Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received the 2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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Winter training can be challenging for even the most seasoned runner. But with the right gear, you can make great physical and mental gains during these cold, dark months. 2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tight provides runners with optimal solutions for both the cold and the darkness that we encounter during this time of year.

Technical Specifications

  • HYOPTIK (pronounced like “high optic”) reflective logos help you stay visible when training in low light conditions. (This is super important to me as I log most of my miles in the predawn darkness.)
  • Soft brushed thermal inner layer retains warmth in cold climates
  • With coverage over the knee powerful compression support and protect upper leg muscles to help prevent soreness and fatigue
  • High-filament yarns facilitate evaporation of perspiration for cool, dry feel.
  • Wide, flat waistband with drawstring closure, as well as flatlock seams for smooth on-skin feel.
  • 50+UPF rating ensures proper protection from harmful UV rays
  • Antimicrobial treatment prevents growth of odor-causing microbes

How They Feel

IMG_4191Already a fan of 2XU MCS Run Compression Tights, I was excited to try these thermal ones. With the word “thermal” in the name, I was expecting them to be noticeably thick, maybe even have some type of liner on the inside. Instead, they are very smooth and thinner than I expected. The high quality fabric is obvious to the touch as it is both strong yet thin at the same time. It reminded me of what a super hero uniform might feel like!

I was not initially certain they would keep me warmer than other brands of tights I own. I wore them for several runs of different lengths in various weather conditions (both in the US and in Ireland) and even indoors for a tough treadmill workout. I was never uncomfortable in these tights and did not chafe at all. I wore them in windy, cold condition while running along the Irish Sea as well as on the trails in the Wicklow Mountains and loved them for both occasions. I agree with my fellow Bibrave Pro, Cass, and recommend using them as a base layer in extreme conditions (below 20F) just to make sure your skin stays protected.

What I Think

  1. 2XU KNOWS compression!! I love how these tights contour to my muscles without feeling too tight or uncomfortable. The wide waist band plays a big part in that comfort. I wore them while traveling internationally and my legs felt great upon arrival.
  2. Compression keeps me injury free!  The 2XU compression is designed for improved blood circulation as well as supporting major muscle groups like the hip abductors, 12495194_422526111277095_7191576488407262446_ncalves, glutes, etc. Last spring, I suffered from a hip injury that took me months to rehab. Staying healthy and strong is very important to me this year and 2XU is helping me achieve that. The compression on my hip feels fabulous during my workouts!
  3. Reflective gear keeps me safe! I love that these tights are designed with runner safety in mind. My friends know that I will always be decked out in my reflective vest and now I can add my 2XU tights as well!
  4. Good for warm climates, too! I used them for indoor workouts and never felt overheated in any way. Bibrave Pro, Jenny, lives in San Diego and reviewed the 3/4 length tights. 
  5. 12540886_427103794152660_3729774375757247887_nRun a little short. The one drawback is that I think they run slightly short. I am 5’7″ and used the size chart to determine that I should wear a small. They fit perfectly everywhere except that my ankles are a bit exposed. Another Bibrave Pro, Jeremy, also experienced a similar issue. It is not really a problem, per se. In very cold conditions, I just wear a longer sock. But it would be nice if the Hyoptik tight were available in Tall sizes. To be fair, I do own a pair of 2XU Recovery Compression Tights in Women’s Tall Small and they cover my ankles perfectly!
  6. They are a bit expensive.  The 3/4 length is $99.99 and the full length is $139.99. But from my experience with 2XU, they are on par with other compression products and the quality of the product is worth the investment. Just be sure to take care of them and DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DRYER! EVER. Although there is not a current discount available for 2XU, be sure to keep checking back with my discount page to see if one pops up. If you are a first time buyer, the 2XU website offers a 10% discount on your first purchase if you subscribe to their email.

Wonder what some of the other Bibrave Pros think? Check out their reviews below!

Chad             Angie        Mark      Brie 

 

 

 

 

 

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Product Review: Orange Mud Hydraquiver

“Disclaimer: I received the Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1 to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”IMG_4069Since discovering distance running 16 years ago, I have struggled with managing my hydration and nutrition during training. Initially, I just set out water at predetermined points. Although it’s still a strategy I use from time to time, I discovered that my body needed more frequent hydration during my runs so I graduated to carrying disposable water bottles with me instead. Then the invention of the handheld reusable water bottle came into my life. I thought this was the perfect solution for me, until I realized how heavy even an empty 16-ounce water bottle could feel at the end of a 20 mile run, not to mention how much it can negatively impact my running form. So I bought a hydration belt that allowed me to clip a few 10-ounce water bottles to my waist. But the belt never stayed on my hips, always riding up and down my waist and annoying the heck out of me. Plus it didn’t really have any room for my gels or chomps. I was thrilled with the opportunity to try an Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1!

