Monthly Archives: June 2014

Use Running As a Reason to Explore Your Local Area

So, you recently completed your first marathon in a sparkling running skirt and at a time that just happens to be your personal best. What else is there to accomplish? As far as you’re concerned, you have now reached the pinnacle without actually becoming a professional racer. But hold on there just one minute. There is a lot more to running than just the competition.

Some of us run because we enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Others run because they need a bit of stress relief after sitting in a cubicle all day. Still others run because they never want to return to the same weight they were a couple of years back. However, we would like to suggest another reason to continue running long after you have completed that marathon: keep running as a way to explore your local area.

Our busy American lifestyle often has us in a terrible rut that involves going to the same places, at the same times, every single week. In fact, some of us have worn grooves in the payment by continually traveling the exact same routes day after day. We have no idea what lies on the other side of town, let alone the other side of the county. However, we can use our daily run to change that.

Rural Adventures

You do not have to live in the middle of the country to enjoy a rural adventure. Lots of cities and towns have green spaces set aside where you could run amid plentiful trees, green grass, and all of the wildlife you could hope for. Upstate New York is a great example.

Along hundreds of miles between Buffalo and Albany is the Erie Canal system once used as a main artery for commerce in the Northeast. The great thing about the canal system is that the original towpath is still intact along the vast majority of the canal. It makes a great place to run.

Whether you are in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Oswego, or Albany, you are just a 5- or 10-minute car ride from the canal. You will enjoy mile after mile off peaceful quietness combined with quaint, canal-side communities and plenty of long stretches of good, old-fashioned nature.

There is bound to be great places like the Erie Canal system wherever you live. It is just a matter of opening your eyes and looking around.

Urban Adventures

If you are the type of runner that prefers an urban environment, there is no shortage of adventures waiting for you either. You just need to get out of your local neighborhood and travel to the other side of town. You might be surprised what awaits you in those neighborhoods you have only driven by in the past. For example, let us look at the greater Orlando, Florida area.

Central Florida is a unique place unlike most others in the country. One of the things that surprise many new residents is the number of lakes and ponds in the region. You might drive down a major thoroughfare like I-4 or Route 27 without ever realizing you are passing dozens of water features hidden behind the trees. Orlando residents can discover those water features by running through individual neighborhoods. So, what is in your city?

Whether you prefer to exercise in a sparkling running skirts or play it straight, use your daily run as an opportunity to explore your local area. You will find there are plenty of new places for you to experience above and beyond your own neighborhood. The best thing about it is that there will always be new opportunities no matter how long you keep running.

Setting Goals Provides Motivation for Running

In every group of runners, there are those whose passion for the sport is so strong they need absolutely no motivation to get out there and pound the pavement. However, folks like these are the exception rather than the rule. Most of us have days when we just do not feel like lacing up the sneakers. Days when not even a sparkling running skirt would do the trick.

Experts say that one of motivational things we can do is set goals for running. Setting goals gives purpose to getting out there and running every day – above and beyond the knowledge that exercise is good for us. Setting goals is also way to push ourselves to regularly improve.

There are three things to consider for goals to be productive as motivational tools:

  • Short-Term Goals – Short-term goals are necessary in order to give us some benchmarks we can reach fairly quickly and without an unreasonable amount of effort. Reaching a short-term goal motivates us to shoot for the next one.
  • Long-Term Goals – We should also set some long-term goals that are harder to achieve. Why? Because the long-term goal keeps the mind focus on something distant – something that requires diligence to achieve. As an example, you might determine to eventually complete a local 10k in your brand-new sparkle running skirt.
  • Reasonable Goals – Obviously, both long and short-term goals should be reasonable. What constitutes a reasonable goal might be difficult for new runners to figure out. If that’s you, don’t be afraid to talk to experienced runners who have already been there.

It helps to write your goals down in a journal or notebook. This way, you can constantly refer back to it to determine your progress. You will also gain a certain amount of satisfaction every time you cross one of the goals off your list.

Goals Based on Distance

The casual runner with no plans to race competitively might set a variety of distance goals. This is a great way to start if you are brand-new to the sport. For example, you could set three short-term goals at one, two, and three miles. It might take you a month or so to begin checking those goals off your list, but you should be able to accomplish all three within a few months’ time. A long-term goal would be a local 10k race planned for some time next year.

