Roll It Out.

I got a question via twitter over the weekend about foam rolling and I wanted to elaborate on it today. I talk about it constantly, but I think it would be better to show you how it works.

I’ve been following the Tone it Up! girls, Karena and Katrina, for a while now and have found their videos to be so helpful and easy to follow. They posted a foam roller demo a few weeks ago that helped me so much.

In the video they’re using a regular foam roller, but I prefer the Grid because I feel like it works out the kinks in my muscles better. I use both types plus the Stick to make sure I hit every tight spot. Try this video today! It will hurt a little at first, but you’ll feel SO much better after!

For another stretching routine from K&K check out my Law of Health blog post at Posh’s Black Book today or visit Tone it Up!

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Thirsty Thursday: Winter Running

Apparently that year in New Orleans turned me into a cold weather wimp because I am freeeezing today! It’s 50 degrees and wet and this genius right here is wearing running crops. What can I say? I’ve found that dressing for a run ahead of time gives me that extra push to get it done. The plan was to use today as my first rainy run, but I think I’m chickening out. If only I had a Lululemon water-resistant jacket to run in. That’s the one thing I forgot to buy when I went shopping for Fall/Winter running clothes. Nevertheless, here’s what I do have to keep me warm…

1. Lululemon Run: Inspire Crop II

I have this crop in 2 colors: black/rocksteady/clear sky (above) and all black. I wear them both at least once a week. They’re the perfect length for winter running because they hit mid-calf and the waist comes up high enough that you don’t have to worry about your back being exposed when you run.  They’re thick and keep you warm, but they’re also moisture wicking so they’ll keep you dry. And I don’t know how Lulu does it, but they are so flattering. These crops were worth every penny.

*Note: for all Lululemon items, please please please go to a store and have a Lulu Educator help you find your size. I didn’t do that the first time and ended up with a few items that are too big.

2. Run: Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve

I have this top in 3 colors: Black (above), Muted Mauve and Turquoise (no longer available on the website). I love love love it! It has a slim fit without being tight and somehow it’s really flattering. In fact, I was wearing it the other day when my dad noticed that I’ve lost weight. (8 pounds down!!!) It’s also warm without being bulky. I’ve worn it on every long run since the temperatures dropped and I haven’t been cold once. When it gets colder, I’ll probably wear a light jacket over it, but I know I won’t need much more. I also love that I’m able to wear this top (and pretty much every other Lulu piece I own) to class without looking like Sporty Spice. That’s never a good look.

3. C9 by Champion Women’s Long Sleeve Athletic Top

I’ve noticed during my long runs that even after I warm all the way up, the back of my neck still stays cold. Every time I think about it, I can hear my Grandma scolding me for not having something on my neck and warning me about catching a cold. I bought this pullover at Target a few weeks ago and I’m really happy with it. It has a mock turtleneck but I can control how tight it is with the zipper. It’s also lightweight and great for layering. At just $24.99, this was a great, inexpensive addition to my winter running collection.

4. The North Face Women’s ETip Glove

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A few weekends ago, when I was trying to decide whether I would run the Ghost, Ghouls, and Goblins Spooktacular 5k in the sleet, I went to Eastern Mountain Sports to find anything that would make the race somewhat bearable. (They offer a great student discount for those of you who live near one!) I picked up these gloves and almost immediately put them back down once I saw that they were $40. But then I saw that I could use my iPhone when I wear them without spending 5 minutes trying to get them off. SOLD. I read a few reviews that said that they’re not warm enough, but I kept them anyway because I’m not using them to shovel snow. Their only purpose is to allow me to run without losing a hand to frostbite.

5. C9 by Champion Women’s Long Sleeve Fleece Hoodie

I wasn’t sure if I would like running in a hoodie, so I decided to start with an inexpensive one first. I found this one at Target for $27.99 (mine is black). The best part about this hoodie is that it’s fleece. It is so warm, but it’s not heavy or bulky. It’s also fitted so it looks really great on. Lately, I’ve been using it to stay warm after my runs, when I’m sweaty and need to stretch out but don’t want to catch a cold. It’s a really great value and I would highly recommend it.

