Day 240: The morning run that sucked. Utterly.

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I did it…

It took me some time and it almost did not happen, but, in the end, today morning I dragged my lazy bum out of the bed and slapped on my running shoes and got out of the door for my first morning run in a long-ish time.

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But I wasn’t proud of myself. It sucked.

It was supposed to be a 7k progressive run, but already after 400m or so, I knew it will not be a progressive run.
I felt bad. Not any particular pain or discomfort, just a general feeling of meh.

Remembering how first mile is a lie, I decided to push the run anyway. And boy did I have to push, just to keep my feet going. Alright, I thought to myself, maybe I couldn’t run a progressive 7k, but I could run just a comfortable 7k. I tried to think of all the people who can’t run or who can, but won’t, and it helped for a little, until my GI tract woke up around the 4k mark. From that point on, I went steadily slower and eventually had to walk more than I could run.
At 6.2km, I called it quits. My time was really slow and I felt like crying.

I went home feeling defeated, made a quick smoothie and went for a yoga.
Yoga felt OK, but the negative lingering feeling didn’t go away.

Later this afternoon I plan to go swimming, hopefully that can make me feel a little bit better.

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Day 234: I dare to power yoga

COMFORT-ZONE

My running this week was up and down and up and down again, and no, I am not talking about hill repeats (Netherlands is a country flat as a pancake). I am not doing very well on the getting up early front, mostly because I do not follow my own advice of getting be bed early enough with my things prepared ahead of time.
I did have some small success, so I am improving, but I guess it will take a bit more time for me to adjust.

And that’s OK. I can take my time in this.

However, I want to write about something else. I did something extraordinary today. Maybe it wasn’t so special in the general understanding, but, for me, it was a step way out of the comfort zone.

I went to a power yoga class.

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As I wrote before, I am, generally, a weakling. My core and arms and shoulders and my back and pretty much all of the muscles are close to non-existent, with the exception of my legs (thank you dancing!).

When I showed up at the class with my stick-like upper limbs and my shy face, the instructor welcomed me and invited me inside, after what he asked about my yoga and power yoga experience. To which I replied that, I do yoga for a couple of months now, but I never dared to do power yoga because of how weak I am.

And he said, “Good you are here“. I was welcome, the weakling, because this whole business is not about where are you here, but where can you go from where you are. It’s to work on yourself and improve.

At that point he concluded that it will be a difficult class for me. And indeed it was. Even though we didn’t do that much different things from the regular yoga class I take part in, the time and the attention each pose got were both stunning and exhausting.

I actually suspect that, since three out of the five people in the class were new, we got a “lighter” version today, which still made me breathe heavily and sometimes was on the edge of what I can actually do. Am I going back? Hell yes. There’s so much for me get from there, to improve and to learn. As much as I enjoy the lighter, relaxing yoga as well, the power yoga class makes me feel like I can work on and explore my potential.

Step-Outside-Your-Comfort-Zone

What was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?
Do you like power yoga, and why or why not?

Day 227: Goodbye old, and the longest run so far

Goodbye, old friends

Last Sunday, I retired my first pair of running shoes.

Last Sunday, I ran the longest distance to date, 14km, and with no walking breaks.

It is hard to describe my feelings on this run.

On the one hand, I felt strangely emotional, even a bit sad. After all, these shoes took me places I never thought I would reach. My first running steps. My first race. Three different countries. Cold runs which left my toes numb and runs which made me almost faint from the heat.

On the other hand, I felt exited for the new distance and a slightly new route.
After I finished, I felt totally badass. That’s like 2/3rds of a half marathon, and, to be honest, I could keep going. Even though I was tired, for the first time I believed, deep down, that I can really do this.

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I can run a half marathon in October. Sure, there’s much needed training still ahead, but now I feel like I am up to the challenge.

Lastly, I did this run in the evening. After all this talk about morning running, I still struggle to get up and fit my runs in early. Well, tomorrow is another try. One day, I’ll get there.

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Distance: 14km
Time:       about 1h28mins (my app crashed, so I don’t know the exact time)

P.S. The next run will be on my new shoes! Stay tuned!

How to wake up in the morning to avoid the heat

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As I mentioned last time, it is extremely hot right now and us runners, we have to be very careful to stay safe and hydrated in such weather.
Therefore, if you want to keep running the great outdoors, the recommended running times are early morning and late evening, when the temperatures are manageable. Both times have their advantages and disadvantages, but there are several benefits of running in the morning:

  • you strengthen your discipline
  • by the time you arrive at work, you’ll be fully awake and your brain will be well oxygenated, what may improve your work performance
  • if you drive a car to work, being well awake makes you drive safer
  • your afternoons and evenings are free, so you can do whatever you like… even run again!
  • running improves your mood, making the whole day more pleasant and can help you cope with stressful situations
  • you get to enjoy the sunrises
  • you feel like a badass!

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However, waking up early to get your run can be a struggle, especially when you’re a night owl. I know I am, and, so far, I find it very difficult to wake up in the morning for my runs. I used to run in the morning around January/February, and I enjoyed it a lot. I hope I can do that again, in my opinion – it is worth it!

Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks one can use to join the Early Morning Crew. Here’s what I’m going to do to help myself wake up early enough.

  1. Make sure you prepare your run before, so you don’t need much effort in the morning. Lay out your running gear. If you follow a training plan, check your schedule in the evening so you know what run type and distance you need to do. Prepare your route beforehand, if you need that. Watch an inspirational video. Rise and Shine is a great one!
  2. Start small and do only your short runs in the mornings, so you do not need that much time.
  3. Take small steps. By moving your alarm clock backwards 20-30 minutes each week, you help a gradual transition.
  4. Move your phone/alarm clock out of your reach so you have to actually stand up to turn it off, and set up the most annoying sound for the alarm.
  5. Remember: There was a reason you set that alarm clock in the first place.
  6. Keep waking up earlier even on rest days, or if you run in the evening. You can use the extra time do some cross-training or maybe you can show up early for work and leave early, too.
  7. Don’t forget to warm up before running!
  8. If you need to, eat something small. Bananas and peanut butter toasts are great.
  9. Drink a glass of water with few drops of lemon juice after you wake up.
  10. Go to sleep early.

There is one more thing you can do, which is out of my reach, but it might help you. It is to find a running buddy or group to keep you determined to show up for training.

I hope this weekend I can write here a summary of my beautiful morning runs!

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Do you struggle with early mornings?
What are your tips and tricks for early morning runs?

June summary and the 500km milestone!

July

Look around, it’s July already! Time flies…

With the break of the month, I have broken the 500km milestone since I started running in November last year. That sounds quite impressive, doesn’t it?

June marked the start of my 20-weeks-long half-marathon training, and here is a short summary of the month:

  • a total of 14 runs, in 2 countries!
  • one race (5km in Fribourg, Switzerland)
  • a total of 86.5 km
  • Pinkpop!
  • Progressive runs are FUN and generally great, but running in the heat isn’t…

Through July I will increase my mileage and work a bit on the speed in the balanced training phase of the plan. The heat will make it a challenge, but I determined to get the work done.

At the moment it is very, very hot (36°C or 97°F), and, so far, I have failed my morning get-up-and-run-before-it-gets-too-warm two out of two times. It is so hot races get cancelled, so please remember: drink plenty of water, use sunscreen, and wear a hat.
This weather looks beautiful, but it can be dangerous!

Infused water

Make infused water to stay hydrated!