Fit Comes In All Shapes, Weight & Sizes

“I’ve been training all season to eat at Super Bowl party level”

Today’s the day! For some, it’s like Christmas. For others, the commercials are the real draw. For Ace Ventura, it meant coming to the rescue of Dan Marino and Snowflake the dolphin, but that’s a whole different story. It’s Super Bowl Sunday!

Wisco

Showing our football love. Chris hates this pic.

Ah, the big game. I love the Super Bowl. First, I love football, plain and simple. Second, I love food. Chris and I have started a tradition called, “Sushi Super Bowl Sunday” and I’m really psyched about it. But don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a blog where I drone on and on about how I love food. I think by now, we all know where I stand on food.

No, this seemed like a good opportunity to write about a topic I’ve been wanting to for awhile but just haven’t found the right link. About bodies and what a fit body looks like. The idea stemmed from a few uncool things I heard last year about two awesome female athletes – Serena Wiliams and Lindsey Vonn.

People have been saying unkind things about Serena for as long as I can remember. I guess her strength, speed and size is too awesome for some to handle. The worst though was reading and hearing people outright calling her “fat” after she won Wimbledon last summer.

Have you seen Serena Williams? That woman probably has less fat on her than most other women, nay, most men, in the galaxy. She’s strong, she’s fast, she’s incredibly athletic. Nothing but respect for her.

The Lindsey Vonn comments were on the same lines but directed right at her weight. She gave an interview where her weight was included, it was in the 170 pound range. Seems appropriate, she’s 5’ 10” and a pro athlete – I mean, the woman is so powerful and fast, she has to race on Men’s skis. Yet, people were shocked she weighed “that much.” Even though most comments weren’t outright nasty, why did everyone’s focus zero in on a number?

Somewhere along the lines, it was decided that fit and healthy meant one size. For women, that’s a small size that fits in a perfect little box. If you’re super strong like Serena or super fast like Lindsey, apparently you don’t fit into that box. I haven’t been able to figure this out for men yet; I don’t see as many asshole comments directed at the dudes and the window of what’s acceptable appears to be bigger. From Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw to Chris Pratt in Jurassic World to Ryan Reynolds in, well, everything, there seem to be a few examples of the ideal fit man– but I think there’s a level of unfairness to the guys too (don’t worry, I’m not trying to say the world is only cruel to the ladies).

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My pal Cam & I are a perfect example of very different body types, but both strong, fast runners.

I have the best illustration to prove a fit body comes in all sizes, builds and weights – and you can see it with your own eyes today. Watch the Super Bowl. Look at the athletes on the field, most of them the best at their respective positions, and you’ll see that a fit body comes in all sizes and all weight classes. Because we all have different body types and goals. The football field is no better example of this concept.

For example, wide receivers are often tall and lean so they can get down the field fast, make quick moves to fool defenders and jump up to match catches (think of popular players like Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson). Running backs, on the other hand, need big, powerful legs for explosive speed and to keep churning when they run into a wall of defenders (think of popular players like Eddie Lacy and Marshawn Lynch). If you need an instant visual, compare Demaryius Thomas to Jonathan Stewart in today’s game. Then there’s the offensive line, filled with guys that can only be described as brick shithouses (think of the famous Michael Oher). And, I know he’s not playing today, but Google Vince Wilfork. He’s one of the fastest, most athletic guys on any pro team – but you might not think it if you just judge him on his appearance.

Different goals and body types, all incredible athletes. I guess my point in all this is don’t worry if you don’t fit into the box. Keep doing, eating, lifting and living the way that’s right for you. Just something to chew on – along with all kinds of tasty Super Bowl, game day-approved treats today.

If you liked this post, please share on Facebook or Twitter. Or, as always, tell me what you thought in the comments or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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Five Running Mistakes – Don’t Make Em!

“You run, you learn, then you get better”

LinsRunFargo

To healthy & happy running!

A full month into the New Year and hopefully those of you who set running goals are sticking to them. Also, spring racing season is so close that many runners (myself included) are in full training mode. All in all, a good time for all runners to ensure we’re practicing good habits – and kicking the bad ones.

Mistakes are natural in every aspect of our lives, no matter if we’re new to something or old pros. Running is no exception. Don’t make these five common running mistakes and do stay a healthy, happy runner.

