Keep out of the Porta-Potty

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Question from a runner:

I’ve been running for a couple years, but my half-marathons are constantly plagued with needing to stop in at the porta-pottys. What am I doing wrong?

My perspective:

Ever been on the trail (or treadmill) and you just have to go? This is when I’m delighted that I’m on a treadmill and can hop off and utilize the washroom. The dreadful part is when I’m at least 5 miles from the closest washroom, and to my delight, I am in the woods.

Let me tell you a story, it was only a few days before my wedding. I was running to deal with stress (of not fitting into my dress. JK), and along came the urge. Yes. I had to go. Being in a strange city where I generally don’t run, I was not aware of the need to stay away from certain plants, or even what they looked like. Yes. Poison Ivy was in the general area of the woods that I chose to, ahem, defecate in.  Perfect. It wasn’t a bad rash, but it gave the boys something to laugh about at their bachelor party.

Ever experience this… situation? The burning gut? I think the biggest problem was that I wasn’t on my regular diet (I’m pretty regimented), and wasn’t running at my regular times. I know a lot of people that have their races ruined because of their need for quality time with a porta-potty. How do we avoid this?

In the excitement of race day, we often change up our eating schedule and are running at a different time of day. This can be extremely upsetting to our nervous system, especially if you suffer from gastritis issues. Even if there aren’t any issues, the GI tract can be jostled by the running movement.

TALK TO A DOCTOR: A doctor can help you pinpoint issues like lactose or gluten intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, or other gastritis issues.

FOOD DIARY:  A food diary can help you avoid problems while racing. High fiber foods go through your system quickly, causing problems. Fatty greasy foods can make you sick when running on either end, since they are hard to digest.

FIGURE OUT WHAT WORKS: If eating a banana and peanut butter an hour before your works on an average day, don’t switch it up. By the time race day comes by, you should have developed a routine that mimics the actual day, so there isn’t any surprises. Stick to the plan.

Can you relate? What are your tips to keep out of the porta-potty on race day?

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Positive on a Run

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Set small goals. If your mind can’t handle it, don’t hit the trail with a 10 mile goal in mind. Only focus on mile one or reaching the 5 miles to your turnaround point. Celebrate your small “wins”. Be in the present.

Imagine yourself as a strong runner. Like the kid hitting balls in the empty cage imagining them self as Babe Ruth (or whoever is a popular baseball player), if you imagine yourself as a exceptional runner, it will motivate you to run longer and harder.

What is your personal manta? By having a brief sentiment repeating in your mind when you start to slow down, it can help you push through the hard patch. Writing it down is important, where you can see it before a workout. Having it as a rubber bracelet, or for a longer run/race, writing it with a sharpie on your arm, will help push you through the hard miles.

What are your mantra's? Some of ours are:

Mind over matter, Just keep going, Run Harder, Never stop with the end in sight…

Looking to the Fridge for a Runners Staple

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Food is a vital part of having enough strength to run, and Spinach is one of the best foods for runners to consume on a regular basis. While protein bars are easy while running out the door, taking the time to cook up a good recipe with spinach can improve your running performance. Low in calories and high in vitamins, it is one of the most nutritious foods to consume. Because cooking concentrates nutrients and fiber, a serving of cooked spinach gives you even more bang for your buck than a serving of raw.

Spinach is high in iron, vitamin C, lipoic acid (which aids the regeneration of Vitamin C and E), and calcium.

If you’re nervous about implementing this food into your diet, try is recipes listed below; a warm soup for a fall evening, spinach dip for movie night, and spinach/strawberry salad for a nutritious lunch.

Just click on the photo for a delicious recipe!

Spinach, Chicken and Rice soup

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Race to Win a Wedding

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Nearly 100 women race for the wedding of their dream

     Around a 100 women hit the streets with wedding gowns in an attempt to win the wedding of their dream. This isn’t usually the type of thing we cover here at Girls Run Faster, but seriously… why were WE not invited!? This was the third annual “Bridal Race” is a 150 meter (164 yard) race through the streets of Belgrade, so if you are a fast runner, take a trip to Siberia and compete (or Google to find American Sponsored races)!

Finally, our PR’s count for something, and Sanja Cigoja can attest to, “an athletic brunette in knee-length, cream colored dress, was the first to cross the finishing line with a time of 19 seconds, according to Metro UK” Source.

Anyone entering a races like this? Thinking about it? Wouldn’t you LOVE to win your wedding by winning a race?

Sitting is Killing You

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At about 100 calories burned per mile, running is often referenced as the easiest way to lose weight. If it’s two or 20 pounds that need to be burned, running is often considered one of the best ways to lose weight! The fact is, we live in a world where we are constantly sitting; sitting at work, driving to work, sitting in front of our games consoles, sitting to eat, sitting in school, we hardly move any more.

Forbes recently issued a article that claims that a quick stroll around the building/block or a yoga break can actually improve productivity: “stretching and walking around once every 30 minutes throughout the day stimulates blood flow and leads to a burst of hyper oxygenation in the brain, increasing energy and attentiveness”.

It’s far easier to get off work and go for that run if you’ve been active throughout the day. Instead of picking up the phone or sending that email to a coworker, walk over and talk to them. Drink a lot of water so a trip to the bathroom is inevitable (drinking a lot during the day has so many more benefits than just inducing bathroom breaks!). Take a walk around the building or block on a lunch break for some fresh air and a change of scene, which can boost productivity.

Finally, at the end of the day, you will be more likely to hit up the gym, since you don’t have to break the sedentary habit. While a good 30-40 minute run will do wonders for dropping some pounds, being active throughout the day will also help.

How do you keep active at work? What keeps you motivated to workout after sitting at a desk for eight hours?

Great Articles to check out:

Eight Ways Goofing Off Can Make You More Productive

How Many Calories Are You Really Burning?

Introducing my shiny new Garmin!

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After much deliberation, I finally decided on a running watch. It arrived last night, and I was so excited, I slept with it on! My husband told me I’m like a little kid. Whatever. Anyways, I got up at the crack of dawn to log in a little run, just to hear it beep! It’s pink, shiny, adorable, and I’m so excited to start uploading my runs and tracking my progress really accurately. Don’t worry, I will take at least 21 photos of it over the weekend and post them on Facebook like a nine-year-old. What watch do you use to track your runs?

As is extremely clear, I’ve been MIA the last 2 months. That’s because I took a Biology class that was absolutely awful and every spare second, that I wasn’t working, was spent taking tests, doing labs, and writing papers (my other class wasn’t easy either). Thankfully, I have one more lab due tonight, and I’m done the class! Note to readers: Never take an 8 week Biology class. Online. Hell on earth.

Moving on. Even my running has slowed down, and my love handles are screaming out for attention. But they can wait. I’m more concerned about eating healthy (maybe a little less hot chocolate and wine would be good for me though!) and getting back into running slowly. I started fainting on my runs because of the heat this summer, so I haven’t had a good run in a couple months. A doctors visit, several iron supplement experiments, and cooler weather later, I’m back on the road. So I’m up to running 2 miles a day, making sure to take it slow. While it’s discouraging to pick it up so slowly, it’s more important that I’m healthy and if that means taking a break and doing a lot of yoga instead, I’ll deal with it. Life is about balance.

Are you guys enjoying the cooler weather? Has it affected your running? Let me know how your recent runs have gone!