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Christine Luff

Running / Jogging

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What to Do With Your Old Race T-Shirts

Wednesday April 23, 2014

race T-shirts

I know some people get enjoyment out of cleaning, but I would rather get a cavity filled than tackle a major cleaning of our home. The only thing that gets me a little bit excited aboutspring cleaningis the annual clutter reduction we accomplish by purging stuff in our closets or drawers that we no longer need. If you find that you have a lot of race T-shirts cluttering up your closets and drawers, here are a few ways to reuse them.

Donate them. If your race T-shirts are in good condition, donate them to a charity that accepts clothing. Just make sure towash them if they're already been worn.

Give them to an animal shelter. Call your local animal shelter and see if they need donated T-shirts for rags or other uses.

Make them into a quilt. If you're into quilting, you can create a quilt of your T-shirts. Or, send your T-shirts to a company such as the Campus Quilt Company and they'll make one for you. This beautiful keepsake is functional, and also preserves your race memories.

Use them to clean. Old T-shirts actually make great rags - you can use them for dusting, washing the car, etc., then wash and re-use.

Any other ideas? Please share in the comments.

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How to Watch the Boston Marathon

Wednesday April 16, 2014

The 118th Boston Marathon runs on Monday, April 21 (Patriots' Day in Massachusetts) and if can't make it to Beantown to be part of the excitement, you can still catch live coverage on television or online.

The race kicks off at 9:32 a.m., with the elite women start. The elite men and first of four waves follow at 10:00 a.m. Here are your options for watching it:

On TV: The race will be televised live locally in Boston on WBZ-TV (Channel 4), with coverage starting at 7:00 a.m. Universal Sports Network will have coverage from 8:30 am to 1:00 p.m. If you don't know if you get Universal Sports, go to their website and enter your zip code and cable provider to find out what channel to watch.

Online: The 2014 Boston Marathon will be streamed live online for free at http://watchlive.baa.org/ starting at 9:30 a.m. ET.

To track your family and friends:

You can get your runner's race splits every 5K on the Boston Marathon website. The AT&T Athlete Alert will send subscribers text messages or email alerts when your runner reaches the following points: start, 10K, half marathon, 30K, and finish . Just make sure you have your runner's bib number when you register.

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What Not to Say to Marathon Runners

Wednesday April 16, 2014

If you're getting ready to run the Boston marathon or another upcoming marathon, you've most likely heard some ridiculous ("So how far is this marathon?") and perhaps rude ("Why haven't you lost weight?") comments. Here are some comments marathon runners just don't want to hear, as well as responses to them:

10 Things Not to Say to Marathon Runners

What rude or insensitive comments about running have you heard? Share them here.

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Don't Forget the Sunscreen

Monday April 14, 2014

runner with sunscreen

Now that the weather is finally getting warmer in my area and I'm wearing shorts and short sleeves for my runs, I need to get back in the habit of applying sunscreen before runs. Although it's not summer yet, you can still get a bad sunburn when running in the spring. Follow these tips to make sure you're protecting your skin:

Choose the right sunscreen. Use a waterproof sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and offers broad spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Stick formulations are good for runners' faces because the sunscreen won't run into your eyes.

Don't skip sunscreen for short runs. You can get a sunburn in as little as 10-15 minutes, so a short run means you still need sunscreen.

Reapply after two hours. Sunscreen starts to lose effectiveness at about the two-hour mark, or even sooner if you're sweating heavily, so you'll need to reapply if you're doing a long run or race. Carry a small tube of sunscreen or a one-use sunscreen wipe in your pocket, so that you can reapply it to your face, neck and arms as you run.

Get more tips for protecting your skin from the sun.

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What To Do With Your Race Medals

Monday April 7, 2014

After you've run a marathon or another big race, you quickly learn that you have a very short "acceptable medal wearing" period. Yes, you should be proud of your accomplishment, but people may start to look at you funny if you continue to wear your medal about 24 hours after you've crossed the finish line. So once you've proudly worn your medal and taken lots of photos with it, you may be wondering, Now what do I do with this thing? Rather than stuffing your race hardware in a drawer or box, here are some ideas:

Create a shadow box display. If you don't want to pay a lot of money to get your medal, along with a race photo and bib, professionally mounted and framed, try doing it yourself. Just buy an inexpensive shadow box, fill it with your race memorabilia, hang it on your wall and you'll have a nice-looking reminder of your achievement.

medalart hanger

Hang it up. If you have a collection of medals, show them off on one of these cool MedalART Wall Hangers. These metal, hand-sculpted hangers come in six different designs and can hold up to 24 medals. It's a perfect running gift for a runner on your list (or for your own wish list)!

Donate it. Medals4Mettle (M4M) is a non-profit organization that collects marathon, half-marathon, and triathlon medals from runners around the world and distributes them to children and adults who have demonstrated courage by dealing with disease, handicaps or any similar challenge. The Indianapolis-based organization has a nationwide network of doctors and others who award the medals to deserving, courageous people who are running their own race. Check out Medals4Mettle's website if you're interested in donating a medal.

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Photo courtesy of goneforaRUN.com

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Tips for Racing in Warm Weather

Monday April 7, 2014

April can be a tricky time to race a marathon because, although the dates of marathons are usually chosen to coincide with cool temperatures, you may have the unfortunate luck of getting an extremely hot and humid race day. Running during those conditions in April is even more difficult than doing it in July or August because, after training in the cold all winter, most runners are not prepared to run in the heat and humidity.

