The Grind Blog

Spring Running Is In The Air

Ahhhh take a deep breath in… and out. Yes that is the fresh air of Spring slowly but surely making its way to Maine. The days are getting longer, the temperature is a bit warmer and the sun is shining a little brighter. Damn it feels good.  But maybe getting back into a running routine after some time off during the winter months hasn’t been feeling as great. This is about the time that runners who hung up their sneakers for the Winter start to dust off their shoes and are tempted to jump right back into where they left…

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Make the most of winter: Trails to explore in Southern Maine

I might be a life-long resident of New England, but I’ve always greeted winter with begrudging acceptance. It wasn’t until the past few years that I began to see the wintry landscapes as more than an annoyance to get through until spring and summer. Winter is now my favorite time of the year to train and I’ve become a believer in winter trail running. With some warm clothes and proper gear, I find myself looking forward to every fresh snowfall. With just a few more weeks of winter, here are some of our favorite southern Maine trails for cold weather…

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Whose Idea Was This Anyway?

If you’re living in the Northeast and training for a spring race, you’re probably questioning your own sanity right about now. It’s cold, dark, the footing is treacherous, and it’s harder to convince your accountabilibuddies to join you. Even as the days begin to get longer, it’s still damn cold. The winter fatigue is enough to make you seriously consider the dreadmill, or maybe just conveniently forget about training for that April race until March. What could possibly go wrong? We hear you. It’s a total grind to train long miles in February. But, if you can hang in there,…

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Winter Rogue Trotting

Ah, here we go again. Winter in the Northeast is nothing to take lightly, so here are our tips to survive and thrive in winter. Accountabilibuddies: Find some friends who are equally dedicated to outdoor running in the freezing cold, rain, sleet, wind, snow, and ice. It’s infinitely easier, and safer, if you have winter run buddies.There’s no greater motivator than friends waiting out in the cold and dark for you! Once you’re out there, the potential to take an unexpected tumble can be much higher, and if you have company, there’s someone to ensure that you get to safety….

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Easing into the off season

It’s hard to believe we’re in the final months of 2021. It feels like just yesterday we were heading into spring with fresh trails, rested legs, and a season full of races! Unlike 2020, many of us were likely able to run at least one or two races this season, as the regression of COVID-19 and increasing vaccination rates gave race directors the confidence to host events. But here we are with only a few fall races left, wondering as always, how to take advantage of this slower, colder season. Easing into the off season is difficult. Full stop. But…

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My Favorite Running is Trail Running; Trails in the Greater Portland Area

There’s no better running than trail running, in my opinion. The terrain is varied, trails are almost never crowded, and in the summer months, it’s way cooler than baking on the pavement. Of course, it’s often rocky, rooty, muddy, or poorly marked, but that’s half the fun! You have to be present and attentive and fully engaged to run trails without falling (too often). I never wear headphones or listen to music or podcasts while I’m trail running. It’s unnecessary, as the ever changing landscape is a wonderful distraction, and besides, paying attention to the footing is of paramount importance…

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Knowing When to Drop Out a.k.a. Tuning In

Like so many other runners, 2020 put a hard stop to any goals I had for potential races. As a runner very new to the ultra-running scene (and running in general), I felt the inevitable letdown of “well, now what?” I was trained. I was running volumes and speeds I hadn’t achieved before, and I was anxious to test myself. So I ran a few virtual races and set my own challenges. First up a 55k in April of 2020. I ran it in under five hours. Two weeks later I was in physical therapy for a hip flexor injury….

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Trail Talk

While a mild Maine winter started the trail season a little early, it’s officially the most wonderful time of the year for avid trail runners, hikers and bikers. The little remaining snow and ice have cleared, leaving trails mostly passable and ready for a busy year. However, before you lace up your trail shoes and liberally douse yourself in bug spray, take a moment to brush up on some trail etiquette. Don’t leave your takeout on the trail In the past week alone I’ve caught my puppy trying to sneak a plastic “Chill Zone” cup (shout out to the nearby…

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Got Motivation? 4 Tips for Winter Running

Here we are already nearly halfway through February and it feels like spring is right around the corner. Emphasis on “feels like” as the weather lately has been true to New England style – nine degrees on Sunday, 30 by Monday, snow on Tuesday and sheets of ice by Saturday. Despite it all, I must admit that I’d rather train in winter than any other time of the year. While many might not feel the same way, I’ve always felt not training in winter was selling yourself a little short. Come January, with the holidays behind me, it’s the best…

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Reframing 2020 & Creating Internal Motivation

It’s our completely unfounded opinion that routine-oriented runners fared much better than goal oriented in 2020. The loss of events and group runs played havoc with the goal oriented runners out there. Nothing to plan around. No competition to stoke the fire and make the pain and effort worth enduring. Some just wallowed in the aimlessness, while others piled on mileage in very unsupervised fashion, and ended up burned out or injured. It was entirely legitimate to grieve #goals last year. But we want to highlight the positives that can grow from drawing motivation from within, without reliance on external…

