Monday, June 19, 2017

33-week Checkin: Summer of my Discontent

I'm 33 weeks pregnant.  In late June.  In Alabama.  I'm still managing to run.

Taken today during a midday run at a local park.  At the beginning of the run, because I don't want to scare you.
How is Running Going?

It's going...okay.  About five weeks ago, I turned off the "pace" metric on my watch and switched it to show only heart rate, distance, and elapsed time (so I don't get carried away and waste time...slower runs eat up my free time!).  On a rare early morning run with low (HAHAHAHA) temperatures, I might see paces in the high 9s or low 10s if I keep the run short and feel good.  On midday runs I see paces in the 12s now.  I'm taking walk breaks when my heart rate exceeds my anaerobic threshold, and this can happen frequently when it's 90 degrees F.

As of today, I have run 614 miles pregnant.  My original goal was 700 total during pregnancy and I think I'll be able to do that!  I'm still on track to run at least 1200 during this calendar year, which is cool.  

I'm averaging 20-25 miles of outdoor running each week.  I'm now replacing one or two running workouts each week with an hour-long spinning class or stationary trainer ride.  I get to yoga every few weeks. (Although, truth be told, yoga is a lot more uncomfortable for me now that running is.  Weird, I know.)  I stretch.  I do my hip strengthening exercises.  I take a day of complete rest once a week.

This is all I can do for now.  Each day is a little harder than the day before (duh, because I get more pregnant each day).  I have occasional workouts that feel incredible, like this Saturday's eight-mile run in relatively cool 70-degree weather.  Some workouts feel like complete dog shit (pardon my's the honest truth).  I just push through them, watch my heart rate monitor, and hope for better luck next time.

I still love running, and I still legitimately enjoy every minute I get to spend doing it.  When I feel depressed about being uncomfortable or going slow, I just remind myself that this is temporary.

Why All the Midday Running?

Long story short, I'm having scheduling and childcare issues right now.  I mentioned in an earlier post that we are moving.  Specifically to the mountains of rural Tennessee.  This is a temporary opportunity for my husband, and we are thrilled about it.  He has gone ahead to the new place, and I have stayed behind to wrap up a few work projects, have the baby, and take care of our three-year-old.  I am effectively solo parenting except for the Sundays my husband is back in town.

My son is doing some enrichment day for horseback riding and one for early STEM education.  The sessions aren't continuous, but they do give me a four-hour stretch each day to clean, meal prep, run errands, go to (a million) doctor's appointments, and run in the heat.  I'm doing my work in the evenings after he's gone to bed.

I hate running in the heat.  It's my only option now.

For months, I didn't want to run shirtless with this belly.  Triple-digit temperatures made me reconsider. 

Any Advice for Running in the Third Trimester?  Especially in the Heat?  What Helps?

A support belt helps.  I use the Gabriala Medium Support Belt ($30 on Amazon right now).  It really gives me hip stability and alleviates bladder pressure.

Staying flexible with workouts really helps.  I'm not following a training plan, and wouldn't try to.  I run how I feel.  In the same vein, not caring about pace really helps too.

All the benefits of running during pregnancy are a massive help as well.  I'm not sure but I think running is helping me sleep better, avoid swelling and GI problems like heartburn, keep my weight gain modest, feel better about my body, and all that good stuff.  I'm also trying to keep my real goals in mind.  I'm not doing this to look better in my jeans.  I just want to maintain some level of athletic ability during pregnancy.  I have running goals and I want to be smart about continuing to pursue them during this part of my life.

The heat is beastly, though.  I run during the part of the day when it cannot possibly get any hotter, so at least I have that going for me?  I stick close to restrooms, water fountains, and shade.  I wear light clothes, wet my shirt or hat if possible, and take walk breaks if I feel overheated.  I don't get too far away from my home or car so I can bail if I need to.  I wear sunscreen and a hat, always.

One of the huge problems I deal with is bladder pressure and the almost constant need to pee during runs!  Like I said, the support belt helps a lot.  I also try to limit fluids in the two hours before my run, making sure I'm very well hydrated during the rest of the day (and night).  I've become pretty brazen about peeing in bushes or trailside, in random construction site porta potties, and in restaurant and convenience store bathrooms.  So far, no one has said "you can't pee here!" or "customers only!"  So there's that.

