I Believe in the little things

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I believe that often it’s not the big things that trip us up, it’s the little things.

In prehab
I believe that rehab sucks, and  prehab (working on your weak areas before an injury), while not particularly fun, can definitely help.

In dynmaic stretching
I believe that just going out and running, for most people, can lead to injury. You know how stiff you feel when you’re cold? And how loose you feel when you’re warm?

Stiff things have a tendency to break. Loose things are more fluid.

In short bouts of strength training
I believe that you can really strengthen yourself in 10 minutes. You’re super busy and you don’t have time for that strength training or rehab, you say? Try 10 minutes before leaving for work. 10 minutes when you get home. 

It all adds up quickly. It really makes a difference.

Strength training isn’t just about looking buff or running faster. It’s about living your best life — having the strength to do the things you want to do.

In short doses of yoga frequently
. . . rather than just one or two classes a week.

There’s a reason they call it a yoga practice. Not in the practice makes perfect sense, but in the sense that you will reap more rewards the more you do it. Just like strength training, you don’t have to wait until you have an hour to spare.

In meal prepping
I believe that it’s all too easy to eat these days. Often the wrong things. The vending machines, the Starbucks, the Dunkin Donuts on every corner.

When you’re famished those donuts seems like an excellent idea. If you’re armed with your own healthy snacks and breakfasts, you are more likely to resist temptations — and the end result is that you feel better.

In cross training
I believe that far too many runners rely solely on running. And it’s the rare runner who doesn’t end up on the injured list at some point during their life.

Cross training can help prevent those injuries — and it gives you something to turn to if you do happen to end up injured.

In journaling
I believe that having a record of your running journey can be invaluable. It can help you determine what may have led to an injury or an illness. It can help you determine if you’re improving. It can help you see what you did in a previous training cycle that worked for you — or didn’t.

In rest
I believe that rest shouldn’t be a four letter word. It’s not really a small thing — rest can make all the difference between failure and success.

I believe that far too many runners see other runners running a race every weekend, or month, or running ___ times per week, or ____ number of miles, and fall prey to peer pressure, rather than listening to their own body and enjoying their own journey.

I believe the people who say they’ll sleep when they’re dead are heading for a breakdown somewhere along the road.

What small things do you believe in?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Which miracle would you like?

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I am totally stealing this from Another Mother Runner. I tend to be a rather serious person, but I do have a sense of humor and like to lighten things up every once in a while.

As you run by an aid station in a race, what miracle would you like? Let your mind “run” wild!

heartbreak
How wonderful would it be for this top to instantly dry as I ran by an aid station?
An instant wash/dry
Even during the winter, if I’m running hard, I’m sweating, too. And especially during the winter, once I stop, I get so chilled! Which is part of why I sort of like running in my neighborhood (actually, I really don’t, but it’s convenient) — I get to go right home and got out of my wet clothes.

So I’d love to run by an aid station and magically have all that sweat and salt disappear and just feel fresh again.

Instant Medical Attention
I’d love to run by an aid station and have an automatic chiropractor adjustment, massage, anti chafing cream application, blisters magically disappear — basically have whatever happens to be bothering me instantly be fixed.

So I can keep running without injuring myself and feel great at the end of the race.

Magic Bottles
Forget having to stop and grab a cup and try to drink it without spilling it all over yourself (unless it’s a hot day and then I do pour water on myself). Whatever way you choose to carry hydration, it just magically refills at the aid station . . . without you having to stop.

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Or to have that jacket tied around  my waist disappear as I ran past an aid station . . . 

Self Adjusting Clothes
We all know how hard it can be to dress for a race that starts cold and ends warm. Or one that is much warmer than the forecast.

So how about your jacket magically appears/disappears without you having to take it off? Go from tights to capris or shorts or a skirt without mooning everyone? Tank to a tee?

Stock Up on Whatever You Forgot
This is for that first aid station: forgot a water bottle? Fuel? Sunglasses? How about it just magically appears as you run by the first aid station?

