Archive for the ‘Training’Category

17 Ways To Prevent Knee & Running Injuries

17 Ways To Prevent Knee, Foot & Running Injuries

Prevent running injuries with these 17 tips. (RunKarlaRun.com)

Running injuries are public enemy no. 1. Unfortunately, they happen to most of us. After 10 years as a mythical injury-free runner, I spent a chunk of 2015 sidelined by two different running injuries in the same foot—a stress fracture (that was later downgraded to a bone bruise) and persistent plantar fasciitis.

Now that I’m back on the road and running well—I ran a 10-mile PR in April and my second fastest half-marathon in May—I’m more motivated than ever to keep running injuries away. How? Strength training is key, along with tools like ye olde foam roller, KT Tape, and stretching. I got specific advice from top experts about the most common running injuries and the sneaky ways we injure our knees for Shape.com.

17 Ways To Prevent Knee, Foot & Running Injuries

Running Central Park in NYC (RunKarlaRun.com)

5 Beginner Running Injuries & How to Dodge ‘Em

From plantar fasciitis to runner’s knee and iliotibial band syndrome to tendonitis, don’t let these common discomforts sideline you.

The five running injuries included here are among the most common that physical therapists see. And no, they’re not just for beginners. I got one after 10 years of running.

Here’s how to avoid and relieve them once they strike. Read the entire story at Shape.com

17 Ways To Prevent Knee, Foot & Running Injuries

Running Rhode Island (RunKarlaRun.com)

7 Things You Don’t Realize Are Killing Your Knees

Guess what? Running doesn’t ruin knees! Numerous studies and top docs agree.

What will do your knees in? Injuries from running hills, yoga, boot camp style classes, and even simple lunges—lunges!—where you might get sloppy with your form. Proper technique is key, and so is—you guessed it—strength training.

Avoid these seven common training pitfalls with doctor-approved tips on how to avoid injury for each. Check out more at Shape.com

Read the rest of this entry →

Ampla Fly Carbon Fiber Running Shoes Review

Ampla Fly Running Shoe Review

The Ampla Fly carbon fiber running shoe. (AMPLA)

AMPLA compensated me for the time it took me to test their product, write about it, and share it on this blog. Compensation I receive from any company is not compensation for my good opinion. I only share products I think readers might find interesting.

Ampla Fly, the first shoes from nascent running company AMPLA, are so far outside the proverbial (shoe)box that I had to try them for myself. I put them to the test on the road and the treadmill.

When I first heard of the new Ampla Fly carbon fiber soled shoes, I assumed they were cycling shoes. Carbon fiber soles are de rigueur in the cycling and triathlon world. Simply, the stiffness of the soles helps transfer more force from your legs to your pedals than a softer material that loses energy when it flexes. The result? You pedal farther and faster with the same amount of effort.

But au contraire mon frère. The Ampla Fly are not cycling shoes. They’re running shoes. Yes, you read that right: carbon fiber running shoes. Predicated on the idea that “Force is your friend,” Ampla Fly aims to use force to train you to become a more efficient runner. They sell for $120 in men’s and women’s sizing and in two colors, red and black. If you want to try a pair, use code RunKarlaRun for 10 percent off at AmplaSport.com.

Ampla Fly Running Shoe Review

The Ampla Fly running shoe collection (AMPLA)

Ampla Fly Design

Why carbon fiber? “When a runner lands on the ground the force can equal upwards of 8x their body weight; we needed a material that could handle that weight, absorb that force and return the energy. Carbon fiber was our only choice.”

Folks not familiar with carbon fiber cycling shoes might worry that a “plate” in the midsole might make them heavy. Worry not. Carbon is both stiff and lightweight. Weighing in at 10.1 oz. in the men’s shoe and 9.8 oz. in the women’s shoe, the Ampla Fly are comparable to the Asics Gel-Nimbus or Brooks Glycerin weight wise.

This isn’t a minimalist shoe; it isn’t a maximalist shoe, but something wholly different. The 4 mm drop might lend itself more toward the minimalist end of the spectrum. But when you consider that drop comes from a 20 mm heel to a 16 mm forefoot, you realize this is an elevated shoe.

The seamless mesh and micro-suede upper are pretty standard. The Ortholite sockliner, EVA sub-sockliner, and EVA Lite top midsole provide a nice, but not overly soft, amount of cushioning.

Ampla Fly Running Shoe Review

Ampla Fly’s design (AMPLA)

The Amply Fly midsole, however, is what makes this shoe unique. The carbon fiber plate stretches the full length of the shoe, sandwiched between the single piece top midsole and EVA foam bottom midsole. But it’s not just a uniform piece. The plate includes a tab or tongue that moves with each footfall—effectively, a spring.