Eating a lot of food is also helping.  Honestly...I eat SO MUCH food right now.  It's a complete free for all, and I've been making some great meals.  Maybe I'll make a post of all my wacky amateur food phone-tography, because you would be impressed.  Working with my doctor, I've tracked a few days of eating here and there, and I would estimate I'm eating close to 3000 calories a day.  (I had a scare with blood sugar levels, more on that later!)  I'm tall, I'm very pregnant, and I do 6-7 hours of exercise a week, so apparently that's the amount of food it takes.

Trying to casually pose with the Morgan & Stanley office building where I regularly poach the lobby restroom.

I'm really so excited to meet this baby.  My husband jokes that we're going to have to wrap him in my running support belt to get him to sleep, ahaha!  Have a great week everyone. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

All Downhill From Here: A Second-Trimester Training Log

Well, today is officially the last day of my second trimester.  I'm constantly surprising myself with the running (and not-running) I'm able to do.  First of all, some numbers and stats!

As of today, I have run 482 miles while pregnant.  

For 11 out of 27 weeks of pregnancy, I have managed to do a "long run" of at least 8 miles.

During the second trimester, I averaged 24.1 miles per week.   

During the second trimester, I've also spent a little over 14 hours on the bike trainer or a stationary bicycle.

I actually won a time trial challenge at my gym's Wednesday trainer ride, as part of an all female team.  I was shocked, because I've never been able to generate much power on a bike.

Thanks to Strava, I know that over the last four weeks, I have averaged 24.8 miles per weeks, usually over five runs.  Typically, I run five days a week, ride a bike trainer or do a spinning class once a week, weight train once a week, and take Sundays completely off.

I'm feeling good.  To me, this is the most important part.  Each phase of pregnancy has come with its obstacles, but I feel like I've been able to deal with them as they arise.  I was so dizzy and exhausted during the first trimester, so I stuck to the treadmill or shorter runs close to home.  I'm not going to lie...I had to force myself to complete workouts and a lot of them were horrible, mind-numbing, or extremely difficult.  Around the time I got my energy back, I started having bladder pressure and pain.  At 18 weeks, I started wearing a support belt and that helped things immensely.  I have dealt with some groin and hip pain that I attribute to weakness (seems to be helped by MYRTL and my old injury prevention routine) and lose joints (seems to be helped by the support belt).

Although my weight gain has been modest (about 15 pounds up from the day I got pregnant, and 18 pounds up from "racing weight"), I definitely feel heavier.  Unfortunately, this is something that gets worse every day and has no real "solution" other than getting stronger.  I notice the added weight more on some days than others.  Overall, I am inclined to say the weight isn't really affecting my speed very much.  I've always heard people talking about losing weight to go faster, but maybe it doesn't matter as much as we think?  I probably wouldn't have trouble training at my current weight, but I do worry about the increased risk of injury.  I had some rare runner's knee (patellofemoral) pain a few weeks back, and it definitely gave me pause.

My heart rate continues to be a total burden.  Pregnancy makes it high, erratic, sensitive to weather conditions, and totally unpredictable.  My doctor wants me to average 160 for most running workouts, and to avoid numbers above 170 for more than a few minutes at a time.  It probably goes without saying, but I haven't done any speed work during pregnancy.  I haven't even done threshold runs, hill repeats, or anything that would tend to get me anaerobic.  When I see numbers above 170, I take a small walk break (leaving the watch running), and try to adjust my route to avoid hills, sun, wind exposure, etc.  This has been humbling.  However, slower paces have allowed me to meet an entirely new set of running partners, and enjoy some of the later social events.

That said, I can't wait for that first speed work session after I am cleared to run again in the fall.

On that topic, I am starting to feel anxious about the birth and my recovery.  I think this is normal?  My first labor and delivery were a dream come, tolerable, not traumatic in any way, and relatively easy to recover from.  I hope things go that way again.  I could write a lengthy standalone post about my specific anxieties, but this isn't (always) a pregnancy blog.  Hahaha at least I'm trying!

