According to my family, if a giveaway is running related then I have some odd luck and I can't say I disagree with them. I started staring at Aftershokz headphones after I saw trackclubbabe over on Instagram mention them. Personally, I haven't listened to music on my runs for majority of 2018 because I felt that I needed to focus more on my form.  Now, that I knew my form was where it needed to be, I started debating on getting Aftershokz TrekzAir headphones.  I always have headphones on for my runs for the Nike App to let me know when I've completed my distance with the lovely white wire tangling around me from my phone on my arm.

Aftershokz was holding a Halloween Giveaway on Twitter - aka the place where I spend most of my time, it's basically my internet home - and my little carved pumpkin was one of the two winners!

What is Aftershokz?
 They're basically every sport-human-whatever-sport-you-do best friend. (Well, minus swimming! But! Just today they promo'd that there will be Aftershokz headphones that! are! waterproof! AND ALSO HEADPHONES ON GLASSES TOO? WATCH THE PROMO VIDEO IM EXCITED ) They sell wireless bone conduction technology headphones.

What does bone conduction technology mean?
If you're like me and did a bit of head scratching when I wrote bone conduction technology - no worries! So essentially,  Bone Conduction is the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the bones of your skull.

Speedy translation: When sounds travels to your eardrums and bones at the same time! In the case of headphones, the sound reaches our ears as vibrations through the bones.

Uh lol ok go on...?
So, what this means is that the headphones don't ever cover my entire ear and are not into my ear as normal headphones are yet I am still able to hear the sound of my music. 

Which Aftershokz headphones did I get?
I got the Aftershokz TrekzAir  one in Slate Grey! The great thing about these headphones is that I can hear both my surroundings AND my music (you'll see why this becomes important later on in this post!).

here we have me being an extra person with the box to show you how it looks on the ear because for obvious reasons I can't show you how it looks on my ear

HOW DOES IT FEEL ON EARS: 3.1 Mile Run in 32°F | 0°C

This was my first run with my TrekzAir . They were really comfortable on the ears and did not bounce off/unhook from around my ears as I was running. This was actually my first run with music in about a year and the good thing about TrekzAir was that I was able to hear my breathing to make sure that it was controlled and not all over the place while also listening to my music. The really funny thing is that since I haven't been running with music for so long I kind of wasn't even paying attention to my music however! overall, it was comfy on the ears and didn't have me fumbling around to re-hook it around my ears.

HOW DOES IT FEEL ON EARS: Hill Sprints (0.81 Miles total) in 35°F | 1°C

This was a Speed Workout (as you can tell by the phrase hill sprints) and although higher in degree than the previous run, this run was a lot more windier. And by windy I felt like the wind was going to toss me down my hill. So, the TrekzAir on the ears was great, even as I was charging up the hill with the wind having way too much fun with me (my hat flew off) and with an average pacing of 6'55 it did not move off my ear and stayed put. However, the wind sometimes overpowered my music so I had to make it a bit higher at times so I could properly hear it. 

For transparency here's the list of my workout that day:

HOW DOES IT FEEL ON THE EARS: 1.30 Mile Run in 39°F | 3°C

By this time around, I have gotten comfortable with running my TrekzAir to the point where it almost didn't even feel like I had something on my ears? The great thing is that they're really lightweight yet stay put. This was a speed run - On The Move from the Nike+ Run Club app - and I went my mile, 5K, and 10K pacing. Through all, the headphones were nice and comfortable and didn't bounce up and down as I sprinted with a 5'30 pacing for my mile pacing.

HOW DOES IT FEEL ON THE EARS: Hill Sprints (1.04 Miles total) in 23°F | -5°C

If you couldn't tell by the temperature this run was FREEZING and also really windy. This was another hill sprint workout but on a different hill (15 times sprinting up!).  I was a bit curious to see if the change in weather - you know how some tech freezes in the cold? - would affect the TrekzAir. I am happy to report that although it said it was 23°F but the real feel was in the teens it worked perfectly fine! No change in sound quality at all. As for the wind, I just had to make my sound a bit higher to semi-block out the wind.

I finished this run with a pacing of 6'27 per mile and finished the run itself in 6:43 (my legs felt like jello from a workout the day before called leg-pocalypse so I'm really happy with my pacing for these hill sprints - managed to even go 5'14 for my first rep!)

it comes with a small pouch for the headphones! 

