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Posts Tagged ‘Running tips’

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Less is more. I find myself saying this often. About many things. It’s one of those pieces of very “zen” advice that you wish you could follow all the time. It can be applied to many things. Like:

– Stressing about housework: it never ends anyway, right?

– Over-scheduling your kids: this backfires, right?

– American Idol: three seasons was enough, right?

– Running: less is more. What?

I know.  It’s hard to think that you get MORE with LESS running. But sometimes, this is true. Just like over-thinking leads to over-thinking, running too much leads to Running. Too. Much. Don’t get me wrong. There is no distance that sounds crazy to me. Everything is relative. One woman’s 5K is another’s 100 miler. It’s all good.

But.

A very exhausted, overworked, overstressed friend who just ran a 50K asked me yesterday if she should go ahead and run that other 50K she was signed up for next weekend. “You know me”, I said. “I error on the side of over-conservatism. (With running, not politics) I can’t help it. I fantasize about being the person who can run a 50K then go run another in a week, or hop in a marathon after a marathon. I’ve tried. I get injured every time. I have finally learned that my body needs more recovery time. I can do those races! Just not too close together. This is me. You have to listen to YOUR body. And sometimes less is more. Most importantly, if you decide it’s less. THAT’S OK.”

Fresh legs work. And listening to your body works. After 15 years of running, which isn’t long by some, I am finally getting the hang of that. The challenge becomes NOT in the long slogging distance (I know I can do that and I have). The challenge is in the waiting. Waiting till you’re healed. Waiting till you’re healthy. Waiting till you’re rested.

If you love running. I mean really love it. And I really love it. Then the waiting is the hardest part. Waiting for the energy. Waiting for the strength. Waiting for the body’s green light. It might mean waiting a day, waiting a week. Or longer.

When it comes,  it’s all systems go. And so worth the wait.

I used to look up to people who could run and run and run and never stop. Now I look up to people who know when to rest. AND, who aren’t afraid to say so. It’s hard to cut a run short and not beat yourself up about it all day. It’s hard to DNS. It’s hard to DNF. And sometimes that’s the right answer.

Another friend of mine said to me this week. “I wonder what it would be like if, you know,  we actually acknowledged our injuries. How long would it take to get back to running then?”

Our bodies get stronger when we rest. Our torn and tired muscles heal when we sleep, eat, sit on the couch. This is a runner’s major thinking error; that recovery is separate from training. It’s not repeated cycles. It’s all one journey. Our current recovery is essential to the success of our next event.

As much as you seek to find the limits of speed, distance, endurance or altitude, seek the balance of rest. It’s the key to your success just as much as the next PR, or that extra mile.

Don’t worry. Your body will know what to do when it’s time to run. Your legs won’t forget. Your heart will not forget what it loves to do.

Sometimes less is more.

 

 

 

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Runner's high can take you a long way!

Yeah it’s cold, yeah the holiday calories are coming your way, but…

…don’t ditch the hard work you’ve done. We’re all about CELEBRATING here at RMR and at this seasonal time of celebration, I’m not going to challenge you to eat less, run more, cut corners or deprive yourself. But I AM going to tell you how to celebrate YOU this season so you can stay focused on your running and fitness. Here’s my lucky number 7 tips:

1. Celebrate YOU. First of all, take a minute to give yourself a big pat on the back for all the workouts you’ve done this year, all the schedule juggling to fit in your long runs, all the times you pulled yourself out of bed in the wee hours to get it done! When you hear the word “celebrate” this season, use that as a reminder to celebrate yourself.

2. Use momentum. Use the energy you’ve built with your running and fitness this year to run through the egg nog, swim through the gravy, bike through the sugar cookies, bundle up and get your butt out there. This is NO easy task, especially with little ones. It’s even more challenging during the holiday school break, but look how brilliant you’ve been for figuring out how to do it. Stay with it. Grab your hubby, your partner, your support crew and be creative about your running schedule. In a recent Runner’s World poll, 42% said they run early in the morning. There’s a reason for this – it’s called get it done!  Use that momentum you’ve made to keep things going.

One of my favorite treats!

3. Redefine “treats”. This is a big one and it deserves more of a discussion than this blog post (it will be part of our retreat program!) The word “treat” is often associated with sugary or fattening foods, inactivity, grand expenditures, time away or just plain skipping things that are healthy. The media doesn’t help. Ads and commercials are constantly telling us (and our kids!) what you should have “when you’re good” and what you “deserve.” Don’t get me wrong. I love a good pile of onion rings, micro-beer, stinky cheese and a couch nap as much as the next gal, but I’m working on redefining “treat” into something healthy. If I have a great run, I’ll treat myself to a super healthy smoothie (here’s some of your ideas for yummy ingredients), to a 1/2 hour earlier bedtime, to a massage, to a quick yoga session in my bedroom to 15 minutes with my Runner’s World magazine. This month, take a look at how you “treat” yourself and chose a few healthier ones that celebrates your runner’s body.

4. Set a running goal. We already talked about being creative with the winter break schedule. Setting a goal will help you stick with that plan. “Treat” yourself to a 2012 race registration, a mileage bench-mark, trying 3 new routes, or something that will keep your eye on the overall goal of staying fit this holiday.

My crazy birthday run made my day!

5. Make it fun! Consider a holiday party on the run! My running partner treated me to the BEST birthday gift ever by throwing me a running girlfriend surprise party. They jumped out from behind trees along my birthday trail run a few weeks ago. Why not connect with friends one day during the holidays and do a group run with jingle bells on or Santa hats. Keep it simple, sweet and fun!

6. Remember, everything is connected. When I workout, I eat better. My mind is clearer to make better choices about food and my health in general. I actually floss more when I’m on a strong running streak. I know, crazy, but true.

I took time to smell the roses event though my nose hair was frozen.

7. Warm up slowly, finish on top. On a recent, icy morning, I took photos on my run to help me remember how lucky I am to be able to run and appreciate nature along the way. It also helped me take my warm up slower which can be helpful in colder weather. My tight muscles and chilly lungs thanked me by giving me a strong and warm finish. One good thing leads to another. If you finish feeling great, your body remembers that and gets excited about your next workout. We chatted on Facebook about ways to get out there when it’s cold. What’s your strategy?

With kids out of school, the days getting shorter, the mornings getting colder, and the food getting sweeter, take some time to celebrate the fitness you’ve accomplished. Use that momentum to keep that ball rolling and  “treat” yourself to continued fitness. Whether you’re a beginning runner or a long-time pavement pounder, head into 2012 happy and healthy.

Do you have more ideas about celebrating you, your fitness or running through the holiday season? We’d love to hear them. 

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