This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Start prepping your shopping lists now: These nutritious foods are going to be flying off shelves in 2013. — Huffington Post Healthy Living
- Before you buy the latest gadget as a gift this season, check out this list for 10 ways to spot something that’s too good to be true. — SparkPeople
- We can’t wait to try this protein-packed Puppy Chow recipe at our holiday parties! — Eating Bird Food
- Ready to sweat? Take your workouts to the next level with these 13 intensity-boosting tips. — Greatist
- Your bank account will be as healthy as your pals when you give them these fit gifts (all are less than $5!). — Fit Sugar
- Do you follow a training plan while prepping for a race? Find out what style may be best for your next PR mission. — Healthy Tipping Point
Living in New York City, I don’t get that many opportunities to run on trails—the Bridle Path in Central Park is where I get my fix for dirt, rocks and maybe some mud after it rains. So when North Face asked me to join their Endurance Challenge Series at Bear Mountain State Park, I jumped at the chance. Not only was this my opportunity to run a new course (as an urban runner, I’m always looking for chances to keep my running routes fresh!), but in high school with my cross-country team Bear Mountain races were always my favorite. The park is gorgeous and the trails are ideal if you want that outdoor fix not far from the city.
Since my husband has recently picked up the sport of running (thanks to my reluctant nudging for him to do a triathlon with me—NYC Nautica 2012 here we come!), I signed him up as well. This would be his first race ever, unless we count the 10K he ran in elementary school he repeatedly pointed out. We made our way up to Bear Mountain from the city—a short trip by car or train—and I instantly got excited upon recognizing a place that looked basically the same as I last remembered it so long ago. We were set to do the 10K distance and knowing from the advice from trainers, this 10K would feel much longer and harder than a typical road race 10K would be. I knew from my April 2012 column on trail running (page 52) and the advice from Saucony coach Sharon Barbano that the tricks of the trail were to be followed: Take smaller strides for greater control on uneven terrain, pick up your feet more often than a typical stride and scan at least 10 feet ahead so I can see what’s coming up on the ground. I was pumped and ready to go.
I’m halfway through my first marathon training plan, and let’s just say I’m in love with the idea of crossing that coveted finish line (and super-psyched to be part of such a big “club” here in New York City), but how the heck am I really going to run for 26.2 miles?! These are the thoughts going through my head as I do my long runs on weekends, passing each mile marker and thinking about the many many more I have ahead. I should be thinking inspiring things to move me forward, like how this is a goal I always wanted to check off my list or that if those older than me and some physically disabled can do this, then why can’t I?
However, the unknown and nerves surrounding 26.2 miles is playing games with my head! They say the most challenging physical demands you ask your body to do for you—like marathons, triathlons and even Ironman races—are also challenges of the mind. The mental component to accomplishing a goal is the will or desire to want to achieve it. So like Nike says, “Just Do It.”
So that I will, but not before I try some of these 11 mental tips from New York Sports Club Master Trainer and Running Coach, Monica Vazquez. (She’s run over 25 races: five full marathons, a handful of 5ks and many many half-marathons! Check her out at fitnessbymonica.com.)
For the smartest tricks to make it through your next long run, Read more
Yesterday was FITNESS magazine’s 3rd annual MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon—and the weather was in our favor indeed! Unlike past years, the temperature was just right and it was a sunny, beautiful day in Central Park. I learned that this particular race is the largest women’s only half-marathon in the country—way to go ladies! And it’s no wonder why: I haven’t seen race-day energy like this at any other race I’ve been involved with. There’s something really special about a women’s only race (sorry dudes) because the ladies really know how to make things fun. From tutus and hot pink knee socks to running with your mom, women make breaking a sweat a party you don’t want to miss. The racers were pumped up from start to finish and just being there, even as a spectator, made you feel like a better person. Since I was “working” on something special for the magazine, I wasn’t able to run the race, but I enjoyed keeping track of a few very special ladies who I’ve been working with for the past three months.
I also bumped into Tara Costa from season seven of The Biggest Loser. She ran the race with her best friend who is a newbie to the running thing. And, Tara looked great—still in prime form since leaving the show. Way to go Tara! Also at the race, was Healthy Tipping Point blogger Caitlin Boyle (also of Operation Beautiful). She was with other blogger friends, Jenn of Fit Bottomed Girls and Gabriela of Une Vie Saine, but they were walking the race due to injuries. I think that’s pretty awesome though—who says you have to just run a half-marathon? Walking is just as good, and with over 10,000 other participants the energy of the race makes it super fun! Thinking about walking your first half marathon? Check our Caitlin’s advice HERE and then try FITNESS’ walking plan to get started on your own walking goals.
For the past 10 weeks, our Half-Marathon Diaries blog has been following two runners, FITNESS’ fashion assistant Marla as she trains and runs her first half-marathon, and sales account director Susan who was running her third half-marathon but this time raising money for her favorite charity, Team Hole In The Wall Gang. They had different experiences but both stories are so inspiring. Is a half-marathon on your bucket list? If so, read about Marla and Susan’s 10 week training and start planning your first race too. Looking for even MORE inspiration? Check out my list of favorite running blogs!
BLOGS WE LOVE THAT GET YOU IN THE RUNNING MOOD!
Healthy Tipping Point: www.healthytippingpoint.com
Fit Bottomed Girls: www.fitbottomedgirls.com
Une Vie Saine: www.une-vie-saine.com
Half-Marathon Diaries: www.fitnessmagazine.com/blogs/halfmarathondiaries
Hungry Runner Girl: www.hungryrunnergirl.com
Sweat Once A Day: www.sweatonceaday.blogspot.com
Peanut Butter Runner: www.peanutbutterrunner.com
So, are you convinced yet that racing is totally awesome and just so much fun (not to mention SO good for your body and your mind too—oh and totally addicting!)? You’ll feel better once you take that first step, trust me. Okay so here’s all you need to start hitting the pavement today. If you can’t make it outdoors for a jog, try the treadmill. Just hop on one tonight and run for 15-20 minutes. Then everyday tack on a few minutes or another mile. It’s really that easy. The hardest part is starting—and since you only start something once, that can’t be so bad, now can it? If you need a nudge try following us on Twitter to stay motivated too!
If you need help or have a particular question about getting started on a walk or run plan, leave us your comments and I’ll definitely get back to you!