Monday Motivation – Go Big or Go Home

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Monday Motivation - Go Big or Go Home

This is one of my favorite quotes about Mondays.

Who likes Mondays, anyway? Yes, it’s the start of a new week. Yes, it usually means you’re back to the 9-5 desk job. Yes, it’s probably everyone’s least favorite day of the week.

I’m a little different – I love Mondays. Seriously. LOVE them. Why?

  • It’s the start of a new week, so it gives you a fresh start with EVERYTHING. Exercising, owning projects at work, talking to that cute boy or girl on the bus, winning your friends at frisbee golf or knitting a new sweater without a giant hole in it…everything.
  • Depending on what you do on your weekend, you’re recharged and ready to go on Monday. Granted, if you go out and party hard till the wee hours of Monday morning, it’ll come back to bite you in the butt.
  • Because it’s at the beginning of the week, there’s usually some kind of, “Ok, I got this.” Start your week off positive-end your week positive.
  • Mondays really aren’t the worst. Think about it: Monday you’re charged from the weekend, Wednesday is hump day, Thursday means you’ve got one more day and Friday is basically the weekend. What does that mean? Tuesday really is the worst day of the week. Hate Tuesdays instead.
  • Mondays are a chance to build on the progress you made the following week or over the weekend. It’s a new platform that’s one step closer to where you want to be physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. Climb that platform and own that step!
  • Bragging rights. This quite explains why. A friend of mine always says that if you don’t look forward to Mondays in some form or another, it means you didn’t live your weekend right because you’ve got nothing exciting to tell people.

So, folks. Mondays are awesome. And IF you go on amazing adventures over the weekend-live Saturday and Sunday without inhibitions, trying new things and exploring new places, pushing yourself to new limits-you’ll have something to look forward to every Monday (mainly to brag to your friends). I promise.

Making your weekends count makes each Monday something that you’ll actually look forward to.

Live it up. Give yourself something to build on, something to be proud of. Make your Monday proof that you didn’t kill yourself by challenging yourself. Go big or go home.

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Lost Your Running Mojo? Time to Get it Back

Morning comes. You hit snooze three times before finally slinking out of bed to pull on your running shoes and hit the trail. You’d rather cut your exercise time down because of some tiny excuse that, at the time, seems like a totally legit reason to not go. You’re discouraged because you’re no longer loosing weight like you were months ago. You get tired, not physically…it’s more like you get sick of your workout routine and therefore just don’t want to do it.

Ever had this happen before? It happens to everyone – seriously. Losing your drive to exercise isn’t uncommon and the great news is that it’s not permanent! Only if you don’t allow it to be permanent, though. YOU have a whole lot of control over choosing to rekindle your love for pounding the pavement or leave it where it is and let things fizzle out.

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One of the biggest reasons I think we can loose our fitness mojo is because we forget that exercise, though it’s physically demanding, can be and should be fun. That’s right – FUN. When we were younger, running and biking were our main modes of transportation. The games we played centered around physical activity (Red Rover, street hockey, water gun fights, kick the can, steal the flag, all forms of tag) and we’d all run till our sides were sore and then keep running because the happiness we felt from the fun we were having outweighed the side stitches. I’ll get back to this – promise.

So what do you do when your exercise drive is gone? And how do you get over it? Well, it’s different for everyone.

Just like how you needed to change things or shift them around when you first started your path to personal fitness, you’ve got to do some shifting again. Some things may feel weird at first, especially if you’re not use to them yet. You may not initially like these changes. Trust me, it’ll be TOTALLY worth it in the end.

