Running Terms Made Simple


The main reason I don’t plan my posts too far in advance is because I always end up having a random thought or experience which we need to discuss immediately.

Tuesdays are typically topic/advice type posts over here and while I thought that I wanted to talk in one direction today, we are going in another.

topic tuesday running

I took my new running shoes out for a spin yesterday morning.

I originally thought yesterday’s workout would consist of cross training inside on the elliptical machine since I had run a few days in a row but that was quickly canceled when I purchased the new sneakers on Sunday because running in them for the first time really couldn’t wait.

adidas adistar boost

My father was surprised I didn’t run a mile immediately after bringing the new shoes home on Sunday.

Would you have run quick to try them out? It didn’t even cross my mind probably because it was late afternoon when I arrived home and I don’t run in the afternoon.

Anyway, yesterday’s run. The plan was to take it easy for a few miles since I logged a lot of miles over the last few days so I just wanted to enjoy the new shoes and feel them out.

I certainly didn’t plan on running 5.75 miles in negative splits.

As my current average pace chimed in my ear after each mile, it was clear that I was getting faster and faster naturally and easily.

I decided at mile four that I must continue that negative pattern so that my entire run was in negative split fashion because the thought of it made me happy since I wasn’t really trying and felt great.

In my head for that last mile, I related myself to a pitcher in baseball realizing he was close to securing a no-hitter.

It’s like you obviously always want it but didn’t go out there looking for it but suddenly you find yourself in the ninth inning oh so close without giving up a hit.

You might be wondering what a negative split is, which is the point of my post.

There are so many running terms that sound all technical, complicated and foreign.

As intelligent as I am (really, I am quite smart and that’s okay to admit because it is good for your self-esteem to call yourself smart) I hate technical terms, definitions and descriptions.

Please explain things to me using simple non-SAT words and phrases with words in the definition which don’t require me to use a dictionary just to further define what we are looking to understand in the first place.

Did you know that we better understand and retain information when we are able to comprehend and apply the meaning to our real life experiences?

In the event you like things explained to you in child-like terms like me, I thought we would look at a couple of common running terms today and hopefully explain them in a language you understand.

Negative Splits:

When each interval (or mile) is run at a faster pace than the last.

For example, my run yesterday looked something like this:

Mile One: 9:30 min/mile

Mile Two: 9:11 min/mile

Mile Three: 9:06 min/mile

Mile Four: 8:45 min/mile

Mile Five: 8:04 min/mile

Do you follow?

Running in negative splits shows me that I didn’t start out too fast, gave myself some time to warm-up and adjust which kept me from burning out too quickly.

Lately I have been running in negative splits a lot more often than I used to I think because I have gotten better at forcing myself to start slower to get the blood flowing, conserve some energy and then spend it later in the runs.

I have certainly noticed in my longer runs that rather than feel fatigued let’s say at mile nine, I am still feeling energized and raring to go.

I really like this link which goes a little more in-depth about negative splits. Read it. The information is simple to comprehend.


The definition of Fartlek in Swedish is “Speed Play” but I am not Swedish and only speak Swedish when selecting my fish.

I like the smaller red ones opposed to the larger ones because the larger ones get stuck in my teeth more often.

In simple terms, a fartlek type of run combines continuous training with interval training. Typically run for 40-60 minutes (obviously you can do more/less), you break up the run by sprinting, jogging and then sprinting again.

I often run fartleks without even realizing. I find these types of runs terrific for getting a good workout in and offering some balance in that you aren’t running super fast for the entire run since you have some slower paced lengths built-in between.

I think fartleks have helped me to build my endurance as well as my ability to handle the faster speeds for longer lengths of time.

This link is nice for explaining fartleks more in-depth without overwhelming your reading comprehension skills.

Tempo Runs:

The language associated with explaining tempo runs definitely gets technical since it is often referred to as an anaerobic-threshold run or lactate-threshold run.

