Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quotes to Keep You Going

     Since winter running has started, and the weather is getting FREEZING I think we all need a little bit of inspiration to keep us going through this hard post-season.

     Already, I've noticed that I'm becoming increasingly lazy when it comes to running and it keeps getting more and more up appealing to go outside in the below zero, snowing, and sometimes rainy weather. Not only has the weather gotten worse, but now it gets dark even earlier! I know that all of you feel similarly, but I'm here to say that in the end, it's all gonna be worth it! If you keep training now, when track season rolls around, you'll be so much farther ahead of other people that didn't run in the winter. 

     If you honestly can't even stand cold weather, I suggest getting a membership to a gym. I would definitely do this, but unfortunately there's not a gym nearby where I live. Either way, I'm sure it's a really great investment during cold seasons. 

     At times like theses, I feel we can all use a little bit of inspiration! So, I've complied a few of my favorite running quotes in hopes that you'll fell better about this whole running thing. Enjoy!

“The will to win means nothing if you haven’t the will to prepare.” – Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner
“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.” – Maurice Greene (attributed to Roger Bannister shortly after running the first sub-4 mile)
(My eighth grade cross country coach always told me this story!)

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?’” – Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian and Sub-2:12 marathoner
“A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.” -Billie Jean King (tennis player)
“If you can’t win, make the fellow ahead of you break the record.” – Unknown
“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.”-Doug Larson
“Some people train knowing they’re not working as hard as other people. I can’t fathom how they think.” -Alberto Salazar
Song of the week:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why Do You Run For?


     A little while ago, I happened to stumble across this video in my search results called "What do you run for?" It seemed interesting enough, so I watched it. I was actually really surprised. Here I was, just an average everyday high school student running, and I never really asked myself why. Why does anybody run? To stay in shape I suppose. But there are some people out there who truly wanna make a difference on this world.

     There are countless cases where some poor kid is told that he'll "never be good enough," and that child grows thinking he actually won't be good enough for anything. But the amazing part, is that others try to prove that person wrong and end up succeeding . Michael Jordan is probably the most famous example of this. It really is so inspiring to see that with a lot of hard work and dedication, everything is possible. People with life-long injuries run all the time, and a lot of them are amazing at it.

     I think the thing that really makes me keep going is the fact that there will always be those runners that run simply for another person. There was a really interesting story I read once about a Dad who raced hundreds of times all while carrying his son in a wheelchair. This man was an amazing runner and own countless races, all the while carrying his son along with him. And when asked if he'd ever run on his own, he said no. 

     I always find myself thinking, why do I run? I could be doing so much homework, hanging out woth friends, watching TV, but I chose to run. I like winning. I'm sure everybody does. But others run with no intention of winning. I may not be the best runner out there, but I am blessed with the ability to run. Some kids just like me, don't have that option. No matter how hard they try, they will never be able to run on their own. They'll never get to experience running quite the way I do. And I'm really lucky to have that.

     So now, I'm asking you. What do you run for?

Song of the Week:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Running Attire

     As my previous one blog post stated, the weather is indeed getting colder. For those of your newbies joining any winter running programs to keep in shape, I'm here to supply you with some pretty valuable information.

     I'll be honest here, I haven't actually been in a winter running program before. But I have ran in colder weather and snow many times before so I've come to figure out what some of the best things you could wear are, in my opinion of course. As with everything, what you have to and don't have to wear depends a lot of body factors. I am cold all the time. I actually shiver and my teeth start chattering when I'm in school. Cold weather is just not my thing. But hey, if I can do it, so can you!

     Let's be serious here, running clothes can get expensive... especially running clothes designed to keep you warm. The good thing though is that if you invest in some high quality clothing, you'll end up getting a ton of use out of it all and you'll be glad you didn't settle for the cheaper, less effective versions of different sportswear.