Here are a few tips for getting your mojo back! Try one of them; try a few of them. It’ll take time and patience to find something that works well and really lights a fire under you. Basically, you’ve got to find a way to put the ‘fun’ back into your run 🙂

  1. Change where you run – if you’re always running the same trails or the same streets, it’s time to find a new path! Find a new river trail or lake path to run along. Take a new turn, explore the area around you. One great way to do this is to run while on vacation! You’ll see new places, smells, people and it’ll help take your mind off of your lack of mojo.
  2. Join a running group/club – being accountable to someone or something helps get you out the door. It’ll also help you meet new people, which can refuel your motivation to get yourself pumped and excited to get up and move!
  3. Give yourself a destination – I love this one though it can be a little tricky. Run to work. Run to a friend’s house. Run to a new park. Plan a place where you’ll go to and get there-don’t worry about the time it takes, just enjoy the journey! The tricky part is that with things like this, if you don’t want to run back, you need to either leave a car somewhere so you can drive home or have someone come and pick you up.
  4. Change when you go – if you’re always running in the mornings, try an afternoon run or a mid-day run. Some of my best runs have been between 11pm and 1am (granted, I don’t go by myself on those). Believe it or not, just changing the heat, lighting and amount of city life can help you keep going.
  5. Mix it up – don’t underestimate the power of variety! To break up your long runs, add in a day of speed, sprints or “hills of insanity” (find a good, long incline, whether it’s in the city or out in the country, sprint/run up the hill to the top, do a 1 min plank, jog back down–do 3xs).
  6. Run without a watch – if you know you’ve got a good chunk of time with no appointments to be to, don’t take your watch. Just run. Don’t be afraid to stop, stretch and look around you. Don’t worry about how fast you’re running or how many miles you’ve gone – just run.
  7. Quit your old playlist – running tunes slowing you down? Scrap the playlist you’ve got and start a fresh one! Ask friends for suggestions of their favorites for running. Pick songs that make you happy AND motivate you. If you need to, rock out on the trail mid-run. It helps.
  8. Healthy is happy – check out your food intake. Has anything changed? Maybe you’re a little more lenient with the sugar? Decide if you need to make some adjustments and then STICK TO THEM! It’s hard – totally doable though.
  9. Hit the trails – if you’re a city runner, time to head to the mountains. Fresh air, unsteady terrain, killer climbs and amazing views help to clear the demons from your head and keep you going.
  10. Race, race, race – sign up for races. Giving yourself a goal will help pump the motivation back into your muscles! If you want to go further, pick a marathon or half marathon to run in 6 months and add in 5k/10k races into your training.
  11. Too tired to run? – instead of not running, break up your run with walking breaks. That being said, I’m more of a fan of speed walking breaks. Run when you feel you can, if you need a break, take one! Just don’t STOP-keep moving! Something to keep your heart rate up, to keep your legs moving and to keep moving your forward!
  12. Pool running – might sound a little crazy, but it’s amazing. AND it’ll help you get in your “running” workout without overheating on the pavement.
  13. Have a daily goal – Scott Jurek says “Maybe it is a technique goal, maybe a pace goal, maybe a goal of running faster at the end…” Give yourself something specific to work on for each workout.
  14. New suede shoes – well, running shoes aren’t suede, but getting a new pair along with new shorts or tops will help you want to use them. If you feel you look good in your workout getup, you’ll want to wear them and show them off! Win-win.
  15. Reward yourself – for small things, like running 0.06 seconds faster than your last run or adding more miles to up your distance. Give yourself something to look forward to-your favorite iced drink, a new running top, chocolate milk (hey, it works). Anything. Little rewards for small accomplishments, big awards for big accomplishments. A favorite of mine is to schedule a massage after I finish a race and that’s my reward for my training and performance 🙂

Something important to keep in mind when getting your running mojo back is to listen to your body. Maybe you’ve just plateaued. On the other hand, maybe your body has been overworked and needs a break. One week, one month – listen to your body! Cross train. Stretch. Nourish your muscles with proper fuel and hydration.

It’ll take work. It’ll take time. It’ll take patience. It’ll take experimenting and figuring out what works for you.

Runner Resting with Hands on Knees --- Image by © Bernd Vogel/Corbis

Good news is – it’s ALWAYS worth it.

Running on Empty…on Vacation

Let’s be honest. Who works out while on vacation?! Well, I do. Maybe I’m slightly different from others – whenever I’m on vacation, I always do some kind of workout. ALWAYS. Regardless of how much fatty, greasy foods I’ve ingested, how much my sugar intake has increased or how much sleep I’ve lost. It can be killer! Sometimes, vacation means taking a break from my regular eating habits, which totally comes back to bite me in the butt when I realize mid-run that my tank is literally empty. And though it’s empty, I keep pushing myself without totally ruining myself.

