Thursday, March 26, 2015

Taking The "Chore" Out Of Running

Recently l had a friend ask me how I take the monotony out of running.  "What can I do to run without it being such a chore?" she asked.   I've thought long about how I keep running exciting and fresh -- and it's all because of the ingredients listed below:

My daughter, Abby, smiling for the camera at her latest half marathon.  
1.  Run in the dark.  Almost all of the runs I do start before the sun comes up.  I like to run in the dark, quiet, empty streets of my neighborhood.  I like not being able to look up and see how far that mile may be ahead of me.   It's almost as if I'm dreaming while I'm running because I lose myself in my thoughts instead of watching my feet hit the ground.  And before you know it, I've finished six or eight or even 10 miles!   I especially like running into a sunrise.  There's no better place to be in the morning than watching the sun crest the sky in all it's pink, purple, orange, yellow glory.  Simply amazing.

2.  Run with a friend(s).  It's hard to get up in the morning and run alone.  Believe me.  I can see why people who don't have a running partner call it a "chore."  But if you've got a friend who will meet you at the corner, in the dark at 5am, then all excuses for staying in bed just got a little harder to make.  A running buddy with a story to tell is solid gold on a long marathon training day.  And someone who can push you just a little bit harder on a track workout is the best kind of  friend. I've got a great group of ladies who are die hard runners.  We usually sent out a mass text about with details of our  start time and distance the night before we meet up.  If they're going to be there -- without a doubt I will be there too.

3.  Run with music.  Sometimes those same friends drift in front or in back of me when I'm running.  Paces vary, after all.   And it's at times like these I push PLAY on my ipod and start listening to my favorite running playlist.  I've chosen songs on that list that are upbeat, energetic, and get me smiling!  When I turn my Ipod up I stop listening to how hard I am breathing and start enjoying the music.  Turning my thoughts away from being tired or heavy footed, usually brings me to a better cadence and I forget all together that I'm exhausted.  I save this time with my music for those times I have to be alone, though.  Nothing worse for me than people who shut others out with their music when they're supposedly on a group run.

4.  Buy a new running outfit or shoes.  Retail therapy.  It's a real thing.  Often all it takes for me to get re-excited about running is a trip to Lululemon.  I know, I know, it's a very superficial statement.  I'm just shallow enough to know that a new running tank top or pair of shorts will get me out the door a little happier and a little more excited to get outside.  I also use Tide Sport for all my athletic clothing.  It got a great scent that smells a little different than my other loads of laundry.  I love it.  And some days that's all I got.

5.  Get a race on the schedule.   Running without training for something specific is a bit of a cluster for me.  I need a goal.  I crave a schedule.  I love a training plan.  Without that - why/how far/how long/ ugh -- there's just too many questions for me as to why I am waking up in the 4's to go run instead of staying in my comfy bed.  I need an event to keep me motivated.  I need a reason.  It's the best way I know to stay consistent with training.  "To stay in shape" just doesn't cut it for me.  A runner, with a goal, and some friends with that same goal is the key to becoming and staying a lifelong runner.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

IF

Just finished Chrissie Wellington's book, A Life Without Limits. Wow, what an amazing story.  From a virtual unknown to Ironman World Champion, Chrissie tells her story of triumph over adversity.

I particularly loved her mantra, the inspirational poem, "If" by Rudyard Kipling.  Chrissie read it before every race as her guiding force of power and grit.  I'm including it here:

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
  Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
  And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
  If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
  And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
  Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
  And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
  And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
  And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
  To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
  Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
  Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
  If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
  With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
  And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.
Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.