By: Michaelle Fields
What could be worse for runners than wearing the wrong athletic shoes? Well, not much! Sure, running can be uncomfortable (especially for beginners), when challenging muscles to work harder than they have before. However, running should never hurt. So before spending too much time or money in less-than-perfect shoes, do yourself a huge favor and take these 3 essential steps to ensuring a safe, productive, and happy run.
1. Check yourself (yes, folks…before you wreck yourself). Arguably, the feet and ankles are among our most delicate body parts. Together, they contain ¼ of the bones in the entire human body and take on a variety of sizes and shapes – including, high/low arches and inward-/outward-leaning ankles). So when running, choosing properly fitted shoes is by far one of the most important things you must do. To help, many specialty running stores today offer free Gait Analysis tests, where they videotape your foot characteristics and running patterns, identify posture or movement-related problems. and match you to shows that’ll help you run more efficiently. West Stride Running & Fitness (the only female-owned running store in Atlanta, GA) is where I recently had this assessment done, identified a slight pronation issue, and discovered that the Nike Structure 18 was the shoe that worked best for me.
2. Choose Comfort Over Fashion. As you can imagine, athletic shoe companies today offer a whole variety of shoes to accommodate varying needs. So once your own need has been clearly identified, feel free to try on as many as you can. Some will surely fit and feel better than others. But, as experts recommend, look for the shoe that gives your toes plenty of room (at least ½ inch) to wiggle around and fits your heels and ankles nice and snug.
3. Try Before You Buy. If at all possible, give your favorite selection a trial run before final purchase. Either take a brisk walk or jog around the store or (better yet) ask to take the shoes out for a quick run. Most specialty stores, like West Stride, will oblige. Alternatively, check their return policy and confirm that they’ll allow an exchange or refund after a trial run, if needed. So rather than risk pain or injury when running, take time to get yourself the perfect shoes! Running, after all, is an experience to enriches and gives joy. And, running in the most fitted and comfortable shoes most certainly will help you achieve that. A new member of BGR, Michaelle Fields is an educational materials sales consultant; certified physical fitness trainer; Spinning® instructor; and founder of California Radiance, a health and beauty brand offering a fresh and natural approach to personal skin care. You are invited to stay connected with Michaelle on Facebook (www.facebook.com/californiaradiance) and on Instagram (@californiaradiance)!
You’re about to get your fitness on, but you’re hungry! So you decide to grab some fuel before hitting the pavement! However, pre-run food is delicate in the sense that it requires the eater strike the perfect balance between an energy-dense snack and a treat light enough to digest properly! You don’t want to weigh yourself down. So what do you eat in order to have the best run possible?
Here’s a list of the best pre-cardio foods that are excellent sources of nutrition. You should definitely stash these yummy snacks in your bag!
1. One Medium Banana and One Scoop of Nut butter (Almond, Peanut, etc.)
This is a wonderful snack because the potassium in the banana helps prevent workout cramps. And if you tend to go on long runs, there’s a good chance you might suffer tense calves and quads once you stop moving.
The nut butter has lots of protein and slowly releases energy. So the fruit gives you an instant blast of carb fuel and the peanut butter sustains you! (Plus, it’s just generally delicious!)
2. Half of a Bagel With Jam or Honey
If you’re really hungry, feel free to have the whole bagel. Just remember, more food might be hard to digest before a long workout. The bagel is key because the carbohydrates give you lots of energy. The same goes for the jam or honey… the sugar gives you an instant boost. And unlike cream cheese, jam is unlikely to leave you feeling lethargic mid-workout. (Dairy can be difficult to digest, making your body divert energy from your workout into digestion.)
3. Fresh Superfoods (and Superfruits)
One of my favorite pre-workout snacks entails grabbing a handful of blueberries and/or strawberries. They’re wonderful antioxidants, provide a lot of energy, and are easily stored in your purse. Blueberries are also a great source of fiber and Vitamin C, helping to keep you trim and healthy! Dried fruit is also a fantastic option and a bit more convenient. (It doesn’t go bad, so you don’t have to consume it as quickly.) Sometimes, I’ll pair the snack with organic granola; the granola adds a satisfying crunchiness that leaves you feeling both energized and satisfied. They’re also great for your skin!
4. A Bowl of Quinoa
This energy-packed superfood is superb because it has high doses of magnesium, is healthy, and easy to make. Also, it’s easy to make large quantities and then store it for later. Add in some fresh vegetables (or steamed veggies) for a light, satisfying pre-run snack! (Note: Quinoa-made pasta also makes a delicious snack or meal and can be found in most health food stores).
5. Greek Yogurt with Almond Slivers
This is a staple for many highly active people because it’s packed with protein and healthy fats. Plus, it’s inexpensive! Make your snack even more delicious and nutritious by adding some fresh fruit and/or honey into the mix. The possibilities are endless.
6. Avocado Toast
Avocados are wonderful because they help your body absorb other important nutrients, and like nuts, they’re a good source of healthy fats. Remember that avocados ripen quickly, so pick a firm one and eat it within a day or two of purchase.
