Category Archives: Beginning Running

Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day Motivation

One More...

Happy Thanksgiving to all my United States readers!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and not just because of the food.

I enjoy the time with family and friends, and having an entire day to think about all the blessings in my life.

I know we all do it from time to time- we get bogged down in what is wrong, and what isn’t working, rather than what is.  While no one’s life is perfect, every day we have is a miracle.  If you wake up in the morning, that is pretty good.  If you have people you care about in your life, that is even better.  If you can run, or engage in some type of physical activity, that really is a gift that is sometimes not realized until it’s gone.

That is one of the things I’m so thankful for- having had cancer, and not knowing for a while if I would ever be able to have my physical health back. During those hard runs, when I’m not “feeling it,” and I wish I wasn’t running, it instantly snaps me out of that mode, back to when I couldn’t– and my entire perspective and attitude changes. Instead of wishing I wasn’t running, I am so incredibly happy I am running, and most importantly, that I can.

I’m not a super, or a professional athlete. I have my good days and bad days with exercise just like anyone else. I do find even if I get out and do something- a short walk, a short run, some yoga, I always feel better and am so grateful my body allows me to do the perfect amount of exercise whenever I want.  It is an amazing thing, when you think about it.

In that spirit, with Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday season (unless you count Halloween 😉 ), it is hard to find time to be active and stick to your health goals.  On top of that there is all the delicious, once-a-year food, baked goods, candy, drinks, on and on, with many chances to engage in these foods.  I don’t believe any food is bad for you, as long it is in moderation, but the holidays makes it hard to keep things in moderation.  I don’t think you have to forgo holiday treats either. Life is about enjoying these things. Another plus for exercise though.  When you are active, you can indulge in things like holiday treats and not gain a lot of weight or feel guilty for indulging.

So with this in mind, I’d like to extend a motivation to all my readers starting today, Thanksgiving Day (yes today) to New Year’s Day, that you will set a physical activity goal to accomplish in the next 37 days. (#becauseWEcantdaytonyd)

I’m personally going to get a total of 37 miles in of running, hiking, biking, or walking.  That averages out to just a mile a day.  You can choose any goal you like, with the point being to extend yourself somewhat.  Maybe get up and walk 10 minutes on your break at work, instead of checking your email.  Go for a 15 minute walk after work.  Do 10 minutes of stretching and core work in the morning, or before you go to bed. Like the picture in this post says, try to do something more, even just one more minute of exercise than you normally would do.

It can be a family affair and with co-workers too. I’m going to encourage my family and my friends to do this with me, so we can motivate each other.  I am going to post what I did a few times a week on Running Free Blog’s Facebook page, and I’d love it if you do this, if you’d post too, and you can even track your progress there.  I’d like to see what activities readers are engaging in- we never know when something we do, can inspire someone else.  You could have had the worse day, and if you post you just got back from a mile walk, and the sunset was amazing- that could help someone you never met, to be motivated to go on their own mile walk.

Not only will it help with burning calories during the holidays, it will help manage the stress and the faster pace that comes with the holidays.  It will force you to slow down and appreciate you, and your body. It doesn’t have to be hard or be “work.” I guarantee you will have a different mindset if you do this e between now and New Year’s Day, and you will most likely start to look forward to this time, you’ve carved out.  You can walk a fast minute in about 15-20 minutes.  You may think you don’t have time for that, but how much time do you spend on Facebook, or playing a game on your phone, or texting? You can find 15 minutes a day for yourself and physical activity if you want to, and I hope you will want to- you are worth it!

I hope you join me- no better time than the present.  So maybe now is a good time to shut down your computer or close this on your phone, even though I do appreciate you reading, and start your TDay to NYD fitness motivation!  I promise in 37 days, if not sooner, you will be so glad you did!  🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Setback: Time to Quit, or Keep Going?

Hip pain 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

~ Mark Twain

This week, I’m writing “live,” as I’ve posted all the blog posts I was writing and saving, while I was designing Running Free Blog.

I’ve had a setback, the past few weeks in that I developed hip pain again.  The furthest run I’ve done was 7 plus miles.  After that, my hip started hurting again and would hurt no matter what distance I was running.

