Tag Archives: running

Hitting the Wall: Tips for Finishing the Running Distance

24 Feb

You set out to run a mile. Not 3 laps, not 6 min. ONE mile. But your body (or is it your mind?) is fighting with your goal. You feel tired. You are breathing ragged, and starting to collapse. Every second is horrible. You want to quit.

DON’T!

I mean, unless you have a medical situation (check with your Dr. before engaging in physical activity).

Aside from that–you can do it. You’d be surprised at what your body can handle if you’re mind would just get on board. I mean, watch this survival show, “I Shouldn’t be Alive” at some point. You’ll see what humans can tolerate. You can handle this, and you should train your brain that pushing your limits isn’t quitting time.

But how to go about it?

In the long term, remember why you started running in the first place. You had your reasons. Now think about them. Quitting early gives you a fraction of the benefits too. One of my favorite quotes is “If you’re not going to go hard, why go at all?” which hits on the point I’m trying to make. You set a goal–now do the whole thing. Why bother if you’re not going to do it right?

Have your poster with all your motivational quotes that we talked about making before and hang it where you run (or look at it right before you leave). Refer to it often.

Now to the tricky stuff. Train. Your. Brain. Teach your mind to get comfortable with a little discomfort. Again, I’m not talking torn ACL and asthma attacks here. Regular tiredness and fatigue should be something you can work through.

Don’t fixate on the distance that’s left or your speed or other metrics if you wanna stop. It just turns tortuous and slow. Instead, think of your mantra, turn on your most hyped up power song, sing in your head. Distract!

Then, do some physical adjustments. Because when you get tired your form suffers and ironically, bad form takes MORE energy. You want to be as efficient as possible. Also, you know how you have to concentrate on having good form, so you hardly do it bc it’s so effortful? Now is the perfect time. We need to distract the mind from complaining and make our body more efficient. Go through a checklist and do it over and over. This also has the bonus of helping your running form in the long term!

Think about relaxing the cheecks on your face. They should be bouncing with every step.

Is your neck tight? Concentrate on relaxing it.

Relax your shoulders too.

Look up (more than you think you need to). It should feel exaggerated. When you get tired you start to hunch and crunch downward–very inefficient of a posture.

Your shoulders should be back so your lungs can be open. I attempt to push my lower back forward in order to open my lungs more. Your face feels up to the sky, now think about pointing your heart to the sky as well. Carebear stare, anyone?! This will also feel exaggerated, but it’s just normal form. I promise, your body feels crazy, but it’s actually just upright again.

Hardly anyone has good arms when running. It takes loads of concentration to get it right–perfect for this situation! Relax the hands. Stiff, tight fists make for stiff tight everything–not what you’re going for. Position of the hands doesn’t matter as much as relaxation. Seriously, you don’t want to be tight and stiff anywhere when you run. Next, make sure it’s your upper arm that’s creating the swing (not like a drumming motion of your forearms). Next, actually USE those arms to propel you. The energy between your arms and legs should be more equally divided. Most people are just forcing their lower body to do ALL the work. I think about my hand/arm going from my “holster” near the back of my waist to my shoulder-level in front. It’s a pretty big swing. And the elbows should be in, toward the body. Honestly, look up something online about good arms and follow it. Things get very technical, and everyone could use improvement.

Do your shoulders and pelvis line up? No twisting. Make sure they’re squared and facing forward. Knees too. Line everything up. When you’re tired, your legs might start doing wonky stuff, and this isn’t great for speed/endurance–but it can really cause long term damage.

Lengthen your stride. I think about letting my back foot trail more. Your steps should be long so you take less of them.

Play with stride length. I read somewhere that if short quick steps have you tired, that switching to long strides uses a different set of (less fatigued) muscles. I don’t know if it’s perfectly true, but at the very least it’s an additional thing to distract you from being tired. Try tiny, fast steps or alternate to long, slow strides.

Lastly, consider running faster. It sounds crazy when you’re tired and want to stop, but if you go faster you’ll finish the distance sooner! And often if you speed up you’re thinking so much about just staying upright, that you don’t have time to agonize.

Basically, distract your mind and focus on your form. You can do it-if I can do it, so can you!

Being Accountable for Your Workout: Tips & Tricks for Keeping it Going

17 Jan

Write firm goals. Post them so other people know. Put them up where you can see them.

OK you’ve made your goal and you’re maximally motivated. Let’s get real for a second. On those off-days, the stressful busy days, when your sick–what is the bare minimum of your goal to still keep it alive, but also slack off a teeny bit. Decide a minimum per day that’s acceptable. Probably make this decision after you’re out of the out-of-shape phase, when you know what your maintenance-level is. And hold yourself to it! Nothing less. But try not to use it either, if you can help it. This is reserved for emergency bad days.

