A Simple Tip for Running Faster for Longer Distances

Mr Science and I have been running every Monday and Thursday for the whole summer – and we fully intend to continue with this routine as winter approaches! Doing yoga/ Pilates on the other three weekdays has helped as a sort of cross-training for our running, which has also enabled us to slowly increase our distance over the past few months. It’s tons of fun and it’s working really well.

The issue with Mr Science and I running together is that we have extremely different running styles. I’m more of a jogger in my cute little five-finger Vibrams, whereas he’s a sprinter and all about the *real* running shoes. We tried adjusting our running styles a bit to accommodate for each other, but earlier in the summer before I figured out how to run faster for longer distances, Mr Sciences just ran laps around me when I went too slow (literally. It was awesome: I’m all out of breath and moving just slightly faster than the person walking on the other side of the street, and he’s happily sprinting around me, chatting the whole way as though he’s just out for a morning stroll. ♥).

running clothes

Still adore my Sears PureNRG workout clothes that I received for a product review back in January!

My main problem with running is the breathing aspect. In general, my legs and core would be just fine running long distances, but my lungs have a tough time. However, I think the yoga has really helped a lot with my learning how to breathe better… in addition to a new secret which I stumbled upon (ran into? Heehee, puns!) a couple months ago, which is such an awesomely simple tip for running faster for longer distances:

Increasing your pace slightly – enough to get your heart rate up, but not so fast that you can’t maintain the speed – will actually help your breathing to steady, slow, and deepen.

When I run at my *normal* jogging-style pace, I can’t quite match up my breathing with my stride. My breath comes out all ragged and my lungs feel like they’re bursting. However, when I increase my pace just a little bit, the distance (puns! Puns!) between my breathing and my stride decreases and they match up much more neatly.

And then – and here’s the best part! – when my breath and my stride are going along at the same pace, I can actually keep up my stride for a longer amount of time. I’m running faster and I’m also able to sustain it for a decent distance.

I suspect that this is a big reason why I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running in the past. It’s challenging to really enjoy yourself when you’re huffing and puffing and your pace and breath are all off. When they are in synch, the whole run is just so much better. It’s a simple little technique, but it’s not one that I’ve ever really come across before. There’s something satisfying in making these little discoveries as you go!

Am I way behind everyone else in making this discovery? Does your breath and stride naturally match up or do you have to consciously work toward it? What are your tips for running faster for longer distances? Share in the comments section below!

PINES Mighty Greens Superfood Blend – Product Review

Over the summer, I received a free bottle of PINES Mighty Greens Superfood Blend as a product review. You all know how much I love green smoothies – so of course I was delighted to try this PINES product!

PINES has a variety of wheat grass and dark leafy green powders and tablets. The idea behind their products is to make it super convenient to get your dark leafy greens in every day. Their wheatgrass is grown in organic, glacial soil, watered only with natural rainwater. In addition to being organic, PINES products are also raw, GMO-free, gluten-free, and kosher. Something else that I like about PINES is that they are packaged in amber glass bottles, and the shelf life is five years (so if you’re like me and have an unfortunate tendency to sometimes push bottles to the back of the cupboard and discover them again a year later, it won’t be a problem).

The ingredients in PINES products are all kept really simple, which is definitely a good thing when it comes to leafy green supplements. The Mighty Greens Superfood Blend includes organic wheatgrass, organic alfalfa leaf, organic hemp protein, and organic stevia. The suggested use on the bottle is to mix one tablespoon of the greens powder into a glass of water, but initially I was a little hesitant. I like my greens, but I wasn’t sure I wanted just straight greens and water! So I mixed it in a smoothie first. It was delicious.

green smoothie recipe

After that, I had it as suggested on the bottle, just the greens and water, and although I will probably continue mixing it into smoothies (check out How to Make a Delicious Green Smoothie for tips!), I was pleasantly surprised with the taste.

If you find it challenging to fit leafy greens into your diet every day, if you don’t like purchasing organic leafy greens during the off-season (because, let’s face it, it often just isn’t as good), or if you don’t have a dehydrator and a high-speed blender to create your own organic mixed leafy greens powder, this PINES greens powder is an excellent option. It’s not just for mixing with water or smoothies, either: you can add a spoonful to your stir-fry, pasta sauce, soups, homemade bread, or anything else you can think of!

Psst… you can access eight green smoothie recipes by clicking here.

Have you tried PINES products? How do you ensure you get leafy greens into your diet every day? Share in the comments section below!

Want your product featured on the blog? Check out my blog media kit for details!

