10 things that changed my running for the better over the years.

My car does this thing where it likes to overheat so we got to hang out on the side of the road to wait for it to cool back down.  

At least it gave us a chance for a good selfie photo shoot on our way home from St. George.

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We were more than ready to be out of the car and we made it back just in time for Sunday dinner at my parents’ house.

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Brooke was so excited to see my mom that she ran over and tackled her.  

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My niece made us delicious biscuits, she is quite the chef lately.

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And it is officially ‘popsicles on the deck’ weather!

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My sister’s little man is still smiling like a champ.

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I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the random things that I have found over the years that have changed my running for the better:)  

1.  Having a coach/professional analyze my running form.  After getting injured over and over again I finally decided to get a coach.  Right at the very beginning he had me send in a video of me running (from every different angle possible) for him to analyze.  He picked up on the things that were preventing me from being an efficient runner and worked with me on them over the following months.  Running just feels so much more smooth after working hard on my form and I got a lot faster because of these changes.  There are running clinics that you can attend (through your local running stores) that can help you with your form too!  

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2.  To use a fuel belt when I race.  I have done too many races trying to fit everything into pockets or doing things like putting my chapstick in my sports bra.  I tried out THIS Nathan belt for the first time for my St. George Marathon and fell in love with it.  No bouncing and I fit everything that I need in quite nicely. 

3. To experiment.  I get so stuck in my ways whether it comes to fueling, training methods, products etc and tend to avoid trying new things.   Playing around with things every now and then and experimenting has definitely helped my running.  For example—> I always thought that shot bloks were the best for me to eat while running.  I finally tried out gu and I realized that my stomach handles gu much better and it is so much easier for me to eat while I run.  

4.  To start and finish hard workouts or long runs at a gas station.  Nothing like thinking about a cold/refreshing/delicious gatorade/vitamin water/chocolate milk etc waiting for you to purchase at the gas station to motivate you if you complete your workout.

5.   The belly band.  When I was getting close to the end of my second trimester the ligaments on my lower abdomen started to hurt whenever I ran.  I thought I was for sure going to be done with my running at that point.  I talked to my doctor about it and he recommend that I get a belly band to help support my belly so that I could continue to run.  Basically, it was like a sports bra for my belly and it made running feel good again for the rest of my pregnancy and I continued to run until the day before I gave birth!  I used THIS ONE and you couldn’t even tell I was wearing it.  

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6.  Finally realizing that when I do get injured or need to take a break from running that it is not the end of the world.  That service +working on new passions/hobbies + knowing running will be there for me when I am ready to get back to it = a much happier me when I am not able to run.

7.  To run with faster people to get faster.  Running with people in general just makes running even more fun for me.  I avoided it like the plague for years but once I started, I was hooked. 

8.  To tie my key around my shoelace when running outside to avoid losing it.  Sounds silly but it has saved me from losing my key many times and I love not having anything in my pockets.  

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9.  Trail running.  Last fall I was going 2-3 times a week and it made me stronger than ever on hills, it helped me to build up some new muscle and I realized how much I absolutely love running in the mountains.

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10.  Throwing hand warmers into my gloves during the winter months. I don’t know why I had never tried this until this last winter but it has saved me.  I HATE HAVING COLD HANDS and hand warmers help me to keep feeling in my fingers even on the coldest of days:)

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Anything that has changed running for the better for you?

What do you do with your key when you run?

Anyone else use a belly band for pregnant running?

What was the highlight of your weekend?

-The pool.  

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81 comments

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I find that when I take a few weeks to run without a Garmin or timing myself I always get better.

The highlight of my weekend was a momma and 2 baby manatee’s off my dock that I fed lettuce to. It was insane! They were so cute.

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So many good tips here. I’ve never had a gait analysis but I’m aware of weaknesses now through yoga showing me imbalances and just experience, seeing where I tend to get injured and how my body “fits” together when running. It’s tough to correct these things though, I’m finding!

I also tend to get stuck in a rut with everything related to running, and currently am thinking about how to make some changes for my training coming up in the summer.

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I love your tips! the number one thing for me with finding a coach that understood how to get the best out of me. my first year as a runner I worked with a different Coach and I wasn’t seeing very much progress even over the course of 12 months and then I found my current coach who got me to drastically improve my results over the following 12 months!

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-including some strength training into my workout routine has really changed my running for the better!
-I just carry my key while I run. I have it on a lanyard that I wrap around my hand a hundred times so I don’t drop it :)
-The highlight of my weekend was splurging on some pizza! It was SOOO good!