They lose me at terms like anaerobic-thresholds and lactate-thresholds.

I really am smart, I swear it.

So let’s try to understand these thresholds.

Threshold pace is the effort level just below which the body’s ability to clear lactate, a by-product of carbohydrate metabolism, can no longer keep up with lactate production.

Uh huh.

So that burning feeling in your legs? That’s the lactate threshold. By incorporating tempo runs into your routine (structured, faster-paced miles), you are teaching your body to adapt and clear out the lactate build up quicker which will prevent that burning feeling.

Tempo runs also increase your VO2 max which simply means increasing your ability to take in oxygen to make energy in your muscles.

A tempo run is run at a “comfortable-hard” pace, typically 25-30 seconds per mile slower than current 5k race pace.

This link goes totally in-depth on tempo runs. Good luck.

An easier read, in simple terms is here.

Did you know that the adolescent brain can only focus and retain information for a super short period of time? This is the main reason that lessons and classroom discussions are held to short periods per subject matter.

I tend to think that the same applies to adults. We can only focus and retain a certain amount of information at once so for this reason, we are stopping at these three definitions for today.

I feel like I should be sitting in a classroom. If I had a bell, I guess this is where it would ring but I find that sound obnoxious and sometimes scary if you are not totally expecting it to go off.

I also find fruit flies obnoxious. That’s what I keep telling the flies as they look at my bananas on the kitchen counter.

No questions today. I feel like questions would seem like homework after this school-like lecture. Just tell me something random instead.





How To Save Money Grocery Shopping Without Coupons

I don’t watch very much television. I mean, I have a few shows that I consider must-see-tv and I have no issue admitting to you that Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Long Island Medium and Honey Boo Boo are on this list.

There is just something about that Boo Boo of a family that cracks me up.

I know Mama June ( who I cannot even grasp is younger than me) is an extreme couponer but I just cannot do it, no matter how I have tried.


Coupons are lovely and all but if you eat a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables, nutrient-dense foods, organic foods and more natural products, you aren’t going to find much success with the mainstream clippable savings.

If you watch Honey Boo Boo, you already know that if one of the clan utters a curse word, the punishment is to eat a vegetable.

In my latest attempt to save money in order to support my Red Mango and summer-dining-out-way-too-much habit, I have been looking for new ways to cut corners.

I always take a look at my monthly bills/expenses to see what I can eliminate or reduce.

Since I can’t give up electricity, I finally bit the bullet and canceled my old-fashioned daily newspaper subscription.

The main reason I was still holding on to newspaper delivery was for my favorite Sunday grocery coupon booklets.


Each Sunday I would get all excited to clip away only to be disappointed week after week to see only brands and foods I seldom eat or buy for the house.

I know we can print many a coupon from brand websites but I have also come to learn that this route doesn’t always save me much because I just end up buying more products or different products than I normally would costing me more money.

Not to mention, it’s time-consuming seeking out internet coupons and then printing them.

I got to thinking about other ways to save money on groceries without using coupons and wanted to share my thought-process/plan with you this morning.

Track the local store circulars:

Overall, Trader Joe’s will give me the best value if I need to pick one store to get the grocery shopping done.

They don’t accept coupons and don’t run sales but their regular pricing is decent enough that you are not overpaying when compared to other grocery store pricing.

However, if I have some time to hit an extra store or two, usually I can save some money by seeking out the weekly grocery store specials by sorting through the circulars each week.

grocery sale list

I jot down a quick list of the sales for the foods I may want in a language only I understand and keep the list in my planner.

I hate running to multiple stores but if the sales are significant, I am so there.


I currently have six pints of blueberries in my refrigerator for $6.99. You can’t beat this deal and no, not one berry will go to waste.

Target Cartwheel app: If your local Target has groceries (which I think most do) check out the Target Cartwheel App for special savings.

