An inner athlete's manifesto.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Weekend Running Tips: How to Set Yourself Up for Success When All You Want to do is Brunch

Tomorrow will be Friday, and whether or not you have an office job, the weekends can actually be a busy time for most of us. For those in the suburbs, there are backyard projects to complete and leaves to be raked. For us city folk, there are brunches to attend and apartment cleaning to catch up on. For me, I have to work a few different jobs, brunch, clean my room, AND get a run in. It's a tough life, I know. Here are a few tips to stay on top of your game this weekend and also have a nice time:

1. Run on Friday: You might actually have to get up early to make this happen, but get a morning run out of the way on Friday will make you feel less guilty about extra calories you may consume at Happy Hour.

2. Pick a Weekend Day: Whether you choose Saturday or Sunday, make ONE of those days an "off" running day, and the other an "on" running day. Set yourself up for success by making a realistic goal for the weekend--run or workout one day and rest the other. It can't get any easier than that.

3. Stay hydrated: Between Friday night's Happy Hour and Sunday Brunch, what you drink will definitely affect your performance. Pick one day to let loose if you must, and take it easy the rest of the weekend. If you are going to consume alcohol, make sure you are also drinking water, and try to swap a sugary drink (smoothies, soda, lattes, etc.) for plain h2O.

4a. Don't try to run hungover and 4b. plan accordingly:  I have sad news, but if your head hurts, and you are sweating beer or Jameson, you are too hungover to workout...right now. Drink some water, eat some toast, go back to bed, and try again in a couple of hours. Although it may seem like a good idea to try to sweat out toxins on the treadmill, you are only going to dehydrate yourself further and put yourself more at risk for injury. Wait it out, or try again tomorrow.

5. Get plenty of rest: Thankfully, the weekend allows some of us the luxury of sleeping in. Use this chance to catch up on much needed rest. If you are planning on a weekend race, go to bed early and use the time as some much needed "you-time". Cook yourself a nice dinner, read a book in bed, watch a crappy tv show, write a letter to your grandma, etc. Do something nice and quiet.

6. Skip a run and try a new activity: Take a walk with a friend through the neighborhood after brunch, try a new yoga class, or go rock climbing at a new gym. There are so many things you can do that are active--change up your routine so you don't get bored of hitting the pavement all the time.

7. What I like to call the Golden Rule of Weekends--set realistic goals for yourself--socially, mentally, and physically: You do not have to go to every single wedding, party, bbq, concert, artshow, etc., and you do not have to run every race. Slow down and take care of yourself. Yes, you can sleep when you're dead, but one night of staying home or missing one event never killed anyone. Use your weekend to recharge so that you can actually take Monday by the horns and be a badass.

Happy Running,

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Tip--Don't Worry About Sucking

Last week, we explored why the hell we do things we don't actually enjoy doing. This week, we're going to acknowledge that not everything is going to come easy, especially when you are new at something. You might actually suck at it.

Imagine what your life would be like if you quit everything that you sucked at the first few times you did it. Remember the first time you tied your shoes, rode a bike, or copied a sentence off the chalkboard in first grade? You probably fell off the bike a million times, knotted your shoes into a complex puzzle, and your penmanship was probably terrible (for the record, my penmanship is still terrible). Learning to exercise is very much like learning a new language with your body--like proper grammar, there is proper form, but it also takes practice and commitment just like anything else.  Chances are, just like everything else in life, when you start something, you will suck.

So, you suck? Now what?

Acknowledging you suck at something is the first step to building strength and getting better. How else are you supposed to know what you need to focus on? Knowing your weaknesses is key; this knowledge gives you a base--a startline for how to set realistic goals that can propel you to success. When I first started running, I sucked. I could barely run a mile without wanting to vomit everywhere afterwards. So my first goal was really just to run a mile without wanting to puke afterwards.

What if I don't achieve even my small, humble goal(s)?

So what? Exercise is not all about achievement. You will not always be able to achieve all of your workout or fitness goals, and the sooner you accept that fact, the happier you'll be with your workouts. In fact, in a given week, I might achieve one (yes, ONE) fitness-related goal for the week. Shit happens. You might want to run outside three days a week, but out of those three days, it might be raining so hard you can't even see. You might promise to do it the next day, and wake up with a million pressing emails from your boss. You might just feel lazy and prefer watching Bravo all day. Bam--you missed your goal for the week. There's no use crying over a missed goal (though I am guilty of doing this). It takes a lot of willpower to move on and try for next week/tomorrow, or whatever, but move on. If you don't move on from failure, then you will never learn from it, and you'll never succeed. Remember that. Identify things that hold you back and do your best to control the ones you are capable of controlling (example: rain=you can't control, Real Housewives addiction=controllable).
Don't let your suckiness stop you. Use it as ammo. Use it as what it is--knowledge to make you better.