Dress for Success in Confident, Goal-getter Running Gear this Year

exerciseDuly noted, our goals remain the one thing that stands between us and us being persons of our word.  It is not enough that we’ve made a list, written it down and stuck it somewhere; it remains our greatest challenge to realize those plans of ours.  How do we remain fitted in the zeal, confidence and enthusiasm, that surely had us in its grip on the onset of planning, during the succeeding months of reality which can oftentimes be brutally harsh and unyielding.  I posit that there are a few key ingredients to realizing a successful 2015.  While a big part of success in any area of life depends on planning and execution, another just as or some may argue even more important part, depends on our attitude and perspective.  In running and exercise, attitude really is everything.  It is the one thing that will keep you going when everything else and everyone says you can’t.  The course of history has been changed on the account of its movers’ and shakers’ attitudes.  Your health and lifes’ ambitions are no different nor are they any less important in terms of their ability to change your world and thus impact the larger world.

Dress for success with:

  • Preparedness; there is no goal killer like having a plan without preparation.  By definition it is what planning entails and so it is super important to not only dress the part but be mentally, physically and emotionally ready and able to carry out your plan.  If you’ve decided to join a gym for example, then getting gym oriented and learning about the services, classes, equipment etc. that are available will put you in a better position to plan your activities and time around what you decide to do thus affording you the opportunity to maximise your participation and the benefits which can be derived.  Talk with a personal trainer, an instructor or even sign up for a trial to see if it’s a good fit.  If it’s running, then start of with small goals and even a running group, get a couple of books and read up on beginning running techniques or even watch a couple of videos.
  • Confidence; a big part in carrying out any physical goal is how we perceive ourselves.  We are sometimes our worst critic, while this is not always bad, it is our worst attribute when directed at our perceived flaws and shortcomings.  It is important to be able to face yourself – take a long, hard look in the mirror – and like what you see.  It is because you love yourself, you want better for you. Don’t chaff at that.  Meet your eyes and tell yourself what you are going to achieve together..yes it’s a mind and body effort, one you must continually be engaged in encouraging and uplifting.  While it is important to get this affirmation from others as well,  it would mean nothing if you didn’t believe it first.
  • Passion; I’m sure you’ve heard it said that if you like something it’s easier done.  Discovering your passion, something you really enjoy, is a key part to realizing your potential and being successful.. whether it’s running, a cardio class, yoga, swimming, whatever you decide to love -sometimes it has to be a decision- do with passion, enthusiasm, commitment and diligences, you will reap the benefit.
  • Focus and Wisdom; it is better to stick with what you know and apply yourself to perfecting it than to be divided among competing interests where you can’t get anything right.  Let’s say for example co-ordination is a challenge, then skip the dance class for a spin or yoga class.  That being said, there’s nothing wrong with challenging yourself to try different things and acquiring different skills, on the contrary, more power to you.  In all things apply wisdom so you never end up biting off more than you can chew.

A Happy, Successful and Goal-Achieving new year is up to you.  Have so much fun!

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Gyming and Running Fun Workouts

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The new year appears well underway while some of us are still struggling to get out of the Christmas mindset, if I had my way it would be three months from now, but of course time runs along and rightfully so should we. There, that’s my bit of pep talk.  Seriously though, the arctic weather we’ve been having around the country doesn’t help to put us in a get-up-and-out frame of mind either so I figure I’ll share my secret, which is really no secret at all, on how to get those new ambitious goals on stream and have some fun while you’re at it.

I try to keep a gym membership year round but in the beautiful, late Spring to early Fall months, it’s hard. Sunshine, trees, flowers and birds are the sounds of nature calling and I’m a sucker so I rarely go the gym them and when I do, it’s mostly because I must have some type of cross training for a run. On the other hand, Winter sends me literally running to the gym and there the treadmill and I tough it out. You guys know my history with that piece of equipment… so anyway, I figure I have a good thing going this time around; always running, but coupled with either a class, weights or stretches and, what I call, tummy time. This variety keeps my workouts interesting but more importantly, keeps me interested. I try for three to four times a week these days and really with these conditions, it’s as much as I can make, as well as 10-12 miles being the maximum I can handle on there. If you can handle more, I say run with it.  On any given day, here’s what I came up with:

