How to Run things this Season

Source: active.com

Source: active.com

“I succeed on my own personal motivation, determination and commitment. My mindset is: if I’m not out there training, someone else is.” – Lynn Jennings

Thursday gone was not the typical running day; rather it was windy, cold and dank, with the promise of temperatures getting progressively colder within the next few weeks. This is not strange at all but merely the signs of Autumn falling behind and Winter fast approaching; which then begs the question, If this is what it looks and feels like now, what will we do when Winter gets here? Since this is no simple question, it follows that the answer is not simple at all but should be more of a determined, precise and focused response to a challenge faced by many runners who live in seasonal climates, particularly that of Winter. A double challenge exists for those of us who, not only dislike the cold, but have Spring races lined up and must thus spend our Winter months in training.

Between the holiday festivities and the cold weather, I’d wager that training for a marathon or any other endurance-type race in not high up there on anyone’s wish list, mine least of all. But I’ve figured for some time now that being a runner  means one rarely gets vacation or even have off days. We are more likely to get a rest day in-between training, but really if one is in this thing competitively – even competing with oneself – then it’s pretty much open season on running. The truth is, after a while, it becomes a way of life and is no more scheduled than eating is; however, if you’re in that place where it’s still a bit of a chore then of course around this time it becomes the proverbial millstone. And ouch, that’s darn heavy. But, lucky you and me, we are not alone. Running, while often done solo, is at base a community sport and so wherever you may find yourself this holiday season, I urge you to link up with the local running community. This may take the form of a running meet up, running group, running club, a couple running buddies or a friend – those willing to share their run, experience or just company with you – will make all the difference to your cold, wet and even icy runs.

The more structure you add to your training is the more likelihood you have of it being a success. All this means is that you should add a training plan to your schedule, holidays included. This plan should be a guide to keep you focused and engaged taking into account the necessary rest days and dutifully rewarding you for your hard work. It helps if you either do this with a group or person for motivation and accountability and stick to a regular schedule as much as possible. For sure, we can’t always be certain how things will pan out especially with the weather; snowstorms, road blockages, black ice, loss of power, any number of things could and may go wrong. While we can’t control any of these, we are certainly resourceful and determined and so it’s useful to add a plan B to your training schedule as well as to ensure maximum leverage of this training period. The gym: cross training, spin or cycling or a conditioning or aerobic class and/or the treadmill or indoor track are good just-in-case options, at-home: You Tube workout video, jump rope, Pilates, yoga or even just hooking up with a friend for a jog around the block, park or a local school track if it’s crazy out.

You will find that, as it becomes more routine than novelty, those runs will inspire more challenge and greater effort. Aside from the bonus of staying fit and looking fabulous through Christmas and into the New Year, there will be no guilty pleasures, for everything you eat is well deserved and thus tastes twice as good. You may even find that you’re actually looking forward to getting out, nothing like the fresh, cold air and a training run to work up an appetite and leave you invigorated and ready to run the world.

Advertisements

Checking in on 2015 Running Goals; Stay Motivated

Source: truemotivation.com

Source: truemotivation.com

The daily grind can get to us. It can cause us angst and all-too-often disillusionment. That’s why I think it’s important to have constant reminders and even accountability; this helps us to maintain focus and stay motivated. Frankly, it’s all happening so fast these days, with so much of our environment, social media, the news, and just about everything else, geared toward our constant striving to stay afloat, it’s no wonder we sometimes feel overwhelmed, insecure, frustrated and dejected. The good news, if you can call it that, is you’re not alone. This fight for survival, for attainment, for our own person glory even, is not yours to fight alone. It may not sound like much, but if you can find solace in that you’ll be well on your way to getting past the first hurdle.