There are some runners who prefer to set distance goals by way of visual perception rather than calculated miles. In other words, your first short-term goal might be to cover your entire neighborhood without stopping to rest. From there you might branch out to other neighborhoods as well.

Goals Based on Time

The competitive runner is more likely to set his or her goals based on time. After all, races are measured this way. As a new runner, do not expect to run a four-minute mile 10 days from now. A good way to establish your goals is to choose a specific distance you want to run, measure your time the first time out, and then work to improve that time as you progress.

The one caution we would offer regarding time-based goals is that you do not beat yourself up comparing your time to world-class athletes. You are not likely to ever be that fast, and that’s okay.

If you are an adventurous runner who likes to be silly, we have a goal suggestion: make yourself a bold running costume that includes a sparkle running skirt. Then determine you will not wear it until you reach one of your other goals.

Three Important Things to Know about Running with Your Dog

Studies have shown that runners do better when they have a partner to run with. A partner is a motivator; a companion – someone who can help pass the time so boredom does not set in. For some people, the perfect running companion is the family dog. We have seen more than one dog sporting a matching sparkle skirt while accompanying “mommy” on a run.

Running with your dog can be very fulfilling experience that strengthens the bond between you and allows both of you to get much-needed exercise. However, man’s best friend does not respond the same way to long-distance running as you do. There are some things you need to know in order to keep your dog safe and healthy while running.

Woman running cross trail in countryside path

Endurance Takes Time

You already know that dogs are fast. It only takes a single squirrel to motivate your dog to take off like greased lightning. And while dogs are built for speed, they are not built for endurance. Dogs fatigue very quickly, especially in warmer weather. Therefore, it will take time for you to build up Fido’s endurance.

The simple rule is to not take your dog for a run of several miles the first time out. Better yet, slowly get him up to speed by running around the block for a few weeks before graduating him to greater distances. If you are already running 5 miles a day on your own, it may take a couple of months of training before your dog is ready to go the entire distance.

Consider the Running Surface

Most of us do not even stop to consider the feet of our dogs because we know they have built-in pads underneath. However, those pads cannot withstand everything. In fact, these are actually more sensitive than most people understand. Therefore, it is important to consider the running surface before taking your dog on a long-distance jog.

Hot asphalt or concrete during the summertime is never a good idea. Such surfaces can reach temperatures in excess of 130° on a sunny day when the air temperature is a mere 80°. A good rule of thumb is to not run your dog on any surface you would not be willing to traverse barefoot.

During the winter months, you need to be careful about salt and road grit. If these substances become stuck between the pads of your dog’s feet, it can cause ulcers, infections and other pretty serious problems.

Don’t Forget the Water

Lastly, do not forget to bring some water for your dog. Because dogs are built for speed rather than endurance, they also dehydrate rather quickly. It is up to you to make sure your dog gets enough water during your run. That may mean stopping after a few miles and jogging in place while your dog re-hydrates.

It helps if you can teach Fido to take water out of a sports bottle by squirting it into his mouth. If not, you might have to carry a dish with you. An easy way to do this is to attach a belt clip to the dish or find a small water receptacle you can stick in your fanny pack.

Running with your dog is a great way to exercise and enjoy the companionship of man’s best friend. However, do yourself, and your dog, favor by making sure he is well cared for whenever you go out together. Make sure your dog is up to the task, he has a safe surface to run on, and you have plenty of water. Then you can worry about that sparkle running skirt you have wanted to buy.

Yes, Running Can Be a Family Affair

What are some of the things you love most about the sport of running? For our money, it is hard to top the experience of watching families run together. To see a mother cross that finish line for the first time with her young daughter, while their matching running skirts sparkle in the sunshine, is to see one generation passing down a love of running to another. It is the same when we see fathers running with their sons or entire families running together.

One of the reasons we offer the fun gear you will find on our website is that we know it helps promote running as a family affair. We know we can provide mothers and daughters with a way to have as much fun as possible, even in the midst of what can be a difficult exercise. Moreover, we want to do our part to promote family running.

As you know, running is great exercise for both the body and mind. Nevertheless, it is also an exercise that can build relationships between parents and their children. Running together fosters those long-lasting bonds that are hard to separate as the years go by. It is something you and your children could have in common for decades to come.