Happy Monday :)

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Sounds like you had a really fun weekend!

The one thing I changed that made such a difference for me was when someone told me to lip-sync when doing speedwork. It forces me to breathe properly and saves me from getting winded :)

I stick my keys in my mailbox when I run but I’m always afraid someone will see me doing it and rob my home lol

The highlight of my weekend was seeing my boyfriend’s reaction to the car cupcakes I made him for his birthday (he loves cars). I made little cars out of Snickers, Teddy Grahams, and M&Ms and stuck them on cupcakes. He loved them!

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I either use my mailbox, gas tank door, or I leave my house unlocked. And I always am paranoid someone is going to rob me!! Yet, I still do it:(

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Once I thought someone saw me put my key in my mailbox so I went back inside for like 10 minutes and delayed my run lol. But it’s so much easier than carrying a key!

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Hahaha. This happened to me when I put it in my gas tank once. I nonchalantly hung out by my car for a stupid amount of time to act like I didn’t put anything in there. I do the same thing when I fall. I quickly get up and act like anything you just saw was not real.

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Great tips! Experimenting to find what was best for me in fueling, shoes, and training definitely helped me improve my running. Taking a base period between big training cycles also helped me handle more mileage without getting injured.
Highlight of my weekend was seeing Avengers Age of Ultron. So good!

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Yesss me too! 9 mile run in the morning and then the movies & dinner date in the afternoon! Best ever!

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Having a coach, speed workouts, weight training have all made a big difference.
I put my key on my shorts or tights pocket.
Weekend highlight: visiting LA. Palm trees and ocean are always a good thing!

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I moved into a house with a garage this winter, now when I run from my house I don’t need to bring keys with me at all. I just key in the code to open the garage door when I get home. It is the best!

Weekend highlight: gorgeous weather!

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Ugh sorry to hear about your car! I know how frustrating that is. We are actually looking at new cars now too.

I think getting a professional to look at your gait and your running is so important. It keeps you running healthy and injury free. Also getting into proper running shoes has helped me so much!

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My favorite item I have discovered is my Flip Belt. I used it yesterday to store my keys, ID, money, gu, phone and chapstick for my first ever half marathon in Pittsburgh. I could not imagine running without one.

The highlight of my weekend was obviously running my first half marathon! I am hoping to do another one in the fall!

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MEREDITH!! HUGE CONGRATS on your first half marathon, that is so awesome!

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I like the thought of trail running, and I definitely want to start to incorporate it into my regular running routine.

I usually put my key in the little back pocket of my shorts, but I’ve also tied it into my shoelaces. I like it better in the pocket, though. I never feel it, and it doesn’t mess up my shoe tying any.

The highlight of my weekend was absolutely the pool. Reading at the pool is one of my favorite pastimes, and this weekend was the PERFECT weather for it. :)

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Totally agree with running with faster people. I haven’t done that in a while, but I need to.! I remember how much that helps.
And cold hands are the worst.!!! If my hands are cold.. nope, can’t do it.
Highlight of my weekend was watching my daughter play with her friends :)

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I agree that the gait analysis is super helpful and makes for a more efficient runner. What I’m wondering though is if it’s possible for it to change overtime …

Example – I’ve been wearing a neutral shoe for the past 4-5 years. Every time I buy a new pair I always get stride tested (just to confirm) and I’ve been consistently neutral. That said, the past two times I’ve gone into Fleet Feet, they told me I needed a stability shoe. I was surprised … Didn’t believe them … And then walked out with a neutral shoe.

Have you ever jumped from styles? If so, how do you recommend easing into that? I’m nervous that if I get a stability shoe, I’m just gonna end up injuring myself.

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The biggest game changer for me was being sure not to run junk miles. Speed on speed work days, EASY runs on easy days- you get it! Not only did I notice improvement in my running but I have stayed healthy for quite a while now (finger crossed that the trend continues!)
Bummer about your car- I feel your pain since my poor car is in the shop right now :-(

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Trail running is amazing for strengthening your legs! I can’t wait to get back into it post-baby as I train for my first 50k.

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Eating at RPM Italian in Chicago. It was awesome. Downside, I’m spending about 15 hours in the car driving home today.

Figuring out my fueling helped my long runs a lot. And staying hydrated before and after all runs.

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I have had a gait analysis done and I am continuing to work on my form. Almost all of my shorts/pants have little pockets in them so I just stick my key in there!

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I put my key in the zipper pocket of my Lulu pants/skirt. I love Lulu bottoms for this pocket! You don’t even know it is there :)

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Running changed for me when I realized it is a gift rather than a chore.