Send check-ins to someone else. You can do it on social media or a phone call (and in person once you’re vaccinated for Covid-19, but not before that). Do it immediately after your workout, so your rosy, sweaty face is proof. But check in, tell another person (truthfully and accurately) what you did, and keep up on this. On the days you feel lazy or cheat-y, you should think if what you’ll have to tell this other person. And it should properly motivate you to just get it done. And don’t lie or be sketchy–you’re only cheating yourself!

Don’t rush the results. Impatience can kill a workout. You’ve been working your ass off! You pushed too hard past the out of shape phase, worked out every day even when you were tired or just wanted to screen instead. But why is that number on the scale not budging? It’s not fair! This is the time a lot of people get discouraged and quit. But don’t. This is a time you need to remember WHY you made this goal in the first place. Look at your written goal. Think or write the reasons success of that goal will make you feel better and be happier.

Write a motivational poster. It’s time to write down what motivates you. You want to wear a bikini. You need to keep up with your hyper-puppy on your dog walks. You want to take the 3 flights of stairs at work instead of taking the covid-ater. What do you want in the long term out of this goal? Write those things where you can see them. Then go online (I like Pintrest for it) and find your favorite motivational quotes. Make a poster with like 12 things and put it where you work out. When you want to skip-read it. When you’re tired of running have a pic of it on your phone. When you’re struggling through that last set, look at it as you lift.

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 12: (L-R) Victoria’s Secret models Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio, Erin Heatherton, Lindsay Ellingson, and Lily Aldridge attend the Victoria’s Secret Supermodel cycle to benefit cancer at SoulCycle Tribeca on July 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Don’t justify bad behavior, get real with yourself. I mean, your mind can make all sorts of justifications and excuses. But your body is keeping track of exactly what you are doing–accurately. Don’t let a disconnect happy. Be absolutely honest with yourself. Because you only hurt your own progress if you don’t.

Give yourself pre-planned breaks. For a holiday, or off day. Know which days those are, and do your minimum.

Don’t do too much too fast. You’ll burn out. Or get injured. The big challenge is to do this LONG TERM. This is a lifestyle, that’s the only way you will lose weight and keep it off. So whatever you do has to be sustainable over time.

Make it easy on you. Not a social butterfly–don’t sign up for those zumba classes. Get bored easily? Don’t buy a treadmill. Not a morning person? Don’t say you’ll wake up at 5 AM to do an exercise video. Work with you, as you are–not as you wish you would be. Figure out when your highest energy level during the day is, what you will do, and cater to that. Because if you go against your nature, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Do it 1st thing in the morning. Go to bed earlier so you can be rested to get it done first thing. Get up and do it. It’ll be done, and one of the sayings we use nearly EVERY day is: Another run done–feels good when it’s over.

Just get it done procrastination makes it feel worse. I’m talking through experience-it’s worse if you don’t just do it and get it done. The later I waited, the LESS I wanted to do it. I had eaten and couldn’t comfortably do it. Things came up. I just wanted to relax… But there was this guilt and regret about not wanting to skip it. Seriously, on the days you don’t want to do it–those are the days to make sure to get it done as soon as possible. Do it sooner. Then you’re free! If you wait, it’s hanging over your head.

Starting a new habit–and keeping it up

12 Jan

I swear to you–I am lazy. I hate logistics. I don’t want to do things. BUT I do cardio 7 days a week and do strength training at least 4 days a week, and recently, every single day. I want to give you the tips that worked for me, because trainers are too crazy, people that love to exercise are the exception to the rule, and it’s hard to sustain it if done the wrong way (too much, too hard, too soon).

Go to bed earlier!

People need adequate sleep. Stop screening, and go to bed early enough to get 7-9 hours of sleep. Every night.

Lack of time” is actually a priorities problem.

There are 24 hours – lets give us a very good rest of 9 hours = 15 waking hours.

OK, you have a job, and have to drive to that job, shower, take care of the kids, all your logistics: 9 hours of work 3 hours (?) of logistics = 12 hours of time you HAVE to do stuff.

15-12 = 3 free hours

The Mayo clinic wants adults to get 30 min of exercise every day.

That 30 min of exercise is less than 17% of your FREE time. It’s 7% of your waking hours outside of work. I suggesst you do your own personalized math, and write down what percent of your day it is. My personal percent is 1% of my day is 10 min. So like, nothing at all! And when I’m feeling tired, lazy, or defeated–I remind myself it would be 2% of my day.

Write your goals down.

Be reasonable. Be specific. Have a realistic timeline and write that end date. You can have a big dream. But it’s better to write a goal or 2 with the big dream in mind. Have a plan of what smaller steps you need to take to reach the ultimate goal.

OK, now that you know it’s not that much time, think about WHEN a workout could fit in your schedule. Since you went to bed earlier and you’re rested–you could do it first thing in the morning!