     The main basics for running clothing are sweaters. I like wearing the type of long-sleeve shirts you would get at cross country meets. These are great because they're usually very light weight and you can layer them easily. Hoodies or sweatpants aren't really recommended
to wear because they weigh you down A LOT. You're definitely gonna notice the extra weight once you start running.

     The first thing I HIGHLY recommend anyone running in the cold to get is an under armour. My personal under armour cost me about fifty dollars. I'm sure you could find some for cheaper and even pricier but mine keeps me quite warm. A bunch of different brands sell these sweater-type things but I always feel that the material is much thinner and doesn't trap your body heat as well as under armour does. Also, if you are planning on being on a team of some sort I recommend you buy a basic color like black or white that you could wear under your uniform. There are always a bunch of fun colored ones too but it's better to be safe than sorry in this cold weather.

     The second must-have for the winter running season is running tights. So far, I haven't found a pair that legitimately keeps your legs warm, but there is a pair from Nike that has fleece inside it that I really want! My friend owns these, and she says they work great. from where I've seen, they go for around fifty dollars as well, maybe a little more. If you don't want to pay that much for tights, I suggest going to TJ Max. I can almost always find a nice pair of simple or really crazy designed tights there from Nike to Reebok.

     You're probably gonna find that  you can't feel your toes this winter season. You may or may not know that I am a HUGE fuzzy-sock fanatic. If I could wear fuzzy socks as shoes, I would. These socks can cost three to six dollars! You can get them anywhere from Target to Costco. I actually haven't ran in fuzzy socks just yet, but I predict doing so in the near future. If you're too cool to wear fuzzy socks in public, I have a pair of regular Saucony running socks that are actually really thick and keep your feet nice and toasty. I suggest wearing the latter option, but hey do whatever you want.

     As the season goes on, I'm almost sure that I'll be posting a second winter running clothing post, so stay tuned!

Photos from:
Snowy gif is from tumblr, all others from their brand websites.

Song of the Week:

Mile Time Trials

     In the past couple of weeks, I have done two Mile Time Trials and I'm here to tell you a few tips about them.

     Although I'm obviously not a great mile runner, I did reach my goal of under six minutes! I scraped by just getting 5:59 at the finish and I was a little bit too happy. Considering it was FREEZING that day and I was running in short sleeves and knee-tights, I was pretty proud of myself. I ended up being the twenty first person from our cross country team to finish the mile under six minutes - a new record for our school!

     I'm not sure exactly how others school's tracks are like, but my school has a 400 track, and 4 laps make a mile. I'd ask a coach or gym teacher if you're not sure about the length of your school's track, but if you don't have access to a track, my team sometimes does the time trial at our local forest preserve. You can mostly see the mile markers on the trails and if you can't, odds are that there will be some sort of map of the whole preserve.

     As for actually running the mile, it's pretty damn difficult. People tease me for being nervous about the mile, but they're obviously not in cross country. Although it's definitely not the toughest workout, it can get pretty crazy. For one, you're basically going 100% the whole way, apart for the places where you're going 110%. 

     Starting off, you really want to get yourself out there. The first two hundred to four hundred meters are your chance to find a group that you could run with. Make sure to not overshoot it and find that you're gonna die halfway through the mile. The first half of the race is pretty easy mentally, at least for me, but the third lap is KILLER. I always always always always seem to slow down there! Don't be like me! I've been trying to really push through my mentality at this stage of the mile. You have to remind yourself that you're more than halfway done! This is the part that makes or crushes you! Keep a steady pace, and DO NOT let go of it.

     The last four hundred is where you really just go all out. Especially right when it's about one hundred meters to go you wanna kick it and sprint as fast as your legs will let you, making sure not to ease up. You wanna lengthen your stride and really just try your hardest on this last stretch. It's the difference between a six minute mile and an under six minute mile.

     Since these time trials, aren't that long, eating one of those Gatorade chews or something that helps you get pumped isn't a bad idea. I always forget to pick them up at the store, but I have heard various good things about them!

