Celebrate Your Fitness Journey, Where You’re At

“Step up, show up, never give up”

Two children. I have two children now.

It doesn’t seem as surreal as it did in the first few weeks but now, nearly two months in, it’s sunk in as new reality and it’s hard to remember the time before two, even one.

My first run back with Chase – outside the womb

Going from one to two is huge and I’ve found myself with an even smaller amount of free time. And that’s okay for now.

Between the pandemic, the changing world of social media, and everything else going on, blogs have been sparing. And I imagine it’s going to stay that way for awhile. But every now and then, I’ll have a spark of inspiration or a story to tell and I’ll be back. That’s where we’re at today.

The Ongoing Fitness Journey
Fitness and, in particular, a fitness journey, is such a funny thing. It’s ongoing, it never ends, one never reaches the point of, “Yay, I achieved my goal of being fit and healthy, now I can stop!”

I was reminded of this last week, when I started running again. I ran two days before I gave birth so it had been just over seven weeks since my last run. I started with five minutes running at about an 11:30 min/mile pace, walked, then seven minutes, hitting that one magic mile.

I remember my first run back after having a baby, my first son, how excited I was to run one mile (and without peeing myself). I remember my first half marathon back four months later, then my first marathon back just over a year later. All were victories and a reminder of what my body can do when I show up, put in the work, and take care of it.

But back to this time around. By my third run back at it, later that same week I started back up again, I improved to 2.1 miles – without stopping to walk – at a 10:20 pace. And I felt great about it.

Making progress, feeling proud

Last year at this time I was wrapping up my season of half marathon pacing, running a comfortable 8:00 min/mile pace, and priming for marathon training. And I felt great about where I was.

Celebrate Where You’re At, Right Now
Those two running scenarios are vastly different. Yet, what they have in common is I felt great about them. They’re reflective of me showing up, putting in the work, and taking care of myself – and being at my best.

It’s a good reminder to celebrate where you’re at, right now. Try not to get caught up in comparing yourself to others, or even your past self – though a little healthy competitiveness is great to keep pushing!

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you can run a 9:00 min/mile, squat your bodyweight, or finish a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood. What matters is showing up, putting in the work, and taking care of yourself.

Never forget to take the time to appreciate your health and celebrate what your body can do. Mine made two healthy humans and can still get out there and pound the pavement – I’m feeling great about that.

Have you had a scenario like mine where your fitness level has changed but the way you feel hasn’t?

The comments are all yours so please share your thoughts.

Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @lindsayIRL on Twitter. And please subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post right to your inbox – bonus, I haven’t been blogging as much lately so don’t worry, you won’t get a ton from me ☺

Virtual Races in 2020 – Running the Fargo Marathon

“Virtual insanity”

2020 has been a tough year for runners – I don’t say that to discount that it has been a tough year for pretty much everyone.

But I’m here today to talk about runners and shine the spotlight on one particularly awesome group of runners here in my hometown of Fargo, ND.

Most races this year have been canceled or changed to a virtual format. While virtual running isn’t the same as race day, I saw a handful of people embrace it.

The Fargo Marathon Virtual Race
The Fargo Marathon, one of my favorite annual races, succumbed to the COVID-19 curse of 2020, having to cancel its in-person race and switch to a virtual format this year.

Virtual-Race

One of my last runs of the summer – hot and hard but great

While it had to be a bummer for those who planned to run, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people ran their own Fargo Marathon this weekend. One of my friends really went for it, continued to train hard all summer, and achieved his goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon (shoutout to Jake Kohl from State Fargo).

In addition to all the runners, several others in the community were there to support the effort with homemade water stations and plenty of cheering and encouragement.

Why Running Matters
It’s just the kind of thing we need to see right now. People staying committed to their goals, continuing to work hard even when the typical reward isn’t dangling in front of them, making the best of a hard situation, and doing something positive for themselves and others around them.

Sure, virtual running isn’t the same – but we still get to run. I was grateful to run a couple short virtual races this year and still be healthy enough to run during pregnancy.

Congrats to everyone who ran their virtual Fargo Marathon! And with that, if you’ve continued to run, train, and run virtually this year, hats off to you as well. You’re all making me excited (and only a little jealous) to return to running in a few weeks once I have this baby out of me and I’m healed and strong enough to get back out there – even if there are no races, I still can’t wait to run, just run.