Which I do recommend. Because:

-it starts your day in a productive way

-you don’t have to worry about dressing out & everything, or sweating at work/in public

-starting before your brain is awake gets the exercise done before you can think of excuses NOT to do it

-working out 1st thing wakes you up, and also sweats out in toxins. Get rid of that salt from dinner, that after dinner alcohol, and any sugar from dessert. SWEAT. it. out. It’s true, you’ll automatically feel better, endorphins aside even.

-do it before you’re tired or fatigued or have a bad day

So you have the time, you carved out a spot in your schedule to always do your workout, now TAKE IT EASY!

I don’t want you to go hard. Overdoing it is a sure way to have an unpleasant experience, get tired, be sore, and dread the next workout. Don’t burn yourself out! It’s difficult enough just to put on a sports bra and sneakers. Just do enough. You want to stair step your progress over time. And when you’re beginning a new goal-remember you’re just on the very first stair step. Don’t pole vault up to the top–because remember what happens after you clear the bar? You fall, fall, fall all the way down and land on your back. Instead, we’re looking to stand at the top of those stairs. Progress slowly!

The big, big thing to starting a habit is to do that habit every. single. day.

All days. As you know, I’m big on not breaking the chain. And I’m really gung-ho on it because it has worked for me. I have run every single day in a row for the last SEVEN years. I did it with flossing my teeth, because I was lazy-ing out half the time, and I’ve now accumulated 203 days in a row. It works because not doing the habit on one day isn’t just messing up that day, it’s fucking up a string of days, a record. And who wants to throw away a week for a moment of weakness? Or longer? This also works because people say a new habit is ingrained after 26 days of practicing it. So it’s science too.

In the past, it has helped me to attach my goal, let’s say doing ab work, to something I absolutely have to or want to do. I cannot shower until I do my crunches. That way, you’re putting your new goal on something that’s already a habit, so it’s likelier to stick.

Remember, it’s better to do a light or short workout rather than skipping. Just. do. something.

That means if you’re sore–don’t skip! Go lighter. Or shorter. Or easy.

One last thing–plan ahead. If you have a big presentation early in the morning, plan to do the workout after work that day. If you’re going on vacation–remember to pack your running clothes. Part of starting and maintaining a habit is planning ahead for those irregularities.

Starting a habit is more about training your brain than it is about training your body (at first).

And seriously. Just keep your appointment with you and if you do only 8 min of biceps–that is A-OK–congratulate yourself for accomplishing another day. Don’t get all down on yourself and quit. Just keep swimming.

Don’t Beat Yourself, Don’t Beat Yourself Up

10 Jan

Once your passed that out-of-shape phase (see my previous 4 posts about that) the biggest enemy to your fitness is. . . Your own mind. It’s amazing what our bodies can handle! Moms who pull their child out from under a school bus? Athletes with no legs running track? (just think about the determination here, not the murder). People that survive famine? We can do so much more than we give ourselves credit for, it’s usually our own minds that stop us.

Find a balance. Don’t talk to yourself like an enemy would. Love yourself. But also, don’t be too soft on you that you lazy out.

You have to want it.

Nobody is going to do this for you. If you don’t lose weight (or whatever your fitness goal is) nobody loses out but you if you don’t achieve it. So stop blaming. Stop cheating. Want it. Own it. Work it. Emphasis on work.

You have to want it for the right reasons.

If you’re trying to lose weight to impress your boyfriend, show up classmates at a high school reunion, or be the hottie at the beach–well, it’s not a sustainable outlook/goal. What happens when you break up with that douche giving you poor self-image? Or after the reunion? Or during winter? You have to love you and want you to feel good and live longer. And the superficial benefits are great, but those aren’t gonna get you off the couch when you’re tired and sore. Ultimately, you have to be trying to get fit for you.

Have reasonable goals and expectations.

Don’t try to train for a marathon in a month. Don’t make a goal of losing 30 pounds in a year. Make, small, reasonable, attainable goals. Instead of trying to pole vault to your goal, take the stairs. Or a ramp. And check in on yourself. If something isn’t working figure out why. Then amend your routine to account for that. Example: We used to skip our strength workout at least once a week if not more. Despite really wanting to do it, and feeling better and stronger when it was accomplished. The reason? After work I’m fatigued/tired. I don’t want to do logistics after I’m off. So we started waking up earlier and getting the workout done first thing in the morning before I’ve become fatigued from working an entire day. And we haven’t skipped since. When you achieve the first goal, make a next goal. Progress through your goals.

Make a reasonable timeline.

Make the attainable goal, and put a timeline on it or it’s just a wish. But the timeline must make sense for YOU. If you go too big, you’re bound to get discouraged and quit. So really look at your past behavior and decide what you can and will actually do.

Be real and honest with yourself.

*This really is a key. For example, people who keep a food journal chronically UNDER-estimate how much food they eat. Or round down. Or don’t count a rice cake bc it’s just a small snack. That kind of thing. But here’s the bummer, even if you low-ball and round down your calories–your body will always count them exactly accurately. We don’t try to lie to ourselves, but that’s what’s happening.