So there you have it…
six sensational snacks that will energize you without weighing you down. Do you have a favorite pre-run snack? Sound off in the comments below!
Black Girls RUN! + REI wants to celebrate all of our BGR! members that are also REI members!
To enter, simply follow these instructions:
We will choose three winners and each winner will receive a $100 gift card.Enter now through Dec. 30. Contest ends December 30 at 11:59pm EST. Winner must be a REI member. Winners will be announced on January 1.
By: Toni Carey (@toni_carey/@blackgirlsrun)There's gyms dedicated to spin, crossfit and weightlifting, but what about running? Now there is! Allow me to introduce you to NYC's first and treadmill-only gym, Mile High Run Club. With daily group treadmill classes and endurance focused strength training led by elite runners, everyone trains like an athlete regardless of fitness level. Their program challenges the body differently than simply getting a few miles in. Expertly structured intervals and smart purposeful training guarantee you will reach your goals more quickly. The studio features a distraction free flex room for foam rolling, gait assessments, or one-on-one time with its team of elite coaches. Let me also introduce you to one of the amazing instructors at the Mile High Run Club AND, also one of the fiercest ladies I know, Andia Winslow. She's bad*ss. No, seriously. I met Andia earlier this year at SXSW and she had me at hello. Not only does she have an impressive record as an athlete (golf and bobsledding!), but her innovative fitness and wellness efforts have been recognized globally! Her class, #Dash28, is a group interval running session that also incorporates kettlebells and core work. For those curious, classes are held on top-of-the-line Woodway treadmills. Although it is a "running" studio, her class is for runners and non-runners alike.
By: Toni Carey (@toni_carey)Running/Fitness Goals
“The danger is that sometimes people who make other people's happiness their priority can wind up doing so at the cost of their own happiness. We all know some people who take advantage, or who simply aren't going to be happy no matter what your efforts amount to.”Not only that, if you don’t put yourself and your interests first, who will? It sounds a little bit selfish, but say, “no” more often and you’ll probably find yourself less bogged down by the requests and expectations of others. Be more present and aware: I spend the majority of my time inside my own mind. It’s the blessing and curse of being a self-proclaimed creative. I’m ALWAYS thinking and while that’s AWESOME for me, it’s not so awesome for people I interact with. If you’re like me, here’s five steps to being more present. Focus on the 25%: My business coach gave me some really great advice. She said,
“25 percent of people absolutely will not agree with you, 25 percent are fickle and can agree or disagree with you depending on which way the wind blows. Another 25 percent are more likely to agree with you but aren’t totally on board and the last 25 percent of the people in your life are on your team and will be there for you no matter what. Instead of focusing on the 75% that will never agree with you or that are wishy washy, give your time, energy and love to the 25 percent that is 100 percent on your side.”That philosophy has totally changed my perspective and has given ME permission to focus on everything that I am and striving to become. And the best way to get these goals done? A little bit of patience, a whole lot of prayer AND accountability! Statistics show that sharing your goals with others helps you stay on track and be more accountable. Since I pretty much shared my entire vision board with you, I want to help you reach your goals in 2015! Now through Monday, Dec. 15, we’re hosting a #GiveAGoal contest for a chance to win a healthy lifestyle package from TomTom, which includes a TomTom Runner Cardio watch, water bottle, fitness attire and coupons for healthy eats! Just complete the form below and share with your friends using the hashtag #GiveAGoal!
By: Toni Carey (@toni_carey/@blackgirlsrun)Christmas is just three weeks away and I have purchased nothing......NOTHING. And while I want to give the gift of running to my running/walking family, I'm not trying to break the bank. You know what I mean??? But where there's a will there's a way, and this season Brooks is helping to get those special stockings stuffed with a few winter running essentials! These gloves are simply GENIUS!!! Not only do they transform from mitts into 5-fingered gloves, they also have a clasp that keep leftie and rightie paired together while they aren't in use. Hallelujah! But it get's better. There's a detachable LED light on the right hand. Trust me, it comes in handy when Rover stops for a potty break during your pre-dawn run. I don't get to wear beanies often, but since I straighten my hair during the winter months, I rock hats (and high ponytails) like it's nobody's business. I particularly love slouchy beanies because they are much easier to dress up than regular ones. The PureProject beanie is super soft and WARM. I wore it yesterday morning during my run and didn't want to take it off for the rest of the day. This is definitely my second favorite item on the list. Whether you want to rock it as a scarf, hood, or skirt, the PureProject warmer has you covered, figuratively and literally. Last, but not least, it's always a good time for arm warmers and they are more popular than ever. Think outside of just wearing them with a tank. Wear them under your favorite long sleeve tee for extra warmth when you don't want to commit to wearing a jacket. So, for the sake of trying to get into the Christmas spirit, we're gifting each of these items to one lucky lady! Tell us YOUR favorite way to stuff the stocking! Just complete the form below. Contest ends Tuesday, December, 9 at 11:59 pm EST. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 10!
"Forget about the coach who made you run as a punishment.
Forget about those childhood memories of not being 'the athlete.' Just because running wasn't fun for you in the past doesn't mean it can't be now."
- Sara Johnson, a coach at Reality Running.