I must admit, I was a little nervous about using a hydration vest. I was not sure how comfortable such a device would feel on my shoulders or how well it would fit me around my chest. I was concerned that it might be too tight and constrict my breathing or uncomfortably hang over my shoulders and make me feel weighted down. The last thing I wanted was to feel like I was running with a heavy backpack! Luckily, that was not the case at all.

The first thing I noticed about the Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1 was how thoughtfully packaged it was. I opened up the box to find this:

 

IMG_4151How cool is that?!? Upon closer inspection, it is extremely lightweight yet has thick padding and large air channels that allow maximum breathe-ability when you start heating up on a run. I’ve worn it in both hot and cold conditions and found it to be equally comfortable in both environments. Furthermore, I had no chafing issues at all when I wore it on a 6 mile run in a tank top!

It is super easy to wear: just slip your arms through the holes and snap in front! There are two adjustable straps that fall just under the armpit. They can control how tight the vest is around your upper torso. Any access slack can be tucked inside the clasp as shown below:

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Although the vest clips on top of the breast, the weight is actually carried entirely on the shoulders. Two pieces of material fall on top of the high breast area but are in no way constricting. My son even tried it on and wanted to see how easy it was to reach for the bottle:

I had high hopes that I would find the Orange Mud Hydraquiver just as easy to use on my runs as my 6 year old son did in our living room! I was not disappointed! Not only does the BPA-free bottle hold 25-ounces of the liquid of my choice, but it is a lot easier to clean than any hydration bladder would be. The Hydraquiver also has several individual pockets for my gels, chomps, keys, and phone that can be secured with a zipper pull.

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Bottom line: this is a new piece of gear that will be joining on every long run in the future. I love having my hands free and no belt sloshing up and down around my waist.

See what my fellow BibRave Pros think about the Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest Pack 1:

Amy        Angie      Brad        Jessica      Sarah M.    Heather

Elizabeth     Jenny

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Product Review: Orange Mud Transition and Seat Wrap

Disclaimer: I received the Orange Mud Transition and Seat Wrap to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find, read and write race reviews!

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Pile of old, dingy “sweat towels”

Most mornings, I roll out of bed, quickly get dressed and start my run immediately outside my front door. But every Tuesday, I meet a group of runners across town to run a hill workout. A few of us who live near each other take turns carpooling each week. No matter the season, we always bring our individual towels to cover the seats of whoever’s car we might be sweat-boxing after our run. The opportunity to test out Orange Mud’s Transition and Seat Wrap was perfect for me because I really wanted to see if this  product could replace my rotation of old beach towels that I currently used after my workouts.

Before I received my Orange Mud Transition Wrap, I watched this video. Beware: it’s really hard not to giggle while watching!

While I may not be covered with as much dirt, dust, or zombie blood as this guy, I certainly do sweat…a lot! All I wanted to do was protect my car seats from absorbing too much of my sweat.

IMG_3767IMG_3766The first thing I liked about this product was the zipper at one end that creates a little pouch to put over the headrest of the seat in your car. You can also wear it as a hood if you’d like! (The only problem with wearing it this way is that it’s more like a cape because the zipper pouch is at the long end of the towel.)

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Sturdy clasp

Strong loops to fit many sizes

Strong loops to fit many sizes

After races or long runs, I need to get out of my sweaty clothes ASAP. I normally pack a large towel in an effort to give myself a little privacy, especially if changing rooms are not readily available. The Orange Mud Transition Wrap makes this process a whole lot easier with its built-in belt clip that keeps the towel securely in place around my waist or torso. I can wrap it tight around my torso and change my shorts without any worry of the towel falling off!

IMG_3853I can use this product to protect the car seats from my kids as well. Both of my boys are avid soccer players and often jump into the car covered with sweat and/or mud. My husband is constantly teasing me about how dirty my car gets and I SWEAR it’s because of the mess the boys make (it couldn’t possibly be me, right?!?). Good thing I can SAVE 15% off my Orange Mud order with code BIBRAVE because I need another one so both boys can use it at the same time!