And with exercise, we OVER-estimate how much, how intense, and the number of calories burned. Did you know 1 beer averages about 200 calories and many Starbucks grande average 400 calories, while running an 8 min mile burns approx (depending on body weight & other factors) 70 calories? It’s not fair, but keep it in mind.

So try your very best to be accurate, b/c your body always is. And that disconnect between underestimating what goes in and overestimating what is worked off, leads to disappointment. Be as realistic and rational as possible when evaluating your own fitness.

Don’t make excuses and justifications.

Along that same track, be accountable for your goals. When you write down your attainable goals with its end date, also write what the bare minimum to still keep this goal can be. Example: I have not broken the chain for running in SEVEN years. I have been sick some days, stressed, busy, moving to new apartments/states, on vacation (where bears were frequenting), hurt with broken ribs, and LAZY. So of course every day is not my A-game. And that’s OK, expect bad days. But make a backup (emphasis to be used in emergency situations only) for those off days. Write that down too. My bare minimum distance is at least 1 mile. And the least effort I can make that doesn’t break my goal is to run in place on the floor and I have to get the mile done mostly consecutively, like in at least 30 min. So, when I had a bad head cold with fever and couldn’t breathe and called out sick to work b/c I felt so bad? I stood on my floor and jogged in place for a half lap at a time (12.5m), stopped to rest and recuperate (I felt like shit!), then resumed in the same way until the mile was done. I think it took a little over 15 min to get it done, when my average mile is probably 9 min, and my goal mile is 7 min. But I got it done. And you can too. But plan for it. And stay exactly accountable to it.

And my pet peeve (especially for middle-aged and older people) is YARD WORK DOES NOT COUNT AS EXERCISE. You need to get your heart rate up for 20 consecutive minutes to get any benefit. So the yard work is great as an extra thing, but it is absolutely not the whole thing.

Don’t say all the things you can’t do, tell yourself all the things you can do to overcome limitations.

I am not saying ignore major health issues or tough out debilitating conditions here (consult your Dr., I am not a professional). I am suggesting that a lot of reasons for not doing something can be creatively neutralized or dealt with if you just change your thinking. There are a million excuses and reasons not to do exercise: You’re tired, your knees hurt, you have asthma, you don’t have good shoes, there is no time in your busy schedule, you have kids to take care of, you don’t have a place to do it, on and on and on and on…

OK, but why CAN you do it? How CAN you make this happen? Don’t waste your energy thinking about why you can’t, put that energy toward finding compromises and solutions. These legitimate reasons excuses are often just your mind dragging you down. Don’t let that be your headspace and go too negative. Get practical. Be a solutions generator: go to bed earlier/take vitamin B, lose some weight/modify/go slowly, get better or more medication/condition your cardiovascular/workout with an air purifier in the room, do a lower impact workout/go shoe shopping/borrow shoes, cut out some screen time/wake up earlier/get organized, involve your kids in your workout/trade off workout & childcare days with a friend, find a park/get a treadmill/go to a trail.

Don’t listen to your brain when it’s telling you that you can’t make it.

My brain is lazy. Especially when it comes to endurance exercises. It will shout, “slow down” “you’re tired” or
“you’re not going to make it” so loudly! But my body is often in good shape (remember reasonable goals) to do the thing we’ve (my body and mind) been working toward. I’m not saying to keep pushing if you’re actually going to injure yourself, but do push past mental blocks.

I suggest thinking of a mantra, like “I’ve got this” or memorizing a quote such as, “if you’re tired of starting over, stop quitting” or singing a song in your head. This distracts your brain from all the negative self-talk, and also conditions you to be a more optimistic person in the future.

As a lazy person myself, I hope these tips can help you achieve your fitness (and other) goals. At the very least–it doesn’t hurt to try something new, does it? Straddle the line between holding yourself accountable and being realistic. You are doing this to be a better you, not to impress other, not as punishment. Love yourself, push yourself. It’s Velveeta (I’m trying something here), but it’s also true.

30 20 10s HIIT Running Workout also Gets You in Shape FAST

6 Jan

When I’m trying to bust through that dreaded out-of-shape phase, I also (See my incline and intervals post for other workouts that help you get in shape faster) do 30-20-10s. That stands for 30 sec normal speed-20 sec fast-10 sec at peak speed.

It’s the same premise as intervals. And it works your heart real good (I think) under the same premise. But it’s more levels. The big thing about this workout is aside from helping you get fit faster–it’ll help you run faster! Serious. It has helped me get personal records and also increase my endurance.

Here’s how it works:

I’ll go backwards in the description (and sometimes I do run it in backwards order and do 10-20-30). The 10 seconds is supposed to be literally the fastest speed you can possibly do. Like, the speed you can barely get to in the first place. A speed so fast you’re nearly falling off the treadmill. It’s only for 10 sec, so the thought is, you can do ANYTHING for just 10 seconds. And I find that’s true.

