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. 

Progress

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. Great...so 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?


Saturday, July 8, 2023

How to Create a Running Plan

How to Create a Running Plan

I don't care if you want to run a mile or a marathon, you will benefit from having a training plan. And guess what? Creating a training plan is essentially the same no matter the distance. Any plan will need to factor in easy days, rest days, speed work and long runs. Those are the four ingredients of any running plan.

Duration

When I'm coaching runners, I like a 12 week plan. I break it up into 3 x 4 weeks.

Base Phase: Four weeks long. This is where I focus on building up mileage and getting runners used to running. I don't do much if any speedwork. Just easy days, rest days and long runs. 

Strength Phase: Four weeks long. Here I will have them add in speed work like hills, rolling hills, repeats and tempo runs. 

Speed & Taper Phase: 2-3 weeks long. In this phase, I will have runners do intervals, down hills runs, fartleks and tempo runs. The remaining 1 or 2 weeks will be tapering down to make sure the legs are fresh for the running event they've been training for. 

Easy Days

You may have heard of the 80/20 Rule. It seems to be the new buzzword, but honestly, it's just good, age old advice that's been re-packaged to look shiny and new. The majority of your runs should be easy. What is easy? Conversation pace. This is the pace you can run and still talk to your running buddy.

Rest Days

Everyone needs a rest day or two. You may feel like you can run 7 days per week. You might even be right. However, I can promise you will get better by taking a rest day or two. When you take a rest day, you allow your body time to adapt to the stress that comes from training. You come back stronger and faster over time. 

When you are starting out, I'd suggest 2 rest days per week. You want to ease into training. 

Speed Days

Speed days can be on or off a track. Intervals and repeats are most often done on a track, but they don't need to be. You could do them on a street or in a park. Then there's Fartleks and Tempo runs. I like Tuesdays and Thursdays for my speed days.

    Repeats are run hard. Like a gym workout, you will have a number reps to achieve. Typically, each rep is run at race pace or faster. Your rest period will be equal to your time spent running hard. For example: Run 6 x 400m at race pace with 400m for recovery jog.  You could also do timed repeats such as 6 x 2:00 at race pace with a 2 minute recovery jog. After the recovery period, go into the next rep and repeat.   

    Intervals, like Repeats, are run at a hard pace that you determine. Typically race pace or faster. They are similar to repeats but your rest period will be shorter than the time running hard. For example, 6 x 400m at race pace with a 200m jog for recovery.  You could also do timed intervals such as 6 x race pace for 2 minutes with a 1 minute recovery jog. After the recovery period, go into the next rep and repeat.   

    Fartleks are usually run on a road or trail, but they could be done on a track. A fartlek is Swedish for "Speed Play". Simply go for a run, but periodically, pick up the pace. You can do mile pace, 5K pace, half marathon pace...whatever you want. Just play! As for how long, you can play with that too. Do it for a minute. Do it to that tree way up ahead. Run 20 light poles hard....it's totally up to you. 

    Tempo Runs are run at a pace you could hold for an hour. Think 10K pace here. But you won't run it for an hour. You'll only run the tempo run for about 20-30 minutes. 

Long Runs

The long run is just that. It's your longest run of the week. You'll only do this once per week. I like Sundays. Now, the question is, how long should a long run be? An easy answer would be a run longer than your typical runs. Be we won't be so easy. 

I would suggest keeping your long run to between 20% and 50% of your other weekly mileage. If you are just starting out running a mile per day, 5 days per week. Then a 2.5 mile (50%) long run may be a little too  far, but a mile (20%) isn't any longer than your usual run. So maybe bump it up. However, if you are a super athlete running 2.5 hour marathons and you're running 100 miles per week, I would NOT recommend a 50 mile long run. This is where a running coach comes in handy. 

But realistically, for easy math, let's say you run 4 miles per day, 5 days per week. That's 20 miles. A long run of 4-6 miles (20-30%) would be good starting out and work up to 10 miles (50%) for a long run. 

Summary

In summary you should have a training schedule that looks like this for the 2nd and part of 3rd phases:
  • Sun - Long Run
  • Mon - Rest
  • Tues - Speed
  • Wed - Easy
  • Thu - Speed
  • Fri - Easy
  • Sat - Rest
There are of course things I didn't get in to that you would want to consider: Form runs, stretching, warm ups and cool downs, etc. But that's for another blog post. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Preventing and Treating Achilles Tendonitis

Preventing and Treating Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an injury that affects the Achilles tendon, which is the largest tendon in the body and connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It's caused by overuse and can result in pain, stiffness, and swelling in the back of the ankle.