What miraculous aid station are you wishing for?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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I want to run like a dog

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Or is that live like a dog?

Or any animal, really
Mindfulness. In the now. Being present. Animals, it seems, are the ultimate yogis. I’ve actually taken to calling Bandit Mr. Yogi because of his frequent down dogs. Of course Lola does them too, and Gizmo, but it just struck a chord with me with Bandit.

Animals don’t worry about the future. They don’t spend time contemplating their past. It’s why they’re so darn happy to see you, whether you’ve been gone for 5 minutes or a week.

Dogs run because they love to run. They don’t worry about how fast they’re running, or if those tights make their butt look big, they don’t worry about injury, they don’t even worry if they don’t have all 4 legs!

Dogs run because they love to run!

Being fully present is the best guarantee for a bright future.
— Guy Finley

The time crunched runner
That was me a few weeks ago — it was my peak week of running and because we took the time to celebrate my mom’s birthday with her, instead of just losing one day that week, I lost two.

So I headed out for a 7 mile easy run on what should have been a picture perfect day for it, which was a real gift. Instead of being in the present, though, I was worried about squeezing in the run in time to make it home to shower before meeting with the new pet sitter.

Little wonder that those 7 miles just seemed to drag on and on and brought me little joy.

Buddha mindfullnes is about the present, but I also think it’s about being real. Being awake to everything. Feeling like nothing can hurt you if you can look it straight on.
— Krista Tippett

So what’s the time crunched runner to do?
I really wish I could get that day back, but I can’t.  As runners we all have all sorts of tricks to get us through the bad runs, but we seem to forget about one of the best tricks of all: being present. Not worrying about what comes next or checking things off of your to-do list, but just being full present to what you’re doing in the moment.

So how can we turn off our brains and really show up for our runs?

  • Take several deep breaths before you start your warm up or your run
  • Contemplate why you’re doing this run before you start
  • Try a music-podcast free run
  • Take a moment to feel the sun on your face or enjoy the beauty of nature around you
  • Concentrate on your breath while you’re running

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

You may also surprise yourself. You may just give yourself a little burst of confidence. You may grow as a runner.

A few mindfulness resources
I went looking for a few other articles on mindfulness and running:

Do you practice mindfulness while running? Any tips for us?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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We have nothing to fear . . .

. . . but fear itself

Or do we?

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Striking the balance in training
Running is such a simple sport: one foot in front of another, at whatever pace you want. Except every runner knows it isn’t really as simple as it appears to the non-runner, even when it doesn’t appear simple to the non-runner.

There are a lot of runners out there who run because they simply love to run. They don’t care about their pace and they don’t care if they race or not. I’d like to say running really is simple for them, but even for the non-racing runner, it’s still not simple.

The truth is that runners are prone to injury. Running is good for you, no doubt about it, although you will never be able to convince the non-runner. Our ancestors may have run on a regular basis, but they didn’t generally run marathons every week, and they certainly didn’t pound the pavement.

So let’s all agree: it’s the rare runner that doesn’t end up on the injured list at some point in their life.

Injuries are not only a physical question, which is the most important thing, of course, but also a question of your mind. If you’re thinking: “I’m not going to make it”, “I can’t cope”, “It hurts”, “It’s never going to get better”, then it won’t.
— Luis Suarez

Once you’ve been injured, there’s always a little doubt in the back of your mind: is that little ache my injury returning, or worse yet, a new injury? Should I slow down, run less, run fewer days so I can keep running injury free?

Is the payoff worth it?
I hear it a lot: the point of racing is to have fun. I agree; what’s the point of doing things that aren’t fun? Of doing things that can injure you that aren’t fun?

So some runners play it safe. It’s not that they don’t race hard, but they’re afraid of injury, and maybe they don’t push themselves as hard as they are capable of. I’m quite sure I have fallen into this category on more than one occasion.