It is also sort of kind of my therapy, hobby, passion, outlet, everything?? Off to do a long run today for my birthday!

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I use a shoe pocket from Road ID on my sneaker. It holds my key and has my emergency contact info on it too!
Celebrated my boyfriends 42nd birthday yesterday. It was also our anniversary of sorts. He emailed me for the first time on his birthday last year.
It has been an amazing year.

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changed running for the better?
2 words: strength training!! especially glutes and core.
fewer injuries and much faster pace!

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I completely agree with you Emily!

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I’ve always wanted to have my running form analyzed, so I need to make that happen one day soon. And as far as the rest of your trips, yes — you’ve learned a lot. Varying your workout, taking breaks, making things convenient and smart planning — all great tips! Thanks, Janae! :) Have an awesome start to the week!

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My car overheats as well! Just dump some coolant into the overflow tank and it should be alright for a bit. :]

I just started doing some added strength training for the month of May and I am hoping that that will help my running.

Highlight of the weekend though? I ran my 5k in 29:55 and, because it was a pretty small race, got 5th in my age group of 20-25! My friend was running her first on and actually got 3rd in our age group! How cool is that? :]

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The highlight of my weekend was being able to read on my apartments roof deck. We finally had warm enough temperatures to sit outside and relax! :)

I’m really hoping to incorporate more stretching/yoga and some strength training into my workouts to help with my running.

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My highlight of the weekend was the nice weather!

Upper body and core strength training has changed my running. I have improved posture allowing me to go farther without the fatigue in my upper torso that used to set in.

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The best thing that I changed about my running was actually running LESS. I learned to avoid injury by cutting down to running only 3 times per week. Cross training on other days is where it’s at!

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Yay for popsicles on the deck weather!! That’s the best!

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I couldn’t live without taking an Immodium pill right before I race. I didn’t do this until I had GI issues during a marathon once a few years ago and someone recommended it and I tried it and it saved me!

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GIRL. SAME.

Immodium = magic.

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Running with people has also been a huge game changer for me! They help me push my pace, and when you’re talking you don’t even notice.

Love that toolbelt, too. Do you carry fuel during races even though they provide it?

Favorite part of my weekend was spending time at the lake with my best friend who just came back to America after a couple of months in France!

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Tip for your car overheating:: Turn the heat on full blast in your car. My car in college overheated ALL THE TIME, and this is the trick I learned as a result. It makes for a sweaty, sweaty car ride, but I swear it works!

And the best part of MY weekend?! I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON YESTERDAY!
(Still grinning ear to ear every single minute).

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CONGRATS!!!!!

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Thank you!!!!

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Congratulations!! Cheese away, you deserve it.

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ANNIE!!! THAT IS AWESOME!! Huge congratulations girl, what an awesome accomplishment!

Brilliant about the heater—> thank you so much!

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I love the Brooke baby bump flashback! :)

The highlight of my weekend was having a mexican food date with my mom! It had been too long since I’d seen her and too long since I’d enjoyed some good guacamole! :)

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Love all of these tips! For me, rotating shoes helps a lot (I use Pureflow 3 for shorter/faster runs and Gel kayano 21 for long runs). I also think using Yurbuds has helped my runs be more comfortable and enjoyable! I never have to worry about them falling out in the middle of a run and they’re never uncomfortable.

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I bought ice cream cones and a little pool for this weekend – it was 25C and sunny. I also welcomed back the shorts and socks tan!

I learned that I have to have strength workouts on top of my running other wise things just get sore and I get lazy while running. Lazy = bad form for me.

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I also like to tie my key into my shoelaces while I run. I like being able to see it otherwise I am constantly checking to make sure it is still there. Highlight of the weekend was getting a garden put in…now I’m ready for veggies to start coming in. :)

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I used to tie my keys to my shoelace, too! I’m a fan of zipper pockets in running shorts now, though. I put a hairband around my keys so they don’t jingle and then zip them up.

The highlight of my weekend was camping with s’mores and going to the lake.

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One thing that changed my running was getting a Garmin in 2012. Once I could actually see my paces, I was able to train smarter and harder of hard days and easier on easy days. It was a game changer.

I wore the same belly band when I was pregnant. It helped so much and I was able to run up until the day I gave birth :)

I put my key in my pocket, or if I am running at night I sometimes hold it like it’s a weapon haha.

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Highlight of my weekend: sitting under the tree in our backyard with my 3 month old for the first time. It has finally warmed up, here!