Because, let’s not forget: running is not canceled.

Have you run a virtual race this year? What kept you committed to that goal?
The comments are all yours so please leave one.

Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @lindsayIRL on Twitter. And please subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post right to your inbox – bonus, I haven’t been blogging as much lately so don’t worry, you won’t get a ton from me ☺

4 Things to Know About Running When Pregnant

“What to expect when you’re expecting”

At this time, during my first pregnancy, I hung up my running shoes. It was 32 weeks and I had reached the point of it being too uncomfortable and slightly painful. It was hard but I knew it was time to take a break and plan to get back into it after baby’s arrival.

This time, 32 weeks in, I’m still going – strong, yet slow and not without some aches, pains, and soreness but still enjoying it and feeling good.

For all the pregnant (or hoping to be) mamas out there hoping to continue running during pregnancy, here are a few thoughts and tips from my own experience, as told by each trimester.

Running-While-Pregnant

It’s not for everyone but running while pregnant is doable.

These are just a few things I’d like to share based on what I’ve encountered. Both of my pregnancies have been different and yours of course will be, too so it’s crucial to discuss running or any type of exercise with your doctor.

1. First Trimester: Exhaustion
If you’ve never been pregnant, you might assume the first trimester is the easiest to keep running. You haven’t yet gained weight, that load in your belly is the size of a pea vs. a pineapple.

Make no mistake – running in the first trimester is no easy task. So much is changing and your body is working hard to create this new life form. When I was pregnant the first time, I was training for a marathon during my first trimester. I attributed the added fatigue and struggle to the fact I was training during the hot summer months but, looking back, a lot of that was because of how hard my body was already working.

Some days, it may be tough to get out for a run. During my second pregnancy I felt sick every day for the first 14 weeks and running was the one thing that made me feel better – I just had to really push myself to get out the door! If it helps you to feel better, absolutely keep trying to go. But if not, give yourself a break. Your body is already working overtime.

2. Second Trimester: New Aches and Pains
Aches and pains are nothing new to runners. I’ve been known to throw around the phrase, “Everything hurts and I’m dying” once or twice during peak marathon training season (okay, maybe more than once or twice).

The second trimester might bring new aches and pains, ones you’ve never felt before. I had never even heard of the pelvic floor before I became pregnant but I quickly learned it can be the primary reason for soreness in the lower back, pelvis, and groin area for mother runners.

This is one that’s of most importance to discuss with a doctor. You may be able to avoid or manage it with the right exercises and breathing therapy, or it may be a sign that it’s time to ease up on running until postpartum.

3. Third Trimester: Putting on Shoes
If you’re lucky enough to make it to the third trimester and still be running, that’s awesome. One of the biggest challenges, aside from the two I’ve already shared: putting on your shoes.

For real, with a watermelon-size belly making in difficult to bend and reach, the simple act of putting on your shoes might be the biggest challenge you face (not so bad, right?!).

Badass-Mother-Runner

You’ll be back at it soon – & with a cute lil sidekick.

A few other things to keep in mind – fewer miles, slower pace, more hydration and, of course, more food. If you haven’t yet already had to scale back mileage or pace, increase your hydration or food intake, you’ll likely need to do so during the third trimester.

4. Fourth Trimester: Easing Back Into It
The weeks after giving birth are often referred to as the fourth trimester – an oxymoron, yes, but an important phase in pregnancy? Absolutely.

Getting back to the miles is the goal of many mother runners. The best advice I can share, along with the third trimester rules of minimal mileage, slow pace, and lots of hydration and food (especially if you’re breastfeeding), is to wait.

It’s easy to want to jump right back into it but let your doctor advise on when it’s okay to start running again. Your mind might be ready but your body needs time to heal and build up strength (again, the pelvic floor is a big deal to keep in mind).

Then, when you get the all clear and you’re lacing up for your first run (with a much smaller belly in the way, yay!), give yourself grace. You’ll likely be motivated and energized to get back at it, yet also exhausted and burned out from little sleep, lots of feeding, and 24/7 caring for another human.