I usually scan through the deals each week on my phone, click on what I think I may buy and then all you do is show the bar code to the cashier in order to receive the discounts.

If you have a Target Red Card too, that’s an additional 5% off of the total price. It may not sound like a lot but really, it all adds up.

My Target Red Card is set up as a debit card, meaning, it comes directly out of my checking account rather than act as a credit card that runs up a bill.

Limit grocery store trips:

This is a tough one for me. Keeping fresh fruit and vegetables in the house requires a few trips to the store a week.

However, popping in just for strawberries often leads to buying other things as well which costs more money than you intended to spend.

trader joe's shopping cart

I am going to work on skipping over a shopping trip or two that I think I need but really don’t.

I don’t need it all, all the time:

I just don’t need it all. I don’t need spinach AND kale AND romaine lettuce.

I don’t need broccoli AND cauliflower PLUS eggplant AND zucchini.

I am going to force myself to make my selections based upon what’s on special, skip the multiple types of produce and that’s that. No exceptions. I never have a vegetable go bad on me but I also don’t need to eat so many varieties in one week.

Dirty Dozen:

The organic food debate really deserves its own post entirely. Do you buy organic or do you avoid it because it costs more?

I do a little bit of both. I do what I can afford while keeping the Dirty Dozen list in mind.

I have read so much on this subject and the bottom line is, of course you want to buy organic when you can but the nutrients in the foods outweigh your risk from the pesticides.

Meatless Monday:

I won’t try to convert you to a plant-based diet but you should know that swapping out a meat based meal for plant-based will absolutely save you some money.

organic beans

A can of organic chick peas which offers about three and a half servings will cost you around $1.19 (at Trader Joe’s). A package of chicken cutlets will run you at least six dollars depending upon store and brand.

Honoring Meatless Monday as well as going meatless a couple more times a week definitely saves money and is good for your health too.

Use up what’s in your freezer before restocking:

Sometimes when I am grocery shopping I get all load-the-cart happy and throw things in that I will need….eventually.

I have stopped doing this and now try to wait until I use up what’s in my freezer and even my pantry before buying another bag of frozen vegetables or granola bars.


You have seen my freezer. We both know I don’t need another frozen item for a good month.

Costco and BJ’s isn’t always a money saver:

Buying in bulk gives you more food at a time but that doesn’t mean it works out cheaper.

If you aren’t going to eat five pounds of broccoli before it goes bad, you are spending more money on food than you should.

On this same idea, I buy the smallest container of skim milk because most of the time, we don’t even finish it.

And, if we run out, I can always buy more.

skim milk

It sure beats buying a half-gallon, paying more money and spilling out half of it.

Meal Plan:

I don’t meal plan. I don’t like having to decide what I for dinner Tuesday night on Sunday.

Rather, I keep the house stocked with my staples and throw it all together each day according to my mood.

I know that people love their meal planning and it can certainly help you to save some money buy shopping specifically for what you plan to make and eat.

Ironically enough, my son likes a meal plan during the summer. He comes home from camp really hungry and he enjoys planning out what I will have ready for him for dinner each night.

I think I will get a bit more into detail regarding our recent summer dinner meal plan next week but one of his favorites is “The Big Sandwich”.

big sandwich

He requests a big roll (whole wheat which I get at Whole Foods) with turkey, cucumbers, lettuce, pickles and mustard.

Cheaper (and healthier) than Subway.

If you ever wonder why I never run out of things to say, it is mainly because once I start typing, the thoughts start flowing. And, once I start writing one post, more post ideas develop.

From writing this post, I am now thinking we need to address the following:

  • Must-have foods (regardless of price/sale/special)
  • Organic, Hormones/Antibiotics in animal protein and the Dirty Dozen
  • Meal Planning
  • Easy Meatless Meals

I think I will get to work on those posts today!


Are you a coupon clipper?

Favorite reality television shows? You can admit them, I won’t judge.

