goes against what Marie Kondo says but it works for me.)

2.) Make multiple piles: I like to make a “donate”, “sell” and “maybe” pile as I sift through my stuff.  Sometimes I end up going through a room and will have a huge maybe pile of things I’m just not quite sure I want to part with. At the end of it after going through everything and having some time to think about the contents of the maybe pile, I can usually go back through and get rid of a large portion of it.

3.) Pick a price: I sell a lot of things locally on Facebook yard sale groups. My rule is if it’s going to sell for under $10, it gets donated. I am not going to sell an item and then spend an hour conversing back and forth with someone about a time and a location to meet, then wasting my gas and money to go meet someone in the Wal-Mart parking lot to sell a stapler for $2. I sell a lot of baby clothes to the local consignment shop so I don’t have to waste as much time handling it myself. Also, my parents have a used bookstore by their house that you can trade in books for money to use in the store to buy other books. I love it, so I always send my mom books I don’t want so she can go get some different ones. Search around and see what you can find!

4.) Pick a good cause: If you do some searching, you will find lots of places that will take donated items that you may not have even thought of. Find somewhere you really want to help, and that you believe in. It may soften your heart and make you more willing to give up some of your possessions for those truly in need if you know where it is going.

5.) Do the wear test with clothes: Turn all your hangers facing a certain way. Then, as you wear an outfit and hang it back in your closet, turn the hanger facing the other way. At the end of the season, anything with a hanger turned the first way (meaning you haven’t worn it all season) pull out of your closet and sell or donate.

6.) Get rid of multiples: Yes you may need more than one ink pen in your house, but do you REALLY need 50? (guilty.) Do you have 5 of the exact same sized pot? Are you really going to be using those pots all at once to cook, wanna-be Martha Stewart? Consider maybe keeping 2. What about your cups/water bottles/glassware? Yall, I had so many water bottles before we moved last time, it was a sin. I got rid of about 10 and still have too many. I do dishes constantly, so it’s not like I run out of clean ones. Go through your house, especially your kitchen, and consider ditching things you have multiples of.

7.) Get a file cabinet: If you don’t have one already, get one. Yes you, the one with five different stacks of mail, magazines and papers you don’t know what to do with sitting on your kitchen counter. Sit by your file cabinet with a trash can, and make folders for bills, receipts, and other important paperwork, and trash anything you will never read again (or won’t read once!)

8.) Clean out that pantry: When we moved, I was embarrassed at some of the things I found in my pantry that had been expired for a YEAR. A year yall…just let that sink in. The truth is we probably all have food in our pantry that is expired, we didn’t like and never threw out, or we just plain forgot about. Clean out your pantry and stop hiding things in layers behind each other so you can SEE everything in there. The same rule goes for your medicine cabinet. Get rid of expired meds and get a basket for each person in your house to put their medicine in so it’s easy to grab when needed.

9.) Buy some bins: You know those big storage bins with lids? We have a bunch of them in our attic. I prefer the clear ones so I can see the contents, but any will do. Anything in my house that I want to keep but I haven’t necessarily used in the past year like photo albums, keepsakes, etc. go into the bins and into the attic so they don’t junk up the rest of the house. You can even keep an inventory sheet of what is in each container in case you forget or are looking for something. (Keep the sheet in your file cabinet, NOT on your kitchen counter. Smile)

10.) Get rid of excess toys: Kids rooms can quickly become a breeding ground for toys. I don’t know where they come from…they just kind of…appear… I think a great rule is that when it is Christmas or birthday time, she has to get rid of a few toys before she can get more. We just did this at Easter actually. It makes sense really because a lot of the things they were playing with last Christmas they will have outgrown or will be too “babyish” the next year. If you are saving toys for a younger sibling, put them in a bin in the attic, and get them out of your child’s room. Less mess for mom and dad to have to “help” clean up when there aren’t as many toys to make a mess with! I would involve your kids in this and not just take toys from their room if they are old enough to understand. If you are donating, explain that there are other kids who don’t have toys that would so enjoy the ones that they don’t even play with anymore. A great learning experience and a lesson on giving! 