The #BlogLife: When Your Life Directions Alter Your Blog Themes

I started this health blog more than six years ago. Over the years, it’s transformed from a general health and wellness blog focused on nutrition and fitness tips, to a more personal documentation of health, to a lifestyle blog. I never intended to share anything personal on the blog (and I still remember the first time I ever posted a photo of myself on the blog!). But it grew in this direction, and I went with it. That’s one of the things I love about blogging: it’s such an organic, ever-changing entity.

When I first began blogging, I religiously posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before 9am. As I added a rhetoric blog, a food diary blog, and a fashion blog to the Living in the Real World brand, I posted less frequently here – sometimes only once or twice in a month. I’m now making the effort to publish articles once a week on each of my blogs, but it’s much more about posting articles when I have something to say and when it’s something of real value, rather than just writing an article for the sake of doing so.

living in the real world

The biggest change I’ve found with my blogging experience is how much my Living Rhetorically in the Real World blog has become my “main” blog. For the longest time, all of my other blogs were accessories to this health blog, but now my rhetoric blog is taking the lead. And it has changed drastically over the five years that I’ve been blogging for it, too: what started out as a platform to discuss rhetorical theory, analyze advertisements, and explore language has turned into a practical blog on how to manage a business, reflections on freelancing, best practices for social media, and more.

Living Rhetorically in the Real World started surpassing Living Healthy ever since I became a full-time freelancer, at the time when my life started shifting away from food-focused (although I obviously still love my health & wellness & nutrition & fitness!) to small business-focused.

This is one of the beautiful things about blogging, in that it is a reflection of the direction your life takes. We blog what we know about, what we’re passionate about, and what we want to share with the world. And although I don’t generally blog for *me* and instead like to think that the articles I write have value for at least one reader out there, it’s nice to see how my blogs have evolved over the years, and to explore what that means for me on an individual scale. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much your thought processes and priorities have changed over time until you start looking at how much your writing and blog topics have changed!

How about you? I’d love to hear how your blog topics and style have changed as your life takes new directions! Share in the comments section below.

A Better Way to Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

When we talk about things like carbon footprint and reducing our impact on the environment in terms of changing our food sources, we usually talk about it in terms of BIG changes that we can make. Specifically, going meatless for meals and adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Meat production is a major contributor to climate change. It is estimated that livestock production accounts for 70 per cent of all agricultural land use and occupies 30 per cent of the land surface of the planet. Because of their sheer numbers, livestock produce a considerable volume of greenhouse gases (such as methane and nitrous oxide) that contribute to climate change. In fact, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that livestock production is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases.

davidsuzuki.org

The problem with this is that, as with any lifestyle or behavioral change, or any time we want to break or make habits, going too big can actually be detrimental. Sometimes we need to take small baby steps to make big changes. In fact, if we ask or tell people to “go meatless,” and they are big meat-eaters, it can push them in the complete opposite direction because the task seems too insurmountable or drastic. And how does that help anyone?

If, for example, I start talking to an avowed meat-eater about how everyone should adopt a vegan diet* and other such extreme ideas – even if I don’t think that adopting a vegan diet is too extreme – we’re just going to have major communication problems and not agree with each other, and I’ll have probably lost a great opportunity to share a little bit of knowledge about new ways of eating. This is an issue that I see taking place over. and over. and over again.

Here’s the thing: we tend to be pretty passionate about food and our personal food decisions, and it’s something we want to share with other people. But if we try to push our particular food values and beliefs onto someone else who doesn’t share those beliefs, that person is probably just going to be pushed further in the opposite direction than we want them to go in.

And this brings me back to the carbon footprint and meat issue. It’s all fine and good to note that livestock is a major factor with regards to climate change, but how can we take this information and actually do something about it? How can we take action to decrease our carbon footprint without feeling as though we’re depriving ourselves of something we love?

There are two really excellent options to go with for people who just don’t feel satisfied without some kind of meat in their meal (and I know a whole lot of people who feel this way, which is okay!):

  1. Eat smaller portions.
  2. Choose free-range, organic, and local meat.

For #1, eat smaller portions, you can up the intake of vegetables and decrease your meat portion, or if you are eating your meat in a salad or on a pizza, you can often cut the amount down by a third or a half without even noticing.

For #2, choose free-range, organic, and local meat, the best thing you can do is find a local farmer (or a farmers’ market, or a local grocery store supporting small farmers) who produces meat in an ethical, natural way. It tastes just as delicious as (if not more delicious than) conventional meat, and you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint without even reducing your meat intake! That’s win-win.

How do you feel about conventional vs. naturally-grown meat? What are some of the biggest challenges you face with decreasing your carbon footprint? Share in the comments section below!

*This is just an example – those of you who read my blog regularly know that I’m a) not vegan although I enjoy eating vegan occasionally, and b) a big proponent of adopting whatever diet feels right for you!