Start with half a mile walking, then half a mile running, or some other run/walk mix strategy. Take it easy on pace and try to enjoy the effort more than push it. Be sure to hydrate even more than you think you need to and replace the calories with a good snack (if you’re breastfeeding, this is especially important to keep your supply healthy – something I struggled with big time with my first baby).

To sum it all up, it can be hard to take a break from running while pregnant. But before you know it, you’ll be back at it! Here’s to healthy, happy running and healthy, happy pregnancies.

Runner moms, did you run while you were pregnant? Or did you take a break, voluntarily or because of struggle? Every moms story is different and I’d love to know yours so please share in the comments.

Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.

Finding a Reason to Run Without Races

“Give me one reason why.”

It was a perfect June day, not too hot, not too windy, and plenty of sunshine. Lugging about 20 extra pounds, going at a pace a full minute slower than what I’d consider normal for me, I ran my first virtual 10k race – tho technically it was just another run, as there was no true race I had signed up for.

Here we are, halfway through 2020 and it has been a tough year for runners, particularly runners to who love to run events. Pretty much every major event has been postponed, outright canceled, or canceled with just a virtual option.

I know, I know – running is not canceled. While the simple act of still be able to run “should” be enough for us runners, it is a bummer not having those fun, exciting, nerve-racking race days to look forward to, break up the monotony of regular routes, and inspire us to run our best.

Running-While-Pregnant

A good reason to keep running.

Why Running Events Are The Best
I admit, I haven’t been nearly as excited about virtual races. I really miss everything about races, from picking up my packet at the expo to the simple act of stepping up to the start line on race day, surrounded by dozens or thousands of fellow runners.

But on this recent, early summer day, at 27 weeks pregnant, the simple act of running a 10k was enough for me. I wasn’t feeling the lack of atmosphere, friendly competition, and spectators (who doesn’t love great race day signs?).

I’ve found a reason that, even without races, the simple act of running is still enough for me at this point.

Finding a Reason to Run
That’s the thing with running while pregnant. It’s like running with a slight injury, running while not feeling well, or just running in 2020 in general: it’s not the same as what we’re used to. In my case, I’m slower, get fatigued easier, and have aches and pains I normally don’t. But at the end of a run, I always feel great and it makes me grateful that I am still able to run, traditional racing or not.

In my last pregnancy running blog before my first arrived, I remembered a few more reasons why I love to run. Any of these strike a chord with you?

It’s a new month, halfway through the year, and races don’t look like they’re going back to normal anytime soon – so how are you keeping your fire lit? Have you found a reason to keep running, even without races serving as the usual motivation to run? The comments are all yours so please share your thoughts.

Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.

Why Morning Running is the Best – An Ode to the Early Run

“One small positive in the morning can change your whole day.”

Nice weather. Early sunlight. Beautiful scenery. Summer is perhaps the best time to get in the habit of morning workouts.

I say that with positivity yet the need to bring a dose of reality. As many of us can probably agree, this is easier said than done. Dragging one’s ass out of a comfy bed early in the morning, no matter what’s waiting for us on the other side, can be tough. And no matter which of these popular summer workouts you choose.

However, the advantages and benefits of the morning workout, particularly the morning run, are big. One of the strategies I use to psych up myself for an early run is to remind myself of those advantages.

So, for me and for anyone else needing inspiration, here’s my ode to the early morning run – 10 reasons why to run in the morning. If you need more reasons to run, check out this older post with some running motivation.

Yoga-for-Runners

One of my favorite things about an early run is ‘yoda’ (yoga) after with my son

You greet me with beautiful sunrises

You give me the chance to wake up without having to immediately shower and get ready

You’re often the coolest, calmest, best weather of the day

You bring me peace and calm I can’t get with traffic, noise, and other runners out later in the day

You are the time when my son is still asleep and doesn’t need me for anything

You are the time when my son is still asleep so I don’t miss out on anything

You give me an excuse to stretch, breathe, and have mindful time early in the day

You leave me more time to prioritize the rest of the day

You make me feel so good when I’m done

You – quite literally – put me in the best position to have the best day

Happy running and don’t forget how to stay safe while running!

Are you one for early morning running or workouts – but who also needs a little kick in the ass to get them done? Any other tips for making the morning workout happen? The comments are all yours so please share your thoughts.

Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.

