Guest Post: Why Runners Should Become Swimmers Tomorrow

Hi, friends. I am so excited to share a guest post with you all today from Iona Paterson, a former competitive swimmer and personal trainer based in Glasgow. Iona recently reached out to me, asking if she could share why swimming can help you lose weight and complement your recovery for running. Obviously, I was thrilled to share her post with you and feel that it’s beyond informative! Enjoy!

On your quest to get fit and healthy it can be too easy to get sucked into one form of exercise. This can lead to plateaus, or even burnout or exhaustion. It is very important for the body to have to try to adapt to new forms of exercise.

Many people will add in cardio vascular machines like treadmills, rowing machines or cross trainers to their routine because it is handy. The trouble is that if you do this for a long period of time the body adapts and the results slow down. Furthermore, if you struggle with mobility or have an injury, this form of exercise could potentially lead to further injury.

Swimming is great for people who are injured as it puts little to no pressure on the joints as you are constantly supported by the water. It is also a very rewarding addition to a runner’s’ training routine as it aids recovery and offers a change from the usual routine.

Sandy Bikus, a USA Triathlon coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer stated:

“Swimming is really an anti-inflammatory therapy for the legs when performed in cool temperatures less than 80 degrees.”

A Full-Body Workout

Swimming can complement your daily routine as it works all the major muscle groups in your body, and helps to strengthen muscles that you otherwise may never use whilst running. It’s also great for developing your core muscles as you are constantly trying to maintain your balance in the water.

Many people will not consider using swimming as a form of exercise but it can be very beneficial for fat loss as it burns a lot of calories. This is because when you swim you use your quads, hamstrings, pecs, shoulders, lats and triceps and core strength, meaning it is very hard work for your body.
It’s also good for getting your heart rate up as it is taxing on your heart and lungs, as you have limited breath. This is especially useful for runners, as adding swimming into your training can help increase endurance and oxygen capacity.

Variety is Crucial

Another benefit of swimming is that there can be more variety within workouts than there are in running. You can practise different strokes and drills, or you can simply do kick (only using your legs) or pull (only using your arms) depending on what you need to work on.

Furthermore, if fat loss is your goal, you can even do a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training in the water). Interval training is a great way to do cardio as it is fast and effective, however it must be done correctly. Studies have shown that in order for HIIT to be fully effective you must reach between 80-100% of your VO2max, meaning you need to work very hard.

An example of a swimming HIIT workout you can add to your routine is:

8x 25m lengths warm up: taking as much rest as you need between lengths making sure to keep good technique and warm up your body fully.

8x 25m MAX effort sprints taking 30-60s rest between sprints

4x 25m easy swim down

Just remember: do not be afraid to start slow. You may need to build up your stamina before you can complete the session above, however when you can, you will be able to see the progress you have made and you will be even more proud of yourself. I hope this article inspires you to try something new and add swimming to your current training.

-Iona Paterson

Find Your Flavor Soulmate With Chobani

I have been a yogurt lover for years now. I always have some in my fridge for breakfast or an easy snack. So when Chobani challenged me to find my flavor soulmate, I couldn’t turn it down.

According to the chart, I am Sweet N’ Salty (no surprise there!). In fact, I had a Coffee Break Bliss for breakfast today!

My answers were:

  1. Guilty Pleasures: Burger 
  2. Blasting From Earbuds: Music
  3. Sunday Brunch: Thrown Together
  4. Dream Destination: Resort
  5. Pick Your Seat: Window
  6. How Do You Share?: Instagram

What is your flavor soulmate? I’d also love to hear some unique food combinations you guys love. My personal strange combo is either dipping fries in mayonnaise or putting salt on my orange slices. Tell me yours in the comments below!

What I’ve Been Doing Lately

Most of you who follow me most likely follow for running tips. Afterall, I am That Running Girl. But as someone who’s been running for nearly 17 years now, I know when my body needs a break from running. But just because I’m taking time off my race training does not mean I’ve stopped working out or running… In fact quite the opposite. If anything, I feel like I’ve been working out harder and smarter the past month or so.

Here are a few things I’ve been focusing on in my workouts:

  • Personal training: I decided to find a personal trainer who could recommend some exercises that would work well with my body. The woman I’ve been working with is wonderful and has had me doing plenty of cardio and resistance training.
  • BBG: I’m sure many of you are familiar with the BBG workouts from Kayla Itsines. These have been great to do a few days a week since they’re not exercises I do normally. I feel like I’m pushing my body to work different muscles each time.
  • Warm core yoga: One new workout I’ve been loving is warm yoga. I can’t handle hot yoga, but warm core yoga is a great way to sweat while tweaking those tiny muscles I never work.
  • Sprints: I couldn’t give up running totally. Instead of distance running, I’ve been doing some intense sprint workouts on my treadmill. Not only are the workouts shorter, but I am burning more calories after my workout than during distance running.
  • Spin: Lastly, I’ve been doing a lot of spin classes. Between Flywheel and utilizing the spin room at my gym, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the bike lately and loving it.

Now I want to hear what you’ve been doing lately! I’m always looking for fun new workouts to try.:)

The Biggest Winner

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you’ve likely seen that I am participating in a contest at my office gym called The Biggest Winner. The concept is very similar to the tv show, The Biggest Loser. Basically it’s an 8-week contest to see who can lose the most body fat percentage. We weigh in each Tuesday and the gym officials keep track of our body fat weekly. While I know I’m not overweight by any means, it’s great motivation to clean up my diet and lean down before summer. So how am I planning to reduce my body fat over the next two months?

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Count My Calories

I most likely won’t continue this the entire eight weeks, but plan to count my calories for the first week or so at least. This is mostly just to keep myself in check and to give me an idea of my portion sizes. For instance, I love to grab a handful of chocolate almonds after dinner. Now, I’m held accountable to take exactly one serving from the bag.

