Sunday, January 7, 2024

Top 10 Strategies to Successfully Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

With the New Year a week in, many of us have embarked on a journey of self-improvement by setting resolutions. However, the challenge lies in staying committed and making these resolutions a lasting part of our lives. In this article, we'll explore the top 10 strategies to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions and achieve your goals.

  1. 1. Set Realistic and Specific Goals: Start by setting clear, achievable goals. Instead of vague resolutions, define specific and measurable objectives. This will make it easier to track your progress and stay motivated.

  2. 2. Create a Plan: Develop a detailed plan outlining the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks, making the journey more attainable and less overwhelming.

  3. 3. Prioritize Your Resolutions: If you have multiple resolutions, prioritize them based on importance and feasibility. Focusing on one or two key goals at a time can prevent feeling overwhelmed and increase your chances of success.

  4. 4. Share Your Goals: Share your resolutions with friends, family, or a supportive community. Announcing your goals makes you more accountable, and the encouragement from others can provide the motivation needed to stay on track.

  5. 5. Track Your Progress: Keep a journal or use a tracking app to monitor your progress. Regularly review your achievements, no matter how small, and adjust your plan accordingly. Celebrating milestones will help maintain your motivation.

  6. 6. Establish a Routine: Integrate your resolutions into your daily routine. Building habits takes time, but consistency is key. Incorporate your goals into your schedule to make them a natural part of your day.

  7. 7. Stay Positive and Practice Self-Compassion: Understand that setbacks are a normal part of any journey. Instead of dwelling on failures, focus on what you've learned and how you can adjust your approach. Practice self-compassion and maintain a positive mindset.

  8. 8. Seek Support: Surround yourself with a support system. Share your struggles and successes with those who can offer guidance and encouragement. Joining clubs, online groups, or finding a resolution buddy can make the process more enjoyable.

  9. 9. Incorporate Rewards: Establish a reward system for reaching specific milestones. Treat yourself to something special as a way of recognizing your hard work. Positive reinforcement can significantly enhance your motivation.

  10. 10. Adaptability is Key: Be flexible and willing to adjust your goals or methods if needed. Life is unpredictable, and circumstances may change. Being adaptable will help you stay committed in the face of challenges.

With these strategies in mind, you can significantly increase your chances of sticking to your New Year's resolutions. Remember, the journey towards self-improvement is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay focused, be patient with yourself, and celebrate every step forward on your path to success.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Conquer Your Longest Runs: Top 5 Tips to Make Them Epic


Conquer Your Longest Runs: Top 5 Tips to Make Them Epic

Long runs are the cornerstone of any solid running plan. They build endurance, boost confidence, and prepare you for race day. But let's be honest, sometimes they can feel like a drag. The miles tick by slowly, and your mind can start to wander.

But fear not, fellow runners! Here are my top five tips to transform your long runs from endurance tests to epic adventures:

1. Embrace the scenery:

Running outdoors offers a fantastic opportunity to connect with nature. Take advantage of this! Choose scenic routes with stunning views, lush forests, or calming coastlines. Soak in the fresh air, listen to the birdsong, and appreciate the beauty around you. It'll do wonders for your mood and motivation.

2. Fuel your journey:

Proper nutrition is crucial for long runs. Pack healthy snacks like energy gels, fruits, or nuts to keep your energy levels up. Don't forget to stay hydrated by carrying water or a sports drink. Remember, your body needs fuel to perform its best, so don't skimp on pre-run and mid-run nutrition. Your long run is also a great time to experiment with your gels and find out the timing that works best for you when it comes to refueling. 

3. Break it up:

Long runs don't have to be solitary endeavors. Run with a friend, join a running club, or find a running buddy online. Having company can make the miles fly by and provide much-needed motivation and support. Plus, it's always more fun to share the experience! You don't even have to have a friend for the whole run. Maybe arrange for someone to join you for the last half or for a section where you always feel you need a push. It's up to you!

4. Embrace the mental game:

Long runs are as much a mental challenge as they are physical. Be prepared for moments of doubt and fatigue. Practice mindfulness techniques like meditation or positive self-talk to stay focused and overcome negative thoughts. Remember, your mental strength is just as important as your physical fitness.

5. Celebrate your accomplishment:

Every long run is a victory! Take time to acknowledge your achievement and reward yourself. Enjoy a delicious post-run meal, take a relaxing bath, or do something you enjoy. Celebrate your progress and stay motivated for your next long run adventure.

