Running On Vacation (M.I.A.)

Hello friends!

I know, I’ve been gone so long. I promise I have a very good reason for being away and not sharing workouts with all of you for the past two days. I am busy falling in love. That’s right. And going on dates. And snuggling. It’s pretty serious.

I mean, if you had the choice of either hopping online or holding this little angel, which would you choose? That’s what I thought. So, are we still friends? I hope so. Because I am absolutely going to enjoy every single minute I can get with my sweet baby niece.

Unfortunately, she’s too small for me to strap into a jogging stroller and push along for five miles. No worry, I still got my run in! It’s a challenge when you’re traveling, isn’t it, to find the time to grab a run. Especially if you aren’t familiar with the area. So, how do you make sure you stay on schedule when you’re on the road? The simple answer is: you plan.

#1. Bring your stuff. You don’t need a ton of changes of clothes (if you’re buying the tech stuff) because you can easily rinse it in the sink and hang it out to dry overnight. Hooray for quick-dry fabrics. Your sneakers might be the bulkiest thing you pack so my advice is to wear your sneaks on the plane. It’s a lot easier than trying to stuff them in next to your clothes.

#2. Know your distance. Either map it out on Map My Run or make sure your Garmin is all charged up so you’re sure of your distance and how long you’ll be away. Let others know where you’re going and when you should be expected back and maybe make a mental note of where the bathrooms are along the way (or is that just me…?).

You can’t see it very well, but I got stung by a wasp or something right before I needed to find a bathroom. A successful run it was not because I passed up the bathrooms I saw earlier. Apparently, this was how I was being punished. DOH!

#3. Do an out and back. Run in one direction for half the time you want to workout and and turn around and run back for the rest. See if you can’t run a little faster on the way back and make it a negative splits workouts. Out and backs are great for when you have no idea where you are and you really don’t want to get lost.

#4. Get it done early. When visiting friends and relatives, it’s so easy to let the day get away from you and all of a sudden, your workout is a distant memory. If you’re up because of a time zone switch, sneak out early for a jog and get it done. You’ll be so glad to have the rest of the day to cuddle with cute babies and the like.

Get a manicure before you get there to save time 🙂 Airport spas are the BEST!

Do your best not to let your workouts suffer simply because you’re out of your usual routine. Go out and explore new land! Breathe fresh air (for you New Yorkers)! Meet new people! It’s lots of fun. I’m hoping to get a few more runs in this fresh mountain air before I have to leave my new love.

What are you waiting for? Go out and run!

 

 

Here Comes The Story Of The Hurricane

Well, we survived! It was loud and windy and wet, but we seem to have come through Hurricane Irene, aka Tropical Storm Irene, relatively unscathed. I swear, those raindrops banging against our apartment windows last night sounded like tiny rocks threatening to break into our little apartment, but nope. Nothing broken, nothing even cracked. I might sound disappointed, I am not. I am relieved that we have power, have our home and there’s no flooding to be seen on our streets.

No flooding. No cars. Hardly any people. It's 11am!

JB and I ventured out for a walk and found our streets virtually deserted. With the rain still misting down, it seemed my fellow New Yorkers were content to stay indoors. Not us! Outside, our apartment looked just fine.

The 'ol Turtle Bay/Sutton Place held up pretty well!

Not even more than a few puddles! We trekked up to Central Park to see how the rest of our beloved city made out.

WHAT?!?!

I have NEVER seen Central Park closed before. But, given how crowded the streets were yesterday with runners and bicyclists, I am not surprised that they felt they could shut it down today. They were probably thinking, “What? Everyone worked out yesterday, we can close it today.” Well, ok then. Take a day off everybody!

I will see you tomorrow, my Park. Sans kicky rain boots, I imagine.

Even the animals seem to be relatively relaxed this morning. (We have a zoo in Central Park, for those of you who didn’t know)

Just a regular 'ol day at the zoo

So, what do you do when everything is closed down (I mean everything: Starbucks, grocery store, gym, everything!)…

Aren't rainy days meant for shopping? This is just WRONG.

…I will do yoga. What better way to spend a rainy day at home but on my mat, zen-ing out and finding peace? After all, I’m actually kinda wary of running in the park after a storm. This guy was whacked by a branch last year and died because he thought it was a genius idea to go running during a storm. Not me, I’m a safety girl.

