The global wellness industry was worth $3.7 trillion in 2015, according to research from the Global Wellness Institute. It’s an absolutely booming market that keeps growing, and new offerings pop up daily — from that anti-aging skincare your friend is hawking on Facebook to gadgets to track your everything, you can spend a lot of money on “wellness.” (Whatever that means, exactly.) But running is above all that, right? Just a pair of shoes and you’re ready to go!
A pair of shoes! HA! Those cost you at least $120. Plus wicking socks, shorts, a sports bra that does its job, wicking shirt. Compression socks, sunglasses, foam rollers, strength and cross training classes, massage therapy, wireless headphones, streaming music subscriptions…
Sun’s out, buns out, right? Racing season has officially begun, with Houston and Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona both this weekend. We’ve updated our Monday morning post to bring you awesome stuff happening in the world of running (and beyond) and give us a place to discuss it! We’ve got a lot to share today, so let’s get cracking.
It’s a new year, Salties! We’re bringing back the Monday roundtable and giving it an update. We’ll be using this Monday morning space to share the awesome stuff happening in the world of running (and beyond) and as a space to discuss all that with you all. And, get excited: #SALTYCHAT IS BACK! Join us on Twitter at 8 p.m. EST tonight to join in the conversation!
Happy New Year from Salty Running! We are so excited for another great year of running, community and empowerment. While not all of us are the resolution types, we have a big year planned for Salty Running and our Salties have some amazing running and racing goals they will be chasing down. To start the year with intention, we’re sharing our running goals for 2018.
“Whoa! That’s good! We wrote that?” Even we forget about some of the posts that appeared on Salty Running over the course of a year. Our contributors talked about motherhood, hormones, eating disorders, self-confidence, imposter syndrome, sexual harassment and much more.
As we wrap up the year and take our holiday break, we rounded up some of our top posts of 2017.
Fire on the Track: Betty Robinson and the Triumph of the Early Olympic Women, by Roseanne Montillo, tells the story of female sprinters in the 1920s and 1930s, when women were first permitted to compete in Olympic track events. Contrary to the title, it is not a biography of Betty Robinson (who won the gold medal in the 100m at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam) although her story is the main focus.
“Fire on the Track” tells Robinson’s story alongside those of other star woman runners of the era, such as Babe Didrickson, Stella Walsh and Helen Stephens. Montillo chronicles the women’s childhoods, how they began their track careers, and the challenges they faced during an era when women’s participation in competitive sports was controversial.
I was really excited about this book. I love narrative non-fiction, especially on sports-related topics. My regret is that Montillo’s efforts to tell the stories of a number of different women means I didn’t get to know any of them well.
Montillo devotes the most detail to title character Betty Robinson’s story: amazingly, after winning the gold in 1928, Robinson almost died in a plane crash. Against the odds, she recovered in time to compete again at the 1936 Olympics.
The stories of the other pioneering athletes, told alongside Robinson’s, are fascinating. I would gladly read a full-length biography of Stella Walsh, a Polish immigrant who was born intersex and faced endless gossip about her gender, or Helen Stephens, a closeted lesbian whose encounter with Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics culminated in him squeezing her bottom and inviting her to spend the weekend with him.
Montillo mentions the discrimination faced by two African-American members of the team, Tidye Pickett and Louise Stokes, but it feels glossed-over. All of these women are compelling, but the author gives none of them the attention they deserve. By giving equal weight to the 1928, 1932, and 1936 Olympics, the book feels scattered, without any central event to focus the story.
The book does have interesting components. Montillo’s account of the controversy over women’s participation in track reveals how radically American sports culture has changed in the last 90 years — and yet, how certain themes remain. While individual women were celebrated by their communities for winning medals in those early Olympics, they were also frequently derided as too masculine or even accused of secretly BEING men. Such threads have surprising parallels to today’s tense discussions about gender in women’s track.
This book also added context to certain events that are well-known (at least among track enthusiasts). For example, when several women collapsed after the 800m final in the 1928 Olympics, officials famously declared the event too taxing for women and removed it, along with the 400m (until 1960, the longest event contested for women was the 200m). Less known is that the race took place on an oppressively hot and humid day, and several competitors in the men’s 800m final also collapsed. Officials’ alarmist response stemmed solely from their preconceptions about women’s “delicate” constitutions.
Unfortunately, many sections of this book simply read as a quick summary of events, with little effort to engage the reader. Pages go by without any quotations at all (as a historian, this also made me wonder – where is the author getting this information? Montillo has a “sources” section at the end, but it’s not comprehensive). Sports have built-in narrative tension, but I never found myself engaged enough to feel invested in the outcome of any races she describes.
As the temperatures continue to drop, here are my favorite things of 2017 that I recommend every mom (or dad) running with young kids bring with them to 2018.
