So You Want To Be A Mother Runner?


{Disclaimer: This post does contain affiliate links. I only link items I’ve used/am familiar with or feel confident enough to promote.}

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Running’s my jam.

It’s not for everyone, no exercise program or hobby or sport or whatnot is.

However, in this post I’m going to make some (NON professional, NON sanctioned, based on my experience only! Not a doctor/trainer/certified anything) suggestions on getting started as a mother runner or if you are just looking to improve your overall fitness level.

*Please Note: If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or recently post partum, please be sure you are CLEARED to exercise by your care giver. Also important that if you are nursing you are intaking adequate calories. Nursing is NOT the time for ultra restrictive diet plans or fad detoxes. Some info here on that (even if some of the info on alcohol and caffeine while nursing is not really accurate, the nutritional part is): Breastfeeding Macros And Weight Loss

Okeee now that that’s out of the way…

  1. Start Slow
    You can use a program like Couch to 5k or simply start by walking briskly for 30 min, and move up to adding a minute of jogging for every 2 of walking and continue to increase until you are able to run the entire 30 minutes. But it is very important to listen to your body and use a very gradual increase.
    *Here’s a very generalized guide from Runner’s World, however there are numerous guides so find one you like and stick to it! Getting Started As A Runner
  2. Track Your Progress

    Track Yo’ Training

    This is a great motivator and will also allow you to make sure you aren’t over doing your mileage or speed increases. There are numerous apps, watches, fitness trackers. It’s frankly overwhelming. It can be as simple as mapping a route at home before you set out and using a plain old cheap watch (or timer on your phone) or as complex as a GPS watch with heart rate monitor (I use this but am looking to upgrade to this Garmin) and all those bells and whistles. Personally I use MapMyRun (which connects to MyFitnessPal which I also use to track calories and macros-that’ll be a separate post).

  3. Cross Train/Core Train
    If you just run you are asking for an injury. The majority of female runners have weak pelvic/core strength and this is where such conditions as ‘runner’s knee’ or ‘shin splints’ happen. The weak core off sets the load bearing to the joints. Next you know you have a torn ligaments, pulled muscles, inflammation or worse stress compression fractures. You don’t need to spend an hour at the gym every day, but 10 minutes of some basic strengthening and stability moves will help you stay injury free. Planks, Squats, Lunges and variants of each. Also ladies. Forget the kegels. Squats. Squats for days.

    1. Easy routine for runners: 5 Core Workouts For Stronger Running
    2. Why kegels aren’t the holy grail of pelvic floor strengthening: Stop Doing Kegels

      Sometimes you gotta work out gated in your kitchen. Get it done!

A note on cross training, hugely beneficial in that it works out a different set of muscles but it’s not *strictly* necessary. On my rest day I walk. Swimming, cycling, arc trainers or other cardio gym equipment are all easy for cross training.


I stick to Kettlebell(I prefer the vinyl coated cast iron CAP ones-like this) and dumbbells/body weight for strength training .

*Since we are talking about injury avoidance, post partum women please make sure you understand and have been cleared of Diastasis Recti. DR is the separation of the ab muscles that occurs with women during pregnancy and postpartum. It’s easily correctable. However you should refrain from most core training until it’s addressed. Here’s a good video on the subject: What Is Diastasis Recti

*Also check out the 2nd post in my Core Series on Diastasis Recti.

I will do a more in depth post on strength training, particularly postpartum, and some of my favorite YouTube vids and techniques. Look for it!

 

  1. Fuel, Hydrate, and ‘Honor Thy Rest Day’
    I totally get it. You are tired. Taxed and maxed and barely squeaking time to try this new crazy sport. And you get super excited when you are making those gains…
    But…but… the baby is NAPPING and I have 30 minutes and I know it’s my rest day but what if tomorrow he DOESN’T nap… and…
    Just stop. Your body needs to heal. When you exercise you tear down your muscles and they need to rest and heal. You tear it down to build it up. Chill. Maybe shop for new running sneakers or sign up for a race. Or plan a new route or strength routine. Or eat some chocolate. 😉
    Proper hydration and fuel is also important. When your body is dehydrated or lacking electrolytes or the proper amount of calories (calories ARE NOT evil, you just need to make friends with the right ones) this is how injuries happen. We’ll look at running fuel and hydration in a separate post.
  2. Make sure you have the proper gear
    I touched on this before in my “self care is self