How to Stay Safe While Running Especially in the Summer

“Run strong, run smart, run safe.”

June happens to be a month with a few important running dates.

June 3 is Global Running Day.
June 25 is Gabe Grunewald’s birthday, June 11 is when she died – I include the latter, too because I believe both days are wonderful reasons to celebrate her memory and positivity with a run.
And, as the official start of summer, June is also when we get our longest day of the year, plus the early morning and late evening daylight just lends itself to more running and feeling safer while being out.

Speaking of safer, June is also National Safety Month. What a perfect time to share a few thoughts and ideas for safe running.

For everyone running this summer, whether veteran or newbie to the sport, I wish you miles of healthy, happy, and safe running! Here are 5 tips for safe running, especially now in the summer.

1. Skip the Headphones
This is probably my top safety tip and it’s also just a good all-around practice to reap the stress-relieving, mindfulness benefits of running.

Running-in-Summer

Sunnies out, summer running time.

Forgoing headphones brings several safety benefits. First, it creates opportunity for greater awareness, overall. Oncoming traffic, wildlife or dogs on the loose, even – hopefully this never happens to most but it does happen – sensing and hearing a potential attacker coming up behind you before it happens.

While awareness is the biggest safety factor that comes from running without headphones, there’s also an argument that can be made for better self-pacing. Think about when a really upbeat song or one of your favorites comes on the playlist – you might start running faster, right? If you’re training for speed, this would be a benefit, however, for most people, keeping a comfortable pace for the most part is important to prevent overdoing it or throwing off your stride in a way that risks injury.

2. Plan an Intentional Route
I love quiet, secluded paths but running them does come with some risk, especially really early or late at night. Be smart about the route you choose, forgoing super high-traffic areas and instead saving those more out-of-the-way trails for busier daytime hours, then opting for busier, well-lit areas when the sun is just coming up or dusk is approaching.

For many runners, planning a route isn’t usually necessary, as there are a handful of regular ones that meet various distances. However, if this is you, it’s not a bad idea to switch up your route often. There have been instances where bad people watch and get to know a runner’s route, only to be able to attack in the most vulnerable moment. Again, I hope this never happens to any of us but it does happen.

3. Let Someone Know You’re Going
Ideally, anytime you head out for a solo run, someone knows you’re out there and when to expect you back. In the event something bad happens, the sooner someone is aware, the better the chance there is that help will arrive quickly enough.

I’m in a situation where my spouse always knows when I’m going for a run, whether it’s during the day and we’re simply checking in on how the other is doing, in the morning where he needs to be home in case our son wakes up, or especially if it’s a weekend long run and I’m going to be away for awhile.

For those who don’t have a “reason” to check in with someone else, don’t hesitate to text a friend or family member just to let them know your plans, then again when you arrive home safely. Better safe than sorry.

4. Bring Your Phone
I slightly cringe when sharing this tip, as I love the disconnected, “me” time that running allows. But when talking safety, it really is smart to bring along the phone on a run.

Stay-hydrated-while-running

Post-run goodness.

Whether you roll an ankle, are attacked by an animal or person, or even find yourself off your route and lost, having a connection to someone who can help is an important safety measure to take on every run.

5. Hydrate – Then Hydrate More
While hydration is crucial year-round for runners, this is one tip that’s especially important during the summer months. That summer heat, while loved by most who prefer a tank top and shorts to layers on layers of attire, can be tough on the body. Dehydration is a serious health risk so, along with running always must come hydration.

This isn’t to say you have to bring water and drink throughout every run. But, depending on your body and needs, you may need it if you’re running more than a 10k, or 10 miles, or a half marathon.

Whether or not you need the fluids during your run, be sure to take in plenty after your run and throughout the rest of the day. If you’re looking for help to make a habit of drinking more water, last week’s post offers a few ideas.

For those of you who are taking the plunge and taking up running this summer, check out my 7 tips for how to start running.

What other safe running tips can you share? Any experiences you’ve had that have opened your eyes or made you more aware to how you can stay safe while running?

The comments are all yours so please leave one.

Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.

Tips for Building Healthy Habits – How to Drink More Water

“That’s high quality H2O.”

Longer days. More sunshine. Increased outdoor time. Lots of running outside.