     Good luck if you're ever planning on running a mile time trial in your lifetime!
Song of the Week:

Monday, November 11, 2013


     One of the things that I always struggle with is choosing proper snacks to eat before or after I run. No matter how much I wish to just pig out and eat tubs of ice cream, I know this is probably the wrong choice. I also have to refrain from eating pounds of food at lunch, because that greasy cookie might come back when I run.

     First of all, there is a certain time frame when you should eat before running. You don't want to eat too far or close to when you'll go running because you obviously don't want the food to completely digest or not digest at all. A good time to eat is around an hour to an hour and a half prior to going running. Especially when you have early morning practice, you might have to get up earlier if you really need that extra food in the morning. I've never had a problem with eating at this time, so I highly recommend it. However, one of my friends absolutely can't eat less than three hours before a run or she will get sick. So you have to make sure you know how your own body functions.

     As for after you run, I don't think you should wait a certain amount of time, but definitely limit how fast you eat, and how much you eat. Sometimes I find my stomach hurting because I just inhaled half my fridge, and that my friends, is never a good feeling after you run.

     But the question is, what are you supposed to eat? Bananas and any fruits are a good choice. It's also believed that bananas help relieve cramps. However, I don't suggest eating grapes because for some reason they just don't sit well in my stomach when I go for a run. Any bread-type food like waffles, pancakes, or french toast work for me! Whole grain of course, is the best choice! I also love having Greek yogurt before I run. I think it's safe to say that's my favorite snack. You don't want to run with eggs in your stomach, because the sulfur just doesn't do well for you. I also don't advise having milk right before a run.

     As for after you run, you can eat most everything. I'll forever be a salad addict. I love salads with avocados, tomatoes, croutons, organic lettuce, and you could even put chia seeds in there. Veggies or wheat crackers with hummus is also a great snack! Having eggs is fine after a run because they're very high in protein. Apples with peanut butter are also amazing to have, they're absolutely delicious. I absolutely am in love with fruit strips, or as some people like to call them, fruit leather. They are absolutely delicious and I could honestly eat them forever.

     These were only a few suggestions on what to eat before or after a run, and I'll probably get around to posting another for "on-the-go" snacks!

Photos taken from:,,,,

Song of the Week:

Thursday, October 31, 2013


     The first thing most runners really have to work on is their breathing. The way you breathe really determines how you feel.

Remember, in through your nose, out through your mouth!
     During fast workouts, you really want to have even, controlled breathing. I know that especially after sprints, resisting the urge to just take huge rapid breaths out of your mouth is pretty darn difficult. However, really slowing down that breathing is extremely important when doing fast paced excersizes. You have to remember that you are the only one who can control your breathing and panting like a dog is completely unnecessary. Take in slow deep breaths through the nose and out through the mouth. This way, your lungs can sort of calm down along with your pulse so you'll be all ready for the next rep.
     On long runs, you have to make sure your breathing is slow and easy. Long runs aren't usually at a super fast pace, so I suggest this be the time where you really work on controlling your breathing. You have a long way to go and if your lungs are tired, then your legs will also die. Breathe through your nose and out through your mouth as usual. If you're talking to someone, try not to totally go breathless by the amount of time you spend talking. You shouldn't go on and on about some crazy story and find yourself gasping for air at the end of it.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.
     Though most runners breathe by their chest or shoulders, it's apparently better to breathe through your belly. Your stomach should inflate and deflate like a balloon while you run. When breathing through your chest, your shoulders move up and down, making them not only tense but you also waste energy that could've been used toward your running. 

     If you're the type of runner that tends to get a little too distracted by their thoughts, count your steps and coordinate them with your breathing. This is also called breathing in rhythm. Depending on how fast you go, you can inhale or exhale every two, three, or however many steps you need. Being at a constant rhythm also helps work against cramps in your stomach.