 

Mistake #1: Improper Attire
There are seemingly infinite choices when it comes to athletic apparel, including running shoes. Improper running shoes for a runner’s foot type can lead to pain or injury, while shoes that don’t fit well cause discomfort, blisters and excess toenail trauma. All reasons why it’s imperative to get fitted for correct running shoes by a knowledgeable professional.

That being said, there’s no need to panic – picking out the correct shoes isn’t like doing long division (I know most people would say “rocket science” here but, let’s face it, long division is a much more relatable struggle). There are three main types of running shoes designed for the three main types of feet.

Feet

Not sure of your arch? Your post-shower bathmat will clue you in.

Motion Control – Low/No Arches
Motion control shoes are designed to slow the rate of over pronation (feet rolling inward). They’re much more rigid than other types. If you have no arches/flat feet, these are probably the shoes for you.

Cushion / Flexible – High Arches
The opposite of pronation, supination is when the foot rolls outward. Cushion (sometimes called Flexible) shoes offer more cushioning to handle the greater shock of this type of foot strike. People with high arches would seek out cushion shoes.

Stability – Medium Arches
Combining some rigidity and some cushioning, stability shoes are designed to maintain the natural running pattern of those who don’t over pronate or supinate to a major degree. Those with medium arches should start with stability shoes when looking for the best choice.

Even if you know what type of arch your feet have, a pro at your local running or sporting goods store should be able to further help you determine what type of shoe is best for you – just ask!

Along with wearing the correct shoes, proper running clothes are essential to preventing unpleasant runs and side effects.

Cotton. It’s the fabric of our lives. It’s also one of the worst for runners. Cotton doesn’t move well, especially when it becomes soaked with sweat. This can lead to uncomfortable rubbing or full-on chafing. Similarly, overly baggy or loose clothing can cause the same effect. And guys, I don’t need to tell you that a cotton shirt plus a long run plus bare nipples is an experience you don’t want to have.

Indoor or outdoor, always go with moisture-wicking fabrics and clothes that fit closer to the body. Bonus, dri-fit fabrics are lighter than cotton and you’ll notice it.

Speaking of outdoor running, depending where you live and seasonal factors, layering is an important strategy to learn. Check out my recent winter running entry where I share some proper layering tips and techniques.

Mistake #2: Too Much Too Fast
Like any exercise, it’s easy to go overboard right away. Whether you’re just starting a running program or you’re starting to train for a race, the key is gradual. Pushing yourself to increase mileage too fast puts you at risk for injury and burnout.

A generally-accepted rule of thumb is to increase running mileage by no more than 10% a week and/or per long run. A similar guideline is true for the long run itself; it’s not advised to increase your weekly long run by more than 1 mile per week. This rule flexes a bit when it comes to long runs that are more than 10 miles, in which case it’s okay to increase your long run by 2 miles per week.

I know, I know that’s a lot of math and of the potentially confusing kind. I have another, personal rule that has worked out really well for me during marathon training: Weekly mileage should equal or be slightly greater to than the long run.

For example, I’m planning to run 12-13 miles next weekend. So, my weekly plan looks like:
6 miles Monday
3 miles Wednesday
5 miles Thursday
14 miles total in the week

Throw in leg day on Tuesday, a couple upper-body lifting sessions, some EFX and StairMaster time on non-running days, I’ve got a solid week!

Which brings me to my next point…

Mistake #3: Run, More Running, OMG ALL I DO IS RUN
Yes, running is great. It’s very easily addictive too. However, a well-rounded runner knows he/she needs more than just running. It’s a great idea to mix in upper- and lower-body strength training, as well as other types of cardio. Not only does this allow proper recovery after tough runs, it keeps the rest of the body healthy, fuels better running and prevents burnout. Taking a day off from running to do another type of cardio makes me more excited for my run that next day.

Out

Outdoor running is the best – especially w/your favorite pal.

 

Mistake #4: Avoiding the Great Outdoors
Treadmill workouts are great. Speed work, incline work, easier interval management, and those days where you need to put your brain on autopilot and just let your legs go. Never venturing off the treadmill, especially if you’re training for a race, is a major mistake.