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Good key idea! I usually just make sure that I have short/pants that have pockets so I can throw it in there. I have started using a Flipbelt too when I run to hold other things like my credit card which I will need to stop and get a lemon pistachio donut after my run :)

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It has really helped me to incorporate strength training weekly as well as experimenting with fueling before long runs. I have learned that less is more and my body just wants simple crabs for best performance.

I put my key in a zipper pocket of my shorts/Capris. This works well for me. I have a SpiBelt that works really well for holding gus but I’m afraid that my key will fall out when I am taking one out!

Best part of my weekend was the sunny weather and spending time with family. Oh and my long run :-)

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Finding fuel that works with my stomach was a huge help (obviously). Pretty much anything that Honey Stinger makes is easy on my stomach and I love it. The highlight of my weekend was killing my first 20-mile run!

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I’m there with you on car issues right now. My AC starting turning itself off on Saturday night so I’m taking my car in to get looked at tomorrow. It’s almost summer and I’m not taking any chances.

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Anything that has changed running for the better for you?

What do you do with your key when you run?

Anyone else use a belly band for pregnant running?

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Such great tips!! I’m getting a couch this time around for my 3rd marathon in the fall and I am so excited to have someone pushing me! I put my key in a zip pocket or on top of my tire. I spent the weekend outside as much as possible and had a wedding shower for my best friend! It was a great weekend!! It’s not warm enough anywhere near upstate NY to swim yet, I’m jealous!

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I have ongoing form evaluation w/ my PT. He checks every few months to make sure I am not doing crazy stuff :) It was my anniversary this weekend so had a few dates w/ my husband! Finished w/ a yoga workshop on Sunday afternoon–bliss!

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SO cute how Brooke tackles your mom. My son is only 11 months but when he sees my dad he lights up. I can’t wait to see how he reacts when he’s older!

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The highlight of my weekend was running 3 races in 3 days! One of which was a half and I came soooo close (49 seconds) to hitting a new PR.

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I run from my house so the housekey is tiny and can fit anywhere, shoe, bra, jacket pocket.

This weekend I did a backwards sprint triathlon which was really fun. It was my first actual swim race since I learned how to swim last year so I was a bit nervous as the swim was last and was a double lane snake swim – if that makes any sense!

I also did a bike race this weekend that raises money for gynecological cancer. Love these races, we have some amazing women in Alaska!

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Fuel belts definitely changed long runs for me. WHO KNEW?! Also switching up my pre-run fuel to banana and Clif bar instead of bagels which made my stomach hurt! The list goes on… I have so many things that have changed running!

Pocket for my keys!

A neighbourhood Cinco De Mayo party was such a fun highlight of my weekend!

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One thing I’ve learned is that while I can always have an event “on the books” — I can’t be in training mode all the time. Sometimes I just need to go for a run that doesn’t mean anything. I know there are those folks that call those “junk miles” — and maybe they are — but I guess it’s kind of like junk food. You just gotta have it every once in a while.

I’ve also learned that even though I’m not good at yoga, it’s still good for me.

Had a great weekend. Long run, date with hubby, watched the Warriors spank the Grizzlies, got a ton of chores done. I’m starting Monday a bit slow though….

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Hand warmers are SO amazing! I tried them when I paced an Ultra in March, and did amazing wonders for my poor fingers.

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After suffering two stress fractures in my foot & ankle last year, they discovered my femur was actually the cause. It was weak from a 15 yr old injury. Once I got to the right therapists, they were able to identify weak areas I needed to strengthen. That and the fact that my femur is 1 cm shorter than the other. They gave me a lift. Those things made a huge difference in my fitness performance.

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That’s funny, I thought everyone tied their keys to their shoes! That’s an easy way to not worry about it.
I love your family get togethers every week. Wish my family was close like that. It looks great. Especially all of the food!
Going to the track for the first time in my life and running some sprints really helped my running I think. It seems like the only natural place to run super hard.

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Today is V’s birthday so we were super busy over the weekend. On Saturday night we went to a minor league baseball game and V caught a shirt from one of those shirt cannons

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Well if I ever end up being pregnant one day, you have saved my running. So basically I owe you everything.

It is a real toss up between that and the key trick. That. is. GENIUS.

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I always tie my key to my shoelaces! Otherwise I’m paranoid it’s going to fall out of my pocket and I end up checking for it every 2 minutes. I’ve been looking into getting a fuel belt. That one seems kind of expensive but I definitely want one that isn’t going to bounce around. Yesterday I ran with my gu in my sports bra and ended up with scabs all over my chest… what a dumb idea that was.