     Breathing is a very important part of running, and you can make or break yourself depending on how you breathe. Next time you're out for a run, try some of the things mentioned above! It doesn't take much more than a thought to practice belly breathing, or just counting your steps.

     I hope I gave you some information on breathing while you run, and I certainly hope that it helps you out later! Until next time!

Information collected from:,,

Song of the Week:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

As the Seasons Change

     'Tis the season for stocking up on hats, gloves, leggings, and hot chocolate. As the weather cools down, I find myself wondering if fall ever actually happened. Oh wait. It's still happening! We're just having a pretty cold season.

3hunna Triple Crown :D
     It's actually quite sad that the weather is acting up, because autumn is the perfect time for runners. It's cool, but not too cool. Warm, but not too warm. I mean, that's what you'd excpect right? Nope! My last race was so cold, and we had to layer up everything we had. I was glad I was the first race, so I could just get everything done with, but I ended up getting the worst time I've ever ran... It's the cold weather I swear.

     The point is that it's not particularly easy to get out and do something when it gets this cold, but you have to work through all the little voices in your head telling you to stay home and drink hot chocolate! I promise you that working through the cold seasons will prove to be so worth it during track or any other spring sport.

     Probably my favorite part about post-season is the fact that you don't really HAVE to do anything all that difficult. Sure, we'll do long runs, and some workouts, but essentially it's all up to you and how you're feeling a particular day. Make sure that when your season does end, that you don't automatically slack off and never run till the weather gets warmer again. Getting out of shape is probably the worst thing you could do to yourself, because all of sudden you'd think you're able to run a couple miles but end up almost passing out halfway through.

     Make sure to also watch what you eat! With Halloween coming up, there's probably going to be a lot more candy in your house. Once a year, it's perfectly fine to just stuff your face with sweets because let's be honest, we all need it. But you have to remember through the months to not eat pure junk food. Salad is good for you! And there will be plenty of occasions to stuff yourself from thanksgiving to New Year's Eve.

     Especially if you're not going to be able to get out during these winter or just cold months, be sure to do core work. Core is something anyone could do anywhere. All you need is a yoga mat, and even that isn't necessary. So be sure to get in crunches, push-ups, and anything else at least 4 times a week. This isn't much to ask, and I'm sure that anyone could easy incorporate 10 minutes of this stuff everyday.
    Get out there and keep training! Don't be scared of the cold, embrace it!

Photos taken from:, core work image made with app instatext

Song of the Week:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Going Places

     Location is really important when it comes to running either alone or with others. There are many options out there wherever you may live.

     My all-time favorite place to run is at my local forest preserve. I strongly encourage that you find the closest forest preserve near you and go for a run there. They're my favorite because not only is there always a sign with trails on it, but it also shows how many miles a certain trail is. Especially in the fall, going along trails proves to be quite scenic. 

Our Team!
     Over the weekend, my cross country team took a trip down to Metamora, Illinois for a meet. The meet was located in a forest preserve and with this nice autumn weather, the whole place looked perfect. After the varsity race, the whole team did a thirty minute cool down on one of the preserves trails, located in a forest. It was absolutely beautiful. Although the run proved to be quite strenuous and dangerous (at least five people fell, one girl got stung by a bee, and the hills were KILLER) it was completely worth it.

     If you're not lucky enough to live by a forest preserve, then any type of bike trail would work. My team also runs along the streets most of the time. Make sure that when doing this however, that you either run on the sidewalk or keep to the left of the street. I don't think anyone wants to get run over. Running alongside the street can be pleasant because most neighborhoods in my area are very peaceful and quiet. In the summer, it's great to run in neighborhoods because most of the time, people have their sprinklers set out, and there's always the small chance you might run into a small miracle like a little girl giving out free lemonade at a garage sale (oh, it's happened). You can also use google maps to calculate how many miles you do if you take a certain route!