Running outside is harder – on endurance and on the body. Treadmills are much more forgiving than concrete, asphalt, even trails. Different types of terrain requires different muscles and can also put more stress on the feet, knees, everything. Running outside makes you a stronger runner and is the only way to adequately prepare for real-life running like road races and being chased by murderers.

Story time: I know a guy who trained for a full marathon almost exclusively on the treadmill. I think he mentioned only doing one or two long runs outside in the four months he trained. Marathon day came and his body broke down in the second half. His calves cramped, knees were shot, feet killed; basically he limped his way to the finish line. The body just needs to learn how to adapt to the great outdoors.

Mistake #5: Skipping Stretching
Those of you who read this blog regularly know I’m an advocate of stretching. And you also probably think I’m starting to sound like a broken record. Good, that means my stretching message is getting out there!

Stretching is SO important after a run. Your muscles work so hard, they need it.

If you’ve never stretched or aren’t sure where to start, you’re in luck! I recently wrote a blog with my 5 Top Stretches for Runners. Read it and do it.

Now that you’re in the know, don’t make these five running mistakes. I hope everyone’s February is still on track with goals. As always, please comment or tweet at me @runlikeagirl311 if you have questions or need some motivation to keep chugging away towards your running goals!

Also, if you liked this post or know a runner who would, please share on Twitter or Facebook!

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Going Outside the Workout Comfort Zone

“The expert in anything was once a beginner”

I just returned from a weekend in suburban Minneapolis where I was visiting my best friend, Heidi and her family. Saturday was spent brunching with girlfriends, shopping, getting our hair done, dining out, and playing with her adorable daughters. Because it’s marathon season and I need to stay on track, I preplanned to do my long run on Sunday morning before heading back home. Luckily Heidi’s husband, Eric is into running too so I would have someone to guide me through the miles in a relatively unfamiliar area.

Eric and I have run together a few times when I’ve visited them or they’ve visited Fargo. He’s an awesome running buddy because he’s always up for running any distance, whether three miles or ten. Plus, his comfort pace is a little faster than mine so it pushes me to run faster and keep up.

Yes, after a superfun girl’s day on Saturday, I was looking forward to a nice, solid workout. Boy did I get one. In fact, much more than I bargained for. Allow me to set the scene.

IMG_5934

This is me. Attempting to run. In snow. While keeping my balance. While not biffing it.

Fargo is flat. Suburban Minneapolis is not.
Fargo running paths are always shoveled. Suburban Minneapolis trails are not.
In Fargo, I know where I’m going, have a route planned and a set distance.
In suburban Minneapolis, I don’t have any of that.

What Eric and I did out there would better be described as Olympic speed snowshoe training than running. We stepped onto the unplowed, snow-filled trail and Eric asked if I was okay with this. It was so weird, I instantly felt like such a running newb. I smiled, said I was up for it and would just do the best I could to power through.

The first mile plus was through that deep snowy trail. It’s also when the first of many hills appeared. My legs were gassed before mile two registered on my watch!

Just before hitting the three-mile mark, a brief moment of relieve – a plowed, tar road. Hooray! I kicked in my speed and for the first time that day, was able to run right with Eric (poor guy had to wait at the top of every hill for me). Couldn’t have been much more than a minute into it and I was staring up at a seemingly never-ending hill. Damn. I managed to keep pace though and reminded myself this would prepare me for Hearbreak Hill in Boston. I felt good when I made it to the top and re-established my pace. That moment of victory was short lived.

Back into the deep snowy trails. Oh boy. Again, almost immediately, I was greeted with a giant hill. Only this time it was extra-fun because I was also running in ankle-deep snow. I think we were around four or five miles at this point.

Which brings me to my next challenge: Eric and I didn’t have a set distance planned. I was never sure if we were going one more mile or five, which made it even tougher to try and pace myself. The rest of the run was hilly and snowy as a mofo but we made it. Back at our starting point, my watch read 5.75 miles. Don’t worry, I didn’t allow that to happen. My OCD got the best of me and I ran back up the last hill and back down, til my watch hit an acceptable 6.1 miles.

That was that. 6.1 miles. The week prior I ran nine and was nowhere near as exhausted as I was after this one.

