Friday Five : More and less

I am linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What, and Mar at Mar on the Run for this week’s Friday Five, which is a theme related to fitness. So I took the opportunity of today’s Friday Five to look back at how my running has evolved.



I have been running over 10 years now. As with any relationship, there have been ups and downs, changes and evolutions. Although not severe, I have had most typical running injuries, great runs, crappy runs, fantastic race experiences and some that I would rather forget.

I am currently at a really good place with my running so I wanted to look at how it has evolved over the years, and the “why” behind my current state of mind / physical condition.


1. More warm up, stretching and core reinforcement. I strongly believe this has helped me ward off injury. Before I just used to get up and run but now I faithfully do a dynamic warm up, stretch regularly and work those ab muscles.


2. More structure. I had reached a state I would qualify as bore out. Same distances, same routes, same speeds. Since I set some goals and started working with a training plan about a year ago, not only have I gotten my mojo back but this has helped me reach new objectives and new race distances. My first half marathon was less than a year ago, my first marathon is in 4 weeks.

3. More attention to what I eat. When I eat well, fuel my body with whole foods and am hydrated, I run better. Period. Protein + veggies + rice is very typical of my meals.




4. Less music. I have stopped running with music. I used to run on the treadmill, but now that I run primarily outside, I love the sounds of the city, nature, my breathing and my feet hitting the ground.  I am much more in tune to how I feel.


5. Less pressure. I may have trouble hitting the speeds I used to hit but I am OK with that. Once I took a little pressure off myself, running was less about being a chore and more about pleasure and minor milestones.


What has changed in your fitness / running routine over the years ?

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Comments: 29

  1. Pam and Christine March 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm Reply

    That’s really interesting that you quit listening to music while running. When I am solo, I always have one earpiece with music playing, but in groups I am fine to run without. I usually always have music for races, especially a marathon.
    Pam and Christine recently posted…How and why I chose to use a Personal TrainerMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:20 pm Reply

      I need music at the gym, to avoid getting hit on by creepy middle aged men, but otherwise, when I am outside I need the (relative) quiet.

  2. Kelli March 4, 2016 at 1:01 pm Reply

    I’m with you on a lot of these. I don’t listen to music for outdoor training either. And right now I’d love to be running at all, but in a steady-state world I think I enjoy it more when I’m just out exploring on a trail run and not worried about paces or if stopping to take a picture will screw up my Garmin. Thanks for sharing, Karen!
    Kelli recently posted…Coping with InjuryMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:19 pm Reply

      Ah yes, the picture and Garmin situation… I just stop my watch. Usually. But since #5, even if I don’t stop it once in a while, that’s ok.

  3. Jennifer @ Run Jenny Run March 4, 2016 at 1:06 pm Reply

    I am working on #2, 3 and 5 this year. I do enjoy one earbud while running alone, but when I am with a group I do not use it.

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:17 pm Reply

      One earbud for safety purposes ?

  4. Coco March 4, 2016 at 1:57 pm Reply

    I think I am struggling with #2 and definitely need to do better with #3. I love running when I am out of town – new route, new scenery – but have a hard time getting out the door to run in my neighborhood.

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:17 pm Reply

      I used to also have a hard time going out my front door, but then forced myself to try new routes and it definitely boosted my motivation to run.

  5. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy March 4, 2016 at 2:20 pm Reply

    I actually do 1-4 already, but it STILL doesn’t prevent injury for me and that annoys me. But maybe, just maybe, ti’s allowed me to run through most of my injuries and still heal.

    #5? That’s a tough one! I really don’t consider myself a type A person, and yet, in some ways, I definitely am.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…5 Reasons You Might Want a FitDesk BikeMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:14 pm Reply

      Have you changed shoes ? Tried orthodics ? Weight lifting ? those things helped prevent injury (at least I think they definitely contributed to the prevention)

  6. lacey@fairytalesandfitness March 4, 2016 at 2:20 pm Reply

    I could never run by myself without any music. Only time I run without music is if I am running with someone else. I have also learned to take the pressure off myself I know PR days are behind me and that’s ok. I run bc I enjoy it, not to continue setting PRs.
    lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Confession TimeMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:13 pm Reply

      I ran with music for YEARS but someone needed to connect with nature more at one point, and stopping the music allowed me to do that. I still use it on my very long runs towards the end.

