running 101: getting started.

“How did you do it?”

“I decided to be able to.”

So, I signed up for a half marathon.  I have been consistently running for almost 7 years at this point and how I’ve never run a race is anyone’s guess.  But that doesn’t make me feel like any less of a runner.  Recently, my boyfriend got me a copy of Alexandra Heminsley’s book “Running Like a Girl”.  To be honest, I didn’t think I would like it nearly as much as I did.  In fact I devoured the book.  It is the perfect read if you’ve ever had any questions about running.  If you’ve never run more than your gym class mile as a kid or if you’re a consistent runner averaging 50 miles+ a week, you can still get something out of this read.  I found myself jotting down quotes and passages as I went along just because they were so inspiring and really motivating.  So much so that when I finished the book last night, I decided I was going to finally bite the bullet and sign up for a half marathon.  Philly Love Run, I’m coming for you.

image2I get asked often questions about running especially by people who are just starting out and I’m always more than happy to answer, so while I’m getting my training for the half done, I’m going to be putting together a series of Running 101 posts to help new and experienced runners alike.

Today’s topic: Getting Started.

By far the hardest part about running is starting.  When I first started, I had only ever run in school when we had our mandatory mile.  In middle school, I would get wicked heel spurs and find any way I could to get out of running.  It never worked and I always would get stuck plodding around the track for some laps while my lungs burned and I cursed the day the mile was ever invented.

Enter college.  I went to the gym 4-5 times a week, but refused to run.  The memories of gasping for air, beet red faces, and excruciating boredom kept me from running at all.  After awhile, I had been elliptical-ing and working on my cardio endurance and getting pretty bored with just biking and walking, so I decided I would give a run a go.  I saddled up onto the treadmill and picked a song to run along with.  I ran and ran and hated every second of it.  After I was sure at least 30 minutes had passed I pressed stop only to be met by a flashing red workout summary that totaled my distance at .6 of a mile.  Awesome.  I was disheartened to say the least and decided that I wasn’t a runner and this wasn’t for me.

A couple weeks later, I went and tried again.  And you know what?  It wasn’t nearly as bad and I actually finished a full mile.  Was I going at a snails pace?  Probably slower to be honest, but I had done it.  And I haven’t stopped since.

That first run is a right of passage.  I’m going to be the first to tell you, it’s probably not going to be that fun.  It’s probably going to suck.  But I assure you any run from there on out will be a whole heck of a lot easier.  My advice: walk where you want to run a couple times first.  If you really like a particular trail, walk around it a couple times and then one day, let it all go and run it.  You know what’s there and what you’re going to run in to, but it’s such a different experience when you run past it all.


Tips for just starting out:

  • Pace yourself.  This is not a race, this is just life.  You don’t have to go as fast as you can.  Pick a pace that if comfortable and conversational.  If you can’t talk a little bit while you’re running, you’re going to burn out way more quickly than you want to.
  • Breathe.  This is the most important thing you can do.
  • Visualize something awesome.  Pretend you’re running through a field of daisies, pretend your running from a herd of zombies, pretend you’re running to catch something in front of you.  Giving your mind a task keeps you focused on something other than what you’re doing.
  • Make small goals.  See that lightpost up there? You only have to run that far.  Oh, that felt good and you want to keep going?  Why don’t you go to that tree.  It sounds silly, but it works, I promise
  • Think about time in a useful way.  20 minutes may seem like such a daunting amount of time to run for, but think about how short of an amount of time that is compared to everything else you do.  I bet it’s shorter than your commute.  I bet it’s shorter than how long it takes you to make dinner.  I bet it’s shorter than how long it takes you to get up and get ready in the morning.  You can run for 20 minutes.
  • Remember, you don’t have to run the whole time.  If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have the cardiovascular strength to keep continuously running and that’s okay.  Take a breather when you need it, but vow to keep moving.  A great way to start is to alternate intervals of running and walking.  Run for 3 minutes, walk for 2, run for 3 minutes, walk for 2.  Then in a couple runs go for 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking.  Eventually, you’ll be able to run non-stop like it’s no big thing.

You can do it if you decide you want to.  Lace up your shoes and get out there because why not?

Workout: Run/Walk for 20 minutes in an area you love.


the holiday struggle is real & quick and easy chicken noodle soup.

The holiday struggle is real y’all.  I want to eat all the holiday treats while sitting on my butt watching Elf on infinite loop.  Is that so much to ask?  The holidays can be a trying time for people.  It’s very stressful and very busy and sometimes things just feel all over the place.  And what’s the first thing to go out the window when everything gets busy?  Healthy eating and working out.  I’m just as guilty as the rest of you when it comes to letting these things slide, but you know what, that’s okay.

It’s okay not to workout every single day.  It’s okay to make a batch of cookies and eat half in one sitting.  It’s okay to have a good time and treat yourself, just don’t do it every day and make sure that your healthy choices outweigh your non-healthy ones.  Take it a day at a time and be kind to yourself.  You’ll bounce back after a week or so of straying from your routine, so don’t make these next couple of weeks so hard on yourself.

I have gone home many times and missed spending valuable time with my family and friends because I needed to workout or didn’t want to go to a restaurant because I couldn’t control what I was eating.  These are all huge mistakes that I wish I had not made and I’m really going to try not to emulate this holiday season.  My best advice: just live your life and have fun for this short period of time, do whatever you can so that you won’t regret it.

Bad news though: I’m feeling pretty under the weather right now.  (This is the second time this year which is two more times than I ever usually get sick, ugh).  So, what’s the perfect fix for a girl on the mend?  Quick & easy Chicken Noodle Soup!  Literally took me not even a half an hour and it hit all kinds of spots.

image1 (9).JPG

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • one onion, diced
  • 2 cups of carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cans of chicken broth
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • prepared egg noodles as many as you would like
  • spices: salt, pepper, and any others you have around.  I used thyme, oregano, and a pinch of cayenne because I was feeling daring

In a pot, heat olive oil, garlic, onions, carrots, and celery over medium heat/until onions are translucent.  Add chicken broth and spices and bring to a boil.  Let boil for 5-7 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Meanwhile, prepare egg noodles in a separate pot.  Turn off the heat on both and you’re good to go.  Prepare a bowl with shredded chicken on the bottom, then noodles, and then broth and veggies.  Serve with crusty bread.