Running Tips to Help You Increase Your Mileage
Running is one of the most popular ways to exercise. But it’s not an easy task. Starting to run and/or working your way up to a certain distance takes time and strategic planning. If you jump the gun and increase your daily or weekly mileage too fast, you may end up injuring yourself… and then hindering your progress for a lengthy period of time (trust me, I’ve been there!). While I don’t call myself a running expert, I have taken myself from couch potato to half marathoner twice, and taken myself from social walker to 5k and 10k diva more times than I can count! I’ve done a lot of trial and error, and I want to share my tips and experiences in hopes to help even one person reach their running goals!
1. Pick a race.
There’s something to be said about the old saying, “Keep your eyes on the prize” When you pick a race, you’ll have that date in your mind, you’ll be visualizing “the prize.” What better way to motivate yourself to push past your comfort zone than having an event.
2. Create a calendar or a plan.
Fail to plan = plan to fail. If you have a calendar, you can split that big goal into attainable weekly goals. When I was trying to increase my mileage and work my way up to a higher mile race, I’d increase my “long run” day by one mile every 1-2 weeks. For example, I’d look at my calendar to see how many weeks I had until race day. If I was working my way up to a 10k (6.2 miles), I’d do 6 miles for my long run the 2 weeks prior, 5 miles for my long run the week before that, 4 miles the week before that, etc, while doing shorter runs on my other running days.
3. Don’t wear old, worn out shoes.
This one is more important than you might realize… When I first started running, I was putting 15-20 miles a week on shoes that I’d had for maybe 2-3 years. I didn’t think much of it at the time, until the pain in my feet, ankles, calves, and knees made me put running on hold. Running shoes are made to support your stride (and different running shoes support different types of strides). The more you run in your shoes, the less effective they get. It doesn’t happen overnight, but over a long period of time.
I’ve been wearing Mizuno’s for the last year for my running days. I’m rockin the Mizuno Wave Rider 21
‘s right now because they make my runs better… and here are my top 3 reasons why they’re my favorite running shoe:
1. I don’t get heel blisters if my socks slide down. There’s cushioning on the heel, which 1) helps my socks stay in place and 2) keep my heels from getting irritated.
2. They’re really breathable. Which is extra wonderful when you live in Georgia and it’s hot most of the time!
3. My foot feels supported but the shoe isn’t heavy. A lot of shoes that brag about how much support they give the foot feel HEAVY and almost like your foot is weighed down. I hate that. These Wave Rider 21’s aren’t heavy but they still provide the right amount of support.
4. Foam Roll, Massage, Stretch.
Seems obvious, right? Then why is it so easily neglected? If you don’t have a foam roller, they’re miracle workers. I’m not an expert, but please don’t neglect your sore or tight muscles.
5. Celebrate every single victory.
Running is hard. SO HARD. But so rewarding. Had a bad day but you still got a short run in? GO YOU! Ran .25 miles more than you thought you could? HECK YES. Didn’t feel like you were going to throw up after a hard run? SLAY. I think you catch my drift. You are AMAZING because you are taking steps to better yourself. Celebrate YOU.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mizuno. The opinions and text are all mine.
Breasts come in all shapes and sizes: Big, small, medium. Real, fake. saggy, perky, somewhere in between. I could go on. If you’ve got them, you know that it can be a pain (literally) when you’re working out. So, what’s a girl to do? There are 3 options.
- Never exercise again (Yeah, no.)
- Just live with the pain
- Learn how to alleviate the pain. *Please note: the pain will never disappear completely. Unless we can get rid of gravity…
As Elle Woods from Legally Blonde once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” Just because we were blessed in the chest area, doesn’t mean we have to give up exercise! But… if we are in constant state of pain or insecurity, working out can be more of a health hazard than a health benefit. We are left with Option 3.
Supportive Sports Bras:
Without the proper sports bra, our breasts take a beating. The up and down, side to side, jostling, and swaying can result in serious breast tenderness and soreness during and after a workout (not to mention the chaffing). Adequate, supportive sports bras, ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN WITH LARGER BREASTS, can be like trying to find a four-leaf clover. It’s even more rare to find one that is reasonably cute. But once in a blue moon, when you do find them, it’s your lucky day.
In the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to share some supportive sports bras I’ve come across and worn that will give you a splash of style, too.
Here are the 8 Best Sports Bras for Protecting Yourself From Breast Pain While Exercising:
(so you can exercise without breast pain or breast tenderness!)
The best thing about these sports bras is that they come in a variety of sizes. So no matter what size you wear, there will be a supportive bra for YOU!
FIT & FEEL Fit: Body hugging bra with back strap detail; shelf bra and removable cups… [More]
Bringing Women All the Fashion Brands from A to Z
Amoena 42576 Ester Front Close Sports Bra
Shop New Arrivals Every Day at NA-KD.com
*Do you have a favorite sports bra to help you exercise without hurting breasts/ from killing you mid- or post- workout?
