Is it time to visit your local running store?

running store
The chances are, if you’re reading this, it’s more than likely time to retire your running shoes and get to your local running store.

I kid!

But seriously, I am so guilty of out running the lifespan of my kicks because they can be just so darn expensive!

One of the best indicators to find out when it’s time to buy a new pair is your body.

I notice personally that when I start having hip pains, it’s high time to buy a new pair of shoes.

If you are experiencing any nagging pain, or injuring yourself more than usual, it’s likely time to buy a new pair of running shoes.

Here are a few of my favorite places to buy new running shoes:

Road Runner Sports

If you’re willing to spend the big bucks, Road Runner has really helpful staff and they have a great return policy. If you’re part of the Road Runner VIP club, you can take back your shoes within 90 days, no matter how much you’ve ran in them! I have used the crap out of that policy to find my perfect pair of running shoes. Also, being part of the club gives you a discount on all shoes.

Local Discount Stores

Tj Maxx, Marshalls and outlet stores like Nike or Adidas all have killer deals on new kicks. This is a great place to go if you’re strapped for cash. To get the best pair, go for a little jog in the store to test how they feel. You may look slightly ridiculous but it’s totally worth it to get the best pair for a good deal.

Local running stores

Check out Yelp for some good recommendations on local running shoe stores. A lot of places hire really qualified people who will have you run to find out whether or not you need correction. I have purchased some awesome shoes this way and it’s a good way to support your local community.

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Not so common sense safety tips for running

Well it’s here! Spring has sprung! The later sunset means more opportunity to get outside which is my favorite thing about the seasonal change.

A recent conversation with a friend got me thinking about safety when running. Some things I thought were common sense were news to her so I though I’d share some super simple tips with ya’ll!

Here are some easy ways to stay safe, whether you’re trail running or in the city.

Always run against traffic

This is super important to do AT ALL TIMES. Running against traffic gives you the chance to jump out of the way if a driver isn’t paying attention. I see people on their phones all the time when I’m running, which makes this tip probably the most important of all.

Try and make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street

Bringing it back to the whole distracted driving thing, humans aren’t perfect. When going to cross the street, ALWAYS make sure drivers are aware of your presence. Just because you have the green light, doesn’t mean you won’t get hit. If you can see the driver, the driver can see you and hopefully won’t want to run you over.

Always have at least one ear bud out

I don’t even run with ear buds in just because they wind up distracting me but I know a lot of people love exercising with music. So if you don’t want to give it up, at least have one ear bud out. It makes you much more aware of your surroundings and less likely to be taken by surprise. This is especially important in secluded areas, like mountain trails or solitary beaches. I know it sounds paranoid but it could be the difference between hearing something or someone sketchy or being completely oblivious.

Have fun!

These tips aren’t meant to freak you out or anything, they’re just some simple ways to be a little safer outside. Running against traffic is the most important hands down so if you take anything from this, I hope it’s that.

But get out there and have fun! Take advantage of that extra hour of sunlight!

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Make your next vacation an outdoor adventure

Surf Destination
In the typical American work world, vacation days aren’t exactly plentiful. Most people start out with two weeks off and work up from there.

I like to make the most out of those precious vacation days, coming back to work totally refreshed. An active vacation doesn’t have to mean no relaxation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

By using your vacation days exploring the outdoors, whether it be skiing, surfing or hiking, you totally reenergize your brain and recharge your body.

Here are some tips to make your next vacation – even if it’s a short work trip- super energizing and memorable.

Book a unique rental instead of a hotel

Airbnb Rental

There is literally nothing better than a nap in a hammock after a long day surfing or snorkeling. Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

I’m a huge fan of Airbnb since you get to live like a local while still paying about the same price as a hotel. Most cities have them all over, meaning you can book a place close to a ski slope, beach or even a small park for exercising. Also, there are tons of super rad spots, like this private island or this treehouse, with adventure built in.

Find a way to get outdoors no matter what

Assuming your in a safe place to do so, skip the rental car or public transit for a day and go on a run or walk around the city. Even if you manage to sneak in a run before important work meetings, running around a new city is one of my favorite ways to experience a town. You can stop and go at your own pace and check out something that sparked your interest.

