Life’s more vibrant with running.
More running motivation HERE
1) Where do most of your runs take you? ie: roads, trail, track, etc.
2) What are typical Friday and weekend night plans for you?
3) Running brings color into my life by…
Life’s more vibrant with running.
More running motivation HERE
1) Where do most of your runs take you? ie: roads, trail, track, etc.
2) What are typical Friday and weekend night plans for you?
3) Running brings color into my life by…
I’m sure it can be a little tough for spouses waking up to a cold left side of the bed…”Sorry Honey, out running.” Being in a relationship with a runner may mean pleading out of weekend plans because they’ve got their long runs, races, workouts, and whatnot. All night ravers and barhopping don’t exactly work well into the training program.
Air-drying our running shirts and tights across the banister, cupboards full of protein bars and Gu’s…the oft empty refrigerator. “Sorry Honey, I got hungry!!” That’s runger for you.
Certainly the friends and loved ones of a runner may suffer, they may not ‘get it’, they may not harbor ANY desire to worship the all-mighty mile, rock a Garmin tan so burned into your skin it lasts through winter, or not bat an eye about wearing ‘short’ running shorts in public. “Seriously, they’re not even that short.”
The thing is though, TRUE friends and TRUE loved ones may not always ‘get’ our running
quirks habits but they will support us regardless. Some have argued that running is a ‘selfish sport’ and in some ways it may appear to be. But I will always argue that any selfishness is absolved so long as:
1) Every running KNOWS how lucky they are for any support they get.
2) Always thank those awesome people waiting at the starting line or watching your kiddies (or doggies, or plants, or comic book collection) so you can go for a run.
3) Running makes you a happier, more productive, better you.
Any runner who does that, not only DESERVES their running ‘me’ time but shouldn’t feel any ounce of guilt. Even if they’re dodging out of the marriage bed in the wee early morning hours and their spouse is left to spoon with a pillow. You’re not cheating…you’re a runner.
1) What are some ways that you are lucky, what pillars of support do you have in your life?
2) How do you thank your awesome family or friends who think you’re crazy for this running thing but support you anyways?
3) How does YOU running make you a better person and how does that benefit your supporters?
Umm…if I didn’t run no one would want to be around me…fact.
I love running, I think it’s the BEST sport in the World. But it’s a hard sport, mentally and physically. Like really hard. Running isn’t like most other team sports, there can be a fantastic team aspect, but ultimately running is a test of YOU against YOURSELF.
The rigors of training, hard workouts, are a lot to ask of oneself, us runners are quite demanding. Those demands should come internally and 99% of runners are the type-A, OCD personalities who tend to be their own harshest critics. THAT kind of drive and motivation is what separates runners from the slew of people making New Years Resolutions that don’t eclipse January. The traits that can make you the best can also suck the joy from your running if you’re not careful.
When youth running can turn into a nightmare, often times it’s because TOO MUCH is being done. Too much mileage, too many workouts, too much intensity of workouts, too much pressure that’s NOT coming from within.
When a child is running more for a parent or coach, when that child feels like their own self-worth is tied up in that, THAT is when things are ugly.
It’s hard to pinpoint or assess, as with so many other things with running, the line between a healthy relationship with running for youths and one that is destructive is fine, unique to each individual, and a bit ambiguous to explain.
I’ve written a few articles on this topic, one HERE for Run, Blog, Run, and I’ve talked to many coaches and other athletes as well. In short:
* Professional, REALLY KICK BUTT amazing runners that become parents, most of them take the opposite extreme when it comes to their kids and running. They stand WAY back, get their kids involved in tons of other things, and if their child winds up going into running their parents can be sure it was of the child’s own desire. I think that’s how it should be done.
* Fun, fun, fun: The younger the kid, the more fun, loose, relaxed relationship with running they should have. We’re talking short runs, most of those just being totally easy and not even aware of the pace. Not running every day, and preferably in a group environment. Let them be with their friends, who cares about a ‘training regimen.’