IMG_3870I’m not sure if you are “supposed” to wear it like this, but I find the built-in belt clip pretty handy for holding the wrap around my shoulders, too. I often do my cross training workouts in our little guest house in the backyard and am a sweaty mess afterwards. My hands are always full of water bottle, phone, yoga mat, sometimes even my computer if I’m doing a video. I love that the Orange Mud Transition Wrap stays put and lets me use my hands without dripping my sweat everywhere.

Overall, I would recommend this product to any active person who wants to protect their car or gain a little privacy for a quick change in public. Although I love the Bibrave Orange, the wrap is available in lots of other colors as well. Don’t forget you can save 15% with code BIBRAVE off any Orange Mud purchase for a limited time. This would make a great holiday gift for that active person in your life!

Interested in what other Bibrave Pros thought about the Orange Mud Transition and Seat Wrap? Check out their posts below.

Katherine               Tom                     Laura B.                Samantha          Laurel

John                         Jenny                  Angie                      Rachel                  Haley

Chad    

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Race Review: Tulsa Run 2015

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Tulsa Run thanks to Bibrave‘s BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find, read and write race reviews.

I’ve been super excited about running my first race as a BibRave Pro since becoming an ambassador about six months. The opportunity to do so at this year’s Tulsa Run was even more exciting because the race fell on Halloween Day! I really wanted to dress up for this race but I wasn’t sure what to do for a costume that would also incorporate my BibRave tank top. Then I found this:

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And turned it into this:

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I’ve never run in a costume like this before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It turned out to be much more comfortable than you’d think!

Pre-Race

The Tulsa Run offered a same-day bib pick-up the morning of the race. I was very grateful for this option because it saved me a round trip car ride of 4-5 hours from Norman. In addition, the process could not have been any easier! They had computers to quickly check my registration and a separate table where I could collect my race shirt. Another benefit of the early pick up was having no line at the porta-potties. Awesome!

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No lines at the bathrooms!

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Race day pick-up was smooth & easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3784The Tulsa Run is a multi-event race, meaning there was a 2K, 5K as well as the 15K that I ran. They staggered the starts so that the 2K/5K started at 8:00 and the 15K started at 9:00. I’ve read that some participants did not like the later start for the 15K, but for me, it was one of the best parts of this race. I enjoyed watching the large crowd of runners start the earlier race and I think it was a great way to manage their resources and and keep runner traffic moving smoothly.

IMG_3785I got to meet up with my fellow BibRave Pros, Sarah and Cassie, before the race. The race director took a few minutes to speak with us before the race and told us about the new hydration system they were using for the first time. It’s called the WaterMonster and can hold up to 125 gallons of water at time. This would greatly reduce waste associated with using plastic water bottles. Cool.
Race Time!

IMG_7262The race itself was extremely enjoyable. The course is very challenging, especially for someone who may not train on hills very often (like me…). The crowd support along the course was fantastic. People sat out on their driveways and cheered for everyone. The three aid-stations along the course were well-stocked with both water and Gatorade. There was a turn-around point on the course at about mile 4 that enabled me to see the Masters leaders heading back toward the finish downtown.

I felt great through the 10K mark, but realized at that point that I had accidentally left my race fuel in the trunk of my car. (Oops.) I definitely slowed down at that point and was ready to be done. There were a few really steep hill in the last 3K that I probably could have walked up faster than I “ran”. Coming into the finish, I could hear the music and the cheering echo through the city streets. Random people yelled out, “Go Candycorn!” I smiled and waved every time I heard them. It felt like the end of a marathon! It was pretty awesome.

Post-Race

The WaterMonster let us refill our bottles as needed.

The WaterMonster let us refill our bottles as needed.

Immediately after crossing the finish line, we were given our glow-in-the-dark finisher’s medal. Water bottles and a box of post-race food were offered to every runner as well. A WaterMonster station was located at the finish that enabled runners to refill their water bottles. I think this probably prevented runners from grabbing multiple bottles at the finish, therefore avoiding the terrible situation of not having enough bottles to offer runners finishing later. Gear check had moved our belongings from the start line to the finish line a few blocks away. It was pretty cold after the race so I was grateful to not have to walk far to get my change of clothes! There was DJ on a stage keeping the post-race party going strong and a massage tent offered free massages to runners.

Save the Date!

Save the Date!

I am not sure how I missed this race for the last 7 years I have lived in Oklahoma, but I am so glad I found it now! I look forward to running it again next year. Fortunately, the post-race food box also served as a Save the Date reminder!

