Jasmine’s Gear Review: Polar M400 GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor

I wish this was a demonstration of the M400 syncing, but it is not. Instead this is a demonstration of the M400 not syncing.

Spoiler alert! I wish this was a demonstration of the M400 syncing, but it is not. Instead this is a demonstration of the M400 not syncing.

Just to change some things up, it is time for a completely unbiased review on the Polar M400 running watch. Polar is looking to change this equation: Polar : Hear Rate Monitors :: Garmin : GPS Watches (translation for the mathematically challenged: Polar, known most for heart rate monitor is looking to crack the near monopoly Garmin has on GPS watches). Should you abandon Garmin for an alternative and is the Polar M400 the alternative to Garmin you should try?

As far as reviews go, usually you can expect me to be highly opinionated on these things. I can be trusted to tell you how I really feel. So how do I really feel about the Polar M400? Read on! Read more

TED for Runners: Should You Announce Your Goals on Social Media?

Ideas worth spreading ... among runners!

Ideas worth spreading … among runners!

Today I’m bringing you our second installment of TED for Runners. Last time Salty shared a TED talk that helped us reframe prerace anxiety. This time I’m sharing Derek Siver’s TED Talk about goal-setting. If you’d like to watch the TED Talk before reading the post, you can find it at the bottom of the post, above the comments.


Imagine that you’ve just come up with a big running goal that you’re super-excited about.

What should you do to ensure the greatest likelihood of success for yourself?

A. Announce your goal to your friends and on your blog so you would be held accountable for your actions.

B. Program it into your fitness tracker bracelet. 

C. Write your goal and the steps you plan to use to achieve your goal in your personal and super secret diary.

The answer is . . . Read more

Readers Roundtable: Non-Running Uses for Your Running Stuff

You don't have to wear old timey clothes to be modest when biking in a dress - I use my running boyshorts and let my skirt fly. img via  CircaSassy on flickr

You don’t have to wear old timey clothes to be modest when biking in a dress – I use my running boyshorts and let my skirt fly. img via
CircaSassy on flickr

So you might have liked our official Facebook page, but did you know we also have a group that you can join?  You can use it to discuss your running questions with the Salty Running bloggers and connect with other readers?  We sure do, and over the weekend I was curious to know what non-running uses others have found for their running gear.

Basil uses a SPI Belt to keep her bear spray handy on hikes, Sage wears her lightweight vest around the house during the chilly winter months.  Vanilla and Catnip use their headlamps during power outages, or just when they need a little extra light for a project around the house.

As for me, I use my running stuff EVERYWHERE.  My favorite use?  I love to wear dresses during the summer, and I usually throw on a pair of tight running shorts underneath to make sure nobody gets a free show during my bicycle commute.

What about you, Salty ladies (and dudes)?  What’s your favorite creative way to use your running stuff outside of running? As always we’ll take your answers in the comments!

5 Simple Snacks for the Runner on the Go

fri5Raise your hand if you like to snack? Though I can’t actually see you, I’m willing to bet that all of you shot your hand into the ether above your head before finishing reading the sentence. We’re runners: snacking is a big part of our lives. It’s in our nature to grab a little something before or after a workout to help maintain our energy levels and repair our worn-out muscles. But constantly trying to think up new snack ideas can be time-consuming and, well, annoying since we need to make sure we’re getting that balance of energy-boosting carbs and vitamin-rich protein. But have no fear! Here are five of my favorite, easy-to-prep, carb/protein-balanced, portable snacks.

Mangia! Read more

Clove’s Badwater Training Log: 6.27.2015

There's way more to running Badwater than just running.  Part of the agenda for the second of four crew meetings.

There’s way more to running Badwater than just running. Part of the agenda for the second of four crew meetings.

As I write this post, I am a mere five working days from taper, with only two key workouts left.  It’s true.  I can’t believe I’m this close to the taper (and race day) – but then again, it’s been such a long, hot road that I believe every bit of it.  And then some.  The idea that I’m going to get up on Saturday morning and have nothing more required than an easy 5 seems the most luxurious thought imaginable.  But until then, there has been and will be lots more work! Read more

How to Train for Badwater: Extra Everything

How to train for Badwater.

How to train for Badwater.

It’s been no surprise to me that people are curious about Badwater – and even more curious about how one even begins to train for it.  There’s certainly not the wealth of “couch to Badwater” training programs that there are for the 5K, 10K, and half marathon distances; even my non-runner friends who are able to get their heads around 100-milers have been stymied anew by this latest adventure of mine.  Extra miles, extra hills, extra heat – well, extra everything.  Which, it turns out, is a pretty accurate description of my training – extra everything.