If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
— Dale Carnegie

Their thought process is that they don’t want to leave it all on the pavement and then be unable to run due to injury. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Of course, some runners — again, no doubt including me — ignore the warning signs that fear can give us, and push too hard and then, of course, it’s no longer fun.

The case for pushing yourself
Every time I lace up and go out for a long run, often on my own, good or bad, there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that I am able to run 5, 8, 10, 12 miles. As I ran my 12 mile long run last weekend I thought to myself this is a long way. And it is (although maybe not to the marathoner or ultra runner).

In this particular training cycle, I have worked with Rachel @ Runningonhappy and she has pushed me to run harder than I have in a few years. I won’t say it isn’t scary at times. The last time I did run this hard, working with an online running community, I felt strong, I felt ready . . . and neither of my halfs went well (one due to unseasonable heat, which of course is beyond anyone’s control); the other due to injury, yes.

The same runners who are content to err on the side of caution often also say that they run to challenge themselves. Or that they have learned through running that they are capable of hard things.

You don’t know how hard you can go until you try to go hard. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, sometimes you will fail. Yes, you may even injure yourself and not be able to run for a while.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

You may also surprise yourself. You may just give yourself a little burst of confidence. You may grow as a runner.

There is no right or wrong way to train . . .
. . . only the right or wrong way to train for you. I hope I’ve given you some food for thought today. I’m not necessarily looking to change the way you train, but I hope today, at some point, you’ll think about it, and decide if it’s serving you well.

There is a fine line between letting fear paralyze you, and ignoring its warning signs and pushing too hard. It’s a difficult line to run.

Do you think you push to hard? Or do you think you let fear hold you back?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Good judgement comes from experience

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Oddly enough, I don’t find runners to be judgemental, the  Wednesday Word for this week. You know who I do find to be judgemental? The non-runners!

I am a solid BOTP (back of the packer) to sometimes MOTP (middle of the pack), depending on the race and who shows up. My most recent race was a small race and I was definitely BOTP for that one.

There were still people at the finish line cheering me on. Darlene waited out in the cold to take my photo.No one was judging me, and everyone was encouraging.

Depend upon yourself. Make your judgement trustworthy by trusting it. You can develop good judgement as you do the muscles of your body — by judicious, daily exercise. To be known as a man of sound judgement will be much in your favor.
Grantland Rice

Ah, but if I had a dime for every time anyone has told me I would ruin my knees by running (no one mentioned my ankles and shoulder!). It is the thing most non-runners associate with running: you will ruin your knees.

If I’d listened to the nay-sayers, I would have hung up my running shoes long ago, I would never have pushed through the aches to reach the highs of more PRs and just the highs from being able to run — there’s a lot of comfort in knowing I can run for miles, should the occasion ever arise where it’s actually necessary, not done for “fun”.

But back to all those judgemental non-runners.

They haven’t researched it, of course, and they don’t run. My mom was very firmly in that camp when I first started running. Of course eventually I did experience knee problems — and hip problems, and shoulder problems, and ankle problems. There is no doubt that running can be tough on your body, but as Mary Beth recently wrote, running never takes more than it gives back.

A funny thing happened as I kept running, though. Eventually the people around me saw that it was good for me, despite the minor injuries that I continue to battle.They stopped talking about ruining my knees, and just urged me to keep on running.

It’s easy to be judgemental — in fact, I’d go a step further and say being judgemental is the path of least resistance. Stretching yourself, educating yourself, willingness to take risks — these are all qualities most runners have in abundance and it serves us well in all areas of our lives.

It goes without saying that we runners, in turn, must learn to be less judgemental about the non-runners. Lead by example. They’ll come around — maybe they’ll never become runners, but they will see that running won’t, indeed, automatically ruin your knees and is, in the end, a good thing.

Deb Runs

Are your friends/family judgemental about your running?

Are they judgemental about other areas of your life?

Where do you think you’re judgemental?