Thinking about switching to trail running? Here’s 10 reasons why you should!
Continue the read @ Adventures On The Run
I have no doubt that National Running Safety Month was likely created by a running store or brand to bring people into the store and for good mojo with the runners. But that’s ok, because safety is something that runners should be worried about, and not just in November!!
As a runner, (or walker or hiker) safety should always be #1 before anything else. Precautions in advance and using some simple tools can help you be safer and allow you to get your run done knowing you are prepared.
Ran across a good comprehensive safety guide for runners or walker, even hikers will see a few good tips. Lace Up Local has tips for running safely in the dark, safety when you run alone, safety in the rain or inclement weather conditions and safety for women.
Road ID App – You can select up to five people from your phone’s contact list to alert when you go for a run (and the best part is the app is FREE!)
Speaking of Road ID, they sell fantastic little wrist ID’s that you can personalize. You can have you name, phone number, blood type, medical alerts, etc all engraved on a plate on the band that you choose. This is a smart idea, especially if you run, hike, or walk alone. If something happens to you like you get hit by a car or are unconscious for some reason, police and medical personnel can have vital info they need for quick action. Many don’t like to take along bulky wallets and drivers license can easily be lost. But the fun part is that you can personalize them!
I also recommend wearing some type of reflective clothing. There are products out there from inexpensive wrist bands to outrageously (but super cool looking) vest lights. Lit shoelaces are a cute touch, and I like the heal lights they have everywhere for your shoes.
But whatever you buy or don’t buy, whatever safety app you choose, or not, be safe out there!! And yes, any lights on shoes has been scientifically proven to make you a faster runner! Or so I like to believe.
There are many many reasons TO run races. They can be really very motivational and being surrounded by so many amazing and supportive fellow runners can be a great experience and very inspirational. But during my mini hiatus from running I considered the race I have coming up and the pressure that can put on me. I signed up for that race long before my injury or my dog passing and all the other stresses life’s thrown at me and us over the last few months. And it’s a length I’ve never even tried before, a half marathon. I’ve done one 10-miler before but usually I do 5K’s, maybe a couple 7 or 8K’s thrown in through the year. But not even in training have I ever done a half marathon. The last time I even walked something that distance was likely the slow walk we did through our Disney excursions. So a half marathon is a little intimidating.
There is something to be said to be in the crowd waiting for the horns or whistles to start a race. There is an energy that can be addictive. It has nothing to do with competing. It’s the vibe of all these athletes (yes you are an athlete if you are in a race, or even running for that matter) who have trained, prepared, anticipated and usually woke very early to line up with everyone in the wee hours of morning. It’s a camaraderie. And it gets your adrenaline pumping.
That preparation you do before a race is a huge motivator for many. For me it’s been both a source of inspiration and specific time to focus on improving my pace and form. It’s the thing that makes you lace up your shoes on days you’d just like to stay in bed with the covers over your eyes. Those cold mornings can be rough, and the hot afternoon sun mid summer is brutal. But still, you have that date ingrained in your head and you gotta keep pushing.
Most races your entry fee is for a charity and that for me is a big reason to do races. I think I do races more for that reason than any other. It’s such a win win. You help a charity with your entry fee and yet you get a shirt, a medal, a piece of fruit, or more (hot chocolate races are awesome from what I hear) AND you get to race yourself, test yourself and your capabilities.
LIVE music! Or at least radio stations playing music. What a rush that is for me. Music is a big motivator for me. I only wish that the Rock & Roll was done more towards the winter months. Great music, but sooooo humid usually. And I don’t take the humidity well. So instead I usually volunteer for that one, and many others in the dead of summer heat. I am not a summer runner!
Some people actually thrive on running neck and neck with another in a race. For a few it really is competitive, especially when you become one of the fastest in an area, or a specific race. But still, it’s usually that competition with self. But running alongside others can be a push for you, especially when you start to drag. Usually I always keep someone who stands out who is going just a little faster than my pace, and I make myself keep up with them. And if I pass them, I focus on another who stands out. It all helps with focus, especially when I start to hit a wall and my legs just want me to stop. I look for that person and it becomes tunnel vision until I get over that hump.
