Guest Post by Brooke Lazor
Brrrrr… just checking…Yup! Itʼs still winter out there!
What Iʼve learned, though, is that one of the ways to truly succeed in the long term with health and fitness, is to decide to create a “rain, snow, or shine, letʼs get it done!” attitude.
Pavement-pounding all-star, Jessica from lacesandlattes.com gave us a great read last month with 9 Cold Weather Running Tips for Beginners and this time around, Iʼm going to focus a little more on mindset and technique.
1. Manage Your Mind
Ok, hereʼs the thing. A lot of people just havenʼt gotten their head in the game yet, so they love running a lot less than they could. Think about a time when you hopped in your car to zip over to the mall – a drive that usually takes 10 minutes – but you get stuck in traffic, and the drive takes half an hour. Youʼre not in the best mood, are you? The whole time all youʼre thinking about is how you just want to get there already.
But what about when you hop into your car knowing youʼre driving to the next town? You grab a coffee, shimmy back into your seat, turn some music on and relax, because you know youʼre going to be there for awhile. Next time you lace up, take a moment before you start to bring your mind into the “road trip” mindset and tell the “hurry up and get there” focus to take a hike.
2. Tune In, Zone Out
If youʼve hit the trail a time or two before, you know that music with a quick tempo and good beat definitely help keep those feet moving. But what about the days you just donʼt want to be told to put your hands up in the air? Enter, podcasts.
If you donʼt know what a podcast is, you are seriously missing out! Podcasts are daily, weekly or monthly radio talk shows that can be downloaded for free on iTunes. I am pretty sure there is a podcast out there for every single topic under the sun – so find one you love, and tune in!
A good set of ear buds will also help make things more enjoyable, there’s nothing worse than headphones that keep falling out mid-workout. Try Yurbuds® for athlete-developed silicone ear buds that stay in place no matter how hard you’re running.
3. Watch Your Step
A client I had a few months ago was complaining about back pain when she ran. I got her to hop on the treadmill to try to see if I could find what she was doing, and as soon as she did – it was clear as day – instead of properly cushioning her step with her foot, she was pounding the treadmill with her heel. No wonder she didnʼt enjoy it!
If running is painful, itʼs not something youʼre going to stick to in the long run. If youʼve got discomfort in your lower back when you run or your steps are a lot louder than everyone elseʼs, youʼre probably running with a heel strike. If this is you, focus on landing on the ball of your foot (more towards the front) and then planting the midfoot and heel to cushion your step more fully. Still not comfortable? Try shortening your stride by an inch or two. Read more about running form and technique over on Runner’s World.
4. Be A Buddy
Running can get boring by yourself, but if you have a friend to chat with you’ll never believe how fast the time goes by! You’ll be finished your run, with a workout in the books before you know it. Even if you don’t chat during the run, just having someone there for support can help immensely. You can also hold each other accountable on those days when the couch seems more appealing than hitting the pavement.
Another option is to join a free running group. Check with local running stores, such as The Running Room, as many of them offer weekly group runs. It’s a great way to meet runners at the same fitness level as you and even find a buddy to run with outside of the scheduled group runs. Typically, running groups also have knowledgeable run leaders who can help you with technique and training tips.
5. Spice It Up Outdoors
Letʼs face it. Itʼs part of human nature. We get bored easily! I rotate through a few different types of training runs to keep things exciting. Instead of just hitting the same route every day, get in your car and drive across town to try a new trail. Find a hill near your house and blast through a few sets. Depending on the size of the hill, Iʼll choose a number to start with, letʼs say itʼs 5, and add an extra set each week until I get to 10. A change of scenery and a new challenge can do wonders for running boredom. Trail running in particular is a killer boredom-beater, just keep your eyes out for roots and rocks!
6. Spice It Up Indoors
Yes, there is life beyond the treadmill! If you truly just donʼt love running outdoors when itʼs freezing out, then donʼt. There are plenty of ways to keep your running routine fresh indoors. A perfect way to add an extra challenge to your running routine is to include intervals. Intervals are great for developing speed, fighting boredom and torching those pesky 5 lbs you canʼt seem to get rid of. Try either one of these workouts for an extra challenge next time you hit the gym!
7. Track It
There are a lot of fantastic apps out there for tracking your runs, and keeping track of your progress is a great way to stay motivated! One of the best (and free!) choices out there is MapMyRun. MapMyRun integrates with MyFitnessPal for further fitness and nutrition tracking abilities, it links up with your social accounts, plus you can map out your runs ahead of time and find new routes in your area. They also offer training plans, the ability to find groups and interact with other members and they offer a “route genius” to help you find the perfect route. RunKeeper is another option for tracking your outdoor runs.
Keeping a record of your progress, interacting with other runners and sharing through social media are all great ways to make running more fun and enjoyable, it’s almost like a game! Plus the apps are free, so why not?!
My run has always been my time to de-stress and find my zen – but without actively focusing on relaxing, youʼd be surprised at how easily forgotten it becomes! Unclench your teeth, unclench your fists, focus on longer, deeper breathing, roll your shoulders back, and slide your shoulder blades down and back. Besides a much more comfortable and enjoyable run, youʼll also be relieving tension on your lower back that hunched-over shoulders creates. Bonus!
Brooke is a Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach and Fitness Junkie based out of Edmonton, Alberta. After spending the first 21 years of her life as overweight, with low energy and low self-confidence, one day it all clicked, and she decided she deserved more. Over the past 7 years, sheʼs lost 45 lbs, run 2 Half Marathons, completed a 90 Day Hot Yoga Challenge, rocked a serious set of 6 pack abs on stage as a Bikini Fitness Athlete, and quit a job she was miserable at to chase her dreams – to help others get fit, get healthy and live the life they only imagined they could have. Find recipes, workouts, tips and inspiration at BrilliantByBrooke.com.