    love post”. It is especially important to go to a shoe store that specializes in running. Most have a free stride and foot assessment that will tell you which shoes are best based on your feedback. This is invaluable. Most will give you a range of sneakers from low to high end. And then you try them on and skip merrily around the store. In Maine we have Lamey Wellehan. I love love love this company and what they do for our community and what they stand for. I will typically always buy from them. There is also Fleet Feet Sports-Maine Running Company. Fleet Feet Sports is a national franchise and there are many across the country. Fleet Feet here has a generous and long return policy. 30 days you can return regardless of the sneakers condition. Whoa!
    Also some of you sadists enjoy running in cotton and I’m just not sure why chafing is that wonderful. Anyway make sure you get a decent high impact sports bra (like this) to hold the girls in place and tops and pants/shorts/capris that do not ride up, fall down or are generally uncomfortable (I’m a big fan of the Under Armour capri’s and pants). This can be a process and really its highly individual. TJ Maxx/Marshalls, Wal-Mart and Target and even thrift stores all have inexpensive dri-fit clothes. You’ll want breathable socks as well. Your clothes will be a continual trial and error.
    *Not-A-Pro Tip: Do not try new clothes or run fuel on a longer run/race day. It could ruin something you’ve been training for and runner’s trots 5 miles into a 10 mile loop is no-bueno

     

  3. Have Fun
    Last and most important. Have fun with it. I mean the odds of you making running

    Baby’s First Stroller Run… SO MUCH FUN! 😉

    into a career are small (not that I don’t think you can do it! But realistically the majority of us aren’t going to be Olympians). Set your goals and try for your stars and enjoy the ride. And know you WILL have sh**ty runs, you WILL have excruciatingly slow days. And you may even have days you just bail out. Even elites have these. Take a deep breath, shake it off and move it on.

Have you started your running journey? Are you a seasoned mother runner? What tips might you have to add? Adversely if you are just getting started, what questions might you have?

*Check out my ‘Mother Runner’ board on Pinterest! It’s full of great info and I’ll continue to add to it! Mother Runner-Here!

Til next time.

xo

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Couponing For The Mediocre

Couponing For the Mediocre

We all need to save money.

There is a rabbit hole of blogs and pins about couponing, extreme couponing, rebates ….

I have played in the rabbit hole and have coupon burn out. But I feel like I should impart a few that have worked for me that aren’t super difficult to use.

First a few suggestions.
*Please note this isn’t a post for extreme couponing. It’s for people that like to utilize coupons but do not want to make it a part time job. Also note that our grocery habits trend to whole foods and minimally processed so this post may not be for every household.

  • Clip what you use
    Don’t print/clip/app items you won’t ever use. I do not ever use Flonase, so I don’t print coupons for it. I however have no solid preference for toilet paper so if there’s a buck off Charmin, we are using Charmin that week.
  • Shop Sales
    Seems like a no brainer, but I never realized just how much money I saved simply looking at weekly flyers. I was also surprised the Wal-Mart is actually rarely the cheapest option for groceries. There are two solidly competing stores in my area. One has an app that you can clip coupons too so you can stack the app coupon with your own, then just enter your phone number at check out and apply them. They also double coupons under $1. The other periodically bottom drops items so I’ll make a special trip there for those. Recently they had fresh organic ground chicken for $2.49/lb. You betcha I bought all they had.
  • Don’t menu plan too far ahead
    Whaaattt? Did I just commit blasphemy? Isn’t the holy grail of frugal living (next to extreme couponing) menu planning 45 months ahead?

    JoyfulStrawberryPicking

    My Kids so pumped after picking me some strawberries

    Just like shopping sales you should plan your meals week to week based on the sales. I bought all that ground chicken. Guess what 4 out of 7 dinners next week feature? I also got asparagus rock bottom. So our green side will be a lot of asparagus. Next week it might be zucchini. It’s also coming up on Farmer’s market produce season and PYO for berries and stone fruits. I love PYO and we pick the shhhiz out of some strawberries, blueberries and apples up here in my great state of Maine. So our menu’s are seasonal as well.