Camaraderie! When you run with a team you don’t all necessarily run “together”. But you do have team members spread around the course who are out there giving you support and keeping an eye on you. Plus before and after the race, getting together with your team makes for a double the fun of the day! Some teams train together. The RWB runs together, and does cross-training together. Some times we do rock wall climbing or yoga too. Many bigger races have training teams for half marathons and marathons.
I love race expo’s! Packet pick up day is a fun time. Especially if you like shopping or trying out new gear. Often you can grab a great deal and learn about new advancements in gear and tech.
Or Not To Race
Some people shouldn’t run races. Plain and simple. For some it’s added pressure that takes away from the shear joy of the run. And the spontaneity of place and distance. Many runners and I’m one of those, especially when on a trail like to stop and take in nature, snap some pictures, enjoy the experience of feeling the air around me and the sights before me.
For others signing up for a race, no matter how much you know you’re only in competition with yourself, let the pressure of others running along with them dull the experience of the run. Then what’s the point of even running? You have to find joy. Or as RunJunkEes® say, “Find The magic In The Misery”. If it’s not fun, you’re just going to stop, so don’t do what makes you unhappy with your run.
I’ve talked to a few who just don’t like the crowds or the noise that events bring with them. While others feed off the rush of all that energy around them. I am a huge fan of the music. I like music when I walk or run. No chatting, just me, nature and music. Usually races like half marathons require a training schedule of some kind and some people just enjoy their runs to be more spur of the moment and unplanned. A free spirit approach, letting the run flow where it will free of constraint.
Weather can be iffy for some people living in certain areas making training for races difficult. Some see this as opportunity to toughen up and face the flurries or downpours. Not to mention some areas get pretty humid in the summer months. If I lived in Florida I would only run at night. But some see these weather obstacles as difficult to try and juggle specific training plans.
Not every charity is one you may want to donate to. I have one I will not run (no names will be mentioned here) because I personally don’t like how their monies are allocated through the charity. So I never run that race, ever. I don’t even volunteer for it.
And finally, my big pet peeve with races. I am not a morning person, not one bit. And getting up early for anything other than my job is always a constant mental battle with me. Most races you have to be out there before the sun even comes up. And on the weekend some times, that is just not sounding fun to me.
So seriously, do what makes you happy and what makes you love your run and find excitement in your training. Running or race walking is trial and error. To run pavement or trails, races or no races, method of run training, etc… It’s all about makes you enjoy what you do. Running is not a competition and it’s not something that should be scary or torturous. It should be challenging yet fun. So get some good quality shoes fitted for you and lace up and get out there. Every step you take is another accomplishment and better health. Adding years to your life and life to your years. Above all else…
personal opinion from personal experience – Not advice from an expert 👍🏼
1. Start Small
Maybe you’ve never run a day in your life. Or maybe you’ve taken a big hiatus from the pavement for whatever reason. Or injury has kept you sidelined. Regardless, you need to start or start back small. The most exuberant first time mountain climber isn’t gonna go out and tackle Mt. Everest his first climb. It would be foolish but also self deflating. You need to set yourself up for success, strength gaining and endurance building.
Heck you don’t even have to “run”. If you don’t feel a run, then walk. Or if your conditioning won’t yet allow running, then walk. Walk as slow as you need to. The point is letting your feet touch the pavement, the trail or the treadmill ( I highly suggest one or both of the first two. Treadmills are great for intervals or really bad weather conditions but being in the open air is just in general better for your health).
Commit to a 15 to 20-minute short walks or runs, or intervals (run/walk/run), three times for one week. Sure, you may want to do more, but just stick to short sessions. After three or four weeks of regular training, aim to increase your workload and running mileage.
2. One Goal
Goals help you to focus. That eye on the prize mentality. Something that would make you feel inspired or accomplished in your training. Sit down and come up with the ONE goal you want to achieve. Do you want to run a 5K, a 5K in under 30 minutes, or are you trying to get back into marathon running? Choose a race allowing yourself enough time to reach that goal. Be very very realistic. Check and see what the time limit is for the race and then set your training accordingly, but make sure it’s doable!!
3. Find Inspiration
That can be from other people who are runners or race walkers. Join a club, or some bigger races even have training groups. Many small running stores have group runs. I’m part of the RWB who gets together not only for races, but training runs, strength training , hill work, yoga and cross-fit.