Ah, the spoils of summer. It’s hard to believe we’re talking about summer. It feels like the winter was endless and we’ve barely had a chance to enjoy spring weather. I mean, it snowed a couple weeks ago for a good chunk of the country.

Along with more perks of summer comes more responsibility – to drink more water that is.

Why to Drink More Water
There’s never a bad time to drink water, never a time when our bodies don’t need it. But the simple fact that summer presents more opportunity for sweating and dehydration makes it a great topic for this month’s healthy habits opportunity focus.

The best thing about taking on the challenge of drinking more water? It’s super easy! It’s not like meal prepping, meditating, or starting an exercise habit – those all take work and a time investment. Drinking more water requires very little work and time investment.

Still, many people don’t drink enough water. Mostly it’s because water is “boring” compared to coffee, soda, energy drinks, and that carbonated crap everyone was obsessed with for a hot minute (wait, are people still drinking that flat swill?).

How to Create A Healthy Habit
Before talking about creating a habit of drinking more water, let’s go back to the foundation of this healthy habits series. Like any habit, the desire and a goal along with it are important. Please don’t go into this with anything less than both.

First ask yourself, why do I want to build this healthy habit? Do I really want to or do I feel like I should? Find your purpose, that desire to do it so you’re more likely to stick with it.
If you really want to, the second step is to set your goal and be specific about it. A goal gives you something to measure, something to gauge success, and see where adjustments or improvements could be made.

Running-vest

A trusty vest makes water accessible no matter where you are.

In this case, you could start by eliminating one non-water beverage each day, skipping a soda and opting instead for a glass of water. You could set a goal of drinking at least one 32-oz bottle of water during the workday, then build from there. Just have a place to start.

Now, here are four tips to build the healthy habit of drinking more water.

Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle – or Several
Sure, it’s easy to drink water. There’s water everywhere, right?

Not so fast. In theory, water is super-accessible and would be easy to drink all the time but keep in mind you’re not always going to be near a fountain or water cooler. You’re not going to drink from your faucet or pull over and stop to buy it when you’re thirsty – and, on that note, don’t over-buy water. Save money, save plastic bottles, good stuff.

So what’s the answer? Reusable water bottles. Yes, bottles, plural. It’s great to have one water bottle that you can always have near you and always be refilling. But if you want to up your water game even more, consider having multiple water bottles, for designated spaces.

I have one I keep in my car, one I keep at my desk, one I keep on my nightstand, and one that’s portable enough I take it from the kitchen to the couch to traveling.

For you runners and walkers out there, consider getting a water belt or vest so you even have it with you during workouts – an ideal time to stay hydrated. Same with those who work outside and may not have the opportunity to have a water bottle on their desk or within reach all the time.

The key here is, if you’re going to stick to the habit of drinking more water, it has to be easy and it has to be accessible. Set yourself up for success by having a water bottle for the most common places you are – and make sure it’s always filled.

Add Flavor
Back to the idea that water is “boring” – go ahead and spice it up. Low-calorie drink mixes like Crystal Light are a great way to encourage more water drinking.

This gets a little sketchy when looking at coffee, carbonated “water” and other beverages that are water-based. For example, caffeine, while great and totally okay for most people in moderation, takes away from the hydrating aspect of water. Fizzy beverages may contain extra calories and excess stuff that aren’t helpful.

Now, a quick summary on that last piece: Coffee isn’t bad. Carbonated water isn’t bad. Totally okay to keep drinking a variety of beverages and of course we all should. Just try to keep those separate from your true water drinking goals.

Tech People – Use Technology
I don’t do technology. I’m not the average millennial. I refuse to allow an Alexa into our home. I barely use any apps, I don’t have a clue what version my iPhone is, and half the time I don’t even know where my phone is. I honestly don’t even think I’d have a smartphone if I didn’t need it often enough for my job.

Good-morning-coffee

Drinking more water doesn’t mean you can’t still drink coffee & other tasty beverages.

Enough about me, the point is I don’t know much about technology opportunities that exist to help us drink more water – but I know they exist. I know there are apps and reminders and tools you can use – on your phone, watch, personal assistant device, whatever you have – to remind and encourage you to drink more water.