The EVA foam bottom midsole is then split into two pieces to cover the plate. The foam heel is fixed in place to cover the rear of the plate. The foam forefoot covers the toe off and tab of the plate.

What does it all add up to? The design promotes a midfoot strike, gathering the force of your step, and then channeling the energy into your forefoot at push off, AMPLA says.

No, heel striking itself isn’t bad. But studies show that overstriding—often a result of heel striking—might lead to more injuries. That midfoot strike encourages runners to shorten their strides and land with their feet beneath, not way in front of, their bodies.

Does the Ampla Fly work? I slipped them on to find out.

Ampla Fly Running Shoes Review

Karla tries Ampla Fly (RunKarlaRun.com)

Ampla Fly Performance

Wearing the women’s size 9, I took the Amply Fly on the road and treadmill.

Fit & Feel

First, the toe box is on the snug side. This is a common complaint of mine about many of the running shoes I try, and the Ampla Fly is no exception. Overall, I’d call this a close-to-the-foot fit. The heel is locked in place and ball hugged, even if the toes are a bit squished. Sizing is comparable to Nike or ASICS. Read the rest of this entry →

Summer Running Tips, Tricks, And Mantras

Running in Rhode Island (RunKarlaRun.com)

Summer running  is here! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Memorial Day Weekend is here, which means the unofficial start of summer running. As the mercury climbs, runs can become challenging and even demoralizing. I have a mantra for the occasion: “Hot summer runs lead to cool fall PR’s.” Mid-run it might sound more like, “Hot! Runs! Cool! PRs!” But you get the idea.

What’s the best temperature for a run? I did the investigating for Shape.com, along with digging up seven expert-approved tips for throwing down even when the mercury climbs. And if you do happen to get demoralized out there, I’m re-sharing a few oldies but goldies that will help you push through the toughest summer running.

Summer Running Tips, Tricks, & Mantras

Hot dog! (RunKarlaRun.com)

7 Running Tricks to Help You Speed Up in Hot Weather

The dog days of summer can be a tough time for running. The hotter it is, the harder it becomes to push yourself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your sweat sesh if you do it right. Heck, you can even use this time to build your speed for the months ahead.

Cooling techniques like pre-chilling your body can actually help you run harder and keep you cool longer during a sweltering workout, according to a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. But that’s not the only way to beat the heat and build running speed this season. From workout tweaks to form drills and on-the-run chill-out methods, here are seven science-tested and expert-approved ways to cool down and speed up. Yes, you’re going to need a few more ice trays. And maybe a Snoopy Sno Cone Machine. Who said summer running can’t be fun? → Read all 7 tips at Shape.com

Summer Running Tips, Tricks, & Mantras

“Just keep pushing…” (RunKarlaRun.com)

Running Mantras For Racing And Training

I didn’t always have a running mantra. In fact, it took me years to hone in on a few that really work for me. When I’m struggling and need to dig deep, I turn to two phrases that somehow spur me on. One is just perfect for summer running.

85 degrees and humid? “Hot summer runs lead to cool fall PRs.”

Mile 6 of an 8-mile tempo workout in the sun? “Hot. (inhale) Summer. (breath) Runs. (gasp) Cool. (wheeze) Fall. (gasp) PRs.” It’s my go-to summer training mantra. → Read more at RunKarlaRun.com

Summer Running Tips, Tricks, & Mantras

Spring and fall brings the best temps of all (RunKarlaRun.com)

What’s the Best Temperature for a Run?

When researchers from the University of Tulsa examined the 25 fastest performances at different distances, along with the temperature that day, they discovered that perfect running temps hovered between 73.4 and 49.4 degrees depending on the distance.

Basically, the farther or longer you run, the cooler you want it to be. “When it’s warmer, your body’s ability to dissipate heat can be compromised,” says Angela Hillman, Ph.D, an exercise physiologist. “The cooler the temperature, within reason, the more heat your body can give off to keep you from overheating.” Read the rest of this entry →

27

May 2016

Happy Birthday, Cinderella! My Running Pal is 7

Happy Birthday, Cinderella! My Running Pal is 7 Years Old

Running pal!

My running pal is 7 years old today! Okay, so she’s probably not. But five years ago today this sweet baby dog came into my life. My husband, Phil, and I anointed that day as her annual fete. She was a stray and the vet guessed she was about two years old. So 7 it is!