I'll just conclude things by saying that I've already picked some races for 2018...nothing too early or ambitious.  Stay tuned for that.  Hopefully I'll have a few more updates for you guys before there are baby pictures to share ;)

Have a great week.

Monday, April 17, 2017

24-Week Checkin: Lessons from Running in the Second Trimester

24 weeks, 24 weeks!  In just a few short weeks, I will be into my third trimester.  Major time warp.  Here are some things I've noticed so far.

Spring social run with my track club.  My friend Jessica is helpfully gesturing toward my belly.

1.  Warm up time.

It takes me a lot longer to warm up now.  By this, I mean it takes me longer than usual to get a stable heart rate and that comfortable feeling that I've settled in to the workout.  Before, I would feel relaxed and ready to work sometime within the first mile, or maybe even immediately, depending on how fresh my legs were.  Now, it can take as long as two miles or even a full 30 minutes of running.

What's causing this?  Not sure.  Pregnancy causes higher levels of fatigue and slower recovery times (more on that later), so maybe I'm just dragging a bit.  Pregnancy also does weird things to heart rate, so it could be that.   

2.  Heart rate recovery time.

Another "hmmm that's interesting" thing I've noticed is an extremely quick recovery to a resting heart rate after a workout is over (or between intervals).  Weirdly, this is usually something that happens as you increase fitness.  Definitely not the case for me right now.  But usually within a minute of stopping a workout or interval, my heart rate will drop back down into the double digits and stay there.  I'm taking advantage of this and doing more interval workouts, especially on the bike trainer.

Probably my last run in tights for this year :(

3.  Overall recovery time.

This one isn't so great.  It now takes me much, much longer to recover from a hard workout.  The "lead in my legs" feeling just lasts longer than it did before.  This makes sense, because my body is working hard to make a human being, not build new muscle fibers.  I'm learning to respect the fatigue and be gentle with myself if I need extra rest.   

4.  Shoe wear.

Being pregnant makes your shoes wear out faster.  I haven't figured this one out yet.  I'm heavier, my stride causes me to drag my feet a bit more, my push off is weak...all possible reasons why my shoes are only lasting 250ish mile now.  I delayed on replacing a pair early last week, and I could definitely feel it.  Never again.

5.  Weight and hills.

On that note, I'm finally to the point that I feel the extra weight on climbs.  Especially on softer surfaces and trails.  I hope this is making me stronger! 

A photo to memorialize the rainbow shorts.  They were nice while they lasted.

6.  "Maternity" clothes for runners.

What a joke.  Everything is cotton, bulky, and too warm for hard exercise in a hot climate.  I could have my choice of cute maternity capris, except it is TOO HOT here to run in capris except maybe once or twice a year.  I only wore tights three times this winter.  Maternity running shorts are obviously not designed with serious running in mind, as they are all cotton blends that chafe and ride up.  Maternity tanks are also predominantly cotton and cut very modestly, so they chafe under my arms and across my chest.

Don't even get me started on the complete unavailability of maternity biking shorts.  Of any kind.

For now, I am still wearing my normal Athleta Fast Track shorts, just pulled down low in the front.  Luckily, I carry high.  But I don't know how long this is going to work.  I'm considering buying a larger size of just nylon soccer shorts with elastic waists and folding them down once I'm truly huge and the weather is even hotter.

My running shirts are a mixture of larger sized tanks and the one maternity tank that Old Navy makes in all-synthetic fabric.  I always run shirtless in mid summer, and I suppose I'll just switch to that once it's hotter.  I know I'll get some stares, but at least I'll get some sun on my belly, right?!

For bike shorts, I found a pair of Pearl Izumi tri shorts that have a V-shaped waistband in the front.  They are working with my bump.  For now.  I can't imagine switching to something without a chamois in order to purchase a legit "maternity" style, because...OW.  Nope.

7.  Boobs.

Seriously.  WTF.  I could probably write a novel about my search for running bras.  Let me just say, I have nothing but sympathy and respect for the women who deal with this problem every day of their lives.  Sports bras north of DD territory are uncomfortable, difficult to put on, even more difficult to remove, expensive, and not adjustable.  I've found some solutions but nothing that isn't frustrating and depressing each time I get dressed.