Stop Running

OK this may seem drastic, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I’ve been running consistently for 16 years now and my joints need a break every now and then. Not only that, I’ve talked about how I tend to gain weight when running (especially long distances) on the blog before. Aside from some HIIT training, I plan to keep my running to a minimum… if I do any at all.

Try New Workouts

To keep my muscles guessing, I am going to try as many new and different workouts as possible. So far this week, I’ve done a power barre class (totally new to me!) and two spin classes. I am planning to do a yoga class tomorrow as well. This will force me to use different muscles regularly and to mix in cardio, strength and interval training.

Reduce Alcohol and Carbs

Ahh… my two bugaboos. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love both alcohol and carbs (technically the same thing I guess, but you get what I’m saying). I’m allowing myself to have a drink or two on the weekends, but am keeping my weekdays alcohol free. Carbs will also be kept to a minimum and will consist mostly of oatmeal, some fruit and whole wheat. This will be a challenge for me, but that’s how you see results!

Track My Steps

One way I stay motivated is by wearing a tracker of some sort every day. I personally wear this tracker (I received this tracker complimentary as an employee), but have tried several other ones and feel that each has their pros and cons. Wearing a tracker helps keep me accountable and reminds me to move throughout the day. It also tracks my sleep, so I can be sure I’m getting enough sleep consistently.

Rock N Roll Half Marathon Dallas

On Sunday, I ran my third half marathon and my second Rock N Roll Dallas half. I was approached by Toyota about a week and a half ago asking if I’d like to participate in the Rock N Roll half this weekend. Despite the fact that I’d taken a few weeks off running (and was focusing on other types of workouts), I immediately said yes. It’d been nearly four years since my last half marathon and I was way overdue for one!


Although I had little time to train, I made sure to get in one long run before the race. Last weekend, I ran 9.5 miles to make sure I could make it without any issues. I was still hesitant to have high hopes for the race on Sunday regarding my race time.


Fast forward to race day. Although temperatures were pretty low, it was perfect running weather. The course was absolutely incredible and I can’t stop thinking about some of the amazing views of Dallas I saw. I was born and raised in Dallas, so sometimes I forget how beautiful it can be!

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I ended up running the entire race and only stopped to walk up one hill toward the end of the race. Considering I’d only trained for two weeks, I will call that a success. I ended up finishing with a time of 2:16:33, two minutes slower than the last time I ran this race. While this is nowhere near my PR, it still felt great to run another half marathon. And a special thanks to Toyota for letting me run on their behalf. I had such a great race.


*This post is sponsored by Toyota; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Weight Gain While Training

I love training for races. Whether I’m working on a longer distance race like a half marathon or trying to shave some minutes off my 5K time, I truly enjoy pushing myself and seeing results on race day. That’s the upside of training.

The downside of training is that I usually notice my pants end up a little more snug anytime I spend a few months training. Realistically, I know most of that “weight gain” is actually muscle (we all know muscle weighs more than fat); however, I also know I tend to get much more hungry and eat more junk food any time I’m training (I deserve it, right? ha). While I try not to deprive myself of calories if I’m training, I do try to reel things in a bit when I feel weight creeping on. Below are a few ways I (attempt to) counteract weight gain during training.


Go hard on the veggies: Although I always feel like I deserve to eat all the carbs when I’m training, the reality is that a) they don’t fill me up that much and b) they are typically useless calories. When I find myself overly hungry during training, I will try to get as many vegetables in during each meal as possible. This helps me fill up on low-calorie food that is good for me and keeps my carb intake at a minimum.

Treat myself: This may seem counterproductive, but I try to treat myself every so often when I’m training. Whether it’s allowing myself a beer with dinner or a cookie at lunch, I try to let myself have one treat each day and keep the remainder of my meals healthy that way I’m not overeating unhealthy foods throughout the entire day.

Avoid the scale: I don’t tend to weigh myself while I’m training for two reasons: 1) I often mistake muscle gain for fat and 2) I’ve struggled with an eating disorder in the past and don’t want to set myself up for failure if the scale doesn’t read what I want it to. Instead, I do my best to eat intuitively and gauge my weight by how my clothes fit (keeping in mind that my legs tend to gain muscle when I’m training, so my pants will be a little tighter inevitably). This allows me to eat when I’m hungry and not be worried about taking in calories when my body truly needs them.

After I’ve completed whatever race it is I’ve been training for, I usually allow myself some down time for a month or so after where I focus on other types of workouts (spin, yoga, circuit training, etc.) so I can regulate my appetite and lose a little bit of that muscle-gain in my legs. When I’m not running as much (or as far), I tend to lose weight based on the fact that I’m not as rungry (ha!).

I hope this helps some of you who, like me, struggle with weight gain while training. I would love to hear how you keep a handle on this as well in the comments section.

What I Wear While Running

By this point, I’ve pretty much perfected my running “uniform” and thought I would share what I’ve found to work best. During the summer, my goal is to wear clothing as light as possible with the exception of the compression socks which tend to help me with muscle tightness. For winter, you will usually find me in thermal leggings and a nice running jacket. I also usually change my running shoes out every 6 months or so and tend to rotate between Brooks and Saucony (the Glycerins and Kinvaras are my favorite!). I hope this may help some of you who are still trying to figure out what to wear to optimize your runs.



Women’s New Balance Accelerate Tank


Nike Sports Bra


Nike Running Shorts


Phd Run Graduated Compression Socks


Saucony Kinvara 6


Nike Run Lotus Headband



New Balance Half-Zip Graphic


Nike Stretch Jersey Sports Bra


Nike Tight Leggings


Brooks Glycerin 13


Nike Headband/Glove Set