Tag Archives: strategies

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!

Starting to Intermittent Fast? Tips to Make It Bearable

6 Feb

If I could out-exercise my fat, I would strongly prefer it! I love, love, love food. And as such, it’s the kitchen that makes me fattest, and therefore, intermittent fasting helps me way more than my running, strength training, or abdominal workouts (which I do all of nearly every day). Body weight is calories in vs calories out, so even with all those physical activities I can eat over what I burn. The fasting is a good way to stay OFF a diet (no way, I don’t wanna torture myself, limit myself, make sensible choices, or miss out!) but still maintain my weight.

Find the time of day that works best for you. If dinner to dinner makes you suffer, try to fast from breakfast to breakfast instead. Experiment with time of day before giving up.

I suggest splitting your fast with a sleep. Even if I’m starving at dinner, I always wake up feeling normal. Going to bed in the middle of my fast helps a great deal.

Fast on your busiest days. I do it on work days so I’m automatically focused on something else.

This isn’t in any book, but the components that help me get through a fast are: Fiber, protein, and sodium. Those three things have left more feeling less starving, and able to complete the fast better than anything! I thought pasta would be good, but carbs left me hungry after just an hour or two! Not fair. And the 3 suggested components should be together, because chicken and salty dip alone left me hungry also. So make sure it’s fiber, protein, salt. Nachos before a fast (with chili, black beans, or refried beans as part of it) is absolutely perfect *chef’s kiss*. Chili with wheat thins (or crackers crumbled in it if you’re not addicted to Wheat Thins like I am) is another favorite of mine. Soup with chicken and beans was good. Stir fry. Sushi. A ham & cheese sandwich with tomato soup. Rice and beans with chicken. Starting out well seems to set the whole tone. Don’t eat more than you usually would (defeats the purpose), eat smarter.

Stay hydrated! If you feel icky, try Gatorade or one of those green nutrition drinks with all the vitamins and minerals. Sparkling water is also a treat. Before, during, and after the fast drink a lot!

Speaking of beverages, I still have my morning (black!) coffee during a fast. those Itty calories aren’t going to un-do the benefits, but caffeine withdrawals will make everything worse.

Keep busy, don’t fixate on it.

If you are just not going to make it–try drinking some chicken broth before cheating and having a burger. The salt really helps pull you through, but it’s light enough not to ruin everything. I mean, this is a band aid and a bridge, but for your first couple, if it’s too tough, try the broth before quitting.

Keep your exercise schedule. I work out hard, I’m even hypoglycemic, but fasting and exercise doesn’t cause me trouble. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR OF COURSE. And, bonus, it even leaves me feeling satiated for awhile afterwards.

Avoid food commercials. Don’t smell food–this is THE most terrible for me. Don’t go into the cafe, lunchroom, or dinner table, because it’s torture. Just take a walk. Do something else. Don’t think about it, watch it, smell it, or be near food.

When you break the fast, eat slower! You will want to hoover your food. But every time I’ve eaten after a fast, my stomach/mind takes a long time to realize I’m full. So don’t eat a big portion, and don’t eat too quickly.

DON’T QUIT, just try a different strategy or start slow, or play with the variables.

And if you just can’t do a 24 hour fast, try a different one. There are at least 5 fasting schedules, and any one of them are going to cut down calories. So don’t feel like a failure and quit–just try a 16 hour fast, or a different type. And you can work up to 24 hours over time, or just keep one of the other fasting intervals.

Sure, they’re showing you GYM, but weight loss mostly happens in the KITCHEN.