How do you go about saving money on groceries?    

How To Become A Morning Runner


I have a really great group of friends. I really like them.

If you must know the truth, I think my friends should be honored I feel this way about them because if you know me, you know I have little tolerance for people.

hate people and pants

Forever my motto.

It is actually nice to know that my friends feel the same way about me as well. At least I think they do?

We all get moody. We all have days where we are dealing with serious life issues or just a PMS mood swing where we don’t  feel like talking to anyone and wish to hide from the world.

It warms my heart to know that when this happens to any of my close friends, they avoid everyone…except for me.

They choose to talk to me because I am, for the most part, non-judgemental, help to put things into perspective, listen without trying to conjure up a solution and when all else fails, I get them to laugh and always recommend an ice cream cone with sprinkles.

There are times however where my true opinion is asked. There are also times where I can’t be all that sweet and kind because I am rather honest and blunt, especially on certain topics.

Sometimes I am asked for help in such a way that it seems everything must be easy and quick for me to answer, as if I can rattle off recipes in one text, advice and tips in the next message and solve all of the world’s problems in a matter of minutes.

topic tuesday running

Recently I was asked how to become a morning runner.

I can certainly throw at you a string of words and phrases which resemble some the cookie-cutter  How-To lists generated from a google search on the subject but something like that coming from someone like me wouldn’t be all that genuine.

The truth is, I have always been a morning person. I have never used an alarm clock in my entire life and sleeping in as a kid meant not opening my eyes until 7:00 am.

Over the course of my 36 years of life, maybe I have stayed asleep past 9:00 am a handful of times.

If you are not a morning person, I haven’t the slightest idea how to tell you to get up earlier to workout other than simply say, get yourself out of bed and go.

I can’t relate to your inability to get up in the morning. I don’t understand why you need a buzzing beeping sound to rattle you out of sleep.

exercise in morning

I don’t know how you skip a morning workout in favor of sleeping in to then stumble through your morning routine with half an eye opened on your way to work.

I don’t understand how sleeping an extra hour can offer you the same energy and cheery mood that an endorphin-producing morning run as short as thirty minutes can.

You make no sense to me when you say you can’t find thirty minutes a couple of mornings a week to get up and get out there.

And you have a treadmill in your house? But you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed, put your clothes on and push the button? Please explain.

You often skip your evening plan for a workout because life gets in the way? Please tell me what is getting in the way at 5:30 am, even if only a few times a week.

Unless you need to catch a 6:00 am flight or leave for work at a super early hour, I don’t know how to relate.

I realize I am being a bit narrow-minded, blunt and harsh but sometimes, especially when it comes to situations like this, my friends need to be spoken to in this manner. Sometimes these precise words and questions are necessary to get them to stop making excuses and to finally see where they can make adjustments to their routine.

Since I don’t want to upset you and because I can’t buy you an ice cream cone to make peace, here is a sweetened up version of what I just said:

*A morning workout gives you energy to power through your day.

*An early morning run or workout will put a smile on your face, reduce some stress and help you to be kinder to the people who encounter you afterwards.

*Running in the morning frees up time later for life to get in the way.

And on the same note, very little can interfere with your morning workout. Think about it; nothing is interfering when you are choosing to stay asleep so what would get in the way if you chose to instead get up and do some burpees, planks and jumping jacks in your living room?

*Starting your day with a workout may help you to stick to your healthy diet and lifestyle.

*Waking up earlier may help you to go to get into bed earlier which may lead to less night-time snacking, possible weight loss and maybe even better – more hours of sleeping.

*Getting up an hour earlier than normal may leave you tired within the first few minutes but you won’t feel it once you get moving nor will you notice it later in the day.

*At 5:00 pm, you will be happy your workout was already completed.

I really wish I could tell you that sleeping in your workout apparel will help you to get up in the morning and run but I just can’t say this to you and feel serious about it.