Runners Build Relationships

Seasoned runners know that we, as a group, are a unique breed of people who thoroughly enjoy a form of exercise most people find uncomfortable. As such, there is a strong camaraderie between runners; a kind of secret loyalty similar to what you might find among bikers or firefighters. So why not foster that same kind of relationship with your own children? Why not use running to help build relationships that will last for a lifetime?

Far too many parents have nothing in common with their kids. Indeed, we live in a generation saturated with video games and social media. Most kids would rather spend three hours in front of a small electronic screen rather than be outdoors enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. And as they grow older, they grow more distant from parents because they share no common experiences. That is truly sad.

Things do not have to be that way with your own kids. The key is to start building those relationships by engaging in shared experiences as soon as you can. Where running is concerned, your two-year-old may not be able to run a 10K by your side, but he or she can run up and down the driveway a couple of times before you head out for your own run.

The thing about kids is that they just want to spend time with mom and dad while they are young. So take them on short runs as soon as they are old and strong enough to do so. If they eventually grow up to not enjoy the sport, you will still at least have those shared memories of runs gone by. At that point, you can find something else you can share.

Running with Your Girls

Being that we specialize in running gear for girls, we believe that the products we offer are great tools for promoting running among your daughters. What little girl wouldn’t like to see lots of running skirts sparkle as she, her friends, and all of the mothers run together in their first race?

A running skirt will make your daughter feel special. It will make her feel like a princess with sneakers. And it might just be the thing that motivates her to keep running by your side into her teen years and eventual adulthood. Think about it. Yes, running can be a family affair.

Practical Ways to Improve Your Running

We are all looking for ways to improve our running performance, right? We all want to be better next year than we are today, even if we are not running competitively. So how we do that? Because, let’s face it, a sparkle running skirt and the right attitude certainly make running more enjoyable, but they will not help us improve technique or performance.

Runner’s World blogger Dean Karnazes published a great piece this past February offering a couple of practical lifestyle changes that the average runner could use to improve. We will not reiterate the entire post here, but we do want to touch on a couple of his ideas. The three we have chosen are practical things you can do without altering your daily routine all that much. We think they are great ideas.

Take Advantage of ‘Standing’ Time

Our increasingly sedentary culture is leading physical fitness experts to recommend each of us spend at least some time every day on our feet. In fact, you can now buy adjustable desks that allow office workers to sit and stand as they choose. By alternating between the two, experts say you do the most good for your heart, respiratory system, circulation and the musculoskeletal system.

Nevertheless, we would like to take it one step further. We suggest you move around as much as possible.

During your standing time, do not just stand still. Move around as best you can in whatever space you have. Standing still carries with it a tendency to shift your weight to one leg or the other, meaning you are not enjoying the maximum benefits of being on your feet. By walking around you will be getting some additional exercise that keeps your leg muscles loose and your blood flowing. If you cannot move around extensively, you can still exercise your calves and ankles by standing on your toes.

Take Advantage of Running Opportunities

Every opportunity to run is a good opportunity. It is especially helpful if you are able to take short runs throughout the day. For example, put on your running shoes and trot down to the deli for lunch. Even if it is just a short burst for a couple of minutes, it will help keep you loose and strengthen those leg muscles.

If you work in a large office complex or factory, make a point of casually running down the hall when you have to get to the other side of the building. Jog out to the car at quitting time; jog back in from the parking lot in the morning. The lesson to learn here is that every little bit of running you can take advantage of will have some benefit to your overall program.

Consider Spicy Foods for Pain

After an especially rigorous run, you may find yourself heading for the medicine cabinet and its vast store of analgesics. It’s understandable, but maybe you can do better. According to Karnazes, some spicy foods contain certain ingredients that provide natural anti-inflammatory benefits without the need for drugs. He recommends foods containing turmeric, ginger, and capsicum.

One of the hidden benefits of natural anti-inflammatories is that these promote the healing process in addition to relieving inflammation. You will feel better a lot quicker with a natural analgesic.

Just a few changes here and there can drastically improve your running performance. Most of the changes are simple things you and I can do with very little effort. Moreover, with every bit of performance improvement, you will feel better about your running. So much so that a sparkle running costume for the next big race might not be out of the question!