  • 8-10 miles of increased speed and incline beginning with 7 and flat respectively, increasing in increments of .5 followed by complete body stretches to include some yoga poses, squats, crunches, planks, push ups etc… add some bonus jump ropes
  • 45 mins of a high intensity Spin class followed by 8-10 miles of varying speed and incline as above with some light stretching thereafter
  • 8 miles per above and by 2 miles on the elliptical with incremental incline and speed as well followed by a yoga class and some crunch time either freehand or machine-assisted
  • Kickboxing Class followed by 10 miles, 5 of those flat and fast-paced and 5 at a level 3 incline with medium pace and light stretching afterwards
  • Boxing Class followed by a tempo-paced 5 mile with slight incline, light stretching then leg weight training and some bonus crunches
  • 8-10 miles of incrementally increased incline and speed followed by light stretching, kettle bell squats and an arm and chest weight workout
  • Belly Dance or Zumba class followed by 10-12 miles at set pace and incline level and light stretching
  • Total Body workout class: includes cardio, weights, floor exercises & stretches followed by 8 miles at medium pace with incline at level 3 and light stretching
  • 5 mile easy run followed by an interval run or hill test set by the machine followed by a Pilate’s class
  • 10-12 miles at half-marathon pace with varying incline levels simulating that of a road run followed by a long deep stretch
  • 8-10 miles with pace and incline of your choice followed by light stretching and a back and shoulder weight workout

I’ts possible your gym may not have all these classes so you may have to adjust here and there to suit your situation and your needs but hey.. who ever said you couldn’t go out there and have a blast of a workout, even in winter. Winter 2015 presents the ideal challenge and opportunity to kickstart your new year goals and if the suggestions above help just a little in that regard, I’ll be totally tickled. So while the ideas are mine, it’s up to you to make the workout suggestions yours. As always, Happy Running!

Summer’s Running Away

 

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Consider that Winter seems like it was just a few months ago..when we were talking crazy-cold-how-do-I-get-my-run-on weather and now we’re running through August, no stop signs in sight. To use my, of late, favorite expression – “What the hell!” Whatever happened to slow down, take time to smell the roses and all that cute stuff? Maybe, I’m just complaining cause I’m preempting what follows summer (to which I will not give a name so as to delay it as long as possible) but really the wisest course to follow would be to abstain from such thinking and do as much running damage as possible, which brings me to the matter at hand.. Summer runs rock!

I don’t know when was the last time we’ve had or even if we’ve ever had such amazing running weather in the summer in New York City! I mean this is the time to run and if you happen to be lucky and you’re in NY, then this is the place to run, and you totally lucked in cause we also have the company to get you out and about in this summer city. Some may complain of the crazy-weather-days where the highest we’ve seen so far is just about 89 and that we have lows in the 50s but this right here is runner’s paradise. It just doesn’t get better than this. And so you want to take advantage of it cause..well..hell, you never know.

Here are some ways to get running in the city that never sleeps for the visitor and New Yorker alike:

Run Central Park. You’ll never find a place more likely to make you into a runner. Running enthusiasts, visitors, sightseers, any and everyone active can be found here..Central Park is New York in action and home to everyone.

Run City Streets. Every summer for about one month, the city opens up some of the busiest  and most popular streets so that runners, joggers, cyclists, walkers, skateboarders and rollerbladers can do their thing. Yep..that’s right. No cars. The road is yours. Where else in the world can you stop traffic at your fancy?

Run with company. The Running Company is just one of the running stores that hosts free runs for running enthusiasts throughout the city. Nike, Paragon Sports, Lululemon and North Brooklyn Runners are some others to name a few. With just a click, join them and you’re in. These groups usually pace out into sub groups so everyone fits in never mind your level. It’s on to keep you fit and fab.

Run official. Do what I did; join a running club or organization that provides days, times and run workouts. Whether it is to train, to get you to your goal or to assume competitive level, such organizations exists with your purpose in mind. These clubs have an annual membership fee upon registration and acceptance; Central Park Track Club, Brooklyn Road Runners, Jack Rabbit and Dashing Whippets are among a host of others that provide the “athlete” runner with the impetus for racing.

Run with Meetup NYC. Throughout the city there are meetup groups happening for runners of all persuasions. For those who don’t know, Meetup.com exists with the sole purpose of bringing like-minded people together so that they can be passionate about whatever they care about. So of course running. And of course in NYC. Get online, join a group, reserve a spot for a suggested meetup run and voliá. You get to run all over this beautiful, crazy city for free.

