Running into the Holidays & Cold: A Guide for Runners & Gift Ideas

My alarm went off at 5:28 am this morning and after doing a quick glimpse at the freezing temp and windy conditions the bed beckoned me back to sleep until 6:15 am. It’s not me giving up my speed work, it’s simply delaying it until the conditions are slightly more favorable. Unfortunately today, favorable doesn’t seem to be in the vocabulary, and despite the fact that after tomorrow we get a slight reprieve from freezing and windy it’s time to face the music: COLD IS COMING, RUNNERS PREPARE.

Now some people love to run in the cold and that is all well and good, you go do your thing. I however, need everything in a streamlined order to tackle the harsher miles. Proper pre-run fueling, correct layers, and warm recovery techniques, so without further ado my favorite cold weather gear & products:

Cochran Mill group

1. Pre-Run Fuel: Cinnamon spice oatmeal. There is nothing like some hearty oatmeal to get your whole food carbs before  you hit the outdoor conditions. You have to plan ahead, but like with anything it’s worth it to get the whole nutrients this gives. Here’s a quick recipe:

Homemade Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal 

1/2 cup steel cut, gluten free oats (I like Vitacost brand)

1/2 organic Gala or Honey-crisp apple 

pinch of salt and cinnamon 

On low-med heat add a dab of butter to a fry pan and let it coat the base. Once melted down add you diced up apples, cinnamon, and salt (sometimes I add some pumpkin spice as well). Mix apples until coated with spice and let simmer on stove for 10 minutes. In the last five minutes add your 1/2 cup of oats with 1 cup of water and let it cook on low-medium heat until water is removed. Add in your spice covered apples and let it simmer on low heat for two minutes. Enjoy! 

2. Layer Up: Nike and The North Face have the best base layers in my opinion, but you also need to accessorize. Here’s all my favorite gear I ran in during the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon which was a crisp 36 degrees, no windchill.

3. Carrying on those longer runs: 

  • Hot Hands – usually despite gloves the wind still whips through, these long-lasting hand warmers will keep your fingers from going numb.
  • Nathan Handheld – when it get’s cold it’s hard to motivated to hydrate, but it’s important nonetheless. The 12oz is my favorite, but you can range from 10-18oz
  • Foxelli Headlamp – we obviously know it’s darker for longer through the winter and while my husband doesn’t love when I go it alone solo there are opportunities for group night/morning running and that means headlamp. This one is basic, but comfortable and does the trick!
  • Nuun Hydration – This is one of the biggest ways to help get you those electrolytes without having to fumble around for salt sticks, or different fluids. Just drop a tab into your handheld and keep going.

4. Recovery:

  • Nourishing Food – I’m going to bring it back up again, but Run Fast. Eat Slow will fit the bill for this every single time.
  • Foam Roller or R-8 Roller – you might be familiar with a foam roller, and can get a basic one off Amazon here. The R-8 Roller is a more advanced system that you can move to those hard to reach areas while on the go for a more active recovery. They are pricey, but the work wonders in recovery.
  • Yoga Classes – Corepower is probably my favorite with a broad range of hot-yoga offerings, but I’ve heard great things about YogaWorks (formerly Infinity Yoga) as well. Wherever you may be geographically (there are lists everywhere of great yoga studios), I have found that a consistent yoga practice keeps your muscles healthy, your core strong, and your stress down. Gift a membership to really anyone – we probably should all yoga more.

 

Do you feel more prepared already? Does this help with gift ideas? Do you have any different suggestions? Let me know!

Jordan

 

 

The Art of Working Remotely & Finding the Right Coffee Shop

Trendy coffee shops have been around awhile, but this revolution of working remotely and the WiFi everywhere craze brings on a whole new meaning to the clientele that these coffee shops serve. Working from home is now a normal for me, and I find myself itching to check out more and more of these coffee shops I hear about from friends and the social media accounts that keep me up to date on the all things Atlanta.

But what makes a coffee shop suitable for work? Or just life in general? Why do some of these places make it and some do not? Here are just a few of the criteria I base when I head out and work:

  1. Friendliness – do the Baristas know the regulars? Do they engage and serve well.
  2. Environment – Is it a mix of chill & cheery? Do they have multiple seating options? And maybe even a standing bar option for people with back problems like me? And of course noise level is a big deal.
  3. Food & Drink offering – Obviously is the coffee good, but also in regards to sitting and working for hours, do they offer food that could be eaten throughout the day, do they offer snack foods (like a bar or piece of fruit)?

So let’s break down a few coffee shops around Atlanta, but remember, ultimately you have to prioritize what’s best for YOU.

Dancing Goats (Ponce City Market) –  TASTE WIN. Probably one of the first coffee shops I tried in Atlanta after moving back to the city in 2013. In regards to taste, this place is one of my favorites, their outside seating area is amazing, and the inside environment is a great mix of cozy and confident. The drawback: it’s always busy and the traffic around PCM is usually heavy so come at off times.

**There is also a Buckhead location of Dancing Goats I have yet to try – would love to hear your experience!

Taproom (Kirkwood) – NEIGHBORHOOD WIN. This is a newer experience for me, but I’m already in love with it. Kirkwood is Atlanta’s trendiest up and coming neighborhood (in my opinion). The environment says a lot as it represents Atlanta in a humble way. Big windows and lots of seating options give this one two thumbs up, plus their taste is an “A” so far.

Spiller Park Coffee (Toco Hills) – OFFERINGS WIN. Coffee taste is great, and the service is wonderful with the barista’s seeming to know the regulars and friendliness is at a high for new and normal alike. The environment is not my favorite for working remotely, with windows everywhere and the noise level at top volume, plus it’s not wonderful for those with back issues as all seats are low and wooden. However, their menu is extensive with all the yummy toast combos, and regular breakfast eats that can keep you fueled for quite awhile.

**There is also a Ponce City Market Location – if you have different notes about it let me know!

Mocha Moes (Flowery Branch) – ENVIRONMENT WIN. So this one is a haul from the city (my parents live close by), but it’s my favorite place to sit for several hours. The lighting and volume level are perfect, and they have every type of seating accommodation from tables and chairs, to couches and high tops. The taste and offerings are good as well. The drawback is the service, it could be a fluke in the times that I go, but they seem to always be different people scrambling in every direction.

East Pole (Lindbergh) – ALL AROUND WIN. Taste, friendliness + service, and environment, and location, this place (to me) has it all. Plus, they partner regularly with others for unique events in the city!

Other notables: Octane – Octane is a staple in Atlanta, and it’s great on all fronts, the biggest issue is proximity for me. Revelator – I’ve actually only been to a Revelator Coffee Co in Charleston, SC it’s great for a stop in and go, but not designed for a sit for hours and work day. Chattahoochee Coffee Company – has to be at the top for me but mostly for the life experiences I’ve had. Jon and I’s first kiss was on the lawn out back, so was our engagement, and Jon has numerous gigs with our friends, but again proximity for me is the challenge.

What would you add to the list? What is your favorite coffee shop in Atlanta?