The 20 seconds is your fast speed. The high part of your low-high intervals. A fast clip. It’s a challenge, but not the TOP speed you can go. I try to split the difference between the speed of my 30s and my top, top speed that I do on the 10s.

30 seconds is faster than comfort pace. It’s not your warm up pace, but not too far above it.

Some hardcore people just do the 30-20-10s and repeat 30-20-10s for the time/distance of their workout. I like to put a slow rest period after that 10 sec. So I do 45 Sec to 60 sec of warm up or slower depending on my fitness level at the time.

And as with regular intervals, you can change the rest period, and all 3 speeds. Which I do. I try to shorten/eliminate the rest, and I try to push that top speed up. Which will happen naturally as you practice and get in better shape. The 10 sec should ALWAYS be your very fastest speed that you can barely do.

An example workout with speeds:

30 sec at 7 (my warm up speed is 6)

20 sec at 8.3 (to kind make a halfway point between my 30 and 10)

10 sec at 9.5 on the treadmill

45 sec of rest at 5.5 (more time or slower if I’m out of shape, less time, faster speed, or eliminate the rest when I’m in good condition).

Again, this example is for when I’m in good condition. Right now, while I’m dealing with coldness/holiday out of shape I would do:

10 sec at 8 or 8.5 (depending how cold it is in my house–DON’T pull a muscle, in cold go slower!)

20 sec at 7

30 sec at 6

rest at 5 for 1 min

Good luck, I hope the 30-20-10s help you as they have helped me.

P.S. per the usual, consult experts if you have health conditions.

Intervals are a FAST Way to Get in Shape

5 Jan

Along with running on an incline, interval workouts are one of the fastest ways to get in shape.

The nice thing about them, is you can customize your workout. YOU decide:

how many levels you will have (2: fast slow or a few different speeds?)

how long of a rest period

how long of an intense period

how long you go (a certain distance or a certain time or after completing a number of the sets)

And depending on your fitness level you can change any of these variables. It’s also a great boredom or plateau-buster for this reason.

The point of intervals is to push yourself. But then you get a built in rest. And you do it over and over to make your heart stronger. Probably other stuff shapes up too, but I never said I was an expert on human physiology 🙂

I’ll give you an example of a slow out-of-shape beginner workout I am currently doing (I’m kinda outta shape from cold and holiday season slow runs) and my workout from summer when I’m in peak condition so you can get the hang of building your own routine:

I warm up until I have to take my coat off (it’s 55F and I’m acclimated to 90F). My muscles aren’t tight, my breathing is just at the point I have to open my mouth.

I have been running at 8 (7 on extra cold days b/c pulling a muscle is NOT worth it, and takes like a year to recover from) on the treadmill for 20 sec.

Then I rest for a full minute. And this is extra long of a rest time. And as I regain my endurance, I will shorten it. My rest speed is 5.5 right now. This is also low.

I repeat this 20s @8 to 60s @ 5.5 until I’ve finished a mile.

In summer, I’m pushing to better my personal records all the time. It’s very toasty in my house so I’m not very afraid of pulling tight muscles.

I’m the worst and have very little patience for a big warm up. I maybe go 6m (1 length of a track) then start. I think trainers recommend like a half mile to warm up, so listen to experts on that, probably,

For the intense bursts I do 30 sec at a speed of 9.

I rest at 6.5 speed for 30 sec.

I try to keep these intervals pretty even, and I go until for 1 mile.

I could also go by distance, and I liked that when I ran more on a track (vs my treadmill).

I would sprint the straights and jog the corners.

Or I would sprint a lap and jog a lap.

You really can do anything with it. And for some reason getting your heart rate up, letting it rest, getting it up, in succession really helps get my speed up and endurance better. And it seems to work faster to get through that out of shape phase. Have fun making your own intervals workout!

Get Through the ‘Out-of-Shape’ phase Faster!

4 Jan

Yesterday, I just ran every single day for the last SEVEN years. I just want to help you start running too.

In the interest of getting through the out of shape phase as quickly as possible (see that post first, using my search function), I will share with you (in my experience) what workouts help most. I am not a fitness trainer, nor doctor. So don’t go injuring yourself, OK? Use logic, and if this is going to hurt you, be careful. But short of like having a health situation, do push yourself and try this 🙂

And you’re not gonna like it. Nobody does.

But what you will like is being in shape enough that you don’t absolutely dread running, and hate every second of it. Sound good?

So just trust me on this and try it. Do this while you’re motivation is the highest and you’ll get your cardiovascular fitness up fast, and your endurance a bit better. I used to do it as a warm-up every day. Now we just do it once a week. It’s your workout, you chose when you do this.

Run on an incline. And I’m not talking on measly 1 or 2 (that’s like streets, anyway).