     In case it's dark, storming, or insanely hot outside, you're last resort would be to run on the treadmill or elliptical indoors. Personally, I hate running inside, but if you happen to have access to a really nice treadmill with a fan or something, then go ahead! Running on the treadmill can also be nice because you can watch TV and be entertained while working out. The elliptical or bike also work, and those are the two machines most girls go on if they're injured.

     Wherever you run, I hope you have a great time doing so and I also hope I gave you some ideas for the next time you go out for a run!

Photos taken from:

Song of the Week:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Born to Run?

     Recently I've started a book called "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. I've only read about 9 chapters of it so far, but I already find it to be very interesting! Apparently there's a tribe called the Tarahumara who can run hundreds of miles without getting injured or without stopping to rest. Naturally, I thought this was absolutely insane so I just had to read this book.

     The whole story starts off with the author going to various doctors and specialists all because he wanted to know why his foot hurt. When they all gave him the same answer, he takes a different path that ultimately takes him on the hunt to locate the Tarahumara runners. He finally finds them and runs into what I interpreted as some kind of crazy good runner called Caballo. They start talking and for some reason, Caballo's plans involve the author himself, and that is where I left off.

     Since the book tends to go off into these really long sections about background knowledge that would pertain to the book, I haven't really found out too much about the Tarahumara's secrets and how they run so much. I did however learn various of other pretty interesting things.

     I was actually quite shocked to learn that injury among runners is a lot more frequent than I thought.  According to the book, eight out of every ten runners get injured every year! I would never have guessed the ratio was that high, but apparently every footfall that hits the ground with a force that's equivalent to twice that runner's body weight! No wonder running puts so much strain on your legs. Now that I'm actually aware how frequent injuries can be, I've been taking care to do the little things like ice my legs because I don't think anyone wants to be injured.

     Perhaps the most interesting thing that I learned from the book is the fact that chia seeds are extremely good for you! Although they're tiny, chia seeds are packed with great things like omega 3, omega 6, protein, calcium, zinc, iron, fiber, and antioxidants! They're also great for lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, and building muscle.

     The Tarahumara brew this drink called iskiate that's supposed to make you feel amazing. I'm not sure if it actually has some kind of magical property to it, or you feel good just because you're supposed to. Anyways, it's simply made from dissolving chia seeds in water, adding some sugar, and putting in a few squirts of lime or lemon juice. I heard that its actually really tasty and refreshing, so I'm definitely planning on trying it!

     Already, I've learned some pretty useful facts. There's still a lot more to read though, so I'm hoping that I find out even more about running whether it has to do with injury, diet, or just technique!

     A quote from the book that I particularly enjoyed:

"We run when we're scared, we run when we're ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time." - Christopher McDougall

Photos taken from:,,,

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Getting Started

     Quite possibly the hardest thing about running or working out is getting up and going. For us highschool students who have a really tight schedule, finding time for exercise proves to be quite difficult.

     Whenever you're watching TV or doing homework, do some core-work. Not only will you be getting some entertainment and doing something you already wanted to do, but you'd be multi-tasking and saving a lot of time. Crunches, push-ups, squats, anything can be done with a yoga mat and a TV. Make sure to spend your time wisely and combine work time with play time.

     A lot of people like to go for a run or to the gym really early in the morning. I'm more of a morning person and I find that waking up an hour or two before I usually do proves to be very beneficial. While everybody is sleeping, you can be out getting in some mileage. After finishing a workout, you can just go take a shower, get ready, and then when everybody else wakes up you'll be ready to go with the whole day ahead of you.

     Unfortunately, waking up early makes most people feel like dying. I too love sleeping but on mornings when it feels like you're on a big, fluffy cloud you just gotta get up and throw yourself out of bed. Sure, at first it's really quite difficult, but after a while getting up early just becomes a normal thing. If you find that you're still having a lot of trouble getting up in the morning, a really annoying alarm clock that will not shut up always does the trick! Or if all else fails, have someone else who might already be up in the morning wake you, such as a parent or guardian, even a sibling!