Half the battle of building a healthy habit is simply remembering to do it, right? If you love your tech and your devices, absolutely you should use it if it will help prompt you to hydrate and help build it into a habit that becomes natural.

Eat Mindfully
Wait, eating? I thought we were talking about drinking? The two go hand-in-hand though and planning meals and snacks is a great strategy to boost more water intake.

How often do you find yourself mindlessly snacking, missing meals, or eating on-the-go? We all do it! And when our eating is random like this, it likely doesn’t include a glass of water.

Now, think about what happens when you eat an intentional snack or meal. Usually, there’s a beverage along with it. And you can make this beverage water. Every time you take a moment to enjoy a meal or snack, be sure you include a tall glass of H2O along with it.

What other tips do you have for drinking more water? Those following along with the monthly wellness opportunities, please share feedback on this one. The comments are your space to share thoughts or ask questions so please do so.

In case you missed it, check out:
January’s healthy habit opportunity: tips to create a gratitude habit
February’s healthy habit opportunity: tips to eat more inclusively
March’s healthy habit opportunity: tips to start meditating or practicing mindfulness
April’s healthy habit opportunity: tips to start running

Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.

Missing Running Events but Still Grateful to Run

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

This week’s blog comes on the heels of a good week – and one that could have been a rough one.

Saturday was supposed to be the Fargo Marathon. I trained for the marathon through most of the early part of this year and, before I heard of its postponement to August, had every intention of being at the start line alongside my fellow pacers and runners. I was especially looking forward to running my second marathon while pregnant (I ran Chicago Marathon back in 2018 while 15 weeks along with my son).

Everything I Love About Running Marathons
I spent all last week slightly on edge. Normally, I’d be fully on edge, obsessively checking the weather, closely monitoring my food and water intake, and carefully scheduling those last few taper runs and recovery efforts.

Run-Fargo

Normally one of my favorite weeks every year – Fargo Marathon week

So why still slightly on edge? I think I was greatly missing that fully on edge time.

See, I love everything about marathon training. I love the euphoria after a successful long run and also the angst of gutting out the tough ones. I love the feeling of my body being strong and fit and also the slight aches and pains that come with working hard. I especially have no problem fully embracing an exceptionally large appetite. Sure, I have tough days where I don’t feel like running and days I’m tired and would rather sleep in than stick to my schedule. But I even still love that.

I also really love the week before the marathon. I’ve learned to love the taper. I love the relaxed, shorter runs, the planning and organizing for race day, seeing the Fargo Marathon signage and road markings make their appearance, and especially going to the expo. Add the icing on the cake, the actual run itself, and it’s become one of my favorite weeks every year.

I really missed all that.

Grieving then Moving On
While I have no shame admitting I spent a little time feeling bummed and sad (okay, most of Saturday and even part of Sunday) I tried to spend more time reflecting on all the good things that came from not running the marathon.

Instead of spending my Saturday mornings prepping, running, and stretching, I slept in and enjoyed pancakes in pjs with my son.

I embraced the opportunity to be flexible with my running schedule to skip days when the weather was less than favorable.

Rather than tough it out and visit my physical therapist every week, I chose to scale back and rest when I started to feel the really tough aches and pains come on (it’s true what everyone says – the second pregnancy really is harder than the first).

Running-Buddy

This old man can’t run very far anymore so enjoying shorter runs with him.

But most of all, I still enjoy daily and weekend runs, with less pressure on myself to hit strict pace or mileage goals. Because, while not running Fargo Marathon for the first time in more than a dozen years definitely was tough, not getting to run the marathon doesn’t mean I don’t get to run.

We Still Get to Run
I think that’s the most important piece of this experience – being okay to be sad about what I missed out on but also being grateful for what I have, that I’m still able to run and that I’m still enjoying the miles. For some, this means continuing what we’ve always done, for others, this has been a great time to start running.

True, our races might be canceled (for how long, no one knows). But I’m here to remind you what’s important: running is not canceled. We still get to run. Grieve the loss of your race, that’s totally okay. Then, keep running.

And who knows, maybe my body wouldn’t have help us as strong through all those miles had I not taken it easier. All I know for sure, right now, is I feel good and healthy, right now, another positive.