Follow blogs that inspire you and your training. Find an inspirational quote every day that you focus on. Make it your mantra for the day and focus on that when you train.
4. Commit Your intentions out loud to someone or to many
You can blog it, tell members of that new group what your training plan encompasses, or tell your family members around the dinner table. There are many forums you can find about running, or Facebook groups. Even Reddit has running threads you can follow and share with.
You will also need to hold yourself accountable—long term—for your actions. Don’t just commit once and it’s over, but hold yourself accountable for the long term by providing everyone on your accountability list with regular progress updates every week or so.
So far I’ve told my blog readers my intention and also how I’ve been slacking. My hubby knows, as well as knowing details on my training schedule so he can kick me in the butt when needed.
5. Change up your training routine
Especially when you feel you’re getting bored or losing excitement in your walk or run. This can especially happen when training for longer and longer distances. So small changes help immensely. It can be changing up your play list, or your running route (which you should do for safety anyway), as well as time of day. If you are a road (pavement) runner, find some smooth trails that aren’t to challenging (where you would need to buy trail shoes for), or accept the challenge. Hey that means you can shop for some new shoes ladies 👠
This is the good time to throw in some treadmill intervals where you can change up the speed and incline. If you google treadmill intervals you will find all kinds of routines to do. Or head outside for the hills, I said hills, not mountains, for some hill work. This will help strengthen your legs.
6. Befriend Runners
As I said above, find some fellow runners or walkers. Check what you are doing minute per mile and then go seek like minded (ability) people. I also belong to group on Facebook called the Running Turtles. They are local in my area but they have everyone from 20 min mile walkers to 6 min mile runners. It could even be your spouse or a friend who has similar goals. But if you do that, just make sure you are positive for one another. You don’t want someone who can easily talk you out of walking or running for the day to go to the donuts shop instead!
Also just befriending runners in online groups even if it’s a national group like the RunJunkEes® Run Club is for me. We do have a small local group that meets. But many in RunJunkEes® are online just for the support, tips and motivation they get.
Also small local running stores often hold runs and running workshops. Some are often directed at showing off a new shoes style. But that’s a benefit because sometimes you get to try the shoes too! And besides, you need to get fitted properly if you’re just starting out anyway. Too often people buy running shoes in the size they normally wear in non running shoes, and guess what, most of the time that’s not the right running shoes size you need. Plus there are shoes depending on your pronation (heel goes to the left or right when you come down on it) and you can get shoes to help because that is a discomfort when running.
7. Celebrate your Successes
And try not to do it too much with food if you don’t have a healthy relationship with food. Much better choices are ways to pamper or gear yourself.
8. Starting for the first time
Depending on your skill level and athletic ability there are good training plans out there that are all just a little different and that makes it easier for you to find the right fit.
Couch to 5K training plan you can find on the internet and apps for your phone
9. Some suggested help for you from me…
Zombies, Run Phone App.
Jeff Galloway Training Excellent place for walkers to start. Jeff has training plans to take you from walking into running.
Hal Higdon For those already able to do some running.
ResqWalk ResQwalk is a FREE mobile app that enables you to raise money and resources for animal welfare organizations, simply by walking.
Charity Miles Choose a charity and walk or run for it.
I’m not listing shoes because every foot is different. I have used three different brands since I started. But I was fitted for the brands.
There are other phone apps out there such as Zombie 5K, Map My Walk, Map My Run, Get Running, Runkeeper, Couch to 5K, C25K, Runtastic, and Edumondo. I have used all of these and they all, like most apps have high points and low points. You just have to give them a test run and see what fits your needs best.
Seeking inspiration these days I stumbled upon some simple yet profound logic as get back in the game and out of my own head space. Maybe if you are stuck in a mental jam this will help you too. And this isn’t just a short distance, 5k runners tip. Matt wrote this after a 50-miler. As I’ve said, running is so much more a mental battle than a physical one. As humans we are capable of so much more than we realize at times. Like me, some just need to get out of their own way! Read on my friends…
8 Ways to Start Running Again When You’re Just Not Feelin’ It. By : Matt Frazier
When you’re on fire, you know it.