Bonus Tips: Don't be afraid to experiment! Try listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks to keep your mind engaged. However, keep the volume low so you can hear traffic, cyclists, other runners, etc. Consider running a loop course so you can easily access water and snacks. And most importantly, have fun!

Long runs can be challenging, but they can also be incredibly rewarding experiences. By following these tips, you can transform your long runs into epic journeys that help you reach your running goals and enjoy the process along the way.

Happy running!

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Top 5 Tips to Avoid Injury in 2024

As a runner, you know the joy of pounding the pavement and feeling the wind in your hair (or what's left of it in my case). But even the most dedicated runner can be sidelined by a nagging injury. Fortunately, many common running injuries are preventable with the right approach. Here are my top 5 tips to help you stay healthy and keep running strong in 2024:

1. Listen to your body.

This might seem obvious, but it's crucial to pay attention to your body's signals. Don't push through pain, especially if it's new or getting worse. Listen to your fatigue levels and take rest days when needed. Remember, progress takes time, and pushing too hard too soon can lead to injury. If your gait is at all affected by the injury, don't run!

2. Build your base.

Before tackling ambitious goals, ensure you have a solid foundation. Gradually increase your mileage and intensity over time, aiming for a weekly increase of no more than 10%. This allows your body to adapt to the demands of running and reduces the risk of overuse injuries.

3. Embrace the power of strength training.

Stronger muscles and bones are better equipped to handle the forces of running. Incorporate strength training exercises into your routine, focusing on core, glutes, and legs. This will improve your stability, power, and overall running performance. This doesn't mean you have to get a gym membership. Bodyweight exercises will do just fine.

4. Warm up and cool down.

Properly preparing your body for and after a run is crucial for injury prevention. Start with a 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up, including light cardio and stretches that engage the muscles you'll be using. Finish your run with a 5-10 minute cool-down, including static stretches to promote flexibility and recovery.

5. Take care of your feet.

Invest in good quality running shoes that are right for your foot type and gait. Replace your shoes regularly, typically every 300-500 miles. Consider incorporating foot strengthening exercises into your routine to improve stability and reduce the risk of foot-related injuries. Running barefoot on a grassy field helps strengthen your feet too. 

Bonus tip: Don't forget the importance of proper nutrition and hydration. A healthy diet provides your body with the fuel it needs to recover and rebuild. Staying hydrated helps prevent muscle fatigue and cramping, allowing you to perform at your best. Stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store and avoid the packaged, processed junk foods in the middle. 

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce your risk of running injuries and keep enjoying the sport you love. Remember, consistency and a smart approach to training are key to a long and healthy running career.

Additional resources:

Running strong and injury-free is possible! Stay motivated, train smart, and keep running!

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Ditch the Outlet, Embrace the Effort: This Non-Motorized Treadmill Will Supercharge Your Workouts

Too cold to go for a run, but also too cold to head to the gym for a treadmill workout? Don't have the space or the money to spare to have your own treadmill at home? Forget clunky and pricey motorized machines and say hello to the kotia Non-Motorized Treadmill;your sleek, portable powerhouse for high-intensity cardio workouts anywhere, anytime.

Unleash Your Inner Beast:

  • Motor-free mayhem: Ditch the power cord and tap into your own primal energy. This treadmill's self-powered belt responds to your every stride, mimicking natural outdoor running for a more engaging workout.
  • 10° incline challenge: Push your limits with a 10-degree incline, transforming your walks into calorie-torching climbs.
  • Safety first: Twin flywheels and high-friction side mats bring you to a smooth stop whenever you need, so you can focus on pushing your limits, not worrying about them.

Convenience Meets Compactness:

  • Fold it, store it, conquer it: This treadmill folds up in a snap, occupying a mere 0.29 square meters. Tuck it away in a closet, under your bed, or even take it outside for a breath of fresh air.
  • Built for your busy life: Transportation wheels make it a breeze to move from room to room, so you can squeeze in a quick workout anywhere.
  • No outlets, no worries: Power your routine, not your treadmill. This is freedom of fitness redefined.
I will admit I'm not a big fan of running of treadmills. I really prefer to be outside. However, sometimes, it's just too cold and it's actually safer to stay home. This would be an ideal option if you lack space and money. Right now, this non-motorized treadmill is only $162.99! 

