Find a Reason to Run

Nearly every dedicated runner I know has a very specific reason for why they run. Whether it’s fitness, weight loss, stress relief or a combination of those reasons, they know why they hit the pavement, treadmill or trail.

For me, it’s getting outdoors and the feeling I get after I’ve finished a run. I absolutely love getting outside, breathing the fresh air and taking in the beautiful views of the West Virginia mountains. And there’s no feeling in the world like the feeling I get after I’ve completed a run. I feel sweat-covered and accomplished.

But I’ve never been more inspired than when I met Missy Burleson on a New Year’s Day 5K Fun Run. She runs for her health, but she also runs for a little girl who can’t. Her name is Summer.

Summer, who has Down syndrome, was paired with Missy through the non-profit organization “I Run 4.”The organization encourages runners to think of their abilities as a gift, and to think of others who are unable to do so themselves. The group pairs runners and kids with special needs to make an extra special connection.

It’s a beautiful way to make a run more meaningful.

I also wanted to share a helpful list from Huffington Post on 7 Research-Backed Methods to Find Your Fitness Motivation.


C25K Program

With the beautiful spring weather we’ve been having here lately in southern West Virginia, I’m seeing more and more people out and about, and I’m hearing more and more people say they’re interested in running.

But new runners nearly always have the same struggles — poor quality shoes and trying too much too fast. Check out my previous post on how to pick out the best running shoes. But today, I want to talk about the Couch-to-5K program, which has been successful for many now-runners I know.

While some of the programs vary, the main goal is to take someone from a sedentary lifestyle and turn them into a runner over the course of several weeks. The participant will start out walking in intervals and jogging for just a few seconds at a time. By the end of the program, he or she should be able to run (or jog) for a full 30 minutes.

If you’re tech-savvy at all, I would recommend a C25K app. It’ll be easy to keep track of, you can set reminders and you can easily track your progress. If you prefer to keep it old school, you can always print out a schedule and check off each day as you go.

Here’s the full schedule from I’d also like to recommend that if you struggle with any particular day, don’t beat yourself up. Repeat a day if you need, skip a day if you need, but most importantly, don’t give up! You can do this 🙂


Best Friends Make Running Easier


I love having a running buddy! My best friend and I did a 3-mile run yesterday at the YMCA Sports Complex. I’d been having some IT Band issues for a couple weeks, so this was my longest run in a while. It felt great though, and I’m ready to hit the pavement (and trails) again! I encourage you all to grab a buddy this weekend and get some miles in. Happy Running 🙂

Fun 5K Races


The first 5K I ever participated in was The Color Run. They market themselves as “The Happiest 5K on the Planet” and I can’t say I disagree. Above is a photo of me and Kamie before the race; below is a photo of me after the race.


Before the race gets started, everyone is invited to warm up by dancing. Participants usually wear white, so when you run through specific areas of the race, volunteers throw powdered colors on you and it’s more visible on lighter colored clothes. Also, after you’ve finished the race, everyone is given a packet of color to toss into the air and dance music plays and it’s just so much fun!


Another fun 5K that I participate in is the Fast and Furriest 5K, hosted by the Raleigh County Humane Society. This one is a fundraiser for the Humane Society, plus dogs are welcome to join their humans in the race 🙂 My dog doesn’t do well with some other dogs, so he doesn’t get to participate, but the Fast and Furriest is a race I always try to attend.

Although I’ve never participated in the following, they look super fun:

Also, here’s a list of “15 Themed Races You’ll Actually Want to Run.” P.S. One includes wine!

What are your favorite 5K runs?

Best Friend Run!

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My best friend Kamie and I went for a 2-mile run today at the YMCA soccer complex. It was an absolutely beautiful day, so we met up for our first run together this spring 🙂 We’re planning to make it a weekly habit since it seems Old Man Winter is finally out of the picture for good. We’re actually planning to do a trail race at the end of May, so we need to start training a bit for that.

Who’s your best running buddy? Where do you like to run together?

Beautiful Beach Run

Last week was my spring break, so I took advantage of the time off from grad school. I took a few vacations days at work, and my mom and I headed to Destin, Fla. I mostly lounged on the beach and ate seafood, but I made sure to get in a run too.

Bright and early Tuesday morning, I laced up my shoes and hit the sand. I forgot how difficult it is to run in the sand if you’re not used to it! My legs were sore for two days afterwards and my pace was horrible, but it was so much fun and the view was beautiful.

Here are a few photos 🙂 Happy Running!


Complementary Kickboxing?

Back when I played roller derby, I was constantly looking for ways to improve my endurance — from cardio, to strength training to yoga. I tried out a kickboxing class taught by Dave Krass at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia. I loved it from Day One. You can read more about his class in this Register-Herald article.

After recovering from two broken ankles, I decided to give up roller derby and focus on running instead. I’ve loved the physical and mental challenges running can provide, and I also love the competitive aspect of running. As I read more about running, I realized the same types of cross-training I’d included in my workout routine for derby could be used for running too.

In this post, I want to talk specifically about the benefits kickboxing can offer runners.

American Fitness Professionals and Associates says kickboxing offers a total body workout, a good way to relieve stress, and a way to learn valuable self-defense skills.

Specifically related to running though, here’s what has to say:

The range of movements within kickboxing not only allow better flexibility but also strengthen our core muscles such as our abdominal muscles, back muscles and thigh muscles.

These muscles are highly targeted with kickboxing routines because we need to use our waist and abs for balance, and to execute each carefully co-ordinated move. It is important for us as runners to strengthen the foundation (our core muscles) when doing long distance running. Here’s a link to the full article.

I try to go to Dave’s kickboxing class as least one a week. It always seems like my runs are easier the next day (unless I’m sore from the previous day’s class!)

Have you incorporated kickboxing into your workout routine? What are your favorite cross-training methods?