That's about it.  As of today, I've run 400 miles while pregnant.  I'm averaging 25 miles per week now, with a ten-mile long run each Saturday.  I'm focusing on strength and injury prevention, and using both running and cross training to keep my cardiovascular fitness.  Every day is a gift.

Have a great week!

Monday, March 20, 2017

My running life, halfway through pregnancy

I'm completely shocked how quickly this pregnancy is going by!  I'm a lot busier than I was the first time around, but still.  It feels like the calendar is whipping by me.

Last week, I hit the 300-mile milestone in my pregnancy miles.  Not too bad considering I was at a low point in my volume of running at the time I got pregnant.  I've actually managed to increase weekly mileage over the past few months, which I never saw coming.  I'm averaging 25-30 miles per week right now, and it feels comfortable and relaxed.  I only run 4-5 days a week, and a six-mile run feels like it's right in the "sweet spot" for maintaining fitness but recovering quickly.  I'm running based on heart rate and avoiding going over my anaerobic threshold for any significant period of time.  This means going slower.  I'm cool with that. 

Track club group run on this Saturday, March 18.  I'm hiding in the back by the tall guy.

I'm still accumulating a lot of that mileage during my track club's Saturday morning long run.  I'm doing a bit of cross training to replace midweek runs, and LOVING spinning.  I'm still holding back from going completely nuts with cross training, because I know there may/will come a time in the third trimester when that will be all I have left.

Here's a quick rundown of last week:

Monday - 6 miles @ 10:16 on trails.  Halfway through, it started pouring rain.  Of course, I was...three miles from my car.  I finished the run haha.

Tuesday - Rest.  Snacks.  Stretching.  You know the drill.

Wednesday - 70-minute spinning class with a friend.  It was all cardio intervals, which I love right now for my current goals of maintaining my cardiovascular base.

Thursday - 6 miles @ 10:28 on trails, in very cold weather.  We didn't get any snow from the huge Nor'easter that blew in...just some unexpected sub-freezing temps.  I had to get tights back out, boo hoo ;)

Friday - 4.8 @ a variety of paces.  I met a friend at a local jogging trail, and we only made it about a mile before she realized an old injury was flaring up and she needed to walk back to her car.  I went with her.  Then I logged another 3 miles @ 9:27 before work.  Flat pavement and nice weather felt great after a week of muddy trails.

Saturday - 10.2 @ 10:52 with the track club.  Another downpour!  My pace group and I stopped to bag all our electronics and car keys with dog poop bags, and didn't hit our target 10:30 pace.  This was a very hilly run, as the track club is preparing for a challenging 15k race, the Statue 2 Statue.

Early spring weather conditions, actual baby bump.

So, there you have it.  Last week was 27.2 miles.  I'm on target to meet or exceed that again this week (ran 6 on trails today).  I very rarely see paces below 10 minutes/mile anymore (and it pains me to consider that I used to be part of the 8:30 long run pace group!).  I am trying to MAINTAIN cardiovascular conditioning through pregnancy.  I am running by heart rate and perceived effort.  I am 100% committed to making it through labor and delivery uninjured.  And yes, I am likely heaving another huge, hulking baby through my little pelvis.  I need to be in awesome shape -- mentally and physically -- to make this happen.  I'm wearing a support band (the Gabrialla Medium Support) for hard exercise now, to help distribute some of the extra weight on my hips.

I've gained nine or ten pounds so far...hydrating for longer runs and the general weirdness and bloating of pregnancy make this hard to quantify exactly.  I'm a full fifteen pounds up from my "racing weight," though.  And yes, I definitely feel it on steep inclines or soft surfaces.  I am definitely aware of the extra effort it takes to haul a heavier (and top-heavy) body around.  I hope it's making me strong as hell.   I'm carefully tracking nutrients and hydration, taking a multivitamin, and making sure I "eat back" all the calories I burn during exercise.  I try not to let myself get hungry or thirsty at all during the day.

Other than that, (running) life goes on.  Work is exciting and lucrative lately, and I am grateful for a career that lets me care for my family so easily.  I count my blessings every day.