To prevent Achilles tendonitis, it's essential to stretch and strengthen the calf muscles regularly. Here are four tips:

  • Stretch your calves before and after your runs.
    • Before your run, do dynamic calf stretches like mountain climbers or lunges.
    • After your run, do static stretches like the wall push.
  • Strengthen your calf muscles with exercises such as calf raises and heel drops.
  • Gradually increase your mileage and intensity. 
    • As I've mentioned before, 5-10% is typical, but it can depend on injuries, weekly mileage, etc. As your running coach, we will look at your plan and adjust accordingly. If you are acting as your own coach, make sure to back off on the mileage every 3 weeks or so to give your body some recovery. 
  • Wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning.
    • As I've mentioned before, I've had great success with barefoot shoes but to each their own. If you are unsure which shoes to get, try getting fitted at a specialty running store. Yes, it may be more expensive, but you will be sure to get the proper sizing. 

If you do experience Achilles tendonitis, the best course of action is to rest, ice, and elevate your ankle. Over-the-counter pain medication can also help reduce inflammation and pain.

As a running coach, I specialize in helping runners prevent and recover from injuries, so they can continue to enjoy their runs. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about my coaching services.

Sources:

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/injury/a773420/how-to-prevent-achilles-tendonitis/

https://www.healthline.com/health/achilles-tendinitis


Saturday, June 3, 2023

Runners Knee: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Runner's knee is a common injury that affects the knee joint and can cause pain and discomfort. It's caused by overuse, poor running form, and weakness in the muscles surrounding the knee joint. If you're experiencing pain around your kneecap, especially when running or climbing stairs, it's likely you're suffering from runner's knee.

To prevent runner's knee, it's essential to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint and improve your running form. Here are a few tips:

  • Strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings with exercises such as lunges and squats. The daily dozen exercises I recommend include lunges and burpees...which have that squat element. 

  • Focus on your running form and avoid overstriding. You should have a slight lean forward as you run. Slight!  Your hips should be over your mid-foot strike. 

  • Wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning. As mentioned in the last article, I actually run in "barefoot" shoes and it's made a huge difference for me. But again, everyone is different. For as long as I can remember, I ran in Nike Pegasus as my trainers and never had a problem until the 2020. I don't know if they changed the design or what, but they never worked for me again. 

  • Gradually increase your mileage and intensity. The general rule of thumb is no more than 10% per week. I actually advise my runners to do 5-10% based on check-ins to see how they feel, how they're sleeping, etc. Every third or 4th week, we'll back off on the mileage to help recover before increasing again. 

If you do experience runner's knee, the best course of action is to rest, ice, and elevate your knee. Over-the-counter pain medication can also help reduce inflammation and pain.

As a running coach, I specialize in helping runners prevent and recover from injuries, so they can continue to enjoy their runs. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about my coaching services.

Sources:

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/injury/a772583/runners-knee-everything-you-need-to-know/

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/runners-knee-prevention-treatment


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Understanding and Preventing Shin Splints

 

If you're a runner, you're probably familiar with the term shin splints. It's a common injury that affects many runners, especially those who are just starting out or increasing their mileage. Shin splints are caused by the overuse of the muscles in the lower leg, which leads to inflammation and pain along the shin bone.

To prevent shin splints, it's essential to incorporate strength and flexibility exercises into your training routine. Here are a few tips:

  • Walk for 5-10 minutes to warm up & then stretch your calves and shins. Stretch them again after your runs. 
  • Gradually increase your mileage and intensity. The rule of thumb is no more than 10% each week. As a running coach, I usually bump up mileage 5-10% per week for three weeks and then back off for a week. I think start increasing again. There are so many variables and every runner is different, hence the range. 
  • Wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning. If you follow me, you know I actually run in "barefoot" shoes with no support. This has helped me but everyone is different. The important thing is to find shoes that work for you and stick with them. 
  • Cross-train with low-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling, to give your lower legs a break. It's also a great way to improve your running in general. 

If you do experience shin splints, the usual course of action is to rest, ice, and elevate your legs. Over-the-counter pain medication is also recommended to reduce inflammation and pain. One thing you won't see too often is switching from ice to heat after the pain subsides in a couple of days. 

If you're struggling with shin splints or any other running-related injuries, I can help. As a running coach, I specialize in helping runners prevent and recover from injuries, so they can continue to enjoy their runs. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about my coaching services.

 

Sources:

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/injury/a773787/how-to-prevent-shin-splints/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shin-splints/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354197 

https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-prevent-and-treat-shin-splints-3432863#:~:text=Heat%20therapy%20and%20massage%3A%20After%20the%20pain%20and,shin%20muscles%20and%20tendons%20may%20also%20feel%20good. 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

How to Set Running Goals

In this post, I'd like to provide you with some tips for setting running goals. Goal setting is an important aspect of improving performance and staying motivated. Here are a few of my recommendations:

Make your goals specific

Set clear and specific running goals rather than vague ones. For example, instead of saying, "I want to run faster," specify a target time or distance you want to achieve. Specific goals provide focus and direction.

