Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Hi There! I took a small hiatus from blogging over the holiday, now I’m back with some new topics to share with you. Everyone knows the holiday season is upon us. For most people, that usually means more eating out, falling off of a workout routine, other seasonal stressors, and other ways to put health and fitness on the back burner. I myself, find it hard to juggle my workout schedule among a lot of things going on, especially during this time of year. SO, I’ve decided to share some motivation, tips on setting small goals for each workout, and why staying fit over the holidays matter.

Starting to feel that “dread” or “guilt” upon starting a workout or run or for not getting your workout in? I’m already there on some days honestly! #keepingitreal…LOL. Marathon training during this time of year has its pros and cons (burn off those christmas cookies right?) so I get it.

  • Motivation wise:
    • Get half of the workout done anyways. Thirty minutes or less? Make it hard, fast, intense. This goes for HIIT workouts and speed/tempo runs.
    • Holiday fun runs or a 5k—so many good reasons for a 5k! Holiday runs are especially fun since they’re seasonal and allow you dress up. Get a group together or your family.
    • Experiment with *healthy* holiday recipes–a lot are re-created with healthy substitutes. My mom does roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries. It a festive dish and its healthy.
    • Holiday Challenges—I’ve done a running streak (with clothes on–LOL!!) where you run a mile a day from Thanksgiving till the new year. Not into running? Try doing a set of ten push-ups, holding a plank, etc. every day till the New Year instead. Get your friends together and make it fun.
    • Out of the box ways to motivate yourself: make your phone screen something motivational, a good quote maybe? Seeing it often helps you focus on your goals.
  • Go in the gym with a plan…Okay, so you made to the gym. Now you’re trying to figure out what you wanna work on. You might be feeling that “dread” set in but you know you need to do something. Instead you wander around and might not be efficient with your time. Aside from just showing up, plan your workouts ahead of time (see post on using a planner). For example, know you’re gonna do an upper body HIIT workout. Its okay if you don’t have the exact plan in front of you  (sometimes I don’t) but knowing what you’re doing *somewhat* makes it easy to get it and get it done.
  • Staying fit matters…Yes, we like to indulge this time of year. We should!! Tasty, wonderful food and treats are among us. It’s special. Try not to completely let it go to the point you hate yourself for it. All those thirty minute or less workout/runs, walks, and push-up  challenges, etc matter. Healthy food choices count too. Starting the new year with maintaining your goals is much better then having to start all over again with everyone else at the packed gyms etc. That thought alone makes me cringe! #packedgyms.

No one is perfect, but its the moments you don’t want to do anything that count the most! Plan it out, get it done, feel great, repeat…all season long. 🙂

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Save the Wildlife, then Play All Day!

Save the Wildlife, then Play All Day!

This past weekend, I participated in the Save the Wildlife 5k at Busch Gardens with a friend from the Y and her family. A great turnout and race, it is definitely something I would do again. Not only did I help promote YRUN, but was able to catch up with my Fit2Run friends too! The weather was cloudy and cool…perfect weather for a run and day Busch Gardens. I felt good too and was really looking forward to a run of a short distance!! Knowing the race was 3.1 miles not 6+ was a relief haha. If anything, this marathon has been a good reminder that shorter distances are good for a change too as well as prep my mind for being race-ready! It had been since Gasparilla that I had done my last race, so it was time for something new. I will say, I do not race often so this one was a special kind of race. Aside from the crowd at the race, the crowds at park weren’t bad either, probably because it looked like it was going to rain the whole day, but didn’t! YAY for short-ish lines! The most we waited was 45 min for Cheetah Hunt (BG’s newest coaster as of about four years ago), but even that was do-able. Too cool for water rides, but all we wanted was to ride the coasters anyways! Sheikra never disappoints!!!!! 😉