Happy Birthday, Cinderella! My Running Pal is 7 Years Old

Looking good at 7! (RunKarlaRun.com)

As a pup, Cinderella was living in the woods of Tennesse in a place rescue workers told me is a popular spot for “dumping” dogs. It still breaks my heart to think of her living on her own, foraging for food, getting by any way she could. Her front teeth are ground down to stubs, the vet guesses, from chewing on sticks and rocks. One of her nicknames is Toothless, because she’s as sweet as the Night Fury of the same name in How To Train Your Dragon.

A man who lived nearby spotted her and won her trust over time. She lived in his yard for a while, until he decided to put her into rescue, where she eventually found her way to me.

Cinderella is the most tender-hearted dog I have ever known. She has so much love to give, and has been a great running pal, hiking buddy, snuggling bug, and best friend. I call her my “co-worker.” We spend every waking (and sleeping) moment together. Both Phil and I agree that adopting her is the best thing we have ever done.

Last year, I put together for Shape.com “The Ultimate Guide to Running With Your Dog” with nine vet and trainer tips for keeping your furry running pal healthy on the run, including fueling (dogs burn fat, not carbs for energy!), stretching (yep, it’s good for them too), warning signs (humidity is especially tough on dogs), and lots more. Read the rest of this entry →

09

Apr 2016

Race Report: Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run

Race Report: Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run

Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run (MarathonFoto)

This post is brought you by the letters P and R. That’s right! I had a fantastic race at the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run despite some wonky weather that brought 50 mph winds and a sub-freezing windchill.

Race Report: Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run

Success! (MarathonFoto)

More than 16,000 runners finished the race around Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 3. I headed to D.C. with my husband and a dozen friends who decided to make a weekend of it.

This was my second time running the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run. In 2012, I found the course far too crowded and no cherry blossoms on the trees. The second time around, there were still no cherry blossoms—what had been left from peak season blew off the trees the night before in 50 mph winds. There was not a one to be found.

But I headed to Washington, D.C. earlier in the week and had the chance to see them during a gorgeous run around the National Mall, before they all blew away. Phew!

Where I Stayed

I’ve come to love visiting Washington, D.C. It’s a truly fantastic running town.

Race Report: Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run

Running the National Mall in 2015! (RunKarlaRun.com)

This is my third trip to the city in the last year, and my husband Phil’s umpteenth. I’ve stayed at three different hotels in that time; Phil has stayed at a dozen different properties in the city. Our go-to hotel has become The Carlyle Dupont Circle, a Kimpton Hotel. Read the rest of this entry →

Ready For Cherry Blossom Run In Washington, D.C.

It's Cherry Blossom Run Time

Cherry Blossom run ready! (RunKarlaRun.com)

It’s racing time! The Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run is finally here. And guess what? I’m actually ready to run. As in feeling good, feeling healthy, and feeling fit. Yee-haw!

Back In Black

It’s a welcome feeling after a tough 2015. In the span of six months I got a stress fracture and plantar fasciitis. Oof. There were ups–when I ran my second fastest 5K ever. 25:06, baby! And there were downs—sitting out the Runner’s World Half Marathon and showing up to the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon with a taped foot.

When the familiar twinge of plantar fasciitis flared up yet again in January, I took drastic measures—17 days of rest and a battery of treatments that finally worked. And then I got two herniated discs in my spine. Sheesh!

Now I’m 7 weeks into a 12-week training program for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I’m happy to report my neck is feeling OK—not 100%, but totally manageable. Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by how good I feel. Knock on wood. Really, if you’re reading this, please knock on wood for me.

Ready For Cherry Blossom Run in Washington, D.C.

Running Central Park in NYC (RunKarlaRun.com)

I had my best run of 2016 last weekend, an 11.25-miler through Central Park. The sun was shining. Birds were singing. Lovers were holding hands. Trees were blossoming. Flowers were blooming. And I was falling in love with running New York City all over again. It was a Brady Bunch “Sunshine Day.” Read the rest of this entry →

02

Apr 2016

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit Running Shoes Review

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit

Updated 3/10/16

The Nike LunarEpic Flyknit will certainly turn heads. With its high-top bootie design, the running world hasn’t seen anything like these neutral, cushioned running shoes.

The newest entry to Nike’s “Run Easy” category, the LunarEpic Flyknit shoes are meant for going long, running easy, or kicking it up with a progression run. In other words, this is a cushioned trainer designed with comfort in mind. The men’s size 10 weighs 8.3 oz and the women’s size 8 weighs 6.55 oz. Both have an 8.5 mm drop from heel to toe, with a retail price of $175.

