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Running in a Windy Climate

Alley - Solution to Running in Windy Climate

Running in a Windy Climate

I live in Oklahoma now which is notoriously known for it’s extreme wind.  It’s frustrating being a runner.  There’s nothing like a 40 mph wind to suck the joy right out of running.  During the summer, the days that it’s not too hot, it’s too windy to run.  It seems crazy, but I think I’ve just now discovered a solution to my running in a windy climate problem: alleys.

I discovered this while visiting my previous home town in West Texas.  There is some pretty strong winds there although they don’t blow that hard or hit you from all directions.  It’s such a flat place that the wind usually just hits you very hard from one side.  When I went for runs there, I usually just tried to run perpendicular to the direction of the wind so it wasn’t ever blowing directly in my face.

Anyway, while I was visiting I found that most of the streets had an alley that ran behind the homes on each street. These alleys had the wind blocked on two sides which made the winds not an issue. Alley - Solution to Running in Windy ClimateWhen I got back home to Oklahoma I realized that just a few blocks away was a neighborhood that had these same alleys. So I tried to run down these for my run and sure enough I was able to enjoy a 3 mile run for a couple different days when the winds were around 15-20 mph.

Benefits to Alley-Running

  • Easy on joints. Most of the alley was soft material like gravel, dirt, or grass.  This was soft on my joints.  Also, it seemed like they were smooth, maintained and kept mowed. Perfect running paths.
  • Away from traffic. These paths are safer than running on the roads.
  • Wind blocked. And of course, the wind was blocked on both sides (usually) by houses, fences, garages, etc.

Drawbacks to Alley Running

  • Dogs.  People keep their dogs in the backyard which meant a few times a dog scared the crap out of me.  Also, once or twice a dog was loose.
  • Back and forth.  Each alley was around 3/4 mile in the neighborhood I ran in. So I had to run down one then up another.  Didn’t bother me, but some might not like that.
  • Stroller unfriendly? Not sure yet since I haven’t tried it, but it may not be easy to run down these alleys with a jogging stroller.

Need Self-Control? Try this 10 Minute Trick!

But FIRST: 90 seconds of utter cuteness!!

Okay. Now on to the post…

Why is Self-Control important?

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.  Prov25:28

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control… 2 Pet 1:5

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled  1 Pet 4:7

I am terrible in the area of self-control!  But lately I’ve found something that significantly helps me.  I accidentally stumbled upon this strategy.  I have ADHD and I try everything OTHER than meds to help me.  (I don’t like how they make me feel).  Anyway, more than any nutritional supplement, one thing that helps so much is cardiovascular exercise. If I just jog for 10 minutes, it clears the fog off my mind for a good 3-4 hours.  The problem is-I’m not a morning person.  So, I’ve just endured the fogginess until mid-afternoon or evening when I get my run in.

Lately, it’s really bugged me. So, I decided to just do it.  10 minutes.  1 mile of jogging in the morning. 100 burned calories. Before work, I throw on some sweats & run on the treadmill. It’s just 10 minutes, and I hardly break a sweat. Since it’s only 10 minutes, it seems more do-able and not so foreboding a task.  A pleasant side effect–other than the relief of my distractibility–is I seem to have more self-control throughout the day in other areas.

Mind-Over-Body Principal

 I think this has something to do with the mind-over-body principal.  I am deciding with my mind to do something that my body absolutely does not want to do! In turn, my mind is more empowered throughout the day in other areas. You could apply this in lots of different ways, but I’m a runner so that’s my path.  Maybe you are more of a yoga or pushups/situps/jumping jacks kind of person.  Another way is to decide to start the day with a very healthy breakfast.  Choose the meal: lets say an egg-white omelet.  And choose with your mind to eat that every morning.  You are starting the day with your mind in control of your body.

Self-control: “restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.”

The more your mind is in this position of decision and not your body’s cravings or desires, the more your self-control (or will power) is strengthened.  Those 10 minutes have definitely been a great help to me!

Pregnant Lessons: 1st Trimester

So, I’m almost done with the first trimester and I’ve learned a lot.

