A few of my personal rules for running this winter include:

Keep it simple. Do the work. Go outside. Don’t overthink it.

The hardest of these things to do is often the third one on the list. It’s cold! It’s winter! Of course getting out the door is hard. But, it’s made easier when I make doing a dynamic warm-up a non-negotiable.

My personal dynamic warm-up routine is super simple, I enjoy doing it and my legs and lungs appreciate the time spent warming up indoors before heading out into the freezing temps. If you don’t warm-up for your runs year-round, now is the time to start incorporating a dynamic warm-up. Hopefully, you’ll create this new habit now and take it with you into spring and summer training.

Dynamic Warm-up For Runners

Instructions: Do each exercise for 30 seconds. For single leg exercises, do each exercise for 30 seconds on one leg, then switch and do 30 seconds on the other leg. Perform this routine 1-3x before heading outside. All exercises are meant to be done without weights.

#1 Body Weight Squats

#2 Walking Lunges

#3 Reverse Lunges with rotation

#4 Lateral lunges with or without torso rotation

#5 High Knees

#6 Butt Kicks

#7 Leg swings

#8 Dynamic Calf Stretch

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Race Pace Training Diaries: 2015 Goals

by Jess on January 23, 2015

Training Diaries

Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Records in everything from the marathon to the 5k. Learn more about Jess here.

While I am someone who believes in constantly setting and revising goals, I recently got the Believe Training Journal as a holiday gift and thought this would be a perfect time to formalize some of my 2015 goals.

1- Set a new best/faster pace with the NYRR: Currently, I have a best pace of 8:49 on file. I haven’t run a short race in so many years that I am really excited to race some 4 milers and/or 5ks and log a faster time!

2- Run two, sub-two hour half marathons: One of these will be the Brooklyn Half, the other TBD. My half PR is currently 1:58:26 and that was set in 2012 at Staten Island. I absolutely love the Brooklyn Half and have run it every year since 2011. I have never actually “trained” for a half marathon though, so this will be all new territory for me and I am looking forward to it.

Believe I Am Training Journal

3- Get back to my old base weight: Ever since college, I weighed basically the same amount, give or take a pound. Last winter, due to a combination of lifting heavy weights and running less due to the polar vortex, I gained 13 pounds. That’s a LOT for someone my size. The good news? I’ve already lost 6 of them. But my goal is to get the last 7 off before the Brooklyn Half on May 16.

4- Run a 4:00-4:07 marathon: If you’ve read my posts these past couple months, you probably already know about my NYCM experience. Not what I planned for, but still a great day. I’m going to give it another shot on November 1 and I’ll be more than ready for my redemption.

I’ll keep you posted as I check these goals off my list. And feel free to keep me accountable too!


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Shifting Away From Marathon Brain

by Jess on January 13, 2015

How does the saying go? “Train the same and remain insane” or is it “Training the same is insane”?

Must Run All the MILES!

I don’t know, but what I do know is that when marathon training went from weeks and months to years and well years of workouts, things started to feel a bit insane.

The strangest part is how I grew accustomed to the insanity and it began to feel normal. The only reason I even know it was a bit insane was because I finally stopped marathon training. It took a few months, but I’ve started to feel a positive shift away from my marathon brain.

I finally ran a 15k this November!

I finally ran a 15k this November!

I live in a bubble and if you read this blog, you and I probably live in the same bubble. In our little corner of the world it’s normal to see how much, how far and how often we can run. There’s nothing innately wrong with that, it just isn’t right for me right now. However, the marathon has without a doubt been glorified above other races. How we got to this point, I’m not so sure.

I also managed to run my 1st Turkey Trot! (I know... I've completed 9 marathons & 0 Turkey trots prior to November)

I also managed to run my 1st Turkey Trot! (I know… I’ve completed 9 marathons & 0 Turkey trots prior to November)

This year, the insanity had to stop for me personally. And I’ve had a shift in thinking, how I eat and what I prioritize. Marathon training for so long fogged my views and drained my energy in ways I would have denied for the past three years. Maybe I’m just wired to obsess too much, but marathon training took up a lot of brain space. Without it I feel free, well-rested and have tons of energy to devote to other things.

What am I doing now that I’m not marathon training, worrying about marathon training and busy recovering from marathon training?

I’m actually running more frequently, because my legs aren’t so fatigued all the time.

