Friday, November 22, 2013


Run this Town

What's your favorite form of cardio?  I do most of mine outdoors.  When the days start to get darker and the weather colder, I always panic.  I fear cabin fever so much that I overcompensate every fall.  If there aren't tornado sirens sounding or Level 3 snow emergencies issued, I will find time and a reason to get outside.  Because of this 'overcompensating cardio plan'  I usually end up doing twice as much cardio in the colder months than I do in the Summer.  I love the brisk fresh air and cold flushed cheeks you get from running when it's chilly outside.  Outdoor cardio is mentally therapeutic and helps prevent the winter bulk up.  You just need the right equipment.

Here are the basics that I recommend:

1) A warm running coat:

I have 2 that I go to, depending on how cold it is.  I use my North Face parka when it's really cold:

This coat will keep you so toasty warm.  It's like running in a sleeping bag.  It's a little bulky, but if you aren't going for speed, it's perfect!  Also great for hikes and long walks.

If the temp is above freezing and you want something you can move around in more freely, I absolutely love Nike ACG Jackets.  They are so hard to find now.  They may have stopped making them.  But I did see a few on Amazon.  You could also go with any neoprene jacket.  I love this one from Roxy.

2) A hat or ear warmers:  

You don't need to splurge on this one.   I have a fun, feathery one that I received as a gift from Nordstrom:
(That's my dad.  He's awesome.)

 But I also have a bin in by coat closet with a pile of cheap ones that I got on clearance at the end of the season from Target.  I think they were a few bucks each and I stocked up because I tend to misplace things.  Plus, my kids wear them when they play in the snow, so you can really never have too many.

3) Thin gloves that are well insulated:
Any thermal pair will do.  I like this Nike pair.  You can get these at LeftLaneSports.com for $10.95.  Keeping the hands warm while running allows better bloodflow to the heart, lungs and legs.

4) Supportive socks:

Everyone's feet are so unique that it is difficult to recommend a specific sock.  I will say, I hate spending a lot on socks.  They really aren't fun to buy.  I used to get mine exclusively form TJ Maxx.  I was given a nice pair from a sport specific store, and WHOA! life changer.  Apparently, good socks matter.  With that being said, you may want to try a few different brands to see what works best for you.  I find that Under Armour has a good, high quality, selection.

5) A base layer:

When it's really cold out a base layer or compression layer is imperative.  It's protects your muscles from strains and tears and keeps your heart lungs cozy.  I set I usually wear is from Athleta (check out all of the other cute warm weather stuff while you're there).  Under Armour is probably the most popular brand and Lululemon has plenty to choose from.

6) Running shoes:

Your feet are really being put to the test while running in the cold.  Be a friend and treat them with some respect.  I strongly recommend getting fitted by someone who knows what they are talking about.  My favorite shoes to run in are Mizunos.  I'm currently running in the Wave Prophecy 3:

You can get these at most athletic shoe stores.  These are from Dick's Sporting Goods.  Wearing proper shoes (and properly fitted shoes) not only protects your feet, but also helps support and protects your ankles, knees, hips and lower back.  Your whole body works together as an intricate system.  Be particular in how you treat it.

If you are ready to get out there and move but you are missing some items on this list, don't let that be an excuse to hold you back.  You can always make do by layering t-shirts and digging old skull caps out of the closet.  These might be some good items to put on your Holiday list.  Or if you know a runner, great gift ideas.  You can never have too many head warmers and running socks!

Okay, time to run! Let me know if you need a running partner :)

Do you have favorite gear that you want to rave about?  Please share!

P.S. Don't forget to warm up, cool down and stretch after :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's the Time?

It's time to not get ill :)

Do you ever feel too busy to breathe?  I have days like that.  I find that when I'm really busy, the first thing I cut back on is sleep.  Sleep is very important for so many reasons.  Reasons of which I shall dedicate an entire blog post to in the future (but must parentheses a few like fighting/preventing illness, maintaining a healthy weight, mental clarity and focus, improved mood).  But, for the sake of time, just trust me on this one.  If you aren't getting enough, find a way to get more.  Let me help you maximize your time without sacrificing other important daily habits.

Exhibit A:

The Quicky Workout

This is a great workout to go to if you have about 20 minutes or less and need an intense workout that gets your heart rate up (read: calorie burn) and want to hit some of your major muscle groups.  Do as many rounds as you have time for.  Even one is a legit workout!  You do each plyometric exercise for 45 seconds and do push-ups in between each plyo, starting with 25 and dropping it by 5 until you get through all of the exercises.

A Crock of What?

Another big time saver is using your crock pot.  It's like having a personal chef.  It cooks your meals for you while you're sleeping or at work.  Hands down, the best invention from the 70s (right behind the hologram and the VCR, of course).   I didn't use mine for years, but lately I've been using it every day.

One of my very favorite things to make in my crockpot is Steel Cut Oatmeal.  It normally takes over 35 minutes to make on the stovetop, so prepping it the night before in the crockpot gives you a hot breakfast ready the second your feet hit the floor.  Added bonus, your house will smell like an oven full of cookies.

I just take 1 cup of steel cut oats and 4 cups of water and dump them in the crockpot.  I add cinnamon, a cup of unsweetened applesauce and a little nutmeg.  I set the crockpot to 4 hours right before I go to bed.  If I use a longer setting it always burns the bottom.  This seems to be the only way I can prevent that from happened.  It took me about 10 test runs to figure that out.  I also add walnuts to it in the morning.

Another recipe that I love this time of year is my "Clean out the freezer" vegetable soup.  I take anything I need to use up and toss it in.  I always have tons of tomato paste (love Costco), so I just put in 1 can of tomato paste and 6 cups of water for the broth, then add a hodgepodge of what I have in my fridge/freezer.  This one has green beans, broccoli, about 8 whole garlic cloves, a purple onion, teeny tiny potatoes, corn, edamame and I think that's it.  I added random spices and let it go for 8 hours while I was at work.  It took me less than 10 minutes to throw together and it fed me for 3 days.  I ate it twice a day.  I'm not one to mind eating the same thing repeatedly (especially if it's delicious).

Do you have any good crock pot recipes? What do you do to save time?