I first tried the Nike LunarEpic Flyknit shoes, courtesy of Nike, during an interval workout with Nike trainers. I’ve since taken them on the road and trail. Here are my initial thoughts.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Testing the shoes, far left (Nike)

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit Design

If the Nike LunarEpic Flyknit embodies one buzzword, it’s “sensation.” Inspired by Nike soccer boots that earned great feedback from players, Nike Running’s design team set out to create a shoe the evoked a similar sensation. Namely, a sense of seamlessness from toe to ankle. Where does your body end and your shoe begin? The Nike LunarEpic Flyknit wants to erase that transition. Nike calls it a “virtually vanishing fit.” Is it? Yes and no.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Shoe or bootie?

Upper

The shoe’s upper is a single-piece of Nike Flyknit, featuring the material’s signature support, with a closer fit at the forefoot, arch, and heel, plus FlyWire cables to cinch the fit midfoot. The ankle collar, sewn more elastic than the boot, exists to anchor the shoe to your leg. The cuff might also eliminate some pressure points around the heel.

The laces? They may seem redundant, but actually help to perfect the fit, a Nike designer said at the shoe’s New York City launch I attended.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Rear view

Midsole

This is a glue-free shoe. Instead, Nike used heat to fuse the Lunarlon foam to the platform, thereby eliminating some weight and hardness. The platform itself is contoured, not flat, with laser-cut grooves on the side for flexibility. They collapse when you land, cushioning each foot strike.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Outsole

Outsole

The Lunarlon foam outsole is completely rubber-free, with laser-cut pads placed at high-pressure points. Each pad moves independently, depending on how your foot falls. How precisely? You can actually feather the grooves with your fingertips. Combined with the foam of the midsole, the outsole pads help make the ride smooth and soft.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit First Impressions

Liking them so far (Nike)

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit Feel

I’ll start with this. I’m a huge fan of Nike Flyknit. I wore my Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 shoes ragged and Nike Free 4.0 are one of my go-to pairs.

At first look, these might be my favorite Nike shoes I’ve tried in the last two years, and I’ve worn the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32, Nike LunarTempo, Nike Flyknit Lunar 2, and two iterations each of Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit and Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit Review

Post-workout debrief (Nike)

Fit

This is a shoe you really need to try for yourself, simply because it is so different from anything you’ve put on your feet before. Certainly, some runners will hate the high ankle collar. Like the first iteration of the Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit, some folks will find it too tight or too constricting. Thankfully, Nike.com offers a 30-day trial period, during which you can return worn shoes, “dirt and all.”

I actually like the fit and the feel and the ankle bootie. If you surf or do triathlons, the ankle collar is more comfortable than the ankle strap of surf board leash, a triathlon timing chip band, or even a wetsuit cuff. When you first slip the shoes on your feet, the collar feels a little strange. But it’s incredibly stretchy and elastic. Once I got moving, I didn’t notice it all. I was too focused on the workout. Read the rest of this entry →

Winter & Spring Training Through Injury

Winter & Spring Training Through Injury

Running the C&O Canal in Washington, D.C. (Cindy Gordon)

And so it begins: another spring training cycle. I officially started a new 12-week training schedule for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend on May 8, 2016 (which I’m running as a media guest of runDisney). I’ll be doing the Pixie Dust Challenge, running both the 10K and half-marathon.

I have one goal for this spring training season: make it to the starting line healthy and injury free. Period. End of subject. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. If you hear me talk about PRs, lash me with a virtual wet noodle. Especially considering I’m currently recovering from another injury, two torn and herniated discs in my spine. What!?

Winter & Spring Training Through Injury

Running the East River in Manhattan (RunKarlaRun.com)

Injury History

I survived 10 full years as an injury free runner, the unicorn of the running world. But my body seems to be having a breakdown. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s training habits, maybe it’s old traumatic injuries, maybe it’s nutrition, maybe it’s all of it combined. Whatever it is, I now have my third injury in one year.

Winter & Spring Training Through Injury

Running in Quebec (RunKarlaRun.com)

During 2015 spring training, I failed to make it to the starting line of my goal races healthy and injury-free. I had to skip my spring half-marathon, the Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, thanks to a stress fracture in my foot. I discovered I am grossly Vitamin D deficient and have been on an aggressive course of supplements since. I finally got back to running in June.

In the fall, I made it to the start of the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon, but only after missing a chunk of training due to plantar fasciitis. I toed the line with a taped foot, far from the shape I wanted to be in.

Then, last week, I was diagnosed with two herniated discs in my spine. It’s not a running injury, but has been an ongoing problem.

