Light and Easy, Smooth and Breezy: 5 Life Hacks for Running

Last year, I made an expensive running mistake. The darkness and fog promised by my early morning run made me strangely nervous, so I did something I normally don’t – I took my cell phone with me. Just in case, I thought, and stuffed it in the front pocket of my allegedly “waterproof” jacket. I was off in an October-in-Portland morning, so you can probably guess where this is going.

Weatherproof Electronics

Yep.  About 3 miles out, I got caught in an absurd downpour.  The skies opened and it was like running toward a water cannon. Unable to see the sidewalk before my feet, I soggily forged ahead, figuring I was – again- earning my Portland runner stripes.  What I was also doing, unbeknownst to me at the time, was frying the ever-loving circuitry out of my phone.

Save yourself the heartache of lost data and the wallet-ache of replacing it- plastic baggy your electronics – ALWAYS.  Even if it looks dry outside. You know better than to buy that, you savvy Oregonian you.

marys weatherproof phone.JPG

Better a “weatherproof phone” than a dead phone.

Fight Off Foot Cramps

Foot cramps are the bane of my running existence. I get them nearly every day, like disappointing, day-altering clockwork. In the kitchen in the middle of the night, I roll my contorted foot over a frozen can of orange juice trying to cure them in a usually chilly, slightly perilous undertaking.

I shiver, hop in place, and almost topple over in a groggy half sleep, rolling my foot around, stretching, wincing, and repeating.  The frozen juice usually helps, but it invariably thaws, leaving me unpleasantly awestruck, and sticky, in the wee hours of the morning.

Free your feet from cramps by keeping a tennis ball in the freezer- because sometimes you might run out of frozen juice to ruin.

Heal Headlamp Headaches

I’ve yet to meet a headlamp that works the way I think it should. They’re either too loose or too tight, or they begin the run one way, and end up the other. I’m sure there might be a newer, higher-end model out there that makes sporting the miner look easy, but not wanting to send mine to the gadget graveyard just yet, I’ve had to improvise when it comes to hacking these little guys.  Though the holy grail of headlamps still eludes me, here’s one hack I hope helps – stabilize your headlamp with a rubber band. You can do this a few ways, but it works best for me to adjust the headlamp to the right fit, and then secure a rubber band behind the plastic tensioner. Tie the rubber band in a knot, or loop it through for easier adjusting later on.

Show Winter Training No Mercy

Motivation is elusive for me this time of year, especially when my bed is so cozy and the outside is so, well, outside-y.  Drizzly, dark, and dreary, I’ve had to hack my brain a bit to get it used to the idea of another winter of running in this town.  Two things help me the most:

The night before put running clothes on or near a heat vent.  I use the vent in the bathroom, so my morning routine is self-contained in one room for maximum efficiency.  This is something I take very seriously; since every minute I waste getting ready to run is another minute I think I could have been sleeping.

Find, and use, a good mantra.  When the rain sheets across your face, and you begin to resent everything about your soggy shoes and sweaty hat, focusing on a simple phrase can make things seem less unpleasant, even if just for a little bit.  You guessed it, mine is “light and easy, smooth and breezy,” because you absolutely get bonus points for rhyming.

What are some running hacks you use?


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