MY VERDICT ON THE TrekzAir : It's really lightweight on the ears, and also! it scoops low on the back of your head, and doesn't move at all no matter what speed you're going at. I 10/10 recommend solo runners, cyclists (since it scoops low on the back, you can wear a helmet no problem with them on!), and group runners (since you can hear both your surroundings AND music they're great to have a conversation while also still being able to listen to your music) to look into getting one.

  • The battery life is great - it lasted me nearly 6 runs before I had to charge it (battery life is 6 hours!)
  • You can also connect your TrekzAir to your laptop (allows for it to be connected to two devices at one time) 
  • You can accept calls on it - the microphone works great! I've filmed a few of my Run With Me Videos on my YouTube Channel if you'd like to see how the sound quality is. 
  • It comes with ear buds as well - if say you're at the gym/safe place where you don't need to pay attention to your surroundings, you can just plug in the ear plugs and listen to your music only.
I also tested them in the rain - they say on the box that they are not waterproof but they are water resistant, so since it wasn't pouring and was a light drizzle I put my hat on over just in case/ also ran with just my Nike Hijab covering it and they were fine! (Though let's not live on the wild side and pls wear at least a hat over them when running in the rain.)

I also tested this almost in the snow - you know when it's really cold and it's about to snow? Yep, so that was actually the first run that I reviewed in this post above. Quality stays the same, and from my thorough 3 months testing, the technology doesn't freeze as the temperature drops!

Also one thing I really liked is that their instruction manual has instructions in English, Spanish, French, German, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch and two other languages that I can't actually decipher. This made me really happy because it shows that their target demographic is not just people who are native english speakers. I wonder if more languages will be added like Arabic or Japanese, perhaps?

In terms of hearing your surroundings as you run here are a couple of reasons where wearing TrekzAir came in handy:

  • For a 3.1 mile run back in November, I was running comfortably along a path that wasn't really crowded with runners. When I was running through it was just me and a young boy who zoomed straight across from me extremely fast. To make a long story short he turned and saw that there was a runner in the area (i.e. me) and started asking for help. My head was turned in the opposite direction of him but I was able to hear him because TrekzAir ensures that you can hear your surroundings clearly as well as your music. So, I was able to help him (he was lost).
  • In December, as I was stretching before I went for my run - listening to some music as I did so - I had my head turned to the left. I heard someone approaching me on my right and it turns out someone was just asking for the time. It's always great to be on guard though because you never know who you're going to cross paths with.
  • Earlier this month, I was stretching before a run and closed my eyes for a second and then felt someone coming closer to me. I opened my eyes and it turns out it was just a dog owner whose dog was really energetic - we exchanged 'Good Morning's' and that as the end of that. 
  • Earlier this month I was running a Fartlek on the Track with the Nike+ Run Club app and someone else who happened to be walking started asking me if I dropped car keys on the track. They weren't my keys however I knew another runner was on the other side of the track so I raced over to him and asked if he lost his keys. Turns out they were his. I didn't have to take my headphones out or lower my music for both instances.
In all of these instances it was really important for me to be aware of my surroundings. If you enjoy listening to music as you exercise, I really recommend getting these headphones. You never know when hearing both your surroundings + music is going to come in handy. 

Personally, I really like having a clear mind and running without listening to music but sometimes music can be a great way to keep your run fun!

Do you listen to music as you run /what-ever-sport-floats-your-boat? 

p.s: I wasn't paid to write this or anything like that, I just won the giveaway and felt like doing a review(which took 3 months because I really wanted to test it out in all conditions) on it!

It's been a while since I've updated you all on the rollercoaster that is my training schedule. I've been making a lot of changes since my injury filled 2018 summer and finally have some sort of rhythm with what I'm currently doing. So I don't end up rambling to the point of writing a novel, I thought to take you on my training life through questions:

What has my training schedule been like?
To put it simply, I've started including ~speed week~ in my training every other week.

What's that supposed to mean?
Uh well, I sort of invented this ~speed week~ myself. Speed Week is where my week includes either 2 Hill Sprints & 1 Track Workout OR 2 Track Workouts & 1 Hill Sprint session for that week.

Then, after that speed week is completed, the very next week includes a 5K run, 1 Track Workout and 1 Hill Sprint session.