I know some people do this (to each their own I suppose), but it’s not something I can relate to or recommend.

I cannot fathom sleeping in a running skirt and a sweat-wicking athletic top with a built-in bra and back closure clip that I think would dig into my skin.

Listen people. It is summer. The sun is up and out early. Join it.

Wake up and put your clothes up like a big girl (or boy). Brush your teeth, sip your coffee or water and eat a banana or whatever it is you need to do in order to lace up and get moving.

Set the routine now so that when winter comes, you are already adapted to the morning workout regimen and won’t be tempted to stay under the covers when it is cold and dreary out there.

Ugh, let’s not even think about that now.


Are you a morning person or do you prefer to sleep in?

What time is your most effective workout time?

Do you sleep in your gym clothes?

Do you have friends you turn to when you feel like talking to no one else?




How Pregnancy and Motherhood Affected My Running Routine



Today let’s talk a little bit about how pregnancy and motherhood affected my running routine.

Even if you don’t have kids or are past this point in your life, it’s worth reading along anyway.

I didn’t run while I was pregnant.

As you know from last week’s post, running did not become my fitness first love or priority until a few years ago.

I did however go to the gym five days a week for years and then attempted to keep up that fitness routine while I was pregnant.

They say you can maintain your activity level while pregnant as your body is already used to your fitness routine so long as you go by how you feel and make adjustments as your baby continues to grow in your belly.

Once I found out I was pregnant, I quickly stopped doing sit ups.  I stuck to thirty minutes on the elliptical machine or treadmill as my main form of exercise.

One morning at the gym before work (maybe I was eight weeks along?) the smell inside the locker room nearly killed me. Pregnancy hormones will do this to you.

I got myself out of that gym as fast as possible in order to take a shower at home. I was late for work (I am never late!)  but staying alive was more important than being on time that day. The stop at the bagel store for an egg sandwich was pretty important too.

I didn’t step foot inside a gym again for a good three years.

I always thought I would maintain my fitness routine while pregnant but my body told me otherwise.

I had a fairly easy pregnancy (aside from a bout with bed rest at 28 weeks) but I was nauseous a whole bunch in the beginning. I was exhausted by the end of the work day and as my belly got bigger, my back hurt too. Trying to function just to complete daily tasks was not easy.

When I felt well, which was really most of the time, I kept up my usual morning exercise routine by going for a walk before work. I also went for daily walks during my lunch break. Those lunch break walks often included a stop at TCBY for a shake on the walk back to work but hey, I was pregnant and hungry.

I still don’t know what I weighed or gained during my pregnancy since I never looked at the scale but I absolutely enjoyed myself. From what I now understand,  I gained at least the recommended 35 pounds (I asked the doctor afterwards if I met that amount) which all came off within the first year and then some.

My father only wanted to get me a treadmill right before my son was born so that I would be able to get back into my fitness routine without leaving the house.

But I didn’t want it.

I didn’t want a treadmill in my house because I didn’t need it staring at me each day as a reminder that I couldn’t find thirty minutes to walk or run on it.

I knew that having a treadmill in my house would make me feel guilty for collapsing into my bed at night, for choosing to shower for more than twenty seconds when I could or sitting down to eat when possible rather than use that time to squeeze in a treadmill run.

Some people can use their exercise equipment as a clothing rack but I knew that I couldn’t.

I would have viewed that treadmill as a responsibility and when you have a baby, the last thing you need is another responsibility.

Taking care of an infant is grueling. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

The first six weeks after pregnancy you aren’t even allowed to exercise because your body needs to recover. Your hormones need to stabilize, wounds need to heal and all that recovery requires some rest too. I never got around to that rest part.

My form of exercise was to simply survive taking care of a baby.

Just carrying that car seat, taking the stroller in and out of the car multiple times a day and getting through a 24 hour period was a daily marathon.