So while it wasn’t my longest run in recent weeks, it was by far the hardest run I’ve had in a really long time. It pushed me, physically, forcing me to use different muscles to stabilize myself through the snow and propel up those tough hill. But I think, better yet, it pushed me mentally. I would have never sought out that type of terrain for a long run. There were many times throughout I felt like a beginner vs. the expert runner I’ve worked so hard to become. But when I felt discouraged those few times, I always snapped out of it quick. I kept my head up and attitude positive, all the while knowing that, at the end of the day, this was giving me a great workout and fueling my growth. Best part: not a treadmill in sight!

When was the last time you broke out of your workout comfort zone? Or could you use a hilly, snow-filled training run of your own? Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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Best Stretches for Runners

“A good goal and good exercise have one thing in common: Both require one to stretch”

Peanut butter and banana. Lennon and McCartney. Hockey and Doc Emrick. Some things go together well. In addition to these combos, one more of my personal favorites is Running and Stretching.

conspiracy-keanu

My face when people tell me they don’t stretch after running.

When people tell me they don’t stretch after running (or working out in general) I really have no words. Just the expression on my face, which is basically a horrible blank stare with a hint of disbelief. “I know what you just said but I don’t understand because it’s so crazy…so maybe I didn’t actually hear anything.” That sort of reaction.

Then, when I come out of my shock coma, I find the words to tell said offender they need to stretch.

Now, I’m not one to tell people what to in life. I’m also not so arrogant that I think I know what’s better for someone’s body than they do. But I stand by this statement as one that’s applicable to all runners: You need to stretch after a workout. You make time to get in the miles, make time to give them some TLC.

If you’re looking for a quick stretching routine or aren’t really sure where to start, don’t worry – I got ya! Below are the five essential stretches for runners.Stretch1

1. Standing Quad Stretch
Basic, simple, easy. If you need to hold onto a chair, brace yourself on the wall or something as a balance check, go for it. Otherwise, use it as an opportunity to practice balance.

 

2. Standing V-Stretch Stretch2
This one is great for a full stretch and it’s versatile – just slight changes to your weight distribution, hands/arm placement and angle of your feet to hit different muscles and get a nice, satisfying stretch.

Example Rotation: Stand in a V with feet facing forward. Bend at the waist, straight down. You’ll feel a nice stretch along the back of your legs up to your glutes.
Then, angle your left foot so it’s pointing left, reach left and shift your bodyweight left. Now, you’ll primarily feel the stretch in the inner part of your left leg.
Finally, take your right foot and point it into the same direction of your left, then shift your arms so one is on either side of your left leg. Now the stretch is hitting your left quad and right calf/hamstring. Stretch3

3. Hip Flexor Stretch
Often called “the runner stretch” this one hits a hard-to-reach, yet incredibly important area for runners. Hip flexors go through a lot and are very injury-prone, especially for runners who don’t have strong legs or are newer to the sport.

Bonus: This is another one you can modify to feel slightly different stretches and based on your balance – you can keep your back knee off the ground or on it, if needed. Stretch4

4. Seated Hamstring Stretch
If it first you can’t reach your toes, just keep at it – gently. It’s very easy to want to push this stretch past the point of comfort or even pain.

Remember: Stretching should never be painful.

Stretch5

5. Seated Glute Stretch
Your biggest muscle deserves a good, deep stretch after a hard run. Be careful you’re not twisting or putting too much pressure on your knee. You can vary this stretch by doing it standing or seated in a chair.
These are just my top 5; there are a ton of additional stretches I do post-run and depending on the type of running workout. And I know there are more good ones out there. What are your favorites? Comment below or tweet them to me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

If you like this post, please share it with fellow runners on Facebook and Twitter.

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10 Signs You’re A Gym Rat

“It’s nice to have a home away from home”

The gym is its own little world. Many of you reading already know this. Those of you just getting into a routine have probably started to recognize it and that regular gym-goers have tendencies.

You’ll notice members operate on schedules. Some come at 5:05 a.m. on the dot every morning, others adjust their time slightly but it’s always based on when their class of choice is offered.

Gym-Rat

Three favorites in my crew – and I met them all through the gym.