Try unique guided-experiences

SUP Hawaii
Depending on the locale, some places have great guided activities. Think camel-riding in Morocco or standup paddling the Hawaiian coastline. Each city usually has a distinct flavor for things to do and you may wind up finding a sport you love to do that you can start practicing at home (probably not camel riding…).

Travel with friends more knowledgable than you

Use your network of friends to plan a trip unlike anything you’ve done before. If your friends’ brother is super into rock climbing but you’ve never tried it, see if he’s going soon and make a weekend of it! Granted, some people may not want to be responsible for a beginner but it never hurts to ask! Every sport (except for running) I’ve learned from someone close to me.

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What I learned from 30 days sober

Alcohol, sobriety

Photo: Courtesy of Angelo Amboldi/ Flickr

Right around the New Year, you may have noticed a ton of different articles about sober Januaray or Dry-uary. The concept is simple, give up booze for the month of January.

Well, I just did that for February. I would consider myself a moderate drinker, maybe about two to three glasses of wine on a weekend night (usually more on special occasions… and sometimes not so special occasions).

Anyways, it sounded kind of daunting at first but it really wasn’t! This is what I took away from it.

I still had a ton of fun

My idea of fun is being super active, so I surfed a lot, skied and got in a lot of early morning workouts. I must admit that I do not miss hangovers one bit. I was in bed early most nights, just because I didn’t go out to grab drinks later in the night.

Contrary to popular belief, I was not annoyed by people drinking

In one article I read about dry January the author said he couldn’t stand his friends who were drinking and their conversation was dull and gossipy. If you can’t hang out with your friends sober, you need new friends.

I still saw my friends a good bit, but we did active stuff, like hiking and skiing. I went out for dinner and movie nights but avoided booze. Plus, there was never any question of who was driving or whether we needed an Uber so that’s an added benefit!

In the beginning I was a little more emotional than usual

sobriety, alcohol

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Costes/ Flickr

I definitely shed some more tears than I think I normally do over little stuff. I rarely cry at movies but Selma totally got me (it is pretty inspiring people!) and I think my emotions were just generally heightened. That wore off after week two or three though, and it’s probably because alcohol numbs emotions so when you quit it, you feel more than you have in a while.

I didn’t lose ANY weight

It’s true! I didn’t lose a single pound although I did not measure my waistline either, so it is possible I still slimmed down and just gained muscle. I haven’t felt bloated all month. In a way, it’s kind of nice because when I do go back to drinking, I won’t feel guilty about the empty calories. Also, I was not eating more or less than usual so I was a little surprised.

My skin looked really good

This was about the only noticeable difference to my appearance. It probably helped that I was getting the best sleep of my life and was super hydrated. Also, I wasn’t falling asleep without taking off my makeup so that helped!

So will I continue?

That’s a tough question. I’ve felt so good that I don’t see why not. Realistically though, I’m sure I’ll have some wine when out with friends but I think I’ll skip it with dinner or watching a movie at home since it feels great to wake up hydrated and ready for the day. Also, I saved a lot of money so that is a huge added benefit!

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Easy Tips to Start Spin Class

While I’m all about getting outdoors, I do supplement my outdoor workouts with one gym workout, spin class.

The workout takes place on a stationary bike and I just couldn’t get the same, sweat-drenching workout as I could on a bike outdoors. There are way too many stoplights and obstacles.

Spin torches calories (about 450 in a 45 minute session) and tones your butt and thighs like a sculpt workout.

The other reason I love it so much is because it’s a low-impact way to get in great cardio so I tend to get in more spin when I’m recovering from a running injury.

There are so many great workouts online to find a spin class or go to your local gym. I recommend trying out a few different teachers, because a good one will make the time fly by.

Here are a few beginner tips to help with possible intimidation.