* Plenty of Time: Running isn’t gymnastics, you don’t peak at 12 years old, it’s a sport that rewards the patient. When I say PLENTY of time, lots of amazing runners weren’t even serious until college. I liked the story Coach Dena Evans, who ran as a youth and was the Women’s coach at Stanford, told me. When recruiting two of the then top high school females, Katy and Amanda Trotter, the twins were struggling to decide between running cross country or playing soccer their senior years. “I told them, go, have fun, do the soccer with your friends, I’m not going to recruit you any less,” advised Evans. Incidentally the twins DID run cross country and Evans jokes, “Katy ended up second at Footlocker Nationals, so what did I know, right?!” But the point is: Dena Evans KNEW they were talented, had the work ethic, and that there was PLENTY of time for them to develop in college. She wanted to let them just keep it fun as long as possible.
* Parents and Coaches: For parents, the bottom line is whatever happens on the race course or during anything running related should be TOTALLY separate from all else the child does. Keep the two identities separate, don’t bring the running to the dinner table. As for coaching youth runners, less is more. From my article, Emily Sisson says it well, “It’s always important [for parents] to remember to put their [children's] happiness first…I attribute a lot [of my improvement] to the fact that my parents and coaches held me back a bit.” Eventually in 2010, Sisson lowered the 5,000m US High-School Record, after-which she’s continued to improve. “Running should always be something that you do because you love to do it. It shouldn’t become something you do to please someone else.”
Personally, despite both my parents being runners, I didn’t even test out running until about 8th grade. I joined a local club and thought running a WHOLE mile was amazing, didn’t run every day, didn’t even count mileage until maybe Junior year of high school, and my parents held me back when they needed to. I never lost my passion for running, not once.
Youth running should be dictated BY the youth runner. Meaning the passion must come from within, it should be THEIR goals. Ultimately any parents or coaches are merely there to guide them, following from behind. Often times that means holding back eager young runners and assuring them that LATER is when they can do more, more, more, and they’ll be much better off with patience.
1) Do you think there is an age that’s ‘too young’ to run?
Not an age, it’s more on the relationship the child is having. I LOVE seeing kiddies genuinely pumped about running.
2) If you have kids, are any of them interested in running?
3) Anything you’d like to say on the topic?
It’s that special time of year where
every runner everyone is a little kinder, a bit more generous, and hopped up on hot cocoa and sugar cookies!! Amidst all the list making, if you REALLY want to win over the hearts of your family, friends, or that certain someone…you better have stashed away in that gift pile some brand spanking new running shoes!!
Other acceptable presents that are sure-fire ways to rock the recipients’ holidays are:
* A Garmin
* An AWESOME running shirt
* A PR…
…actually that last one you have to go out and win for yourself!
Happy Holidays my runner friends!!
1) What’s something that you’re excited to be giving to someone this year?
2) It IS the spirit of giving but let’s be honest, is there one item in particular you’re really hoping to get?
3) Best holiday gift you’ve ever gotten? Best one you’ve ever given?
Gotten, wow, there’s a few. I think I’d like to share that I was SOOOOOO pumped when a talking PeeWee Herman doll was was unwrapped. “I know you are, but what am I?”
Okay, I’m sure every runner remembers that game “Two Truths and a Lie.” You come up with two stories or facts that are true then one that is, well duh, a lie. Trying to make it tricky for your friends to figure out the lie, usually you pick some pretty off the wall REAL things that happened. Well, here will be a little runner’s version of that.
Finally I may have a better shot at pulling one over on you guys, I’m pretty sucky at lying face-to-face, so now I can hide my smirks behind the words.
Running Shoots the Brain Up With Endorphins = Puts You in a Happy Mood
Exercise causes the body to release ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins. When these are picked up by the brain’s receptors it puts you in a happier, more positive mood. But let’s be honest and say that running gives you cooler endorphins than other forms of exercise.
Endorphins released from running give the brain a similar kind of ‘high’ or sensation that people experience doing other not-so-healthy alternatives: drugs, binge eating, gambling…and if we’re going to acknowledge it as a true addiction…sex addiction?? (haha…wow, I’m so mature, right?) So people recovering from other addictions have found taking up running, or other forms of exercise, really helpful. Maybe LiLo should really stick with this running thing.