Run with NYRR (New York Road Runners). Here is the mastermind behind the New York City Marathon, which is run by thousands from all over the world each year. NYRR is a running community that hosts races throughout the year in the five boroughs of New York. Most races can help with your eligibility for the ” big” race but ideally all runners are invited to belong to a community of runners that run and share the New York we know and love. Races are priced for members at a lower rate while non-members can run for a fee, though not all the races. Why not be a New York Road Runner?

Run for fun, for charity, for personal satisfaction. Whatever you decide, you have to take it to the next level. There are so many fun and charity races all over the five boroughs and beyond you couldn’t hide..but why would you want to? Summer in New York, especially this summer, is a time to make a difference in your and someone else’s life. You just wouldn’t be able to wrap it up come September and call it a great summer if you didn’t. There are color runs, mud runs, obstacle races, 5ks for Cancer research, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Kidney research and so much more. Whichever you decide, in any and all of them you can make a donation and make a difference. You’re running anyway right?

Do you doubt that we, runners, have it made? To not only live in the greatest city in the world, but to run the show. New York is not only about The Arts and Broadway and Wall Street and the Stock Market and Fashion and Times Square and Sightseeing and Tall Buildings. New York is about Running. Runners RUN this Empire State.

40 and Beyond: your best running years are ahead of you.

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“The God who has girded me with strength has opened wide my path. He made my feet like the feet of deer, and set me secure on the heights.”

  – 2 Samuel 22:33-34

 You don’t just wake up one day and decide – Hey, I’m gonna be a runner! – Or do you? It takes years of dedication, sacrifice, hard work and sometimes struggling to stay focused and I say that for even the casual runner, because even so, over the years running would have demanded something from even you.  And so, you don’t just quit. You can’t. There’s this current school of thought running around that approaching 40 years is major. It claims that you’ve now attained full maturity and peak form, you’ve never looked nor felt better; your best years are ahead of you.

It is said that all the work you’ve put into who you are up to this point is about to blossom into the most beautiful flower you can possibly imagine. I think it’s a great metaphor for your running potential going forward. In all honesty, and for most people, 40 can be quite scary. You either look back with horror and forward with trepidation or, you look back with satisfaction and to the future with hope. Depends, I think, a lot on your perspective and where you stand, but what I can tell you is this.. the past is in the past, what you did or didn’t do is done for. However, what you do now and can do is totally determined by you. It is absolutely true that you’re now at your peak: fit, healthy, strong, beautiful and determined. Indeed you’ve never felt better; this is the result of your sustained effort and hard work and so at this point you can look forward to enjoying rewarding running.

You have running down to a science; a tried and true method. You’ve established where you are on the running scale and feel pretty confident about your abilities. Whether you’re facing your first marathon, ultra, triathlon or Ironman, you can do so confident in what you have to give. And so it follows that it only gets better from here on. Your experience, wisdom and knowledge of running will inform and fuel your runs and give you the opportunity to impact the sport and community in a unique and lasting way. So whether you’re staring at 40 in a couple of years or whether it’s right around the corner, you can do so with confidence and ease, you’ve earned it. Now go out there and show’em!

1, 000 000 000 Reasons to Run this Summer, Choose One!

I could give you all the reasons in the world why I run but they would still be my reasons.  On the other hand, there are infinite reasons why others enjoy this faithful and rewarding sport.  Like most things in life, what you put in, is most often what you get out of it.  And for those who genuinely seek it, they will find all these and more.  

Health.. Fitness.. To lose Weight.. To be SexyWP  De-stress.. For Charity.. To Motivate.. Inspire.. Meet People.. Be Free.. Worship.. To Think.. Travel.. Meditate..  For Self Satisfaction .. To Find Peace.. To be Awesome.

WP6To Find Yourself.. Discover New Places.. To Belong to a Community.. To believe in Yourself.. To give Hope.. To Succeed. . To get Me-Time.. To Enjoy Nature.. To be All You Could be.

WP2To Earn Your Calories.. Just Because.. For Discipline.. Finish Line.. Medals.. Prizes.. Money.. Sense of Achievement.. Speed.. Strength.. Recognition.. To Retreat.. Escape.. To Live.. To Forget.. For Insight.. For Inspiration. To Master Fear.. To Connect.. To Live.. To be Happy.

smell-roseTo Smell the Roses .. To Remember.. To Honor.. To Dream.. To Heal.. To Deal.



To Give Yourself the Best Fighting Chance to Life, Love and Happiness.

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Spring into Action on the Trails

Running TrailOh yeah..beautiful, luscious, picturesque Spring is here! Goodby to the treadmill, to freezing nose and toes and layers of clothes!