To set up: Walk on the treadmill (or use your fitness tracker to figure speed/pace) at your fast-comfortable pace. So, not like walking/chatting with a friend at the mall, but as if you’re 5 min late to work walking through the parking lot. A bit faster than normal, but you could sustain that a long time and talk if you needed to.

Find that speed. And crank your treadmill to the highest incline it will go. Or find a decent hill (like from the bottom of high school bleachers to the top–pretty steep.

Yep, you heard right. But remember how much the out of shape phase sucks! Wouldn’t you like to get through it in as few days as possible? This will help, this will help.

My treadmill goes to incline of 15, some only go 10, and that’s OK.

When I did this by myself, I would do 1 min at incline 15/speed of 3.5 then click down to 14 incline and increase my speed by 0.2 to 3.7. Then do 1 min there until I went to incline of 13/speed of 3.9, so on and so forth until I was running faster with no incline. So 1 min decreasing incline by 1.0 and increasing speed at 0.2, for example.

Lately, Cool and I have been alternating this work out with strength. I run half a lap (about 12.5 on the treadmill) while Cool lifts weights. Then we switch and she runs half lap while I lift. Then switch again til each of us has run a mile. That way you can rest, but still get your strength done without taking additional time.

This workout will get your heart going! You should be very fatigued. Obviously, if you’re having a problem, adjust to decrease the speed or intensity. You could start at a slower speed, do shorter intervals, decrease incline by 2 instead of 1 each time, end the workout earlier (time/distance), or sit/stretch between half laps to build in more rest.

Another thing: We used to have to run up the hill next to the bleachers in track. First, they made us do it with our arms above our head. It makes your legs work so hard, and you feel wobbly! This was to show us how necessary arms are to running. And how most people aren’t utilizing their arms very much (they’re not just decoration, people).

Then we’d do it again but using our arms maximally. Like, it feels super-exaggerated, but when you watch other people, it looks just like normal arms. Pump. Those. Arms!

So what I’m saying is (when you’re not dying and can concentrate) when you do incline focus on really swinging your arms to help you. The hands can be any way. Except tight fists as that puts tension on your arm, up your shoulder, to your neck. You should try to be relaxed when you run. Seriously, the goal is for your cheeks to bounce, bc your face is so loose and relaxed (one more thing to think about, right?!). Anyway your hands can be like blades, pistols if you’re fancy, or I prefer the soda can hand–like you are holding a can in each hand. The swing goes from the “holster” at your belt area to your shoulder. If it was a soda, gravity would have to take it from your shoulder to your mouth, so hands not too high. WITHOUT crossing your chest. Arms go straight up and down, never going diagonally in front of you (think aerodynamics). It’s hard. It probably took me 18 years to get my arms anywhere near where they’re supposed to be. Try it in the mirror. Do it while you walk for practice (and when nobody is watching!).

And the arms situation is HARD. I don’t know anyone who has their arm situation together–everyone could use practice. So while you’re going kind of slow speeds, just think about your arms. This, along with watching time/distance and changing incline speed will take your mind off your struggle (more). I mean, it’s not magic, you’re still going to be feeling this and wanting to be done.

Bonus Bonus Bonus: When you are finished, take note of calories burned. Hill work is a calorie incinerator!!! Treat yourself. You earned it.

The out of shape phase

3 Jan

I suspect some people never push past this 7-10 day horrible feeling. When you get off the couch and just start running/lifting weights/fasting/drinking water/*insert uncomfortable habit here*

When you first start, running feels horrible. You are really tired and out of breath, you get sore all over, and your feet hurt. It super-sucks. You feel like even the shortest distance is so long, and you’re sweating like a maniac. And running after that–on top of the prior day’s soreness… It’s actually awful.

Lifting weights. At first even the 5lb feel so heavy. You have to be cheat-y on the reps, either skipping some or half-assing the form. Your arms wanna float to the ceiling when you’re done. Your muscles tremor, and even lifting a coffee cup is taxing for your arm. Every. Step. Hurts. The shaking and weakness. And the days after that are nearly impossible!

Skipping that 1st meal plain sucks. You feel weak and headachy. Your mind is preoccupied with food, and every fast food commercial and Taco Bell ad on Spotify is a personal affront designed to torture you. You daydream of burgers and dips and cake… You feel pale and horrible. Light-headed and shaky. Your stomach won’t shut up! Water makes it worse. The hours go by ever so slowly…

You try to drink more water. But it makes you feel full, and maybe like you’ll throw up. You drink and the water doesn’t taste good. It’s plain, it’s boring. You’re overly full. You are not at all thirsty. And you’re peeing every 2 min. Like, your boss is giving you the side-eye b/c you’re going to the dirty, public bathroom so much. You are only halfway to your water goal, and feel discouraged and like you may explode.

