Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

So you’ve been kicking butt with your running program, recording your runs, getting all fancy with new running gear and sharing your running progress with everyone who’s anyone (that is, anyone on your social networks). And it’s been a whole week and you’ve only taken off that one night to go drinking…oh and that one day your head hurt…and the time you got lost in the parking lot and walked extra, which must count as a workout, right?

If you go on a short vacation, take a break from running and just relax and do your slacker thing.

Ok, so the running routine can get old, especially after the initial excitement wears off and you don’t look like a before and after commercial. And let’s face it, as slackers, we’re not exactly known for stick-to-it-ness. But before you toss your new running shoes to the back of the closet, try these tips to keep you running without getting bored and apathetic:

  • Prioritize. How many things in your life do you really need to do? The key to slacking successfully is to just pick a few things to stick with, and forget the rest. We’re not trying to be rocket scientists or world leaders here, we just wanna get fit and live in a slackerish ease. So forget that gym membership you never use, ditch the extra activities in your schedule and streamline your social life. Unfortunately work will have to stay on the priority list, but other than that, stop committing to all those activities you probably won’t stick with anyways. Just do a few consistently and you’ll be less stressed and have less people’s expectations on your shoulders. This will also garner you social points by preventing you from being that annoying, well-rounded person who does everything.

Running is one of the few things I've stuck with in my life, and I can help you stick with it too.

  • Combine activities. Got a date? Need more time with your kids or family? Take advantage of your relationship and drag the other person on a run with you, in the name of “quality time.” This way you can combine your obligations and expend less time and energy than if you did everything separately. You will get extra points for being a positive influence in another’s life (seriously, running’s one of the best gifts you can give someone, and it’s free).
  • Reward yourself. When it comes down to it, we all enjoy a pat on the back in some form or other. Choose something you enjoy (well, except a bacon burger or box of doughnuts — ok, let’s just say stay away from the food rewards) and give it to yourself once you complete all of your workouts each week. Your gift to yourself doesn’t have to be big, but remember, it’s the thought that counts, and since you’re giving it to yourself, you won’t wanna slack here.
  • Rest. This step should be the easiest for you, but sometimes the honeymoon phase of a new workout plan can make even the most dedicated of slackers googley-eyed and giddy to run for days on end. Even if you don’t want to, give yourself one to two days of rest per week so your body can recover from your runs, and your mind can also vacate the workout circuit. Play video games, lounge, eat, talk, shop or just do nothing on your off days. And before you know it, you’ll be rarin’ to go again (or ok, at least plodding out the door) on your next run.
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Running outdoors can be challenging but rewarding, with perks ranging from scenic landscapes to the primal excitement of exploring the world around you on foot. But the weather can put a wrench in your plans with rain, sleet, snow and extreme heat or cold. Many runners dread treadmills — let’s face it, the monotony of running in place can be far from thrilling. But treadmills can be an asset in your running program, helping you to get in a workout when the weather would otherwise have you bouncing off the walls or stuffing your face inside.

Here are 7 tips to stay sane and focused on the treadmill, and continue making progress in your running:

  1. Listen to music. Tune out the sound of your breathing and give yourself something to focus on other than the wall with some upbeat running tunes. Create your own workout mix to keep you pumped while you run.
  2. Do circuit training. The treadmill offers an ideal place to do the running portion of circuit training because you can have your weights or yoga mat nearby to jump right into your strength training intervals. Circuit training also breaks up the monotony of treadmill running by giving you other activities to do between short bursts of running.
  3. Adjust the incline. Make your treadmill run a game and add variety by running for a set distance at different incline levels. Run half of a mile at 2.0 incline, for instance, one mile at 1.0, half mile at 3.0 and finish fast, with no incline.
  4. Do intervals. Take advantage of the treadmill’s ability to tell exactly how far and fast you are running by doing intervals. Run repeats at about 85-percent effort level, alternating with equally timed periods of walking.
  5. Change the scenery. Try a different gym or even a different treadmill than your usual one at the gym to change up your limited scenery a bit. If your treadmill is at home, position it to face out a window or in front of a TV so you have something to watch while you run.
  6. Challenge yourself. Fire up your competitive spirit and try to go further or faster than your last treadmill run. Set a goal pace for each mile to break down your run into manageable sections.
  7. Record your results. Knowing that you’ll have to post your results will help you stay motivated to get your run done. If you share your results on running sites (like Dailymile or Nike+) and or social networks, you’ll have extra motivation to keep movin forward on the treadmill and in your training program.

Related posts: Burn Fat with Circuit Training, How to Get Faster with Interval Training

Today I started my run alone but Tupac kept me going during a challenging hill in the middle, Kanye West accompanied me along a flat, fast stretch and Jay-Z helped me finish up on a fast note. Running with music can be one of the most motivating ways to keep up a steady pace or even speed up during your workouts. I usually listen to uptempo hip hop when I run, which helps me stay running strong (as opposed to slow songs, which make me go in slow-mo).

For hip hop classics, tune into Tupac.

