I Threw Out My Training Plan

Well I didn’t physically throw out the training plan as it’s on my computer, but I deleted it. A year ago, I would have never done something like this – I’m someone that will follow a training plan exactly after I make it, but this plan just wasn’t working for me. I found myself unmotivated, having to add rest days because of snow and ice or my knee, I often had to change the days of the week I could do my runs, etc. The plan just wasn’t working and I had to step back from it. And, you know what? It’s totally okay to do that…even if your stubborn runner’s brain is telling you otherwise.

I do have a race in about 5 weeks, so it seems like a weird time to reinvent a plan, but that’s what I’m doing! I’m also using this first race of the year as a stepping stone for the several other races. It will be a way to just get my body and mind used to racing again as the first race of the year always feels a little rusty.

Anyway, here’s the plan for the week. I’ll be making a plan for the rest of this cycle before my race later this week. Until then, I’m just going with the flow!

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Happy Monday!

Stress Relief at Work

Let’s face it… Work can be stressful and being an adult can also be stressful. I’m prone to feeling physical and emotional symptoms of stress when my schedule is overbooked. So I take steps to prevent stress whenever I can throughout my day. This often starts the night before. Any night I’ve packed my breakfast/lunch/snacks for work and packed my running clothes/set out my work clothes, my morning feels like it goes smoothly. I even prep Finn pup’s snacks and treats for the day and put his peanut butter Kong’s in the freezer.

This means in the morning, if I get up at 4:30, I can do a little schoolwork, walk and take care of Finn, make coffee, and then get ready to go. If I have to add in prepping meals and snacks for the entire day, I’m already stressed before I head out the door.

My commute is another source of stress. I check the weather always and make sure I know the road conditions, I put podcasts and upbeat music on my phone to help me get through the long drives, and I use the time to try to relax (easier said than done, but I’m working on it).

At work, there’s a lot you can do to reduce stress. Some great things I’ve discovered are:

1.) Write out to-do lists: I’m a big fan of handwritten lists that I can cross things off. Though some people use their computers or phones, I still enjoy physically checking things off a to-do list. Plus, writing things out helps me stay focused and organized throughout the day when there’s 500 things going on.

2.) Take your breaks: I am so bad about this one. I just don’t take the breaks that I should. Many days I find myself in a meeting, health coaching, or something comes up and then suddenly it’s 3pm. Getting away from your desk makes a world of difference. Bonus points if you walk in nature and get some fresh air. Or go get yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea from that coffee shop you’ve been meaning to try. Treat yourself!

3.) Take deep breaths. If you can’t get away from your desk and you can feel the tension from your head all the way down your shoulders. Close your eyes and take deep breaths for a minute. Really focus on breathing and letting go of the tension.

4.) Aromatherapy. I keep a stress relief stick at my desk. I don’t know that it does all that much, but the scent is very soothing and relaxing to me and because the scent is so comforting, I calm down instantly.

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5.) Stay Hydrated. Dehydration can make it difficult to concentrate and be productive. It can also give you physical and emotional symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability. Keep a water bottle by your side throughout the day. If you’re bored with plain water, add fruit to it!

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6.) Add personal touches to your desk or office. I work at a cubicle so I don’t have much space. That being said, I have a plant that doesn’t need much care (since I travel a lot for my job), photos of my wonderful partner and our rescue pup, art from Haiti, and some art work my students in Japan made me. Just looking at the photos of my adventure family instantly makes me smile.

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Next time you’re feeling stressed, try out some of these tips and see if they help you. Happy Wednesday folks!

A Spring Weekend

40 degree weather two days in a row this weekend? Oh my goodness, running was such a blast in the warm weather. After feeling frustrated with winter training that’s exactly what I needed to feel confident again with my training. Annnnnd then today it was back to the cold and ice. 🙂 Oh Vermont….

This week is looking promising weather wise and I’m feeling good about the training plan this week. My first race of the year is always a hit or miss. Sometimes I’m unstoppable and sometimes it’s a learning experience and a way to ease into racing season. I think once I get closer to the race, I’ll have a better idea of realistic time goals, but for now I’m just enjoying getting the miles in.

Here’s the training plan for this week!