I immediately cut down to 2 miles.  But my hip was still sore.  It was discouraging. It feels like I’m just so close at times, and about to just break it out wide open, and then pain is just there again one day, forcing me to back down, once again.

However, I’m not one to have a pity party for too long.  I had been able to run with no pain whatsoever in my hip. I know I had the answer in all this- somewhere.  I wasn’t sure why the pain was starting again, but I was going to find out.

So to find my answer, I tuned in to my running method. I went on a few short runs, and was trying to pay attention to what I was actually doing, while running, and if I could feel hip pain while running, or if it was only after I was done running.

It took me a few weeks and many short runs, to discover what I was doing.  I was starting to notice something and piece a few things together.  The first being, when I was running on pavement, I perceived the shock and force to be greater, so I would definitely always run striking on my forefoot, and even more than I have. I didn’t feel hip pain, but would feel it in my calves- as it should be- the calves absorbing the impact- not my hip or any other body part.

I realized though, when I was running on grass or on a trail, where I perceived the landing force not so great, I wasn’t landing on my forefoot- and in fact, I had gone back to a mid foot and even heal strike.

It clicked that I was doing this because it was easing the pain on my calves. My calves were hurting running the longer distances totally on a forefoot strike, so my body and brain, was doing what it needed to do, to ease the pressure off my calves, and that was putting it back to my feet, which in turn was making my hip hurt.

I concluded even though I was increasing my distances, it wasn’t all with the minimalist method.  So the only thing I could do was start again- from the distance my calves weren’t hurting and start running EVERY step landing on my forefoot and start building up the mileage.

That was 2 miles.  I ran a few times 2 miles.  Then 2.25, then 2.50.  The first time I ran a 5K, 3.2 miles- my calves were burning at the end of it, but I had no hip pain, and I knew I was on the right track.

A few days ago, I ran 4.25 miles, every single step, landing on my forefoot and had zero calf or hip pain.  I’m amazed how fast the calf muscles do get stronger.  But my body had been “cheating” and not allowing them to properly accumulate to running this way.  But the gig is up- I’m consciously aware of this now, and I hope to be continually building my mileage back up, with it all being forefoot landing.

This has been very frustrating for me.  I think about it sometimes- quitting.  I certainly have had many successes running, and achieved more than I ever thought I would.  If I stopped running now, I certainly would have nothing to feel bad about.  But I would have regrets.  And I would always wonder….“what if?”

So I don’t let setbacks be a reason to quit or give up. It makes me realize how much I really do love running, because if I didn’t love it- really love it– I wouldn’t be trying to figure these things out.  I would have just stopped running.  I’m not giving up on my dream of running a marathon, and more importantly, I don’t want to.

I don’t think you have to work so hard at something to the point it exhausts you, or you don’t even like it anymore to have success.  But I do believe you will never get to where you want to go if you stop.  Even for me, just running 2 miles at a time, while I was figuring out- that is the difference.  I never stopped.

I think that is a point for anyone, no matter what you are trying to achieve.  You can’t just stop.  Even one step forward, and two back- eventually that one step forward will get you there, if you don’t stop. This applies to running or anything you are trying to accomplish.

If you want to run, but don’t feel you can, run half a block, or 1 minute on a tread mill. If you want a new job, send in one resume a day to your “dream jobs” even if you don’t think you are qualified.  If you want to eat healthier, start with one thing in your diet that helps you with that.  When you have done that, start doing a little more than you did, and keep adding to that- even if you have setbacks.

The quote at the top of the post today from Mark Twain, I’ve drawn on it a lot with running, because it’s true.  You can get out and do what you dream of doing, and one day achieve it or come close- or you can talk yourself out of it before you even begin.  I never wanted to be thinking back one day, wishing I had just gone for it, but didn’t.  What is the worst that can happen? You try and don’t make it, or that you never tried at all? If you decide it would be that you never tried at all, than you have the power today, to get started!

What are you waiting for? Find your “2 mile” beginning point, and get going! You’ll never regret you did. 🙂

I’d love to hear if you want to share, what goal you are trying to achieve. Leave a comment and let me know!