Get Into A Fitness Routine to Reach Your Fitness Goals
It’s that time of the year again… back to school! For many of us, summer time is more laid back. There’s less structure, a looser schedule, and more vacation time. For those with children, the kids are out of school (and school staff – yay!), so it’s not as easy to get a workout in. As for me, I work in the schools; so my schedule is the same. And as much as I complain about how busy I am during the school year, I am lost without the structure! The issue for me is getting back into it.
The struggle is real. So how do I make the process smoother? I’ve come up with a list of tried and true steps to getting back into the gym and back into shape.
Here Are Fitness Tips to Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals
Set Fitness Goals.
- What are you wanting to accomplish? The best way (and, in my opinion, the only way) to do anything is to have a goal. It gives you direction. It gives you purpose. It’s the number one way to get back into it, whatever your “it” is!
Take baby steps while you’re starting a fitness routine.
- For example, if you used to get up every single morning at 4:45 am to get to the gym at 5 for your before-work work out… So start out with 1 or 2 days a week. Then gradually increase.
Take it one week at a time.
- Your mindset, your ability, your motivation will change. Week 1 might be hard; Week 2 might be easier; but then Week 3 might be too much. [See next point]
Don’t stress yourself out if you need more time to adjust.
- You’re human. Therefore, you’ll need time to adjust. Getting back into it isn’t an overnight thing.
Know your limitations when working towards your health goals.
- You may need to take a day off, when you’d planned on working towards your goals. Listen to your body.
Don’t rule out rewards and incentives to reach fitness goals… They work!
- So please excuse my pretty, new agenda book and workout clothes!
I found the perfect planner at Target that’s helping me tremendously. I have a space to write weekly goals, weekly gratitude, etc.
If you enjoyed this article on How to Reach Fitness Goals, you may be interested in How to Stay Motivated When All You Want Is to Give Up and Why You Should Be Hitting the Weights Regularly
Do You Have the Motivation to Exercise?
Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight? Or maybe it wasn’t on January 1st that you decided it was time for a change… But rather when you were fed up and couldn’t take it anymore. Whenever you made that choice, somewhere along the way you may need help staying motivated. It’s a hard journey. But the good news is that you’re not alone. If nothing else, I’m here to help you. And if I can share anything from my fitness journey, it’s how to stay motivated when losing weight.
How to Stay Motivated to Workout
We are nearly four weeks into 2016. It seems like the countdown to the New Year was just a few days ago; yet, here we are on January 23 (we’re almost to February!). Whatever your choice for change was… whether you wanted to lose weight, eat better, go back to school, become closer to family, etc… it’s so easy to stray from the new goals and fall back into old habits after a few weeks.
Don’t let this be you.
You made these changes for a reason. You wanted change. There could be a few reasons why. Maybe you weren’t truly happy with some part of your life – or perhaps you were happy, but you knew how much this new goal could add to your life. And maybe you’re at a point now where you’re thinking to yourself how to stay motivated when losing weight. I’ve been there. Let me help! I know exactly how difficult it is to get motivated to run or get motivated to exercise… and that’s not even as hard as STAYING motivated to workout.
I want you to pause for a second; take your eyes of the screen; and think about the reasons you decided to start a workout program or to change your eating habits (or whatever your goal may be!)
Now that you have that fresh in your mind, I want you to think on what you have done in the last 23 days to reach that goal. From personal experience, I was gung-ho on my resolutions for the first week and a half of the new year. Every decision I made would help me achieve my goal. Then, I’d get tired. Tired of waking up early to hit the gym. Tired of exercising after a long day at work. Or I’d get hungry. Hungry for fast food. Hungry for candy. Thirsty for soda. And then, either slowly or all at once, I’d fall back.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. My New Year’s Resolutions on January 1st, 2015, included: to do whatever it took to love my body. And for the first time in my life, I reflected on the year on December 31st and realized that I never gave up on that goal. I want to help you do the same…no matter what time of the year it is! So, here are some of the ways I was able to motivate myself when I was tired, or hungry, or hurt, etc.
Related: 30 Motivational Fitness Quotes Guaranteed to Pump You Up
How To Stay Motivated to Exercise and Reach Your Fitness Goals:
1. Create a tangible, visible reminder of what you want.
My “sister from another mister,” Mi’esha (you may have seen her on my Instagram or mentioned in previous posts), created a Vision Board for her to use when she needed to remember how to stay motivated to work out. You create a board that displays images, words, etc. that represent your goal. Vision Boards help you visualize your goal and how to work towards it. Once completed, place it where you’ll see it often.
2. Take small strides.
While your overall goal may be a big life change, you need to break it down into smaller, reachable goals. This will help you learn how to get motivated to run (and stay motivated!). Running for 15 seconds at a time is way more doable than running a 5k!
