10 Tricks to Stay Cool under Pressure

This is the manual. Life gets busy, and it’s a consistent balance, maybe even a juggle, to keep everything up. So sometimes don’t keep it up, let it come down. Go to bed early. Cancel your plans. Close your computer. Go to yoga. Drink tea in your underwear. Do the things that you need to do in the mini moments where you catch your breath so that when you come back, your game face is stronger than ever.

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How to get motivated for Winter Running

How to get motivated for Winter Running

Well, runner’s, it’s that time of year again. Winter is upon us. The temps have dropped, the wind is blustery. We have the occasional snowfall, and it gets dark at a ridiculously early hour.  Our natural instinct to put on our comfiest jammies and snuggle up inside our warm apartment is kicking into high gear (ya feel me?).

It’s that time of year when going out for a run isn’t as easy as it was in the warmer spring and summer months. Winter running takes a lot more planning. Routes need to be carefully mapped out in well lit areas; layering becomes an artful of the most essential kind - not enough layers and you struggle to even get warm, but too many layers and you build up too much body heat and your sweat doesn’t evaporate.  

And, if you’ve spent the a good portion of the past 6 months or so training for a big goal race, your schedule is a little more loosey goosey with no real obligation to weekday training runs and early weekend morning long runs. Aka, you don’t really HAVE to go for that run.

Bottom line - more planning and less structure can leave you feeling a lot less motivated to lace up your sneakers and get out for a run this time of year.  

I admit though that I’m one of those weirdos where this time of year is actually my favorite time of year for running. There are few things that I enjoy more than the cold, crisp winter air filling my lungs, the occasional sound of the snow crunching under my feet with each stride (but if it’s shiny, watch your hiney!), and the feeling of bad-assery I get when I am finally forced to take off my top long sleeve layer revealing a short sleeve layer because I’ve finally built up enough body heat to be hot in 30/40 degree weather.

So how do I stay motivated in the winter months, even when I don’t HAVE to be running? I use 5 essential winter running steps.

 

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The Pursuit of the Personal Best

The Pursuit of the Personal Best

I grew up a high strung kid. Most people would likely still say I'm a high strung adult, slightly too anxious, and always reaching for the unattainable. In many ways, I'd say they are right, or more certainly that they were right. Today, more than ever, we are surrounded by ideals of perfection. We see them on facebook, instagram, snapchat, and blogs. We are bombarded with the images and videos captured on only someone's very best day... marked in the illusion that life can be like this all the time. I'm personally extremely guilty of using social media to portray my "best self" through the portal of imaginary reality that I'm living my best life. Then, as I'm sure we all-too-intimately relate, on the inside we're faced with questions like is this enough? Am I enough? What am I missing out on? 

This wasn't a new phenomenon for me. I think I experienced the term "FOMO" far earlier than the concept existed in any type of abbreviated form. I always felt an urge to be at the center of the action. I always longed for the moments that were just distant enough in the future to still be dripping in imagination. At any instance I was doing one thing, a part of me felt so strongly I wanted to be doing something else. This bred a nervousness in me. It created a concept that whatever I was doing wasn't as good as I what I could be doing. It cultivated the concept that if I just worked a little harder, expelled a little more energy, ate a little less, trained a little longer... you could imagine this is a slippery slope. 

In college it spiraled so far out of control that I lost sight of what I wanted in the long term to focus on the "image" of what I thought I could portray of a life I wasn't even leading. The concept of sharing experiences with others forced me away from experiencing them myself. Immediately following that, I realized that the sharing wasn't the issue, but the perception of being and thriving didn't stand a chance when measured against an external scale. 

The concept of the happy runner was born on the backbone of this timid realization.  The happy runner is not distracted by comparisons, put-downs, or the concept that every race needs to be competitive with the elites. As a runner, the concept of "personal best" is not only key, but critical. While the goal of being elite is both attainable and important to keep in one's mind, it shouldn't and - if we are lucky - isn't the climax of the sport. Bearing ability, opportunity, and injury in mind, we - the happy runners - move along the trails and pavement in pursuit of much more personal and internal goals. 

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