Set realistic and achievable goals

While it's essential to challenge yourself, make sure your goals are realistic and attainable. Setting overly ambitious goals can lead to frustration and demotivation. Consider your current fitness level, previous running experience, and available time for training when setting your goals.

I actually like to set 3 goals. One that I'd be happy with. One I'd be excited to get. One I'd be totally jazzed if I got it. All within reason, naturally. For example, I'd be happy with an 8 minute mile. Really happy with a 7:45. Totally pumped if I ran a 7:30. All would be very reasonable given the amount of time you have to train.

Use the SMART framework

Apply the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) framework to your running goals. Make sure they are specific, measurable, within reach, relevant to your overall objectives, and set a deadline for achieving them. For example, "I will run a 10K race in under 50 minutes within the next three months."

Break goals into smaller milestones

Divide your long-term running goals into smaller, manageable milestones. Achieving these milestones along the way provides a sense of accomplishment and helps maintain motivation. For instance, if your goal is to run a marathon, set smaller goals of completing a 10K, a half marathon, and so on.

By doing this, you get that sense of accomplishment along the way which keeps you motivated.

Focus on process-oriented goals

While outcome goals (such as winning a race) are important, it's crucial to also set process-oriented goals. These goals focus on the actions and behaviors that lead to success. For example, committing to a specific number of training sessions per week or improving your running form can be process-oriented goals.

Monitor and track progress 

Keep a record of your running sessions, times, distances, and any other relevant data. Regularly review your progress to stay motivated and assess whether adjustments are needed. Tracking your progress can also help identify patterns, strengths, and areas for improvement.

I used to use a journal book. Then I switched to excel. My Fitbit now captures everything and I'm sure you've heard of Strava! Click here for some great journals at Amazon.com

Be flexible and adapt 

Recognize that circumstances may change, and it's okay to modify your goals when necessary. Life events, injuries, or unexpected setbacks can impact your progress. Adaptation and flexibility are key to maintaining motivation and continuing to make progress.

Share your goals

Consider sharing your running goals with a supportive friend, running group, or coach. Verbalizing your goals to others can increase accountability and provide a support system. Others can offer encouragement, guidance, and motivation along the way. Social media is a great way to do this too. You can't let your followers down. Plus, it gives you content to post. 

Remember, goal setting is a dynamic process. Regularly reassess your goals, make adjustments as needed, and celebrate your achievements along the way. Enjoy the journey and focus on the progress you're making in your running endeavors.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Running for Longevity

Did you know that running can help you live longer? According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, running can help reduce your risk of premature death by up to 27%.

Running can also help improve your overall health, which can contribute to a longer, healthier life. In addition, running has been shown to reduce your risk of many chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

As a running coach, I can help you develop a training plan that is designed to help you improve your overall health and longevity. Let's work together to help you achieve your goals and live a longer, healthier life.



Sunday, May 7, 2023

The Benefits of Running for Weight Loss

The Benefits of Running for Weight Loss

Are you looking to lose weight? Running can be a great way to achieve your weight loss goals. According to the American Council on Exercise, running burns more calories per minute than many other forms of exercise, making it a great way to burn fat and lose weight.

Running can also help increase your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories even when you're not exercising. Plus, running can help you build lean muscle, which can further improve your body composition. But, here's the thing...not all running is the same. This is where I probably upset a lot of runners and even some fitness coaches...

Going out for a long run, or an easy run like most people do will help you lose weight. To a point. Eventually, you'll plateau.However, if you really want to see that afterburn effect mentioned above you really need to add speedwork to your training plan. 

Speedwork is running's version of a HIIT workout (High Intensity Intervals).  In addition to speedwork, hill sprints will build muscle giving you that afterburn effect as well. Look at your average 5K runner and even average marathoners. You see a lot of people with some extra weight. Please don't get me wrong. They are exercising and doing great. I don't want to take anything away from them or their efforts. With that said, I would be willing to bet, that the runners that are slimmer are the ones that have speedwork and hill sprints as part of their training plan. 

As a running coach, I can help you develop a personalized running plan that is designed to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Let's work together to create a plan that works for you.

Next week, we’ll wrap up our series by examining how running can help you live longer.


Saturday, April 29, 2023

Running for Heart Health

 

Did you know that running can also improve your heart health? Of course you did. Running is probably the OG cardio workout. But just in case, according to the American Heart Association, running can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.

Running is a form of aerobic exercise that can be beneficial for your heart in several ways. When you run, your heart rate increases, which helps to improve cardiovascular fitness and strengthen the heart muscle. Here are some specific ways running can benefit your heart:

  1. Increases heart strength: Running makes the heart work harder, which over time can strengthen the heart muscle and make it more efficient at pumping blood throughout the body.