Running, because of the natural ‘high’, and the positive reinforcement of setting goals, putting in hard work, and reaching those goals, has also proven to be helpful with those struggling with depression. Running also introduces people up to a new community and friendships, so those relationships also help with feeling better. Finally, anyone who’s had a runner buddy can attest that some of the best free therapy sessions come from a good, solid run with lots of chatter.
Running Helps Bolster Confidence
Running is hard. Bam…straight to the obvious. It takes a lot of self-motivation, effort, and pushing your limits to achieve those goals we set. But, when those goals are fulfilled, there are fewer more rewarding sensations. Hello, how awesome is the feeling of crossing the finish line and earning a brand spanking new PR?!?!?
Going through that goal setting and goal fulfillment process instills a work ethic and helps breed confidence. Running has a great way of helping boost self-esteem because of that confidence. Also, it gives you a whole new level of respect for yourself and your body; you view this body as a vehicle for performance, something that can really DO big things!!
Running and Endorphins Solve All ‘Feeling Bum’ Moods and Sad Feelings
So really we could solve all of life’s problems if we all just started running, right? I mean, hello, we’ll then have a world full of people with brains chock-loaded with endorphins. We’ll eliminate all drug problems, all forms of substance abuse, we’ll save all those marriages destroyed by ‘sex addiction’, we’ll even clean up all of Hollywood so will movies be better??
There will no longer be anyone struggling with low self-esteem or depression either. Right?
Okay, I think you see where I’m going and that last one is obviously the lie. YES, running does release endorphins but, sadly, they aren’t a cure-all for more serious underlying issues. While, I still think that having running as a positive outlet in ADDITION to other forms of treatment help with these things, running isn’t a magical cure-all.
I bring this up because I contributed a post to ‘The Anxious Girls’ Guide to Dating: Silencing the Inner Critic’ because it touches on some more ‘serious’ stuff I don’t always talk about here. Also, recently the British hurdler, Jack Green, has come forward saying he’s switching sports because he’s working to recovery from his depression.
Now the telegraph article sort of ‘blames’ the intensity of the sport of running for causing him to slip into this depression, while that may or may not be the case, I would like to say two things. 1) Yes, competing and training at such a high level naturally can put someone in the position of letting too much stress get to them, and when you’ve invested so much of yourself into the sport and you wind up falling short of your goals or injured, that can be a crushing blow magnified times a billion. 2) HOWEVER, I don’t think it’s as simple as that; as a professional athlete you go in knowing that you’re not always going to win and that running IS cruel because there will always be injuries, and it’s a sport that tests you like none-other. That said, you should have an underlying, true, self-motivated passion for simply running.
That is another whole other topic I could write on, but the main points I wanted to get out are that:
1) You should always run from within, truly love running. If you love the feeling of pushing yourself you can have a life-long relationship with running and that appreciation will get you through the ‘low points’ (ie: injuries, falling short)
2) Running is one of the best forms of free therapy and it certainly keeps many of us runners sane. But realize it’s also totally natural to have days where you feel crummy, most times running can HELP that…but it’s also not the magic bullet. If you need to supplement with other things…don’t be ashamed or shy. Plus, when you’re truly happy with yourself and your life it has a funny way of actually making your performance better. Shocker, right? [sarcastic font used...it's not a shocker...hehe.]
Run…be happy…my friends!!
1) Give me two truths and a lie on anything.
2) How has running helped improve your overall happiness, confidence, self-esteem, life, etc?
Way too many ways to count. Running keeps me sane!
3) What are some other ways, outside of running, that keep you happy in life?
Close friendships and family. Yea, my younger sib’s rock!
Children with runner parents put up with a lot. Mom and Dad head out early for their weekend long runs. Dinnertime table talk could err on the side of TMI compared to other families…
“God, I have the WORST chaffage right HERE…”
And then there are the runner foods that consume the cupboards.
Enter my latest Runner’s Strip Cartoon Movie Shorts: “Recess Snack Swap”
Don’t get me wrong, kids that have runner parents are INSANELY lucky. They have role models that show just how much fun exercise and fitness can be, that adopting healthy habits will make you happier and more productive in other areas of life. Kids that watch their parents set and strive for running goals witness first had how powerful hard work and dedication are. But, Mom and Dad, try to keep in mind Chocolate flavored GU’s don’t go for very much on the playground black market.
Kids with runner parents are much more likely to become self-motivated and persistent individuals themselves. And hey, if they wind up runners themselves…even better!! #spreadtheaddiction
For more Runner’s Strip Cartoons…go HERE!
Posts on runner nutrition…go HERE.
1) What was your favorite snack growing up?
Anyone remember Dunkaroos???
2) what is a go-to snack for you now?
3) If you have kids, do they like any ‘runner foods’?
Running is one of those sports that is pretty much you against yourself. But that’s not quite right because running FORCES you, if you want to be your absolute best, to rely on a few key other people as well. There is an incredible amount of trust you must put on others in order to ultimately trust yourself and your own capabilities.
Not everyone has a coach, so this trust must be shifted to that of the training program, whatever that may be. You see, to get the confidence one needs to excel in racing you have to have to have ‘proof’ by way of your training. Hard evidence from grueling workouts that you survived; you remind yourself you’ve outlasted the pain before and can do it again. The concrete TIMES and numbers also don’t lie and offer up ample proof. You need to trust your training come race day.
You need to feel comfortable with your competitors. The word trust here is slightly altered; more fitting is embracing those runners next to you throughout the race. They are the ones pushing you, driving you to reach your potential, pulling you along to times and feats you may not even realized you were capable of. You THRIVE under the presence of your competition.
Trust is spot on for what you must feel amongst your training partners. Be them actual bodies pulling you through workouts (probably the most ideal situation) or those you communicate with online. Either way they keep you extra accountable; the shove you sometimes need to either get out the door or pick up the pace when necessary.
Physical training partners make a world of difference. Bonds of trust, reliance, friendship, and so much more are created through sweat and miles. Those bonds are more resilient than any amount of words or coffee dates. Your training partners begin to know you and have a sense of your ‘running self’ a bit like a coach; not to the same degree but in that direction. You need to TRUST your teammates and training partners, use that relationship as the ‘good’ kind of pressure when the gun goes off. Race for yourself first, then race amongst your teammates knowing they too have confidence in your abilities. Finally, race with extra confidence in seeing your teammates thrive; if you’re doing the same amount of work as them, the better they do is PROOF that the better you can do.
There is a world of trust and gratitude that each and every runner needs to have in their other supporters. Be them parents cheering or significant others who accept that running time isn’t selfish time; the physical therapists who piece us back together after injuries, the massage therapists if we’re lucky enough to snag a rub-down from. Then there are the poor souls who listen to us rant during times of injuries or bad races; give us some time to vent but then push us to get into a positive and proactive mindset to keep moving forward.
Running gets coined as a selfish sport but it isn’t so long as each runner acknowledges they are NOT an island, but that they have a network of those they must rely on and TRUST in to reach all of those lofty goals they strive for.
1) Who are some of the people you have trust in and ‘use’ to become the runner you have become and want to be?
2) Do you have a coach? How long have you been with them and what is that relationship like?
3) Name a source of support you get that is a non-runner.
My little siblings (getting not so little) are blessed with coordination so compete is other sports…hehe.
Let’s talk The Hunger Games. I’ll be honest, I don’t usually fall into the mass hysteria type trends; I have never read nor seen a Twilight installment, we all know how I feel about P90X, and I have yet to hyperventilate due to Bieber Fever.
Then everyone started talking about how epic The Hunger Games books were and how they were even more excited when they saw the trailer for the movie. My interest was piqued, but then anyone I talked to was so mysterious when it came to describing said book. “Well, it’s kind of hard to explain, I can’t really without spoiling it. All I can say is you HAVE to read it.” Hmmm, thanks for the glowing review, could you be any more vague?
So what I then started to picture in my mind was a cross between some weird eating disorder stand-off, Survivor-esque torches and challenges somehow involving food, and maybe even some feats of strength. (Double points to anyone who just thought of Seinfeld at that last one.)
Eventually I DID in fact read the first book, thanks to my brother who hates reading telling me that it’s his favorite book and he couldn’t put it down…that said something coming from the high school sophomore. I scorched through the book in time so that he and I could go see the movie when it comes out this Friday. How awesome that he just informed me that he bought tickets for the 12am showing…the kid is the best especially since he’s got school later in the day, but c’mon a person’s got to have priorities!
I will say the book is great and I’m looking forward to the movie, however a part of me is a bit disappointed that none of my imagined plot lines or scenes were anywhere in the book. So without further adieu, I think I’ll share a version of The Arty Runnerchick’s Hunger Games: What didn’t make the cut:
* You want hungry? We’ll start of course with a morning long run, but not your ordinary long run. To really get the pistons firing on all cylinders and really spike that metabolism we know that intervals are the key here. So what better way to wake up the bottomless pit stomach monster than combining BOTH intervals and lots of miles…oh yes, we went there.
* Marathon training awakens the beast. Remember our first running comic episode (Runner’s Strip: Marathon Dad)? I think it illustrates our point well. Not all of your long runs should be hard, we know this, most are just getting the distance in. However, every so often adding a tempo or harder intervals (think mile repeats or 2 mile or 3 mile repeats) within the long run will set you up for success. A progressive long run is another way to go where you break those miles up into segments; warm-up/slightly slower than marathon pace/marathon pace/slightly faster than marathon pace/half marathon pace/etc. I even read that one of the top marathoners would end his long run at the track and do that last mile literally all out. You don’t have to go that far, but progressively lowering the pace is a great way to condition yourself to negative split.
* Weight session. Muscle burns more calories than fat, make yourself more lean muscle and you’ll be elevating your metabolism all day even while you snooze. Let’s hit the weight room and for us long distance folks we’re going for lower weights and higher repetitions…do them circuit style so you don’t get rest between and you keep your heart rate up.
* Plyo it out. Plyometrics are explosive efforts and, similar to intervals, they spike your metabolism and keep it elevated hours afterwards in what is called the ‘after burn’ effect. Interestingly, you could then be famished more from a shorter but intensive plyo session than than a steady state run that lasted longer.
* And then we drool. We all know as athletes we should refuel within 30 minutes of finishing our sweat sessions…this is CRUCIAL! You wait until after those 30 minutes and your muscle’s and body’s recovery rate drops by at least 60%. But because it is the Hunger Games after all, we now must wait and ogle over all the glorious mounds of foodset before you. Here is where we go Survivor style.
Nope, none of this was in the actual Hunger Games, but do any of the above and I’m sure you’ll be hungry. Gotta feed the beast!
1) Did you read The Hunger Games? Are you planning on seeing the movie?
2) What workouts leave you the most famished? Do you have those days where you feel like you’ve got a hollow stomach?
3) Do you have anything that should be added to our new take on The Hunger Games?
4) Favorite recovery food? Then food you most often dream about while working out?
Eggs and some kind of doughy carb/Pop-tarts or sweet doughy carb…hehe
Yes, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! I could also say St. Patty’s Day but every time I do it makes me think there should really be a Happy York Peppermint Patty’s Day somewhere around here too.
I hope you’ve all been having a great one and doing a little celebrating yourself. I’m not a drinker, so if you are feel free to have my leftover beers. I do love everything green, though, and you could find me noshing on some green chocolate chip pancakes. (My dad used to make those for us when I was a kid on St. Patty’s Day.)
It’s a fact that my all-time favorite color is lime green and so let’s hear it for a few more oh-so cliched Irish holiday inspired items:
* Don’t steal my lucky shamrock. Do you believe in luck? Do you have little trinkets, rituals, or things you swear to others you know don’t really bring you luck but you have them/do them anyways just because, well, it couldn’t hurt? Hey, I own up to the fact that whenever I see a clock reading 11:11 I make a wish to myself.
* Leaping Leprechauns! Those little guys have springs on their legs, or maybe they have just been doing a ton of plyometrics. I HATE doing those plyo’s, this girl can’t jump, but they work wonders for your speed. So get to jumping like a wee, green man!
* Corned beef and cabbage, say what? I’m not a big corned beef fan, I do like cabbage. But don’t shy away from all red meats if you do like them because they have iron, which is super important for runners! If you don’t like red meats (guilty) then seek out other iron rich foods…hey, spinach is a leafy green that contains a lot of iron. It could be cut into the shape of a clover too…maybe. Teehee.
* Pranksters! I wish I were really good at pulling off great pranks and such but I am so gullible that I usually end up being the one pranked. That said I use sarcasm like it’s going out of style and plenty of times people think I’m being serious and sometimes that gets me in a wee bit ‘o trouble.
* Spuds! I am in love with the spud, I’ll take me my fair share of potatoes and then some. My favorite is probably a big ‘ol baked potato loaded with chicken, broccoli…and actually cottage cheese. Is that last one weird? I don’t care, I like it. And for you skin haters…you’re missing out, the skin of the potato contains nearly all of the awesome vitamins and nutrients found in the potato…so choke the skin down if you have to. Jk.
* Friends and merry, good times. You picture people celebrating St. Patty’s Day and you think of parties, people, and good times. I’m all for that…whether you are a fellow sweat obsessed runner or not, you can be my friend.
Have a wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day and I think I’m going to talk to someone about instituting a York Peppermint Patty’s Day too! (naturally then, we’ll need a Junior Mints Day…just saying.)
1) What did you/are you doing for St. Patty’s Day?
2) What is your favorite St. Patty’s themed item?
3) Do you believe in ‘luck’ or do you have a lucky item/ritual?
4) Do you like potatoes? Are you a fan of corned beef and cabbage? How do you make sure you get enough iron? Pick any of those and answer…hehe.
How do you ‘eat the heart out’ of life? How do you celebrate the positives in life? Cherish even the little, fleeting moments, soak up what the moment may bring, and savor the deliciousness of what makes you smile?
Sometimes we can all get stuck in the hustle and madness that is our day to day schedule and blitz through a day without really even having ‘lived’ it…or sat down for that matter.
It’s also easy to get stuck going through the motions; sometimes it’s because you’re not exactly loving whatever it is you HAVE to do and going on auto-pilot is much easier. Hey, not everything we do in life we look forward to…we all have to scoop the dog poop one way or the other so to speak.
This happens in training too…the vast majority of those miles and workouts are not going to be filled with rainbows and sunshine. Unicorns won’t be frolicking around and shooting stars out of their behinds in your wake. Not every race will bring a PR…not every long run will go to plan.
But we don’t just run for the good times, because if you did that you might only run once or twice a year. You run for the quest of those ‘good times’…you keep putting money in the bank for the days you can then make a withdrawal. You stick to the path for the journey because even in those crappy runs there is the nugget of accomplishment when you are at least done and you put in work. Then, you REALLY should soak up those fantastic ‘ups’ and successes when they come…you worked hard for them!
But I think it’s important to remember that regardless of what you’re going through, where you are, there ARE positives. It may take some thinking at times, and during these times it may call for just going outside, turning your head to the sunlight and forcing a smile.
FORCED smiling, forced laughter can even feel good…liberating…and turn into a real smile…if even for a fleeting moment. And if that still doesn’t quite do the trick, try thinking back to something in childhood that made you smile…and if it’s taking a huge bite out of cotton candy…then by all means, indulge yourself.
1) How do you eat the heart out of life? If it’s tough to force a smile in the moment, what’s one way you make yourself remember how?
Usually thinking of my family or things I loved as a kid…Disney movies are always a sure fire way to time warp me back to an 8 year old me!
2) In training, what’s the ratio of the days you feel ‘great’ compared to the ‘not-so-awesome-but-it’s-done’?
Depends where I’m at…but have to say the ratio gets skewed when you’re only cross-training!! Haha.
3) Why is all the training time meaningful or ‘worth it’ to you? Is it PR’s, so you can eat like a runner, so you can be faster than your husband, because it keeps you sane???
The last one for sure!
4) Last thing that made you smile?
I was telling a story and my brother interjected this side comment that totally made my day…he didn’t even mean to, but it just made me stop and bust out laughing.