Intuitive Running

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Fall is upon us, bringing with it those sought after cooler running temperatures. We’re having warmer than average temperatures for fall in WI so far, but as most Wisconsinites know, that could change by the drop of a hat.

Sunday was a picture perfect fall day. Temperatures were in the 60s with a cool breeze. As I was running and inevitably thinking, I thought about how great it felt to run. I left the house, telling my husband that I was planning to go about 3 miles. As I ran though, I just felt it. That “runners high” hit me and I could compare it best to feeling like I was flying. As I thought about how far to go, I let my body be my guide. It wasn’t about a “certain number of miles.” I was concentrated on pushing myself beyond that comfortable running point.

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This got me thinking…why do we apply intuitive eating to our lives, but not intuitive running? Why not let our bodies be our guide for how many miles we do?

I have completed two half marathons, three 10ks, and one 5k, so I understand that training plans give a guide to prepare us for race day. I don’t feel I would’ve been as readily prepared for the half marathons without having a general plan. However, I often focused too much on the number of miles I needed to get in for the day/week, rather than focusing on how my body felt.

Intuition, or rather lack there of, during my half marathon training may have prepared me for race day even more. I didn’t fully listen to my body during training. I focused on the number of miles needed and that was that. I didn’t allow myself to account for the individuality of racing. We’re all different. We all have different bodies that respond to running and food differently. Therefore, just because it says to run 11 miles on the schedule, doesn’t mean it’s best. How can we then, follow training guides without putting our individual spin on them?

It felt freeing to run whatever number of miles my body was feeling on Sunday. I didn’t feel like I let myself down because I didn’t run the recommended XX number of miles. I’m not currently training for a race. Because of this, it’s taken my running to a new level. Running has {mostly} always been enjoyable, but I have found a new love and appreciation for it after running “free.”

I still wear my GPS for most runs. I still care about my mileage and speed, however, I find it doesn’t matter as much as it did when I was in training. I want to keep up my fitness and hopefully pinpoint a spring half marathon as my next goal, however, I’m enjoying just running for fun right now.

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Do you use intuitive running or are you a stickler with the training plan?

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Keep Calm and Just Run

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Finally got a good run in last night. As of lately, it’s been all work and no play for this girl. This weekend will be much needed for a little RnR. It felt SO good to run I can’t even tell you. Since March, I have been running consistently without taking more than a couple days off. We ran the Fox Cities Half Marathon on September 22nd and then the Brewers 10k on September 28. I decided to take a couple days off from running this week, which turned into a couple days off from everything. Some days, it’s hard to get home after a long day, make dinner, and then get out there (which by now means after dark). I’m a strong believer in scheduling my workouts so that it’s a non-negotiable. However, I also need to be flexible and give myself a break every now and again!

I’ve learned and accepted that, at times, I need to take a break from exercising. I would like to emphasize “break” and not “giving up.” I don’t need to feel bad about myself or begin to self-doubt. I used to beat myself up and feel like a failure every time I would head home instead of heading to the gym. I’ve learned over time that rest days are needed, no need to feel bad about that. Many times our bodies tell us this information to keep us going, we just have to listen!

Even though I took four days off, it felt like an eternity from what I’m used to running. My body felt good last night and I was able to push myself. Doing something physical gives me that much needed mental break from the rest of the world. It’s just me and the road. There’s really nothing better.

Oct3I look at running and going to the gym as an investment in my physical health as well as my mental health. I’m more alert, have more energy, and can think so much clearer after exercising. It just makes me feel good!

I hope everyone has a chance to hit the road this weekend, not for a road trip, but for running! Invest in yourself, your physical health, and your mental health. We’re worth it.

390608_3025366750665_1157654785_3309870_1578087018_nAre you running or exercising this weekend? Do you ever have self-doubt about exercising consistently?

13.1 Miles of Dedication

FRIDAY! Feels like such an accomplishment to get to Friday after a week working with my speech kiddos again. Though I’m busier, exercise and eating right is definitely helping me not fall asleep at 8:30 like I used to! Yah, energy!

The half marathon I’m running is one week from Sunday (!), September 22nd. During one of my training runs for the half marathon, you might remember me mentioning Debbie. She’s the 61 year old who I had a hard time keeping up with! Debbie has run 12 half marathons and told me that she runs each mile for someone. I thought this will be a great way to make each mile memorable during the half marathon. I want to savor each step, each block, each mile. I am dedicating each mile to a close family member, friend, or someone I may or may not know.

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Mile 1…is for my husband. I never thought he would take up running with me. I am SO proud to call him mine and to have him next to me on race day. How did I get so lucky?