If you do insist on running outside, make sure to dress warm. A hat, gloves and leggings/tights. Compression shirts make a great base layer under your outwear. If it's windy or the air is exceptionally cold, consider a gaiter to pull up over your mouth and nose. 

Note: I do receive a small commission if you use the link I've provided above. 

Friday, November 3, 2023

Unwrap Joy: The Top 5 Christmas Gifts Every Runner Will Love

Today, my favorite 80's station was playing Christmas music...and that can only mean one thing! The holiday season is upon us. So it's the perfect time to show your love and appreciation for the runners in your life. Whether they're a seasoned marathoner or a beginner hitting the pavement, finding the ideal Christmas gift can be a rewarding challenge. To help you in your quest, I've compiled a list of the top 5 Christmas gifts that will leave your favorite runner lacing up their shoes with a smile. So, let's unwrap the joy of giving with these fantastic running gift ideas!

Please note that I have provided Amazon links to the items I mention. If you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. Happy Shopping!

1. Running Shoes: The Perfect Fit

Every runner knows the importance of a good pair of running shoes. And there's no better feeling than slipping into a brand-new, comfortable pair that's tailor-made for their needs. Brands like Nike, Adidas, Brooks, and New Balance offer a variety of styles to suit different running styles and foot shapes. Gifting the right pair of running shoes can make a world of difference in their training and races.

2. GPS Running Watch: Your Running Companion

For runners who like to track their progress, a GPS running watch is a game-changer. It provides valuable data such as distance, pace, heart rate, and even GPS navigation. Brands like Garmin, Suunto, and Fitbit offer an array of feature-packed options. A running watch can be the perfect running companion, with added features like music playback and advanced training metrics.

3. Running Apparel: Keep Them Cool and Comfy

Running apparel made from moisture-wicking and breathable materials is a must-have for any runner. Consider gifting high-performance running shirts, shorts, tights, or a lightweight jacket. Look for reflective and visible gear for added safety during those early morning or evening runs. Quality running attire can help them stay comfortable and stylish as they conquer miles.

4. Foam Roller or Massage Tools: The Gift of Recovery

Recovery is an essential part of a runner's routine. A foam roller or massage tools like a massage stick or massage ball can work wonders for alleviating muscle soreness and tightness. These tools assist with self-myofascial release, making them an excellent addition to any runner's recovery arsenal. Help your runner friend stay injury-free and ready for their next challenge.

5. Race Entry or Running Event Registration: Fuel Their Passion

If the runner in your life thrives on competition and the thrill of racing, consider covering the registration fee for an upcoming race or running event. This thoughtful gift not only shows your support but also fuels their passion for running and gives them a goal to work towards. It's a present that combines motivation and excitement, making it a unique and memorable gift.

Remember, it's the thought that counts. These gifts can help your favorite runner enjoy their journey even more, making their holiday season truly special. Whether it's a practical running gift or a heartfelt gesture, each of these presents is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Other honorable mentions include running accessories like hydration packs, running belts, compression socks, and gift cards to running stores. When selecting the perfect Christmas gift for a runner, be sure to consider their unique needs and preferences. With your thoughtful gift, you'll be spreading joy and motivating them to reach new running milestones in the year ahead. Happy gifting and happy running!

Saturday, September 23, 2023

I've lost count how many times I've "started running".

Starting Again - At the Beginning

Back in July I went for a run while on my anniversary trip. It was a trail run and up to that point I was having trouble with my feet again. Not really the feeling of Plantar Fasciitis, but it was definitely the fascia that was aching so bad. Usually, my minimalist/barefoot shoes fixed the issue, but it was starting to feel bad even wearing them. I thought perhaps a trail run - with softer ground than pavement - would help. OH MY GOD, it was so bad! I don't know if it was the uneven terrain or all the roots or whatever but I couldn't even run a quarter of a mile.  

Fast forward a month or two and my weight shot up to 200lbs! I always had it in my head that 200 was my breaking point. Well, I got there. I joined planet fitness and was working out several times per week, hiking a few days but really wasn't doing great with my diet. And as they say, you can't outrun a bad diet. Well, hell...I couldn't even run. 