I'll post soon with some actual baby bump photos from 20 weeks, and about our planned move to the mountains this fall (!).  Have a great week, everyone! 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Running in the first trimester and beyond!

As of today, I have run 250 miles with this baby!  

17 weeks and change
I went into this pregnancy with low mileage/a lot of cross training.  I had some health problems near the end of last year that required some rest, so I took one day at a time.  I think it's safe to say that I've hit my second trimester groove now.  I'm 18 weeks now and I can't believe I'm nearly halfway done with cooking this baby!

First Trimester Recap

During the first trimester, I generally ran three miles at a time (sometimes as little as two, which I haven't done in years).  My greatest obstacles were just extreme exhaustion and the need for extra sleep.  This caused problems with motivation, and some days I could barely get out of bed with enough time to make breakfast and dress myself and my son for the day.  I got through workouts by basically turning off the part of my brain that was reluctant or worried, and forcing myself to lace up my shoes and get running.  During these early weeks, there was absolutely no joy in running.

I want to get through pregnancy with my cardiovascular fitness intact, though.  That is what kept me motivated.

I averaged 15-18 miles of running a week, took at least one yoga class, and tried to mix things up with the stair mill and long walks.  Like I said, the mental game was very rough.

For weeks 9-11 of pregnancy, I had some pretty extreme nausea.  As with my first pregnancy, I only vomited a handful of times, generally right after eating breakfast.  The nausea was much worse in the evenings, and sometimes I was incapacitated for most of the night and unable to rest.  I'm not sure this is the same for every woman, but for me the nausea of pregnancy comes with vertigo, hot flashes, and headaches.  During these weeks, I just tried to rest and get a few workouts in when I could.  Oddly (and also a reminder of my first pregnancy), hard, sweaty workouts made the nausea go away.  At least during the exercise, I felt like myself again.  Once I discovered this, it was hugely motivating.

Right around 12 weeks, I had a little breakthrough, felt more motivated to run, and got my mileage back up over 20/week.  I was even able to get out for a few early morning runs on weekdays, which made me feel human again.


Right now, I'm running 4-5 days a week, and averaging 22/week.  It's not a lot, but I'm really encouraged by how running feels right now.  The fatigue and nausea are completely gone, and the only thing I'm really struggling with is pressure on my bladder.  The sensation is annoying, and causes fairly pointless bathroom breaks every 20-30 minutes.  The baby just wants a completely empty bladder for running, I guess.  I'm still going to the Saturday morning track club long runs, and I haven't missed a single one yet.  I generally run 8-12 miles (with plenty of bathroom stops) and stick around to enjoy everyone's company.  I'm working to preserve my running fitness AND my running friendships, I guess.

Before pregnancy, I generally did my midweek runs around an 8:15 to 8:45 pace, and my long runs closer to 9:00.  Right now, my long runs are generally right at 10:05 (a random pace that I keep hitting without trying...I guess that's how fast the baby wants to go right now).  I have some runs that are as slow as 11:00, a pace that I haven't seen since the last time I was pregnant.  I slog through these runs by feel, watch my heart rate, and try not to beat myself up.  I'm trying to maintain the status quo, not be a hero.  I still see some paces in the 8-minute range.  I'm still doing some intervals and speed ladders on the treadmill, just to keep my legs turning over.  I have slowed down, though, no doubt about it.  I've gained nine pounds, and while the extra weight doesn't "feel heavy" yet (does that make sense?), I know it's part of the reason.

I'm faithfully going to yoga.  Mostly for the breathing exercises, which I relied on to get me through labor with my first child.  And also to keep my hips strong and stable.  I'm doing my physical therapy exercises whenever I feel instability or soreness creeping in (but honestly I think my running mileage is so low that there is no danger of injury).  And spinning is AWESOME.  I've found that I can achieve a similar heart rate profile to a tough run while seated on a bike.  It is good strength training, helps me maintain a good cadence, and gives my hips a break.  I foresee a lot of indoor cycling and swimming as things progress.