My Plantar Fasciitis Cure

After feeling the returning niggle of plantar fasciitis in January at the NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K, I decided to nip it in the bud once and for all. I’d tried various remedies throughout the fall to no avail, including time off from running, a night splint, massage, and KT tape. They’d each helped in the short-term, but my PF would come right back.

Winter & Spring Training Through Injury

Running in Quebec (RunKarlaRun.com)

So I decided to take drastic measures before spring training had sprung.

I took 17 days off from all exercise. No running, no elliptical, no spinning, no swimming, no yoga, no lifting, nothing. They all use calf and foot muscles, the ground zero of plantar fasciitis. I  walked. That’s it.

I also wore over-the-counter orthotics—Walkfit Platinum Orthotics. My mom struggled with plantar fasciitis for a long time and those were the orthotics that finally worked for her, even better than the custom pair her doctor had made. Since I got her feet in the DNA pool, right down to the same high arch, I guessed they might work for me too.

Plus, I rolled my foot with a golf ball—a cute Hawaii golf ball I bought on my recent trip—and stretched my calves copiously.

Wouldn’t you know it? That finally did the trick. I’m happy to report I’ve been back to running for four weeks and am, knock on wood, plantar fasciitis free. Read the rest of this entry →

02

Mar 2016

Running In Hawai’i From Kona To Kaua’i

Running in Hawai'i From Kona To Kaua'i

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (RunKarlaRun.com)

The Honolulu Marathon is Sunday! I’ve been having an incredible—and I mean incredible—time running in Hawai’i. Over the last eight days I’ve run, hiked, SUPed, sailed, swum, summited, star-gazed, and so much more on Hawai’i, the Big Island, and on Maui.

The Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau at GoHawaii.com sponsored and helped me plan the trip so I can experience active Hawai’i at its best. Now I’m on O’ahu for the big race and headed to Kaua’i after that.

But this isn’t my first rodeo in Hawai’i. In 2013, I ran the Kaua’i Half Marathon and published a few stories at Shape.com, in Women’s Running magazine, and Canadian Running magazine about the race, Kaua’i, Hawai’i Island, and points beyond. Thought I’d share them here. Aloha!

Running in Hawai'i From Kona To Kaua'i

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Phil Hospod)

Healthy Travel Guide: Kona, Hawai’i at Shape.com

Sure, Hawai’i invokes dreams of lazy days on sandy beaches sipping umbrella drinks. But every year, more than 2,300 triathletes trek to Kona on Hawai’i Island to make it big—Big Island big—at the Ironman World Championship.

But you don’t have to be an Ironman to swim, bike, run, or get your sweat on in Kailua-Kona, the triathlon mecca of the world. Hawai’i’s residents are the second most prolific runners in the U.S., with only Massachusetts logging more miles per capita on RunKeeper. The state also has the second lowest obesity levels in the U.S., behind only Colorado, according to Retale.

It’s no wonder. Running is Hawai’i is a dream come true. Just north of Kona, the rugged black lava fields give way to sunny, white sand beaches on the Kohala Coast, where water sports abound. The area came in seventh on our list of the healthiest beach towns in America, while the Kona District ranked 19th. (Find them all in The 35 Best Beaches in America For Fitness Lovers). Inland, Waimea is home to Hawai’i’s tallest mountain, the snowcapped Mauna Kea, which rises 13,796 feet and has hiking and horseback trails galore. And we can’t forget Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, with 150 miles of hiking trails around one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Yep, we said volcanoes.

Inspired to get your Ironman on? Hawai’i Island makes healthy travel easy with year round warm weather, world class sporting events, mountains and more. Say Aloha to Kona!

Find out where to sleep, stay in shape, fuel your trip, splurge, and play in Kona at Shape.com.

Running in Hawai'i From Kona To Kaua'i

Rainbow run in Kaua’i (Phil Hospod)

Kauai Is The Ultimate Vacation For Runners in Women’s Running

The least-visited of Hawaii’s major islands, Kauai is the Aloha State’s best-kept secret. Only 1.1 million of Hawaii’s 8.2 million visitors annually venture to Kauai. But runners in the know head to the Garden Isle for technical mountain trails between lushly green volcanic peaks, flat recreation paths with ocean views and one of America’s most scenic—and challenging—marathons. The island is best explored on foot (in fact, 90 percent of Kauai is inaccessible by vehicle!), so lace up your shoes and get ready to sweat. Read the rest of this entry →

Honolulu Marathon, Ready Or Not, Here I Come

Fall Running Schedule: Halves & Relays & Marathons, Oh My!

The Honolulu Marathon (Photo: Honolulu Marathon Association)

Ready or not, Hawai’i here I come!

It’s almost time for the fifth race on my fall running schedule: the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, December 13.

