Signs Your Significant Other is a Runner

Anyone in a relationship with a runner knows there are certain things that are just par for the course. You may not see it at first, but one day you’ll wake up and realize that your life revolves around running too, even if you aren’t the runner!

Signs Runner GifHere are some signs that your significant other is a runner, and you are a runner in spirit!

1. When someone asks if you’re going out on a Friday night, your answer is always, “we have a race in the morning.” (even though it isn’t your race!)

2. You’ve become an expert at hitting as many spots along a marathon route as possible to cheer your mate on.

3. Your treadmill sees your significant other more than you do.

4. You can often be found in a race shirt that you didn’t even run.

5. You have as much of a “race day routine” as your significant other does.

6. You schedule vacations around races.

7. “Long runs” take up a big chunk of your weekend, too.

8. You can pack a race day bag with the best of them.

9. It’s routine for you to spend hours at a Starbucks or Panera in a random city while your significant other is running an Ultra.

10. You’ve got the pre-race dinner down to a science.

11. You’re well-versed in moisture wicking wear and the latest compression gear.

12. You get race day jitters.

13. You can closely estimate any race time finish by pace- off the top of your head.

14. You love race day as much as they do!



Just Because I Can (A 50K Recap)

Just Because I CanThis weekend I ran an ultra marathon. When I write those words, it makes even me think of something that’s unattainable, like a unicorn. Like it’s some wild, mysterious creature that’s too awesome, too weird, or too scary for most people to see or even comprehend.

After 5 successful years of running marathons, this creeping feeling started in me. Something in me kept pondering that awesome mystery of what was next. Where can I go from here? What can I do now? What’s beyond the marathon?

This year, I signed up for my first 50K trail race. Even though I was filled with fear at signing up, I did so for the very same reason as my first race: Just to see if I could do it.

I signed up, just to see if I could do it.

I didn’t have any experience running on trails. I barely run outside to tell you the truth. I wasn’t really sure of what to do or how to prepare. None of that mattered because I was going to learn and train anyway, trusting that I was going to make it.

For those of you that have run a road race before, this is not like a road race. Speed is a factor, but not the driving force. There is not much of a worry about negative splits or trying to pass others. I carried no music and ended up talking almost the whole way.

It was unlike any experience I’d ever had on a run before. I met so many nice and amazing people out there, right from the very start. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, in the race was so kind, caring and uplifting. I guess that’s what you get when you begin running distances like this.

Ethan's 1st UltraThere were people of all ages and walks of life that had ran 50 milers, 100 milers, or 14 hour endurance runs. Within the first 10 minutes, I talked to someone that ran across the Great Wall of China. All of these amazing people around me, and I was a part of this group!

I became a leader and I became a follower on that run. Typically on runs, I like being a follower. There is always someone faster than me, so I would make excuses like “this is my first time on this course” or “I’m really bad with directions” so I allowed myself to be a follower all the time. In my first 50K, I got the chance to actually lead. I held strengths out on the run that others did not, and so I used them and let others know what I can contribute.

There was also a great feeling of quietness and solitude in certain sections of the race.  Sometimes there were these pockets where no other runners were in front of or behind me for a long time. Long enough to where I could walk for quite a while by myself and just ponder the feeling I was experiencing in a lush, green forest.

Somewhere or something like that had definitely been missing in my life. It could have been the expanse of the park bringing this feeling of solitude.

It just hit me in little moments that made me feel so thankful to be out there. It was like a dream in some ways. This was my favorite part for personal reasons. It was amazing to be with such awesome people, but the real treat for yesterday, I think, was being alone with myself.

My emotions got more mixed up as I went further along the run. The hours soon started feeling like days, and wasn’t sure if I was in pain or pleasure. At times I wasn’t sure where I was going or how I got here.

I had two opposing forces while running, one was against my body and one was against my mind. I’m happy to say that my mind drove my body at those tough points.

On the final hour, I was fortunate enough to catch up to someone who turned out to be a great running partner. We both brought each other through to the finish without even remembering we were in pain and just wanted to quit. We were just two guys talking.

At this point even our minds had trouble battling us. And then we saw the finish through the trees.

If you tackle something that you’re not sure you can accomplish, your reward is paid in self-confidence.