  2. Improves blood circulation: Running can help to improve blood circulation, which can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Regular exercise can also help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are both risk factors for heart disease.

  3. Promotes healthy weight: Running can help you to maintain a healthy weight, which is important for heart health. Excess body weight puts added stress on the heart and increases the risk of developing heart disease.

  4. Reduces stress: Regular exercise, including running, can help to reduce stress levels, which can have a positive impact on heart health. High levels of stress can increase the risk of heart disease.

Overall, running is an excellent form of exercise for improving heart health. However, if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it's always best to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. 

As a running coach, I can help you develop a training plan that is tailored to your heart health goals. Whether you are looking to lower your blood pressure or improve your overall cardiovascular fitness, I can help you achieve your goals.

Next week, we’ll look into how running can help with weight loss.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Mental Health Benefits of Running

Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll look at some of the different ways that running can help you in life. These will include mental benefits, heart health, weight management and longevity.

Did you know that running is not only good for your physical health, but also your mental health? Studies have shown that running can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as improve overall mood and self-esteem.

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, running for just 30 minutes a day can be as effective as medication in reducing symptoms of depression. Additionally, running releases endorphins, which can help improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Personally, I grew up in a hostile environment at home and running was my only way of keeping sane. I would channel all my anxiety, frustration, anger and resentment into my runs. I honestly don't know what I would have done without Track and Cross Country to help me during those dark times. 

What about things like ADHD? Yes, running can help with ADHD by reducing symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Exercise, including running, has been shown to improve executive function and cognitive performance in individuals with ADHD.

One study conducted by the University of Illinois found that just 20 minutes of exercise improved attention and reading comprehension in children with ADHD. Another study by the University of Georgia found that exercise, including running, improved working memory and cognitive flexibility in young adults with ADHD.

As a running coach, I can help you develop a personalized running plan that not only improves your physical health, but also helps you reap the mental health benefits of running. Let's get started today!

Next week, we’ll look into how running can help keep your heart healthy.

If you'd like to learn more about running and ADHD, here are the articles referenced above:

Gapin, J. I., Etnier, J. L., & Cauraugh, J. H. (2011). The effects of physical activity on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms: the evidence. Preventive medicine, 52, S70-S74. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.01.022

Medcalf, R., & Michie, P. T. (2015). The effect of acute aerobic exercise on cognition and EEG in children with ADHD. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 47(3), 559-567. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000436

Ratey, J. J., & Loehr, J. E. (2011). The positive impact of physical activity on cognition during adulthood: a review of underlying mechanisms, evidence and recommendations. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 22(2), 171-185. doi: 10.1515/RNS.2011.017

Saturday, April 15, 2023

The Benefits of Speedwork

 Whether you're training for your first 5K or looking to set a new personal record, incorporating speedwork into your training can help you reach your goals. Speedwork includes a variety of different types of workouts, including intervals, repeats, Fartleks, and hills. In this newsletter, we'll explore the benefits of each of these types of workouts and how you can incorporate them into your training plan.

Intervals

Intervals involve running at a high intensity for a short period of time, followed by a period of rest or lower intensity running. For example, you might run at a near-maximum effort for 30 seconds, then jog or walk for 60 seconds to recover before repeating the interval. Intervals are an excellent way to improve your speed and cardiovascular fitness. They also help you learn how to pace yourself and push through fatigue.

Repeats

Repeats are similar to intervals but involve running at a consistent pace for a longer period of time. For example, you might run one mile at a high intensity, followed by a period of rest, and then repeat the mile at the same pace. Repeats are great for building endurance and improving your ability to maintain a consistent pace.

Fartleks

Fartleks are a type of interval training that involves running at a high intensity for a random amount of time, followed by a period of rest or lower intensity running. For example, you might run hard for one minute, then jog for 30 seconds before repeating the cycle. You can also run hard to a distant tree or fence post. "Fartlek" is a Swedish word meaning "Speed Play", so just have fun with it. Fartleks are great for improving your ability to change pace and respond to different running conditions, such as hills or windy conditions.

Hills

Hill workouts involve running up and down hills at a high intensity. Hill workouts help to improve your strength, endurance, and speed. Running uphill is particularly challenging and can help to improve your running form and leg strength. Running downhill can also be beneficial, as it requires good balance and coordination.

Incorporating Speedwork into your Training Plan

If you're new to speedwork, it's important to start slowly and gradually build up your intensity and duration. Personally, if you're new to running, I'd like to see you build your mileage base for 4-6 weeks before adding in speed work. Start with shorter intervals or repeats and gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts as you become more comfortable. It's also important to include rest and recovery days in your training plan to allow your body to recover and adapt to the increased stress.