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Finish!

For more information about the Tulsa Run, check out my BibRave review here.

 

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2XU Elite MCS Compression Tights Review and Discount

IMG_3482Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU Elite MCS Compression tights thanks to Bibrave‘s BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find, review and write race reviews!

Over the last few years, there has been a huge growth in popularity for compression garments among athletes of all sports and fitness activities, from recreational to elite professionals. Much has been written about the training and recovery advantages such clothing claims to produce. Cool! I’m all for gaining a little edge where I can find it, especially as I get older. And although I own a couple pairs of compression calf sleeves and a pair of compression socks, I had been on the fence about investing in a pair of compression tights for a while. I have lots of different leggings that I love to wear after a long run so I figure that is pretty much the same thing, right? HA! Not even close!

What is 2XU? 

2XU (“Two Times You”) was launched in Australia in 2005 and has since become the official compression partner for numerous world class athletes and teams. Their mission is to advance human performance through the development of world-leading athletic garments.

What sets 2XU apart? 

What I liked best about 2XU was the variety of products available! Not only do they offer a multitude of sport-specific products, but they also have reflective compression gear and pregnancy compression gear! (I REALLY wish I knew about this stuff when I was having my babies. I struggled with varicose veins through my 2nd pregnancy and was stuck wearing the hospital-type compression socks. Not fun.) But the specific type of compression I tested out for Bibrave was their Elite MCS Compression Tights.

IMG_3551MCS stands for Muscle Containment Stamping, which traces over key muscles, tendons and fascia groups for more targeted and effective compression power. These tights are definitely unlike any of the other running tights I had in my closet! When you turn 2XU Elite MCS Compression Tights inside out, you can clearly see the MCS system at work. They truly are like a second skin!

How do they fit and feel? 

IMG_3820I used the size chart provided by 2XU to order mine and felt they fit perfectly. They truly are like a second skin so getting them on definitely took a little more work than slipping on a pair of baggy sweat pants! I gather them down by the ankle, slowly working them up one leg at a time, kind of like putting on a pair of pantyhose that you don’t want to snag! The fact they are so snug is what sets them apart from all my other tights. They hug the muscles in your legs perfectly and feel amazing. The waist band is more narrow when compared to other brands of tights I own, but it did not bother me at all.

Training and Recovery

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When I received my tights, I was just a few weeks away from running the Chicago Marathon. It was still really hot here in Oklahoma so I did not wear them for my long training runs. I did, however, wear them immediately after my hard workouts for recovery. After a long run or really challenging tempo, I normally feel sore for at least a day or two from the hard effort. But that did not happen when I wore my 2XU Elite MCS compression tights! My legs felt fresh, loose and ready to go much faster than I would have anticipated.

IMG_3675I brought them with me to Chicago hoping I would get the same result after the marathon. My race did not go as I had hoped and I was not feeling great at the finish (to say the least!). Within 30 minutes of finishing the marathon, I changed into my tights and waited for my friends to finish. I could not believe how well I was moving around in the hours following the race. It felt great to walk around in them and I could go up and down stairs without a bother! I wore them on the plane home the next day and felt really good the entire flight. What struck me was my range of motion. Usually, my hamstrings and/or quads are so painfully tight after a marathon that it is difficult to sit properly or bend down without pain. I did not feel that pain after this race.

At the finish of The Tulsa Run 15 with fellow pros Sarah and Cassie

At the finish of The Tulsa Run 15 with fellow pros Sarah and Cassie

I ran a very hilly 15K race yesterday and put my 2XU tights on again, immediately after finishing. I had a 2 hour drive home afterwards and I was anticipating great stiffness and soreness today. Instead, I enjoyed a great spin workout followed by a light run with my family.

Discount

Still not sure if compression is right for you? My best advice is to try it for yourself. And a great benefit of being a BibRave Pro is that I get to offer my readers a discount for amazing products like this! You can save 20% off any 2XU purchase with discount code BIBRAVE20. Check out their inventory, you will be amazed at the variety!

Check out what some other BibRave Pros thought about their experience wearing Elite MCS Compression:

Sarah          Heather          Angie               Kim            Allison

Tom            Jeremy            Katherine       Laura B.