     During weekdays when school is going on, if you're not already in an after school sport or something like cross country, then you should go for a run right when you get home. If you choose to procrastinate and wait till later, it might be too dark to go for a run. Plus, I like getting things done with so I have all the time I need to get other responsibilities like homework.

     If you're up and you still don't have the willpower to go start your jog, then just get dressed. Getting dressed for a workout basically means you're more than halfway out the door already. After you get dressed you don't need to eat or do your hair, you just need to get out the door and start moving. After a while, this becomes habit and you'll find getting up in the morning to be a lot easier.

    Remember, no matter how tired you are, there will never be a better time to do something than the present.

Pictures taken from:,
Song of the Week:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Keep Calm and Listen to Music

     Whenever I go for a run, the one thing I absolutely love doing is listening to music. Especially when I don't have a workout buddy with me, music becomes my best friend! 

     I think the best part about listening to music while out for a run, is the fact that you don't have to focus on anything else. If you're having a really stressful day, music and excersize together could be the best possible remedy you can use. As a runner, I try not to think about depressing subjects when I run. It just really brings me down, so I try to focus on the more positive side of life, and music helps me out. For certain songs, the lyrics really speak to me and I feel so much lighter while listening to music. That's why it works so well with running.

     When you're picking out some tunes to play for your run, MAKE SURE THEY'RE UPBEAT. Listening to Bethoven or some really deep song about relationships going poorly is not the way to go. Music has the ability to completely change how you run. Sometimes during a really intense guitar solo, you might not even notice that you picked up a crazy pace untill the song is over! The same thing goes with sad, quiet music making you go insanely slow.

     In my opinion, any music that gets you pumped works. Just get a customized playlist put on your iPod or mp3 and put any songs you like on there. But of course, theres always the chance that you just "don't listen to music." Well, I'll just have to help you out. I like most songs by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Passion Pit, and Foster The People. There's an infinite amount of great workout songs by random one hit wonders as well.

     Since I believe music is absolutely essential to a great workout, my goal is supply people with quality tunes because quite frankly, some people's music taste sucks. Every week, I'll try to share at least one of my favorite songs on my most recent blog post. If you really have trouble finding good music, I'll save you the trouble by giving out my personal recommendations, which may be found at the bottom of each blog post!

     Remember to bring your iPod out on your next run, and stay happy!

     "Music should be your escape." - Missy Elliot

Song of the week: 
Waste ~ Foster The People

Photo Credits:



Friday, September 13, 2013

My Background

     Running - it's something all of us were forced to do starting from when we were wee little things in gym class. There was always that one kid who thought they were in the Olympics, and that other kid who honestly looked like they were about to die after the first 200 meters of a warmup.

     I'm sure most people were taught to despise the very idea of running, but then there's people who actually enjoy running. I, am that kind of person.

     My earliest memory of doing some type of long distance running would be during the 6th grade track season, where we had one meet and one meet only to prove ourselves to the world. Unfortunately it got rained out and we never got to have it, but hey I'll never forget the super intense 6th grade workouts we did preparing for it!

     Anyway, junior high rolled around and in 7th grade I finally joined a legitiment cross country team. I was a middle-pack runner at the start of the season, and then one day I simply could not walk normally without collapsing. I went to the doctor and it turned out that I had Osgood Schlater Disorder.

     Since then I was always towards the back of the group, and constantly struggled with getting myself up to the top with all the other girls on my team. But I never gave up. And people noticed. I iced my knees everyday and kept on trying my hardest even if some days it hurt to run a little. And in 8th grade I finally got into the top 10 finishers in our district.

     I'm not the best runner in the world, but I'm proud of how far I've come and I strive to do better everyday. I've constantly been told that I'm "a lot better at running than I think." And maybe that's true. I just don't have the motivation to truly push my limits as far as they can go. But I've been getting better. I've been trying. And I believe you can too.