So you’ve taken a look back and you’re either impressed or not with the trail you’ve blazed for the past 4 1/2 months; presuming you’re pleased with what you see, then you’re pretty set for the next few months. What you’ve done has worked and I applaud your hard-work and dedication, you have a soul sister. On the other hand, we know that life can get in the way sometimes causing hiccups; know that it is ok to stop and breathe. In fact, sometimes it is necessary to do so or we risk setting ourselves up for failure. Who needs that? It is the wise person who recognizes the need to stop & reassess and sometimes reorder their goals. In that vein, you’re on the right track and would benefit from spiriting away to a quiet place, away from the clutter and noise that is your life – try a trail run outdoors, where it’s just you, nature and God – and empty your mind of everything but the moment. Revel in where you are now and be thankful. Stay there for a bit and just love yourself. You see, every now then you need to indulge in a bit of self-love, not narcissism or anything like that, but honest, real, love; only then will you be able to be real about your needs and what your plans are. This shift in focus from the worries of life and the world at large will bring you, your dreams, and your goals this year, to the forefront once more, allowing you to revise and better align your plans with your reality. That PR, Boston Qualifier, Marathon, Half-marathon, Triathlon,Iron man, Ultra, Running group, Charity run etc… whether it’s one of these or a few, is still possible. If you’ve fallen ill or something of that nature, then that’s beyond your control but if not then by God’s grace you are able.

You want to realize your desires, you have to be willing to make the necessary adjustments or/ and sacrifices. We, who know about hard-work and sacrifice, know that it will never be easy, if it were, it would not be worth it; that if we fall ten times, we stand up eleven. Failure is never an option. Indeed we have just over seven months to ensure goal realization. It is possible. You are possible.

Motivational Quotes for Winter Running

e6c2b4a48a9e8fd4_5e5487dfffdcdd03_lace_up-copy_1_~2
It’s cold. You’re tired, It’s been a late night. Everyone’s inside having fun. You’re just not feeling it; the desire to lace up those running shoes and step out is nonexistent. You know you should, but really the thought of a snuggle is so much more inviting right now. What to do? How do you motivate yourself past that.. past a few more minutes of sleep, past the delicious tasting Apple Pie, that second helping of turkey or even your favorite Home Alone movie or worst, past the family and friends gaming and wining and dining to embrace the seclusion and quiet of a beautiful frosty day?

I so feel you! And because I do, I did some digging around and put together some of the funner ( my word), heartfelt, inspiring, kick-butt sayings/ quotes to help you remain fit, keep you focused, always smiling, and running this winter. Here goes…

1. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

2. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. –Stephen Covey

3. Either you run the day, or the day runs you. –Jim Rohn

4. Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. –Joshua J. Marine

5. The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself–the invisible battles inside all of us–that’s where it’s at.
-Jesse Owens

6. I do it because I can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn’t. -Unknown

7. Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. -Henry Ford

8. You don’t always get what you wish for, you get what you work for.
-Thumbpress.com

9. Think you won’t make a difference with one run, you won’t make a difference doing nothing.
-Thumbpress.com

10. If you run 100 miles a week, you can eat anything you want – Why? Because…
(a) you’ll burn all the calories you consume, (b) you deserve it, and (c) you’ll be injured soon and back on a restricted diet anyway. –Don Kardong

11. Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic. –Tim Noakes

12. You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don’t run and never will…those who run but don’t race…those who started training for a race but didn’t carry through…those who got to the starting line but didn’t get to the finish line…those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You’re still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you’ve outlasted. –Joe Henderson

13. Today I will do what others won’t, So tomorrow I can do what others can’t. –Unknown

14. The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.
–Unknown

15. Everything is funner with a runner because we can go long and hard, short and fast, and we even get pretty dirty sometimes (for mud races of course). Endurance is key, although everyone can appreciate a quickie, aka sprinter.
-Unknown

16. It starts about the time I walk out my front door. I reach the woods, smell the river and I just feel myself come to life again. It’s like yeah, I’m back.
-Unknown

17. I’m a drinker with a running problem. -Unknown

18. Mind is everything: muscle–pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind. -Paavo Nurmi

19. I run so my goals in life will continue to get bigger instead of my belly. -Bill Kirby

20. Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run! —P. Mark Taylor

I know! Pretty cool right? Thank me later.