First, my triple running stroller still remains one of the best, all-time favorite things I’ve bought. Worth every single penny. Not only did it keep me sane during my husband’s deployment, it adds a lot of flexibility to my running and schedule as an married, yet often single mom. I love it so much, I even wrote it a song!
Ode to my triple running stroller, sung to the tune of Jingle Bells:
Pushing three kids was hard
Especially going uphill
But I didn’t want to be a lard
Because of desserts I eat my fill
Sometimes I ran inside
Instead of pushing the triple-wide
And then I could run faster
But the treadmill became my master
(chorus, sung twice)
Oh, triple stroller triple stroller
You really did save me
Because without you I would have gone
I pack water bottles and treats
And put the kids in their seat
No matter what the weather
We run in the cold or heat
An essential piece of gear
For all my running this year
And I’d just like to thank you
Even now with winter here
(chorus, sung twice)
Oh, triple stroller triple stroller
You really did save me
Because without you I would have gone
Next, to go along with stroller running in the winter, I’d like to recommend two of my favorite pieces of essential gear.
For baby, I recommend the Patagonia reversible puff-ball bunting. It’s a good way to keep baby nice and cozy without overheating. It’s wind and water resistant, and has hand and foot coverings since we all know how easy it is to keep mittens/shoes on little ones. It’s lightweight and so comfortable I wish they made it in adult sizes. I purposefully bought one in a larger size so all of my kids have been able to wear it through two winters — one as a bunting, and one without the hands/feet covered, more like a snowsuit.
Finally, for the runner, I recommend the Brooks Threshold Glove. Having lived in New York and Colorado, I’ve tried a lot of different running gloves. None ever seemed to really do the trick, and I still always had to tuck my hands in my sleeves, which is hard to do while pushing a stroller. These work. Two gloves in one, they have a normal stretchy glove that is warm but doesn’t make you sweat layer, and then a mitten shell that goes on top. These gloves are perfect for blocking the wind while my hands are on the stroller handlebar. I even wear them running solo. If my hands get too warm, I pull back the mitten layer which is light enough I don’t even feel it flapping around.
What are your running “must-haves” that you are bringing with you to 2018?
For many of us, the holiday season coincides with our off-season, when we enter post-race maintenance mode, giving our bodies and minds a much-needed break from hard training. While Santa Claus is checking his list and tuning up his sleigh, the rest of us find ourselves mired in extra concerts, party invitations, and frankly, a lot of extra work: shopping, wrapping, baking, planning. A more flexible and laid-back approach to running can be a great match for all the activity.
But for some – here at Salty Running that includes Sesame and Angelica – have decided on January or February races, so we find ourselves in the thick of training during the holiday season, and squeezing the marathon miles in is tough!
There is a range of approaches to holiday disruptions. Is it better to run long on Saturday morning and get it out of the way? Two weeks ago, I tried that and was a zombie at the Saturday night PTA-mom party. Running long on Sunday means shutting down Saturday night festivities on the early side and probably passing on the cocktails. Finding time for 15 miles the weekend before Christmas was like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle with too many pieces – one event or another kept slipping out of the picture. I’m crossing my fingers about the weather because there’s no room on the agenda for a blizzard!
We want to hear from you! How do you handle holiday disruptions to training schedules? Is your off-season meshing with your holiday season? Or are concerts, cocktails and cooking-baking throwing you off-kilter?
How do you balance training and celebrating this time of year?
It can be hard enough to figure out which wine perfectly matches your Friday takeout pizza. Figuring out which appellation, aroma, and mouthfeel best pair with today’s workout? Seems impossible, but we’re here to help. Follow our handy guide, and never again will the sweat on your brow clash with the grape in your goblet.
Your every-day easy run, nothing special: Pinot noir, the always-drinkable, goes-with-anything pumpkin spice latte of wines.
Weekend twenty miler with your saltiest running buddies: Bardolino! It’s a light red, blended from several grapes, slightly sparkling, dry, and a little bitter (in a good way). Sound familiar?
You just found out you have to miss your goal race due to injury. You don’t want to drink anything, just slam the bottle against a wall in a blind rage: May we recommend a bottle (or several) of the finest two-buck chuck?
Day drinking at the post-stroller-run play date: Sauvignon Blanc. Light, refreshing, and totally disguiseable in a “water” bottle.
Day drinking after your post-yoga two-mile treadmill jog in half-tights and a strappy bra: Chardonnay. A little basic, but it’s okay to embrace that sometimes.
You’re in the throes of marathon training and can’t wait for dinner to be done before you throw one back: Marsala. Pairs well with chicken and hanger.
All kinds of annoying work and life stuff get in the way and you have to do your tempo run at 2 in the afternoon. In July.: Skip the wine and go directly to beer.