Thing is, even though it may be a shorter run and my pace slows down and I had to literally drag myself out of bed to get going, I never regret running while on vacation. Even if it’s one mile or a 15min leg/butt/core workout followed by stretching, I never regret being active while on vacation.

It’s a great way to start your day! To get up, get moving and not feel like a blob just lying in bed. It’s also cleansing – gets the junk you’ve stuffed into your body moving, pushes toxins out of your body and gives your brain/emotions a quick pick-me-up for the day! I don’t drink, but the friends I’ve roadtripped with who DO drink say that making a run or some kind of workout happen the next morning helps with the detox process of getting the alcohol out of their system. They call it their “margarita mile.”

Just came back from a quick trip up to Washington to see my new niece. My brother and sister-in-law live 5 min from her family, and since they have a huge house, that’s where I stayed. It’s a farm house that sits at the front of over 700 acres of tart cherries, sweet cherries, peaches, apples and asparagus. Their farm is surrounded by other farms, and those farms are surrounded by more farms…you get the picture. Got there Friday and of course we stayed up late, eating ice cream and all sorts of junk. Delicious junk, that is 🙂

I had packed my running stuff as well as a few other things (roller stick and TRX bands) to use while there. My brother’s in-laws would roll their eyes any time I said I was headed out to run in the morning. I’m training for an ultra marathon in December and then aiming for a 50 miler in 2014, so I’ve gotta train! I’d start at 5:30am, not too early, and head out on the backroads of the orchards and surrounding farms. I love running in the clean air on brisk mornings on the dirt roads. It’s cathartic.

Saturday morning – 10 miles at a faster pace (I live 4,000ft higher up than here).

photo[2] Monday morning – easy 8 miles, yoga and TRX in the cherry trees

photo[3] Super pretty run through the vineyard

photo[4] Sweating pink all the way 🙂

Sunday evening walk with the family through the orchard hills. SO beautiful.

photo[7] Monday afternoon – boating! Swam across the dam, arms got a good workout wake boarding, volleyball on the beach, nap (soooo needed) and a little vinyasa flow to warm up (didn’t realize till I was there that my shorts matched my sweatshirt).

photo[5] Did I mind that people there thought I was crazy? Nope. Did I love their reactions when I’d answer their questions of what I was training for? Totally. Is working out worth it while on vacation? Stupid question. Should you exercise while on vacation? In some form or another (stretching, walking, biking, kayaking, hiking, running, yoga, frisbee, hola hooping – whatever), yep. I highly recommend it. You won’t feel like too much of a couch potato when the vacation ends and getting back into your running routine won’t be as difficult 🙂

The Day I Became A #sweatpink Ambassador

For starters, I don’t believe in bad days. There are good days and great days – never ‘bad’ ones. That’s just my belief. Mainly because you choose whether or not it’ll be good or great. That also means that you choose if you’re going to let the things that happen during the day influence you to choose to have it be a bad day. There are bad things that can happen and we can decide if it’ll taint the entire day or just that piece of it. Confused? I’ll write more about it soon.

So. Now that that’s explained…it was a great Monday. Why was it so great?

  • Started the day off with yoga & TRX
  • Had a delicious breakfast (avocado & tomatoes on whole wheat toast)
  • Hit every green light on my way to work (ka-ching!)
  • Finished all my work projects early
  • Learned my sister and brother-in-law are moving back to Utah
  • My new Lululemon Bitty Bracer bra finally came in the mail (I’ll write a quick review on this later-all you need to know right now is that I love it. One of the best sports bras I’ve had)
  • Found $20 in my back pocket
  • New pair of Newton Running Shoes came – LOVE these guys
  • After work I was meeting up with a friend I hadn’t seen in years for a trail run