I get it. I’ve been there. All of these things are everything I’ve felt, and they are the worst. But do you know what’s even worse? The guilt, regret, failure of quitting before the 2 week mark. You never get into a groove and feel the benefits of what you’re trying to do. I promise it gets better by the 7-10th day. If you just stick with it!!! I am NOT miss fitness. I am actually very lazy, and love watching TV and snuggling with kitties. But b/c I finally stuck with these things, I can feel a difference between that ugly out-of-shape phase and maintenance.

It never feels amazing, I’m not going to lie to you, and I’m not one of those insane people who like fasting or running–that shit is crazy (or lies). But I promise, promise, promise all of those things suck a lot less when you’re a little used to them. And what IS awesome is the the long-term benefits and sense of accomplishment from following through all those things.

The running stops being owie. Your cardiovascular, muscles, and feet DO get used to it, and every sec doesn’t feel like an eternity. Running is good cardio so my heart and lungs are strong. My legs are also toned. I feel good when I reach speed or distance goals. And I always, always feel like I did at least 1 productive thing when I run. Even if that’s the only thing I did that day!

Lifting weights adds years to your life. It also makes you look good in a tank top–and who doesn’t enjoy that? Incorporating strength allows you to do more in your daily life. Carry that heavy cat litter, no problem. Lift that railroad tie in the yard like a beast. Be tough and independent. And you do end up being able to do every rep with good form, and even increasing weight! And most times I’m maybe a little sore like I worked, but not sore to walk and sit and roll over in my sleep anymore.

Fasting cuts down those calories without going without your favorite foods. You don’t have to give up all carbs or stop drinking your wine. Fasting makes your mind more focused. It helps me lose weight more than any of the daily exercise I do (unfortunately). And that meal that breaks your fast? Tastes so damn good! I had a few times that it was a breeze too. Play with the times you start and stop, as changing from a dinner-dinner fast over to 10 AM lunch (anywhere in that 2 hr range) zone for 24 hours made a HUGE difference.

And finally, drinking water helps you feel more energized, makes your skin look younger and softer, eases digestion, gives your hair a sleeker look, helps you fight heat, keeps your salt in check, so many benefits I can’t list them all here. And you stop peeing every fucking minute when you drink a lot and your body gets used to it.

So please, any resolutions you made: Stick to them for at least 2 weeks, and it does get easier and less sucky.

in-a-row anniversary!

2 Jan

I started January 2, 2014 and ran my mile today. ZERO skipped days!!!

I’ll probably go forever at this point, b/c why stop? Running at least 1 mile every single day is probably the biggest accomplishment of my life.

It’s now been so long it’s ranked: Over getting my B.S. degree (with chem minor! can’t forget that), over any work promotions/raises (PAML, I’m looking at you), over being selected to be a paid university tutor for the Speech & Hearing Sciences, over getting voted Student Body President in 8th grade, over winning the walk-a-thon art contest and having my drawing made into the school-community event logo/button when I was a 4th-grader. I guess those would be my top accomplishments in life :-/

I highly recommend starting a ‘don’t break the chain’ goal. You choose a goal, and be specific. Then DO NOT SKIP A DAY no matter what, no excuses. MAKE time. Make it a priority. I did it with running, and now with flossing. And it’s a good thing for me, b/c once you get going, you don’t want to throw a string of days away for just a moment of weakness.

I hardly ever WANT to run a mile (I’m not insane), but I get it done early in the day in order to get it done. You too, can get it done. Just start. You won’t be sorry when you’ve accumulated a long string of days in a row.

Reflection: Best Moments of 2020 (good to very, very best)

31 Dec

*Covid-19 note: We haven’t been into public since March 14, when we were sent home to work. Other than contact-free vet appointments, walks around the neighborhood (crossing the street if there were other people), and one curb-side pick up of Bountiful Baskets in March. Other than that, we have not had contact with people or gone anywhere. So a few of these items (marked with *) happened before America took Covid-19 seriously, so don’t worry about us being covidiots. Pics on items w/o * are from prior years. About when the sports-world went dark, I realized it was an emergency. Then, after we no longer had to go to the work building we didn’t go anywhere.

-Instead of being in an old stadium very far from where it’s feasible to see games, Covid-19 allowed us to see way more televised WNBA games then ever before. And our favorite team, Seattle Storm, won! And our favorite player, Sue Bird did AWESOME!!!

-My awful/lazy/inept supervisor got transferred to a different department. What a relief.

-Labor Dave Weekend (drive in YouTube streaming). This sounds kinda sad, but it was actually better than having to miss it year after year when we moved away from WAshington. We always went when we lived in Seattle and Spokane, but it was too difficult and expensive from Utah and Arizona. But it would happen without us, and people would talk and post pics, so it was a hurt for missing out year after year. But not this year! We saw exactly what everyone else saw. For free! From the cleanliness and comfort of our own home. No expense. No long drive. No parking craziness. No $13 shitty nachos. No terrible and overpriced shasta beer. No wind or dust. It was an introvert’s dream!