You’ll notice there are groups and cliques. Some do cardio together, some take classes together, others lift together.

You’ll notice people have habits. Some drop their weights on purpose (assholes), others throw their weights (giant assholes). Some hog cardio machines or benches for an entire workout (FYI I’m totally THAT girl – gym confession) while others bounce between multiple machines in a single workout.

In the spirit of the gym being THE place to be this time of year, I’ve come up with 10 clear-cut signs you live at the gym. If you’ve reached the point of becoming an official gym rat, the following 10 items are going to resonate with you. If you haven’t yet reached the point, look at this as a fun preview of what’s to come!

1. The “They Know You” Effect
The front desk staff knows you by name. The trainers know you by your routine or unique habits. The class instructors smile and wave when they pass you in the locker area. You spend as much time there as those who are paid to be there.

This effect extends to your fellow, regular gym-goers too. Which leads into my next two points.
2. The “Reverse Cheers Bar” Effect
There’s an awkward moment all gym regulars know about. When you go to the gym a lot, you get to know others who are there regularly too. But thanks to headphones, planned workout routines and limited equipment availability, you can get caught in your own little world and may never actually talk to others. You know their faces but it’s literally the reverse of Cheers; your regular spot but NOT everybody knows your name. This can lead to some awkward moments when you see them out in public.

“Do I say hi? Do I smile or just nod my head? Do I avoid eye contact completely because technically we don’t really know each other?”

If you go to the gym a lot, you’ve had these conversations with yourself. Guaranteed.

Ron-Swanson

The man, the legend behind the Ron Swanson Effect

3. The “Ron Swanson” Effect
…Speaking of those people, even if you never speak to them, you get to know that core group of people really well. You can learn a lot about people based on their etiquette at the gym – or lack thereof. You also know their schedule, how they look in spandex, maybe even how much they squat or how fast they run. All of this and likely never speaking to them.

The reason for the name of this effect comes from the brilliant, albeit fictional, Ron Swanson who said, “I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes.”


4. The “Gym Bag” Effect
I’ve never been one to carry a purse. But you best believe I never leave for the day without my gym bag. Part of my routine is to head there straight after work – good habit and prevents me from stopping at home and winding up in comfy sweats on the couch with a box of Cheez-Its. To forget my bag of essentials throws a major wrench in my routine. When you become a gym rat, you’ll value this cargo carrier above all others.

5. The “Locked, Stocked and Two Smokin Barrels” Effect
And about that gym bag…a gym rat’s is always stocked full of any item that may be needed – and likely a whole lot of stuff that’s not. I don’t swim every day but my swim cap and goggles are always packed, just in case. Backup earbuds, extra socks, gum, ponytail holders and headbands? Got em! Even band-aids, just in case a blister has emerged that could hamper a workout.

Some people lay out their outfit the night before. I like to make sure the bag is ready to go, every night before I go to bed. There’s no worse feeling than getting to the gym, amped up for a workout, only to realize I’ve forgotten a sports bra.
6. The “Pseudo Trainer” Effect
This is what happens when you’re not a trainer yet people seem to think otherwise. About five years ago, I was exchanging pleasantries with the manager of the gym I went to when, out of the blue, he offered a job as a personal trainer. When I told him I wasn’t a trainer, I was a PR Director at an ad agency, you’d think he was a five-year-old and I just told him Santa Claus wasn’t real.

Then there’s the simpler side of this where you’re often asked for advice because others have seen you and trust you. There have been a handful of times a fellow gym-goer has asked me about exercises I’m doing, and if I ‘d recommend them. One told me he copies moves I do on a regular basis – that’s something I totally do too when I see someone doing something that looks legit. No shame in this, people. Learn from others whenever you can!
7. The “Favoritism” Effect
You have a favorite treadmill, bench, bike in spin class, even locker or parking space. It can throw off your workout in a big way if your favorite is being used by another person. This is one you must and will quickly get over. It happens all the time, busy season or not.
8. The “FOMOG” Effect
Otherwise known as Fear of Missing Out on the Gym. You hate missing two days or – gulp – more! And when it happens, you’ve never been so excited for that first workout back.
9. The “Search Party” Effect
Just as you notice those two days in a row you missed, others notice too – and may even become concerned.