Ooooommmmm

So, day off after running 14 miles and then sitting on my butt for the rest of the day = desperate for some stretching and twisting. I’m sure I’ll feel lots and lots better after an hour with my favorite yoga podcast. See you later! Ommmmm…

Now go out and run!

What do you do on a mandatory day off? Rest, clean, shop? I’d be shopping today except for every single store is closed. Ugh. Come on, MTA, get it going!

3 Ways To Make Sure Your Workout Gets DONE (No Excuses!)

I am approached pretty regularly by people who struggle with fitting their workouts in. Whether it’s work, kids, friends or just life keeping these people from completing their workouts, I always tell them the same 3 tricks that I learned the hard way.

#1. Make your workout fit your schedule. If you wake up at 5am to get ready for work and are sitting at your desk by 6:30am, chances are a morning workout isn’t going to be your thing. And if Friday night is your late night out with friends, Saturday morning runs just aren’t going to happen. Be honest with what your life is like and what your patterns are and plan a workout time that works for you.

#2. Find someone else who will keep you accountable for your workouts. This can be a friend, a coach, a team or a check-in on a blog/Facebook/whatever where you share your fitness goals with other people. I swear up and down that the only reason I actually ran my first marathon was because I told everyone I know that I was doing it and it helped A LOT! People asked about my training and cheered me on every day, not just at the race.

#3. Don’t be so hard on yourself, a workout is a workout. If you only have 20 minutes to run, do this workout. If you can only run 1 mile right now, run your pants off for that one mile and keep working towards the second mile. Only have half and hour to get a lift in? Do it. IT ALL COUNTS. Don’t skip a workout because it’s not exactly what you want it to be and exactly how long you think it should be, just do it and put a check in the box.

You can do this. Commit to a workout plan and make it happen. And tell me (and everyone else) how you make sure you have a successful workout week.

Now go out and run!

(Sidebar: If you don’t hear from me at some point this weekend, it could be because Time Warner Cable is crap and taken down by Hurricane Irene. Fear not, friends, I am home with a ridiculous amount of food and beverages and a very handy former Marine. We will be fine. Everyone else, stay safe!)

Why You Probably Won’t Lose Weight Training For A Marathon

A lot of people ask me if they should train for a marathon in order to lose those last unwanted ten pounds. I tell them no. Sorry, but no.

But what if I run 50 miles a week? No, and don’t even think about doing that unless you’re looking for a slap upside your head.

But what if I cut my calories to 1200? Ummm, there is so much wrong with that I can’t even begin to start but I will just say NO.

This is my you-are-an-idiot-for-thinking-that's-gonna-fly-with-me face.

But what if I lift 4 days a week and spin 3 days a week and do yoga every day AND marathon train? Good luck with that.

But, but, but…sorry, folks. Historically, it just doesn’t work out like this. First of all, unless you are overweight, marathon training will likely help you maintain your weight, albeit with different fat-to-muscle distribution. If you are overweight, marathon truing probably will help you drop some poundage, but you have to have that poundage to lose and this, in most cases, means more than 15-20 pounds. You might even (hold onto your hats) gain weight during marathon training. I know. It doesn’t make sense, does it? Well, it sorta does…

Marathon training is hard and long. Increasing mileage makes you hungry ALL THE TIME and, typically, those training for a marathon rationalize that all the added mileage will compensate for eating ice cream twice a week, half a pizza for dinner and a pound of pasta on “carbo-load” nights. Even if you’re not overindulging, you have to eat more, which usually ends up canceling out the calories burned while running. And while increasing mileage does, at the most basic level, mean that you’re also burning more calories, it is often overstated just how many calories you are burning. And do you really know how many calories are in that milkshake you’re eating? You probably erased two weekday runs with one indulgence. You’d be surprised.

First marathon. Gained 4 pounds. Happy? No. Did I finish? Yes I did.

And here’s the most frustrating news for those of you who are looking to drop those last ten pounds: the lighter you are, the fewer calories you burn while running (or exercising, in general). This is because it takes less energy to push around 140 pounds versus 220 pounds. Makes sense, right?