Related: 7 Amazon Finds to organize your kid’s room

QOTD: What is your best tip for de-cluttering your house? Ok I’m off to put some of my tips into practice!

5 Tips for Running on the Beach

It’s almost spring break! While I will not be frolicking in the sand this month, a good bit of you will be so I thought this would be timely. When I travel,  I get excited to have a new scenic place to run. Let’s face it, friends, Jackson Mississippi isn’t exactly a “pretty” place to run. No mountains, no beach, not many trails. This is why when I go on vacation or work travel, I try to take every opportunity to go for a run in my new surroundings.

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Below I have complied a few tips to help you make the most out of your ocean side run.

1.) Run on an even surface: There are a lot of slanted places at the beach, it hurts my ankles just walking on the slanted parts after awhile so I can’t imagine running like that! Sometimes, depending on the tide, this means I can run in packed sand right down by the water, and sometimes it means going up a bit further to find that flat land.

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2.) Wear Shoes: I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, and that’s ok. Personally though, getting a shell in my foot or stepping on a jellyfish barefoot do not sound like a good time. I especially recommend wearing shoes if you have arch or foot problems, running shoes for plantar fasciitis are still needed even when running on sand. I require a more stable shoe due to weak ankles and high arches so I most definitely need shoes on the beach!

3.) Keep your run short: It may be tempting to run forever in such a scenic place, but if you aren’t used to beach running, you will realize that you get sore and tired MUCH more quickly than usual. It’s a great calorie torching workout, but don’t overdo it.

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4.) Protect yourself from the sun: In Destin, the sugar white sandy beaches are beautiful, but boy does the sun reflect off of it! I am always careful to wear sunglasses, and depending on the time of day a hat as well. I also wear plenty of sunscreen when I run on the beach, even if it’s early in the morning. No one wants to be red for the rest of their trip!

5.) Body Glide your feet: One thing I quickly noticed while taking my running shoes out to say hello to the ocean was that sand. gets. everywhere. It’s inevitable, so to protect your feet from getting blisters, try wearing dri-fit socks and putting body glide on your feet to help with rubbing.

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Happy running and enjoy the view!

QOTD: Anything I left off? Do you ever run on the beach?

5 Ways to Tame Your Kid Clutter, While Teaching Them Valuable Lessons

Update: this post was updated November 2018.

I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest areas of clutter to tame in my house has to do with the tiny dictator that runs our house. Our four year old somehow has more stuff than my husband and I combined! She just had a birthday, which brought even more stuff. I decided to do a major overhaul of her things recently, and here are some tips that not only helped me, but I’m hoping are teaching her some valuable life lessons as well.

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1.) Get rid of a toy before bringing a new one in: We have a rule where if we buy our daughter a bigger toy (not talking about Happy Meal toys here), that she has to get rid of something before the new toy comes in the house. She is finally getting to the age where she grasps this, and I can usually get her to get rid of a toy by saying it’s a “baby toy” because, hello, she is a BIG KID and doesn’t want baby toys. Ha. Luckily since she is changing so quickly right now, she “outgrows” a lot of her toys so it’s easy to choose something that needs to go.

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Back when things were much more simple…and she was in a crib. ha.

2.) Don’t buy toys every time you go in the store: I know a lot of parents use toys as a reward for good behavior while shopping, or to keep a kid quiet in the cart for a few minutes. However, in my opinion, this is a bad habit that leads to an expectation every time you go into a store. Sure, there are times Emma Kate gets a special toy or treat, but certainly not every time. We avoid the toy aisle, and I make sure she has things that she already owns to keep her occupied while I shop. Not only does this teach a good lesson, but it keeps random toys you weren’t expecting on having from popping up all over your house from impulse buys. Try to give incentives for good behavior that don’t revolve around toys…Like ice cream or a movie date or extra time at the playground.