Here are just a few of my favorite hip hop songs to run with:

  • “Power,” Kanye West
  • “Roman’s Revenge,” Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne
  • “Here I Come,” The Roots
  • “99 Problems,” Jay-Z
  • “I’m The Best,” Nicki Minaj
  • “Monster,” Kanye West
  • “American Terrorist,” Lupe Fiasco
  • “How I Got Over,” The Roots
  • “Encore,” Jay-Z
And here are some of my favorite old school hip hop tunes to keep me pumped:
  • “I Get Around,” Tupac
  • “Hip Hop,” Dead Prez
  • “Gasoline Dreams,” Outkast
  • “Soul Food,” Goodie Mob
  • “Juicy,” Notorious B.I.G.
  • “Lose Yourself,” Eminem
  • “Keep Your Shit the Hardest,” DMX
  • “B.O.B.,” Outkast
  • “Holler if Ya Hear Me,” Tupac (from the Resurrection soundtrack)
  • “Hell Yeah,” Dead Prez
  • “Dirty South,” Goodie Mob
  • “California,” Tupac
  • “Fly Away,” Goodie Mob
What are your favorite running tunes?

Even a slow, short run is better than no run.

Sometimes the hardest part of running is just getting out the door. Excuses are always plentiful – whether you’re tired, hungry, it’s too sunny out, too rainy, too cloudy, your favorite show is on TV or your eye is twitching, it seems like there’s always a good enough reason to skip a workout. But if you give in to the excuses one day, before you know it you’ll be skipping workouts left and right and joining the ranks of the complaining non-runners.

Here’s how to kick your excuses to the curb and get back to running strong:

  • Keep track of your workouts. If you record each run, you’ll be more likely to stick with the program to keep your records on track. Preventing your weekly mileage totals from plunging can be more motivating than you might suspect.
  • Share on social networks. Sites like Daily Mile and Nike Plus allow you to broadcast your runs on social networks like Facebook and Twitter while also offering personalized charts and milestones to you help you stay motivated. The running sites also have their own social networks, where you can add friends and cheer people on. Knowing your friends and family are cheering for you will encourage you to keep running and updating.
  • Make a deal with yourself. Tell yourself you will just run 10 minutes and then if you still feel like you can’t run, you will turn back and come home. Getting out the door is usually the biggest obstacle, and chances are, once you get started on your run, you will stick to it (unless you have an injury, in which case you should rest).
  • Reward yourself. On days when you feel sluggish or reluctant to run, give yourself an incentive. Be creative with your rewards and think about what you enjoy. Watching a movie or your favorite show, cooking a favorite meal, buying a new pair of running shorts or going out with friends can inspire you to get your run done.
  • Run with a partner. Grab a running buddy or join a running group — which you can find on sites like Meetup.com — and you’ll be less likely to skip runs because someone will be counting on you. Running with people also makes your workouts more fun and seem like less of a chore.

An inspiring quote can help give you a kick in the pants to get out and run, or keep you from breaking down and walking duringa tough workout. Here are some of my favorite quotes by famous runners. Feel free to add yours, the more the merrier!

Jesse Owens wowed the world by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.

  • “Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'” -Peter Maher
  • “Some people create with words, or with music, or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’ It’s more then just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better then anyone else. It’s being creative.” -Steve Prefontaine
  • “I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” -Jesse Owens
  • “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” -Oprah Winfrey
  • “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” -John Bingham
  • “Again, racing for me was about energy management.” -Frank Shorter
  • “If you want to win anything — a race, yourself, your life — you have to go a little berserk.” -George Sheehan
  • “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” –Steve Prefontaine

Trail running can offer a nice change of pace for workouts.

If you’ve run yourself into a rut with your workouts, check out these quick tips to get you up on your feet and running happily again:

  • Switch up the scenery.  Instead of trudging down the same path every day, go to a nearby park, take a different loop or try making your own route. New scenery can be inspiring and motivating.
  • Listen to some tunes. Create an upbeat workout soundtrack and get pumped to run. Change up your music every once in a while to prevent boredom.
  • Run for a cause. Sign up for a charity race to benefit a worthy cause – whether it’s homeless pets or cancer survivors that you’re running for, your workouts will gain new meaning when you train for a charitable race.
  • Run with different partners. It’s not cheating if it’s running — changing up who you run with can help you vary your training runs and pace, as different partners will have different running times, route ideas and fitness levels.
  • Take a trip. Go on a day trip — or even an overnight trip — to run someplace completely different. Check out a local campground’s trails or venture to a quaint B&B for refuge after a run in the wilderness.
  • Fulfill the need for speed. Add some speed work to your training to stay on your toes with new challenges. Set goals to lower your interval times each week or aim to slash your race times after completing some speed work training.

I’m a RRCA-certified running coach offering individualized training plans for runners of all levels, but my specialty is beginners and people who want to lose weight.  I love to spread the sport of running to as many people as possible, so we can all share in the health benefits — both mental and physical — of one of the oldest, most effective forms of exercise, and have fun in the process. Forget what your coach or P.E. teacher told you years ago — running is not a punishment but a privilege that connects us with our primal nature while making us stronger people –both physically and mentally, better equipped to handle the stresses of modern life.

Running has been the most positive influence in my life since I first started cross country as an awkward (some things never change) 7th grader. Running has inspired me to live healthier in all areas of my life, as well as helped me connect with so many interesting and inspiring people all over, from the runners with prosthetic legs that ran along side me in the 10-mile obstacle course race at the Chicago Men’s Health Urbanathlon to my French “mom” on an exchange stay in France whom selflessly plodded along beside me in her scarf and flats so I wouldn’t get lost running around her town. From the fellow fanatics running the St. Louis Frostbite Series races in 12-degree temperatures this past winter to my marathon-conquering friends, I continue to be inspired by each runner who is willing to answer the challenge of “Can I do this?” with a “Hell yeah.”

So here’s to you, my fellow runners, for continuing to run and persist through times of pain, pressure, heat, cold and most of all, joy. May the streets of Runstreet inspire you along your path. For additional help and motivation, contact me for coaching and personalized training programs.