Since it’s only the beginning of the cold weather season, I’m sure I’ll be adding more items to this list soon. Until then, I’d love to hear from you. What are you wearing (or coveting) this season?

Thirsty Thursday: Running Gear*

*Obviously the title Thirsty Thursday isn’t really appropriate for this post, but it’s catchy and I’m going with it.

Last week, I introduced you to some of my favorite running fuel products. This week, I’m going to introduce you to my favorite running gear. This list is definitely an ever-growing one so you can expect a sequel to this post in the future. I’ll also do a separate one for running/workout clothes.

1. iFitness belt 

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This is my 2011 version of that awful neon fanny pack I used to wear in the 90s. I’m all about safety when I run so I always carry my iPhone, ID and a little cash on me. On longer runs, I also bring a pack of Shot Bloks. I can fit all of that in this pouch and I promise you it doesn’t ride up. I have a big butt and a smaller waist so everything rides up on me. I can literally jump up and down in this thing and it says in place. I bought it at the RnR San Diego expo last year and it was definitely worth the $25.

2. The Grid

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First of all, if you’re a runner, or any type of athlete, and you don’t own a foam roller, you are missing out. Foam rolling is SO good for your muscles and can get you through those muscle aches/tension when you can’t afford regular massages. Foam rolling is also good for building core strength. I try to foam roll after every long run and also on days when my muscles are feeling tired and/or tight. The Grid is so amazing because it’s designed to mimic massage and the different surfaces apply varying amounts of pressure. The first time I used it, I kept yelling out in pain, but immediately after, my legs felt so much better. I’m addicted to it now.

3. The Stick

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I wish I could carry this thing around and use it all day long. It looks so weird, especially when you’re actually using it, but it’s so great. According to the company, the Stick is like “a toothbrush for your muscles.” While foam rolling targets large muscle groups, the Stick can hit those little tight knots that you just can’t get rid of. I use the Grid first and then I spend extra time rolling each part of my calves, hamstrings, quads, IT band, etc with the Stick. I have perpetually tight calf muscles and this is the only thing that really helps. Beware: your arms will get tired if you have a weak upper body like me.

4. Lululemon Sigg 1L Sport Top Bottle

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So this item is obviously not necessary to run well, but I still recommend it. I love what it says (“I run because I can…but really I jog”) because that’s definitely how I feel these days. I also love the color and the size. It stays cold and the water doesn’t end up tasting more like the bottle than water (you know that happens sometimes). But mostly, it’s cute. So buy it.

5. Garmin Forerunner 305

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I know this looks more like a computer than a watch, but it seems a lot bigger than it actually feels. This GPS watch tracks your time, distance, pace, heart rate (optional), and running route. You can also set intervals (for example: if you are doing a walk/run program, you can set it so that it beeps when it’s time to start and stop running) or pace parameters (it beeps if you run too fast or too slow). It also comes with a USB cord so that you can upload your run data to Garmin Connect, an online running log, or sync to another website like Daily Mile. There are debates about whether or not this type of running technology makes runners focus too much on the numbers, but I think it’s the best piece of running gear I’ve purchased. It’s really motivating to see how many miles I’ve done and how my pace continues to improve every time. For beginners, I would also recommend the Garmin Forerunner 110. It’s a little less expensive and is a lot simpler. I used that to train for my first half and I still wear it on easy runs when I don’t care about all of the extra numbers. It’s also smaller and wears more like a regular watch.

This is just a starting list of my running essentials and I encourage you to start your own. Read different reviews and take the time to decide what’s best for you. Some people can run with just a pair of running shoes and a tech shirt. I’m one of those people who wants all of the latest gear and the hottest running clothes. You may fall somewhere in the middle. Whatever works for you is what you should go with. And as always, if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know! I specifically want to know what people think of the Nike+ Sportwatch. Ever since I watched that Ellie Goulding video, I’ve been dying to get it. Is 3 GPS watches too excessive? You can never have too many back-ups right?