It’s such an exciting time for us runners and outdoorsy people. However, if you live in New York, it may be a few more days before you feel that magical, spring-fever-energy that craves adventure, as we rally to push a winter that will not leave gracefully, out of here.  But if you’re anything like me, you’re already hearing the call of the wild; though it’s more likely that after the winter we’ve had, you’ll settle for warm sunshine and cool temperatures to start with.  Just the thought of Spring though, I’ve seen those colorful buds pushing their way through the still-cold ground, brings to mind outdoors: fresh air and dirt, and green and birds, and its got me thinking… Trail Running.

Spring presents the perfect opportunity to get so much done beginning with those exercise and running goals we had from the beginning of the year. So what if it means getting those rain boots & ponchos out, you gotta give and take a little. From long walks to long runs to hikes, rock climbing, cross-country runs, obstacle and fun races, and my favorite, trail runs; there are just so many ways to get your run on, and what’s even better is that you can get the entire family involved, from your five-year old to grandpa and yes..even the dog; everyone loves Spring.

So grab your gear, your running bud and your camera, because you just can’t let such gorgeousness go by without trying to steal and savor some, and let’s figure out where our running adventures can take us this Spring.

Cross Training for Runners

Recently there has been a surge in the idea that Cross Training can benefit runners, increasing strength, endurance and building muscle. It is suggested that Cross Training can be supplemental to running, providing variety while strengthening and building muscles that normally atrophy with overuse and helping with speed and endurance to make you run longer, faster and better.

According to Dr. Vonda Wright, in her power play video above, what one needs to be a great racer goes beyond good sneakers and great nutrition. She claims, that what makes one a great racer is metabolic efficiency, balanced muscles and total body fitness. I believe she’s right on target with her attempt to get us to question and stretch ourselves.

There exist a ton of information on the best exercises to optimize your running potential, so much so, that it can be difficult to decide where your best results lie. Most trainers and runners agree that exercises, which target core areas and strengthen those that you use for running, which would pretty much mean your total body, are the ones you need to focus on. Some are: Swimming, Biking, Gym Workouts to include core work such as planks and squats; Yoga and Pilates are great for this, and Light Weights. Biking is great for strength training and targets your quads, gluts and legs without the impact of pavement pounding. Swimming is no impact and great for upper body and shoulder strengthening. It helps with stability and control and helps you stay in line when running because it builds core strength. Also, as with biking, runner’s knee and other susceptible injuries are a misnomer. Finally, there is so much to do at the gym..where to begin? Kettle bells! I love the feel and result. They have the advantage of giving your muscles and gluts a good workout-great butt booster girls-but lower the risk of injuries associated with heavier weights. Kettle bells can be included in a circuit workout that may include butt kicks, burpees, jumping jacks, planks and high knees. Remember the idea here is to be lean and fit so the focus should be on less weights and more reps. This will keep you in good stead, strengthening those muscles that will help you to be a more efficient and effective runner.

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Happy Cross Training guys.

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Skinny vs Healthy

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At no time in our history has it been more pertinent, so debatable or misunderstood. Studies rage as do diet fads and exercise plans, all in the name and search of Skinny, Perfect, You.  Maybe it’s the media hype, the crazy celebrities we are wont to emulate, or could be it’s the mixed messages we get from society at large, who knows or even cares, fact is we are so messed up with the idea that we all have to be a ‘perfect’ size 2 or is it 1, that people have been literally running in circles trying to fit in.  Now I’m all for running, but you may have noticed that in this race there’s no finish line – no one wins. That’s because when it comes to human beings, there is no one-size-fits-all.  So then, why are we of the mistaken belief that size 2 is the standard for beauty, happiness, well-being and perfection, when in fact, beauty comes from within, happiness is a state of mind, your well-being embodies physical, spiritual, mental as well as emotional health and as for perfection, well..a pipe dream really.