3.) Find a cause and donate: There are some great organizations out there that will take gently used toys, furniture, books, etc. There may be a family in need in your community that would love to have your child’s toys. Check with a local church or daycare, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Again, this is a great way to teach your kids about families less fortunate than yours, and also get rid of some of the toys they no longer play with. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! I have definitely learned we don’t need “new” toys to have fun!

4.) Have a home for everything: This applies for everything in my house and I discuss it in my book, but I have found when I don’t have a specific “home” for something, I end up just throwing it wherever and that leads to clutter. We use lots of bins and baskets as well as shelves for Emma Kate’s toys. If something doesn’t fit or have a home, we either get rid of things to make room or create another bin/basket so the toy doesn’t just get lumped in with random things.

Related: 7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid’s Room. 

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5.) Teach you kids to enjoy experiences and not things: Emma Kate is still a little young to understand this concept, but we would much rather do something fun with her than buy her things. She loves simple things like the splash pad, zoo, and the playground at Chick-fil-A. These things are entertaining for hours and don’t clutter up your house. Our kids really just want our time and attention anyway, so save yourself some money as well as space in your home, and expose your kids to new experiences. Those memories will last forever!

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QOTD: What is your best tip for taming kid clutter?

Packing for the runDisney Dopey Challenge

A few years ago, I wrote a post about packing for runDisney’s marathon weekend. I even included a fun video to help be your guide, and I thought packing for TWO races (Goofy) would be the most I would ever pack for. Check out that link if you want a super extensive packing list! But today we are talking about the runDisney Dopey Challenge.

packing for rundisney Dopey Challenge

Fast forward to 2014 when I ran the inaugural Dopey Challenge. I felt pretty prepared going in but learned a few tricks that may help you pack and be prepared for 48.6 miles. When running the runDisney Dopey Challenge, remember you will need FOUR of most things. This can get quite confusing when you may also need park clothes, nice clothes for dinners, etc. Here are my best tips for packing for the runDisney Dopey Challenge itself.

1.) Ziploc Bags:  You will need four sports bras, four pairs of socks, four outfits, etc., and it can get confusing as to which you want to wear for what race. To minimize confusion (and a messy suitcase) pack the items you need for each race in a ziplock bag or two, and label the bag with a sharpie. Be flexible. The year I ran one race ended up being way hotter than another, so I ended up switching up what days I wore what costume because one was cooler than the other.

2.) Carry on your shoes: If you are flying, be sure to carry on or wear your running shoes. Most other items are replaceable, but you don’t want to run (especially four races!) in new shoes if your bags get lost! I also carried on my costumes, but feel I would have been ok had I not had them now that I have done the challenge.

3.) Extra running shoes: I brought three pairs and rotated them out for the races. This helped me not get blisters badly on the early days, which would have made the full miserable on day 4. Also, in case one pair gets soaking wet, muddy, etc. you will want to have a backup pair for the other races, or for going to the parks.

4.) Lots of fuel: I take fuel/GU every 4ish miles, so between my husband and I we consumed a lot! (They also sell GU etc. at the expo but don’t try anything new for the race!) Also, keep in mind your hydration. I think runDisney does a great job of providing liquids on course so I have never brought my own water bottles, but you do you if that’s what you are used to doing!

5.) Recovery aids: In between each race there are certain things you can do to minimize stiffness and aches for the next race. I brought my traveling stick/foam roller, ibuprofen (do not take ibuprofen before a race, take Tylenol if you must!) compression socks and pants, and Biofreeze. You can also bring extra Ziploc bags for ice at your hotel or just take an ice bath.

6.) Gear for multiple weather scenarios: It’s Florida in January. You literally never know what it will be. I have run in 17 degrees and snow flurries, and ran an 85-degree marathon, all the same weekend in January a few years apart! Bring throw away gear just in case, as well as rain gear (related: tips for running in the rain.) and make sure you have layers especially if you have certain costumes you are wearing. Don’t plan a costume that only looks good with long pants in case it’s hot, and vise versa, don’t only plan one with tank tops or you may freeze! have options just in case.