(p.s. I also do some home workouts to build strength! I will be getting to this in another post!)

Why aren't you sticking to an online training schedule?
 I used to follow online training schedules and even did a Nike Run Club training schedule too, however I felt they didn't fit me. All online training schedules are very much a one-size-fits-all type of thing. So while I personally wanted to decrease my 5K time, it's possible that the 5K training plan online is more for someone who has never run a 5K distance before.

Ok but what about the Nike Run Club Training Schedule? That's pretty specifically for runners isn't it?
Well, yes and no. On the Nike Run Club app there is the option to do one of their schedules and it tailors each week based on the week you've done previously. This is technically the closest you'll get to a trainer without actually paying for one.

I've done Nike Run Club training plans a few times before and I enjoyed them - I've written positively of them here and I 100% stand by what I've written. As I look back at the training plans, and where I am at this point of my running life, my goals aren't really in parallel with the training plans provided. Was I speeding up when I was using the training plans? YOU BET! They are a great way to having structure for your running, every week is planned by the app. There's a Get Started, Get More Fit, and Get Ready for Race Day training plans.

I'm not in the Get Started phase in my running life, I'd probably fit more in the Get More Fit, however there was still the issue of:

 It wasn't/isn't angled towards improving specifically in the 5K distance in terms of speed. So although they did help in terms of speed in the past, I find that at this point of my running life, since the plans aren't specifically for speeding up in the 5K distance, I am better off creating my own training plan tailored to me specifically.

Wait a second, what about the online training plan for the 5K distance from Nike - they have one for it I think?
After a whole lot of searching, I did find a 5K training plan. And, as I mentioned above, it was essentially designed as a one size fits all. I began the training plan as I was gearing up for a race that was going to be in 3 months after I had started it- I ended up having shin splints midway through the plan.

your favorite track human not knowing what to do for a photo, I think I was looking at someone who was looking at me taking a photo with my tripod

Something that was new for me towards the end of 2018 was Hill Sprints. Whenever I used to look at Hills, I'd kind of be terrified of them. I used to do hill sprints in my high school track days, and uh I left high school track traumatized of hills.

 After seeing Georganne Moline (U.S.A Olympian, 400M hurdler & World Champion) mention in a post on Instagram that although she was resting for a weekend, hill sprints were planned, I left in a comment that hills kind of scare me a bit and asked if she had some advice. I was really surprised when I saw she responded and gave me some tips on tackling my first hill session. 

If you're also thinking of tackling hills, here are two tips she gave me:

1. Find a hill that isn't too steep with a slight incline - you don't want to be on a massive hill for your first one, that will not be doing you any favors. Start small and work your way up to a steep hill.

2. Keep your running rhythm. 

In the beginning, it was actually terrible. My body was the equivalent of ????? as I sprinted up a hill 20 times in a row with 1:30 rest in between each. The first time I did my hill sprints, I averaged at 7'50 pacing for the 20 times I sprinted up a hill. As of recent, I averaged at 6'55 pacing for the 20 times I sprinted up that very same hill. I was consistent with it for 2 months and finally found myself in the 6 range. (consistency! is! key!)

Hill sprints really helped with my 5K pacing in two ways:

1.  Mentally, I thought to myself if I could sprint up a hill then I could sprint straight no problem.

2. Before hill sprints, my arms would feel a bit weak and I'd have to shake them out while running 5K distances. Now, my arms feel stronger.

I think this is mainly because when doing speed workouts your form is always 100% so that carried over onto my 5K runs.


i promise, the sun is lying to you. it was actually a bit cold out with a sprinkle of sunshine to blind ya girl

Also! So that way I'm not misunderstood here: I am in no way saying that running training plans aren't beneficial at all - I believe they are extremely beneficial. If I hadn't done training plans I wouldn't have known what to include and what not to include in a single training week. (Back to back sprinting workouts with no rest days at all is the equivalent to a Shakespearean tragedy for runners.)

It all depends on where you are in your athletic journey. As someone who was part of a track team in High School and later hopped from training plan to training plan throughout my years at University, I have somewhat of a grasp at what a training week should consist of. If you are doing a training plan as the New Year has just started I'm going to leave you with this advice that I really wish I plastered on my walls anytime I started a training plan:

Listen to your body FIRST and your training schedule SECOND.

How's everyone's fitness life going? Are we all on top of it for 2019?