While Saturday was tough, the rest of the weekend was full of positivity, bookended with a birthday on Friday and Mother’s Day on Sunday which, for me, pretty much just means more reason to eat good food and extra sunshine that comes from all the text, Facebook, and in-person messages from friends and family.

Not a marathon but still pretty great.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation, bummed about missing out on something that was canceled due to COVID-19? After allowing yourself the okay to be bummed, did you try to focus on the positive side of it?

The comments are your space to share thoughts so please do so. Or, connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.

Easy Berry Muffin Recipe and Making the Best of What You Have

“Life is what you bake of it.”

Lately I’ve been doing more cooking and baking – and by ‘more’ I mean I’ve baked muffins twice in the past two weekends and have made actual meals with leftovers a couple times too.

I typically don’t do much of either; I strive for quick and easy when it comes to food and have found there are plenty of meals that fall into that category that are also delish, healthy, and satisfying. But on occasion, I get the urge to make something.

Easy-Pumpkin-Muffins

A variation of my Very Good muffins with pumpkin and blueberries.

One of the (if not THE) only things I’ve figured out how to bake well is my Very Berry Banana Oat Muffins, a recipe I tinkered with for awhile before I got it right – and, honestly, it still sometimes doesn’t turn out perfectly but that’s baking.

Anyway, I was revisiting the recipe and, both due to the spice of life we call variety and the lack of certain ingredients in my home, I’ve made a few twists on it each time I’ve made them lately. My latest: a pumpkin muffin twist. They turned out pretty well so I updated the recipe and it’s under the Breakfast tab of my Yum, Food section.

I know, I know – there’s not much in there. What can I say, I don’t have many fantastic recipes worth writing down. I’m more of a “sloppy eggs on avocado and hummus toast with cucumber and tomato slices” or “zucchini noodles with whatever veggies you have in the fridge thrown in” kind of gal. The recipe is pretty much in the name.

Anyway, a final thought. The experience was one of those tales of adaptation and positivity – don’t focus on what’s missing or what you don’t have, do what you can with what you have. And, best of all, you come out of it with a bunch of tasty muffins to eat. So, pretty much a win win.

Have you been baking or cooking more during this COVID-19 quarantine life? What are some new twists on recipes or new creations you’re coming up with?

The comments are your space to share thoughts so please do so. Or, connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.

How to Get Started Running – 7 Tips for New Runners

“Start where you are.”

There are many reasons to run. Even with all the positives, some people want no part of it. They hate it. They think it sucks.

I get it. I used to be one of these people. One of my first blogs ever was about how I went from hating running to becoming a runner – and loving it.

Right now though, there have never been more reasons to run. It’s a chance to get outside. It’s a chance to escape for a few minutes to yourself. It’s a chance to set aside fear and do something powerful. And, for some, it’s quite literally the only exercise option, with gyms closed and at-home workouts not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s the perfect opportunity to build a healthy habit of running.

More Reasons to Run – And One Reason Not To
Although gyms may be opening soon, adding the simple environmental facts that weather is getting nicer and days longer presents an even greater opportunity to start running.

Running-with-Kids

Abel recently decided he wanted to get out of the stroller & start running. We have such fun.

If you’re thinking about giving it a go, here are a few tips from me, a former anti-runner, on how to get started running.

But first, I have one pre-list tip: If you’re really not interested in running, if you’re only thinking about it because you feel like you should, don’t do it. That’s all.

1. The Right Gear
Although it might seem premature to go out and buy running stuff before you really even get started, it’s an important first step. Why? Running will be miserable if you don’t have the right gear. Think of chafing and other forms of general discomfort, all the way up to pain in your feet or other potential injuries.

On this same note, don’t feel like you have to go out and buy all the things. You probably don’t need a fancy watch, compression socks, the most expensive shoes, or a variety of belts, bottles, and night gear.

All you really need to start is a good pair of shoes, proper-fitting shorts or pants, a moisture-wicking tee, and quality athletic socks – some of which you might already have. Ladies, one additional thing you’ll want is a good sports bra that holds your boobs in place.

For all the parents out there, a good running stroller may be another piece of gear worth the investment. No excuses of not being able to go when you can bring the kiddo with you – bonus, if they’re like my son, they’ll enjoy the time…and it’ll be some of the few moments of peace from them you get all day.