Last year I was really sick and missed the first part of the week at the gym. When I returned on Thursday, a fellow regular came up to me and asked where I had been, even said he was worried I was sick or hurt. I’d give him a shoutout here, if only I knew his name…
10. The “Social Calendar” Effect
I always plan out my week at the gym. I have to think regulars do this too. Planning is the best set up for a successful, regular gym routine. You know if you have something going on and need to get your workout in early in the morning vs. a usual evening sesh. You know if you should move your rest day based on other obligations. Personally, it also helps me decide what days I want to focus on a running workout vs. lift legs or upper. Naturally, peak gym times factor into that planning too.

Can you grab lunch tomorrow? Let me check…nope, lap swim is over the noon hour, sorry!

Going to the bar Friday night? Well, that’s the least-crowded night in the weight room so yeah, I’m gonna be “bellied up” to the bar, so to speak. I mean, what better way to start the weekend anyway, right?

These things will happen.

Can you relate to these? What are some other signs that confirmed you were a gym rat? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Diets Don’t Work – No Matter What Oprah Says

“The commercials have spoken! You’re really gonna lose the weight this time.”

Weight Watchers really struck gold this year. Have you seen its new commercials? With Oprah?! OMG having Oprah as your spokeswoman is about the best thing ever. Everyone loves her, everyone trusts her. That’s like having…I sat here for awhile trying to come up with an equal or near-equal comparison to it but I can’t. She’s just that awesome.

Like any weight loss program with a solid celebrity behind it – think the ultra-relatable Marie Osmond for NutriSystem or crazy-adorable Valerie Bertinelli for Jenny Craig – Weight Watchers is probably going to rack up tons of added business thanks to Ms. O. But does that mean it’s the answer? Does that mean it’s a good program for you? And will it work for Oprah, a woman who has very openly struggled with weight management? The answer to all is probably No.

Protein-Egg-Veggie-Sandwich

This won’t fit in a pink box & prob has too many “points” – but it will nourish, fuel & satisfy me!

I’m not hating on programs with celebrity spokespeople and I’m certainly not rooting against Oprah to succeed in her weight loss goals. Celebrities aside, I just want to take a look at these programs, the root of what they are. And it’s not good. What makes these programs so appealing is what also makes them bad. Simply put, they’re wrong.

Diets don’t work. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Diets don’t work. Yet companies like Weight Watchers, NutriSystem and Jenny Craig prey on the hope and belief that, maybe this time, it will be different. Maybe this time, it will work. Maybe this time, I’ll really lose weight and be happy. But it won’t be, it won’t and you won’t.

The reason they don’t work? Dieting is sad.
Thinking of food in terms of “points” you can’t exceed is sad.
Having to pass up beers with friends is sad.
Being restricted to eating food only if it fits into a bright-colored container is sad.
Not allowing yourself to enjoy a piece of cake at your kids’ birthday is sad.
Being hangry is sad.

The other problem with all these programs is they only focus on one half of the equation: eating. In doing so, food becomes the enemy. Something to be avoided. Something shameful.

That’s sad. And it’s so, so wrong.

None of these programs address the real reason behind obesity and health issues: people just don’t move enough. That’s the root of all the issues. Bad food choices may be part of it but lack of exercise is the real problem (and I’m not even talking hardcore exercise in the gym, I’m just talking about not sitting on your ass every minute of the day).

Squat-Workout

Duh, why doesn’t everybody?

How many times have you heard someone (or said it yourself) use the excuse, “I don’t have time to work out.” That’s such bullshit. Everyone has the time; maybe not every day, or if you have a new baby, or if you just moved to a new town, that sort of thing. But everyone has the time, it’s that not everyone makes the time. Why is that? Why are we so hardwired to loathe and fear exercise?

The weight loss folks know this. You’ll notice, none of these programs mention working out – in fact, a lot of them gain notoriety for bragging that you don’t have to work out to see results. They prey on people’s hatred of breaking a sweat. But again, why?

Rather than focusing on restricting food (which sounds kinda depressing) and avoiding certain foods (have I mentioned that’s sad?) to lose weight, why not focus on eating right to fuel the body? Eating right to nourish your body? That sounds good and positive! It’s because these companies know their market, they know their potential customers. And no one looking at these programs has health as their #1 priority. The #1 priority? Being skinny.