In the last two months, I've used the elliptical at the gym - no stress or pounding - and I've been hiking rather than running. It's strange to me that hiking is fine but running was the problem. Anyways, This past week, I bought some insoles recommended by a running store. I know! I know! What about running natural? Well, it stopped working for me for whatever reason so I thought, what the hell. I'll give anything a try at this point. So I put the insoles in my Altras, (minimalist shoe with wide toe box - but not a  barefoot shoe) and went for a run. On Monday, I ran a mile, non-stop. I was so happy! Yes, there was some aches on the bottom of my foot, but nothing that was "painful". On Tuesday, I went for a hike. Wednesday, I tried another run and felt really good. Not sure what was different, but I the same mile and took a minute and half off my time from Monday. I really wasn't trying. I was running at a pace that felt good. Thursday, I went for a hike again and Friday and ran another mile non-stop. Not as fast as Wednesday's run, but that's totally fine with me. 

The last few weeks I've been trying to eat better too. I have found that logging what I eat into my Fitbit app helps with the accountability aspect. I can see the calories, the macros, etc. I've been avoiding - but not eliminating - fried foods, sweets and fast foods. I've done a good job cutting out Coke's too, which I swear cause my belly to blow up. Maybe it's the carbonation or something, but I swear when I drink a soda - even a zero sugar one - that I get belly-bloat. Yes- I did try Coke Zero even though you all know how I feel about fake sweeteners. 

Is it Working?

So, has working out, running and hiking and eating a little better helped? Today, I was down to 194lbs! I know it's only six pounds, but it's progress and I'll take it. 

Again, I've not eliminated fast foods, soft drinks and sweets. I've simply adopted a method of avoid as much as I can. Be strong when I'm feeling strong, but don't beat myself up if I "cheat" on the diet. Honestly, I think this has been the best approach for me. I have a bad habit of thinking I "deserve" a treat or a soda if I exercise, but that's obviously just going to keep me on the hamster wheel.  

It's so strange - knowing what to do, but not finding the commitment to do it. I am a certified running coach. I have a Kinesiology background. I know how to exercise. I know how to eat right. But with a stressful job, chronic running pains in my feet, it's like I gave up. I hit my 50's and for some reason just starting ignoring the advice I'd give any client. Advice I know for a fact works. 

What's the Plan Going forward?

Now that I can seem to run a mile, my plan is to very gradually increase my mileage and get back into running. I will take it very slow so as not to reinjure myself. Writing on here, even if nobody sees it is very cathartic for me so I will keep posting about my wins - and my setbacks. 

Happy Trails!

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Tips and Tricks to Keep you Running

Tips and Tricks to Keep Running

Have you ever felt like you needed to stop during a run but you didn't want to. You really wanted to push yourself, but your brain and your body were at odds? Here are some simple tricks you can use that should help. 

Visual Anchors

I'm not sure that "visual anchor" is the best term to use, but it works for me. I don't think of an anchor as a weight that keeps a boat in place. I think of it as a hypnosis-type anchor. A strong connection or feeling associated with a desired state or outcome. what does that mean in practice? 

When running, if you feel like you want to stop, pick a spot off in the distance. A telephone pole, a parked car. A building, tree, streetlight...doesn't matter. Just pick a point and tell yourself that you will get to that point before you can walk. Now - here's the second part of the trick - as you get close, pick a point just a little farther and tell yourself that's the new point. Continue to do this. More often than not, you'll find yourself forgetting you wanted to stop and you can stop using the visual anchors.

Counting Steps

This may sound weird, but taking your mind off running and thinking of something else is another form of hypnosis I use when running. Let's say you're running and you want to stop. No problem, tell yourself you can stop after 100 steps with the right leg. Now you just start counting every time your right leg touches the ground. Almost always, this distraction will get you back into the zone and you'll continue running. 

Change your pace

Sometimes, changing your pace can be just enough to keep you going. Of course, you have two options: Speed up or slow down. 

Slowing down works well if you're running a faster pace than your easy runs. It can easily extend how far you run by adjusting your pace. 

Speeding up, believe it or not, can help you run farther too. For just a block, a minute or to some random point you pick out off in the distance, pick up your pace. You'll find that you are recruiting different muscles or the same muscles in a different way. Often this can be just enough of a change so that when you settle back to your prior pace, you can keep going. 

I hope these help. What strategies do you use to keep going when the going gets tough?

Top 10 Strategies to Successfully Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

With the New Year a week in, many of us have embarked on a journey of self-improvement by setting resolutions. However, the challenge lies i...