Q&A with ChicagoNow Blogger: Erin Vandenberg of Eri-thon

I got this awesome opportunity to interview another blogger, Erin Vandenberg. I got to dive into her world of running, exercising, and staying fit. It was lovely to talk to her and learn about how she manages to fit her workouts in her daily life. Erin gave me some great suggestions and shared her passion about fitness. Let’s find out more about how Erin moves and breaks a sweat!

Tell me about yourself.
So, I moved here (Chicago) in 2008. I didn’t know anyone and I was looking for a job. I had been running for about a year and was going to run a half marathon. I decided to blog about my experience so my family and friends from back home could get updates. It turns out that it was more than keeping my family in the loop; this was how I made all my friends in Chicago.

When I was in college my mom gave me the best piece of advice. She told me to make fitness a part of my life now because when I would get older, it would be harder to do. Her advice made sense and I started running in college. I got a bunch of friends together and we started to train for our first 5k. I know it sounds silly, but I joined a women’s running group to learn how to run. I wanted to do it right and not just go out there and crash and burn. The running group was great and gave me strong foundation.

I truly love to workout. I love to lift weights and to try anything new. My biggest hobby is to work out. I love doing classes were I sweat a lot and it is a mixture of cardio and weights. I am not too much into yoga, but more the type of classes where you sweat and feel sore.

I also just got a dog. So, when my puppy is old enough he will run with me. The funny thing is that my husband does not workout. He is super supportive, but he won’t run unless he is being chased!

Walk me through a day in your life.
This is my life prior to puppy days: I work at DePaul and I have a 9am-5pm job. So, in the morning I get up and hit a fitness class at 6am before work. Then head to work and if I didn’t do a class in the morning I run at lunch. If I didn’t do either then I go for a run before dinner. I cook dinner, play computer games, or watch some TV. On the weekends, I like to hit festivals or do something fun. I typically blog during my lunch hour.

What is your go to website?
I am on Facebook and Twitter all the time. News, updates, and media: I get it all on Facebook and Twitter. I like getting the latest news from these social media sites.

What is your go to app?
Glympse: it is like a GPS on your phone. It tracks where you are and helps other people locate you. I use it a lot with my husband, so he can track me on my runs. I love it!

What are some books or magazines you like to read?
Magazine wise, I would say Real Simple and I get Runners World. Book wise, I love murder mysteries.

How much time do you spend training a week?
6 hours a week.

Do you spend more time weekends training?
I am a group leader for the half marathon. I lead the group on the lakefront path. We do a 6-10 mile run. Then in the summer, I go for a long bike ride or I have a lazy Sunday.

Do you plan your runs?
If I am training for a race, I go online and find a training plan. I’ve ran enough races so I am pretty well versed on how much training I need to do well.

I plan my routes: I do loops and I make sure I don’t pass by my apartment. I live in the west loop and I will run to the lakefront and then loop back. I try to find the route with least stoplights.

I use Gmaps pedometer. It is based on Google maps, it is easy to draw a route and it tells you the distance. It is a great app to use and easy to navigate. I also will pull up my route on my computer so my husband can see where I am.

What is your mileage a week?
Usually 16-20.

What is your typical diet?
Again, this is something my mom taught me. Years ago my parents were on sabbatical. My mom was at a training and learned that you should not eating anything out of a box or bag. I follow that motto and I cook 5-6 nights a week. I bring my lunch to work. I try to eat fresh food 80% of the time. I mean I enjoy going out to eat, and I also allow myself some good old fashion junk food once in a while.

What do you love about racing?
It’s all about the atmosphere. It is fun and all these people come together with the same goal. It is not a competition: it is for you. It is about constantly improving and beating your time. It is so exciting to cross that finish line. It is a great feeling. The energy, the people: this is what makes racing great.

What advice would you give someone that wants to start training?

  • Go get yourself some good reputable shoes. You can go to Fleet Feet, Universal Sole, or even Runner’s World.
  • Get shoes that fit you .
  • Go way slower that you think you should.
  • If you are not a person naturally fit, it will not feel good. So, you need to have a plan to walk and run. It is ok and it will build up your resistance. Overtime, it will start to feel great to run.

What are some challenges you face?
Motivation to get up in the morning and go to a fitness class. The couch is comfy and I have a few mottos:

You never regret the run you did, but regret the run you didn’t do.
You don’t have to go fast, but just make sure you go!

Plan ahead! I sign myself up for a class and then I make it. I don’t like yoga, but I love classes where I get to lift heavy weight. My go to place is Cross-Town Fitness. Every class is completely different and the instructors are great. It’s a mix of cardio and weights. You are tired and a little sore afterwards. It is a great feeling.

What is your biggest reward?
If you look at the big picture, you might think that it takes a long time to see results. My advice is to find something you like to do and try to get better at it. This motivates you to keep going and you’ll see results in a shorter amount of time.

Any closing thoughts or mantra?
There are so many options of ways to work out, so there is something for everyone. Don’t give up: once you find something you love, you will keep doing it. There are so many options and I want to share those things with my followers.

You know, I am a regular person that works; I am not a personal trainer. I am just a person who finds new ways to get sweaty and tries out new gyms. I want to share my knowledge and passion. There are so many options available.

I would like to thank Erin for getting me motivated to get outside and just run. Erin hosts a running group on Thursdays and she is a must read blog to add to your daily news. Here is a link to her fun world of fitness: Eri-thon

On Thursday, join Erin for a run. The Adventure starts at 6:30 but check-in begins at 5:30 PM. Road Runner Sports suggests you arrive by 6:00 PM if possible. Erin leads these monthly Road Runner Sports Adventure Run. Starting at 6:30 PM run or walk to as many checkpoints as you can to earn raffle tickets for over $3000 in prizes. Meet back at the store at 7:30 PM to turn in your raffle tickets, enjoy a beer and product demos. Sounds like fun and a great way to  get your body moving.


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