Another benefit of speed work is that it's essentially a HIIT workout. High Intensity Interval Training has been shown to increase metabolism for 24 hours or more! This means you're burning calories at a higher rate just sitting around after your workout.

In conclusion, incorporating speedwork into your training plan can help you improve your speed, endurance, and overall fitness. Intervals, repeats, Fartleks, and hill workouts all offer different benefits and can be tailored to your individual goals and fitness level. Remember to start slowly and gradually build up your intensity, and always listen to your body to avoid injury. Happy running!

Saturday, April 8, 2023

The Benefits of Long Runs

In my last post, I discussed the benefits of easy runs and how they can benefit your running. Today, I want to talk about long runs and why they are essential for building endurance and preparing for races or long-distance events.

Long Runs

Long runs are longer than your average easy run and are typically done at a slower pace, ideally conversation pace. Typically, a run of 45 minutes or longer is considered a "long run" for the average new runner. However, for higher mileage, more experienced runners, you may be looking at 60-90 minutes or more. 

Here are some of the benefits of long runs:

  1. Build endurance: Long runs are essential for building endurance and preparing your body for the demands of long-distance running. By gradually increasing your long run distance each week, you will develop the stamina needed to run longer distances without getting tired. General advice, if you search google, is to increase mileage 5-10% each week. However, my advice is to increase mileage by 5-10% each week for two or three weeks and then cut back for a week. Then proceed to start increasing again for a few weeks. 

  2. Improve fat burning: Long runs help to improve your body's ability to use fat as fuel, which is important for endurance running. By running longer distances, your body is forced to rely more on fat for energy, which conserves glycogen stores and delays fatigue.

  3. Increasing mental toughness: Long runs are mentally challenging, and completing them can give you a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Running for a long time can also help you learn to cope with discomfort and fatigue, which is important for endurance events.

  4. Enhancing recovery: Long runs help to flush out waste products and bring oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, which speeds up your recovery and reduces the risk of injury. Running at a slower pace during long runs also helps to promote active recovery, which can reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.

  5. Preparing for races: Long runs are an essential part of any race preparation plan, particularly for half marathons, marathons, and ultra-marathons. By gradually increasing your long run distance, you will build the physical and mental endurance needed to complete these longer races.

    Next week, we will look at the importance of speed work. It's not just about getting faster...

    If you need any running gear, please consider using my Amazon link for great deals on Running Gear 

Saturday, April 1, 2023

The Benefits of Running Easy

In my last post, I introduced the different types of runs and discussed the importance of easy runs in your running program. Today, I want to dive deeper into the benefits of easy runs.

Easy runs are characterized by a comfortable pace that allows you to maintain a steady effort without getting too tired. These runs are essential for building a strong aerobic base and preventing injury. 

These easy runs will be the majority of your workouts and are typically performed every other day. 

The benefits of easy runs

Build aerobic fitness

Easy runs help to build your aerobic fitness, which is the foundation of all running. When you run at an easy pace, your body learns to use oxygen more efficiently, which improves your endurance and makes it easier to run longer distances.

Improve recovery

Easy runs help to flush out waste products and bring oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, which speeds up your recovery and reduces the risk of injury.

Develop running economy

Running at an easy pace helps to improve your running economy, which means you use less energy to maintain a certain pace. This translates into faster running and more efficient running form.

Reduce stress

Running at an easy pace is a low-stress activity that can help to reduce stress levels and improve your mental health.

In the next post, I'll discuss long runs and how they can benefit your running. Keep an eye out for it!

Happy running!

Saturday, March 25, 2023

The Types of Runs to Include in your Training Plan

Running is a great way to improve overall fitness, cardiovascular health, and mental well-being. Whether you are a seasoned runner or a beginner, including different types of runs into your running plan can help you to reach your fitness goals while keeping you motivated and challenged. In this post, I'll explain the different types of runs to incorporate into your running plan, including easy runs, long runs, and speed work which includes intervals, repeats, and hills.

Easy Runs

Easy runs, also known as recovery runs or maintenance runs, are typically done at a comfortable pace where you can hold a conversation. The purpose of easy runs is to aid in recovery from harder workouts, maintain fitness, and build endurance. These runs should make up the majority of your weekly mileage and are crucial for injury prevention.

Long Runs

Long runs are an essential part of any training plan, particularly for runners preparing for races. The purpose of long runs is to build endurance and improve the body's ability to burn fat as a source of energy. These runs are usually done at a slower pace than other runs and are typically the longest run of the week. Gradually increasing the distance of your long runs is essential for building endurance and preparing for longer races.

Speed Work

Speed work involves running at a faster pace than your usual pace, and it can help improve your running performance by building strength and speed. There are several types of speed work, including intervals, repeats, and hill repeats.