  • Make a list and then rewrite it and then…
    GroceryListsListsLists

    Behold my lists and super high tech coupon holding apparatus (ps these were camping prep lists. We don’t actually buy that much stuff a week)


    Yeah, that seems like “duh Erin”. But really I shop the sales, print my coupons, make a dinner plan. Then I write out a list. I’m super old fashioned and grab scrap paper and long hand it. I’ve tried spreadsheets and memo apps and honestly this just works best for me. I put my list paired with my paper coupons in a little (super not eco friendly oops) sandwich baggie and off I go.
    I digress.
    Write your list. Write everything down you want and need. Then put prices down and add it up (I do this sans coupons and deduct a rough coupon total later). Let your eyes bug out of your head. Then start crossing crap off. It’ll curb impulse buying. What you are left with is what you And if the money’s right you can add back wants, but sadly for me that never happens.
    Bonus: use the calculator app on your phone (or bring one) and keep a running total as you shop. Over estimate. It’s a second check to keep you in budget.

  • Leave the kids at home. And your significant other…
    I know this isn’t always possible. But it’s been my experience that the stress and distraction of kids and husbands grabbing stuff off shelves, asking for stuff, chewing on your grocery list/cart/whatever they grabbed out of the back of the cart(usually bread), generally melting down, harassing strangers (in the case of my 5 y/o) while you try to compare prices, check your coupons/app/list and use your calculator… is… Can you say the second plain of hell? Just me? No?
  • Keep Your Receipts
    Always keep your receipts for a few weeks. And always check your receipts to make sure your coupons cleared and you were only charged the sale prices. I’ve definitely been overcharged and have gone up to have it fixed. Also use it to look at what you spent and on what. Additionally rebate apps like Ibotta and Checkout51 release rebates in a week window. So you bought it Friday, Monday they release rebates for items you’ve purchased and can get the rebate for.

So where does that leave us?

Heading into the store armed to the teeth with coupons and lists and calculators. Hopefully successful in our endeavor.

Sites I use (note some of these are linked as a referral from me. I am not set up as an affiliate for stuff and I am loosely blogging for the joy of writing, sharing in a community and eventually empire building. So there’s your full disclosure 🙂 )

  • coupons.com – Printable grocery store coupons
  • mambosprouts.com – Organic and Natural Living coupons (yes they exist!)
  • tablespoon.com –They are affiliated with General Mills, but have some good coupons and recipes
  • ebates.com– this is a rebate site, you use their link and when you order online you get a percentage back. They pay to your PayPal quarterly. This is legit and I especially like using it around Christmas time.
  • vitacost.com–They have really good prices on natural/organic foods, supplements and personal care and frequently have fantastic sales. They ship FAST and they have hassle free fabulous customer service and will replace damaged items with no burden of proof. I recommend ordering through them using Ebates for more bang for your buck.
  • Ibotta – This is a grocery rebate app that I’ve had great success using! I’ve already cashed out 3 times since signing up a few months ago (need at least $20 in the account to pull to PayPal). You simply upload a copy of your receipt and scan a few bar codes. They frequently have easy ‘challenges’ and also ‘any item’ options for extra cash back.

There are a few others I have used/sometimes use, but they don’t really work well for my dynamic. Mobisave, Checkout51 (I’m going to keep trying with this one, but to be honest their app is kind of a mess and they are pretty limited on offers, I’m hoping it’ll improve), Shopkick, etc. I do use the following store apps for extra coupons, rebates and offers. Shaws is local to the Northeast but I think Star Markets work similarly?

  • Shaws
  • CVS
  • Rite Aid
  • Wal-Mart (you can actually upload your receipt and they will price match your purchases and refund you if they find it cheaper elsewhere)
  • Kmart/Sears

I’ll touch briefly on take out/restaurant eating. We rarely go out and when we do we use coupons. Some sites we use:

  • Groupon or LivingSocial (Don’t forget to buy through Ebates!)- you can find local restaurant deals, especially sushi and Thai foods
  • Chain restaurant Websites/email lists and Facebook- Ruby Tuesday is a favorite of ours. They have a great salad bar and they always have coupons.
  • Freebie mailers- We get a local free paper delivered that usually has a Red Plum flyer that’s stacked with weekly flyers and coupon sheets to Subway, Pizza Hut etc etc. We don’t typically eat at these places, but I always keep them in a pinch they can be handy.