After a long, grueling training cycle, you totally nail your paces in a workout that proves you’re going to get at least a ten-minute PR at your goal race: If you want to save the Champagne for your race, then a toast with Prosecco is the obvious choice!
Three weeks after the champagne-worthy workout, you bomb the race. On the way home, you trip, ripping your favorite tights, and then some asshole tells you to smile: Wine from a box. Extra points if it says “award winning” – just like that workout.
Cozying up on the sofa to read Salty Running after a long day that started with a ten-miler in the early morning darkness because you’re marathon training in January: Cabernet Sauvignon. With notes of spice, olive, vanilla, anise, pepper, and herbs, how could we possibly recommend anything else?
What’s your favorite wine/workout pairing?
Karen Abutnuttin, a 35-year-old mother of none from Canada, recently surpassed the record for least amount of social media posts during a training cycle. The record was previously held by the local Beardy Guy, Jack Ingoff, at two posts, both of which featured Ingoff complaining about the rising cost of local 5ks.
“Jack set the bar pretty high,” Karen said. “But I wanted to test the boundaries of what it means to not only be a runner but a woman runner as well.”
Karen went an entire 16-week training cycle without sharing a single post about her training.
“It was tough some days when I had a really good workout and wanted to shout it from the rooftops,” she said. “There were times when I sat staring at my phone, debating whether to hit send on a long post I had just written. In the end it was worth it to hit cancel instead.”
Karen’s biggest challenge came halfway through the training cycle when Twitter announced it would increase its character allowance to 280. It was at this point in the training cycle when Karen decided to commit to chasing the record.
“It was a difficult time when that happened and then when I decided to continue forging ahead, I was tempted to tweet about my attempt to set the record but figured it would go against the Guinness rules if I inadvertently mentioned running in a tweet.”
At the culmination of the long and quiet 16 weeks, Karen ran her local marathon and continued to extend her record by not even posting a picture of her medal the following Monday. The internet only learned of her feat after her mother posted a proud congratulatory message on Facebook. Friends started texting her immediately asking if her mom’s claims were fake news.
“Some were hurt that they didn’t know I had been training for the race,” Karen said. “They felt deceived. But when I told them about the record, they were fine.”
Karen recently submitted her record to the coveted Guinness Book of World Records. Her attempt was met with some criticism from internet threads such as Letsrun.com, who felt that if no one was watching her not post to social media sites, should the record still be ratified?
“Who’s to say she didn’t post a picture of her watch in a weak moment at 3 a.m. and then delete the post?” asked one poster.
Others tried to research her activity on less-known social media sites, such as Google+. A “Karen Abutnuttin” was found to have a profile on the site and as a result posters attempted to friend her to view the private profile. When asked why she didn’t accept the requests Karen responded, “Google+ is still a thing?”
In the meantime, Karen began posting pictures of her post-long run meals and foam rollers as soon as she started training for her next race.
“All that hard work and I still didn’t qualify for Boston,” she said. “I guess it doesn’t matter whether or not you post about it on social media.”
We’ve all been there. Two weeks before your goal race, some body part, usually in the lower half of your body, will start to grumble at you. Panic! Confusion! Denial! You limp out of bed in the mornings, wear compression everything, take ice baths, foam roll 24/7, and discuss extensively with your running friends what to do.
Is it just the taper crazies? Or are you really injured? Should you race? Should you take half a pack of ibuprofen and then race? Should you start the race, but stop if it hurts too much? Or should you stay off it, forget about the race, and become the world champion of moping instead?
Among the Saltines, there’s a wide range of attitudes toward racing with pain. I’m conservative about it, an attitude I’ve learned from experience (FYI: racing a half marathon with achilles tendonitis is a good way to make sure the achilles tendonitis gets even worse and lasts even longer. Shocking, I know.) Last year, when I hurt my foot a few weeks before the Berlin Marathon, I decided not to run the race despite the months of training and the squandered €99 entry fee. I was sad about missing the race, but not as sad as I would have been if running the race had made my foot hurt even worse.
Admittedly, I’m on the paranoid side when it comes to running through pain. Sometimes it turns out fine, but sometimes you end up with a long-term problem. To me, the risk isn’t worth it – not to mention that it’s never a pleasant experience to race with pain – but everyone’s calculation is different.
This discussion should also come with the caveat that being 100% pain-free as a serious runner is not always possible. Often we have niggles that are fine to run through as we sort them out with physiotherapy or other treatments. Today, we’re not talking about niggles, but rather about pain that is present while you run and may be made worse by racing (or not! Nobody knows!)
Tell us: what’s your approach to racing with pain? Do you or don’t you? What are your experiences?
