running advice

Staying motivated

Training for a marathon isn't an easy endeavor. There are early morning runs to avoid the heat, lots of long weekend runs, speed workouts, cross training, and to add to it, sleeping, eating and your non-running life! It can be hard to balance everything, especially during the summertime when we are taking vacations and enjoying the nice weather and longer days. Losing motivation or finding yourself skipping runs is a natural by product of training. When you find yourself in this predicament, try these 4 tips. They've helped me and Jessica out of a few ruts.

1. Meet a friend, or a group, for a run. Use your easy or recovery days to run with a friend. Use the time to chat and keep yourself honest with your pace (this should be your slower run). Group runs are great because of the different paces; one week the group pace might challenge you and another week, it's might help you hit that slow, easy pace.

2. Pick a destination. Use your running time to reconnect with friends and then continue the conversation over drinks, brunch or coffee. Or, head out by yourself - plot out runs that end at your favorite brunch spot, new coffee shops, or your local wine bar and reward yourself at the end.  Don’t forget your money (we keep our money and IDs in a plastic sandwich bag- it works)!

3. Change of scenery.  Keep things fresh or re-inspire your running by exploring new routes through your city. Hop on a subway, train or drive out to a park or lake you haven't run around.  If you’re traveling, look online for local running spots instead of leaving directly from your hotel. 

4. Accountability. Find a coach, a buddy, or a family member to hold you accountable. Give them your training schedule and ask them to ask you about your runs.  If that's too much, print out your monthly plan and tape it to the mirror in your bathroom or leave it on the fridge so you'll see it everyday.

Interview with a Runner - Maren Elliott

This week's runner is Maren Elliott. She's Jessica's cousin, originally from Portland and is one of the fastest women we know. She works at Swift, a digital and PR agency in Portland. When she's not working, you can find her running in Forest Park or biking around on her cruiser bike hitting up fitness classes (we've run into her weekly without planning it!) We love being her new neighbor.

When did you start running?
Growing up the only running I did was around a soccer field.  I loved sprinting after the ball or chasing down opponents but had no interest in going for a run outside of soccer.  My freshman year in high school I was persuaded to join the track team as a way to stay in shape during the off season for soccer.  I ended up being pretty good at it and got hooked. 

What inspires you to run?


While my entry into the sport was a fluke, my dad inspired me to keep with it and is the reason I became a runner. While I was in high school we had a ritual of running together every weekend and that continued on through college whenever I was home.  As I got faster and he got slower, we'd chose routes that started uphill and ended downhill so he could work "his advantage" on the downhill stretch, which meant leaning forward and letting momentum carry his weight downhill.  There are still routes around Portland that I run a particular way because it is how my dad and I always did it. 

What is your favorite running route? Why?
Forest Park anytime of the year, any day.  During the summer it is always cooler and more refreshing than the pavement and in the winter the tree canopy provides protection (some) from the rain).  The minute you step foot on the trails you feel far away from the city.

Favorite post-run meal?
Toast + two scrambled eggs + avocado + sea salt... and coffee.  

Best piece of running advice?
My first coach told me to keep my arms relaxed but strong.  I still think of this when I'm dead tired in the final miles of a race and use my arms to pull my legs through. 

Who would you love to run with and why?
I'd love to go for a run with Joan Benoit Samuelson.  She pioneered the way for female runners and is still kicking ass.

Are you running for fun or sport? 
Both!  I love competing at races but keep it fun running with close girlfriends. 

Favorite way to sweat other than run?
Yoga sculpt class at Core Power and road biking. 

Interview with a Runner

Our runner this week is Whitney Norman. Whitney works at a veterinary clinic in Portland, Oregon and lives along the Willamette River in John's Landing where she has access to fantastic city river runs with mountain views right outside her door. In the beginning of 2013, she started working with the Hot Birds to whip her fitness and nutrition habits into shape. Whitney doubted that she would ever be able to say that she truly enjoyed running, but, as she told us this week, "[She's] now been converted to one of the fortunate ones that truly gets to enjoy getting out there and running." Keep it up, Whit! 

How do you know us - Hot Bird Running?
I have the pleasure of knowing the Hot Birds through my fiancé, Match, who happens to be Jessica’s youngest brother. Match and I are getting married in the winter of 2014 and I wanted to start getting in shape for the big day. Lucky for me, as an extra bonus, I will be inheriting a fantastically motivating running coach as a sister-in-law and the Hot Birds!

What are your current running goals? Are you training for anything? 
I haven’t ever been driven by the idea of running, but, unfortunately for me, I also know it’s the best way to get in shape for the wedding. In January of this year, I started Hot Bird's Running and Nutrition Program.