A great turnout and race, Save the Wildlife 5k definitely something I would do again. I signed up with a friend from work and her family and we ran it together. The packet pickup and race was well organized and fun. Both easy locations to find on Busch Gardens property. Packet pickup was offered Thursday and Friday before the race. The course was flat with small inclines thrown in around the park. We ran throughout the park, near the animals, and around the roller coasters. The race started and finished in the same place. There was about fourteen hundred participants…which seems like a lot, but they did a great job “containing” us (making it sound like were a bunch of caged runners LOL) within the parking lot making the start convenient to where we parked. The goodie bag was simple but just enough: a race shirt and ticket to the park for the day complete with reusable bag 🙂 (no extra clutter yay!) Besides perks of a ticket to the park for the day, free parking, and a medal roughly the size of a dinner plate, this race benefited the Wildlife Conservation Fund. Not only was this just a pre and post race type race, but a fun event and day experience for everyone. Seeing proud runners wear their shirt and medal around the park made for a memorable and good way to connect with other participants during the day. I’d say a win-win for everyone! Check out the pros and cons of the race below! *Note: my opinions and thoughts only*

Save the Wildlife 5k Medal
Save the Wildlife 5k Medal
YRUN Tampa and Fit2Run representing at the race.
YRUN Tampa and Fit2Run representing at the race

Pros:

  • Well-organized packet pickup and race
  • Perks with registration include: ticket to the park for the day, free parking, and medal
  • Good time of year
  • Flat course (minus a few inclines throughout the park)
  • Family friendly
  • 7:30am start (early but not too early)
  • Entertaining—animals out for petting and holding at the finish
  • “Tailgating” from your own car experience post race before park opening

Cons:

  • Pricey-er registration than the average 5k ($35-$50)
  • Cotton shirt
  • No recyclables (water bottles were given out at finish)
  • No race day pick-up
  • No strollers
  • Not advised that if left after the race and came back for park opening, parking fee ($17) would be enforced (see “tailgating” pro above)

 

Been There, Done That…Now What?

Been There, Done That…Now What?

Even with the most experienced runners, we all tend to get “stuck in a rut.” It’s a normal part of any fitness routine. It usually means that either we hit a plateau, need fresh workout ideas, a change of scenery, a buddy a to run with, new music, the possibilities are endless. These are just a few things that help me break out of my routine.

As soon as I start getting bored thinking about a run (which doesn’t happen often, but recently with mileage it is becoming more so), I know something needs to change. I take it as an opportunity to learn something new or challenge myself. However, with training for a marathon, it is a whole other beast to say the least. It is a different kind of commitment for sure which takes a lot of time and patience. I find myself always looking for ways to break out of my rut, since I find myself either running alone (not so bad since its my preference) or in the same location most times since its convenient. Aside from location, music, even a new workout top or headband—I must say a new piece of workout clothing is quite motivating! It’s not always enough.

Below are some tips and thoughts that go through my mind that help distract me during a rough patch or get me to look forward to my next workout or run:

  • FOOD- YES! Of course many of us runners or anyone who likes a good sweat are foodies at heart—at least I AM!! 😛 I come up with what I look forward post run or workout that gives me the right fuel, is tasty, or something special that makes doing the workout worth doing in the first place. Dread six miles early morning on Saturday or a workout class you have to drive to? Make homemade pancakes for breakfast with all the fixings and let it be special or go out for breakfast after.
  • Break down the milage or time. Fourteen miles sounds long right? Yeah, that’s what I thought this past weekend. Instead I thought of seven miles out and seven back, plain and simple. I knew I was only doing seven one way, which after resting the day before sounded do-able. My mind was fresh and was more mentally strong knowing I broke it down into managable miles or making my workouts simply thirty minutes.
  • Music that PUMPS YOU UP! Find a song that triggers your inner BEAST and let yourself get excited knowing that song is perfect for speed or tempo day when you need to kick it up or slow and steady for long run. Playing it before your workout, as you’re getting ready and part of your warm-up are great ways to get your mind psyched for your workout ahead.
  • New Route, Same Location. Yes, I mentioned this earlier, but a new place does wonders. Either re-looping the same route or reversing it helps a lot. The night before mapping out on mapmyrun.com is good for keeping nearby as well as checking out other runner’s routes.
  • Find a Race! The excitement and enthusiasm of other runners in a race is great motivation. With that comes a new location in some cases, other people, a little friendly competition, and maybe a PR! 😉
  • Running Groups. These are all over the place now. Its a great way to meet people who already have the same interest as you. They offer socializing and weekly meetups which helps with motivation as well. Not just for running either, but biking, walking, and workout groups too! Best part is that they’re free (or a small fee)! Checkout meetup.com for local groups in your area.
The Mind Body Perspective: Keep Moving. Embrace Change. Rethink Options.