At the six-week mark, I did try to return to a fitness routine at home where I did sit ups and free weights but honestly, I was petrified about the lactic acid getting into my milk which was known to make a nursing baby fussy.

Trust me, I didn’t need another variable thrown into the mix as to why my baby was crying, screaming, fussing and up all night long.

Aside from driving, nursing was the only time I was able to sit down. Luckily, those rest moments were actually burning calories and tightening my stomach muscles. You know, you burn on average 500 calories a day just from nursing.

I didn’t belong to the gym anymore or schedule daily workout sessions but I sure did a lot of walking. We were always somewhere, always on a walk in the neighborhood or through a mall.

jeep stroller

I did have a jogging stroller but I think I bought it for the entertaining steering wheel thing rather than for its ability to help me run.

I honestly thought that the friendly dashboard would keep the kid humored and quiet <—new mother who knew nothing.

Nowadays they have fitness programs for moms called Stroller Strides.

I totally recommend this program and would have signed up for those sessions but really, I did those strides on my own everyday.

Key point here: You do not need to pay to attend a structured stroller fitness group to get moving.

Simply strapping your baby in safely and heading outside for a walk (or run) or even just walking the malls endlessly like I did is all you need.

Setting out for thirty minutes a day of stroller walking is enough to get the endorphins flowing, blood pumping, muscles working and hopefully, a baby sleeping.

Stroller walking is exercise. If you can run with the stroller, even better.

I learned rather quickly that the journey of motherhood means your life isn’t all that your own anymore.

sharing ice cream

You even have to share your ice cream.

I was a stay-at-home mom and wouldn’t trade it for the world but it wasn’t easy.

My husband worked beyond full-time so it was all on me, especially as a nursing mother. Let’s not get into my son not taking a bottle.

Those infant and toddler stages, the moments where your children need you every second are so short-lived and part of me knew that.

I chose to use the short breaks of time that I had to myself to get my nails done or go food shopping alone rather than head to a gym or out for a run.

I always figured that once I sent my son to preschool, I would rejoin the gym and have some regularly scheduled time to devote to my fitness routine again.

I also knew that I had to balance that return to the gym with knowing there would be days I couldn’t get there.

Days on end where my son would be sick which would keep us homebound.

Days where it would snow and driving us both to the gym just so I could take a kick boxing class or use the elliptical machine was not worth it.

Days where he would be off from school and sending him to the gym babysitting room wouldn’t fit into our schedule.

halloween party

I may not have been as fit as I am now but I was able to carry a baby in one hand, groceries in the other and somehow unlock the front door.

I could change a messy diaper on the fly and had the strength to somehow get my son who refused to bend when it was time to get into a stroller all buckled in.

I could give him a bath and wash his hair all while he insisted on standing yet unable to stand on his own which meant I had to hold him steady.

If you want to know the truth, the strength I had back then far surpasses my running endurance now.

I swear I don’t know how I did it all, all day long and then into the night to only start over again in the morning.

I would like to have another baby one day. I don’t know that I will but I do often think about it and wonder how I would handle things this time.

Running is my thing. I look forward to it each day (well, not every day since one needs a break but I hate those breaks because then I miss my run) but if I were pregnant, would I be able to keep it up this time?

Would I jump out the door six weeks post-partum?

Would my stroller walks be more like stroller runs?

I really don’t know.

I read many a blog about pregnant runners and mothers of young children running pretty regularly and even running races.

I have a feeling that if I were a new mom, reading those blogs would make me feel guilty for all of those days where the last thing I thought about was being able to run.


I found this picture in a photo album last night – I clearly wore my running shoes but the only running they saw was through Chuck E. Cheese.

I don’t think I would trade any of those runs through Chuck E Cheese for the world.


Did you keep up your fitness routine while pregnant?

Nursing moms- has exercised affected your milk supply?

Anyone ever try Stroller Strides?

Do blogs ever make you feel guilty or feel as though you need to run/workout more than you already are?








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