Who or what inspires you to run?
I use to describe myself, "I’m not the most enthused runner," because for the first two months of training I had to literally shove myself out the front door with the image of myself in a white dress posing for eternally existing photographs to get started on my run. I have been very fortunate to have Jessica as a running coach. She is really what has inspired me to keep going. It’s been an unbelievable help for someone like me who struggles with running, to have someone to talk to when frustrated with my progress, or to get that extra boost of confidence in my ability to keep on.

In the last month I’ve really started to enjoy my running experience. I think the first time I truly had fun on a run was last month when Jess, Match and I all went for a run in Tryon Creek State Park. It was one of the most challenging runs I’ve been on to date, but it was also the most rewarding. It was truly a running breakthrough for me and since then I’ve felt fantastic while running. I’m so grateful to have had the team of Hot Birds at my back to keep pushing me on. I truly don’t believe I would have gotten to this point without their support.

What is your favorite running route/place to run?
Now that I’m off and running, my favorite route has become my run in Tryon Creek State Park. I’ve gotten the opportunity to go several times a week and it is always as challenging as it was the first time. There’s something great about running in the woods that keeps you watching your feet while dealing with the changes in hills. I always feel completely beat at the end but in a satisfied and happy way.

Who is your favorite person to run with and why? 
I also love the Tryon run because it’s one that I get to do with my fiancé, Match. It must be something that the Elliott’s do, because they are some of the most motivating people I’ve ever met. My experience as a runner has been short with a bit of a rocky start but I feel so blessed to have had the support of both Match and the Hot Birds to keep me on track. I would have never been able to get to where I am now without them.

What is the best piece of running advice you ever received and who was it from?
The best piece of running advice I’ve ever received was to run in run/walk intervals. I purchased a GymBoss at the beginning of my running program, and it has been such an enormous help. It was great training for me starting at the beginning because I wasn’t discouraged about not being able to run far. I could have breaks and continue on again until I had reached my goal. For me it essentially took away quitting when I was tired as an option.

What is your favorite running gear/piece of clothing?
Apart from the GymBoss as being my favorite accessory I would have to say that I absolutely love the Ta Ta Tamer sports bra from lululemon. I am fortunately well endowed in the chest region and as a runner is was a painful experience at first. I really do love the support that it gives me while taking away the massive shoulder pain.

Run Happy

Running makes us happy. We ensure that we run happy because we’ve learned to adjust our runs to what is happening in our life. We’ve found that running helps us return to balance and find our happiness.

  • Overly stressed? Slow down and enjoy the view.
  • A little angry? Crank out a race-pace run.
  • Sad? Just get out there and run (or walk) for 20 minutes – your mood will change!

How do we run happy? Simple, we enjoy it and adjust our runs when necessary. We push ourselves during those 3-mile track workouts because, while not always fun, these workouts instill strength that brings a smile to our faces. However, we take time to enjoy runs as well. Jessica and I make it a point to have a friend run every now and again, where we don’t talk business; we simply catch up on our lives. We walk when we want and we try different routes. We aren’t afraid to run by ourselves and ask for a solo run every now again.

Our five ways to run happy:

  1. Look up and enjoy the view.
  2. Run with a friend.
  3. Slow down or speed up! Adjust your runs and expectation.
  4. Download new music.
  5. Pick a different route.

An Interview with a Runner

Martina Ladd, a Brooklyn Heights mom and runner, was part of our 10k training group for Brooklyn Moms. She loves being outside and traveling with her family. This lady is no joke - she's moved seemlessly from being an investment banker to a mom of twins to a 10k star!

How do you know us - Hot Bird Running?
I was introduced through Brooklyn Babes Running, which a friend started.

What are your current running goals? Are you training for anything? 
I am aiming to do a half marathon in June.   It's going to take a lot of training though!

Who or what inspires you to run?
The need to be outside and feel clear-headed. I am also still running off baby-weight.

What is your favorite running route/place to run?
I like to run along the river in Brooklyn Bridge Park and sometimes over the bridge but I really miss Central Park for running.

Who is your favorite person to run with and why? 
Jessica Green by far!  She has given me amazing advice and she's fun to talk to so it makes the time go by faster.

What is the best piece of running advice you ever received and who was it from?
Of course it was from Jessica!  She said to go against my instinct to open my stride going up hills.  You want to take smaller steps instead of larger steps.  That has helped incredibly.  She also got me through my first 5-mile road race by telling me to go slowly.  I did and had a blast!  She was there to give me a big bear hug near the end too. What else could you want from a coach?

What is your favorite running gear/piece of clothing?
My Adidas sports bra!