The Honolulu Marathon has been on my bucket list since I realized that marathons would be a permanent fixture in my life. I’m mildly obsessed with Hawai’i (just ask my husband). I’d been a few times as a child, when I had two cousins living in the islands.

I’ve been to Honolulu just once, more than 20 years ago. It’s high time I returned, and what better reason than a race?

Ready Or Not For Honolulu Marathon

(Photo: Honolulu Marathon Association)

After all, the Kaua’i Marathon & Half Marathon, which I tackled in 2013, is one of my all time favorite races.

And Hawai’i is one of my all time favorite places—and I’ve been to 35 countries on 6 continents.

Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon

After the Kaua’i Half Marathon. (Photo: Sport Photo)

So I’m heading out to the Aloha state early for a 16-night mega tour of Hawai’i Island, Maui, O’ahu, and Kaua’i. The Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau at GoHawaii.com helped me plan the trip so I can experience active Hawai’i at its best.

On the itinerary? Swimming, SUPing, surfing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and, of course, running.

Ready Or Not For Honolulu Marathon

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Phil Hospod)

You can follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ll be posting photos and updates as long as cell service co-operates.

How excited am I for this trip? I bought a potted hibiscus and have managed to keep it alive for 25 weeks! That’s no small feat in New York City.

Ready Or Not For Honolulu Marathon

My hibiscus (RunKarlaRun.com)

Honolulu Marathon Training

But, Karla, you’re thinking. You haven’t been training for a marathon. Yes, you would be right. No, I have not.

I had every intention of doing all the proper marathon prep. I started the season right, kicking things off with the Fjord Norway Half Marathon near Bergen, Norway. Then I ramped it up with the New Balance Reach The Beach Relay.

But shortly after that my training was derailed by a flu, then nagging plantar fasciitis that struck in October. Read the rest of this entry →

04

Dec 2015

Ready For GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Ready for GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Ready to race! (Phil Hospod)

Cue butterflies in my stomach. The GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon is my goal race. I’m running with Team GORE-TEX.

In my Fall Running Schedule: 13.1, 26.2, and 200, Oh My!, I wrote: “So this is it. I’m racing this one, baby. My time will start with a 1.”

Wow, I’m really good at talking a big game.

After struggling with plantar fasciitis for the last month, my doc has cleared me to run. Forward, march!

Ready For GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Shoes ready!

Ready or Not?

Am I ready to PR? The power-of-positive-thinking answer is: Yes. The honest answer is: I don’t know.

My training has been rough. I missed 5 days of training thanks to the flu. Then another 11 days thanks to the PF and bone spur. Even since going back to running, it’s been touch and go with my foot pain waxing and waning. I don’t feel it at all when I’m walking around or running at an easy pace. But when I put some speed under my legs, I can sometimes feel the ache in my heel.

The longest run I’ve been able to muster since my 13.1-miler at the Fjord Norway Half Marathon on September 5 is 9.3 miles. I ran the Fjord Norway Half Marathon at an easy pace, having hiked 9 miles the day before and collectively run, walked, and hiked 60 miles in 10 days. The race was the grand finale to my run around Norway, and I counted finishing in 2:20:55— having run a rock-steady and unwavering 10:45 pace from start to finish on an undulating course—a major win.

Ready for GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

At Fjord Norway Half Marathon

Then I ran 18 miles in 24 hours at New Balance Reach The Beach Relay two weeks later.

After that the flu struck, along with my foot problems. Those two ailments wiped out a chunk of October; I logged just 9 runs the entire month, the equivalent of 2 weeks of workouts. Whereas I logged 20 workouts in August and 18 in September. I’ve fit in 12 workouts in the last three weeks that I’ve been back to running, with the longest single run being 8.1 miles. I’m used to going into a half-marathon with a 15 to 16-mile long run under my belt. This feels scary. I just haven’t been able to build back up to double digit runs.

On the plus side, I’ve done a lot of back-to-back runs since then, covering anywhere from 10 to 13 miles in 24 hours. Plus, I’ve run more mileage overall than I ever have before. I’ve already surpassed all my annual mileage totals from years prior, and it’s not even December yet. So while my single run endurance isn’t there, my speed and volume are looking good.

My foot is feeling OK, too. I’ve been wearing a night splint for my plantar fasciitis, KT Tape on my foot during longer runs, and got a nice massage to work out the tightness in my calves, along with ice baths for my foot, rolling sessions, and lots of stretching. Is it 100%? No. Does it feel 100% with the KT Tape and all these efforts? Pretty darn close. So I’m going against my nature and choosing to be optimistic.