When you succeed at something you never even thought possible, you begin to think why you created this fear in your mind, this fear of success. There’s a wall that breaks down within you. All of a sudden, you are free to dream.

I overheard something that really stuck with me during this race. Someone said “I’m going to try to run up that big hill on the last loop instead of walk, just to see if I can”.

For me, it solidified that fact that that is a perfectly acceptable answer to running.

Why do I run? You may have thought I’d have figured this out in my years and years of running, but lately I’ve actually been searching for a definitive reason of why I run. A lot of things come to mind like health, mental grit, or planning, but in all honestly, I think I’ve found my answer this weekend.

Just because I can.

Be a Boring Eater

We have more choices now than ever before as a society. We can get whatever we want, whenever we want, in any color, size and flavor. That surely includes our food.

Boring Eater

Why not shun all of those choices and go back to basics?

I’ve been eating 2 eggs for breakfast for several years now. It’s become engrained in my body, and I’m happier and more productive when I start the day this way.

I’ve also recently switched to Kale salads exclusively for lunch, and I select between 5-7 common snacks that I will rotate throughout the week.

Being a boring eater for at least one meal will free up your time, give you more clarity with your food choices and simplify your life overall.

Research from the University of Vermont & University of Buffalo has also shown that those who ate the same meal consumed fewer calories by the fifth day of the experiment, so there is some definite health benefits of being boring, too.

Here are 6 reasons for being a boring eater:

1. Grocery visits are faster & cheaper

Because I get the same items at the grocery store, there is a lot less time spent at the grocery, as well as less time preparing a list.

I can do a mental inventory of what is needed for the week and buy only what is needed to refill my inventory, which saves me from wasting a lot of grocery items throughout the week or overspending when I’m not prepared.

2. Food is now nutrients

My body doesn’t care if I eat eggs, turkey or fish, it just knows I’m giving it protein, sodium & cholesterol.

When using the same basic foods, I’m able to gauge my nutrient intake better because I know I’m getting some daily requirements out of the way. I’m not worried if I’m getting the right nutrients because I didn’t grab what sounded good to me at the time.

3. Food tracking is easier

When you eat at least one common meal, it’s easier to use tracking software like MyFitnessPal (affiliate link) to manage your intake. You can input it once and it will save that info for a later time.

I also find that I even do a better job of self-regulating by eating common things.

For example, when I’ve strayed from my meal plan and I know something just doesn’t feel right in my body, I can usually trace it back to what I ate previously & make corrections going forward to get back on track.

4. Less decisions & more time

It takes a long time to figure out what you are going to eat in any given day if you are always making that choice.

When faced with too many choices, we become paralyzed and don’t make any decisions, opening up the chance for someone else (like marketers) to make the choice for us.

This is why there was a restaurant called “I Don’t Care”. (Hats off to the owner(s) of this establishment for having the most clever name in the restaurant business.)

You could use that time and effort spent deciding what to eat doing something better.

5. The special meals are more enjoyable

It’s not like Kristin and I eat the same thing for every meal, day in and day out. We still mix it up in the kitchen and go out to eat.

While my body is used to the same things, I still enjoy a fancy meal that is different. Being boring most of the time makes these meals that much more special when we’re preparing a fancy dinner at home or going out for a steak.

6. Life is no longer centered around meals

When I was fatter, I used to fantasize about where I was going to eat for lunch, and then in the afternoon I would get excited about what to eat for dinner.

An endless cycle of waiting for what food to eat next was not only no fun, but it was wasting my energy. My life was consumed with food and food opportunities.

I used to spend a lot of time planning my life around my meals, now they are an afterthought that give me more time to do better things.

Have you tried getting boring with food? What have you learned in the process?

 

 

Creating a Workout Routine on Youtube

workout routine

 

Getting a good workout doesn’t mean you have to spend a bunch of money. You always hear fitness experts saying that getting a workout at home is just as good as heading to the gym and using giant equipment. But how?

I find that using Youtube is a simple solution to working out at home. You can find a variety of workout routines for absolutely free on Youtube. Below is a simple step by step tutorial on how to create a workout “playlist” on Youtube. Follow the black arrows (—>) and blue text below.