Spin Class

See… look how much fun they’re having!! Hahah ok, maybe not, but I swear it is fun when you find the right instructor. Photo: Courtesy of Nottingham Trent University/ Flickr

Come early

For your first class, get there at least five minutes early to have the instructor help you set up. They’ll help you find the perfect position on the bike to make for a smooth ride and to prevent injuries.

Most instructors get there early for this very reason so don’t be shy. It’s better to sort it out before class starts rather than to be approached mid-way through class, or even worse, called out. It’s happened…

Start by finding your flat road

The flat road on the bike is the gear at which you feel like you could ride along without much effort. There is a tiny bit of resistance, but really not much at all. You don’t want your legs to be bouncing around or feel too lose.

The flat road is your base at which you will pretty much always go higher than so don’t start off too high.

Take it easy your first class

Spin class is really hard. There is a reason insanely peppy music is blaring out of the speakers. It’s to distract you from the discomfort.

Although I don’t want to scare you. At the end, it’s extremely gratifying to have finished a class but don’t ride too hard for your first one since you want to be able to come back.

Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate

Come with a full water bottle since you’ll be sweating… a lot. Seriously, I never get as thirsty as I do during a spin class. Just thinking about how thirsty I get is making me want some more water.

So there you have it, a few great tips to hopefully encourage you to try out a class or get back into it.

Have fun out there!

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Outdoor Fitness BloggerI love running.

I crave it… I notice a mood change when I skip it a few days and treasure the time I get to myself without the stresses of daily life.

It wasn’t always that way for me though. In my early teens, I did it simply to lose weight and I dreaded running.

I didn’t look forward to slapping on my tennis shoes and slogging through the neighborhood. However, after doing it for so long, something changed.

I got better at it and I wasn’t super sore every time I went. Eventually, I started going farther and farther and now I am completely obsessed with it.

Why am I telling you this?

Outdoor Fitness

Sometimes all it takes to get moving is a workout outfit you love!

If you’re serious about fitness I think it’s really important to have at least one fitness routine you enjoy. Whether it be surfing, standup paddling, running, yoga or even brisk walking, it’s great to have something that doesn’t feel like a chore and instead feels like a reward.

However, my case may be different and I definitely don’t recommend doing something over and over again in the hopes that you eventually like it.

I gave hot yoga a few tries and know without a doubt that it is not for me (nearly passing out every time I switch poses? No thank you!).

It’s just great to try new things, get out of your comfort zone and find something that suits your schedule and personality.

If you’re nervous, ask a friend to take you along or try a fitness class at a nearby gym.

Or check out my fitness section for some ideas and have fun!

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Outdoor date ideas for Valentine’s Day

It’s finally starting to warm up around here in San Diego (I know, sounds like a joke but it was in the 30’s!) and February is the perfect time to thaw out and get back into outdoor adventuring.

As far as Valentine’s Day goes, I prefer to skip expensive and crowded restaurants because they’re tough to get reservations a week in advance, which is usually how far ahead I plan things.

Instead, I like to spend some serious quality time with my boo thang in the great outdoors.

Being active together and spending time in nature are two things that will ensure time well spent so here are some date ideas to do with your significant other or your BFF.

Zip Lining

Valentine's Outdoor date ideas

How fun does this look?! Photo: Courtesy of La Jolla Zip Zoom

If you want a memorable date, try and find the nearest zip line. It’s an adrenaline rush that’ll leave you whirring through the trees and breathless. The longest zip line in California recently opened in the La Jolla Indian Reservation if you’re local to San Diego.

You won’t be able to stop talking about the rush over post zip-line drinks.


Outdoor date ideas Valentines day

Kayaking builds teamwork and some serious arm strength. Photo: Courtesy of Everyday California

If you’re near water, nothing builds teamwork like paddling a kayak together. Be sure to dress appropriately and if you’re new or don’t own a kayak (which is pretty much everyone) sign up for a guided tour. The guides will make sure you have an experience that matches your skill level to avoid possible catastrophe and bickering.

Plus, since it’s whale watching season is in full swing, chances are great you’ll see the gentle giants if you take a trip in the Pacific Ocean.