I think that’s wrong. And here’s why, just using myself as an example: Confidence

I don’t diet. I don’t gorge and eat with reckless abandon. I eat consciously, keeping in mind my goals, my health and my happiness. Eating to fuel my workouts, nourish my body and enjoy life. And you know what? I’m happy with myself and the way I look. Do I have a belly and some excess weight here or there? Of course! But I’m good with it because it just comes with the territory, my endomorph genetics and the balance (not perfection) I strive for every day.

This type of confidence doesn’t come from a diet. In fact, I think dieting does a better job zapping a person’s confidence than it does building it up. Me personally, my confidence comes, not from the size pants I wear, but from the level of fitness I’ve built. I can squat more than my bodyweight and help a friend move her couch. I can sprint, run marathons, and bounce up five flights of stairs – in dress shoes – without getting out of breath.

It’s worth repeating: You can’t get that kind of confidence from a diet. I don’t care if Jillian Michaels, Autumn Calabrese or even Oprah herself endorses it. You can’t.

What you can do is make your own program, something that works for you. Something that keeps you healthy and makes you happy. Especially because it’s New Year’s Resolution time, please don’t fall into the diet trap this year. Find a way to succeed that doesn’t revolve around counting points or fitting your food into expensive tupperwear.

If you agree with me, please share this post on Twitter or your Facebook page!

And if you have a great goal for 2016 that doesn’t involve weight, being skinny or any of that crap, high fives. Comment below or tweet it to me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter..

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Don’t You Dare Make a New Year’s Resolution…

“The New Year – Time to renew that gym membership you’re never going to use past January”

I despise New Year’s Resolutions. Anyone who has followed my blog for some time, even on occasion, knows this.

Resolution-Fails

Mmmm…Oreos.

So I don’t need to write a blog about why I hate NYRs.
I don’t need to tell you the statistics of how many people fail their NYRs.
I don’t need to explain that I believe most people give up on NYRs because it’s “expected” and that makes it easy or okay to quit.
I don’t need to vent my frustrations of the gym being packed the first five or six weeks of the New Year and how annoying it is for those of us who are committed to fitness the other 46 to 47 weeks out of the year.

No, I’m not going to do that.

Instead, let’s talk about something I love – goals. There’s never a bad time to set a new goal so, if you set a quality one now (not a resolution, a solid goal that you are committed to achieving) that’s good. For my ND and MN friends, or anyone willing to travel, I have a great one for you: The Fargo Marathon!

First-Marathon

Had to dig into the archives to find this – my first full marathon!

Like my feelings on NYRs, anyone who follows or occasionally reads my blog knows I love the Fargo Marathon. It was my first race ever and I have run it every year for the past nine. In fact, I love it so much that last week I did a commercial where I made a Fargo Marathon Resolution – I know, I know. But in addition to my love for the race, I also respect good marketing so I was happy to do it.

Sorry, back to the actual Fargo Marathon. I’m super excited that, for my 10th anniversary, I’m going to be pacing the half marathon. At this time, I’m schedule to pace the 2:05 group. Even if my time slot changes, how perfect is this going to be?! The first race I ever ran and now I get to – hopefully – motivate and help others achieve their running goal and cross the finish line.

After I qualified for the Boston Marathon last year (at the Fargo Marathon!), I started thinking about how I would participate in the 2016 Fargo Marathon. Boston is only a month prior to Fargo so I wasn’t counting on being able to run the Fargo full, as I have for the past seven years. At first I was a little bummed but also happy knowing I could still do the half, 10k or 5k. Then the opportunity to be a pacer came up and I jumped at the chance.

Even if you don’t end up running with my pace group, one of my lovely, fellow Twin Cities pacers will be there to guide and motivate you through the miles. You won’t have to run alone and there are tons of running clubs and training program for those who need help preparing too. So go for it!

Ready to train for the Fargo half marathon – or any spring race? Share this post & encourage others to run with you!

And please tweet me any questions, requests for advice or if you’re just in need of a motivation boost, @runlikeagirl311. Or comment right here and I’ll respond. Happy 2016, friends!

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