A 5'3 Perspective

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When To Retire Your Running Shoes [Plus a HIIT Workout That Will Kick Your Butt]

Knowing when to replace my running shoes is always a mystery to me. Should I base my decision on kilometers logged? Holes in the toes? Worn tread? After some research, here are my suggestions.

The holes in the toes are making me believe these shoes are on their way out!

The holes in the toes are making me believe these shoes are on their way out!

A general rule of thumb is to change your shoes approximately every 500 km (which is just over 300 miles). Now this distance depends on a few variables. The first is the weight of the runner – the heavier you are, the quicker you will wear out your sneakers. Next consider the efficiency of your stride. If you land hard on your heels with each step, for example, you’re going to wear through shoes more quickly than someone with a lighter technique. Finally, consider the cushioning of the shoes. A minimalist shoe that begins with less padding will wear out quicker than a more supportive shoe.

If you’re not sold on miles logged as an indicator of when you’ll need to replace your runners, there are some other variables to consider. The surface and terrain have a huge impact on the longevity of your shoes. A treadmill trainer will be able to rack up more miles than a concrete runner due to the cushioning of the terrain. Another red flag is worm tread on the soles. If it’s basically flat along bottom of the shoe and the tread is worn out— it’s time.  Some runners may notice an uneven wearing pattern on the soles of their shoes, this doesn’t mean that you should wait for the entire tread to be worn out, it just means that you are a heavier runner on one side.

Personally, I use my body to tell me when I’ve worn through a pair of shoes. If you’re used to pain-frees training – and all of a sudden you experience knee, back, foot, or shin pain – consider that a sign.

To increase the lifespan of your sneakers, try rotating between two pairs. By giving running shoes a day or two off the cushion will relax and keep it’s structure longer, but more importantly, you are changing up the way your foot is stressed based on the design of the shoe. Interchanging between a minimalist shoe and a structured shoe will not only increase the longevity of both pairs, but also help train your feet and improve your stride efficiency.

Now that you’ve got an idea of when to retire your running shoes, here’s a High Intensity Interval Training workout that will put them to good use.  HIIT Treadmill WorkoutFor your sprints you will want to go as fast as you possibly can on the treadmill. After 30 seconds, jump off the treadmill (to the side) or straddle it while the belt continues to move at your sprinting pace. This ensures that you don’t waste any time resetting the pace between each sprint. You may get some funny looks if you do this workout at the gym, but I promise you it is worth it.

Have a wonderful day!

xo Lauren


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So You Finished Your Race, Now What?

I’ll be the first to admit that after a big race, I always feel lost with my training. Getting back into the swing of things without having a goal to work towards is a different feeling, no more scheduled distances or paces, heck – no more running if I don’t feel like it. post race bluesFirst thing’s first, take some rest. Whether it is a day or a week, let your body relax and celebrate your accomplishments. Next you’ll want to make a new plan, try to incorporate workouts you longed to do during your training but didn’t have the time. For me, this includes more high intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting. Here is what my new workout schedule looks like:

MONDAY: Rest Day
TUESDAY: Body Shred (HIIT Training)
WEDNESDAY: Run and Legs
THURSDAY: Spin and Back/Chest
FRIDAY: Run and Triceps/Biceps/Shoulders
SATURDAY: Body Shred (HIIT Training)
SUNDAY: Long Run

I am keeping Sunday as a long run day since I plan to sign up for a few 10k fun runs throughout the year. I always really enjoy embarking on weekend long runs because they give me time to decompress and reflect on my week.

Remember, finding a new training plan that works for you isn’t always going to be easy. It is okay to test out a couple different options until you find something that you love. Don’t give up, exercising without a race goal can still be a lot of run and extremely rewarding. My advice is to turn your motivation inwards and focus on achieving your healthiest body on your own terms. What works for others, may not be right for you – trust yourself and you’ll succeed!

xo Lauren


My Second Half Marathon Experience

After sleepless nights, training doubts, and racing remorse, I am thrilled to have completed my second half marathon this Sunday – and even more excited to have finished in under two hours! If you read my running remorse post last week, you’ll likely be surprised to hear that I have been bit by the racing bug again. While I am not signing up for another half marathon in the near future, I am looking into a couple 10 km races in the winter (just checking out my options – I want to come down from my running high before I make any commitments).

All hesitations aside, I knew I had given my best effort effort training for this race. Preparing for a Spring half is much different than a Fall one – I have learned that I prefer running in cool temperatures (and even snowstorms) as opposed to warm scorching weather. Most distance runners will use Sundays as long run days; take a moment to think about what that means. Fun Saturdays are always cut a little short to make sure you feel ready to get a 16, 17, 18 k (or even longer) run in before peak heat hours. Depending on your pace, these distances can take over two hours to complete meaning you’ll need to be out pounding the pavement before 9:00 AM. Another sacrifice you’ll have to make is running on vacation. If you let your training slip, it is very hard to pick up where you left off – summer is a very popular time to take weekend trips, be prepared to pack your running gear and map out a couple routes to run while everyone else is sleeping in. This being said, running on vacation is one of my favourite ways to explore a new city, it makes me feel like a local and I almost always come across neat areas I would have never found otherwise.