Sounds like an overall great day, right? Right! I got home and changed to go running. While heading out the door, I was skimming through emails on my phone and read, “Sweat Pink Ambassador – welcome to the team!” Honestly, when I first read it, I thought I had read it wrong. I had submitted the application form to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador about a month earlier and hadn’t heard anything, so I for sure did a double-take! Read through the email. Giggled with excitement. Started my car with a HUGE smile on my face. Turned the radio on and this song was playing:

Went and picked up my friend Jess, told her about my new Sweat Pink adventure and the rest of the car ride consisted of us brainstorming what gear/clothes I could buy that are hot pink. You know, to match the awesomeness of it all. We got to to trail, singing and dancing along to the radio, and began the 12 mile loop. With our dance backgrounds combined with a great day, great news, the excitement of seeing each other and the songs stuck in our heads, there were moments during the run that were kinda like this:

Yes, we may have skipped, grooved, body-rolled and cartwheeled numerous times. And yes, we’d stop, strike a pose, and sing to the valley from the side of the mountain. You know, keeping things fun on the trail. I just hope it was quality entertainment for the houses that backed the trail.

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So now I get a sweet badge on the side of my blog (see?) and I have mass connections to other fitness ladies in the exercise world. They’re all super supportive, willing to help, comfortable to ask any questions and love every level of exercise. It’s great 🙂 And I’m convinced that I actually do run faster in pink shoe laces. FAmantramailer01

Best day ever? This year…pretty much. It was amazing.

{and I recommend that you all try dance walking at some point-it’s actually very freeing}

Monday Motivation – Progress Is Progress

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Monday Motivation - Progress Is Progress

Lots of my friends who start running or exercising are often ashamed about where they start. They feel bad about themselves for starting at their own level 1 and not being able to jump right in to where everybody else seems to be.
With all the instant gratification that our world swims in today, it can be discouraging to experience some things (like exercise) where the desired end results are not immediately reached after day one.
Don’t give up! Keep going. I starts small – doing one more pushup than the day before, running half a mile more than the last run, not being as out of breath at the end of the week. I promise though, you’ll get there, wherever “there” is for you. Progress is progress. Don’t short change yourself. Take pride in the achievements you do acquire and use them as motivation for your next goal!
Don’t be afraid or have shame about moving forward slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Instead, have fear for standing still and not wanting or trying to progress.
You got this.
Go punch today in the face.

Training, New Gear and Ultra Motivation

I FINALLY signed up for my very first ultra marathon.

I pressed, “Submit and Pay”

Huge amounts of “This is gonna be SO AMAZING! Super excited!”

And, “What the hell was I thinking?!”

Good news – the ultra is at the beginning of December and the race is at sea level. Totally helped calm my sliver of “I’m an idiot.” Training at home will be great. I live at an elevation of 4,700ft and majority of my trail runs start at 5,000ft and head up to 11,000ft, so I figure that’ll help with my endurance.

Even so, as my piano teacher always said, “perfect practice equals perfect performance.” This past week – training week numero uno – was fun. Really! I like running, especially when I get new gear that I’ve been waiting for!

  • Monday – 6mi
  • Tuesday – yoga
  • Wednesday – 8mi (with my new Ultimate Direction hydration pack-the Wink. Though it wasn’t my first choice from their collection, it’s one of the only ‘women’ packs they’ve got and it’s great! Lots of zip pockets for stashing gels, bars, phones, toilet paper, whatever. The pack stays up on your shoulders/back and does’t bounce around. The S-shaped straps make it a great fit for women. Highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking)
  • Thursday – taught bootcamp, circuits and did TRX with some running buddies
  • Friday – 12mi at a steady pace (ran with my Wink pack again. New product today was ENERGYbits as an alternative to GU or Clif Blocks for energy. I did the mistake of smelling them before taking them-they’re made with Algae, so they don’t exactly smell appetizing. Once you get past the smell though, they’re a great, natural and healthy boost to be used before/during your runs. Check them out here.BSZk13vCYAArba3
  • Saturday – 8mi with the last 2 miles as sprint drills. Followed this one up with yoga for runners. If you don’t do yoga and you run, YOU NEED TO DO YOGA. It’s not just for granolas or women – guys, if you want to improve your game you seriously need to get in on this!
  • Sunday – rest day! Woot! Every single athlete needs a day to rest their body to recoup for running the next week. I’ll probably go on a walk, stretch, maybe some yoga, and do mental prep.