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4 Tips for Managing Burnout

Photos by Kristen Michaud, Lead The Way Photography “It’s better to burn out, than it is to fade away,” so says Neil Young, but that was before COVID. 2020 has been a physical and mental test of our endurance. Few or no races, limited socializing, carefully managed group runs. We are all likely pretty burned out, and not in a good way! To be burned out can mean different things to various runners, but regardless of their level of activity, runners often realize they’re burned out when it’s too late. When an easy run turns into the hardest workout of…

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Off Season Training

It’s finally fall, with cooler temperatures, and (some would say) perfect conditions for running! But especially here in the Northeast, fall is fleeting, and before you know it, the temps will really drop, snow will fly, and ice will make running outdoors treacherous. No problem! you may say, I’ll turn to the dreadmill and keep up those miles! Not so fast, friends. There are benefits to be gained from an off-season that is truly a reduction in weekly miles in favor of cross-training. Whether you swap out a run each week for a yoga class, a cross fit session, kettlebell…

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5 Trails for Perfect Leaf Peeping

Living in New England requires any resident (and runner!) to always be prepared for whatever weather may come your way. Often unpredictable, fall in Maine could mean weeks of sunny 60 degree days and low 40s nights – or it could mean 50s and rainy for days on end. No matter the weather, the temperatures begin their slow decline in September, foreshadowing the cold, dark months ahead. It’s one of my favorite times of year. The air is clean, with none of summer’s humid closeness or winter’s harshness. These are the mornings you’ll find me on the trails – logging…

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RFH: Running from Home

Photos by Alex Busack With virtual competitions and staycations on tap for many this summer and fall, we asked a few Portland-area runners how they had adjusted their running plans this summer. Despite disappointment about canceled races and vacations, we feel privileged to live in Maine, where spring through fall offer optimal weather for discovering local trails, beaches, peaks and valleys. Here’s how these local runners have been making the most of running in 2020: What are your favorite local running routes/areas and why? Shamus Shea When doing solo runs, I often like to go to Twin Brook, Pineland Farms,…

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Shirts & Skins – The Sports Bra Squad (The Right to Bare Bras)

“Shirts!” “Skins!” It instantly conjures up sultry heat, sweat, and pick-up basketball or soccer games, as common as ice cream in summer. It’s also almost exclusively male territory. Men tend to pull off their shirts in public spaces with little thought, and seemingly no repercussions. That’s not to say men aren’t body conscious, they certainly are, but it’s a different awareness. Men generally don’t get catcalled, openly stared at, followed, groped or told that they “must have wanted people to look.” So it makes sense that there are few topics among women more charged and emotional than the decision to…

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Community & Connection, The Most Essential of Services

During March and April, more than 15 members of the Runaways Run Club completed a F(ans of) U(nlimited) K(udos) 55K ultra-marathon, solo. Double that number completed the F@ck Corona Run Club challenge, featuring 10 “races” ranging in distance from 1K to 10K. During May and early June, many club members are exploring nearby towns, cities, trails, and local landmarks to complete the Tour de Maine challenge, still solo. Day after day, the running community continues hitting the trails and the pavement, despite a non-existent race season, and cancellation of group runs and gatherings. The lack of in-person motivation and encouragement…

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Women Who Run

We all have our own personal story about how we started running. For some it was for competitive sports, others for a healthy lifestyle, and some for no reason other than the love of it. No matter how we came to find running, most of us can agree the community we found through it is just another benefit. As a female runner, it can be difficult to find your place in the sport, as it is with many other things. For many of us, women competing in the running world was normalized within our lifetimes, however, even with the progress…

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Get on the Cross Train!

Runners are a stubborn, routine driven bunch when it comes to switching up workouts. But this lack of variety can be both mentally and physically exhausting. Cross-training, while at times difficult to fit into a training plan, is essential to runners of all experience levels. Whether you’re running 10 miles a week or 100, you should focus on taking a few workouts off the road. Here are a few of our favorite ways to get some crucial cross-training: Strength Training You’ve heard it a thousand times – runners need to add strength training to their weekly routine. Just one of…

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3 Reasons to Sign Up for a Spring Race

Whether you’re new to running outdoors in the cold weather, or a hardy New Englander, we all hit a point in the season where we feel like we just can’t take another step. In Maine especially, we never know what we’re going to get. One day it’s mid-40s (shorts weather) and the next it’s -12 with a wind chill and we’re wearing so many layers range of motion becomes near impossible. These factors can often discourage the most dedicated of runners from outdoor winter training, but you are seriously missing out if you let that happen. Though our training is…

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