I thought I'd take the time to put all the helpful stuff I've learned, and websites I have been using in one place. I really didn't know where to start when I began running, but found some truly helpful websites, people, and products along the way.
And I am not cool enough for any of these people to pay me or give me free stuff. These are really just things, places, and people I love.
In the spirit of full disclosure: the links I have to products available at amazon are linked to my affiliate account. So I will get a nominal kickback. But it doesn't cost you any more to use the link and I only list them here if that is the cheapest place to get the product online.
Coach Lesley at Racing it Off : Lesley is awesome. I trained with her as my coach earlier this year and it was great to have the personalized attention and those motivating emails. I learned a lot from her and will be asking her to train me for my full marathon next year.
Jeff Galloway Wine and Dine Training Schedule : I'm using the beginner version of this schedule since I've been slacking a bit these last few months. He recommends running three days a week in his program. But I'm gonna add a fourth day because that is what I was doing with Lesley and I think it works best for me. I find I have a hard time sticking to a schedule if I have too many days off.
Rails to Trails : I love this program. They take abandoned railroad tracks and repurpose them into running and biking trails. I have a trail near my home that I use frequently. And when I travel I check to find trails I can use in other cities. I'm still not comfortable running in town, so I find I push myself much harder when I have the privacy of these types of trails to shelter onlookers from the jiggly waddle...you're welcome neighbors :)
Dailymile : I love, love, love dailymile! Those of you following me there may not feel the love since I've been MIA lately, but its just 'cause I have nothing to enter. Not to worry though - I will be back! Dailymile is a wonderfully supportive community of runners/walkers/athletes. It keeps track of your mileage each week and allows you to send and receive motivation to others. You can also build a profile that lists your upcoming races. Its fun to meet up with other dailymilers who are running the same races you are.
Log Your Run : I use this site mostly to keep track of the mileage on my shoes and to post workouts to Facebook. Dailymile also allows you to share workouts on Facebook, but its a little too much info for some of my friends over there. I don't need some of my not-as-supportive Facebook friends mingling with my uber-cool dailymile friends. There are lots of free tools on log your run. I don't use many of them, but I really like knowing how many miles are on my shoes.
My Fitness Pal : This is a really easy-to-use site for logging your food intake. I like to keep track of my calories, protein, carbs, fiber, and sodium. But you can set it up to track whichever nutrients are important to you. The food database is huge and there have only been a handful of times when I've went to enter a food that isn't included. Although, it is simple to manually enter new foods into the database and use them again in the future. You can also track exercise and get historical reports. There is a community section there too, but I don't utilize it.
FRS : I love these products. Sometimes you can find a good deal on their website, but amazon usually has them beat. I tolerate these FRS Healthy Energy Pineapple Mango Chews way better than some of the other energy gels/beans out there. My favorite energy drink is the new apricot nectarine and the low-cal citrus pomegranate. My fav protein drink is the blueberry acai. (Those I get directly from the FRS website when they offer free shipping.)
Xagave Organic Raw Agave with Fiber: I am seriously in love with this stuff! You can use regular agave nectar too, but this particular brand tastes awesome and has the added benefit of inulin which adds fiber and calcium to the mix. Agave Nectar is a low glycemeic sweetener that has fewer calories and a higher mineral content than regular sugar. I bake with this stuff, my kids sweeten their tea with it, and I especially like it drizzled on grapefruit. This particular configuration from amazon comes with two bottles that have flip-top caps (convenient for said drizzling) and lasts quite a long time. They do sell other sizes though.
Green Tea : I am a huge tea drinker. I like all sorts; red, chai, white, green, and black. My favorite in the summer is green tea though. A few months ago this Yogi Blueberry Green Tea sucked me in with the "slim life" claim on the box. I bought it because it is organic and it was a heck of a good deal. It also has ginseng and garcinia cambogia which is supposed to suppress your appetite. I can't attest to those claims, but it is pretty darn good and I've been drinking lots of it. I got six boxes of the stuff for a little over $14.00 and I'm stocked up till the end of the year!
Spinach Smoothies : I have gotten LOTS of feedback on this post. I find myself craving these drinks and have tried all sorts of variations. Spinach/Frozen Cantaloupe, Spinach/Frozen Mixed Berries/Banana, Spinach/Frozen Strawberries/Kiwi, etc. But my all-time fav is still the original Spinach/Strawberry/Banana one featured in the post. I have been adding chia seeds to them lately though. Chia seeds are totally getting their own post soon :)
Food Inc : This movie totally changed how I look at food. You can watch the entire movie on Netflix if you are a subscriber. I eat way more unprocessed and locally grown food now. It makes a HUGE difference in how I feel.
Much of the motivation I get comes from other bloggers. Here are some of my very favorites:
Also, signing up for races motivates me to keep going. I find nearby events using active.com and searching for running events near my zip code.
This blog does A LOT to keep me motivated. Interacting with other bloggers and folks who comment go a long way to keep me chugging along.
John, The Penguin, Bingham : Making us back-of-the-packers feel good about ourselves.
And here are some movies that always make me feel like I can accomplish anything once I'm done watching:
Spirit of the Marathon : You can watch this for free at hulu.com. I found it inspirational.
Without Limits : The incredible story of Steve Prefontaine. Available on Netflix if you've got it.
Run for your Life : The story of how the NYC Marathon got started and how Fred Lebow started a movement.
Bondi Bands : These are great! I'm wearing one in my profile picture, and just about every time I run. I don't like wearing hats. These do a great job of keeping the sweat out of my face and keeping my ears warm during chilly runs.
6pm.com : This is not a product, but my go-to place to buy most of my running gear. They don't always have the best selection, but when they have something in your size - you need to snatch it up right away. The inventory changes frequently. I find the best way to use the site is to search for the particular size and brand I'm looking for first. Otherwise it can get a little frustrating since not everything is available in all sizes. I have gotten phenomenal deals here. The Saucony Progrid shoes I'm currently wearing were retailing for $140 - I got them here for $72. Also, they have a good selection of plus-size workout clothes. I like the Nike Dri-Fit duds and usually get them here for 50% off.
Garmin Forerunner: I can no longer even leave the house for a run without my Garmin. I have the older 305 model, which you can now get on amazon for pretty darn cheap. I'm sure the new model is great too. I wrote a post about my Garmin, Gary. He totally changed the way I run. I love the stats and using the heart rate monitor. The only thing I dislike about this unit is the wristband. Hated it! But I rectified the situation with this much more comfortable replacement bandand have been in love ever since.
I hope this helps someone. I remember feeling a little lost when I first started out. I've tried a lot of things that I just didn't like or just didn't work. I hope this saves some legwork for those just starting out.
I will continue to add to this post as I find helpful people, places and things. Right now I'm searching for some anti-fog sunglasses. I sweat like crazy and can never run with sunglasses because they just end up a yucky, foggy mess. Any suggestions?
What are some of your favorite websites/people/products?