Ready for GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Been stretching a lot lately.

Here I Come

Considering all of this, I was tempted to say, I’m not going to attempt a PR. But…. I’ve decided to go for it. I’d rather crash and burn knowing I tried than wonder, “What if?”

Why? Two races haunt me. OK, I’m being dramatic. They don’t haunt me, but they were missed opportunities. They were both days were I went out to run a good hard effort and enjoy the race rather than PR. Then, late in the race I realized I was having such a great day that I could have PRed. But it was too late. I’d gone out too slowly and couldn’t make up the time. Read the rest of this entry →

21

Nov 2015

Brooks Running Gear Rundown & Giveaway

Brooks Running Gear Rundown For Fall & Winter

In the Dash 1/2 Zip & Streaker Capri at Runner’s World 5K

Now that the days are shorter, it’s time to bust out my all-weather running gear. I had a sneak peak at fall elements while running in Norway and Sweden in late August and early September, and winter running while shivering at the Runner’s World Half & Festival in October. Running in temps between 40 and 70 degrees— with varying degrees of sun, cloud, wind, and rain—reminded me that fall running can mean anything and everything.

Brooks Running Gear Rundown For Thank You Thursday

Streaker Capri & UpRise Bra carried me through Sweden (RunKarlaRun.com)

These Brooks Running pieces (all freebies) have become a go-to part of my wardrobe. They’ve traveled the world with me in the last few months. I brought them with me to the Turkish desert—where the days were hot and the nights were cold. They carried me through Sweden and Norway. And most recently, they kept me warm at the unseasonably cold Runner’s World Half & Festival. Why? They perform and wash well, and they’re crazy cute.

Here are my picks from top to bottom, and scroll all the way down for a chance to win some Brooks Running winter gear for yourself!

Brooks Dash 1/2 Zip

Brooks Dash 1/2 Zip

Dash 1/2 Zip, $75
Available in 5 colors

This is my new fave long sleeve. You’ve seen me wear it in Sweden, Norway, and Pennsylvania. Basically, I take it with me everywhere I go. Why? First, the zip has a really cute geographic pattern that gives any running outfit a pop. I even pair it with patterned tights.

Second, the thumbhole cuffs and sleeves are actually long enough for me. In long-sleeve tops and jackets, I usually need to size-up to get the arm length I need, but then the fit is often too boxy. This fits perfectly; no sizing-up needed.

Third, a small flap pocket in the back is big enough for a credit card. (The website says it’s a zip pocket; it’s not.)

Finally, it’s the perfect weight to cut the chill without making me hot—lightweight and soft. Honestly, there isn’t a thing I don’t love about this one.

A photo posted by Karla Bruning (@runkarlarun) on

Brooks Running Gear Rundown For Fall & Winter

LSD Jacket

LSD Jacket, $98
Available in 5 colors

This is the windbreaker that has it all. Most notable? It packs into its own pocket with an elastic strap to slide onto your hand or arm while you’re not wearing it. Cue angels singing! In September, I ran the Fjord Norway Half Marathon–which crossed a series of windy bridges—in a different windbreaker. The windbreaker packed into a pocket but was missing a strap. Once through the worst of the wind, I ended up carrying the darn thing in my hand and kept thinking, “I really wish this had a strap.”

The LSD Jacket is also crazy light and has an adorable split side-hem that looks like overlapping flower petals, allowing for a free range of motion. Throw in front and back reflectivity, a zipper pull that locks headphone cords in place, and water-resistant fabric, and you’re ready for just about any element night or day.

My only complaint is that, unlike the Dash 1/2 Zip, the sleeves are a tad short for my long, monkey arms. In my perfect world, the LSD Jacket would also have longer sleeves with thumbholes. But when I pair the two, it isn’t a problem. Either way, I’ll be wearing this beauty for many a run to come.

Brooks Running Gear Rundown For Fall & Winter

Fly-By SS VNeck

Fly-By SS VNeck, $60
Available in 4 colors

I’m not a big running tee wearer. Nine times out of 10, I reach for a tank instead. But I appreciate that the Fly-By short sleeve is much more than a basic tee, with two different strategically placed performance fabrics.

The coolest feature is a fitted bottom band that keeps the tee in place when you run—no bouncing or wind blowing up your shirt. In the fall, that’s half the battle for me.

The cut is on the boxy side. So if you like a more fitted top, this might not be for you. But if you’re looking for something to split the difference between a tank and a long-sleeve, the Fly-By fits the bill. Read the rest of this entry →

05

Nov 2015

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber (Nike)

Running with my pacers (Nike)

In New York City for the world’s largest marathon on Sunday, November 1? Want to run like a pro with your own personal pacer? Now you can thanks to Nike+ Run Club and on-demand car-service Uber.