I hope everyone has a wonderful race experience in January at the runDisney Dopey Challenge!

For information on runDisney events, registration, and dates be sure to check out runDisney.com

Running on the Treadmill Without Losing Your Mind

I have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill. I tend to go through phases, and luckily for me I am currently in a “love” phase. Maybe it’s because it’s warmer outside, or maybe because I am finally seeing some speed and progress because of my indoor adventures, but whatever the reason, it has been working for me lately.

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I really don’t run well in hot humid weather (but really, who does?), and Bobby doesn’t like me running out on the highway alone, so I have been logging a lot more gym miles this year. Here you will find my best tips for treadmill running without losing your mind. Trust me, it can be done without you wanting to throw a kettlebell through the gym window, and the results will be well worth it.

1.) Watch TV: I know this is not possible in all cases, but if you have a treadmill at home and can position it in front of a TV, or watch one at the gym, it can really help pass the time. I am lucky in that each treadmill at my gym has their own TV, so I can plug my headphones in and watch whatever I want. I tend to long-run best when a good movie is on, so I try to schedule my time when I know something worth watching is going to be on. Also, streaming movies on Hulu or Netflix can help pass the time, and you may not WANT to stop running! No TV? Just use your phone or tablet and binge watch something really exciting!

2.) Intervals: The great thing about a treadmill is controlled speed. I sometimes spend my time playing games with intervals. For example, warm up, run five minutes at a 6.0, the 2 minutes at a 7.0, etc. etc. It makes the time go by a lot faster constantly changing up your speed and keeping your mind off of the drudgery. Set mini goals for yourself or try to run the next interval faster than the last.

3.) Race the person next to you: Come on, you know you do it too. If there is someone next to me going just a little faster or farther than me, I pretend like we are racing. I tell no lies. My gym stays pretty busy so there is always someone new to “race!” It pushes me and makes things interesting, even though they have no idea we are competing!

4.) Distract yourself: This could mean a lot of things. I sometimes start thinking about all the things I have coming up that I need to do, things to get at the store, planning a vacation etc. I have heard of people planning meals for the week, coming up with business proposals, or drafting e-mails in their head while they run to pass the time. I also like to pray when I run. Multitasking for the win!

5.) Work on your form: When I get tired, I tend to lose my running form. My shoulders slump, my feet drag, my breathing is erratic, and I expend more energy than necessary. Treadmill running is a great time to focus hard and work on your form and tweak those minor issues that can make a big difference in time and injury prevention.

6.) Hills, hills, hills: This is especially good if you live in a flat area. Being able to raise and lower your incline on command is a great way to train for a hilly race or to work on your endurance and leg strength. It will make flat running seem like a piece of cake!

QOTD: What do you do to pass the time on the treadmill? What is the longest you have ever run on a treadmill, I have run 16 miles!

Related: 8 Tips for running in the rain

7 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday in Walt Disney World

When my mom was about to turn 60, her one wish was to have a fun girls trip in Walt Disney World. Since her birthday falls on Christmas day, she has NEVER gotten a lot of ”hoopla” for her birthday. Sure we know better than to wrap her birthday gifts in Christmas paper, and not get her a red and green cake, but let’s face it, everyone is so busy with the holidays it’s hard to focus on a birthday other than that of baby Jesus!

Celebrate Your Birthday in Walt Disney World

When she told me she really wanted a quick girls trip to Disney to celebrate her birthday, I sprang into action to plan for the most FUN birthday bash ever. After all, she totally deserves it as the most selfless giving person ever. When I started making our October plans and doing some research, I got frustrated trying to think of things and having to hop all over the internet to find different things, so I thought I would come up with a list of fun birthday things to do in Walt Disney World for adults (kids at heart, right?) Hopefully this list will be helpful to some people looking for fun ways to celebrate!