Quick Disclaimer.. so not my words, wish they were but nope, some attributed to their owners others unknown.

World Cup-Inspired Running

imageI confess I’m a World Cup junkie.  My background and culture has a lot to do with that. I grew up in the eighties and nineties where football aka soccer was to the rest of the world what the Super Bowl is to the United States.  Never mind that my home country of Trinidad and Tobago only ever qualified for this world class tournament one time in 2006, we were and are avid football fans and players and boast a number of home-grown international players.  I grew up either watching, playing or attending practice sessions, games and/or tournaments.

image

That being the case, it is neither difficult nor far-fetched for me to attempt to see what impact this has had on my desire and ability to run.  I look at the players on the field in this World Cup and I’m as amazed now as I was all the way back then (some 25 odd years ago) at their sheer physical strength, speed and stamina.  On the off chance that you’re not aware, runners share  these very same characteristics. I compare the dexterity and nimbleness among some of the world’s top players such as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Italy’s Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez from Uraguay, Yaya Toure from Ivory Coast and Netherland’s Robin Van Persie and I cannot imagine a sport more defined by pace and endurance. It is ninety full-contact minutes of constant movement; defense, attack and counter-attack while running.  Is it any wonder that their physical form is so impeccable; most, if not all, of these players own amazing bodies along with abs to die for. I won’t give all the credit to running of course, even if most of their drills consist of it, as I’m aware that their training includes major gym work to build, strengthen and tone muscles; however, I’m willing to bet that at least 70% of their training involves running. If I ever need running motivation, here it is.

imageI’ve taken my football frenzy to the streets, or better yet, the fields, where I attend soccer practice weekly throughout summer into mid-Fall. I will never be a Ronaldo or Suarez, not even close, and that’s ok because it’s enough to even mirror their moves and form while getting my run on. It is true that this World Cup has seen me up my running game, I am motivated to move, get physical, keep active; to run and race more. These are my Brazil Moments. Can I help that they’re inspired by super-yummy eye candy!

Setting yourself up for a GREAT. RUN. this Spring

imageYou may have gotten over the initial excitement of Spring only to be faced with the harsh reality of life: that it’s not all a run; there are stumbles and stops and even falls but to reap the benefits of success, we must pick up and press on, and on those odd times when we fall off the proverbial wagon, begin again.

There are two perspectives that lie in tangent: seeing Spring as a season of growth, change and newness in other living things or living each day as Spring and applying the growth, change and newness to include oneself, since we fall under the category of living things. The latter allows for facing each day with an attitude of challenge and expectation. I have always maintained that running is a sport of the mind performed by the body. Since the mind is where it all begins, it follows that perspective makes or breaks a runner. With the right attitude, there is no race that is unattainable and no run that is unconquerable. Whether it’s 1 mile, a 5k, 26.2 miles or even an ultra marathon; through mud or fire, over obstacles, in color, whatever it may be, it all begins the same place, which by the way, is half-way accomplished when its been committed to. Believe it or not, that was the toughest part; setting the goal and coming up with a plan to follow through.

imageWith that out of the way, we can now focus on fun things like gearing up, partnering up, diet and motivation. Since Spring is one of the best seasons for running, running gear is pretty easy to select and readily accessible. Running shoes are very important and therefore, one should select wisely. Here, I recommend going to a running store and using the treadmill there so that the sales associate, who is generally more knowledgable on these matters, can asses your gait and stride to get you a right fit. While brands abound with regards to design, color, fit, taste and price, one should be careful to never sacrifice on fit and comfort. A tip here is to always buy one size up your normal shoe size and to ensure you have enough support for your heels if that’s where you place emphasis or in my case, the balls of the feet. Now shoes in hand or more likely, on feet, we can look for comfort and style in choosing breathable running clothes that fit properly. Here, try to avoid all-cotton materials and restrictive clothing. Choose something functional but fun as I’m sure you also want to look good. Being able to wear shorts and tanks are way cool after three plus months of layers so that’s half the decision made. We’re geared up and ready to hit the tracks, roads, trails..whatever your passion..be careful to fuel up before, during and after your runs to stay hydrated. Some drinking options include: Gatorade, Powerade and coconut water, while chocolate milk and fruit or vegetable smoothies with granola make a great recovery drink. In addition, it is always wiser to eat a couple of hours before your run so there’s ample time for digestion. If eating later on, after your run and closer to late evening and night-time, then foods that are easily digested and low in calories and fat are recommended.