The other simple fact is that you do have to eat more when you undertake such a rigorous workout program or your body won’t tolerate the added work load. You’ll get sick, you’ll be tired all the time, you’ll get injured and your body will otherwise reject the increase in activity if you don’t also increase your caloric intake during training season. If you deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to rebuild what you’re breaking down in your workouts, there will be no growth. Plain and simple.

By my 7th marathon, I learned to do the weight loss in the off-season and dropped 15 pounds (it's blurry, but you get the idea)

DON’T DESPAIR!!!! There’s hope! This is why I am adamant about training like professional athletes and cycling through training seasons the way that they do. The off-season is where you can drop a few pounds. The off-season is when you spice up your workouts with a little less running and a little more strength training, with a dash of different cardiovascular workouts (think swimming and spinning!) to give your bod a break from pounding the pavement. You can also better control your calories during this part of your training season because you aren’t going bananas once a week with 15+ mile runs accompanied by carbo-loading and gigantic recovery meals.

As you become a more seasoned marathoner, you will better learn how to tailor your diet in order to avoid weight gain during training season. But it shouldn’t really be the focus of your training anyway! You should be concentrating on getting the right nutrients to prepare and recover from your runs and putting 100% into your runs in order to maximize your potential for marathon day.

Get off the scale and go hit the pavement!

In short, don’t count on marathon training to help you drop weight. In my experience, people are seriously disappointed when they hop on the scale mid-way through their training and realize they’ve gained 3 pounds.

Are you feeling strong?

Are you getting through your runs successfully?

Are you feeling good about your marathon?

Good. Keep going. And forget about the scale (within reason…I mean, don’t go and gain 20 pounds) while you’re working toward this goal. Check in a few weeks after your marathon and use the off-season to shed those extra pounds.

Get off the scale and go out and run!

Be The Change: Workout Buddies

When I was 10 years old and about to start 5th grade, I was all about the sports (not much has changed since then…) and at my school, everyone who was anyone played on the A Team for volleyball in the Fall. Our school was very sports-centric and doing well in sports pretty much guaranteed you’d be well-liked among your peers. It was the night before volleyball tryouts and I received a phone call from one of my girlfriends. She wanted to know if I’d be interested in going out for the cross-country team instead (everyone was automatically on the team, no cuts) instead of volleyball. I didn’t realize that as I sat in our kitchen while Mrs. Obi-wan was cooking dinner that I’d be making a decision that would forever change and shape my life. “Sure,” I said. And I did.

I ran competitively for the next 8 years both in junior high and high school. I was good, but not great, and kept up with running as I went off to college. Running stayed with me when I moved to New York City and became my “thing” as I started my personal training career in Brooklyn. Who knew? I once asked Obi-wan if I trained for a marathon if he’d pay for my entrance fee (they were expensive to this college student!). He said yes and that he’d be there to watch me run it. Several years later, he and Mrs. Obi-wan, along with my older sister and longtime friend watched me run my first ING NYC Marathon. Fast forward 8 years and as many marathons and here I am.

All this happened because of an invitation to run from a friend.

When was the last time you invited a non-runner/yogi/gym friend to join you for a workout? Having grown up working out with Obi-wan and going to the gym with him, I never found myself uncomfortable walking into the vast open spaces littered with tortuous-looking machines and (almost exclusively) older men. But, I know that the most intimidating part of getting started with a workout routine is in fact walking into the gym. Unsure of where to go, what to do and what not to do, people marry themselves to a treadmill or an elliptical and never experience all of what a gym has to offer.

You could be a mentor to someone else. Sure, it’s great to hit the pavement with someone who is a seasoned athlete who can offer you a harder workout at a faster pace, but you could also be that someone for a friend or family member. Sometimes all people need to get started is an invitation and a buddy. That’s all I needed and look where I am now. Not everyone is a joiner, but most people want to start working out, they just don’t know how to do it. You could show them. You could be that mentor. You could be that change in their life.

So, invite a friend to workout with you. You might be surprised by their willingness to join you in a good sweat, especially if there’s a promise of brunch afterwards 😉 What are you waiting for? Be the change you want to see in the world!

Now go out and run!

How did you get started working out? Was it via an invitation from someone else or were you the brave soul who hit the workouts solo and just rocked it? Tell me all about it!