One can assign blame to various sources, but the truth is there is enough blame to go around. However, I am convinced we are our worst enemies.  Use to be, we could have gotten away with the saying ‘Ignorance is bliss,’ but in this fast advancing world, that is just plain lame.  It couldn’t be further from the truth anyway, ignorance is just that, ignorance, and bliss is bliss; In the end, we remain responsible for who and what we are. We’ve been told often enough that what we put in, is what we get out.  That should apply across the board; food, exercise, study, family et al.  The time, effort and resources we assign to those areas determine the results we get.
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Really, there are no reasons we can claim ignorance as information abounds on healthy eating practices, exercise, health & wellness and just about any area of interest we can imagine.  It behooves us to acquaint ourselves with this superb human machine God has gifted us with, to learn and appreciate it inside out, to love the skin we’re in, only when we do, will we find balance and enjoy what is the healthy and right size for each of us.  People often say – you’re so lucky, you’re so skinny – as if luck has anything to do with it or as if skinny is my desire.  Not so at all.  So what if I’m small-boned.  Does that make me healthy? Should it mean that I get to eat crap and not exercise; that I get a pass on practicing healthy living? Definitely not.  We need to get that we’re all unique.  Therefore, we will not, nor should we aspire to be, the same.  A size 2 on me maybe healthy, if I live it out correctly, but maybe totally wrong for your built and stature, which may be a size 4 or 6 or even 8.  If you can’t fit my shoes, you shouldn’t try to wear them.  Find your own and wear it beautifully and well.  Now does this mean that it’s ok to be overweight? Heck no! Obesity is a big problem, and it shouldn’t be because of image but because of the potential hazards inherent in living with it.  It is therefore very important that we pay attention to our health, this is the reason we eat right and exercise; to be healthy and fit. The rest is just a sexy bonus.

  

The Joy of Trail Running

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Running is a sport that’s hard to love. It could be because it requires so much of one’s energy among other emotions that there’s hardly room left for anything else. Most runners run either because they’re good at it, are very competitive, like the physical & psychological results of running or a combination of the above. Very few, I believe, will admit to loving the constant pounding of heart, feet and muscle to the insistent beat of their personal-health-aspiration-drum.

imageQuite frankly, after my teenage years and before I discovered trail running, I saw running as strictly a competitive sport and would hardly consider it something I did for fun. The trails changed all that. There among nature, I discovered my inner ying that responded to the call of the wild with a resounding yes that echoes wherever trails are found. I want to discover, explore and enjoy them all. Within those trails I am able to step outside of myself and see the beauty of God’s creation as He intended it and it’s a wonder to behold. I don’t know why I respond this way, what it is within me that unfurls at the sight, sounds and smell of nature blossoming in my midst..I just know that I do and that to be given the opportunity to experience it is a precious gift I treasure. Upon my return to the track and roads there’s really no comparison. Time stands still among the quiet chatter of birds and insects; the cackle of leaves underfoot is background music to the sighting of a unique flower or plant as the fresh air pleasantly tickles my nostrils, and my senses are thoroughly assaulted by the explosion of color as the seasons change. And If per chance I encounter one of my wild friends, it’s always with a gaze of awe as I humbly submit to their authority in this world of theirs..where I am but a guest..a world seemingly untouched, unspoiled by the passage of time and those who are fortunate to enter in.

I try to get to the trails as often as I can, which is not often enough in my mind. Thank goodness New York offers lots of opportunities to the desirous trail runner, as there are lots of parks surrounding the city that one can get lost in. Venture a little further upstate or head out to the Catskills and it’s trail heaven out there and great for hiking too. What I have not been so fortunate to find are running events that involve the trails, I guess it’s harder to organize those, but be that as it may, there are always opportunities for those so inclined; my eyes and ears are open to new trail experiences this year.

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All Peaches and Running Dreams

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I love running in Georgia. Particularly, I delight in the fresh and pristine air surrounding the Savannah Rapids River in Augusta, and the cacophony of sounds that enfold me as I make my way along the scenic trails.  Because I consider myself a nature lover, I relish the times I can get away from city life and get in tuned with my wild side.  There’s nothing more inspiring than being lost to the world of city lights, blaring traffic and the constant chatter of well-meaning or not, people.  It is here that running takes on a whole new meaning; where competition, pace and races take a back seat to enjoyment, beauty and appreciation.

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It seems everything and everyone conspire to offer the perfect conditions -it’s hardly winter here today- for lacing up and heading out.  And because it’s so designed, I can hardly not take a camera along as picturesque scenes are sure to greet me.  I picture the willow trees, its branches swaying gently in the breeze as the gurgling sound of water gushes by and the birds singing sweetly as they tag along on this self-defining run that will unearth more than I can imagine and unload more than mere calories.

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I may return with some Spanish moss in my hand and some stunning shots on my camera, but what I hold in my heart and my head, words cannot express, nor can I really articulate what it means to this city girl who’s really country at heart.

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