As I prepared to be a pace group leader for the first time at the final running of the Soldier Marathon, I started thinking about the ways this pacing adventure could go really really wrong. And not really really wrong just for me, but for the people trusting me to help them finish in 4:10 (join me, it’ll be fun!).
Pacing is a responsibility I take seriously. And I should. If you choose to run with a pace group, you are trusting that individual to keep you on track for your goal finish time. Nothing will panic someone who has prepared at least four months for this one-day, race day test more than hearing something from the pacer that indicates they might not meet that goal.
To prepare, I asked the Salties for a little advice about what they never wanted to hear from their pacer, regardless of what pace group they were running with. Here are the top things we don’t want to hear from our pacers:
- “Oops, I forgot to start my watch! Guess we’ll just have to go by feel.” Sounds like your pacer has no idea if you’re on pace for your finish time or not. You’ll just have to hope that they have a fantastic internal sense of time because they will have no other way to gauge if you are on track to meet your goal. See also: “uh oh, the GPS is out again” and “I forgot my watch! Can I borrow yours?”
- “I’m not feeling so hot, y’all. Would you mind holding the pacing sign for me?” While bad races happen, we just hope they won’t happen to the person we are trusting with our hopes and dreams. To our pacer: Please don’t get sick, have a bad race, eat spicy food the night before the race, etc.
- “To make sure we hit your finish goal, we’re going to start out fast and go hard for the first 13 miles!” Just no. This is bad technique, in my humble opinion, for anyone racing that is not elite, and definitely not what you want to hear from your pacer. We should be aiming for consistent mile splits throughout, and definitely don’t want to burn out our runners at the beginning of the race.
- “Do you think we should have turned left back there?” Ah, the panic of wondering if you are still on course. There has been many times when I’ve wondered if I’m on course during a race, but the course is definitely something that your pacer should have down pat. Nothing is scarier than wondering if your leader knows where she is leading you.
- “You aren’t looking so hot. Should I call the medical tent?” As a pacer, I’ve been trained about when I should step away from pacing to help a runner in medical distress. This is my job, but it is still not something that you want to hear from me!
- “I’m aiming for a PR today!” Ha. We hope our pacer is running a pace that they feel very confident they can maintain for 26.2 miles. Aiming for a PR either indicates they do not or that they have used their pacer entry as a free way to enter an expensive race. Either way, I’d reconsider your pacer selection.
- What pacer? Although perhaps better than showing up and driving you into the ground, the bare minimum expectation is that your pacer actually shows up race morning.
What can you add to this list? Have you had a terrible pacing experience? What did they say that indicated it might not go as planned?
As a Matt Fitzgerald fangirl, I snapped up How Bad Do You Want It? as soon as it hit the shelves in 2015. It’s been on my nightstand ever since. And when Lindsey Hein’s book club picked it up recently, I realized a lot of people haven’t read it yet. And you should.
Subtitled “mastering the psychology of mind over muscle,” How Bad is a collection of sports stories combined with “psychobiological” research. Matt uses the format to share habits and tactics the rest of us can use to cultivate our own mental strength. Read more >>
Let’s be real: at some point, we’ve all been single. We’ve dated, sometimes successfully, and sometimes we’re sending an emergency escape text to your BFF.
But you know what’s funny? Dating is an awful lot like marathon training. Don’t believe me?
- There’s an app for it.
- You spend too much money on it.
- You swear you’re too busy with life to do it, but do it anyway.
- You’ve been hurt (physically, emotionally and mentally) by it.
- People love to tell you how you’re doing it wrong.
- You wonder why other people are so invested in what you do with your own time, money and body.
- Some are great, some are truly awful, but most are kinda mediocre and forgettable.
- When you don’t feel like talking about it, people ask you about it.
- You see how for other people, it goes so effortlessly and you wonder why you can’t have that yourself.
- Some you’re very eager to go on, some you dread, but most are just well, here we go again.
- Sometimes you wonder if you really are doing it all wrong.
- Sometimes you feel really lonely and frustrated.
- After an incredible one, you’re on a high and life is beautiful.
- And then a crappy one brings you down again.
- When things are going really well, you don’t want to say anything for the fear of jinxing it.
- It doesn’t matter which one you pick, there will always be someone who tells you that you should have picked the other one.
- There will be times when you’re rolling along and things are going well — or so you think — and then BAM! All of a sudden, out of nowhere, you hit a wall with no way around it. You’re left battered, bruised, and you don’t think you can do this again. In fact, you’re sure you’re not going to do this again.
- And then you go out and do it again.
Now, if only there was tinder for marathons. I’d swipe left on, say, a course that was historically too short and right on one that almost guarantees a BQ (I’m looking at you, St. George).
Convinced? What are the other ways marathon training is like dating?
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