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Trail Running Tips For Newbies

Trail running As I’ve started this new running journey I have taken to the trails around Fort Collins.  I like the peacefulness of the trails and enjoy the added challenge of running on rocky uneven ground while going up an incline.  It’s hard, I kind of suck at it right now, and it’s glorious.  Trail running also makes me feel like a badass.

But I’ve learned a few things along the way.  Things that others don’t seem to talk about when they post tips for trail running or write up their experience with trail running.

Obviously I’m not a pro, I’m just a beginner trail runner but these are the things that I’ve learned during my experience so far.

Get trail running shoes

This seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how many people don’t and then end up with a twisted ankle. My shoes pictured above are not trail runners so don’t get those.  You need shoes with more stability and more cushion between your feet and the trail.  In those shoes pictured I can feel every rock and it’s not fun.  Plus they aren’t as stable as a trail runner would be.

Trails are uneven and rocky, some of the rocks might move on you as you run.  You’ll need stable shoes to handle the terrain and give you support.  Plus trail runners will have much better traction.  I’m currently in the market for some good trail runners.  Once I get some, I’ll share that experience as well.

Don’t tie your shoes too tight

You don’t want your shoes so loose that your feet are sliding around, that isn’t going to do you any good.  But tying them too tight means your foot won’t have the flexiblity to move around.  Remember you will be running over rocks and sometimes going up an incline.  Your feet need to be able to have full range of motion to be able to handle the terrain.  Tie your shoes too tight and you risk having your shins and calves cramp up as you run.

Also, make sure to pick up your feet!

With road running, we can get by with shuffling our feet as we run.  That kind of running on the trail will set you up for a tumble.

With trail running you really can’t shamble along because the trail is so uneven.  You have to make sure to pick up your feet so you don’t trip over a rock or something else.  The minute you stop picking up your feet, you’ll stumble.  Trust me, I’ve done it plenty of times!  Thankfully I haven’t taken a header on the trail.  That would be no fun!

Trail

Trail running is dirty business

Trails can be muddy but most often they are going to be dusty.  And trail dust gets EVERYWHERE.  It gets in your clothes, all through your shoes, and if it’s a breezy day, expect it all over you.

You’ll discover that you have specific socks just for trail running.  They will be easy to spot because they’re the ones completely stained with trail dust.  Trail dust does wash out but only so much.  It leaves skidmarks on your socks.   Once you take to the trails is when your trail sock collection begins.

You will encounter wildlife on the trails

Depending on where you live, this could be as benign as seeing deer while running, or it could be as serious as seeing rattlesnakes or bobcats on the trail.  Pay attention to your surroundings!  This is also why I am completely against listening to music or a podcast while running or hiking.  Even if you leave one earbud out, you still aren’t going to be fully aware of your surroundings and won’t hear a rattlesnake if you happen upon one. Getting people to quit music while running is harder than getting people to quit sugar.  But trust me, leave the music behind and just hit the trails and enjoy your surroundings.

Wear Sunglasses

Even if it’s not that sunny out, you will still be dealing with bugs and trail dust.  Especially if it’s breezy you want to make sure that your eyes are covered so no dust or small rocks get in your eye.  Speaking of bugs….

You will eat a bug

It happens, you’re breathing hard and then all of the sudden, UGH, down went a bug.  Don’t sweat it, take a drink of water and keep going.

Always take water with you

Unless you’re only running a short distance and by short, I mean like a mile, then you’ll need water.  It’s a trail so it’s going to be a little more challenging than just running around the block.  Trail dust (see, it is everywhere) can get in your mouth and throat.  Plus if you’re going up in elevation, you’re going to be exerting yourself more and will require more water.

Stopping to walk is OK

Some parts might be too rocky and unstable to fully run on.  Some parts might be a little too challenging at the moment to run.  Some parts the incline might be a little too steep. Stop and walk it out.  No shame in taking a small walk.  Better to walk until you have more stable footing than risk an injury or a fall.

If you’re thinking about hitting the local trails for running or if you’re just starting out, these are just a few things to keep in mind.  The main focus is your safety.  Always keep that in mind as you head out for your trail run and you’ll have a successful run!

Are you a trail runner?  Any lessons you’d like to share?

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Review: FlipBelt

FlipBeltThe folks at FlipBelt reached out to me and asked if I would sample their product for a review.  It was timely because I just happened to be looking for something I could wear while running and walking the dogs that would hold keys and my phone.

I have a phablet size phone (Samsung Note 4 and it’s awesome) and finding a holder has proved challenging.  I didn’t really want an armband but was struggling to find something that would fit my needs.

FlipBelt to the rescue!

It’s a band that you wear around your waist and it has pockets that go along the length of the band.  You can slide your phone in there, keys, or snacks, flip the belt over and everything is secure.

Right now I am “curvy” and I actually have junk in my trunk, so I was curious how the FlipBelt would do with a frame like mine.

I have been running with the FlipBelt for about 3 weeks at this point and it has preformed quite nicely.  It does ride up on me a little and ends up around my waist. If I try to keep it down around my hips it does not stay there.  It will roll and twist a little if I try and keep it down around my hips.

This is a me issue and not a FlipBelt issue.  Like I said, I actually have an ass which prevents the FlipBelt from being able to stay around my hips.

That said, I have no issue with it being on my waist.  It is not uncomfortable and I don’t even notice it when I’m running or walking the dogs.

Like I mentioned before, I have a huge phone and this accommodates that just fine.  It’s bulky but I expected that. When you have a phablet sized phone you can’t really expect it to not be bulky.

I also appreciated that there is a little key fob provided as well to keep keys secure.  I definitely utilize this feature every run.

