Red Sox Game with Nike+ Run Club

Fenway Park Red Sox GameThis weekend I was invited to run with Boston’s Nike+ Run Club to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox game. As you can probably guess, it took me one millisecond to say yes.

We met in front of the Nike store in Back Bay (it’s closed for renovations but is opening again soon), where Nike hooked me up with some new Flyknit Lunar 2 running shoes. They’re super comfortable and felt great during our 3-mile run to the game. I was initially a little worried this would be a group of serious runners and I’d have nothing to contribute to the conversation as everyone compared their favorite brands of compression socks haha, but it was nothing like that. Of course there were advanced runners there and lots of talk about upcoming races, but Nike is totally welcoming to all the not-so-serious runners like me. It was a fun, no-pressure run, and I loved chatting with all the people involved.

Nike Flyknit Lunar 2

I figured we’d just have normal seats for the game, but when we got to Fenway and were handed our tickets—boom!—box seats. Such an exciting surprise (especially since it was freezing outside). Food, beer, an amazing view and great company—it was an awesome way to spend a Saturday night. We even got the chance to take pictures with the 2013 World Series trophy. I’m admittedly a half-ass Sox fan, but I still couldn’t help geeking out a little over it. :)

2013 World Series Championship TrophyWith fellow Boston blogger, Caroline (The Trendy Trainer)

The Nike store on Newbury Street has been closed for renovations since the fall, but will reopen April 18th in time for the marathon. Even though the doors haven’t quite yet opened back up, the Nike running club has started meeting again, running every Tuesday & Thursday at 6:30pm and Saturday mornings at 9am. It’s free for anyone to join in, and they typically split into three groups—a 5-mile run, 3-mile run and 2-mile run—so runners of all levels are welcome. And after meeting all the fun, friendly people involved I would highly encourage all you in the Boston area to try it out! I’m definitely going to make it to one of the Tuesday runs soon.

Have you guys ever run with a running club?

P.S. This raining weather prevented me from taking pics for this week’s workout this morning, but don’t worry, it’s coming!

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8-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule for Not-So-Serious Runners

8-week-half-marathon-training-scheduleI mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been wanting to “spring clean” my workout routine a bit, and now that the winter weather is FINALLY behind us, I decided it’d be the perfect time to train for another half marathon.

Here’s the thing though. 99% of organized races take place on the weekend. And once warmer weather hits, I’m just honestly not willing to give up a weekend to run a half marathon. Summers are short in New England, and I like to cram as much spontaneity and fun into them as possible. Of course it’d be a totally different story if I had a bunch of friends who loved running and we all picked some fun destination race to do, but I actually prefer running alone (it’s “me” time)…and most of my friends think I’m out of my mind for voluntarily running anything over 3 miles haha.

So what’s a not-so-serious runner looking to run a half marathon that doesn’t conflict with her summer calendar to do? It brings me great pleasure to announce the running of the 1st Annual Official Non-Official Nicole Half Marathon. It’s going to take place on a Wednesday. I’m going to run it alone. I’m going to buy myself a finisher’s medal on Amazon. I’ll probably wear a JammyPack. It’s going to be perfect.

From this morning’s run around Castle Island.

The 8-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

When I trained for my first half, I did so over 12 weeks, and the plan I used had me running way too many miles each week. Too long, too much (for me personally)—and the result was that I started to get sick of running. I was on the verge of hating it. I never want to get to the point where I dislike running—it’s my favorite form of alone time!

Because I run regularly, I feel comfortable jumping right into regular 5 and 6-mile runs, so this time I’m just preparing over a span of 8 weeks. No crazy mileage counts each week. One long run, one moderate run, a speed workout and a couple quick jogs a week. No more.

For the speed workouts, I’ll probably mix it up between treadmill workouts (I just bought a 30-day trial to Boston Sports Club) and going to Barry’s Bootcamp. I do, however, have a serious chronic disease that doesn’t allow me to self motivate on a treadmill past .001 miles, so it’ll probably be less of the former, way more of the latter.

From Friday’s run around the Charles River.

I think this training schedule will strike the perfect balance of challenging me while still keeping my runs enjoyable. I just wrapped up week one this morning with a 6-miler around Southie and so far, so good! I’m actually really excited to start working towards this. Sorry I’m not sorry I’d rather drink beers on a beach with my friends than pay $75 to run 13.1 miles with a bunch of strangers—bring it on 1st Annual Nicole Half! :)

Before I end this post I should add that if you chose to follow this 8-week plan just keep in mind that I’m by no means a running expert—I put this together based on my experience training for my first half.