One of my favorite quotes says, “You have to think about big things while doing small things… so that all the small things go in the right direction.”
3. Have a reward system.
I’m all about rewards. Did you go to the gym 3 days a week for 2 weeks? Were you able to cut down to one soda a day and kept up with it for a week? Did you go out of your comfort zone to try something new? REWARD YOURSELF! Get a pedicure. Take a nap. Buy something you want (but don’t necessarily need). So what if you’re bribing yourself? It works!! Just make sure your reward doesn’t derail any progress that you’ve made. For me… I love to reward myself with some new workout attire! It gives me an extra boost of motivation to exercise.
4. Don’t beat yourself up over bad days.
You’re going to have bumps in the road. You’re going to come across obstacles. But that’s reality. Do what you have to do. And always remember that NOBODY is perfect! When you get a flat tire, do you slash the other 3? No! Same concept applies to your goals. Just because you have a setback, don’t throw in the towel. You may have to put your goal on the side for a little bit to handle other things in your life. That’s ok. Life happens. Get back to it when you can.
Go out and DO WORK! I know it’s hard… but now that you know how to get motivated to exercise and how to stay motivated to workout, there’s no excuse! Try these fitness motivation tips!
Need help reaching your fitness goals from a personal trainer?
If you ever need some extra help or accountability in sticking with your goals and getting fit, then don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I am, first and foremost, a trained and licensed professional counselor, as well as a fitness professional. And I’m always looking for new friends to connect with! You can connect with me via the Contact option on the site, or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram! Send me a message, leave a comment, and let’s be friends!
If you enjoyed this article on “How To Stay Motivated When Losing Weight,” you may also enjoy How To Get Through Cardio and The Steps to Reaching Your Fitness Goals!
Things To Do With Your Dog
One of my favorite things about having a dog is being able to go on walks and runs with them.
Benefits of Running With Your Dog:
Ally and I both get a lot out of running: I get my daily cardio in, some fresh air after being inside most of the day, and some quality time with my pup; She gets to stretch her overly-energetic legs, see the sights and smell the scents of the outdoors, and she doesn’t have to get left behind at home. Win, win!
In order to keep yourself and your dog happy and healthy for these activities, I created a list of things that I have come across while running with my dog.
So here are my do’s and don’t’s for running with your dog!
Jogging With Your Dog
DO: Talk to your vet before! Your vet will let you know of any red flags. It’s also good for them to know how active your dog is – in case of any health concerns later on down the road!
DON’T: Take a young puppy on a long run. Their bones and joints are still developing! It’s best to wait until your puppy is done growing before taking them on a long-distance run. When Ally was a puppy, I kept our walk/jogs less than 1 mile, and we built up to that gradually!
DO: Stay updated on flea and tick preventative! Being outdoors, especially in the spring, summer, and fall, unwanted pests will leap (literally) at the opportunity to host on your dog… Then you have to deal with them in your house!
DON’T: Let them pull you. This is for your safety as well as your dog’s safety. Also, use a 4-6 ft. leash. This gives them enough space to not trip you, and doesn’t give them too much freedom to get distracted or get in anyone else’s way! Some people say that your dog should never be in front of you… I don’t personally follow this. Ally helps me keep my pace when I want to slow down or stop!
DO: Stay hydrated and take water breaks. You need to stay hydrated for a better run. Your dog can’t sweat like we do, so they need water for hydration and to keep them cooled off.
DON’T: Forget about their sensitive paws! This means… Don’t run on hot pavement or on ice/snow. Your pup doesn’t have sleek Nikes like you do! Their paws are exposed to whatever they are standing on. They can get burned on hot pavement and can sting after running on ice. Also, make sure nothing gets stuck in your dogs paw while on a run! Trapped gravel, dirt clumps, sand, etc. can cause a lot of discomfort for dogs.
DO: Have a plan for #2. Let’s be honest… Sh** happens. All jokes aside, activity and exercise can make a dog’s digestive system move and groove. So make sure you have a waste bag with you! Ally is famous for this.
DON’T: Ignore warning signs. Pay attention to your dog. If they are slowing down, foaming at the mouth, panting extremely hard, coughing, take a break. Let your dog rest and give them water. If Ally gets to this point, I always take the safe route and head home.
DO: HAVE FUN!! This can become special quality time for you and your dog. Whether you’re running around your neighborhood or exploring a new trail, your dog will appreciate that you wanted to bring them along with you. It might take a couple of runs before you and your dog get the hang of things. But practice makes perfect!
Ally is the reason I have discovered some of my favorite running spots in metro Atlanta. That’s why I’m proud to say, “My running partner has 4 paws!”
*Picture: Ally and I after the Atlanta Dog Jog in May 2015
What helpful things would you add to this list for running with your dog? Do you enjoy running with your dog?