Intervals

Intervals involve running at a high intensity for a set amount of time, followed by a period of recovery. This type of workout can help increase your speed and endurance, and it can be done on a track or flat surface.

Repeats

Repeats involve running a set distance at a high intensity and then recovering for a set amount of time before repeating the process. This type of workout can help improve your speed and endurance and can be done on a track or a flat surface.

Hill Repeats

Hill repeats involve running up a hill at a high intensity and then jogging or walking back down to recover. This type of workout can help build leg strength and improve your ability to run uphill.

Incorporating speed work into your training plan should be done gradually to avoid injury, and it is recommended that beginners start with shorter intervals or repeats.

In conclusion, incorporating a variety of runs into your training plan is crucial for achieving your running goals while minimizing the risk of injury. Easy runs and long runs should make up the majority of your weekly mileage, while speed work can be added to improve your running performance gradually. By incorporating these different types of runs into your training plan, you can make running more enjoyable, challenging, and effective.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Find the Best Running Gear at Great Prices with Our Amazon Associates Link

 As a runner, you understand the importance of having the right gear to keep you motivated and comfortable on your runs. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, finding the right gear can make a big difference in your overall experience. That's why we're excited to share our Amazon Associates link with you, which will help you find all the running gear you need at great prices.

Amazon has one of the largest selections of running gear on the internet, with everything from running shoes to hydration packs and everything in between. With our Amazon Associates link, you'll be able to access all of these products at competitive prices, so you can get what you need to enhance your running experience.

One of the biggest benefits of using our Amazon Associates link is the convenience. With just a few clicks, you'll be able to find all the running gear you need in one place. No more searching multiple websites or driving from store to store - everything you need is right at your fingertips.

Another advantage of using our Amazon Associates link is that you'll be able to take advantage of Amazon's great prices and deals. Whether you're looking for the latest running shoes or a new hydration pack, you can be sure you're getting the best possible price when you use our link.

In addition to the convenience and affordability, our Amazon Associates link also helps you find the right gear for your needs. With so many products to choose from, you can be sure you're getting the right product for your specific needs, whether you're looking for a new pair of running shoes, a hydration pack, or anything else.

So if you're a runner looking to enhance your experience and find the best gear at great prices, be sure to check out our Amazon Associates link. You won't be disappointed!

Start Your Next Run with the Right Gear - Check Out Our Amazon Associates Link Today!


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

5 Benefits of Hiring a Running Coach

As a runner since 1983 and a RRCA certified running coach, I understand the importance of proper training and coaching for achieving your running goals. Here are five benefits of working with an experienced and certified running coach that will help take your running to the next level.

  1. Personalized Training Plan: With over 30 years of experience and a RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) certification, I can assess your individual strengths and weaknesses and create a customized training plan to help you reach your goals. This plan will be tailored to your schedule, fitness level, and personal running goals.

  2. Increased Motivation: Working with an experienced and certified coach can provide accountability and motivation to keep you on track. I will encourage and challenge you to push yourself and reach your full potential.

  3. Improved Technique: Running is a skill, and my experience and RRCA certification will help you improve your technique to avoid injury and become more efficient. I will teach you proper form and provide feedback to help you run with better posture, stride, and cadence.

  4. Injury Prevention: As a RRCA certified coach, I am trained to help you avoid injury by teaching you how to run correctly and promoting proper stretching and strength training. I will also help you identify potential areas of concern and provide strategies to prevent injury.

  5. Reaching Your Goals Faster: With my experience and expertise, I will help you set realistic and achievable goals, and provide you with the support and guidance you need to reach them. I will help you stay focused, track your progress, and adjust your training as needed to keep you on track.

In conclusion, hiring an experienced and RRCA certified running coach can provide numerous benefits to help you reach your full potential as a runner. Whether you're looking to improve your performance, prevent injury, or reach your goals faster, as a certified running coach, I can help. So, don't hesitate to invest in your running journey and reach out for help today!

Monday, January 30, 2023

Discover the Surprising Health Benefits of Barefoot Running

Barefoot running is a growing trend that is gaining popularity among fitness enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals. The practice of running without shoes, or with minimalist shoes, has been shown to offer a range of benefits that can improve your overall health and wellness. In this blog post, we'll explore the surprising benefits of barefoot running and why it's worth considering as part of your fitness routine.

  • Improved balance and stability: Running barefoot requires you to use your feet and legs to balance your body. This can improve your balance and stability over time, making you less prone to injury.

  • Strengthened muscles: Running barefoot engages the muscles in your feet, legs, and core, helping to strengthen them over time. This can lead to improved posture, reduced pain and discomfort, and a reduction in the risk of injury.

  • Better posture: Running barefoot can help improve your posture by strengthening the muscles in your feet and legs, and promoting proper alignment throughout your body.