Running is all you can think about. Your workouts are hard, but they’re the best part of your day.
After each one, you feel unstoppable, and you can’t wait until tomorrow, so you can do it all again.
But when running is hard, it’s really hard. It feels forced, and you know deep down that even if it looks like you’re running, you’re really just going through the motions.
And though you give yourself a pat on the back after you get out there and grind out a workout, you can’t help but remember all the times when you didn’t need to play cheerleader — when you ran because running was all you wanted to do.
Life is a head game.
Running is a head game.
Getting out of our way is sometimes the biggest challenge we will face in life. But to move forward you’ve gotta face the obstacles you, yourself are placing in front of you. Often, they are the biggest mountain you have to climb. Even more so than anything else that becomes and obstacle from other sources. We can be our own worst enemy or our greatest hero. We can be the thing that drags us down or the momentum that makes us rise. But it’s all a choice, a choice to face fear and a choice to admit areas where we may be frail, or not as strong for the task in front of us. But it’s usually not the frailty or lack of strength or knowledge that kicks our butts. It’s pride, it’s fear and it’s self doubt that binds us. The words “I can’t do that” and “It’s too hard” just be stricken from our minds eye. We are capable of so much more than we know.
This is for the dreamers who fear to go out and make that dream a reality because they don’t have the right tools. And the ones who want to climb that mountain but fear their days of glory are far behind them. This blog is for those who’ve been kicked down by life and are having a tough time standing back up. And for those who let the little voice inside who says “You can’t do that” and “That’s to hard for me” win.
I am with you.
I am one of you.
Self doubt is something I’ve fought my entire life. And getting back up when life kicks me down is something I’ve always stumbled through. The last few months things have happened that separately, I likely would have dealt with much differently. They likely would have made me a tiger who through tears and troubles would have persevered through. But sometimes life gives you just the right (or very very wrong) one two (or three) punch in the gut that knocks you down and keeps you down for the count.
So what happened?
My husband had to be gone for a while, off to another country for work. I injured my arm and side very badly. My dog passed away and I was suffering from some pretty bad insomnia because of all this. This combination knocked me right out of the ballpark as far as any race training went. Or any running, run walk run, or heck even walking went. I started becoming a couch potato and emotional eating again. Between trying to heal from the injury, sadness over my dog and overall sleep deprivation and my hubby being so far away , I felt like a mouse on a wheel going nowhere and it would stay that way forever. Well that’s how it felt.
In reality, three really long months. And getting back into training seemed like Mt Everest to climb. That huge wall was in front of me and I knew I eventually had to start kicking it down and the longer I waited, the bigger that obstacle was growing.
March 19th my first Half Marathon is happening. And it’s happening if I’m ready or not. And I think that realization is just thing I’ve needed to kick my butt back into shape emotionally, mentally and physically. I am going to treat my run training with small steps of forward momentum.
Not really starting at square one, because I do have some training and experience. But yet again I really think that’s what I plan to do. I need to start again, fall in love with it all, all over again. Remember how my body responds to the challenges I set and how I overcome them. Accomplishments can be a strong driving force. And challenging yourself is what I’ve found to be the best way to gain self esteem.
That’s what is so amazing about running and the running community. The only one you are really racing is yourself. Sure you can get into all the head games of who is faster than you. But really, who cares? What are you truly afraid of? That is the question I have to ask myself and I want you to ask yourself when you face the doubt. Because really you just have to get of your own way!! And I’m doing it with small forward steps.
So this week I begin again. I have an early training start to my Half Marathon. Monday’s are a designated rest day which I will usually just do some gentle yoga for. So Tuesday is my official day back on the pavement. But stretching is awesome for runners and just generally is fabulous for your mind and body. And I am hoping to post a recap of the day, every day to hold myself accountable!! Call me out on it if you don’t see a post after a couple days 😏
It won’t be morning because I am allergic to mornings. Even working I prefer night shifts. Mornings are for late breakfasts, but… Tomorrow I will share a bit more inspiration I found as I struggled through the last few months not training. I knew I would eventually pull myself out of my own self created funk, but a little inspiration and motivation along the way has really helped!
And for all the Supernatural Gifs I used in the making of this blog post and those who love the Winchester’s and the rest of the Supernatural cast….