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The Upside of A Disappointing Finish

Jumping for joy at the Bean

Jumping for joy at the Bean

I ran the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. The first 16 miles were absolutely incredible. Everything was clicking, it felt easy, I was present in the moment. When I felt my thoughts drifting ahead to the finish, imagining what it was going to feel like when I reached my goal of breaking 4 hours, I caught myself. I brought it back to the moment, one footstrike at a time. In fact, I was in such an awesome zone, that I hardly even remember miles 6 through 14! I remember passing the half way mark and thinking, “Already half way done?? No way!” I was doing this!

Thrilled to share this race with my brother, Jon

Thrilled to share this race with my brother

And then the rumbling started. At first, it was a little nag, gently nudging my belly, looking for a little attention. I took inventory, acknowledged the nausea I felt and checked to be sure I was on schedule with my fueling. It will pass. Focus on your breathing. But it didn’t pass. Instead, the gentle nag turned into severe cramping that required all my attention, all my concentration and by mile 16, I knew this adversity was not going to pass without some major decisions and adjustments. I hoped that stopping once would bring the relief that I needed to feel better and keep going. Unfortunately, that did not happen. My legs felt great, but my stomach absolutely betrayed me. It got worse with each mile, ultimately derailing me from my race goal and plunging my running confidence straight into the gutter.

I could spend the rest of this post detailing the mile-by-mile physical and mental breakdown that took place. (In fact, I already wrote that blog!) Looking back, I can’t really see anything I could have done differently to prevent the tummy trouble. Instead, I’d like to tell you what I learned about myself during this race and how I am going to do my best to keep moving forward.

Seriously felt this happy the first 16 miles!

Seriously felt this happy the first 16 miles!

I learned that no matter how much I try, I still care too much about what other people think. There’s a great vulnerability I feel when I verbalize what I aspire to achieve. Saying it aloud, sharing it with others, and actively pursuing it creates a level of expectation that I now realize is difficult for me to manage mentally. I know I did all the work necessary to put myself in position to reach my goal. I have never been fitter, stronger, or healthier!

Logically, I understand that finishing safely is a huge accomplishment and that there are many other runners who would love to have finished their race in 4:30. On the other hand, there many runners who consider 3:55 to be really slow! We can get so wrapped up in the result that we lose perspective of why we do this in the first place. In the immediate aftermath of my race, I felt like I failed. I felt embarrassed, disappointed, foolish even. But why? Are any of your lives changed because I didn’t make my goal?? HA! I think not. Will women stop coming to my running group because I ran 30 minutes slower than my goal? I hope not! Will my family love me any less because I did not break 4 hours? Definitely not! So why do I feel this way?

I learned that I feel this way because my “people pleasing” quality extends far beyond the marathon. I realize that it reaches into my professional and personal lives as well. Comparing myself to other teachers, other mothers, other runners, or other women only leads me to feel inadequate in my own life. When did I start running their race and not my own?? The whole premise of my blog is to document my journey of living presently. And frankly, in this experience, I did not do a great job at that. So today, I refuse to entertain that dialogue in my head any longer.

Riding in "The Quiet Car" with Dad!

Riding in “The Quiet Car” with Dad!

I learned what it feels like to run in “The Zone”. Remember that first 16 miles I mentioned earlier? They were just what I imagined them to be. It’s hard to articulate into words that feeling of equilibrium I felt while running. When I felt my mind drifting to what I might feel like at the finish, I was able to bring it back to focus. I am proud of that, even if it didn’t get me all the way to the finish line.  

I learned that I love marathon training. I enjoy the journey to the starting line of a marathon. The nature of running a marathon is all about the journey, navigating the adversity as it presents itself. Placing all my self-worth on race day results is a slippery slope that I have not yet figured out how to manage.

I learned that at the end of the day, I love sharing the experience of running with others. With 1000 meters left in the marathon yesterday, the woman next to me fell down, succumbing to cramping and dehydration. We were so close to the finish and I wanted my own misery to be over with so badly. But then I looked back and realized that none of that mattered. I wanted to help her, just like I want to help anyone else in need. I turned around and jogged back to her. Another woman and I helped this stranger to her feet. She was not in good shape and could not find her balance. I realized that she didn’t speak English. She tried to get her legs moving but she was too wobbly to run. I looked into her eyes and said, “We finish safely. Together.” She put her arm around me and we started walking carefully to toward the finish. At that point, I realized I didn’t care what my finishing time was. I cared more about helping that other runner than I did about any finishing time.

I learned that running truly continues to be a metaphor for my life. I will continue to learn from each race, each experience, each mistake, each victory. After all, moving forward is really the only option. And as my friend, Brenda, reminded me on our way home today, I would not change a single thing about this trip for those 30 wishful minutes. Each memory is too priceless for that.