 

Don’t beat yourself up.

I did this weekly, I’m near tears wondering why food costs so much and why nothing grows in my cursed back yard (seriously I’ve even tried blessing my soil, I have a black thumb). I’ve learned to let  it go, at some point my kids will be gone and I’ll be drinking margaritas or sangrias while I grill a prime steak on my grill and my husband is so caught up on the home and yard maintenance we can actually have a conversation uninterrupted and eat our meals hot with two hands…

Oh… yeah… anyway.

What are some of your tips and tricks for penny pinching grocery and household dollars? How do you handle the stress inducing nightmare that is grocery shopping?

Til the next.

xo

ETA* I have started a Pinterest Board for Realistic Frugal Living, I’d love any suggestions for it and will continue to add to it!

 

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Self Care, Self Love

So running is kind of my jam.

Find a niche they said. Your blog needs to actually be about something.

Um. Sure guys.

I’m not a fast runner. I’m not a trained athlete.

I am simply a runner.

And a mom of 4 kids, a scattered sweet partner and some other freeloaders. Like backyard hens that don’t lay eggs, a cat that’s approximately 200 years old (I’m seriously concerned he might be some kind of vampire or immortal) and a depressed middle aged yellow lab with chronic yeast issues (yes we have addressed diet and work with his vet, chill).

I’ve been running sporadically most of my life, but more seriously in the past 10 years. I’ve done distances up to a marathon (that’s 26.2 miles FYI).

FirstMarathon2010

Me looking quite pleased that I finished my first marathon in 2010. Actually it’s possible I was slightly delirious…

Running is something that’s important to me, my sanity and every one under my care’s well being (ha ha ha).

I get it. It’s REALLY hard to make time for something that is self care, sanity saving and otherwise for yourself. You feel selfish, frazzled and sometimes guilty that it’s taking precious time away from those who depend on you. You feel frustrated when circumstances change in an instant (example, when micro heathen goes no nap Ned during the one hour you have been relying on to get on the treadmill) and you wonder what will go undone so you can have your peace-maker. Whether it’s running, cross fit, yoga, or even reading a good book.

Self care.

Some tips that have worked for me with running (most can be paralleled to other self care sneaks):

  • Have a contingency plan
    GettingItDoneHarperStroller

    This was a contingency plan day, when my darling 13 month old went all “naps are for chumps”

    You planned to run with the baby in the stroller (I use this one-but daydream about a BOB), but now it’s pouring rain and he’s not a fan of being pelted in the face with wet icy darts (huh, wonder why?). Plan B, while not usually ideal, gets you your run. Plan B for me, run on the treadmill when Big Kids (11 and 13) get home and can wrangle him in the living room while you are in the next room.

  • Just Do It
    Like Nike. Really. Even if you are too tired/burnt out/overwhelmed. Take the time you need for your self care. If I skip a run I am a total bear and I know if I had JUST sucked it up and gone I’d have felt great 4 minutes in. Do. IT.
  • Keep Open Communication With Your Partner
    It is so important to keep an open communication with your partner about your sanity needs. And it’s important that they are willing to support you in this. Even if they worked 10 hours that day, they step up and make dinner so you can go out and run for a half hour. It’s important to note that this is a 2-way street. You need to suck it up and sacrifice so they can pursue their interests and sanity self care as well. When you feel supported and like your needs are fulfilled (or part-filled at least) you are happier in your relationships.
  • Set Realistic Goals
    It’s great to have dreams. It’s also great to be able to achieve them, but it can be discouraging when they are far out of reach. I want to run an ultra marathon (50k plus distances). But realistically I am at half-marathon speed. I’ve trained for and run 2 marathons as a mother. And it is VERY hard for our dynamic for me to get to that threshold. And I’m ok with that for now. So my goals are to beat my fastest 5k time and complete 2 half marathons this year. Totally do-able and the fun thing about running is the swag and medals. Bask in my glory (haha!)!
  • Invest In Your Self Care
    AsicsNimbus19s

    How can something so ugly cost so much? Yet be worth every penny…


    I get it. We are usually on tight budgets, time constraints and guilt trips. So buying something that is to support yourself is usually bottom of the priority list. But having the right pair of sneakers (in my case I cringe as I drop a week’s worth of grocery money on my Asics every 4 or 6 months), the right yoga mat (I use this one) or even the right book subscription can make all the difference. You need to be able to actually enjoy it and in the case of exercise you need to be able to be injury free. I have a future post planned for getting started as a mother runner that I’ll go into injury avoidance more.