 

7 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday in Walt Disney World:

1.) Mark your reservations: Be sure when you book your vacation that you mention there is a celebration going on. That way, it can be marked on your resort reservation and your dining reservations. There is no guarantee, but resorts and restaurants have been known to sprinkle a little pixie dust for birthday guests. When I check in I also make sure it was noted properly on the reservation. We have gotten balloons and cards in our room, chocolate, cupcakes at lunch, free dessert at dinner, and more. (Please please remember this is NOT something Disney has to do, it’s just “extra” so try not to expect it so you won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.)

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2.) Birthday button (and hat, shirt, etc): Grab a birthday button at your resort or at the theme parks. Wear it with pride and watch the magic happen! Cast members and guests alike will tell you happy birthday and make you feel extra special. The button is a freebie, but if you want to pay for a little something extra, you can purchase a birthday ear hat or have a shirt made at Downtown Disney letting everyone know it is your birthday.

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3.) Cake: Let me tell you, Disney makes some AMAZING cakes. You can call the cake hotline and have a customized cake made and delivered to your resort or at certain restaurants around the property. I have been lucky enough to be the recipient of several cakes throughout the years. Thanks to my fellow cake fiend Jen, and they are so worth it, and such a fun surprise!

 

4.) Spa treatment: There is a spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort, and also at Saratoga Springs resort. Jen and I actually had pedicures done on my birthday one year, and it was so fun! They have a full spa menu if you are looking for some extra pampering with friends or family.

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5.) Fireworks dessert party: Disney knows how to light up the night sky, and they have been wise enough to pair their amazing fireworks with dessert parties, fireworks cruises, and the most recent addition, the Ferrytale Fireworks dessert cruise during the nightly fireworks. So many fun things to choose from (book well in advance for these events!)

6.) Guided Tour: There are a plethora of tours around Disney property, ranging from a behind the scenes Magic Kingdom tour, to a wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I think most people would be plenty excited to get to take part in a special tour on their special day.

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7.) Recreation: A lot of people don’t realize there is so much more to do at Walt Disney World than go to the parks. A birthday is a perfect occasion to do something special. Some examples are: play a round of golf, rent a boat at one of the many marinas, parasail, rent a surrey bike, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride.

Thanks for reading my tips on how to celebrate your birthday in Walt Disney World

QOTD: Have you ever celebrated your birthday in Walt Disney World? What did you do?

8 Tips for Running in the Rain

Update: This post originally appeared in August of 2011 and has been updated for October 2018.

I have run several races in the rain, including the inaugural Rock ‘n Roll Providence half marathon, where there were torrential downpours the entire race. I definitely did some things wrong in that race in regards to running in the rain, but I learned some lessons and tricks to help you survive a rainy run.

8 tips for running in the rain

Remember, it’s just rain. It won’t kill you, so go running anyway! (Unless there is lightning or a tornado…then you are on your own!)

8 Tips for running in the rain:

1.) Wear a hat. This will help keep your head drier and help to keep water drops from pelting you in the face. Not getting water all in your face will make it not so bad.

2.) Waterproof your phone/iPod. No, you don’t have to have some expensive special case, a ziplock bag will do! I kept my phone in my Ziploc the whole race and it was fine afterward! Also, I could still type on the touch screen through the bag.

3.) Body Glide.  Even if you don’t normally chafe or blister, use Body Glide anyway. I don’t normally chafe badly but I did under ONE arm and on the outside of the leg  where the pocket was I kept my phone in. I heard people saying they usually don’t get blisters but because of squishy shoes, they did during this race.

4.) Wear moisture wicking fabric/clothing. Honestly, you should be doing this ANYWAY, but it will help keep you from chafing more than cotton will, and it will keep you more dry.

5.) Dress warmly. The rain will most likely make it a few degrees cooler than you anticipated, so take that into consideration when planning your race day outfit.