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So happy to meet my fellow BibRave Pro, Chad!

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Coffee with Bart and Brenda!

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Sharing the view with BRPs Julia & Jessica

Pre-race goodbyes

Pre-race goodbyes

Finally able to smile after a few hours of laying like marathon road kill.

Finally able to smile after a few hours of laying like marathon road kill.

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Post-race cab ride

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Surviving the School Year Marathon

The beginning of a new school year often brings conflicting emotions for me. As a mom of two boys (7 and 10), I’m thrilled to get them back into a daily routine. The promise of a new school year brings a plethora of possibilities for them – new teachers, new knowledge, new friends. But as a 5th grade teacher, I’m crying on the inside as I trade in the freedom of running in the daylight and enjoying a second cup of coffee in my pajamas for planning lessons, grading papers and caring for the 25 little people in my classroom everyday. This is in addition to keeping my own house running smoothly, getting my boys to their various after school activities and training for another marathon! And you know what? I would not have it any other way!

The truth of the matter is that every family is juggling their own personal schedules and challenges. At the end of the day, we’re all just striving to make it through a school year in one piece. With kids, spouses, work commitments and just everyday life stressors, it’s a wonder how any of us make it at all!

Since I started running in 1999, I have trained for over a dozen marathons. The commitment, discipline and flexibility it takes to be a marathon runner have taught me many lessons about life outside of running as well. One of the reasons I love running so much is that it truly is a metaphor for life. In fact, I believe that surviving a busy school year is very much like training for a marathon.

Here are some tips that have helped me (and my family) survive the demands of a busy school year.

  1. Build a foundation: The early stages of training for a marathon require you to build up a base. Similarly, the first several weeks in any classroom are focused on building routines and procedures. Replicate this at home as much as you can. Establishing before school routines are just as important as after school ones. In our family, we try our best to keep the structure of the school weeks consistent. Meal times, bedtimes, and wake-ups times are all important components for our kids to be prepared for their busy schedules.
  2. Develop a training plan: Choosing the plan that fits your family best is vital. Every family is different and unique, so what works for one family may not be in your family’s best interest. My husband and I have found that trying to anticipate life more than a week at a time is too much. Practice times change, work gets busy, life happens. We used to get stressed out about such things, but now, we do our best to adapt and adjust as needed.
  3. Quality over quantity: Running lots of miles to prepare for a race is good, but it’s always best to make the most of what you’ve got. For busy families, that translates to time. We all need more and will never have enough. Be intentional about finding a way to spend some quality time with your child, as well as your partner. Instead of listening to the radio or making quick phone call in the car, talk directly to your child. Engage them in conversation and show them that they have your undivided attention, that they are important and their experiences matter. The same goes for your partner. Find a moment after the kids go to bed to turn off technology and genuinely connect with your significant other. It’s one thing to ask how their day went while you wash dishes. It’s a totally different level if you sit down, look them in the eyes and say, “Tell me about your day.”
  4. Find a training group: Training with a group not only makes you faster, it also provides incredible emotional support on the long road to race day. Connecting with other families who are caught in the daily grind can be a win-win for you both. Sharing carpool duties is a simple way to alleviate the pressure of having to be in multiple places at the same time. Bonus is the kids will feel like it’s a playdate!
  5. Run the Mile You’re In: A marathon consists of 26.2 miles. Runners usually feel great at mile 6, but by mile 18 they might be cursing the day they ever thought running a marathon was a good idea! It’s important to stay in the present moment during a race; focus on putting one foot in front of the other as best you can. After all, you can’t run the next mile until you finish the present mile. I use this strategy when I feel overwhelmed by the endless items on my “To Do” list. I focus on the task I’m in at that moment and be as present as possible for whatever it may entail. Whether it may be grocery shopping, making dinner, doing laundry or carpooling kids around town, I do my best to stay engaged in that activity. Something will always suffer when you try to multitask to an extreme.
  6. Don’t neglect the rest days: Rest is just as important as running when training for a marathon. The same is true for surviving the school year. When confronted with an occasional day off, we have a tendency to feel guilty for relaxing. We get so used to the rushing around each day that it actually feels uncomfortable to sit down and enjoy a movie! Some people might even create a new project to do just so they can feel “productive” that day! But rest days are good! Getting some extra sleep just once a week will help you feel rejuvenated for the next round of activities.

What strategies does your family use to survive a hectic school year? 

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