  • Find Your Tribe
    Doing your thang solo is great if that’s what you want. But if you want to broaden your support system or just plain get some good old fashioned adult human interaction. Find your tribe. Runners are great at being supportive of each other, even if they are at wildly different fitness levels. It’s always great to see the runner that finished his 5k in sub 20 minutes cheering on the last runners coming in at 40 plus minutes. Personally I’ve joined a race committee (non profit, supports 3 local races, longer post on that to come) and joined our local Track Club. Over the past 5 years these people have become wonderful friends. I also feel like I am giving back to my community and encouraging people in their running journey. There are always local Facebook groups and gyms. Or check your local library or rec club for meetings month to month for whatever floats your boat.

To wrap it up:

Tips For Self Care

 

What is your preferred self care? How do you work out making the time for yourself? What are some things you’d like to do?

Love yo-self.

Til next time.

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Behold…The Beginning (Because I Had To Start Somewhere…)

You know I had this brilliant, outstanding idea to blog.

And then I realized you actually have to start somewhere. I mean, you can’t just unleash your Pinterest perfect showpiece recipes on the unsuspecting blogdom.

That’s totally a word they are adding to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, amiright? Blogdom.

So any good first step is a shaky, ill thought out, stumbling blind through the dark forest, march. Right?

Well I guess if you are me it is.

I have ideas and thoughts and stuff and things I want to convey. I think the most noteworthy points are as such:

  • I like bulleted lists, see? They are such an easy concise segue….
  • I am not an expert in anything. I mean… I have definite ideas about what constitutes ‘experts’ in general. Whether you’re a doctor or a baker or a candlestick maker (heh), I don’t think your education defines your expertise. I guess that’s a topic for another post. A ‘she’s railing against the establishment again’ post.
  • I plan to fail miserably at a lot in hopes of helping you avoid said mistakes, while also hopefully making you laugh. I have a weird sense of humor and it translates best in this medium. Welp, *I* think so at least (winky face).
  • See above, don’t expect fancy Pinterest cakes and DIY crafty ness that will come out perfect. I’m not that girl. I know those girls (and boys) and they are damned talented. I live with one of those boys, in fact he builds freaking guitars from scratch WITH HIS BARE HANDS. I’m awed. And yet fully aware that is not me. See blog title. It’s my truth.
  • I run, I strive at natural living, I have 4 kids. I’m tired. I’m disorganized. I’m a little neurotic. I’ve been divorced. I’ve been to church. I’ve been a writer nearly my whole life, I’ve written novels that go unpublished. Poems that molder in the basement. I am not a liberal. I am not a conservative. I’m a little skittish and shy in real life (IRL, Ikr?) I’ve worked in a plethora of fields, including Animal Rescue and IT Management. Let’s be honest I’m a walking contradiction. And after 36 (errr almost 37) years I’m really ok with the fact I do not fit in anywhere.
  • If I offend you please tell me. But do it gently, I’m a delicate freakin’ flower. Ok I guess more to the point be respectful, I enjoy respectful debate. I always try to be, but hey I’m an imperfect human. I won’t tolerate troll-isms because I stick my foot in my mouth occasionally. I do admit when I’m wrong (even if I do not like it).

That’s just a few things. I want input, I want flow-back. I do not want to talk to myself on the web. I might try to make this a business. I might do affiliate marketing. But I might just leave it a personal blog – sphere. You may see some fictional writing. You may see running and fitness related posts. You might see my instagrammed kid pics.

Or a rando pic from a hiking trip we took a few years ago. Because I live in a beautiful state.
dscn2660

It’s my blog. I do what I want (Cartman voice).

Till next time.

*ETA: Follow my Pinterest and send me good stuff! I’m going to try and find my niche, promise 😉

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