  7. meljo @ ayearinrunningshoes March 4, 2016 at 3:00 pm Reply

    I wish I could find a way to love the sound of my breathing and feet hitting the ground… I listen to music just to drown those sounds out! I’m working on #5, I think the pressure of pace took some of the joy out of my running, but it is really hard not to check the clock!

    I find my endurance is significantly greater than I think when I run a new route! I think, for me, the monotony of the same route(s) becomes counter-productive at some point, and definitely boring!
    meljo @ ayearinrunningshoes recently posted…bye, felicia (a.k.a. february)My Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:12 pm Reply

      I agree with you about the new routes. Anything to mix things up helps me avoid bore/burn out.

  8. Darlene March 4, 2016 at 5:27 pm Reply

    I do run less often with music. I used to all the time. The big change for me is not worrying about my time. And I am enjoying running more. I have no goals.

    You are ready. You’ll be a marathoner in no time!
    Darlene recently posted…Friday Five: The Long RunMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:11 pm Reply

      Indeed not worrying about the time makes it a lot more fun. I have too much stress in my life to add even more by (unattainable) running goals.

  9. It’s nice to see you taking pressure off of yourself. This whole thing is supposed to be fun right? I tend to do that as well especially with the tri races. Hope to see you at the coffee date tomorrow
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Learn, Run & Shop + Shoe GiveawayMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:10 pm Reply

      Yes, it is supposed to be fun and let’s face it…. I also run for my health and if I am injured, and can’t run, its not doing me any good ! Yes I will be there for the coffee date tomorrow !

  10. Tricia@MissSippiPiddlin March 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm Reply

    Karen, I guess I did not realize your first half was less than a year ago and now you’re right here at your marathon. I was impressed before but dang lady, that is awesome!
    Tricia@MissSippiPiddlin recently posted…5 Reasons Why I Forked Out The Money For A Personal TrainerMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:09 pm Reply

      Aw thanks Tricia. Yes, I did a lot of running and smaller races but my first half was less than a year ago !

  11. Megan @ Meg Go Run March 4, 2016 at 9:13 pm Reply

    What a great idea for a post! Like you, I do a lot more stretching, warming up/cooling down than when I was younger. I do less junk miles. More walking.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Friday 5: Ways Planet Fitness Could Be BetterMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 4, 2016 at 10:08 pm Reply

      I’m with you on the walking. I have accepted I do not need to run continuously to be a runner.

  12. Melanie @ HappyBeingHealthy March 4, 2016 at 11:05 pm Reply

    I love this. I’ve been trying to stretch and work on my core more too. I’m determined to be an injury free runner! I know a lot of people who run without music too. I LOVE running with music, but I can totally see how rejuvenating it would be to just enjoy the sounds of nature.

    • Karen - Fit in France March 5, 2016 at 8:18 am Reply

      Hope all is well Melanie ! How is your injury ? gone ?

      • Melanie @ HappyBeingHealthy March 5, 2016 at 10:50 pm Reply

        I’m just starting to get back to running and so far, so good! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way!

  13. Mar @ Mar on the Run March 4, 2016 at 11:27 pm Reply

    this is great! I am currently half marathon training and with a coach and a goal – but the underlying goal of it all was to learn to love the run again. I don’t even care if my goal gets met at my next race I’ve been enjoying running, and strength training and yoga so much more this cycle though. And I need music. I know it’s a personal preference for everyone but I like having the rhythms and beats move me. I’ll go without when I’m with other people though
    Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…5 Yoga Benefits for Runners & prAna Spring StyleMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France March 5, 2016 at 8:17 am Reply

      I think like lots of things, running is cyclical and things that worked for us in the past don’t work any more or we need to try new things. In any case, YES to yoga and strength training. I am thinking about how to evolve my training plan once my marathon is over.

  14. courtney @ eat pray run dc March 5, 2016 at 7:57 pm Reply

    I don’t run with music either – I gave it up a few years ago and never looked back. It’s also a safety issue. I’m so excited for your marathon!!

    • Karen - Fit in France March 6, 2016 at 2:42 pm Reply

      Definitely agree with the safety issue… especially in a city. I’m excited for me too 🙂

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