Race Recap: Freedoms Run Half Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to Fredoms Run Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

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Freedoms Run Half Marathon

The weather was perfectly cool for what has probably been one of my favorite half marathon experiences so far! I have spent the better part of 5 months training to run a Half Marathon under 2 hours, and the outcome was unexpected, but more on that later. Let’s talk shop.

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Pre-Race Checklist

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Freedoms Run Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

With race-day begin tomorrow, I thought I’d share my pre-race checklist for my typical half marathon race! This isn’t an all inclusive list, but it chock full of my “go-to” race essentials that help me power through race-day.

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The added benefit of having a Trainer

Make no mistake, you can find just about everything on the internet. So it should come as no surprise that when looking for a run coach, the internet has that too!

But who can you trust? If you search for an online trainer you’re bound to be flooded with results, each and every one claiming a specific speciality or goal pace they can help you achieve. When I first started looking for help, I found countless training plans and all sorts of conflicting advice. The process was overwhelming.

Enter: The Power of Social Media

Just when I had basically given up in finding a trainer, a fellow BibRave Pro Janell reached out to me through Twitter and offered to take me on as a client.

It was during a weekly Bibchat where a lot of the questions were based on goals and how we work on achieving them. I saw a few of Janell’s replies and got the immediate vibe that she knew what she was talking about.

After a quick email exchange we got setup and within a few weeks training began.

Personalized Training Plans

One thing I noticed off the bat was the personalized training plans that actually made running really fun and enjoyable. Gone were the days of me hitting the pavement and just running as hard and as fast as I could. With structured plans I was hitting the road with purpose and a set goal in mind.

For a beginning runner the tactic of just going hard every time will yield results… but also lead to injury and burnout. Speaking from first hand experience, the all-out method I employed before coaching made running more about punishment than accomplishment.

Lesson learned: Get a trainer and get specific plans just for you that make running fun again.

The Importance of Rest Days

Resting wasn’t a concept I was familiar with, even though it’s covered in the numerous running books I’ve poured over during the last 4 years. Rest was a concept that I thought only elite athlete’s required, surely not a novice runner like myself.

When I saw “rest” on my training plan I struggled with not being able to run, but after a few weeks of training, rest days were a reminder that everyone needs a break now and then.

Lesson learned: Everyone needs rest, not just the elite.

Accountability is Paramount

If anything else, having a trainer carries the added level of accountability. There were days when the sun was blazing and the humidity was oppressing and I would look at my training calendar and frown.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to run, it was just easier to sit on the couch and procrastinate. But when I would wake up before the sun, or decide to run later in the evening I would notice the cooler temps that came with it, and I knew I could tackle my workout. Most importantly, I couldn’t let my trainer or myself down for not getting in that workout.

Throughout the entire process Janell would check in and it was a much needed boost to keep me going!

Lesson learned: find a trainer that’s encouraging and supportive, but knows how to push you to achieve your goals.

So, Now what?!

Anyway, by now you’re probably wondering where to turn, and you’ve probably got a ton of questions. First and foremost, where can you find a trainer?

Well that’s one question I can answer! Janell is a wonderful trainer and she cane get you on the right track! You can find out more by visiting: https://runcanvas.com

Oh, and tell her Ken sent you!

Product Review: FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters

Disclaimer: I received FBOMB Macadamia Nut Butters to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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When snack time comes around, I can think of no better quick bite than ripping open a pack of FBOMB nut butter and enjoying the amazing powerful taste of NATURAL ENERGY!

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Product Review: NUUN Rest

Disclaimer: I received Nuun Rest to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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Hydration is key during a workout, long run, race, and in general if you’re going to be active and sweating. There are a few products in the market that can help you hydrate, but none better than Nuun (pronounced “noon”). Now, hydration aside, Nuun is now tackling the second most important aspect of training: Rest!

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Product Review: Sawyer Sunscreen

Disclaimer: I received Sawyer Stay-Put Sunscreen to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

 

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I’m good about protecting my eyes, and always make sure to wear a hat to protect my noggin, but sunscreen is always last on my mind. I blame my childhood. Do you remember those moments just before getting to the beach when Mom would lather you up in that smelly greasy lotion? You know, the kind that sand immediate stuck to and made you feel like a walking piece of 60-grit sandpaper? Yuck.

Sawyer Sunscreen boasts a non-greasy, non-chemical smelly easy wear, that’s sweat-proof and tough against the sun’s UV rays. That’s why when the chance presented itself to give Sawyer Stay Put Sunscreen a test I was eager to see the difference.

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Product Review: Buff Coolnet UV Headband

Disclaimer: I received a BUFF Coolnet UV Headband to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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Summertime Running is HERE, and that means hot and humid weather and SWEAT! It’s hard to keep cool, especially when it feels like you’re running through a bathtub, what’s a runner to do?

Enter Buff USA Coolnet UV Headbands

BUFF makes great products, I own two (2) of the large “neck gators” that I use throughout the winter to keep my face and neck guarded against the cold. And I also use those gators in the summer while on my motorcycle to keep bugs from entering my luscious beard. However, these gators are thick and protective against the cold but don’t breathe for summer-use.

The BUFF Coolnet UV Headwrap is the solution! The fabric is lightweight and breathes well in the hot summer heat. The Coolnet UV headwrap, when wet, provides an amazing cooling relief to the skin. I like to wear mine under my hat, and then slide it down onto my neck once I start to feel the heat.

The Coolnet UV headwrap also doubles up and provides protection from the suns harmful rays! So it’s a win-win when it comes to BUFF!

Overall Rating

Overall, I’m standing on a solid 5-star rating. I wish I could find some sort of flaw, but these are hands down a must-have for summer running!