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As for the rest of the weekend, I’d love to say I was productive. I cleaned the house quite a bit, ran errands, made some yummy food, and tried to catch up on mountains of school work. To be honest my long run left me exhausted and once I sat on the couch it was game over. Once I start getting to 12+ milers after taking a break from those distances, it takes awhile for my body to adjust and it takes me awhile to remember how to fuel and refuel properly. Finn loved the cuddle couch time though so all is good!

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I’m hoping to catch up today OR maybe just enjoy the sunshine and forget about being an adult for awhile. 🙂

Happy Monday. If you have it off go enjoy it! The sunshine is definitely calling my name.

Quinoa Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Sweet potato quesadillas are a healthy quick meal for one of those nights you just don’t feel like thinking about recipes or cooking. Last night was one of those nights for me and after a long run, I was getting HANGRY  – so it was quesadillas to the rescue! I apologize for the phone photos – I actually did take photos with my camera and then my card reader this morning decided it wanted to stop working. 😦

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Finn was pretty bummed out about it too. I’ll replace the phone photos with actual pretty photos once I get the card reader situation sorted. Until then… on to the recipe!

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Quinoa Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar works great, but I used Fontina cheese last night)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1/4 red onion diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced
  • 4 handfuls of kale or spinach
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (optional)
  • Tofu/ substitute chicken product (optional)
  • Chicken or other lean protein (optional)

Directions

1.) Pre-heat oven to 425.

2.) Toss diced sweet potatoes in olive oil and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice.

3.) In a saucepan add 1/2 cup of water to 1/4 cup of quinoa. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let simmer 15-20 minutes.

4.) Cook your protein according to directions.

5.) Saute spinach or kale in saucepan and set aside.

6.) Once the quinoa is finished add 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp chili powder and mix together well.

7.) Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and turn off the oven.

6.) On a baking sheet, lay two whole wheat tortillas flat. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese on each. Add spinach, jalapeno, sweet potatoes, quinoa, red onion, and protein on top.

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7.) Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top of both and add a tortilla on top of each.

8.) Place the quesadillas in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

9.) Cut into triangles and serve with salsa, avocado, plain greek yogurt, and additional red onion.

Enjoy!

 

Just Do the Best You Can

I had every intention of getting up at 4 am to run, strength train, and do some yoga before work yesterday. I even got myself to bed before 9 pm. Then life happened. Our rescue pup decided he didn’t want to sleep through the night or sleep in his crate and he let it be known. So when that 4 am alarm went off, it was mostly definitely shut off. Let’s just say I got to work without those happy running endorphins and looking almost as lost and confused as Finn does during the 5 am hour.

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Mornings are rough.

 

The point of this story is that life happens and sometimes plans needs to change. If I got upset over every time my schedule didn’t play out according to plan, that would be crazy because it happens several times a week. Instead, I just get creative with it and do the best I can.

Did strength training and yoga happen today? Absolutely not. Did I throw my running gear in my bag and do speed work during lunch? Yes. So I’m going to call that a win.

Some days yoga and strength training happen in 5-10 minute increments. Some days I sleep 5 hours instead of 7 or 8 and skip morning workouts.Some days my running clothes are the most ridiculously mismatched colors because I put the outfit together at 4 am (Green, teal, neon running shoes, and purple polka dot socks totally go together, right?). Some days I get so busy at work trying to help others that I forget to hydrate, eat, and take care of myself. I accept those moments, try to figure out a solution to the situation, and alter my plan accordingly.

 

If you’re not a professional athlete who can dedicate their life to training, then don’t beat yourself up that you can’t pull out the same mileage or fitness routine as them. Do the best you can.

Happy Wednesday!

Winter Running: Getting Out the Door

It is SNOWING! What a fun snowstorm! 🙂 My partner and I ran around in the snow and walked down to the lake late last night. No one else was outside and the snow just kept falling and falling. It was so much fun. We had the best intentions to bring our cameras out early this morning, but sometimes the electric blanket wins. 🙂

As an all season runner living in Vermont, I know it can be a struggle to get out the door and get your mileage in during the winter. There have definitely been days where I procrastinated until the last possible second. Here are some tips that make it easier to get out the door:

1.) Have everything ready to go. If my running clothes are ready, my watch is charged, etc then it makes it that much easier to get out the door.