  • Reduced impact: Running barefoot reduces the impact on your joints, as your feet are better able to absorb shock and distribute weight evenly. This can reduce the risk of injury and help you recover more quickly after running.

  • Improved mindfulness: Running barefoot requires you to be present and mindful of your body and surroundings. This can help you focus on the present moment and improve your mental health and overall well-being.
My personal experience has been wonderful. I was suffering from Plantar Fasciitis for quite some time. It wasn't until I switched to minimalist shoes that I felt relief. In fact, the relief was literally immediate. My very first run in Vibram Five-Finger shoes was completely pain free. Later, I switched to Merrell's which look more like a traditional shoe, minus the cushioning. It also has a very wide toe box which helps the foot fall naturally without being cramped for space. I started off with just a mile and then slowly built up. In January, 2022, I ran a half-marathon in my Merrells. The entire time training, running the race and recovering was pain free!

In conclusion, barefoot running has a lot to offer, from improved balance and stability to reduced impact and improved mindfulness. If you're looking to improve your health and wellness, it's definitely worth considering giving barefoot running a try. As with any new form of exercise, it's important to start slowly and gradually increase intensity over time to reduce the risk of injury. If you'd like more advice on creating a plan to switch over to minimalist running, please reach out and I'd be happy to help.





Sunday, January 22, 2023

Ran my first 5K of 2023

First 5K in the books & a Half-Marathon for my son!

Yesterday I ran my first 5K of 2023. I had created a training plan for my son who wanted to run a half-marathon so I figured since group offered a 5K as well, I'd run that while he was running the Half. 

His goal was to run a half...big goal was to break 2 hours...dream goal was to run in 1:45 or better. He ran a 1:46! Now, my son is a runner even if he doesn't realize it. He ran cross country a little in school but mainly he focused on track. He ran the 400, 800 and 4x400 relays. So as you can see, distance running wasn't really his thing. But I knew he was my kid and I'd seen him run. He just needed a plan. 

He went out fast, but then again so did I. I wanted to break 40 and I ran a 35:21. The first mile was downhill and flat so it was fast. I hit my first mile at 9:54. I was expecting to be around 12. That's what my effort felt like. Same for my son. He hit his first mile under 7 minutes and he felt like he was running around a 8-8:30 pace. 

He had fun and was proud of himself. He says he may even do it again. For me, I plan on working back up to a half. It'd be fun to run it with him next year. 

As for my personal progress? Well, work has gone off the rails in what is supposed to be my quiet time. I have a special election in March, a county buying new voting equipment and testing it this month and I lost a director in another county so I'm having to watch the office until they can get a new one. I'm up and on the road by 6:30 a.m. and not getting home until after 6 p.m. As a result, my training has been in the toilet, but I have been eating well. Rather than fast food, I've been going to Subway and getting a six inch sub on wheat with a bottle of water or going to the grocery store and getting a sandwich at the deli counter along with a water. I've lost 5 lbs so far. I'm down from 199 to 194 so I'm very happy about that. It's heading in the right direction. 

Today, I didn't run, but I did lift weights in my basement. It's not a finished basement, but there is a concrete floor although it needs lots of work and isn't even in all areas. I have a small space big enough for a bench-type apparatus that has it where the back can go down in a decline, flat, or up at various angles. It must be for kids, or I'm bigger than I think I am because I feel my legs don't fit on the padding part where my legs hang over. Regardless, it helps me keep my back straight during overhead presses and allows me to do a dumbbell bench. 

I am going to figure out a running goal to keep me motivated. I know I want to run a half again, but for right now, I'd like to just get my 5K down under 30 minutes. Honestly, if I do it right, I can actually train for the half and accomplish the 5K goal on the way. 

I really hate that I ever let myself get out of running. At least I retained all the knowledge...LOL. I gave my some tips and tricks I used to get through all the halves I've run. He found them very helpful. Maybe my next post, I'll share those. 

Monday, January 16, 2023

New Year's Resolution 2023 - And How a Coach can Help

I started this year at my heaviest ever weight. I had lost weight last year but gained it back over the holidays. This is very common with most people. I can't speak for everyone, but here's my thoughts on why this happens based on personal experience. 

  1. I cut down on sweets and sodas and I lose weight. Once I get to a point where I'm feeling good about myself, I allow for some "indulgences". All of the sudden, it's a few more and few more and soon, I'm eating sweets and sodas again. 

  2. I cut down on sweets and sodas and I lose weight. Once I hit my goal weight, I go back to old habits and the weight comes back. 