It may not seem like I’m doing a ton. Trust me, for where I am now, I’m right where I want to be. Each week I’ll add mileage, hills, sets/drills and change up the elevation that I run at. December is a few months away and though my ultimate goal for the ultra marathon is to survive (when you think about it…I’m pretty sure those who run ultras never ask you what your time was but they just ask you if you finished), I’m doing everything I can now so that when race day comes I can not only survive but kill the course without killing myself 🙂

Every now and then, on long runs or when little thoughts of doubt start to bleed into my mind, I’ll whip out motivational quotes I’ve collected on my phone. They’re not always the pep talk kind of quote, just something that’ll keep me going. Here’s my favorite from this week – so great:

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8 Running Tips For Beginners

After some encouragement, a few friends have agreed to go for a run with me. I asked them back in March and they’re finally agreeing. Their responses were always:

That’s so cool that you run – I can’t do that.

Ugh, I don’t know how you can stand to run!

I’m not good at it! I don’t even know where to start!

I don’t set track records; I don’t conquer the newest & longest race; my name isn’t known in the running realm. BUT that doesn’t mean that I’m not a runner. It does mean that I know what I want, I know how to work for it and I learn where my limitations are and how much I can push myself past them.

Wanna know the best part of that? YOU TOTALLY CAN, TOO!! I know, I know. Excellent news, right? Right!

Here are the basic tips I followed and loved when I first started to become a “runner.”

1) Just go do it – think Nike. Stop making excuses and stop saying that you need to FIND the time, because if you’re continuously looking for it, it’ll never show up. MAKE the time. Get out there. Walk out that door. Step on that treadmill. Just go.

2) Get fitted for running shoes – have a gait analysis. Learn why you need certain kinds of shoes and how having the wrong shoes & support can lead to injury.

3) When the going gets rough, don’t get frustrated! Everyone has their good and bad days with running. One ‘bad’ day doesn’t mean that you’ll never run more than a mile or that you fail at life so you should stop trying. DON’T STOP. Whatever you do, keep going and trust that it gets better (because it totally does).

4) Pace yourself – don’t start out too fast. Even though you may begin with tons of energy and therefore think you can go crazy at the beginning, you’ll wear yourself out quickly leading to physical defeat and ultimately emotional & mental defeat. Just don’t to it. Start out slow.

5) Know the rules of the road – can’t tell you how many bikers and runners I see who don’t know the basic rules for flow of traffic. If you’re a biker, you ride WITH traffic. If you’re a runner, you run AGAINST traffic. Got it? Good.

6) Find your motivation – quotes, songs, friends, family, your past, the hottie who just moved in next door, the future. Whatever it is, find it and let it help you reach your short term goals AND your long term goals. Sometimes music/quotes loose their luster. If that happens, it’s ok! Just find some new ones 🙂 There are a ton out there! Ask your friends or online sources for good recommendations.

7) Listen to your body – it’s a lot smarter than we give it credit for sometimes. It can tell when it’s “good pain” (the kind that you get when you’re progressing and pushing yourself in strength and stamina) and “bad pain” (the kind you shouldn’t push through). It can tell you if you’ve gone too far or if you can afford to speed up a little. Pay attention to the little signals it gives you along your way and then make sure that you take all the time you need for recovery! Don’t skip out on that goodness.

8) Have fun! It can be hard; it’ll make you sweat; your legs will turn to jello; your lungs will burn. It’s all totally worth it. Run with friends. Change where you go. Change up your music. If all of that looses its magic after a while, buy new workout clothes or shoes. Strange as it sounds, it helps! Especially because you’re more likely to go running if you feel good/attractive in your running clothes 🙂

So go out there and do it! You totally can. And the best part is that every day-every week-it’ll keep getting easier than it was before.

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