Monday Motivation 

Ok folks, I have a confession to make. I didn’t run this weekend, nor did I exercise either. I haven’t had a weekend like that in some time. Do I feel bad? Not really. A little guilty perhaps. But the calendar says it’s Monday and for me, that’s the time to get back on the fitness grind.

For many folks, Monday’s are a drag. But they don’t have to be. They can also be the start of a new beginning, especially for someone who has been away from the fitness game for a while. If you don’t know where to start, it’s ok. Start by making simple decisions in your daily routine that are different from what you’re doing now. Here are some simple examples:

  • If you commute to work, get off a stop earlier than you usually do and walk the rest of the way. Tomorrow do the same and perhaps add the return trip also.
  • Drink coffee? Soda? Start to cut back the sugar. Sugar can pack on the pounds and if your trying to lose them, sugar will help.
  • Look at your daily habits. Do you really need to binge watch all of those shows on Netflix on Hulu? Ask yourself how much time you spend daily on shows and start replacing that time with exercise. Walks, runs, trips to the gym. Anything is better than self-imposed Netflix marathons.
  • Guilty of ordering take out? Don’t do it this week. Look over your diet and make healthier decisions.
  • Add veggies to everything – breakfast, lunch, dinner and slowly cut out the carbs. It goes a long way – trust me!
  • A lot of us have iphones – use the apple health app! Count your steps, track what you eat. It’s such a useful tool that is already on your phone but people don’t use it! Try it!
img_7308-1

Is Netflix your marathon? Consider scaling that back!

 

Of course, I highly recommend running to anyone looking for a longer term plan to feel better. My favorite recommendation for beginners, schedule yourself to take part in a 5k race in the next 3 months. That’s 3.1 miles. That gives you 3 months to get your body used to running 3.1 miles. Start out light. Jog a mile a few days a week for the first couple of weeks. Then increase it to 1.5 miles and then gradually increase it each week. In your practices leading up to race day work up to running 4 miles max. If you can get two or three 4 mile runs in then a 5k on race day will be easy! But listen to your body and progress accordingly. If running is new to you make sure you stretch properly before and after and if you feel pain, not soreness, take a couple of days off before resuming.
Monday’s should not be looked at as doom and gloom! It’s time to start a new routine! I gave you a couple of examples of how to start a new routine but ultimately its up to you to figure out what it is that you need to change!

Just promise me one thing – that you will make today a better day than yesterday!

Running doesn’t have to be fast – just consistent!

 

Why I Got Back Into Running

First Step

Maybe its time for your first step?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I got back into running about 4 years ago. It has led me on quite a journey learning about myself and as long as my legs will allow me to keep running pain free, I don’t think this journey will end. But where is it going? Well to know that, I’ll have to tell you where I’ve been first!

I ran cross country and track & field in HS and had some pretty good success with it. Managed to get down to a 2:02 half mile and a 5:05 mile. I would say that is ok.

Picture From HS

Slim and ready for a race (circa 1990)

After high school, I continued to run in college and even shortly after college but primarily to stay in shape. Even though I did run after high school, my intensity level was a lot less than it was in high school!

Years went by and as family life settled in and daily routines as a homeowner and father of two arose, the pounds started to pile on and the waistline started to expand. If I ran 3 times a year I was probably exaggerating. Then in 2012  I got a phone call from a friend who I ran cross country with in high school. He had become the alumni director in my high school and was reaching out to some of his running buddies to get a group of alumni runners to run an alumni race at the school’s varsity cross country city championships. I couldn’t pass up seeing old friends and running the course I used to run at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, so you know I said yes and showed up.

Vanny! (Photo Credit: Van Cortlandt TC)

In high school, I ran the 2.5 mile (4k) course in high school usually under 15 minutes. On that day I ran the alumni race and out of 120 alumni, I finished 118th in the race and it might as well have been 119th because me and a buddy ran together and we finished together. My time was 23 minutes and change! Now let me stop for a second and say time should never be an issue to a new runner. But when you used to do this week in and week out and see where you are now, it’s an eye opener!  I felt helpless on some of those hills while I was running and woke up the next day in insane amounts of pain.

In the following months, I let that day scar me for a while for really no reason. Weight piled on after that and I developed some nagging pains in my ankle that a foot doctor said were weight related. I peaked out at close to 200 pounds.

Peaking at 200 pounds in 2013 – boy was that bad!

 

I love my family but when your daily routine consists of work, home, eating, drinking, lounging around the house and sleeping, it’s time for a change.

Cue up running.