I haven't made any changes to my running wardrobe yet, except for retiring a few pairs of XS Pearl Izumi shorts that are way too tiny now.  And I'm also avoiding wearing short shirts that leave my belly hanging out if I can avoid it.  Not making any promises, though.  I just ordered a running support belt (Gabrialla brand, just like I used and then gave away the first time around), and it should arrive tomorrow. 

That's all for now!  I've stayed away from the weekly recaps lately, because I feel like there hasn't been much to recap.  I'm enjoying every minute of pregnancy right now.  I can't wait to meet this new little guy, and I'm already planning some fall races for when I will be much, much lighter :)

Have a fun week, everyone. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Feels like I've been keeping this secret for AGES!!!

I'm expecting another baby BOY late this summer!  I have a lot to catch you guys up on, as it's been quite the journey.  Running is going so well lately, even though I had a rough two-week patch at the beginning of the year.  I could barely get myself out of bed, much less out for a long run.  Things are back to normal, and I'm excited to round out our family with this new little guy.

I promise no excessive baby posts.  I've put the brakes on social media for the past three months in order avoid overwhelming you guys with first trimester weirdness. 

Right now, I'm planning to take this new little guy on a few trail races (planned 20k and 10k spring events), and get him a shiny new jogging rig for my fall training.  Back to your regularly scheduled programming!

- Rheagan

Friday, January 13, 2017

Crusher Ridge 21k Trail Race at Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve: A Race Report in Photos

Out of the starting chute...Katherine in black, me in purple, and Jessica in peach.

Third aid station...sun's out, guns out!

A final training run with Jessica and Katherine.  Photos are out of order, and I don't care.

Final training run with the women's ultra club.  Left to right: Teresa, Michelle, Katherine, Jessica, Jodi, and me.  Also out of order, obv.

Staging area for the Crusher Ridge race.

With Jessica at the start.

With Matt and Jessica.

Standing around in gear, waiting for someone with a gun.

About four miles in, morale was still high.

Matt, Jessica, me, Katherine, Katherine's son Stephen (who outright won the 5k trail event).  This is obviously before the race, because I am not bleeding yet.

After the race and about three beers.  I can tell, because my knees are trashed.  Left to right:  Michelle, me, Joseph, Katherine.

With Jessica at the top of Ruffner mountain...mile 10?  A guy running the 42k took this photo for us.

Strava grab...I didn't "race" this, but paced Jessica for half of the 42k, then volunteered at an aid station for the second half.
Official race map.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Gratitude, and a Lack of Good Judgment

I have spent a lot of time lately just thinking about how miraculous it is that I share the same space in the universe as my husband, my son, and our sweet dog.  It is such a privilege to know them, and I am grateful every day for the time we have together.

At the beginning of the summer, I was not running.  Then I was walking or running slowly, and never for very long.  I hiked and I didn't worry about wearing a watch.  I allowed things to change, and I made sure I was always having fun.  Usually, this meant I covered around fifteen miles each week, more or less.  I still went to the Saturday morning social runs with Birmingham Track Club.  Sometimes I ran nine-minute miles, and sometimes I ran twelve-minute miles.  I met with friends for long, leisurely trail runs.  I learned to love the summer heat, and I respected the way it affected my body. 

About a month ago, I noticed that I was doing about 80% of my running on trails or sod.  I added more mileage and felt surprisingly healthy.  My friend Katherine (above) told me she registered for a winter ultramarathon on trails, and I agreed to show her some of the off-road running spots around town.  We ran on power line easements, cross country courses, tarmac tracks, golf courses, hiking trails, and fire roads.

This week, Katherine told me she signed up for a 21k trail run as a "tune up" before her winter training.  The race has a really cool t-shirt, so naturally I signed up.  Also, it's tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to a day of stomping around in the woods with Katherine and about a hundred other close friends.  My plan is to run but not race, and definitely wear the t-shirt for the rest of the week.

See you guys on the flip side!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Trail Running at Red Mountain Park this Morning

I met up with a few girlfriends who had long runs today, and kept them company for the first half of their twenty-miler.  It felt great to be outside on a windy day, and I think it may be getting cooler?  Either that, or I'm just hallucinating.

I ended up with about nine miles close to an 11:30/mile pace, ate salted watermelon, and then went to work filthy.  Good times.

