by Coach Jenni Nettik
Did you make a new year’s resolution to get fit? Are you taking Mark Zuckerberg’s challenge to run 365 miles this year? Do you have a spring race on your calendar? It’s January so you’re probably still pretty motivated, but how are you going to keep that enthusiasm the entire year? Try falling in love with running.
Tips to Help You Love Running:
1. Stay in the Moment
When coaching new runners, I’m often asked how to achieve the runner’s high. For me, time vanishes when I get a runner’s high. How can you make that happen? Stay in the moment. Clear your mind, I know, easier said than done. Try clearing your mind by picking one element of running or the environment to meditate on.
When an outside thought sneaks in, acknowledge it, and then redirect your thoughts back to your focus.
2. Escape . . .
Time and time again, runners tell me they use running as way to escape and process life, the opposite of staying in the moment. Different runs, serve different purposes. As an artist, I sometimes use my runs to generate new ideas, or solve difficult pieces. While training for my first marathon, I created over 60 paintings to document the process.
Things to do while running:
Running can be therapy, “me” time or even happy hour.
3. Set a Goal
Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Goals are essential to staying motivated. They guide your training and keep you lacing up and challenging yourself even when that voice in your head says otherwise. A goal can be something as simple as run three to four times a week. It can be more specific like run the Napa Valley Half Marathon. Or a goal can get really detailed like qualify for Boston. It’s best to have multiple layers of goals to prevent yourself from getting discouraged. Remember, things don’t always go according to plan.
A good set of goals for this winter could be:
Give yourself lots of opportunities to pat yourself on the back.
This fall I went trail running with my two year old nephew, he ran down the the path screaming at the top of his lungs, he loved running. Why? He was playing! How can you bring that same joy to your own runs?
Most importantly, have fun.
5. Take Care of Yourself
If you want to enjoy running, you’ve got take care of yourself. For me, that means a bulk box of hand warmers for winter runs. What’s holding you back? How can you fix it?
Ways to take care of yourself:
Sometimes running requires more than a pair of shoes.
6. Find Your Community
People often say, “I run, but I’m not a runner.” The beauty of running is that people of all different ages, sizes, shapes and speeds run. Seek out a community of runners that will support and cheer you on.
Call yourself a runner!
What makes you love running?
Cross-Training in the Winter
Sometimes it’s okay not to run
by Coach Jenni Nettik
It’s winter, that means the conditions outside can be less than ideal for running. Training for a spring race can feel challenging when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Don’t stress, use the winter conditions to sprinkle a little cross-training into your routine. Many runners are resistant to cross-training, but mixing-up training has several benefits.
Benefits of Cross-Training:
1. Variety is the Spice of Life!
Training all winter for a spring race can feel long and monotonous! Mixing-up training keeps things interesting. If you find yourself struggling to getting out the door for your usual run, try swapping out an easy run for a class at the gym, a spin session, or snowshoeing. Cross-training adds flexibility to your training schedule which may be exactly what you need to stay motivated.
2. Stay Healthy.
Running is repetitive, it uses the same muscles in the same way, step after step, day after day. Many runners get injured because their bodies only have the strength and mobility to move forward. Cross-training often encourages movement in different directions or multiple planes. This winter when you start to notice a small ache or pain, head to the yoga studio, a bar class or the pool. Your body will thank you during your next run.
3. Safety First.
In the winter, the days are short and the nights are long. Running outside by yourself isn’t always safe. If you planned to run around the park with your friend, but she called at the last minute to tell you she has the flu. Use the unexpected opportunity to go to that strength training class you’ve been wanting to try. You’ll stay safe, and may even meet a few new workout buddies.
4. Snow Day!
Winter weather is unpredictable, sometimes there’s sunshine and blue skies, other mornings you wake-up and it’s a snow day! Don’t hold yourself hostage to your training plan, enjoy what the season dumps on you. A snow day is the perfect time to break out your cross-country skis and explore the city, head to mountains and hit the slopes, or hop on the fat bike trend and ride the trails. Remember how much you loved snow days as a kid (unless you’re from Montana, we didn’t have snow days)? Capture that joy!
Tips for successful cross-training:
How do you cross-train?
Stay on track with your fitness during the most wonderful time of the year!
by Coach Jenni Nettik
The holiday season is upon us, that means hectic schedules filled with holiday parties, big meals and travel. What can you do to maintain your fitness when time is limited? Remind yourself that exercise reduces stress–make it a priority. Here are few tips to help.
1. Do a Turkey Trot or Jingle Jog
My personal favorite is the Turkey Trot, I run in the morning and feel accomplished, and then enjoy a feast in the afternoon. It’s more of a Thanksgiving tradition for me than turkey. There are a million themed races, from pumpkin pie to Speedos, just choose one and have fun.
I usually encourage my runners to embrace rest, but sometimes rest is a little too easy during the holidays. Instead, try a running a streak. Run or walk a minimum of one mile everyday from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Once you start a streak, you won’t want to stop. Even if you feel like you don’t have a single free minute, you’ll find a way to squeeze in a quick run or walk to keep your streak alive.
3. Rise & Shine
I’m not usually a morning runner, but the holidays are a little heavy with evening commitments. Let’s be honest, are you really going to skip that happy hour to run in the cold? No. That means the only time to run is early in the day. Make morning runs as painless as possible, don’t snooze and set out your gear the night before. Five minutes into the run, you’ll be glad you did!
4. See the light(s)!
One of my favorite things about this time of year are the holiday lights. Every city has a neighborhood or two that’s known for their holiday decorations. Plan a special route, even if you’re traveling, that takes a tour of the best neighborhoods. Who knows, maybe a few friends or family will want to join you on the festive route.
5. Run with a purpose.
Need to mail holiday cards? Want to grab a gift certificate at a local shop? Catching up with an old buddy over coffee? Don’t grab your car keys, lace up your running shoes and run to your destination instead. I use my hydration pack to carry all sorts of things besides water.
6. ‘Tis the season for treats!
Candy canes, fudge and Christmas cookies are all the more reason to maintain your running routine. After a run, treat yourself! Try taking a hot bath (my favorite), watching a cheesy holiday movie, or even enjoy one of those sweets waiting for you at home. The key is, run first, treat second (& of course moderation!).
7. Garland & Goals
The snow is falling and spring seems far away, but in terms of marathon training, it’s just around the corner. If you’re signed-up for a spring marathon, training kicks off during the holidays. When you’re trying to decide whether or not you really “need” to do that run, ask yourself why you run. Thinking about Boston gives me the little extra nudge I need to get out the door.
How do you stay motivated over the holidays?