imageMotivating yourself through Spring may become a bit difficult from time to time as the weather can be quite crazy: wet, windy, chilly etc. But the trick is to stay on target by friendly reminders from partners, friends, your phone and written goals, and to surround yourself with like-minded people who will encourage and allow you to not only dream, but to run those dreams and become the champion you are. Plus, we do get those oh-so-gorgeous-sun-shiny-days..so grab those ear buds if that’s your fancy, make sure to choose ones that stay put while running; those that go around the ears or over the head are fine, with proper kick-ass music and strap on your watch or timer and keep it moving.

Something inside…

Something inside of me just said ‘Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,’ and I just took off.
You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
~Steve Prefontaine

No matter who you are, we all need inspiration, motivation, encouragement, support and love to accompany us on our life’s journey. For my part, I try to surround myself with those who will empower me  to achieve my best self.  My personal credo is to always give of my best; be it running, writing, volunteering… whatever I do and wherever I go, this is never far from me.

Your challenge, is to find your little world of supporters..your personal cheer squad..that will do all of the above and then some; particularly on those days that you feel uncertainty, doubt and the desire to give up creeping in. Here are a few ideas to help with focus:

. Join a club/gym; make and meet new friends who share your passion
. Enlist the support and help of a girlfriend/buddy who will engender encouragement, motivation and accountability
. Read, watch, listen to inspiring testimonies of persons with like passions who have overcome adversity to achieve their goals
. Be open to constructive criticism from those who are knowledgable and informed on the topic
. Open your eyes and heart to the inspiration that abounds in people, nature,
things
. Weed out the negative elements in your life that will bring about discouragement and disappointment
. Finally, affirm yourself. You are who you say you are and others opinions contribute very little to you achieving the self-satisfaction and sense of achievement that comes from believing in yourself.

 

image

 

Quote

Your First Long Run

So you’ve decided to give it a try.  Step out of your 3-5 mile comfort zone and enter the world of longer runs.

imagesU8C98DX2

Maybe you’re thinking 10 miles, a half marathon or even a full marathon.  I say let’s start with the half.  It’s a safer bet and you’ll get to them all eventually anyway.  It’s all good.  I’d wager you’re well on your way already given your decision to challenge yourself.  I’ve always agreed that whatever the path of life you choose, you should always give it your best shot; it’s the only way you grow and have the opportunity to realize your full potential.  With that in mind and with you half-way there, after-all making the decision to stretch yourself being the toughest part, here are a few tips to help you along the way.

  • Build up slowly; you’ve done 5 miles so make your next goal 6 miles in say two weeks, three times a week then to 7 miles, then eight and so on.
  • Have an overarching goal/race in mind, that way you’ll be working towards something and will be motivated to see it through.
  • It sometimes helps to have a physical reminder, especially on those days you’re not feeling it; write down your goal and place it where you’re sure to see it and be reminded daily.
  • Find a running buddy; someone who shares your goal and will help you in the areas of encouragement and accountability, one with whom you can discuss healthy eating, rest habits and get motivated.                                          
  • Lastly, as you work your way up the mile rack, it may help if you do trial/test runs. Do a 10k, then as you progress try a 9 miler etc., and always, always, prepare yourself mentally as well as emotionally. Running is no easy feat and the best runners will tell you it’s as much mental as it’s physical.

Good Luck! You’ll do awesome!!!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 526 other followers

%d bloggers like this: