Working On My Fitness

I’m about halfway through Couch to 5K which is somewhat demoralizing for me because this is about the the eight millionth time that I’ve done C25K. Not to mention that I used to run half marathons. But that was also the time that I burned myself out. Like down to the ground. So not doing that again. These days I’m more like…

img_1048Purple Clover

But here’s the thing (confession time) – I actually really like going to the gym. Actually, let me re-phrase that. I takes a lot to wedge me out of bed/off my couch, but once I’m in the gym, I enjoy it. I get my playlist going and those endorphins hit me, and suddenly I’m having dreams of becoming a gym rat.

I’m trying to be a more well-rounded gym rat this time around, which includes cross training (which I’ve never been consistent about), eating better (hardest part but baby steps) and trying not to overdo it.

For all my quitter tendencies, I will say that I have a decent work ethic in general which translates to most everything I do. When I do something, I try my best to do it right and force myself to work through it even when it’s hard. Hence my tendency to burnout, but I’m trying to reform my former burnout ways.

That being said, my former half marathon past is helpful in my current journey. Actually, it’s helpful in a lot of things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself, “You ran 13.1 miles, you can do X for five more minutes.” I also remember that when I was training for half-marathons, I would use childbirth the same way. “You were in labor for 3 days, you can suffer through this for X more minutes.”

Running/working out is 90% mental.

Beyond reliving the pain of childbirth, I still remember a lot of OTHER tips and tricks that helped me get through the tougher training times. Here’s a few tips for the runner in you if/when you are ever struggling through a run:

  1. When you start to struggle, count your steps up to 100. This helps you slow down (hopefully) without stopping. By the time you reach 100, you’ll be surprised by how much better you feel and if it worked, you’ll have gotten a second wind. If not, keep counting until you do
  2. When you get tired, check your running form. One of the things I learned about myself is that I have terrible form and I have to concentrate on it. When you have good form, it takes less effort. Better running form looks like this:
    • Imagine yourself like a puppet with a string being pulled straight from the top of your head and someone is pulling you upward.
    • Lean forward slightly like you are leaning into a stiff breeze
    • Pick up your knees. This is also helpful for hill running. When you run up hill, lift up your knees like you are doing a high knee workout or pretend you are a horse prancing. You may slow down, but if feels like less effort. My neighborhood is dirty full of hills and I got reeeeaaallll good at running them with this method.
  3. Slow the f*** down. The only person you are racing is yourself. I personally hate running in groups because I’m a pretty slow runner (even at my fastest) and it’s hard to find someone who runs at my natural pace. I do much, much better solo where I can speed up and slow down as my body demands
  4. Concentrate on your breathing. If you are huffing and puffing, you are most likely going too fast. Go back to #3 (i.e. slow the f*** down) and work on getting your breathing under control. Whatever pace you can run at without choking on the air is probably your natural running pace (for now.)

Do what works for you – I hate running in groups, but maybe that motivates you. Do what you gotta do to make it through your run.

What tips/tricks do you use?


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