* I’m so tired of being tired. But running helps a lot. I will definitely be keeping this up my whole pregnancy. I signed up to run a 7 mile leg of a marathon in April (6 months pregnant)

* You gain no weight your first 3 months. I really thought you would start looking pregnant right away, but my body hasn’t changed much at all. And usually changes are due to gas or constipation. TMI I know, but it true.

* The majority of cravings are healthy. Most of the time the unhealthy cravings are due to emotional trauma. But emotional eating as in times of non-pregnancy is still not something to be given into.

* Emotional/Hormonal breakdowns happen over spilled milk or a lack of apples in the fridge. It’s best that I just accept these for what the are. Go ahead and cry over the apple deficit and not try to find a more significant (more logical) reason. Finding filler reasons usually ends up hurting my husband as I try to pin them on him or others close to me.

* I can have all the tea I want! My green tea habit was safe. The caffeine in it is low so I didn’t have to give up my 4 or 5 cups a day. This was a relief.
(It was a relief to have sushi too-the cooked kind)

How to Run Intervals

We read everywhere new studies surfacing what we should probably already know. Interval training leads to greater weight loss versus steady state training. Also, you can achieve the same or better results with less time per session. Now I love my 45-60 minutes of cardio (running/elliptical) at 60-80 % of max heart rate. It’s comfortable, but it also yeilds results (ie weight loss, changes in body composition) much slower. I think I hold a secret contempt for intervals because of high school and college sports scarring of being forced to run them da after day, but I guess I will just have to get over it. (sad face)

Moving on, literally and physically (smiley face), it occurred to me today that others who have not had interval training driven into their skull may not know how to go about beginning this type of workout. So here is a beginners course on running intervals.

An interval is defined as a length of time. I use the length of 1 minute (or 2 if I am feeling brave). Now the length of time you choose is broken into two phases or sections. Let’s call them run and rest. First, choose the amount of time for each. Your rest phase should be at least twice as long as your run phase. Three times as long is better. I usually use 15 seconds for my run phase and 45 sec for my rest phase. The run phase pace should be just about an all out sprint. Usually I count to 12 (quietly but out loud) while glancing down at the timer on my iPod from time to time. Let’s say you started your run at 5:05 (after a 5 minute warmup. That’s important!). You would run/sprint until 5:00:15 and then rest/walk until 5:01:00. Continue this for about 20-30 minutes. At least half the time you spend on steady state cardio. And that’s really it. There are certain variables I like to play with to keep it fresh and fun.

1. Length of run/rest phases. Try 10/50 or 30/90
2. Activity of run/rest phases. Try stairs/calisthenics or hills/downhills.
3. Location: high school tracks (open to public usually at night or in summer), stadiums (for stair running), parks, gardens, trails. Look for places around your city that have good hills or stairs. There are all sorts of hidden treasures like this in different towns.
4. Break it up. If you have time or have only a little time at the beginning and end of each day, break up your sessions into two 20 minute sessions. Studies have shown that this has just as much fat burning and cardiovascular benefits. Use the time in between to read or stretch (or both).

Despite all the emotional scarring, I’ve found a fresh appreciation for interval training. The short term goals keep me fully engaged moreso than a slow 5 mile run. It challenges me I. A very different way than endurance training. I’ve actually decided to commit to 3 days a week for 30-40 minutes of interval training keeping my one or two endurance cardio days as sort of a reward. Try integrating just a couple of these workouts into your routine each week, I promise you will see greater results!

My Favorite Running Shoes


With every pair of running shoes, I develop a relationship with those shoes. The pair of running shoes and I form a bond through many days of long and short runs. They are your trusty companions after a hard day. You tie up your friends and take off down the road. They carry you as you meander down new trails, as you daydream, as you toil, struggle up hills, sail down hills.

Some pairs you remember fondly. Maybe they helped you win that road race. Or maybe they lasted a season longer than any others. Maybe they contributed to long, comfortable runs with no shin splints.

Well, I have a pair of running shoes that I have bought every season of running for the last 3 years. I wanted to share these shoes with you so that you can enjoy these shoes as much as I have. I love, LoVe, LOVE these shoes. I’ve even bought two pair at once. Seriously. :>