The elephant in the room:  how much time is this taking?  Two to five hours on weekdays, longer on the weekends.  I break it up between early morning and evening sessions.  I am lucky and grateful to have two fantastic employers and a flexible work schedule.  I am blessed beyond measure to have a husband who supports me, puts up with this, and above all else, inspired me with his own Badwater completion in 2013 – on his 50th birthday, no less.

To my mind, there are four critical components of training:  distance, hills, heat and mental acuity/sleep deprivation.  A focus on those disciplines alone is immensely time-consuming and still omits two very real wild cards:  wind and altitude.  Here’s an insider’s look at what I’ve been doing – and why. Read more

I Had It All Planned

When the alarm is set, the morning run is happening ... or is it? Image via wikimedia.

When the alarm is set, the morning run is happening … or is it? Image via wikimedia.

I had it all planned. I had run 10 miles the day before and knew I needed to run at least 3 recovery miles the next day. I checked the weather. I laid my clothes out and filled  my water bottle with my new concoction of yellow Gatorade and cranberry EmergenC. Hey, don’t judge. It works for me and at 80+ degrees outside I always carry fluids.  I also put a bottle of olive oil in the bathroom because I read somewhere that I should put it on my hair prior to going out for my run because of its great benefits. And finally I set my clock. Then eventually I went to bed. Read more

Oh, Canada! Honey’s Toronto Women’s 15k Race Report

There are plenty of reasons why I give traveling to faraway races a thumbs up.  (Even if they don't all give you shiny temporary tattoos.)

There are plenty of reasons why I give traveling to faraway races a thumbs up. (Even if they don’t all give you shiny temporary tattoos.)

I love to travel and I love running, but I might be finally ready to accept that traveling and racing like a boss don’t exactly go well together. I just got back from running a women’s 15k race in Toronto. I signed up for this race because 1) Toronto is close enough to New York City that I could do it in a quick weekend 2) I have a friend in there whom I haven’t seen in years and could catch up with 3) said friend was kind enough to let me stay with him and 4) I’ll admit that I wanted to add another finishers necklace to my collection -this was one of those Nike races where you get the Tiffany necklace in lieu of a medal- and 5) This would be a great way to explore a city.

I left New York on a Friday night directly after my teaching day. I kicked off the weekend with a cocktail and a snack at La Guardia airport. So far so good. Read more

Training for a Marathon is Scary


My last marathon finish! Please excuse Mr. Anger, he was too hard to crop out! (c. Disney Pixar)

I’m about nine weeks into my homemade, patched together marathon training plan, with about ten to go until the big day. And I’m starting to wonder if maybe this isn’t such a brilliant idea. The marathon is a monster, not the kind that hides under your bed and looks like Lyle Lovett, but one like Michael Jackson in Thriller:

Oh look the perfect boyfriend, the cute companion telling you how great you are, how in shape you are. Its only 26 measly little miles… Let’s just go dance in these woods right here… wait what’s that long side burn growing rapidly out of your face and why did a bunch of your lumbering, moaning friends just show up?

Too late.

Marathons are scary. Read more

Readers Roundtable: Advice to Your Teenage Self

We get a lot of reader email here at Salty Running. Lately, I’ve noticed an increase in questions from high school runners. The questions seem to focus a lot on issues like nutrition, weight and body image and of course, how to get faster. Reading these emails always get me thinking back to my days as a high school runner. I had no idea what I was doing. I barely ran in the off season, thought a mile was long distance and assumed that those faster than me were just way more talented. I really believed that no matter how hard I worked there was no way I’d ever go to state. So when I started training as an adult, obliterating my high school personal records and going on to compete to win local races, I was at once really impressed with myself and kinda annoyed that with my teenage self for assuming I sucked.

Since embarking on my running renaissance at the ripe old age of 29, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned things like consistency, persevering through rough patches and that talent needs to be nurtured for anyone to reach her potential. I want to shake my teenaged self and tell her to put in some consistent work rather than whining about not seeing instant results!

If I could just jump in a time machine to get 5 minutes with this girl! Photos by Heidi Johnson.

For this week’s roundtable we want to know what you’ve learned as an adult from running that you wish you could share with your teenaged self. It could be stuff running has taught you about life that would have made life a whole lot easier for you or just what you’ve learned about running that would have made you a better high school or college runner. Let’s hear it!


