Monday, May 25, 2015

When do I wear compression socks? (...and other weekend shenanigans)

Oh, weekend! Three days. Any objections? Didn't think so. The longer the weekend, the better. Right? Saturday started out with a birthday party at the gym. My daughter and I went swimming to celebrate her friend, after which I intended to run six miles, but the day got away from me.

I saved my 6-miler for Sunday.

Also, I ran in compression socks from Tiux.

Full disclosure: They were sent to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion, which I fully intend to give at some point. But I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to compression gear. Learn by experimentation, right? That's why I agreed to review them.

First impression: They were hard to get on. I think I expected them to be tighter because of the compression factor, and while they WERE tight around my calf muscles and arches, they weren't unbearable. Or wildly noticeable. I guess that's a good thing, right? I mean, I could tell that they were tighter than your average pair of knee-highs, but I didn't feel like I was getting the bejeezus squeezed out of my lower legs. I'm not supposed to feel like that, though. Right? Or am I? Help!

As for their performance during my run, six miles is usually the breaking point for me in terms of soreness and/or discomfort. Sometimes it kicks in, sometimes it doesn't. This time around, it didn't and maybe that's all due to the compression socks. Also, it should be noted, that I had them on for about two hours after my run. You can wear them after your run, too. Right?

I'm looking forward to wearing them again next time I run to see if my experience is the same. I mean, they ARE pink. So there's that. And I've been doing some research regarding compression gear. Again, learn by experimentation. Maybe they'll become a new running staple, maybe they won't. We shall see.

Speaking of "seeing," here are a few scenes from my run.

(This might be the summer that I actually rent one of those paddle boards.)

(There's so much artwork around town, like the circles above and the whale below.)

It was nice to run just for the fun of it. I didn't feel so bad about stopping for pictures.
Or coffee when I finished:

I'm sort of in between running events right now, so there wasn't any pressure to meet a certain time or pace goal. I am thinking about running a 10K in two weeks, or maybe I'll just look ahead to my next half. There's one in July that I'm interested, which means I'd essentially need to be back in training mode by the first week of June.

There's a plan in Train Like a Mother that I might try to follow.
Anyway, I'm rambling.
More on that later.

How was YOUR weekend?

The rest of mine was fairly low-key. I washed my floors on Sunday night (huge accomplishment). Then I subbed a Studio Pump class today and trained one client, after which the kids and I had brunch with my mom (because she took my class) (and my husband was demolishing a bathroom so we let him be).

Also, the weather was gorgeous today so my little family and I played outside a lot.
And I went to the grocery store.

I mean, yum.

And now it's late.
Time for bed. The shenanigans are over.

Time to start the week (officially) tomorrow.

Question: What's your take on compression gear? And if you went running this weekend, what did you see?

Friday, May 22, 2015

#fitnfashionable Running Shoes: @PUMA Ignite with #PWRcool (A Shoe Review)

I love shoes. So when it comes to running shoes, I take a "sure...I'll try it" approach. Hardcore runners might balk at this, but my feet aren't picky. If the shoe fits comfortably, I'll wear it. That said, I do have three basic requirements: That it's neutral with a normal and/or slightly wider toe box, and that it  looks good. Because who likes to wear ugly shoes, right?

Now, I do have my favorites. My go-to shoes from my go-to brand. But again, I never close the closet on a decent pair from a different brand. So when FitFluential reached out with an opportunity to try the new PUMA Ignite neutral running shoe. I mean, yeah.

fitgear, fitfluential
I just ran a half marathon, and those shoes are still in decent shape for a few more longer runs, but I really didn't have a suitable backup for shorter runs. My current backups have been demoted to gym use. They're still comfy, but no longer up for the road running challenge. M'thinks these Ignites will step up to the plate in their absence. According to PUMA, Ignite is "a superior cushioning material that disperses impact while providing optimal responsiveness." It's all over the midsole of this shoe, providing "instant comfort where you need it most."

I've taken these shoes out for one 4-mile run, and will use them tomorrow for what I'm hoping will be a 6-miler (maybe more, depending). I haven't signed up for my next race yet, but I think it will be a 10K in two weeks. Let's keep talking about these shoes, though:

fitgear, fitfluential
When I first pulled them out of the box, I thought: "Grey and pink...right to the heart." It's basically my favorite color combination, and with the addition of the silver and polka dots, I didn't wait to put my foot right in. Double win for a toe box that doesn't cramp my bunions. (I know, so sexy.)

fitgear, fitfluential
They're also made with PWRcool technology, which is essentially mesh that allows air and heat to flow freely. In other words, they're breathable so my feet won't sweat.

So, first impression: Cute shoes! I mean, the polka dots...

fitgear, fitfluential
Second impression: I definitely need to break these in. Sometimes you put on a shoe and it's magical. I didn't have that feeling with these, but I wore them around the gym for a 4-hour shift and by the end I had forgotten that they were on my feet. So they adapted to my foot. I wore them again the day after my half marathon when I did a little shakeout walk on the treadmill. One mile, that was it. Not a single negative experience. They felt comfortable on my tired feet!

fitgear, fitfluential
But how would they feel on a run? It was Thursday by the time I felt up for a decent run, so I laced these guys up and hit the gym for four miles.

running, fitgear, fitfluential
Honestly, they felt great! Better than I had expected. Light on the foot, supportive and smooth. These are the first pair of PUMA running shoes I've ever owned and I was pretty skeptical. I have a pair of PUMA FormLite XT training shoes that I like, so I knew that PUMA could make a quality shoe. But they're not exactly, at least in my opinion, one of the major running brands. When I think of running, I don't automatically think of PUMA.

But here they are, selling a decent running shoe.
The bottom of the shoe, if you're curious:

running, fitgear, fitfluential
It's hard to say if I'd pick this shoe over my go-to if I could only have one, single pair of running shoes in my closet, but I think I'm going to love having these around. For sure.

Quick tips:

1) Sometimes it pays to get fitted for a running shoe. If your feet are picky, or if you're plagued by injury, I definitely suggest you go that route at your local running shoe store.

2) Running shoes don't last forever, and it's always a good idea to keep track of their milage. Bad shoes can lead to injuries, and those aren't ever fun. Keep one or two pairs around and rotate between them. Maybe you have a shoe for short runs, a shoe for long runs and maybe even a shoe for speedwork.

3) Did you know there's a reason your running shoe has those last two lace holes up by your ankle? I thought they were just there for additional lace action, and they are, just not in the way that I thought. Go watch this video. And if you're already doing this, you're one step ahead of me!

Oh, PS:
For more information on the Ignite running shoe, click here.
For more fit and fashionable finds, click here.

Question: What do you look for in a running shoe? Do you like experimenting, or do you have a go-to that you'll never stray from?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.


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