2.) Sign up for a spring race. I’m running a race at the beginning of April. Winter seems to last through April in Vermont so I have no choice, but to train in the winter.

3.) Make an AWESOME playlist. I rarely listen to music when I run, but sometimes the only thing that can get me out the door is knowing I can space out and listen to music. So I made an awesome playlist and have it ready for those days I’m struggling.

4.) HAND WARMERS. Oh my goodness! I went too many years without hand warmers, but in the last couple years they have made winter running so much more tolerable. I hate when my hands are cold on a run.

5.) Run your routes differently or drive some place new. Winter running sometimes bums me out. I can’t be out on the trails and my routes are VERY limited. So when I’m getting insanely bored, I run my route differently. Or I pick a main street and turn down different roads during my run and see where it leads me. Sometimes just a little change can make it that much easier!

6.) Warm up first. I have a rowing machine, some strength training equipment, and a yoga mat so on days where it just seems too cold, I do a quick warm up before I head outside.

7.) Wear proper layers. It definitely is a lot of trial and error about what works for you, but wearing the proper amount of layers is key to winter running.

8.) Have fun with it. Running with snowflakes falling around you and hearing the crunchiness under your feet can be pretty magical! Enjoy it! 🙂

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After a long run on Saturday, I was unable to get out yesterday due to the snow. I used to run in any conditions, but am finding running in snow and ice really hurts my knee. I’ll try to get out there today so I can stick to my plan, but we’ll have to see what the weather does. I might just have to switch Friday and Monday up.

My plan for this week is as follows:

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How do you get out the door during the winter?!

Healthy Meal: Veggie Pasta

When my wellness coaching clients tell me they struggle with finding the time to make a healthy meal and also trying to figure out what to make, I tell them to start off just finding one easy healthy meal that they can make. Then in another week, find another. Then another. Suddenly you have several go-to meals you can rely on when time is limited after work in the evenings.

Healthy meals don’t have to be complicated. This meal is one of my go-to meals and it’s so easy to mix it up. Again apologies for the iPhone photo. My runner’s appetite usually takes priority over a food photo shoot. 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • Brown rice noodles, quinoa noodles, veggie noodles (carrots, zucchini, or sweet potato), or a combination of all three!
  • Kale or Spinach
  • Onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh Basil
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Optional: Pasta Sauce or Pesto
  • Optional: Chicken and/or tofu sausage or another lean protein
  • Optional: Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. If using, prepare your protein of choice.
  2. Boil pasta if using rice or quinoa noodles and set aside. If you’re using veggie noodles saute them in a pan and set aside.
  3. In a large pan, saute  onions and garlic until the onions are almost translucent. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and kale or spinach. Once the tomatoes have started to juice a little bit, add the pasta and basil into the mix and cook for about 2 more minutes.
  4. Take off the stove and serve immediately with your protein, sauce, and Parmesan cheese if using.

This is a super quick and easy meal, but healthy and long distance runner/tae kwon do master and also vegetarian/carnivore approved!

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No Phone. Just Breathe.

Last weekend, we took off for a snowy beautiful winter hike with the pup. As photographers we were pretty excited to immerse ourselves in the beautiful Vermont winter and as dog owners we were excited to let the pup run off a ton of energy.

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It was pretty special for us, because we decided to not be attached to our phones during this hike. It was a few hours of nothing, but the beautiful sounds in nature. You could hear the snow crunching beneath our boots and the wind blowing through the trees. I was able to breathe in the crisp mountain air. There were no sounds of traffic. My to-do list was long forgotten at home. I had this beautiful opportunity to just feel connected to nature, enjoy time with my wonderful partner, and watch our rescue pup turn into the most playful silly dog in the snow.

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I got back home and it had me thinking… Why not turn off my phone for part of a day every week and purposely cut myself off from the hustle and bustle of life to truly be present in the moment? The more I thought about it the more I liked that idea so I’ve made a rule in my life where there will be at least part of a day every weekend where I don’t feel attached to technology. This time is me time and I get to disconnect from the stress of work, to-do lists, being an adult, responsibilities, etc. I just get to focus on things that are relaxing and that I want to do.

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I highly recommend you try disconnecting for awhile. Take the time to recenter, refocus, relieve tension and stress, and just take the time for you! It’s so so SO important.

