I'm a New Englander born and bread who has relocated to Pennsylvania for the time being. I love nature and I love fitness. I guess you can call them my two beauties in my life! (Insert pity laughter here!)
Is there something to be said about the appearance of our food? Is the reason why we all love and crave unhealthy food because of the appealing appearance? If all of us had enough money to eat at five star restaurants and have glorious and well-balanced meals prepared for us in beautiful presentation, would we be more likely to stick to a healthy eating way of life?
I’m not sure if any of you are from the Philadelphia area, but I live right outside of it. For the past three years now, every February and then every May I hear about this highly sought-after race called the Broad Street Run. It’s a simple 10-mile through downtown/ historical Philly. Why is this race so sought after, you ask? Because they handle it in a unique way – each February, approximately 2-3 months prior to the race day, they hold a week-long sign up for the lottery. This is no ordinary first come, first serve race. You have one week to enter your name into the running lottery and then shortly thereafter you are notified if you are one of the lucky ones CHOSEN to have the PRIVILEGE to run.
Now, every year I forget this race exists and every year I forget to enter the lottery. Seems silly because in comparison to a marathon, 10-mile should not intimidate me. So, this year for the first time since moving to the suburbs of Philadelphia, I am entering the lottery and you should too!!
The first month of 2017 has almost come to an end and it is clear that New Years resolutions are starting to fade as gyms get slower, workout classes don’t fill up as quickly, and fruits and vegetables are fully stocked in grocery stores. Why does this always happen? Why do so many Americans lose their motivation to stick to their healthy resolutions so quickly into the year… it may feel like a long month to you, but there’s 11 more that we’re ignoring!
I understand this wavering motivation, believe me… each and every day of my holiday break I woke up wondering if I would be easily driven to hit the pavement and get a few miles in or if I would talk myself out of it. I would tell myself it wasn’t necessary if I was not going to a family party or that as long as I did something that involved walking for a bit of the day, I didn’t need my morning workout. Then I wondered… what motivation technique could I use to push me on the days where I wasn’t easily self motivated? Then it hit me… well I guess you could say she licked me.
My baby girl Kitt (she’s the cutie above) LOVES it when I workout. She loves running to my room after I finish my run and helping me stretch and cool down (AKA she licks the salt on my arm from sweating and sits right next to my leg so she can feel included, and probably because it’s warm). She not only loves it when I workout, but loves it when I take her too. Dogs, especially small dogs, can be ignored workout wise because if you don’t walk them they don’t get as crazy as medium or large dogs, so you don’t feel like you HAVE to walk them, but you do! She LOVES going outside and loves exploring. She may not be the fastest pup in the world and may not be able to go 5 or more miles, but a walk up and down the street makes her the happiest dog alive and guess what – that’s exercise for you too!
So when motivation is waning… take a long look at those beautiful little eyes of your favorite pup, get a leash and get outside!
It’s never easy to start a new lifestyle. Everyone wants that immediate result or the quick fix, but nobody wants to admit that the real way to get lasting results and the greatest way to earn results is to do so bit by bit and day by day. Changing a lifestyle is not easy and nobody will try to claim that it is; however, it is effective and it is possible if you just take that first step and take another small step every day after that.
I am currently enrolled in three mini-series webinars at my work, mostly to get points towards our health program to try to earn a $100 gift card (if I’m going to be honest!). This week two of the three programs focused on what are called “micro habits.” Micro habits are exactly what they sound like, they are small habits that a person can add to their lives bit by bit until they grow towards a large, main life goal. For instance – when I set out with the goal to run the Philadelphia Marathon last November, I did not set my goal to simply run a marathon because if I did that I would have tried to run as far as I possibly could each week and I would have not only burned myself out and possibly injured myself, but I would have lost hope in myself that I could make it to that goal. Instead, it is advised to use micro habits to slowly build towards that eventual goal. This is the reason why marathon and half marathon training plans start you at 2 or 3 mile long runs and not 17 miles. They understand that if you build slowly, you gain confidence in yourself and are more likely to stick with the program.
So, now that you got a little “insider information” into how to effectively work towards a large goal – it’s time to do it! AKA — Here’s the hardest part, TAKING THE FIRST STEP! So get up, get out and do what you want the most, just do slow day by day and bit by bit. Be proud of yourself along the way and smile because you’re making a big difference in your life!
It’s six am on Friday morning, what is going through your head? Doubt? Desire to go back to sleep? OR motivation to kick start your day with a fantastic workout to push you one step closer towards your 2017 New Years resolution of getting more fit!?
I know many of you probably related more with the first two, but I’m here to tell you why it is beneficial for you to begin changing your thought pattern to relate more to the final idea in order to see more results.
Progress is mental. Success is mental. Physical strength and endurance can even be mental! It’s. All. In. Your. Head! (Which is both a good thing and a bad thing). It’s all in your head, so therefore YOU are the one in control. BUT… it’s all in your head, therefore if you do not have a strong grasp on your own self thoughts, this is not going to be an easy feat.