6.) Get out of your wet clothes ASAP! Prior to the race, use the gear check if there is one available, or run back to your hotel to shower and change, but don’t stay in your wet clothes! You need to dry off and get the chill out of your body.

7.) A garbage bag makes a great poncho. Seriously. Been there done that. Even if you don’t run in it, it can at least keep you dry while you wait for the race to start.

8.) Evaluate and possibly change your expectation. If you were thinking you were going to PR in said rainy day weather you still can, but don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t. There are other things to consider besides the actual rain that can slow you down. For instance, in Providence, at times it was raining so hard the drains in the streets couldn’t keep up with it, so there was standing water RUSHING over the street knocking your feet out from under you. Also, there were puddles everywhere and I couldn’t tell how deep they were, which could have caused me to twist an ankle. I treaded a lot more lightly than usual because of this. There were also several steep downhills I was afraid of slipping on in my wet slippery shoes. Take precautions and watch your footing. There will be other races! Think of it as an experience, and as a “mental PR!”

tips for running in the rain

QOTD: Do you have any other rainy day running tips?

Related: 5 Tips for running when you travel

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I make a small commission if you purcahse through my link.

4 Easy Tips for Choosing a Running Route

Update: This post originally appeared in the summer of 2012, and has been updated for October 2018.

Whether you subconsciously do it or not, a lot of thought goes into planning a running route. People have preferences depending on training run, time of day, traffic, amount of people, and so on. I wanted to go into a little bit of detail about some of these options to help you (and myself!) plan the best running routes for your enjoyment and safety. Here are my tips for choosing a running route:

no matter where you are running, you can always take selfies while you workout!

 

1.) Type of run:

 

This will weigh heavily on some of the other things I mention so I thought I would bring it up first. A long run or an easy run may take you anywhere on any terrain at any time, but for a hill workout, for instance, you need well…a route with hills! So point being, take these suggestions with a grain of salt and adjust them according to the needs of your run for that day. Also, I get bored pretty quickly and would rather run a loop somewhere as opposed to up and down the same streets over and over. Example: My parents live in a big neighborhood with a clubhouse in the middle. When I visit, I park at the clubhouse and put water and fuel there, then run in one direction and back to my car, then the other direction and back to my car. This way I don’t get bored on the same streets!

2.) Safety:

This is way important, especially in light of things happening to people on running trails in the news over the past couple of years. Please don’t be one of those people who say “it will never happen to me”, because that thought alone makes you vulnerable. If you are running alone, you need to REALLY consider running:

-in an area with a lot of people.

-out in the open (not on a trail in the woods).

-carrying a taser, pepper spray,* your cell phone.

-when the sun is up and the area is well lit.

-with reflective gear on to make yourself visible.

-ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Bobby refuses to let me run out on the highway or on the trails by myself, and I totally understand why. Even if you live in a “safe area” bad things can happen. Being observant and not playing your music too loud so it drowns out approaching people or animals can be a hindrance. Wearing headphones that still allow ambient noise is something I would highly suggest if you must listen to music.

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I run along the beach during the day when there is a lot of traffic and other people out on the path. I always carry my cell phone and wear my road ID.

3.) Weather:

The biggest weather concern where I live is the heat and humidity. A lot of thought goes into my weekend long runs due to the glaring sun and high temps. Running early in the morning or late in the evening is something I try to do (when Bobby is with me of course). We also try our best to find well-shaded areas, areas without a lot of traffic, and areas with water fountains, or a turn around point where we can pass by the car for extra fuel and water. Trails are a great option for the heat if they are shaded but you may need to bring along your own water bottle depending on the location.

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these trees don’t provide much shade.

Running in the rain is ok (as long as it’s not lightning) but be careful running on roads, as they can be slippery and cars may not be able to brake as well. We don’t get a lot of cold weather, but when we do we bundle up and hit a sunny route to keep us warm and try to stay out of the wind as much as possible.