5 Things About Beach Running

fri5I recently returned from a vacation at the beach. Ahhhh, vacation! Fruity drinks, relaxation and fun in the sun. At least that’s what normal people think of when they think of a beach vacation. Us runners, though? Shoot. How am I going to get my training in? You know you’ve been the secret vacation buzzkiller kind of dreading days at the beach because it might interrupt your regularly scheduled training plan. You might think I’m here today to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. but I’m not. Instead, I’m bringing you 5 observations about beach running to help you adjust your beach vacation training expectations. Maybe they’ll help you get your training in or maybe they’ll help you let go a little and enjoy your beach vacation a little more. Either way, win! Read more

Cilantro’s Black Hills 50M Race Report

My customary pre-race selfie!

To be clear, the Black Hills 50-mile ultramarathon is only 50 miles.

And yet, I ran 55.

But I think I am getting ahead of myself here, so I will start at the beginning.

I registered for Black Hills shortly after choosing Burning River as my first 100-mile attempt because it fit into the time that my training plan called for a 50-mile race, and it was within the 500 mile radius that I try to fit my B and C races in to save money, gas, and painful 20+ hour drives (like last year’s Trail Rail 50M and HURL Elkhorn 50M). I didn’t learn my lesson last year to read about the course before registering, and erroneously assumed that the course would be like my memories of driving in Eastern South Dakota (flat and flatter) instead of my memories of Mount Rushmore (mini-mountains). Black Hills is held in Sturgis (it begins in Silver City) which is on the western and therefore more mountainous side of the state. I am not sure I will ever learn this lesson, as I still have no idea what the course at Burning River is like. Read more

Badwater and Cystic Fibrosis: Why I’m Breaking my Rule and Running for Charity

It's about more than "Running Badwater."

It’s about more than “Running Badwater.”

I’m running Badwater for charity, and it’s not an entirely easy decision.  I’ve long struggled with fundraising and running for charities, and here’s why:

A number of years ago, DB and I asked my mother to stop getting us “things” for birthdays and Christmas.  In truth, being that we are in that reversed financial position where we are better off than our respective parents, we didn’t want gifts at all, but we also didn’t want to hurt feelings or pride.  The point being, my mother’s very thoughtful solution was to begin donating to charities on our behalf – but they weren’t necessarily charities that were meaningful to us, or that we would typically support.

Because charities, causes and fundraising are very individual matters, and our own lives bring each of us to those that we are individually and inextricably linked to.  DB and I have a very personal connection with the Mid-Ohio Marine Foundation as well as Lima Company, an incredible group of local Marines who suffered tremendous and heartbreaking loss in Iraq ten years ago.  We are animal rights supporters and in particular support no-kill shelters and animal rescue/adoption services.  We have also found our lives touched time and time again by Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system.

Which is not to say that we haven’t donated to a variety of other causes.  That we don’t support a number of charities benefiting cancer research and cures, or high school boosters, or community programs.  It’s simply to say that these are the causes most important to us – individually.

And therein lies the rub. Read more

Clove’s Badwater Training Log – 6.26.2015

This is how I'm currently going to two-hour spinning classes, as well as doing some runs.  Five weeks out when this photo was taken last Monday!

This is how I’m currently going to two-hour spinning classes, as well as doing some runs. Five weeks out when this photo was taken last Monday!

It is strange, a bit, to post training logs in arrears.  Since I am feeling the present (rainy, again) day, I will start by speaking of today.  I am exhausted.  Just completely worn out.  Still not overtraining, which is almost disappointing, because then I’d get to back off before the taper.  But I’ve come this far, and with only 12 working days before the taper starts, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  My morning resting heart rate remains in the low 40’s; consistently between 41 – 43, with lows of 39 and 40 the past week.  While I have specific aches and tweaks on certain days, I don’t have lingering, chronic or all-over soreness.  I do have a lingering, chronic sense of boredom sometimes, but we’ll get through that.  That’s today, after big workouts this weekend not covered in this specific log.

Here’s last week: Read more

My Running Philosophy

Sometimes going your own way can lead you to the place you most want to be!

Sometimes going your own way can lead you to the place you most want to be!

When I first began running (again), I just ran. I wanted to get faster, and I thought to do that I had to run more. And sometimes that is true: if you’re a novice runner, often adding mileage will help you run faster. But eventually the newbie gains fall away and you have to try something different. But I didn’t know this. I just knew that, for most runners I knew, running faster meant running more.

Runners, especially new runners, feel a lot of pressure to follow strictly a training plan given by experts in the field. If you can follow the plan and it works for you, that’s great! But a plan that you can’t, don’t, or won’t follow, is actually a terrible plan, no matter how great it may seem, or how much it benefits others. The best training plan is one you will actually stick to, even if most people tell you it’s not optimal. By breaking all the “known” rules for running, I created a training plan that worked for me and this can work for you too. Read more