  3. I start to exercise but then stop. What seems to happen here is that I exercise, increase my activity, put on a little muscle but then when I stop, which I inevitably seem to do for a variety of reasons, the weight comes back. The muscle I gained starts to turn to fat. A pound of fat takes up a lot more space than a pound a muscle and I'm back to (or close to) where I started.
So how's this year going for me? Well, the first week, I was doing great. I was either running, walking or hiking every day. I lifted weights twice the first week and did some stretching along with the runs. I cut out sweets, sodas and fast food. I lost 2.5 lbs. that first week. 

The second week, I was back at work. I was traveling again, stressed, eating fast food, having a soda here and there, but worst of all - I did no exercise. I didn't run, walk, hike or lift weights. I gained back some of the weight but I'm still down overall for this year. 

The key for me, and the key I believe for everyone is consistency. That first week, I wasn't exercising around the clock. I ran or walked for just 30 minutes. The hikes were longer but the pace wasn't crazy. My weight sessions only took about 20 minutes so not a lot of time out of my day there either.

This week and through the end of the month, work will be crazy for me. I basically have to travel everyday over an hour each way, to take care of a county that is going through some personnel changes. There is a Subway and a grocery store near the office so I will eat there instead of fast food. I can easily avoid sodas if I avoid fast food places. I don't think of Subway as fast food since I have to go inside. In the drive through, it's just so easy to get the combo (which comes with a soda). I have had luck just getting a grilled chicken sandwich and a bottle of water at fast food places, but there's only McDonalds and Burger King in the area and neither offer a grilled chicken sandwich. 

So, what's next? Well, I will get back on track. I will be consistent. I will run more, even if it's at night and in the dark. I have to get on the road so early that I know I won't run before work. The weights are in my basement so it's just a matter of going down there and using them. I did it the first week. I can do it again. I just can't use the excuse, "I'm tired."

What I really need is some accountability. I can coach people and help them hit their goals time after time. But for some reason, I can't seem to motivate myself. The difference? They are accountable to me. I don't have anyone to answer to. Don't get me wrong. I get that I answer to myself. But honestly, if I had someone checking in on me weekly, I'd undoubtedly be more "on task". Maybe I need to start thinking of myself in the third person...LOL.

So, what's the point of this blog post? 1. Be consistent. 2. Be accountable. Those two things will help you hit your goals. Good luck, and don't give up. 


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year - 2023

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it's January 1st, 2023! I had wanted to be much farther along than I am with my personal fitness. In fact, I ended up making things worse toward year's end. 

I had made a 90 Day Challenge for myself  back in August and when I finished at the end of October, I had lost 8 pounds. This was good, but my goal was 20+ lbs that I wanted to lose. But still a win in my book. Weight loss is weight loss. 

So then, I made a 60 Day Challenge which would take me to the end of the year. My goal was to lose more weight. But instead, traveling for work, Thanksgiving, birthdays, Christmas, vacations, etc...all had me doing whatever the hell I wanted and not making time for running or even eating right. I did a few little things with weights here and there, but nothing that could offset the junk I was eating. 

Now it's January 1st, 2023 and I am the heaviest I've ever been. Ever! I tried to run 4 miles today but had to walk after 3/4 of a mile because my shins were hurting and my legs felt like lead. My shins never hurt and yet they did today and yesterday when I tried to run on the last day of the year. What is so strange, is that before I left on vacation, I had run 5 miles without stopping. So is it mental? Physical? Just an off couple of days? I don't know. My sleep is the same. No better, no worse. 

Anyway, back to the run. I had to walk after 3/4 of a mile. But I was determined to go four miles today. So I ran/walked the whole distance. Coming back I was faster so I either ran more of it, or I ran faster when I did run. 

Upcoming Physical

I have my annual physical in the beginning of March so I have some real incentive to lose weight. No holidays coming up that call for tons of food. Work shouldn't be too crazy either. The one thing is weather, but I just need to suck it up and run no matter the cold. I used to live in Minnesota and ran all the time so I need to tap back into that inner animal or whatever mojo I had back in the day. 

My Plan Going Forward

I do not plan on running every day. Just every other day and then a long run on Sundays. I do want to start doing more with weights. I have the dumbbells I've been using and I got some pool noodles to try and fix my little bench. The padding on my bench got old, hard and crusty. So I got some pool noodles that I will cut to size and hopefully fix the issue.  

I'm not sure if you read my other blogs or not. Hopefully, if you're struggling with getting back in shape, you will see that no matter what, I kept trying - even if the effort wasn't the best. 

So what's my plan now? No more set challenges. Just taking it day by day. I will cut down on sodas and sweets now that the holidays are over. I will be more active. My job has me either sitting at a desk or sitting in the car driving to counties where I then sit and talk. My plan is to really make an effort to run or workout in the morning before work so that way it's done and I have no excuses. 

Common Concerns About Hiring a Running Coach

If you have been struggling to hit that PR or perhaps if your running is just lacking lately, you may have considered hiring a running coach...