Happy Wednesday folks!

 

Starting New After a Tough Week

Happy happy Monday. It’s a new week! Can we just hit the refresh button on last week and start new? I had a pretty difficult week with training, life-balance, and just feeling healthy in general, so I’m looking forward to a fresh start this week.

I felt really sluggish in training all last week. It could be numerous things so I’m trying harder this week to get a full nights sleep, fuel properly for training, and reduce stress so that I can focus on feeling stronger. My pace was really all over the place and my knee was irritated almost every run so I’ve decided now that Sunday absolutely needs to be a rest day after my long runs on Saturdays. If the knee keeps hurting then I’m going to cut down to a 4 day running/3 day cross training plan temporarily. For now, this is what the fitness plan looks like:

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As for sleeping – I just need to stop staying up to do schoolwork, photography work, wellness work, etc and accept that things will get done at a later time. So my goal for this week is to get enough sleep in hopes that sluggish feeling will go away. I’ll also be meal prepping for the week (check out a meal prep post later this week) so that will allow me to fuel properly and not skip snacks and meals.

The great thing about having a tough week is it really allows you to take an honest look at what happened and how you can make it better. I let myself get too overly stressed and overbooked. My work schedule had me out of the office and I skipped meals. My school work was very intense this week and had me working past my bed time. In the end my running definitely suffered and I didn’t get around to the strength training, yoga, or rowing. Now I know what I need to do this week to get myself back on track!

I’m feeling great about the week ahead though – it’s going to be a good one! What’s your method for getting back on track after a tough week?

 

 

 

 

How to Stay Sane with a Busy Schedule

Honestly, I don’t know that I accomplish this well every week. I do know that many people are in the same boat. So many of my wellness coaching clients come to me wanting to solve this issue in their own lives. If you can’t cut things out of your life, then what can you do to keep yourself from going bonkers when your schedule is booked solid from morning until night?

To give you an idea (and yes, I realize my schedule is clearly overbooked and I’m just putting the commuting, walking the pup, etc in there to give you an idea of my actual spare time), this is my schedule. I don’t have the meal preparation, cleaning, errands, extra Finn walks, etc in there, but that also happens during the week.

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Things you can do:

1.) Schedule You Time. I have little 15 minutes blocks scheduled that alert me on my phone to take a break. Yes, I have been known to ignore them in the past, but I don’t do that anymore after re-evaluating my stress level lately. Schedule 15 minutes here and there and then a longer break on days where you can find the time.

2.) Keep Up a Fitness Routine. Because I’m training, running can go from feeling like stress relief to another thing on the to-do list. I make sure to remind myself that this is also “me time”, socializing time, de-stress time, AND it’s certainly NOT a waste of time.

3.) Plan Ahead. I go as far as setting my work clothes and running clothes out for the week so I don’t even have to think about it in the morning. I throw my running clothes and shoes in a bag, put on my work clothes, and grab my prepacked work bag. These small steps make my life noticeably easier in the mornings.

4.) Meal Plan/Prep. I get made fun of for this sometimes, but if I don’t plan my meals and prep them ahead, my work week is that much more stressful. By meal prep/plan, I mean I have my snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and as much as I can prep dinner in advance. If I don’t do this, that means I’m sometimes skipping meals (can you say HANGRY?) and not able to get through my runs or work day well. Trust me, just jump on this band wagon if you’re busy. The couple hours over the weekend doing this is so worth it.

5.) Take a Mental Health Day. Seriously, if you can do this. It can do wonders and I’m guilty of rarely ever doing this, but it’s very important to take some time for you. When your feeling physical symptoms of stress on a daily basis, that’s a sure sign you need a break.

6.) Cut Unnecessary Items. Do you really need to do all the things you have listed? Can you delegate and take some of it off your plate? For example, this past weekend, my wonderful partner offered to go to the grocery store and clean up the kitchen so I could focus on my mountains of work.

7.) Re-evaluate. If life is continuously too overwhelming, it’s time to re-evaluate. If that commute time is too long, then speak with your job about a more flexible schedule and/or considering either moving closer to work or finding a job closer to home. Really take a close look at your schedule, think about the reasons why you’re feeling very stressed and overwhelm, then go from there.

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy the weekend!