2. Start Slow
Maybe you ran an 8-minute mile in high school. Perhaps you saw your friend post their 5k time on Facebook. Whatever the reason behind having a pace you think you should run, avoid going into the first few runs with any sort of pace-per-mile goal.

When starting out, run at a pace that’s comfortable. This will help avoid burning out too fast and potential injury. You’ll have plenty of time to build from there.

3. Minimal Mileage
Similar to pace, don’t try to run too far too soon. Again, it might seem like a total breeze to head out and do a 5k but, even if your head tells you to keep going and you’re in fairly good cardio shape, your body might not be up for it.

One option is to try running for a minute or a few, then walk for a few minutes. Gradually work on extending the running minutes and eventually you’ll reach a point where a full mile or more is more than doable, it’s comfortable.

4. Find a Buddy
One of the reasons I started running and stuck with it early on is because I had a friend, Jen, who was also getting into it. We often ran together and, even when we didn’t, we’d keep in touch about our runs and keep each other on track.

Online-Running-Support

One of my virtual running buddies, Lee – I convinced him to run a race with me & he instead smoked me by a solid 10 mins 🙂

While I no longer have many people I run with, and especially not now, I have virtual running buddies, both those I regularly text and those in online groups that keep up that runner connection and inspo.

And a buddy doesn’t have to be an actual human. For many years, my dog, Burton was my go-to running buddy. Especially on days I wasn’t really feeling it, his energy and annoying-ness forced me to get up and get out the door – and, almost always, I was happy we went.

5. Recover
Starting a running routine is exciting and, while some find it’s hard to stick to it, others find it’s hard to lay off it. It’s important to be sure you’re not overdoing it and only running. It’s equally important to focus on strengthening your runner muscles, for some that may be your hamstrings, for others, especially mamas, that’s your pelvic floor. Switching up your running with other forms of exercise is also a good idea.

On that same note, healthy running isn’t just about the run itself. An easy, light warm-up and a quality cool-down stretch or yoga sesh are good injury-prevention, as is taking a rest day when you need one and giving your body a break.

6. Set a Goal – and Have a Plan for How to Get There
As with anything fitness related, having a goal is key to sticking with it. If you’re just looking to run now until your gym opens up, this step isn’t as crucial – though that right there is your goal. If you’re looking to build a running habit and stick with it, a goal is a must.

And a goal doesn’t have to be a 5k race or anything along those lines. A goal can simply be to run twice a week – that’s it. Just getting yourself up and out the door (or on the ‘mill) to get in the run is a quality goal. Figure out what you need to do to achieve that, maybe it’s going early in the morning before your kids get up, maybe it means going in the evening when your energy is highest.

Another goal-setting must is choose something realistic and measurable, that way you can reflect on what happened if you miss it one week (which is totally normal and okay – don’t give up!) or, if you’re consistently crushing it, maybe it’s the right time to push yourself and up it for the next week.

7. Stick With It
Some days, running is great. Some days, running sucks. I’ve been running almost 15 years and I still have days I don’t want to do it. Some of those days, I don’t. Others, I need a little more internal coaching to psych myself up. Don’t give up and let those bad days prevent you from having the good ones.

I think when people give up on running it’s because they think they just don’t love it, it doesn’t come easy to them, or they’re just not like those runners who have it figured out. I can’t speak for all runners but I can tell you one thing: I don’t have it all figured out. What I know is how good running makes me feel and that keeps me happy to stick with it, even with tough days.

Most days, I genuinely love it but I’m certainly not immune to the ‘running sucks’ feelings every now and then. It doesn’t mean you’re missing some magic running gene, it means you’re human.

The point: Don’t quit running. That doesn’t mean don’t take a week off. That doesn’t mean you must run every day of the week. As much as you can, try to stick with it at some level of consistency. Because, as you may be experiencing right now, starting up or starting over is tough.

Side note, if you’re interested in more healthy habit building, check out my tips from last month’s edition, how to start being mindful or meditating.

Fellow runners, what other tips do you have for getting started running? Those of you who aren’t regular runners, have you found yourself wanting to hit the pavement during COVID-19 quarantine or because the weather is becoming more favorable to encourage it?

The comments are all yours so please share your thoughts.

Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life so you get every new blog post straight to your inbox.

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