The season for running in the dark has arrived. Along with holiday candy comas and face-stuffing festivities, we endure the challenge of keeping up with fitness while battling shorter days and low-light conditions. Don’t fear the darkness! Get out there! But first…
Check out these 10 tips to help you stay safe and seen while running in the dark:
BE BRIGHT – We can all thank the running industry for continuing to offer head-to-toe options flashing back to the neon colors of the 80s. Thank goodness! Wearing the most illuminating colors on the run is the brightest move you can make. The science behind how our eyes react to color is fascinating. Bright yellow is best for dusk while neon green is a more visible color as eyes adjust to the darkness. Of course once it’s pitch black, those neon colors are ineffective and the retroreflective pieces take over. A car’s headlights pick up the mirror-like surfaces of the reflective material, making you shine like the star you are! (Want to geek out about the science of colors and how fluorescents work? Read this.)
Oh, and I just ordered one of these bad ass lighting/reflective vests to try — the Tracer360 from NOXGEAR. A fellow November Project member was wearing one at a workout, and the functionality looked awesome. I’ll report back.
GET LIT – Now that cars and cyclists can see you, let’s make sure you can see the road. Headlamps are
Next 30-Day Challenge
STARTS NOVEMBER 1st!
Can you believe it’s been a week since we finished the last 30-day challenge? Why not start another one? Wait, ANOTHER 30-day challenge? OH HECK YEAH!
You know that highly addictive feeling you get when you start to see and feel results? I don’t know about you, but I started seeing them in the first 30-day challenge, and I’m pumped to see more! Now look, I’m not necessarily getting phone calls to be on the cover of Fitness Magazine, but crushing 100 push-ups will give you a little (teeny-weeny) bit of arm definition. My arms pulsed in pain just thinking about doing 40 push-ups 30 days ago, but not anymore. BRING IT! Let’s not let all that hard work go to waste!
The last 30-day challenge was a combo of push-ups and core strength. Those 30-day challenges are here if you need to reference them or care so deeply about fitness that you want to share them with the world.
This next 30-day challenge is going to take what we started and build upon it. Each day will have a 50 push-ups and 100 crunches, but this time there’s an added variety to the planks. We’re looking to diversify the muscles we are working in and around our core. There will be a combo of STANDARD PLANKS, RIGHT SIDE-PLANKS, LEFT SIDE-PLANKS, UP/DOWN PLANKS, AND REVERSE PLANKS. There are videos below if you want a visual on some of these different types of planks.
You might be looking at this challenge thinking, “how the hell am I going to do 50 push-ups and 100 crunches and then all these planks?!” One tip of advice is to not look at each day’s task as one big number, but instead break down the sit-ups and push-ups into smaller groups between planks. For Example – Day 1: 10 push-ups, 20 crunches, 5 sec plank, 10 push-ups, 20 crunches, 5 sec left-side plank, 10 push-ups … get it? If the 50 push-ups and 100 crunches seems like it’s a little too advanced overall, drop them down to 30 push-ups and 50 crunches per day, or even less if you need to. Your call. Find a challenge for yourself, set a 30-day goal, and stick to it!
If you are unfamiliar with any of the plank styles, check out the below videos:
Making a batch of homemade coconut milk is EASY. SO, SO EASY! I’ve seen some recipes that begin with cracking open a coconut. That’s where I stop. Who has that kind of time? Smashing a coconut open with a hammer is way more work than I’m willing to commit to. Picture a hammer, a coconut, and me — that story doesn’t end well. This SIMPLIFIED recipe starts with opening a bag of shredded coconut. No heavy tools. Watch this video to see how easy it really is!
Making coconut milk takes only two ingredients — water and coconut. Start with 4 cups of almost boiling water and 2 cups of shredded, unsweetened coconut. I use Bob’s Red Mill Unsweetened Medium Shredded Coconut. Combine both ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend on high for 20-30 seconds. The Vitamix 5200 blender is my blender of choice (such a game changer!), but use whatever blender you have. After the blend, you are looking for a creamy, milky beverage.
Running the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco has always been a dream of mine.
A couple weeks prior to the race, I was filled with excitement when Mecque, my buddy from Fleet Feet San Francisco, welcomed me to pace with her in the half. Um, YES!!! My original plan was to run alone, but having a run partner is always an added bonus. Plus, she’s full of vibrant running energy, AND she knows the San Francisco running scene like the back of her hand.
The best part about running with Mecque? Besides showing up with a Rockstar energy drink in her hand and a smile on her face, she’s also rocking a Flip Belt with a MINI Jambox. It’s like running with a personal DJ. When the road is normally filled with the sounds of heavy breathing and running shoes hitting the pavement, crushing a few miles to the beat of Pit Bull can be pretty motivating. I’m pretty sure we had groupies at one point in the race. I’m not the kind of runner who traditionally wears a running belt, but I’m now thoroughly convinced I need both of these contraptions.
My alarm was set for 4:50 AM. Enough time to eat, dress, stretch, and perform all the appropriate morning bathroom duties (ahem), before meeting her at 6:00 AM. The hotel I stayed at was only 2 blocks from the starting line making it was easy to drop our bags and head to the corral. With 25,000 runners jammed into the city streets, there was an expectation of morning chaos, but everything flowed like water. Sunday also happened to be Mecque’s birthday. She was targeting a 1:55 finish for a PR. Even though I wasn’t 110% confident my body was going to hold up on the hills, I promised Mecque we would do our best to pace to her goal. Originally, my plan was to just cruise through this race, but I there was a bigger purpose.
The race began on time: 6:30 AM. Races always begin with the cluster of slowness that you have to weave through, but we spread out nicely within a mile of the start. The first hill to speak of was at mile 2 and we gave a little push to get to the top. The sun was coming up and greeted us with a clear morning. No fog, but it was around 63° and there was humidity in the air. I was already sweating and took note that I should be drinking little sips early and often to stay hydrated.
A little past the 5K mark we headed into Golden Gate Park. (Our 5K split: 27:42, 8:54 per mile) We needed to make up a little time, but I wasn’t worried. I’d never been in the park so I was taking it all in. As we continued running west, the course brought us closer to the beach where a light headwind started to pick up. My hair was already drenched in sweat so it was like having my own personal air conditioner. We continued weaving through the park. Every once in a while a breeze would drag the scent of eucalyptus across our noses — ahhh, natural running zen!