I manage to fit in hot yoga, running and strength training all in the same week while putting in a good effort at each. I don’t have to hold back in my cross-training workouts in the ways I did during marathon training. I’m all in for each of these workouts, not just the running workouts.

Most importantly, I’m shifting my thinking. I’m less afraid of injury. I once again believe that a thirty-minute workout actually can be enough. My workouts don’t stress me out. I’m not hungry ALL. THE. TIME. And most importantly I look forward to my daily workout in ways I haven’t in years.

Last May, Lauren Fleshman wrote 10 Reasons the 5k is Freaking Awesome and makes several great points about racing shorter distances (if you haven’t read it, read it!). I’ve missed racing and I’ve missed racing often. Stay tuned for more updates on changes in my running and races. I hope to see you out on the streets and in the parks at several races this year!


Let’s talk about running and technology for a minute.

Garmin 220

It’s a great tool, but it’s not everything. And it should never be something you can’t run without. The only things that should fall into the “can’t run without category” are clothes (assuming you run in a public place) and probably shoes. Nearly everything else including iPods, apps, and GPS watches aren’t necessities and you don’t need them to go for a run.

However, I have to admit, my garmin and I are nearly inseparable during marathon training. I’d like to think we have a healthy relationship though. At the end of every season, I put Pacey away for several weeks (yes, my gps watches are always given the name “Pacey”). This past week I put my garmin on my wrist for the first time since running the Chicago Marathon (read my Chicago Marathon recap here) in early October.

This year I’d like to challenge you to leave your gps watch or app at home at least once a week and I’ll do the same.


1. We need a break from being so Type A all the time. Numbers don’t always add up to meaning anything significant and it’s important to let go and just run. It’s freeing to not worry about pace, mileage, distance, etc and just go with the flow.

2.GPS Watches don’t always keep you honest about your workout. We all have these ideas of what paces we should hit during specific types of workouts, but most workouts you do should be ran by effort level, not by a prescribed pace. By forcing oneself to keep up with a specific pace by keeping an eye glued to a GPS watch means we often neglect to listen to what our body is actually telling us.

By listening to our bodies and not simply looking at the pace on the screen of a GPS watch, that may mean that some days tempo effort might be an 8:00 mile and another day it might be a 7:45. One day an 8:00 mile feels like an effort level 9 (which is not tempo effort, by the way), while another day it feels more like an effort level 7 (tempo effort on a scale from one to ten). You don’t want to cheat yourself by running too easy and you don’t want to put yourself in a hole and ruin other workouts by running too hard of an effort.

To run your best you have to be honest about how you’re feeling not force yourself to hit certain paces just because you believe you’re suppose to be hitting them. If you can’t hit specific paces that you need to without looking at your watch, then it’s time to reset your goal.

3. Run just to run. Running and training are great, but I’m pretty sure most of us train because we once ran because we discovered just how much we loved putting one foot in front of the other over and over again. If you want to sustain your relationship with running for a lifetime, include  more GPS-free running and run just for the sake of running.

Run Without a GPS Watch

Suggested times to run without a watch:

– Recovery runs

– After you’ve been sick

– Fun runs

– Recovery runs

– Shakeout runs

– Recovering from an injury or a time period off from running

Will you join me once a week in 2015 and run gps-free? Tag your gps-free runs on instagram and twitter with #GPSfreeRUN.


Race Pace Training Diaries: Go Fearlessly

by Jess on January 2, 2015

Training Diaries

Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Records in everything from the marathon to the 5k. Learn more about Jess here.

As we say hello to a new year, I thought I’d reflect on 2014, through a running lens of course …

Favorite race- Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run. I love traveling for races and this one did not disappoint. Running through the national mall, past the monuments, with the cherry blossoms in bloom, is not something I will ever forget. This race is truly beautiful and I recommend giving it a whirl if you’re able to get to the DC area.

Cherry Tree 10 Mile Race

Favorite elite- If you know me it wont be a surprise that I’m a total Kara Goucher #fangirl and proud of it! I’ll be watching every step of her 2015 comeback, grinning ear to ear.

Favorite running workout- I’m going to break this into two parts. 1- Fun: Strides! I had never done these before working with Jess…and I LOVE them. They make you feel like a track star. 2- Practicality: Shake out and recovery runs. Also new to me before Jess and I noticed a substantial difference in how my legs felt pre and post race. Clearly this lady knows what she’s talking about J

Favorite piece of running gear- This might be a tie between the Lululemon Run with Me Neck Warmer and the #Beenthererunthat Crop Leggings. I mean who doesn’t love having a city skyline going down their leg?