FYI, Alabama trails are nasty and rough.  Even though we don't have the altitude of of my home state Colorado, we have all the same opportunities for technical running and filth. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How to Play Pokémon GO While You Run!

Admit it.  You want to do this.

I've mentioned this already, but I spent most of the summer falling for this game, hardcore.  I've found some great ways to incorporate it into my running life, so I thought I'd pass along some tips.  I don't have a ton of pretty pictures, sorry.  If you're interested in the game, by now you know what it looks like. 

1.  Choose a place to run.

I highly, highly suggest planning your Poké-running trips in advance.  Two months of play have taught me that certain areas are incredibly productive, while others are Poké wastelands.

Here's a quick explanation of how the location-based game features work.  1) Pokéstops are fixed locations in the real world where players collect the necessary items for playing the game (balls, eggs, potions, etc.).  2) Gyms are fixed locations in the real world where players either fight for control and virtual coins, or train against members of their own team for experience and prestige.  3) Pokémon can be found and captured at any location in the real world, but they are known to be more abundant in certain areas.  "Spawns" are single locations where a certain Pokémon is known to appear with predictable regularity.  "Nests" are small areas where a certain Pokémon appears in great numbers.

In general, Pokéstops are found at churches, fountains, public art installations, murals, and monuments.  Gyms have a less predictable pattern, but I have noticed a lot near large office towers, schools, hospitals, and popular bars and nightclubs.  All of the location data are derived from an older game called Ingress.   Here's an easy way to use Ingress data to discover Pokéstops and Gyms near you.

I recommend choosing a place with multiple Pokéstops and a known high density of Pokémon, preferably near a Nest.  Gyms aren't as important, because fighting and training at Gyms are not conducive to a running workout.

If you want to find Poké-rich places near you, or for advice on general game play, check out the Reddit forum for Pokémon Go. There are also hundreds of regional subreddits for Pokémon Go that you can find by typing some key words into the search bar on Reddit.  The Silph Road is by far the best resource for finding Spawns and Nests near you.

2. Decide on the purpose of your outing.

If you are going to prioritize the running workout, then most of this advice will be irrelevant.  My suggestion is that you do laps around one or two Pokéstops and collect supplies.  Keep the app open, but stash your phone where you can see it for the off chance you encounter a rare or needed Pokémon.  As long as the app is running and open, you will be working to hatch eggs as well.

If you are primarily focused on hatching eggs, set things up before you start.  Select your highest-kilometer eggs and fill the incubators.  Keep the app running and open.  The best course of action is to run a straight-line route, because the egg distance calculator updates every four minutes based on straight-line distance traveled.  As my eggs hatch on a run, I like to save time by quickly renaming the Pokémon to "Egg" so I can return to appraise and deal with it later.  Egg-hatched Pokémon usually have very powerful stats, and I want to avoid accidentally transferring them while I'm running.

If you mainly want to hunt Pokémon, consult local Reddit forums or the Silph Road to decide where you want to hunt.  Keep the app running and open, and your phone in your hand.  It is probably best to turn your phone volume up (as long as you won't be disturbing anyone nearby), and plan an interval or very relaxed "time on your feet" run.  I've found that trail running is great for hunting, since you will generally be moving more slowly and taking breaks.  

If you mostly need to collect supplies, find an area that is protected from vehicle traffic and has a high density of Pokéstops.  The best places are parks, zoos, gardens, and shopping malls.  Plan a lap that allows you to repeat each Pokéstop at ~five-minute intervals.  (Five minutes is the refresh interval on Pokéstops, and the game will not let you collect from them any more frequently.)

3.  Take care of your phone battery.

Pokémon GO is a major drain on a phone battery.  Oddly enough and despite this, it doesn't use a huge amount of cellular data.  In my experience (using a newer Android device, running a background task killer, and with the screen dimmed), I can actively run and play the game for about 90 minutes before I need to charge.  Every phone will be different, though.  Have you phone charged fully, carry a portable charger to top up your phone before you get on with the rest of your day, and keep the phone in battery saver mode when you can.  (My phone isn't compatible with battery saver, but iPhone 6 is.)  There are also external battery packs that people carry on extended trips, but I have not bothered with them.  