4.) Distance/scenery:

I will be the first to admit I get pretty bored on long runs. Having somewhere new to run can be a great change and make things more interesting. Depending on the distance you need to go, you can plan to run a loop (not as boring) or an out and back (way boring!). I prefer to run on a beach or Boardwalk, or where there are a lot of people so I have different things to look at. Also, to keep boredom away, try running your usual route backward. I have different places I run depending on how far I have to go. (3 mile loop, 6 mile loop, etc). Also, don’t count out the treadmill to mix things up! I have done 10 mile long runs, half outside and half on a treadmill when it gets too hot outside.

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The lakefront in Louisiana is a beautiful place to run.

It may be a slight inconvenience to drive somewhere to run, but if it will help me run faster and be less bored, I am willing to drive a bit to get the job done.

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beach running is fun (but so tough!)

The same goes for picking races. I try to choose ones in fun cities, or somewhere scenic. I ran an out and back race that went through this boring road with no houses one time and it was 13.1 miles of torture!

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races along the beach are a lot of fun

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So are races in Disney World!

Bottom line, with a little bit of planning and effort on your part, you can make running more fun and not as “boring”. If you are stuck in a training rut, try to make sure you are having the best experience based on the weather, times of day, your safety, scenery, and the type of run.

QOTD: Do you have any other tips for choosing a running route?

Related: 5 Tips for running when you travel

*Some links may be affiliate links, meaning if you purchase from it, I get a small commission.

5 Tips for Running When you Travel

Update: This post on 5 Tips for Running When you Travel first appeared in 2015, and I have now updated it, in October of 2018. 

If you are anything like me, you might make excuses when you are traveling for why you can’t go for a run. I have used every logic possible to talk myself out of a run, but in the end, I always regret not running when I travel. When I’m traveling, no matter if it’s by car or air, I always tend to eat more unhealthy than I do at home, and I’m sitting more than I do at home, so if there was ever a time I needed to run, traveling is when it is! So below I have compiled 5 Tips for running when you travel. Enjoy!

5 Tips for Running When you Travel

1.) Research the area: It’s not wise to just take off running from your hotel without knowing a bit about the area. Maybe you could even try to connect with local runners on social media and ask them their favorite routes. Traveling is a great time for exploring a new place! Maybe find a route that has a convenience store you can stop at along the way for a bottle of water, or a park with a scenic trail. Remember, knowledge is power!

2.) Pack well: I know there are a million thoughts going in and out of your head when trying to pack for a trip, and thinking about running gear may be the last thing on your mind. However, if you have everything you need all together in one bag you may be more likely to actually go for a run when you reach your destination. I bring a drawstring bag with my GPS watch, headbands, GU, body glide, sunglasses*, etc. whenever I travel so there is no excuse and no rummaging around in my suitcase. Then it’s just a matter of throwing in a couple running outfits and my shoes!

3.) Be safe: Always tell someone where you plan to run and what time you will be back, even if it’s a text to a friend or a front desk worker at the hotel. Be mindful of your surroundings! If you listen to music, make sure you can still hear your surroundings. You need to be on the lookout, especially in a bigger city where you may be crossing streets or around a lot more cars.

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Stopped at a crosswalk on a group run in Boston at the Healthy Living Summit.

4.) Make time: This is a big one for me! Travel wears me out y’all. The last thing I want to do after a long day of driving or flying is lace up my running shoes! It is important to look at your schedule and pencil in a time to hit the hotel gym or run the roads, or it may not actually happen. Sometimes the only available time is late at night, but it’s a good excuse to get out of your boring hotel room.

5.) Call the hotel: Hotel workers are your friend! Usually, they are super knowledgeable of the area, and can hopefully tell you areas you should probably avoid, or a place where runners go on the weekend to log some longer miles. They may even be able to give you the number of a local running store you can call for help as well. It never hurts to ask!

Thanks for checking out my 5 Tips for Running When you Travel.

QOTD: What is your best tip for running in a new place? To you venture outside or stick to the hotel gym?

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase through my link I receive a small commission.