Instead of finding a ride with the Uber app, users can request a Nike+ Run Club pace team to lead them through a personalized on-demand jaunt around New York City for one day only: Saturday, October 31 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Best of all, it’s free!

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber (Nike)

Up a hill (Nike)

Nike+ Run Club sessions are 2-3 miles and tailored to your request. Pacers will also lead you through running-specific dynamic stretching, and gift you with some gear at the end of the run. Runs begin and end at your location, which must be between 72nd Street and 14th Street in Manhattan.

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber (Nike)

Running Midtown Manhattan (Nike)

Requesting a Nike+ Run Club pacer is exactly like requesting a car. I know, I had a chance to test out the service before it launches to the public. But instead of a car, two Nike+ Run Club pacers greet your on foot, with a race bib that looks like a license plate.

Nike+ Run Club Offers Personal Pacers Via Uber

My pacers! (Nike)

Once you open the Uber app and enter the promo code RUNNYC, you’ll see “NRC PACER” alongside your usual Uber choices like “uberT” and “uberX.” You’ll also see where NRC pacers are located near you with the Nike+ swoosh on the map. Read the rest of this entry →

30

Oct 2015

Ready For The Runner’s World Half & Festival

Runner's World Half & Festival

Runner’s World Half & Festival (Photo: Ryan Hulvat/Runner’s World)

Greetings from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and the Runner’s World Half & Festival presented by Altra!

I’m seven weeks into my fall running schedule and 24-week training plan for the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, with a PR attempt at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon along the way. The Fjord Norway Half Marathon and New Balance Reach The Beach Relay are behind me.

Now on the menu is the Runner’s World Half & Festival! I’m attending as a guest of Runner’s World, and will be posting to InstagramFacebook, and Twitter throughout the trip if you want to virtually run with me.

Race Report: Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half

Crossing the finish. (Photo: @myEPevents, Inc)

Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival

I had a blast at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival in 2014, despite it being my roughest half-marathon ever. Runner’s World put together a thoughtful weekend of activities, seminars, and races with dedicated runners in mind.

So I’m excited to head to Bethlehem for the Runner’s World Half & Festival presented by Altra. Once again, they’ve got a full weekend of running cooked up: as in 26.2 miles full of running.

I’ll start with the the Altra 3.8-Mile Trail Run Presented by REI on Friday, then the Hat Trick of races that includes the Runner’s World 5K and Runner’s World 10K on Saturday, followed by the Runner’s World Half Marathon on Sunday for a total of 26.2 miles.

I’ll also get a tour of the Runner’s World headquarters, led by none other than Bart Yasso; get fitted with a pair of Altra running shoes by company founder Golden Harper; take a trail running course with Yasso, Harper, and Runner’s World Gear Editor Bryan Boyle; and eat lunch with Deena Kastor, among other activities.

Basically, it’s like a running fantasy camp. Consider me sufficiently geeked. Read the rest of this entry →

Marathon Training For Your Brain, Funny Bone + Body

Marathon Training For Your Brain, Funny Bone + More

(Joshua Sortino/Unsplash.com)

It’s October, which means one thing: Marathon season is officially here!

Many of us will slog long miles in marathon training this month. I’m prepping for the Honolulu Marathon in 10 weeks, and I know many runners targeting the New York City Marathon, Philadelphia Marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and other races.

Others of us will toe the line at events this month, like the Wineglass Marathon, Chicago Marathon, and Marine Corps Marathon.

Others still are thinking about committing to 26.2 for the first time next year or a marathon training challenge like Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World Marathon in January.

Whatever your quest, I’m here to help with a round-up of my marathon articles at Shape.com!

17 Things You Should Know Before Running Your 1st Marathon

via GIPHY

This one was just plain fun to write. I don’t usually write “Listicles” but I couldn’t pass up sharing the wisdom I’ve culled from my seven marathons… in GIF form. I think #8 and #11 are my faves. Pretty sure they’ve happened to me during every single marathon.

What else would you add? Check out the list at Shape.com.

Marathon Training for Your Brain

You’ve put in the miles, training your body for the rigors of running 26.2. But is your mind ready too? Running a marathon is as much a mental battle as a physical one. Inevitable doubts and fears creep into many a marathoner’s mind. Train your brain while training your body with seven tips meant to help flex your mental muscle come race day.

Danielle at LiveRunGrow.com even shares her thoughts on “chunking.” Read it at Shape.com. Read the rest of this entry →

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