STEP 1: search for the video you are looking for. I’m searching for a morning stretch routine. 
youtube step 1

STEP 2: click on the video you want to add to your playlist to open the video. 

youtube step 2

STEP 3: Once in the video, click on “Add To.” You can add to an existing playlist you’ve already made, or type in a new Playlist name and click “Create Playlist.”

youtube step 3

STEP 4: To view all your playlists, click on your icon in the top right corner, and all your playlists will drop down. 

youtube step 4

STEP 5: Click on the playlist you want to see all of the videos you’ve added to that playlist. 

youtube step 5

 

There you have it! Creating playlists on youtube for workout routines is super simple! Do you have any youtube workouts that you recommend?



Selecting your First 5K


You’ve seen all the pictures on Facebook of your friends running races these past few weeks, and you think “I want to do that.” Except you’re not quite sure how to get started or what exactly is involved.

When I ran in my first 5K, I was just beginning on the path to a healthier lifestyle. I was eating better and exercising regularly.

I heard about a road race through some co-workers and decided it would be a great opportunity to see just what racing with other people was all about.

Selecting your first 5KNot only was it a great chance to get introduced to the sport of running, but it was a springboard for me to leap into larger races like my first marathon and eventually into my first ultra-marathon. And it all started with a 5K.

Here’s my 5 steps for selecting your first 5K:

1. Pick a date & location

It is vital to specify when you will be participating. Training levels will vary depending on your overall fitness level, but give yourself more time that you think if you can. That way you can track how you feel as you get closer to race day.

Ideally, you’ll want to find a race that’s 5-8 weeks out in order to have plenty of training time.

There are no shortage of different training schedules by doing a quick online image search. I suggest picking a schedule you feel confident you can stick with so that you’re not changing your plan halfway through.

The best places to start looking for a specific race might be:

  • a running store’s event calendar
  • a local restaurant’s flyer & advertising board
  • A running site like Active.com

2. Find a Charity

Many races are sponsored by some kind of charity, and a portion of your registration fees go to that charity as a donation. If you’re passionate about a cause, see if they are sponsoring any upcoming races in your area. This way, you can feel good knowing you are helping others as well as yourself.

3. Check the Cost

If pricing is a roadblock for you, be happy knowing that running can be one of the cheapest sports to get into. There’s no need to go crazy with all of the gear that’s available. If you have a decent pair of shoes (my first pair were $30), most of the rest of the gear is optional.

Race registrations range in price, usually between $10-30 based on several factors:

  • Food and water support during and after the race
  • Participant or finisher freebies (like shirts and medals)
  • Civil work (road closures, police & EMS on site, etc.)
  • Charity donations
  • The amount of sponsors to help defray costs

4. Pick a race you’ll enjoy

Does the idea of running for over 3 miles bore you? Are you looking for something more exciting?

There are plenty of exciting and new races available now that go beyond the simple 5K course.

Maybe a 5K with a twist is more up your alley.

The Color Run is an exciting new race that is not timed, and it is meant to serve as a way to promote happiness and health. You start out in all white and finish the race in streaks of wild color!

There are also Dog Jog races which promote running with your pooch. This gives you both a chance to get some exercise and meet new friends.

There are even several Zombie runs in which you are running away from the undead in order to stay alive!

5K’s have become a lot more accommodating to all different personalities, and as a result, it’s much easier to find one you’ll enjoy.

5. Register early…like RIGHT NOW!

Once you’ve picked a race that aligns with your timeframe and needs, it’s time to get Serious. Stop reading this, and go get signed up.

I know you’ve wanted to because you’re reading this article!

Do this before you think you should. Most races make the process very easy to register with online forms and race day packet pickup. All you’ll need to do is sign up & show up!

Remember – It is much easier to stay with your training plan if you know you’ve already paid for the race.

You can train and plan and prepare until the cows come home, but registration is where the rubber hits the pavement.

 

Running in your first 5K is definitely a great accomplishment. It may be a springboard to a new healthy way of living or an exciting way to meet new and like-minded people.

There’s some criticism that anyone and everyone can run a 5K. I disagree. According to answers.com, about 1 in 5 Americans register for a 5K every year. If anyone and everyone could do it, that percentage would be closer to 100%, not 20%

Embrace where you are as a beginner, and get out there and do something good for yourself and others!

Do you have some essential advice for 5K beginners? I look forward to hearing your feedback!

 



 

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