-Christmas was spread out: online shopping before Halloween, decorating in November, cooking in December. I’m usually disgruntled about the holiday season b/c I’m completely overwhelmed and there are all these expectations and societal pressures. But spread over 3 months is more festive, and less stressful! I’m doing it this way from now on.

This isn’t it, but similar

*Mardi Gras: went out to eat, had the cake, watched YouTube videos, listened to podcasts, had a gold/green/purple outfit. Just got really into it!

-My former Supervisor only did one 1:1 with me in the year (the company mandates a monthly one on one for each employee) and that one didn’t include my numbers, so I always thought I was doing shitty.  Because I only ever heard when I was fucking up.  BUT my new Supervisor had a 1:1 with me and shared my production info (1st time I’d ever seen it).  

Feb 212.45% of goal

Mar 173.86% of goal

April 149.10% of goal

May 158.03% of goal

June-July I was in training

Aug 143.61% of goal

Sept 144.99% of goal

Oct 148.42% of goal

Nov 156.53% of goal

Dec 159.88% of goal

Avg 156.39% of goal

So I had been so nervous all of the times, having the perception I wasn’t doing well. And people kept telling me all these things I wasn’t doing right, but nobody ever told me what I had been doing right. So it was nice to see I was kicking ass on my production!

*Phoenix Lights of the World. We were smart and went in January. So we totally missed the crowds–which made it so much more fun! There were all kinds of giant animals and stuff related to each of the continents. So it was good pictures, and a non-crowded, non-stressful time. After we’re vaccinated and things are happening again, we’ll make sure to hit this in January after the holiday crowds have dispersed.

-lots of time saved with delivery groceries. This is a luxury that we usually don’t never have indulged.

-Good music. 2020 had a lot of albums that I liked, and special mention for Taylor Swift putting out not one but two surprise albums. And both inspired me to analyze, which I like, and stretches my brain.

-sitting outside in the yard w/the kitties. Because we were home all the time, we had a lot more time with each other and the kitties–which I loved. And because it’s AZ, the weather allowed us to work outside, and sit outside, and play games like ladders and jumbo jenga outside. And without all the showering, commuting/traffic, errands, and all that we gained lots of hours in our week. It was beautiful, and I want to keep it this way forever!

*Innings Festival. The last event in Feb before we knew Covid-19 was upon us. We love music. We love food. We love drinking in a park. And this year the headliner was Dave Matthews Band! Also, the venue is in very close proximity to our house, so it’s very convenient. It was a good, good time, as Dave would say.

-less guilt about ordering delivery restaurant food. We love restaurant food, but know it’s full of fat and salt, and really hurts the wallet. But with grocery stores getting striped, and delivery difficult sometimes, this became nearer to a necessity item. Which has been such a treat! I’ll be sad when we’re able to go back inside a grocery store and this is over. We’ve eaten really well this quarantine 🙂

*got a treadmill! My used Craigslist treadmill finally died before we moved to AZ. And we lived in a teeny, tiny 3rd floor apartment for nearly 2 years, so we didn’t replace it. But this year in Feb, I used my bonus money to get a really nice (new to us) used one. It is SO much easier to run my daily mile. And I don’t know what I would have done without it during this pandemic. We use it every. single. day. And I love it.

-(contact-free) getting a kitten–Bison. We had been discussing a kitten for some time now, and had even named a future kitten. When we found out we got to work from home, we thought it would be the perfect time to situate a new kitten. So we got Bison. He is very ginormous framed, so he doesn’t look like a kitten, but he’s only one, so he’s a true baby. And he is hyper. But also he’s a really good kitten.

-working from home. My favorite movie for the longest time was Copycat. I thought the premise was clever, and it was suspenseful and historical. And I thought the actors did a good job. But I was truly enamored with the agorophbic lifestyle. She had 3 computers, a mansion-apartment, an online chess game, delivery food–everything you’d want. Like, I’m not afraid to leave my house, but that movie made being a shut-in look really classy and cozy. And I’m not kidding when I say it’s been my dream to live that way ever since I saw it. What a relief it would be! But I thought I’d either have to win the lottery or retire in order to achieve it. But 2020 has been a lot like that.

Our CEO is old-school and said nobody, never, ever would work from home for any length of time ever. And when the pandemic began, all 200 of us worked at low cubes in that same room, sharing 2 bathrooms. Then, when the hospitals were getting overwhelmed, work said we would be split into an A group and a B group and every other week one or the other would work from home so the people remaining in the office could socially distance. They still didn’t really want to let us work from home. But pretty soon, Covid-19 was real bad, and we were all allowed to work from home all the time.

Other than Covid-19, it really has been a dream come true for me. I never realized how tired just going to the office had been making me. I felt rested during the day for the first time in like a decade! And my stress and anxiety went waaaaay down. And we never skipped another workout. Everything good is happening since we’ve been able to work from home. I love it so much, and hope we get to keep doing it forever.