Are you running any races this spring?

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5 Tips for Outdoor Winter Running (with Raynaud’s)

Tips for Winter Running (with Raynaud's)Of course the second I blog about it finally getting warmer in Boston (yesterday’s post), it starts snowing. Damnit.

I’ll go through phases in the winter—like anyone—where the thought of working out outside is…no. Not gonna happen. But there have also been winters where I somehow motivate myself to wake up every morning at 5:30AM in the pitch black and head out in the subarctic Boston temperatures for a run like a complete psychopath. This winter has been split—I still run outside a couple times a week, but I also have been loving taking spin classes for an indoor cardio workout.

I get a lot of questions about tips for running outside—especially since it seems a good number of you, like me, have Raynaud’s. None of these are necessarily groundbreaking, but I wanted to share more about my current routine for running throughout the winter.

1. Warm-Up Beforehand

This is the biggest thing for me. Starting a run cold means my Raynaud’s might kick in, and if it does, it will often last throughout the entire run, even after I’ve warmed up and started sweating. I put on everything I’m going to wear, and then do a little mini-workout inside the house to get my blood pumping. Once I start getting uncomfortably hot, I head straight outside and start the run. I never even give my body the chance to become cold. Here are some examples of warm-up mini workouts I’ll do:

5-Minute Pre-Cardio Ab Workout

—–

30 Mountain Climbers
5 Push Ups
5 Burpees
x3

——

30 High Knees
10 Squat Jumps
x3

——

20 Plank Jacks
20 Jumping Jacks
x3

2. Layer Up, But Don’t Overdo It

Tips for Running Outside in the Winter

What works best for me is:

  • Cotton sports bra: OVERSHARE WARNING—Raynaud’s doesn’t just affect my fingers and toes; it’s actually the most painful in my nipples. * Clicks unsubscribe from Pumps & Iron* Spandex material rubbing against them exacerbates the issue—I find cotton sports bras are the way to go.
  • Under Armour ColdGear long sleeve
  • Zip-up w/ high neck: Right now I’m wearing this Lululemon one.
  • Warm leggings: I got a pair of Nike Hyperwarm leggings for Christmas and highly recommend them—they live up to their name. If you do plan on buying a pair, get your normal size. Typically with Nike clothing, I have to size down, but the warm lining in these leggings make them run true to size.
  • Ear warmer
  • Gloves: I find “running” gloves are far too thin to protect against my Raynaud’s, so I just wear normal winter gloves or mittens. Kinda makes me look like I have Incredible Hulk hands, but whatever, it works.
  • Cotton socks & my Nike Free running shoes: As long as I warm up before my run, I don’t find that I need extra-warm socks to protect my toes.

3. Cotton is Your BFF

*Update: SOFT fabrics are your BFF (fleece, wool, cotton, etc.) You probably inferred this from the last tip, but the first layer of clothing touching any body part that is susceptible to Raynaud’s shouldn’t be a spandex material (fleece/wool-lined gloves, cotton socks, cotton sports bra). Same goes for post-run—when your body temperature is dropping back down, change into soft clothing. I couldn’t tell you why exactly this helps, but the fabric makes a huge difference for me in preventing a Raynaud’s episode and also in soothing one that’s already flared up.

4. Have a Killer Playlist to Look Forward To

A long run to a kickass playlist is my idea of a therapy session. If I have good music to look forward, it doesn’t matter how cold it is outside, I honestly want to go running. I recently reorganized my Spotify playlists into Workout Music and Current Workout Playlist, and am loving this little system. Once I get sick of a song on my Current playlist, I move it to the Workout Music “archives.” The result is a constantly fresh playlist for each workout, as well as a growing collection of older songs that are still great, but just need a little rest.

5. Change Out of Your Workout Clothes before Your Body Cools Down

After my run, I’ll stretch, and then immediately change out of everything I ran in. Hygiene aside, you don’t want your body temperature to drop in sweaty, damp clothing—it’ll make you extra cold (the sweat-wicking material of most workout gear doesn’t help here).

If I stay in my workout clothing too long post-run, I find that my Raynaud’s will kick in—even though I’m inside a warm home (so annoying!). The best prevention is to change immediately, shower off, and then put on warm, cotton/fleece clothing.

Aaaand I’ll leave you with some pretty pictures from my winter runs that I’ve Instagrammed (@nicoleperr):

Tips for Running Outside in the Winter

Do you have any tips to add for running outside in the winter?

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