Winter is easier. Long runs aren’t scheduled around the sun, Saturday partying is less frequent since patios are closed, and buy new cold weather running gear is a lot of fun. Sure the footing is slippery and you might run into a snow storm (literally), but as long as you are careful and alert, these added elements of difficulty make the time fly by. Maybe this is personal preference though!

father daughter finish line

Strides away from the finish line!

half marathonI had planned to do a race recap, but as the kilometers ticked by, they all merged together. I can tell you that the Canada Army Run is much less flat than the Ottawa Race Weekend route. If you are looking for a PB, consider that. Although I did not beat my first half marathon time, I felt much stronger and in control throughout the entire race – extra hills and all. I am confident that if the courses were the same I would have snagged a PB this time around. Either way, I was elated crossing the finish line knowing I had secured another sub two hour time!

Neil and Alicia along the course cheering us on, with Lanna and Susan close beside them!

Neil and Alicia along the course cheering us on, with Lanna and Susan close beside them!

I cannot even begin to express how thankful and honoured I am to have such great friends and family that pushed me every step of the way. From my dad you ran by my side, to my amazing boyfriend and friends who cheered me on along the course and at the finish line, I know I couldn’t have made it through the race without you guys. Knowing that I have such kind and thoughtful people in my life makes me feel so lucky. It truly meant the world to see your smiling faces cheering me on.

Celebrating another sub two hour finish with my dad!

Celebrating another sub two hour finish with my dad!

Will I run another half marathon? The answer is most likely yes. Crossing the finish line on Sunday reminded me of why I make the sacrifices I do to be a runner, it also confirmed that I truly do love running.

Despite a little muscle soreness, I am eager to lace up my sneakers this week and do what I love.

Congratulations to everyone who ran this weekend, you did it!

xo Lauren

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It’s The Weekend!

After a terrible and fatal tragedy this week, I think it is safe to say that this week was a particularly tough one for the residents of Ottawa. Horrific events like the one that occurred on Wednesday remind us how important it is to cherish every moment, from the smallest things to the biggest accomplishments – I plan to take this as a reminder to love unconditionally and be kind. Life is precious and you only get one chance to live it, so smile and make the most of every day. Here is just a tiny snapshot of some things I am appreciating this week:High Five For Friday1.  It is rare that Neil will participate in a race without me, but over the past week he did – and on top of that, he finished with one of the best times of the entire group! I am a very proud girlfriend.
2. This weekend my partying brought me back to the good ol’ university days – who brings a flask with them anymore? Wait – I do.
3. I used to be one of those people who wakes up at the very last moment and runs out the door. Over the past four years, Neil has taught me the importance of relaxing in the morning. Now I can’t imagine going back to whirlwind mornings – spending those 45 minutes drinking coffee and hanging out is one of my favourite parts of the day.
4. Pumpkin = Fall. Sure, but what about apple season! In my mind, apple picking trumps the pumpkin patch – unless I am carving them for Halloween. Speaking of apples, I have an amazing quinoa/oat/apple/cinnamon muffin recipe to share with you soon, if you’re interested.
5. Sunday is my second half marathon. I am so honoured to be running along side with the men and women who risk their lives for our beautiful country. The Canada Army Run is the fastest growing run in the nation over the past five years and I can’t wait to be a part of it! If you’re in Ottawa – take a look at the route and come out and cheer on the runners.

Thank to Lauren for hosting High Five For Friday.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

xo Lauren


Running Remorse

As most of you know, this weekend I will be racing in my second half marathon (ever) of the year. I still remember the feeling of relief that came across me when I finally made it to the finish line of the Ottawa Race Weekend half – yes I said relief, not accomplishment. At that moment I had absolutely no intentions of signing up for the Army Run, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like i should sign up for a second half. I had already built up my endurance and maintaining it would be much easier (not true). After wavering on whether or not to race again, I finally decided to do it – having something to train for would force me to be accountable with my running throughout the summer.

I don’t want to sound like a negative Nancy, there are more than a handful of reasons why racing and training is great – which I’ve shared with you here, here, and here – but I am starting to realize that running for yourself and for pleasure is much more enjoyable. Running your first race (of a particular distance) is exciting, the main goal is to finish strong. I am noticing that a second race is different – I always have that nagging voice in my head telling me that I have to beat my last time. As competitive as I am, the pressure to PR is driving me insane – it has been detrimental to my training and my well being. I cannot think of a single run since the race where I have finished feeling satisfied. I am always disappointed with my time, my pace, my walk breaks, the list goes on – there is always something I could have done better.