BibRave Fans! Save 15% on your next order when you visit BUFFUSA.com and sign-up for the Newsletter to stay in the loop on all things BUFF!

Product Giveaway! Science in Sport Gels

Disclaimer: I received SiS isotonic gels to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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When it comes to fueling while on the run there are many available options, there are Gels, Chews, Jelly Beans, Drinks, Gum, the list goes on. How do you know which ones to consume? Will they help or hurt your performance?

Stick with me through this article and you’ll have a chance to win some Science in Sport Isotonic Gels!

Choosing the right fuel to suit your needs can be a gamble, and that’s why many suggest not to try anything new the day of a race. I’ve heard horror stories from friends who took Gels or Chews for the first time during a race and rather than getting the boost they needed, ended up with stomach pains and cramps so bad they had to *gasp* walk!

Where to begin?

With the many available options out there, you’re probably wondering how you can choose the right fuel. In fact, most of my experience with fueling has been achieved by trial and error until I’ve found the perfect match. But, that takes time (and money), so let me save you some hassle.

Science in Sport Isotonic Gels

I’ve had the best experiences with Gels, they are a quick and easy energy source that can be consumed on the move and can provide that boost of energy you need to help you go the distance. Energy Chews and Jelly Beans are ok when you have a moment to actually stop and eat, but when it comes to on-the-go fuel, Gels are at the top of my list.

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When I received my samples to test I noticed these claimed to not give you an upset stomach, a very common side effect from Gels when taken for the first time. So naturally, I decided to consume some of these Gels on an empty stomach right before a long run.

To my surprise, I was able to run cramp and stomach pain-free!

Now’s your chance!

I’m really enjoying these sport gels, and if you follow me on Instagram [@KenStandsonThings] I’ve teamed up with Science in Sport to give away two (2) boxes FREE! Head over to my [post] on Instagram, show me some love and tag a friend! Each winner will receive a box of Gels!

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BibRave Fans! Save 25% on your next order using the Discount Code: TRYSIS25 at checkout available on Science in Sport’s website!

Training Thoughts on Rest

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In any sport, rest is just as important as an intense day at the gym, track, water, or where ever your sport takes you. Previous to working with RunCanvas Coaching, I would lace up my shoes and run every day in an all-out effort to beat the clock. Days when I couldn’t run, whether it be circumstances within our outside of my control, I would beat myself up and would sulk around feeling guilty for not running.

Where did it get me?

Intense training, every day, with no scheduled breaks, lead me to burnout. Yes, I was running triple digits each month, but my legs complained of soreness every time I’d look at my running shoes. I would go to bed exhausted, yet could never get comfortable enough to sleep more than an hour or so without waking up and tossing and turning. My shins hurt constantly and I started to look at running differently. How could something I enjoy cause me so much grief? After running the Hershey Half Marathon in October of 2018, I decided to take a break from running, I needed a way to mentally disconnect from running which was starting to feel like “work”.

What did I learn?

In the months following the Hershey Half, I gained some weight, I still ran every-so-often, but mostly just to clear my head, my running dropped from 100+ miles a month to about 15-20 miles a month for December and January. I learned in that time, that it was okay to not get a run in, and my body healed a lot faster when I actually took the time to rest. My shin pain went away, and I found myself looking forward to getting outside. I completed the Frozen Snot in January and Squirrely Tail in February and it was those two races that reminded me why I loved running so much.

But I blurred the lines again once the weather got nicer and started on a downward slope of over-training. My pace had suffered greatly from taking time off, going from an average of 8:45 min/mile to 9:45 min/mile (even 10:00 min/mile at times) and I was back to forcing a run every day to hit those high weekly miles.

Trainer or No Trainer?

I posted earlier [linked here] on whether or not there was a benefit to hiring a personal trainer (run coach) and decided to take the chance when the opportunity arrived. I was excited to get started and was eager to see my upcoming training schedule. Day 1 was a rest day. I immediately felt that apprehension growing inside me. “Day 1, Rest Day, but I’m supposed to be training,” I told myself.

The Results

I decided right then and there, I had to change my mindset. After all, how’d not resting work out for me? So, in an effort to not sabotage myself, I made the decision that I would follow everything the plan called for, and if it said rest, then I would rest.

I can say without a doubt those rest days have helped in ways I wouldn’t have imaged. I’m no longer sore between scheduled runs, and when I see “rest” on the calendar, I make sure to give my body a chance to recover, so that way I’m better prepared for the scheduled runs ahead.

Physical benefits aside, I’ve found mentally, those rest days allow my brain to shut off the guilt associated with not running, I knowing it’s all part of the plan. That mental break and disconnect allow me to enjoy running in ways I wouldn’t have imaged. I look forward to my training schedule and approach each run with excitement – hills, speed work, tempo? Let’s do this!

Going Forward

Yesterday I ran 7 miles at a slow and steady pace, and for the first time in years, around mile 5, I experienced that highly sought after runner’s high. Everything was right in the world. My legs flowed effortlessly, my breathing was calm and rhythmic, I felt for the first time in ages: in tune with my body and my surroundings.

So, whatever sport you may be in if you find yourself upset with your performance and just not enjoying your passion, it’s time for a little rest. It’s great to have passion, but I think “blood, sweat, and tears” doesn’t need to be the components of every exercise or training session.

If you aren’t having fun and aren’t enjoying the process, stop and ask yourself why you’re in it in the first place.

Question: Trainer or No Trainer?

For years I’ve been a “self-made” runner, no official training, just lacing up my shoes and logging miles. My motto from the beginning was “just run” with the mindset that speed, endurance, and everything else would just fall into place.

I’ve seen mild success with some gains over the years, and I’ve slowly chipped away at my race times catching a PR now and again. For the most part I try to just enjoy the run, but lately I’ve noticed my relaxed approach is starting to unravel.

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