When I began training for my first marathon, whenever I hit a wall during a workout I immediately thought it was because my body was not in shape enough to handle what I had hoped to achieve that day. It took until my 15 mile long run to realize that what was actually happening was if I told myself I could run 15 miles, I ran 15 miles. If I doubted myself and thought 11 would be the furthest I could go that day, wouldn’t you know – that’s how far I would go.
Working out can be such a mental game to play with yourself. Starting with the mental game of whether or not you are feeling up for and motivated to workout in the morning. DO IT! WAKE UP and get your butt into some workout clothes and get to a gym or outside for a run. There is no greater feeling of accomplishment to start your final day of the work week off with then overcoming your mental doubt and doing something physical. Get those endorphin’s flowing and start your FRIYAY off right!
Nothing is worse for motivation than fitness being perceived as a chore. The real question is, why do we make fitness a chore? When you were a child, what did you do for fun with your friends? Let me guess some answers include — going outside, playing basketball (maybe a little friendly competition through HORSE?), playing hide and seek, competing in a riveting game of tag or maybe just running around through a local playground. Our idea of fun with friends was fitness, we just never recognized it as such. So why did things change? Why did growing up mean fitness had to become monotonously running on a treadmill while listening to the same playlist day after day? The truth is – IT didn’t change, our MINDSET changed! And we can change it back!!
Earlier this month, I took a weekend trip to Tampa, FL to visit some friends from college. A mere two days before my plane took off, my one friend sent me a Facebook message with a link and a text saying “want to do a 5K fun run this weekend??” And wouldn’t you know – the link was to the Insane Inflatable 5K! A race I have wanted to do for months now, but never found anyone who had the same mindset that a 5K could actually be fun. So, we did it! And boy did I feel like a kid again!
Nothing is quite as exhilarating and hilarious as a bunch of grown adults flopping around endless inflatable obstacle courses. I must admit – the kids present were much more coordinated than us, but it was clear that we were having a heck of a lot more fun! Why is that?Because as adults, this isn’t the normal. We don’t typically run around for fun through obstacle courses. We don’t get to act silly and wacky on a regular basis anymore, life has gotten in the way. Then on this day, for a mere hour, we were allowed to be kids again. We were allowed to be silly and ridiculous and have the time of our lives.
What I want you all to take away from this is that this does not have to be a rare occurrence. This could be the normal instead of the abnormal. Find something active you love doing and make fitness fun again!
I have never and will never claim to know everything there is to know about marathon running or positive self-talk. However, I will tell you all that I completed my first marathon approximately three weeks ago and I attribute the fact that I was able to run the entire five hour duration to the fact that I kicked out any ounce of self-doubt that came inching its way into my brain throughout the entire race. My mantra: “the more you run, the faster you’re done.” And let me tell you… it worked!
Yes, the physical preparation and training that goes into running and completing a marathon is extremely important. If you ever speak with someone who did not train properly, I assure you they will not suggest it. While they may have still been able to complete the distance, I’m sure they were hurting like heck for many, many days following.
As for me, the physical training helped a TON! The biggest advantage the training gave to me was the ability to recover quickly. I was walking normal with little to no soreness within a day or two of the race, and considering I was out of commission for over a week after my half marathon last year, I’d say that was amazing!
But if I am going to be 100% honest — when you’re hitting 16+ in mileage the day of the race, the last thing I was thinking was how thankful I was that I ran 22 miles two weekends prior to help me prepare for this. 26.2 miles is an insane distance, regardless of if you’ve run 20 miles, 18 miles, or 22 miles beforehand, 26.2 is still an incredibly feat. What I will say, is that 22 miles in long runs will begin to prepare you mentally for an extreme distance. My most solid bit of advice to anyone considering running a marathon, practice your positive self-talk BEFORE race day!
Use training runs not only to practice form, build up endurance, and test out wardrobe/ fueling decisions. Use the training runs to practice mentally amping yourself up and talking yourself into being able to exceed to distances you never imagined possible. I would never have been able to cross that finish line without talking myself up, exciting myself mentally, telling myself I could do it, and using my mantra, “the more you run, the faster it’s done.” (Feel free to use this – it worked miracles for me!).
MENTAL STRENGTH is key! Practice makes perfect. Begin now, take any goal you’ve been struggling to accomplish and every day tell yourself you CAN do it! You CAN complete this goal and you WILL make it to the ‘finish line.’ Because let me tell you, I was doubtful… standing there at the start line at 7:30am on November 20th, I did not think I was going to make it. I thought I was going to fail and I was going to let down all my family and friends who had been routing me on for the last six months. Then I did a little bit of thinking and I remembered what wise runners had told me all along. If you can mentally finish the distance, your body will follow.