Category Archives: Running

How to Be a Winter Warrior During a Polar Vortex

 A HUGE thanks to my friend Johanna, who is here today to spread the winter running love. The perfect thing to talk about while I’m basking in the warm Hawaiian sunshine. 

There’s no need to hibernate – get out there!

winter running guest post

Cooler temperatures. Impending polar vortex. Frostbite on the plants I forgot to bring inside. And the Farmer’s Almanac predicting the 2014 – 2015 winter as one during which we won’t only be cold, but we’ll exist as a “Refriger-nation.”

Who’s ready to lace up their sneaks and run outside with me?

Winter weather (unless you live in Florida) offers two stark options for runners.

1. Dusting off the treadmill (or the “dreadmill” as I lovingly call it) and start logging miles which catching up with Scandal and Downtown Abbey.


2. Learning how to layer up, to stay safe and to find motivation to run outside.

Without a doubt,  I’ll opt for layers, safety and motivation over the treadmill any day of the week.

Last year, I consistently ran outside 4x week, logging about 75-85 miles/month. Believe it or not, some of my favorite, treasured runs happened during blizzards and snowstorms.

Sure, my friends thought I was a bit (entirely) nutty for running outside in less than ideal weather.

Between you and me, I love running in the winter. In fact, when I look back over my training notebook for last winter, I ran the most consistently and frequently in the cooler, winter months.

Right now you may just be wondering “How did she motivate to do that? What did she wear? And how did she stay safe? It’s scary to run in the snow, ice and darker, shorter days!”

You’ve got questions about how to be a winter warrior and I’ve got your answers.

When dressing to run outside in the winter, here’s what you need to know.

  • Cover your head.
  • It’s all about the base (layers), no tricky cotton (Angela did a great post on this already.)
  • Protect your hands
  • Dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer outside.

Once you’re dressed and ready to go out the door, safety has to be at the forefront of your mind. Always make sure you can:

  • See (headlamps are a great addition to your winter warrior wardrobe)
  • Be seen (brighter colors and reflective gear, vests and blinky lights are a must)
  • Be like ET and carry a phone to call home if need be
  • Screw your sneaks. Seriously, make DIY YakTrax and put screws into your sneakers (Learn more HERE.)

winter running guest post 2

So you’ve gotten yourself outside a few times. Rightfully so, you’re quite proud for braving the elements and getting your sweat on. But now it’s week two of cold, dark, dreary weather and your motivation is starting to wane. What’s a girl to do to stay running?

  • Sign up for a late winter or early spring race. That will light a fire under you for sure.
  • Find a running buddy. It’s the sole (get it?!) reason I consistently ran as much as I did last year.
  • Change your mindset. Winter running isn’t about PRs and tempo work. It’s about maintenance mileage.
  • And my favorite, channel your inner badass.

How do you plan to stay warm, safe and motivated this winter to keep up your mileage?

For weekly running motivation, insight and training tips, come visit me at

Race Week Thoughts

Last 20 miler | happyfitmama.comKailey’s last 20 miler of this training cycle.

Race week is here!

In two days, we’ll be flying the friendly skies for a (very) long time before landing in Hawaii, where it will be sunny (hopefully) and warm (but hopefully not too warm).

My mind is kind of all over the place. Right now, I’m mostly focused on what needs to get done before we leave. So many things especially since it’s the first time Ron and I are vacationing sans kids. My absolutely wonderful parents, are flying in tonight and will be hanging out with the kids while we are gone for the next week.

Since I’ve been preoccupied with all the logistics with that, I really haven’t thought too much about the marathon.

The big question that everyone asks and that is hanging over my head:

Am I ready?

I’m really not sure.

I am not completely in marathon shape. This I know is true. After having to take all of October off from running because of my Achilles and back injuries, I just started to slowly build up my mileage again in November. My Achilles is absolutely fine when I am running. It does feel “pinched” afterwards and other random times. My back is also good. No problems at all. The farthest distance I’ve covered since returning is 16 miles. I felt great during it and felt like I could do more. I’m hoping my body will remember the two 20 milers and one 21.5 miler I did prior to October.

Even though it’s not what I pictured, it’s still going to be an amazing race.

My goal is to enjoy. Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy the movement of running. Enjoy helping a friend reach her goal.

My number one priority is to make sure my cadet, Kailey, crosses the finish line of her first marathon. This isn’t my race. It’s hers. She’s put in the miles, done exactly as I prescribed for her. She worked really hard while training and I am so very, very proud of her!

If you are interested in tracking us, it’s available through the Honolulu Marathon website. My bib # is 14604.

It’s going to be a crazy, good time. I’m ready to be on the plane already. I’m ready to meet the other teams from Saucony 26 Strong that are running Honolulu.

I’m ready to run.

What to Wear for Winter Running

Winter Running Essentials

I get a lot of questions about what to wear for winter running.

How do I stay warm but not hot? How can I keep my hands warm? Do I need different shoes? What are the essentials?

Way back in the day, I would wear layers of cotton sweats, sweatshirts and whatever socks/shoes I had available. I usually overheated at first and then froze because my clothes were soaked as soon as I started to sweat.

Back then, I was only running a few miles at a time, so it worked. It wasn’t ideal but it got me out the door and running.

Every person is different when it comes to the cold. Your comfort level depends on many factors, including how fast you’re running, how you tolerate cold, and how long your run is, so your perfect Winter outfit may be different than mine.

Shoes: Unless I’m running in a snowstorm or soon afterwards, the roads in my area tend to be clear of snow. There may be spots of slush, puddles or ice, but generally it’s no different than running any other time of the year. If I am running in snow, I’ll wear a pair of trail shoes for a bit more traction.

Socks: On really cold days, I switch to a thicker sock, but I still wear low cut. I’m ok with my ankle being exposed a little bit in between my tights and sock line unless I’m running in snow. An alternative is to wear compression socks for more coverage.

Tights: I prefer to have less on my legs no matter what the temperature. Fleece lined tights are not for me. I get way too hot. Instead, I prefer a thicker material that at least provides wind protection. Some of my favorite brands are Saucony, Athleta and Janji.

First layer: A long sleeve, 1/2 zip, tech top, preferably with thumbholes is what I always reach for. I like to have something up around my neck for more warmth at the beginning. As I warm up, I can unzip to allow more air flow if needed.

Outer layer/Jacket: A good, waterproof and windproof jacket is essential if you are running in any kind of precipitation or low temps. Your first layer will stay dry, therefore, you will be able to stay warm. A good alternative is a vest if you don’t mind your arms being exposed.

Mittens: My hands being too cold is my number one complaint with winter running. Mittens definitely work better than gloves to keep the whole hand together rather than fingers separate. I’ve mentioned it numerous times, but Saucony Run Mitts have been a life saver for me this year. So far, the lowest temp I’ve run with them is 15 degrees with no cold fingers. They’ve been a game changer.

Hat: I prefer a hat over a headband. In the past I’ve worn my ski hats but when I started to sweat, it would soak the material and make me colder. Hats should be made of lightweight technical fabrics to trap just the right amount of heat, but still keep your head dry.

With my winter gear, I also tend to reach for the brighter colors. It’s a good way to be more visible with less daylight hours available. It also gives a little perk to my mood when everything is dull and drab during the Winter. And it makes you look extra marvelous.

What are your winter running essentials?