My doctor prescribed me orthopedic inserts. At a very slow pace, I started to run again regularly. I changed my diet and in the course of a year my weight started to drop. In that year, I would come home and spend time with my family but I would yearn for a run. Sometimes when I would have a bad day at work, and even to this day, I tell my family, “Look, I’m not in a good place right now, can you give me an hour?”. Off I would go for a run and I would come back a changed person emotionally and mentally. For the past four years my need for a run has been like a drug but of course this is a good drug! I blame the euphoria that I mentioned in my last post and the endorphins that running brings.

How many of you out there feel tired all of the time. How often do you settle for nights on the couch which follow another night of takeout food? Weekends come and go and no exercise was done. Do you miss how you looked in high school or college? Are the clothes getting tight? Or do you wake up hungover way too many mornings?

Running worked for me – it can work for you! Start that change – all it takes is for you to get up and take the first step!

Get out and run, one step at a time!

Pushing Thru The Pain For The Euphoria

Each and every time I start to get dressed for a run, I utter to myself, “Man I don’t want to go on this run”. Even once I am stretched out and start hitting the pavement, I still harbor the same resentment for pretty much the entire first mile. But somewhere along the way, those feelings of angst start to dissipate. Maybe it’s the thoughts of every day life that start running thru my head, or perhaps it’s the song on my headphones, or the surroundings I pass that make me forget that I am running. And even in the rarest of occasions, if I am just having a bad day of running and I feel crappy the entire run, there is one thing that has never failed to happen – the sense of accomplishment that I have when I am done!

For some of us that do we run because we “think we have to”. While running is a great way to stay fit, ever try approaching it as a way to set goals for yourself? For me, it’s been a new way to push yourself and the fun thing is that you can set new goals for yourself every day whether they or short term or long term goals. No matter what it is in life, achieving any type of goal is extremely gratifying isn’t it? The next time you run, don’t just hop on a treadmill or run around the block, set a goal instead. Set a mile as an initial goal. Then change it next time to either be longer or faster. For folks that have been running a while, set a calendar for yourself and mix your running experiences up.

Goal crushing is EUPHORIC! To look back and see what you’ve done and feel the euphoria is tremendous! To have run a bit while you were crushing goals is not only a benefit to your mind and self esteem but to that body of yours as well!

So what are my goals? Well 4 years ago, I just wanted to lose weight. After a year, running was helping me to lose weight but I started to fall in love with running again because of the gratifying feelings I felt after my runs. So I signed up for the NYC Marathon lotteries for a couple of years. Last year I got tired of being rejected for entry to the race. So I signed up for the NYC Half Marathon lottery and got accepted into that. Now my goal became training for that half marathon. From then, I’ve kept scheduling races for myself and they have served as my goals on a consistent basis.

Now back to you guys. Looking at yourself and I am sure you are all busy with day to day responsibilities, maybe races are not achievable goals right now but focus perhaps on setting aside time for you to workout and run just a little. Build on your goals from there . You can do it. The EUPHORIA awaits you. Don’t let others enjoy it while you cling to the same hapless feelings of the everyday monotony!

Get out there, put one front in front of the other and RUN!

Taking The First Steps…

RUNNING.

Go ahead, say it, ”Uggh I hate it!”

I know a lot of us do and even those of us like me who have learned to like it still struggle with the very first step. So do not feel alone! In today’s society we have been forced to juggle so many things that many times, we neglect ourselves. 40% of adults in the United States and 19% of youth in the United States are obese. About four years ago my job held a complimentary wellness fair and guess what; I was told that I was obese.

At the time, I was a 38 year old male. I weighed 195 pounds but I have always been short, standing at 5’5”. BMI standards said I was obese. I went home to my family and did what I normally did with them. Had a rather unhealthy meal, sat on the couch, maybe dozed off and finally, logged into work at night once everyone was asleep only to look at my calendar and realize that for the next 4 weeks, my weekends were jammed.

That’s where I stopped and I took my first running steps. Well I really didn’t because I was sitting on the couch but it donned on me that something needed to be change. Time for me to change needed to happen otherwise I was going to spiral out of control.

Today, in looking back on that day, I am thirty-five pounds lighter and my lifestyle has changed thanks to running. Over the course of the last year dating back to October of 2016, I have increased my running but I have done so because in speaking with my friends and posting about it on social media, I have found that I have inspired a lot of my friends. I know that there are MANY of you out there who are in the same position that I was four years ago. Its ok. It is normal to be bogged down. However I want you to walk away from reading this blog today and maybe tomorrow and many other days and start to implement some time for you!

And just maybe, I will see you somewhere around New York City doing this thing that I love but for your personal benefit, RUNNING!