Running Into Spring With Brooks

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Guys I have a thing for neon this season and I’m 100% okay with it. Every workout and running outfit I’ve worn lately has had at least a few pops of neon. When the 5:15 alarm goes off each morning there are only two things that help me wake up – coffee and neon. Bright pops of color make me smile as I trudge out the door for a workout and luckily the gang at Brooks fully support my plan to wear at least one piece of neon gear for every workout!

Two months ago, the team at Brooks Running reached out to me, inviting me to join their Brooks Run Happy Ambassador program. Since I actually wore brooks from 2008-2011, I was already familiar with the brand but before agreeing to join, I asked for a few samples of their latest gear to ensure that their gear and shoes would be something I could feel confident wearing for training runs and races alike.

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As soon as I slid my foot into the new shoes, it was love! I’m still in shock that Brooks is interested in having me, a 2-hour half marathon runner, as part of their ten person Run Happy Ambassador program but I couldn’t be more excited! The other ambassadors are familiar faces you may recognize – Meghann, Tina, Anne, Emily, Janae, Jessica, Dorothy, Kristen, and Lora. The other night I joined the other ladies for my first official event, a gear gab chatting all things running gear!

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Today I wanted to share with you my four favorite pieces of gear I’ve tried this Spring. If you follow me on Instagram, they won’t be a surprise as they’ve been in almost every running or workout picture recently.

I’ve worn the Brooks Women’s LSD Running Jacket for races and training runs alike over the past few weeks and have fallen in love with this lightweight running jacket. It is windproof and water-resistant but the two features I really love is the fact that it’s reflective for those early or late runs and it packs into itself so if you get to hot you can easily carry it! Many running jackets cost over $100 but this one is on sale for $47!

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The Brooks Women’s Neuro Running Shoe doesn’t necessarily look like a running shoe made for speed, with the wide size and crazy pods on the bottom but this shoe helped me achieve some great speeds during NYRR speed workouts last month. The performance-enhancing shoes have a neutral fit but the pods help give you energy back every time your heel and foot hit the ground. They only weigh 7.9 ounces, making them lightweight versus my other running shoes but the sole still provides enough support for my high arches. I will say, after the first run in these shoes I wasn’t sold as they felt so different than my other running shoes. But, by the third wear I was a fan and have now worn them for at least two runs each week, typically five miles or less.

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As my travels have taken me to warmer weather, I’ve fallen in love with the lightweight Brooks Ghost Racerback Running ShirtThis ultra-lightweight tank is so light I barely feel it when running or working out. The loose cut allows me to move freely through yoga poses or runs.  It is available in five colors including the one I’m wearing below and hot pink, which I just ordered. Even during last week’s hot yoga class the material wicked the sweat away so I stayed cool and comfortable! I can already tell that I’ll be living in this tank during this Summer!
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Last but not least, the Brooks Launch 3 have become my mid to long distance running shoes over the past two months. This neutral running shoe provides the perfect combination of comfort and support for those longer runs while also having a unique midfoot transition zone, which looks like an X, allowing for faster heel-to-toe transition during runs. Available in eight colors, I personally love the hot pink and blue pair which I’m wearing in the pictures.

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So there you have it guys – these are my four favorite pieces of Brooks running gear this season. As always, I’ll keep my reviews honest with you all as I know that not everything I order or receive as part of this partnership will be a perfect fit.

What is your favorite piece of running gear right now? 

I received this gear either at a discount or complimentary as part of my Brooks Run Happy ambassador partnership. 

The top images were shot by the lovely and talented Lydia Hudgens.

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Five Workouts That Improved My Half Marathon PR by 35 Minutes

Five Speed Workouts for Half Marathon PR

Did tracking your friends or favorite bloggers during today’s Boston Marathon inspire you to run faster? While I may never qualify for Boston, running this race remains an item on my race bucket list and seeing friends fight through the heat and headwinds today, inspired me to push through this week’s workouts. After a few Epsom salt baths (these are my favorite), a deep tissue massage and lots of stretching, I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning’s run! Fingers crossed my body allows me to continue training to run stronger and faster!