Now that I have had some time to reflect on my training, I know I am being too hard on myself. I stuck to my schedule and ran each run to the best of my ability, despite negative thoughts. I really do love to run – and I love being a part of the running community, but after this Sunday I need to change my training up to remind myself why I started in the first place. No more forced 16km (or longer) Sunday runs. If I want to do a long run I will, if I am not feeling it – that is okay too. This isn’t an excuse to stop exercising, it is merely a reminder that I need to be a little more conscious of how my body feels. I still plan to run three days a week, two short and one long, but on a much less rigorous schedule – running is supposed to be fun, and I have every intention to return to a place where I look forward to doing it.

As for this race, of course I hope to PR, but I have to remember that completing a half marathon (no matter the time) is an accomplishment. My plan is to be positive – no more self doubt. I know I can run the distance as I have done it many times before.

I am done running with my head – this Sunday is all about running with my heart.

xo Lauren


Fabulous Finds Friday: The Half Marathon Edition

Up until this year, I have never put so much thought into workout gear. I used to choose my sneaker based on colour and my clothing based on looks, but when you’re hitting the pavement at least three times a week and racking up the miles (I’ve already ran 176km since the beginning of the year), fit and function start to take precedent. Today I want to share with you some of my favourite fitness products that help make my runs easier.

Fabulous Finds Friday Fitness1. Double Layer Running Room socks – If you are an avid runner, walker, or stepper, you NEED these. Say goodbye to blisters because the double layer technology works great to prevent blisters and absorb sweat. The two layer rub against each other instead of your foot so you don’t feel any pain. I cannot get enough of these – once you switch you’ll never go back.

2. Lululemon Run: Bundle Up Jacket – When you are training through the Winter, finding clothing that keeps you warm but breathable is a challenge. This jacket has a detachable hood and front so you can wear it on really cold days and slightly warmer ones. Even after long runs I can guarantee that this coat won’t ride up. Although it isn’t exactly waterproof, I have had no issues running in serious snow storms while wearing it – though I wouldn’t recommend using it for rainy runs. My only issue with this jacket is that the sleeves are seriously long but it is really easy to roll them up. Oh and it is on sale for $129.

3. Polar RS300X Heart Rate Monitor – I don’t think you can really appreciate how incredible this little device is until you use it. After a few hints to Neil, I received the Polar RS300X for Christmas. I love knowing how hard I am working and how quickly my body can recover – it helps me put my workouts into perspective. Also the stop watch feature is great for timing my runs and knowing the calorie burn of your workouts is a fun perk. I know that I am not even scratching the surface on the featured that this heart rate monitor has but even still I love it and I hate working out without it.

4. Mizuno Wave Elixir 8 – As you may of may not know, I have been on a quest to find the perfect running shoe to get me through my half marathon training. Ever since I was young I have had terrible shin splints that act up any time I run. I probably got them from years of competitive figure skating and dance but they never really healed. When I got serious about running I started to notice the pain creeping back, and with a vengeance. I decided that I was going to bite the bullet and shell out some serious cash to get the perfect pair of shoes to support my body on my long runs. After trying a pair of Saucony’s, which gave me horrible blood blisters, and a pair of Ascis, which made my spins and calves feel even worse, I was happy to stumble upon a new shipment on Mizuno’s which contained the Wave Elixir 8s. These sneakers remind me of my Nike Free’s but with a little extra support, which is necessary for my pronating, low arched feet. So far I have used them on the treadmill twice (just in case I had to bring them back) and they feel great. I am so excited to take these outside when the paths dry up a bit!

What are your favourite fitness finds this year?

Happy Friday!!

xo Lauren


Half Marathon Training Plan

Last week I signed up for my first half marathon (which is now completely sold out). I am so excited to be running 21.1km with my dad – the fastest runner I know – who decided to sign up with me and cheer me along! That will definitely be a big help, however, he is away basking in the sun and playing golf for the next three months, which leaves me to train alone in the winter. YIKES. I am not a very social runner so I have decided against joining a running group and instead to prepare for this race on my own. Here is what my training schedule looks like so far.

Each week I am running two short quick runs (between 6-8km) , one long run (greater than 9km – increasing by no more than 10 percent a week), two spin classes and one core training class.

Running has never been my strong suit, but having a goal to work toward makes it more rewarding.

I also received a Polar RS300X heart rate monitor for Christmas from the best boyfriend ever!!! I had never used a heart rate monitor before but it really helps me to push myself. I never knew I could get my heart beating so fast – during my runs I average around 178 beats/minute. Is that even safe?!

Post Run

Post 9km sloppy winter run!

I am finally learning to enjoy running – even in the winter [I’m sure buying new running jackets and pants doesn’t hurt] and I am really looking forward to crossing the finish line in May! Sometimes you need to take a risk before you can appreciate the reward!

xo Lauren

PS – I just bought an awesome living social deal. If you’re into Starbucks check it out – $10 gift card for the price of $5. You can get yours here. There is no catch, I already used part of mine!