Go Camping

Vday camping

Snuggling up with this view beats a crowded restaurant any day. Photo: Twenty20

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on the Sunday of a long weekend making it the perfect time to escape for a weekend escapade.

Go somewhere tried and true or take off to a place that has been on your bucket list. There isn’t much that’s more romantic than roasting marshmallows by the fire and snuggling up to stay warm.

Try a new sport or do what you already love

Outdoor date ideas Valentines Day

Sharing a new experience can be really rewarding. Photo: Courtesy of Margaret River/ Flickr

If your dude is into something that takes up a ton of his time and you’ve never tried it, ask him to show you the ropes! You may surprise yourself and find out you too enjoy it.

Whether it’s surfing, snowboarding, skiing or even fishing, trying something new and sharing the experience with your loved one is a guarunteed bonding experience.

Side note, my boyfriend did teach me to fish and the first time I caught one, it was an awesome feeling!

If you both already share an interest in the same sport, the long weekend is a great time to indulge in your passion.

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Chia seeds have tons of health benefits


Make chia seeds a part of your morning ritual because they’re anti-inflammatory and they’re packed with fiber and antioxidants. Photo: Flickr

Today on my long morning run, I realized it had been years since I last popped a fish oil pill. I used to swear by them (and still do) because of their ability to fight inflammation. Anecdotally, I noticed how much they helped my endurance. I found on days I didn’t take them, I was out of breath more easily.

But I digress…

The reason I haven’t taken fish oil is because I’ve switched over to chia seeds which are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, the same anti-inflammatory agent found in fish oil.

I now prefer chia seeds because they’re also packed with fiber and protein, making them a true superfood. They’ve got 10 grams of fiber in two tablespoons, which is a third of the recommended daily intake!

They contain all nine essential amino acids, which muscles use as building blocks and our bodies don’t naturally produce and they’re an anti-oxidant which means they fight free-radicals.

So if you’re sold on the chia here are my favorite ways to eat chia seeds:

Sprinkled in greek yogurt

Chia seeds

Chia seeds sprinkled on top of yogurt with granola and blueberries is my morning go-to.

Throw two tablespoons in your favorite yogurt and top with whatever suits you. I normally put granola and honey on top of my yogurt and one fruit, either banana, blueberries or strawberries.

Yogurt is probably the easiest way to start eating the chia seeds since it blends right in.

On top of my toast with peanut butter

I am a huge peanut butter fan so when I like a little extra morning pick me up, I do a slice of toast with peanut butter.

To make sure I’m still getting fiber and Omega-3, I sprinkle chia seeds on top. You really don’t taste them at all but they’re really visible.

Chia pudding

Chia seed pudding

Chia pudding is great for a raw cleanse or a dairy free alternative to yogurt. Photo: Courtesy of Julia Frost/ Flickr

This little superfood breakfast I save for days I think I may be getting a cold or am really trying to slim down.

Throw in a few spoonfuls of chia and add about one to two tablespoons of water or almond milk. Stir it up and let it sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. The chia will become a thicker consistency, like a pudding.

The reason I save this for days I need a superfood boost is because the texture is a little erhhmmm slimy. But, topped with granola and a dash of honey, it’s palatable. I did this a lot when doing a raw cleanse.

Where to buy

Now that chia seeds are more popular, they’re pretty simple to find. The best deal I’ve found is in bulk bins at Sprouts. Whole Foods also has them and most grocery stores carry them as well. Costco also has them.

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Why you need to get outdoors this weekend

Science outdoors

Looking at this, even on a computer screen, boosts your mood! Talk about 30 seconds well spent.

It’s no surprise that watching a sunset is pleasurable but it’s actually scientifically proven that spending time outdoors improves your mood, your immunity and your outlook!

Since we’re smack dab in the middle of cold season, skip the second packet of Emergen-C and go on a quick outdoor walk.

Of course, sometimes it’s extremely difficult (hello Winter Storm Jonas) but here are a few reasons why you need to make it a priority.

Science outdoors

Look how un-depressed I am here! Fun fact, I was actually fighting a cold but I couldn’t fight the feelings.