If you're gearing up for a big race and the forecast is calling for hot weather, here are some tips:

Stay well-hydrated. Make sure you're well-hydrated during the week leading up to the race, especially on route to your race destination and once you get there.

Re-evaluate your goals. On a race day, take weather conditions into account. Brutal heat and humidity mean you should scale back your performance goals. Don't try to beat the heat.

Dress lightly. Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process, and dark colors absorb the sun's light and heat. Light colors reflect the sun from your skin.

Cool off with water. At the water stops, take two cups of water - one to drink and one to dump on yourself. Splashing water on your head and body will cool you down quickly and have a lasting effect as the water evaporates from your skin. Just try to keep your feet dry, since wet feet can lead to blisters.

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Reader Success Story Running Helped Me Lose 130 Pounds

Friday April 4, 2014

"It was time to do something for myself," says reader Juli, referring to the moment she realized she wanted to lose weight. "I'm a stay-at-home mom who raised two boys, but now the nest is empty and it's time to get healthy so I can travel to visit them."

Juli put her weight loss plan into action by starting with food changes. She learned to eat breakfast and swapped out processed food for vegetables. "I learned to do without butter and sauces and now love balsamic vinegar and a little feta to flavor so many foods," she says.

After the weight started to come off, she started riding the stationary bike and running on the treadmill. Now a remarkable 130 pounds lighter, Juli jogs and/or rides six days a week. "But I don't get mad at myself if something comes up," she says.

Read more about Juli's weight loss success story and her tips. And then share your own weight loss success story.

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Be Prepared for April Showers

Wednesday April 2, 2014

running in rain

Although April brings milder weather, it also means a greater chance of rain in the forecast. I don't mind running in the rain, as long as I'm wearing a hat with a brim, to keep the rain off my face. In fact, there have been some runs on hot, humid summer days when I actually wished it would rain!

Are you one of those runners who loves running in the rain? Have you ever done it before? If you do like to run in the rain or you want to try it, here's some advice for running in the rain:

Don't overdress. This is one the biggest mistakes runners make when heading out for a rainy run. Wearing more layers will not keep you dry. Unless you're running with an umbrella over your head, you'll definitely get wet. If you have tons of layers on, you'll just be wearing more wet, heavy clothes. Dress for the temperature, as if it were a dry day.

Be visible. Select an outer layer that's light-colored or has reflective strips, since running in the rain often means poor visibility.

Prevent chafing. If you're running long, spread Body Glide or Vaseline on parts of your body where you would normally chafe or get blisters -- such as your feet, inner thighs, underarms, sports bra lines (women), and nipples (men).

Get more tips for running in the rain.

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Don't Be an April Fool Use Sunscreen

Tuesday April 1, 2014

summer running

One of the worst sunburns of my adult life happened during the Boston Marathon years ago. It was an unseasonably warm day in April and the race started at 12:00 p.m., so the sun was directly overhead. After training through a long, cold winter, it was the first time in five months that I was running outside with shorts and a tank top, and it hadn't occurred to me to apply sunscreen. Fortunately, some helpful spectators at the start were squirting sunscreen into the hands of unprepared runners like me. I was able to quickly slather it on my face, shoulders, and neck -- but didn't bother to cover the back of my legs. By the end of the race, my calves were bright pink. The pain from the sunburn was actually worse than the post-marathon muscle soreness.

Although it's not summer yet, you can still get a bad sunburn while running, trust me. Follow these tips to make sure you're protecting your skin:

Choose the right sunscreen. Use a waterproof sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and offers broad spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Stick formulations are good for runners' faces because the sunscreen won't run into your eyes.

Apply sunscreen ahead of time. Slather on your sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you head out for your run. Your skin needs time to absorb the lotion.

Don't skip sunscreen for short runs. You can get a sunburn in as little as 15 minutes, so a short run means you still need sunscreen.

Reapply after two hours. Sunscreen starts to lose effectiveness at about the two-hour mark, or even sooner if you're sweating heavily, so you'll need to reapply if you're doing a long run or race. Carry a small tube of sunscreen or a one-use sunscreen wipe in your pocket, so that you can reapply it to your face, neck and arms as you run.

Put on sunscreen before getting dressed. Some running clothes are made of mesh or very thin fabric, so they might not provide protection from the sun's rays. Also, your clothes move when you run. So it's best to make sure you're fully covered with sunscreen.

Get more tips for protecting your skin from the sun.

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Spring Marathon Countdown

Monday March 31, 2014

It's Spring marathon season and with lots of marathons coming up in the next several weeks, many runners have already begun or will soon be starting the tapering phase of their marathon training.

During the last couple of weeks of marathon training, it's important that you taper, or cut back your mileage, to give your body and mind a chance to rest, recover, and prepare for running 26.2 miles. What you do and don't do during your tapering period can really make or break your race. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the last two weeks before your marathon:

  • Resist the urge to run longer and harder during your tapering phase. You're not going to make any fitness improvements with two weeks to go before the marathon. Try to remember: Less is more. Running less reduces your risk of injury, allows time for rest and recovery from all your training, and allows your muscles to store carbohydrates in preparation for your race.
  • Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals), and drink plenty of fluids. In the days leading up to your marathon, about 65-70% of your calories should come from carbs.
  • Sleep is also an important part of your taper. You don't need to sleep for excessive amounts of time, but aim for at least eight hours a night.

Get more marathon tapering tips.

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Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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