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I actually just noticed on today’s run I really swing my arms which make my hips more more, so I lowered them and it minimized the swinging and it felt awesome! Might be a coincidence but i’ll take it!!
I think I need a belt. As the weather gets warmer the jackets are coming off and I need somewhere to put my stuff. I currently put my key in that little pocket that capri’s have and then use safety pins to secure it in. But on last weeks longer run the safety pins rubbed so much my skin go super irritated!
:)

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This past Sunday I ran without my patella bands around my knees and no headband! I was able to cut 15 seconds/mile off my time, and I didn’t get a headache. During a race, I carry my truck key and a $20 bill in my short’s back pocket that zips. My water belt is reserved for my iPhone and lip balm, and in my bra I carry tissue. I work on my arms and core, and I’m constantly stretching. Plus, You tube videos helped me become a better runner because I didn’t know how to breath or use my arms correctly;)

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I use to run with everything in my hand, it was miserable. I bought a flip belt and I can fit so much in there I love it! I usually try and find a route to run so that I leave from my house and return to my house so I don’t have to worry about my keys. If I do venture out I usually leave my key under my wheel well, and now that I’ve put that on the internet I should probably carry it with me!

After 26 weeks I didn’t run when I was pregnant. It was to hard on my hips, I wonder if the belly band would’ve worked. Next time around I’ll have to give it a try.

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Spotify premium and a lifeproof case for my iPhone! I love music way too much to be buying every single song. Lifeproofing it lets me take it rain or shine.

I carry my iPhone in my spibelt. I’ve added elastic loops to the belt for easy access to gels. A lifesaver!

Long tempo runs have been my key to getting faster.

Thanks for your tips!

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I always run with my key on my shoe.
Running with faster people always helps! I think having a coach and also working on all the little things: proper warm up and cool down, core work and strength help so much. I would like to have a professional check out my form!
Weekend Highlight: watching a movie with my husband!

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Great tips here… I am scared of what a coach might tell me, but maybe it’s something I should think about doing….

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I put a safety pin through the hole on the top of my key and pin it inside my pocket. I haven’t lost a key yet :)

Weekend highlight: An engagement party for our friends at the Margaritaville Hotel in Tennessee!

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I used hand warmers for the first time this winter. 17 degree mornings were just ridiculous and the warmers helped tremendously.

I’m working on my hip to make it stronger and me less injury prone. I realize when I add in barre workouts I don’t get injured since it helps my butt engage when I run.

Weekend highlight: helping my friend choose her wedding dress. It was girly, fun and happy.

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It’s been so long since I’ve commented on here. I started following you almost 4 years ago and I actually got in contact with Alex Wilcox through you. He was my running coach for my first half marathon! I’ve been gone on a mission and other things, and now I’m back and ready to run again. I have a 5k this weekend, but I’m training for a half in August. I have a concern about it though, it is in Parawon Utah and the altitude drop is about 2300 ft. How do you deal with altitude? Does it affect you? I was just wondering. The highlight of my weekend was the Mayweather Pacquiao fight, even though it was lame. I still had fun watching it! :D

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Let’s see – a good playlist to run too, sweatbands, compression socks and the flip belt is AMAZING! It holds my phone, keys, ID, Chapstick and Gu. Plus, I forget it’s even on because it’s so lightweight. I also think stretching and planking after my runs is key. Now if I could just find the perfect water bottle to run with…

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This weekend highlight was completing my 4th marathon!

Up until this point, my marathon finishes have only been about completion. Now that I know I can make it to the finish line I want to now focus on time as a goal.

I do way more cross training than when I 1st began running and it has made a huge difference for me!

I want to get a coach to help me with my new running goal.

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Foam rolling has made a huge difference for me!

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Weekend highlight was running the largest 10 miler in the nation- the Broad Street Run in Philly! Crowd support was just awesome- they don’t call it the City of Brotherly Love for nothing!

One sign I saw along the way, “Run with gratitude. Every mile is a gift.” INDEED! I got teary-eyed when I saw that. I think that sums up what running means to me.

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THANK YOU for recommending a belly band! I ran two half marathons in my first trimester and I felt great. My runs in the second trimester have been fine – a twinge of pain here or there, but nothing major. I’m 16 weeks today and I went for a two mile run and the round ligament pain was awful. I definitely need a band and will be buying this one today! I don’t want to stop running just yet!

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Those are all really good tips! I really want to start working with a running coach when I am able to start running again after my car accident. I can’t wait to lace up and get back out there!

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I love all of your tips, thanks for sharing!

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