4.  Set your phone up so you can see it. 

First of all, you need to adjust your screen brightness so you can see the game in the lighting conditions you will have on the run.  Check things out in the sun and the shade, with glasses on if you plan to wear them.  Then, set your screen to the maximum timeout so you don't have to constantly be tapping at the phone screen to keep things active.  On Android, adjust "Settings" > "Display" > "Sleep" to the maximum time interval, usually five minutes.  

5.  Organize your bag and items. 

This is important especially if you are primarily hunting or collecting supplies.  I like to organize my Pokémon ahead of time, transferring and evolving any extra ones so I have more storage space.  I also use the Items menu to delete all the extra revives and potions so I don't run out of bag space and have to deal with that while I'm out. 

6.  Learn how to hit Pokéstops while running.

This is an art, and it is best developed with practice.  To collect from a Pokéstop, you need to 1) click on it to activate it, 2) spin the central disk to release items, and 3) collect the items by clicking on them individually or clicking the "x" button to close the Pokéstop.  You can click to activate a Pokéstop at any time it is visible on your map.  But you must be within the "radar" radius to actually spin the disk.  What works best for me is to click and activate the Pokéstop as I run toward it, then time the "spin" so it happens right as I am in the sweet spot.  Then, I click the "x" to close as I am running away.  Timing is everything, so it is best to practice.  Running laps and hitting the same Pokéstops over and over are also good strategies, because you learn the sweet spot for timing. 

7.  Learn how to capture Pokémon while running.

This is also an art, and also requires practice, but it is slightly more difficult that hitting Pokéstops while running.  It was a major breakthrough for me when I realized that you can move freely once you begin the Pokémon encounter, without risking "losing" the Pokémon.  

Here's the method that works for me.  Once my phone vibrates (the notification for a Pokémon within the catch radius), I glance down and decide whether I am interested in catching it.  This depends on the type of running workout I am doing, whether I need the Pokémon, the rarity of the Pokémon, etc.  Depending on that, I click to start the Pokémon encounter and move aside to a safe (hopefully shaded) place out of the way of pedestrians or cyclists who are also using the trail.  If it's a take-it-or-leave-it situation, or a Pokémon I'm not really worried about catching, I will do so while running and by flicking my thumb, as long as I'm sure I can safely look at my phone.  For some catches, I will stop completely.  I've been doing some slower heart rate zone-based runs, so this stuff is actually ideal for recovery periods.

Catching Pokémon while running really does take a lot of practice, especially with sweaty hands.  Just keep trying and you'll get better over time.  

8.  Incorporate some fun running workouts.

Sprint to the next Pokéstop, and jog through it to recover.  Use Pokémon encounters to create random intervals of hard running and rest.  Time laps, and only allow a certain elapsed time for game play.  Be creative.  The Silph Road reported that ordinary game play will involve about five kilometers of daily running/walking to see the best progress.  And the incense in the game works best if you move at a speed of 7.5 miles per hour (an 8:00 minute/mile pace).  So you could theoretically make Pokémon GO your primary workout, plan a daily 30-minute brisk run, and have tons of fun without slaving over the game the rest of the time.  Win/win.   

9.  Be safe.  

This really goes without saying, but I feel like I have to mention a few basic things.  I've seen some truly boneheaded Pokémon GO players in some of the parks I frequent.

It is absolutely 100% stupid to play Pokémon GO while running if you are anywhere near traffic.  Even bicycle traffic.  You will be too distracted.  Don't even try it.  Pick a safe area like a park or a trail system.  Don't wear headphones.  That is just another layer of distraction, and you will inevitably end up in someone's way or tripping over your own feet.  Make sure you are in a safe area, and don't trespass.  If you are going out after dark or to an unfamiliar area, go with a friend.  Don't flash your phone around if you're in a place known for petty crime.  Don't run your phone battery down to the point that you can't make a 911 call in an emergency.

You know, just ordinary common sense stuff.

And have fun!  It has already been reported that the next update to Pokémon GO will involve a system of logging additional kilometers to beef up a chosen "buddy" Pokémon with candy and additional rewards.  I'm really excited for this development, because I've been logging a lot of mileage with the game.