I don’t put ID or credit cards/cash in the FlipBelt.  I have shoe pouches for those types of things.  I use the FlipBelt primarily for my keys and phone.

The material of the Flipbelt is not itchy or uncomfortable.  It’s really stretchy so definitely check out the sizing chart to make sure you get the right size for you.  I have a medium and it’s perfect.

It’s easy to put on, it’s secure, and it’s comfortable.  What more can you ask for in a gear belt?  If you’re curvy make note that you will probably be wearing it around your waist and not your hips.

If you are in the market for something to hold your phone, keys, and snacks while running or hiking, definitely check out the FlipBelt.  It will suit your needs and you won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer: The Flipbelt was sent to me to sample and review.  All opinions are my own and I was not further compensated for this post.

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Yogurt For A Healthy Belly

yogurt bowlYogurt is one of those grey areas when it comes to Primal eating.  Some are for it and some are totally against it since it’s dairy.  I’m Team Yogurt.

For those that have issues with dairy, yogurt is something that can be tolerated.  This isn’t the case for everyone, obviously, but for many yogurt can be a part of the diet.

Yogurt also provides us with healthy bacteria needed for digestion.  Yes we can get that from other fermented foods as well but I do feel that if it works for you, yogurt should be in rotation in your diet.

There’s no way to know if one can tolerate yogurt unless they eliminate it for a time (30 days is optimal) and then slowly reintroduce it.

I recommend going with Greek yogurt in the reintroduction phase.  Plain full fat (0% fat yogurt is not a good idea) Greek yogurt.  It has a little bit more protein plus you don’t have to worry about thickeners or added sugar (which can trigger digestion issues).

For myself, I have found that yogurt in my diet has been essential with getting my digestion back on track.  While I have been doing other things like limiting alcohol consumption (can lead to leaky gut) and drinking bone broth (helps heal leaky gut) to help heal my gut, I’ve also been having yogurt on the regular.

A typical yogurt bowl for me is yogurt + fresh fruit + almonds + coconut flakes (unsweetened).  I love fresh blueberries in the spring/summer months. If those aren’t available, I’ll go with some sliced banana.

If I don’t have yogurt for breakfast then I will have it in a smoothie at lunch.  The good bacteria boost it provides is helping my digestive tract heal and get healthy again.

For many yogurt can be helpful in healing the gut and getting digestion back on track.  It can provide the much needed bacteria to help balance out digestion and get things moving properly.

 

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All The Sleeps

restorative_sleep

I’m usually in bed each night by 8pm, 8:30 at the latest and asleep by 9pm or 9;30pm.  Yeah on a few rare occasions I might be up later but not often because I will not have quality sleep if I go to bed any later.  Leaving me feeling like crap the next day which is not worth it.

Is this early? Yes.  Are most people stunned when they hear this?  Absolutely.  Do I give a flip what others think? Not at all.

The biggest question I get asked is, “How do you manage to get to bed so early?”  And my answer is because sleep is a priority for me.

Not sleeping well throws my whole system out of whack.  Digestion goes off track and sleep quality decreases.  I wake up more during the night while having trouble falling back to sleep.  The next day I feel like a zombie and have trouble focusing on projects.

Early for me used to be 9pm and I would read until 10pm.  But as I get older I’m finding that 9pm is too late.  Oh I’m sure I’ll be the stereotypical retiree who is in bed by 7pm each night and I’m OK with this.

When clients tell me they have trouble getting to bed early, I’m upfront with them about it.  I don’t sugar-coat when I’m coaching.  The reason you are having trouble getting to bed early is because you are not making sleep a priority and not deeming it as something important to you and your health.

Just like with meal planning and exercising, sleep should be considered important and if need be, put it in your schedule.  Everyone is “busy”.  Everyone has stuff to do.  But in order to work at our best we need that downtime in the evenings.  Body and mind need that time to rest.

So I’ll brush off the comments when someone makes fun of my early to bed routine because I know that I’m doing what’s best for me.  And in the end, that is all that matters.

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Giving Up Coffee

Delicious Obsessions Herbal Coffee

Scott and I have given up coffee.  Yup.  And it wasn’t an easy decision to come to either.  We talked about it at great length before we decided to make the plunge.

Since I’m in the process of working towards healing my digestive tract and dealing with very mild (super mild) adrenal fatigue, I decided I needed to cut coffee out.  It can be a gut irritant and can also be taxing on the adrenals.  In order for me to fully heal my gut, coffee needed to go.

I was never one who needed the caffeine. I just liked the whole process of morning coffee.  It smelled good and I really enjoyed having a warm mug of something to start the day.

Recently Scott and I went a day without coffee and both of us ended up getting horrible headaches later that day.

UGH

I don’t want to be dependent on coffee! Since this never happened to me before, I realized that I’m not OK with my body being dependent on caffeine.  That is when we decided to cut out coffee for the time being.

I cut it off cold turkey and just dealt with the headaches until they were no longer an issue.  Scott went a little slower and eased off of coffee.  He’s now coffee free.

I alternate what I drink in the mornings, sometimes it’s a big mug of chicken stock and sometimes it’s herbal coffee. I found a really great coffee substitute made by Delicious Obsessions.  I blend it up with some almond milk and a little coconut oil for a big frothy mug.  If you’re looking for something that won’t give you the coffee jitters, this is the stuff!  So good!

Is coffee gone from my life forever? Nope.  Only for a time while I work on getting healthy again.  I’m sure it will make an appearance every now and then when a good mug of coffee sounds great or if we’re out to breakfast.

The main goal for both of us is that we do not want to be dependent on coffee to make it through the day.  Secondary for me is gut health.

Once we both feel comfortable adding coffee back in on occasion then it will be a little treat some mornings.

Do you drink coffee and would you ever give it up?