Run Buddies

Favorite long run buddy- Race Pace Runner Angela Barraco, aka DErunnerIAL. It was bashert. If you don’t speak Yiddish (I’m super cool, I know), it means meant to be. We met for the first time at the Bronx 10 Miler and the rest was history. It’s not easy finding someone who perfectly matches your pace and who you adore also. Kinda in love with this girl!

Favorite running lesson learned- Acceptance. This is something I still struggle with and something Jess has helped me with a lot. I can’t always control every aspect of my life (shocker, I know), and I have to learn to accept that. Each race is not going to be a PR, my fitness levels will go down at times, I might bonk in a race I was perfectly prepared for. That’s the thing with running, you can’t predict what’s going to happen every step of the way, but you can accept where you are and know that each race doesn’t define you as a runner. The bad runs remind you that the good ones are earned not given.


Favorite race on my 2015 radar- NYC Marathon. They say the third time is the charm, right? I feel like we have some unfinished business and I’m ready for my redemption.

And now as we go fearlessly into 2015 I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Victor Hugo:

“In each age men of genius undertake the ascent. From below, the world follows them with their eyes. These men go up the mountain, enter the clouds, disappear, reappear, People watch them, mark them. They walk by the side of precipices. They daringly pursue their road…On they go. The road is uneven, its difficulties constant. At each step a wall, at each step a trap…Nevertheless they go forward in their madness. The air becomes difficult to breath. Some fall. Others stop and retrace their steps. The bold ones continue. They are eyed by the eagles; the lightning plays about them: the hurricane is furious. No matter, they persevere.”



The year I ran Boston.

Boston Marathon 2014

The year I ran Boston while taking over Fitness Magazine’s instagram feed.

Boston Marathon 2014

The year I ran the LA Marathon.

LA Marathon

The year I ran Chicago (again).

Chicago Marathon

The year I set zero PR’s.

The year that when December came around all I could remember were my Race Pace Runner’s PR’s while my once ginormous personal goal of qualifying and running Boston  felt like a thing of the distant past or a part of the person I use to be.  Now, I’m more invested in other people’s running goals than I am in my own.

Run CoachingScreen Shot 2014-11-24 at 1.23.51 PM

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I turn 39 in a few days and the memory and desires of running Boston are quickly fading along with the desires to prove anything to myself or to anyone else.

I want this 39th year of mine to count and to be full of purpose.

I want to run fast. I want to run free.

I want to run without the demons of my past catching up to me.

I want to let go of the childish and meaningless thoughts that have negatively affected me for 39 years and let them fall to the side. I want to run so fast and so far that they can’t keep up.

I want to set new goals. New business goals. New life goals. New be a better human goals.

I want to fully embrace the me that I’ve become and the me I want to be.

I want to carpe diem like it’s 1989 and I’m an extra in Dead Poets Society.

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10 Days ’till Christmas: 10 Last Minute Gifts for Runners

December 15, 2014

Oh my goodness! There are only ten more days until Christmas! Just because you can pick up something lame last minute at Duane Reade doesn’t mean you should! (read 21 Things That Will Happen to You While Christmas Shopping in NYC) If you’re like me and in a pinch to cross everyone off your shopping […]

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Recipe: Vegan Gingerbread Pancakes

December 14, 2014

I’ll be the first to admit that when looking at recipes on blogs, I don’t read the content I’m only there for the recipe. So, here’s all I have to say… Make these gingerbread pancakes for your loved ones so they’ll be appropriately carb-loaded for the holiday season! Vegan Gingerbread Pancakes Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup whole […]

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Race Pace Training Diaries: Post Marathon Plans = Shorter Races & Faster Paces

December 8, 2014

Hi guys! It’s been a few weeks since the marathon and I wanted to catch you up on my running plans for the next couple months. After the 2013 NYC marathon I felt a bit lost. I liked having a scheduled running routine, but I knew I couldn’t run the same amount of mileage I […]

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You’re Invited: FRIDAY NIGHT {holiday} LIGHTS {Run}

November 30, 2014

Let’s kick off the holiday season with a festive fun run! I’ve always wanted to do a holiday lights run, so I finally decided to map out a route and invite YOU to join me. The 6.5-ish mile route starts in Washington Square Park and heads north. When we reach our final destination, Bryant Park, we’ll […]

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