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If you have your eye on setting a new PR (personal record) or becoming a faster, more confident runner, the number one tip I can give you is to run faster during training. I spent far too many years training at a steady state or comfortable speed, never pushing outside my comfort zone. Then, on race day, I went into panic mode when I felt that heart pumping, sweat inducing, energy rush and short of breath feeling that comes with racing. The more often you run at previously uncomfortable paces, the more accustomed your body will become. Here are a few of my favorite workouts that have helped me improve my half marathon time from 2:36 to 2:00 over the years.

Benefits of Speed Training

  • Improve your running form and efficiency
  • Help your body become accustomed to quick feet and stride
  • Burns more calories than steady state running
  • Increased cardiovascular benefits than steady state running
  • Can be performed on the treadmill or outside

Five Speed Workout Posts I Reference Often – Since I am not a certified running coach, I look to other bloggers and resources for advice. These are the ones that I have used, recommended and referenced multiple times for both tips, tricks and the workout included. 

Two Speed Workouts for New-ish Runners from Mile Posts and Women’s Running

Speed Work for Distance Runners from Sublimely Fit

Three Workouts to Increase Pain Tolerance from Runner’s World

Mile High Run Club 30 minute workout for Runner’s World

Two Treadmill Workouts to Improve Speed from FITaspire

As my massage therapist reminded me tonight, both the warm-up and cool-down become even more important when running faster. Don’t forget to spend five minutes doing dynamic warm-up such as lunges, butt kicks, high knees, hip openers and grapevines moves before you start! 

All pictures courtesy of the talented Lydia Hudgens.

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Running into Spring

running into Spring

I’m not sure what it is about the winter months. The cold, chilly air motivates me to run outside as I’d rather run in cold weather than hot weather any day of the week. I mean come on guys, how much easier is it to add crazy amounts of layers and stay warm than strip down during those sticky months of Summer. While my dear friend Meghan once ran a 5k race naked, there are only so many layers that I can take off when running.

My mantra these past few weeks has been “these winter miles will make me stronger.” Each time I lace up my shoes and head towards Prospect Park for a few hilly miles, I focus my thoughts on what I’m training for and my personal goals for the upcoming season.

As I look towards to the Spring and Fall racing season, I have a different goal for each race on my list.

NYRR NYC Half Marathon – March 20th: PR CITY. This is the race in which I want to finally overcome the mental wall and break 2 hours. The multiple Mile High Run Club, Barry’s Bootcamp and NYRR coached run sessions are all in hopes of helping me get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Once we return from Tahoe, I have four weeks to focus all my efforts on this goal.

Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run – April 3rd: Have fun! This race has been on my race list for years and thanks to my friend Anne, it’s finally going to happen. The goal is to enjoy the miles with Anne, Theodora and others while taking in the sights of Washington, DC in the Spring.

Flying Pig Half Marathon – May 1st: Feel powerful on the hills. As an employee of Procter & Gamble, a Cincinnati based company, this list has been on my radar for years as we are one of the top sponsors. My friend Amy, who you may remember from the RNR Brooklyn Half, and I are running this together and our goals are to have fun and feel strong on the hills. This course is known for great crowd support and tough hills miles 5.25 until mile 10.5.

NYRR AirBnB Brooklyn Half Marathon – May 21st: Enjoy a run party with some of my favorite runnersThis race has always been a tough one mentally as the final seven miles are flat and boring once you leave Prospect Park.  Instead of focusing on the downsides of this race, such as the course, I’m focusing on the fact that I know more than 25 other people running through the streets of Brooklyn and this race will be a party!

Once I’ve finished these Spring races, I will spend the Summer months focusing on short distances again, similar to last summer. As part of my Rock’n’Blog partnership (Lots more news to come about this partnership as well as awesome DISCOUNT CODES!!) with Rock’n’Roll I will also add a few of their races to my Summer and Fall schedule. Right now I have my eye on Chicago, Philadelphia, Montreal, Brooklyn and Savannah.

So there you have it! When I’m not running, I’ll be focused on staying healthy and strong through cross training.

Your turn: Have you run any of these races before or any of the Rock’n’Roll races I’m considering? What’s your favorite? 

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