It can ease depression

Say what?!? That’s right, a study published by the University of Michigan shows participants who spent time on weekly nature walks in a large group had significantly lower depression rates, less perceived stress and enhanced mental health and well-being.

“Walking is an inexpensive, low risk and accessible form of exercise and it turns out that combined with nature and group settings, it may be a very powerful, under-utilized stress buster,” senior author Sara Warber, M.D. told the University.

That right there is reason enough to grab a friend, lover or co-worker and get to steppin’.

It can help fight a cold

Researchers from Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School found that women who spent six hours in a forest over the course of two days actually had an increase in disease-fighting white blood cells.

The immunity boost lasted a full week, which means you should try and squeeze in a few long hikes this week to ensure you don’t catch that office cold that’s making the rounds.

Science outdoors

A weekend brain break anyone?

It gives your brain a much-needed break

With everything your brain has to take in every single minute, the ping of your inbox, the buzz of your cell phone, it’s no wonder your noggin could use a little detox.

There is no better way to cut off from technology than spending some time where Wi-Fi can’t get ya! Or where you can’t get Wi-Fi.

A study published in Psychological Science found that a “brain break,” as I now will forever call getting outdoors, improved attention span and focus.

Yes it may still be cold, but if you live where there is snow, go cross country skiing, or actual skiing!

Yes it may still be cold, but if you live where there is snow, go cross country skiing, or actual skiing!

But wait there’s more!

Sometimes, it’s just not feasible to spend six hours outdoors but there is good news. According to the Korean Journal of Radiology, people looking at scenic landscapes and photos of the outdoors had more activity in the area of the brain that recalls happy memories.

So sure, maybe you can’t just leave all responsibilities at home for a brain break in the countryside but you definitely can find a nice frame for that one iPhone shot of the super cool flower/sunset/whatever you saw on your way to wherever.

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Why you need to include stair running in your workout routine

Stair case workout

Blaze up those stairs for increased endurance and a better booty! Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Scally/Flickr

It’s so easy to get settled in a comfortable workout routine. I’m definitely guilty of pulling on my running shoes and hitting my tried and true running path.

However, the human body is smart.

After repetition, it eventually starts working more efficiently which means you’ll burn less calories during the same workout. It’s all the more reason to shakeup your routine!

One of the easiest ways for me to do this is by adding in stair climbs. Running up and down stairs is a great way to torch calories and tone new muscles, including the booty.

Here are three reasons to incorporate stairs into your routine:

It’s like a squat and lunge all rolled into one

According to South Carolina exercise physiologist and running coach Anne Moore, M.S., stair climbing strengthens the same muscles as lunges and squats. Plus, it fires up the lungs as your body fights gravity.

“Stairs force you to work against gravity, and this helps build two essential needs for runners: strength and power,” Moore told Runner’s World.

Stair climb

If you’re local stairs looked like this, including stair climbs would be a cinch! Photo: Courtesy of Nicolas Mirguet/ Flickr

Stair climbing is great for balance

If you’ve ever tried sprinting down a set of stairs, you know this is true. If you want to get to the science behind it, here is Moore:

“(It) forces you to utilize muscle stabilizers, like the gluteus medius, that get neglected during regular runs,” she said.

Since you switch between activating legs, you’re constantly working different muscles.

It increases endurance by increasing your VO2 max

Since most staircases are a lot steeper than hills, climbing up them increases your heart rate much quicker.

In turn, you breathe quicker and take in more oxygen, which improves your VO2 max.

A greater VO2 max allows you to workout harder and for longer.

According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine women who included short bouts of stair climbing five days a week for eight weeks improved VO2 max by 17 percent.

How to include stair climbs
Just like when starting a new fitness routine, you don’t want to overdo it.

Include two to three stair case sets in one of your runs and build up from there.

Or, if you want to focus solely on stair climbing, hit the same stair case for 30 to 40 minutes. I’ve found the earlier you go, the less crowded the stairs are.

Finally, there is always the gym stair climber which allows you to manage the speed.

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