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Mile 2….is for the lady who left us all too soon, my mom. She was my rock, my hero, my heart. I miss her terribly, but hope she is there with me in some way on race day. Love you forever, Mom.

Mile 3…is for my Dad. I have seen changes in him in so many positive ways. He has slowed down his hectic lifestyle and better appreciates the people around him. He is stronger than I ever thought.

Mile 4…is for my brother. I hope he finds happiness and content in his life.

Mile 5…is for my grandma. She’s about to turn 88 and still drives to her cottage and back. She’s spunky and can talk your ear off (in a good way :)).

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Grandma, Me, my brother, my mom, and my dad from Christmas ’11. My mom was confused what her present was….yup, that was my mom, silly as can be.

Mile 6…is for my speech kiddos. They’re the reason I get out of bed every morning. I promised myself growing up that I would find a profession I love. Done.

Mile 7…is for the residents I used to work with as an SLP at a nursing home; those with dementia, Alzheimers, dysphagia, and stroke survivors.

Mile 8…is for those fighting ovarian cancer. Cancer sucks.

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September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

Mile 9…is for those who have ever lost someone close to their hearts. I feel your pain.

The rest are for me to savor my surroundings and recognize how blessed I am to be able to run 13.1 miles. All the doubt, difficulty, pain, tears, it’s all worth it in the end. I’m about to change “I’m going to do it” to “I did it.” What’s better than that?

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Happy dance! Excuse the no make-up. We were camping!

Have a great weekend!!! 🙂

Who would you dedicate a mile to?

My Butt Needs Work

Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Saturday morning I completed my last long training run before the Fox Cities Half Marathon this month!! I ran with the PaceSetters, which is a local running group here. We had 11 miles on the schedule and though some miles were mentally tough, I did it! At about mile 9 it really hit me that I’m doing this and I’m going to do it well this time. Last year’s half was a bit of a disappointment because of my body, but this year I have new determination to not only finish, but finish strong. I’m pretty excited about the race on September 22nd. I tend to get overly excited during races where I just want to slap high fives with spectators and yell to everyone around me, “We’re doing it!!! We’re almost there!” I wish I could bottle that feeling, that sense of accomplishment I get during races.

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The best part of my run was meeting a new running buddy (keep finding new ones at every run :)), Debbie. We were both keeping a 9:30 min/mile pace and just fell into sync next to each other. We ran and talked the last three miles together. I learned that Debbie has been running for 20+ years and has completed 12 half marathons. She took second in her age group last year at the Fox Cities Half Marathon. I was guessing her age to be in the later 40s…only to find out she’s 61! I couldn’t believe how great she looks! When we finished our run, Debbie mentioned every run she writes down someone’s name and runs one mile for them, every mile except for that last one that is. Debbie said, “That mile is always for me.” 

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Debbie and I after 11 miles.

Running is so much more than running. Running gives you a connection to other runners, an understanding that you’re a fighter, you’re driven, you’re willing to put effort into something, you’re willing to keep going even if it’s difficult. A running mindset, that I can accomplish my goals if I just keep trying, can be applied to many facets of our lives. That’s what I love about running. Debbie noted running helped her through many difficult times in her life and I can relate. I had just met Debbie and already felt open enough to discuss my mom’s passing and she shared that she lost her mom when she was 20. We all have heard the phrase, “Running is cheaper than therapy.” True that.

After my training run, I took advantage of the physical therapists they had on hand. I mentioned to the PT that I have been having hip pain once I get about 6 miles into my longer runs. I have ben trying to strengthen my hips (i.e., Centergy classes) and increase my cadence. She questioned how I increase my cadence. Honestly, I just try to think about taking short, quick steps and repeat in my head to “pick up you feet, pick up your feet.” (Read more about cadence and good form running here) She checked my hip alignment which was good. Then she checked my glute strength. I’ve been so focused on strengthening my hips, I didn’t think about my glutes being weak. Sure enough, when she asked me to resist while she pushed, I folded like a weakling. I have a weak butt! She recommended resistance band exercises and doing plank jacks.

We spent the rest of our weekend at my parent’s cottage on the lake soaking up the last sun of summer.

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Pro compresh and leg draining in the car.

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Murphy basking in the late afternoon sunlight.

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Murph loved kayaking with us.

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Tomorrow is the first day of school for the kiddos, so I’m back to working full time. After a summer full of running, getting my body on track, farmer’s markets, trips, and seeing friends/family, I’m ready for the challenge of a new school year. I haven’t been present for a first day of elementary school yet, so I’m looking forward to the excitement!

Enjoy the rest of your labor day!

Do you get overly excited during races? Any suggestions for good exercises or videos to strengthen glutes/hips? What did you do over the long weekend?