The Mind Body Perspective: Keep Moving. Embrace Change. Rethink Options.

I was crazy productive this past week, but took a step back with some goals surrounding my career and training. Changes both good, and I’ll say it this way, uncomfortable. I’ve had stressful week to say the least. I remind myself that everything happens for a reason and to use them as life lessons. Running has been the one consistent thing that I can count on each time I get in a funk. Its my release, my me-time and because of my hectic week, has been something I can count on to de-stress! Everyone needs some time to get away regardless if its running/fitness at all!

Anyways, after listening closer to my body for past week of training, I’m learning what it means to dial-back intensity and take it a notch down below beast mode. I’m the type of person to push hard and intense, while creating a sweat fest that leaves me accomplished and tired. Marathon training is not like that. It took me a few weeks into the training to learn that you can’t run six miles or “hard” and expect to be right back the next day for another hard workout. Nope, and my body told me promptly that training like that was not okay (check out my post on listening to your body and rest).

This past weekend, I ran ten miles for my long run. I was nervous because I still felt tight but knew I did have to get in a run and see how I feel. I made a deal with myself to GO SLOWER and take my time. It took serious convincing, but I did it! I always go too fast the first few miles no matter the distance. I used this mistake as an opportunity to learn to go SLOW and see how it feels. I did more of a jog and kept an eye on my garmin to consciously go a minute or so slower then my race pace time. SUCCESS again! I felt great the whole time and didn’t feel like I was killing myself. I simply took down the intensity of the run. I also was listening to some good, slower paced music like Sam Smith who is great to listen to on long steady runs.

Through this week, I learned its OK to stop and look around to see what you can do differently or improve on. This goes for both life experiences and training. Either write down your thoughts and lay them out in front of you (bought a journal this week just for this reason), get someone’s opinion, or do some research to explore options and perspectives. Most importantly, enjoy the change of pace and EMBRACE the opportunity to rethink

Why Eggs Are the Perfect Post-Workout Snack

Why Eggs Are the Perfect Post-Workout Snack

Eggs are a great form of protein and are relatively cheap. They’re also rich in muscle-friendly protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and selenium…a good reason to add them to your diet! Eggs go back and forth with being healthy all the time it seems. “Too much cholesterol”, “too much fat”, “only eat the whites”, the list goes on.  I always say moderation is key. They also can be cooked several ways and can be seasoned/flavored however you like! My mom has always had hard-boiled eggs handy for snacking, but I, myself, have gone in phases with eggs. Recently, I decided to find a good recipe for cooking eggs while also trying to find the best way to peel them so they look pretty (presentation is key 😉 ) I used some of my mom’s ideas and some of my own, but also went on pinterest looking for tips and recipes and found a couple ideas:

  • use older eggs for hard-boiling
  • boil eggs using vinegar/baking soda can help eggs peel easier
  • hummus and/or lemon pepper seasoning makes for a good addition when taking/leaving out the yolk for a hardy, satisfying snack
  • use an egg-timer, specifically the Norpro Egg Rite Egg Timer from Amazon 

I find that using baking soda has really helped the peeling of my eggs go smoothly! They don’t look like they’ve been massacred, which is one of the main goals, along with cooking them perfectly. Recently, I’ve been using an egg slicer and putting them on toast with a slice of cheese and salt and pepper for easy breakfast. A few weeks ago I made Curry Egg Salad from Runners World which was delicious with raisins and green onions! Really good with a slice of toast too or with a whole grain bagel. I didn’t garnish mine with avocado or cilantro since it was good without, but this recipe is versatile so go for it! Below is the recipe for Curry Egg Salad, as well as how I boil my eggs!

Curry Egg Salad from Runners World

Mix 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons golden raisins, 1 teaspoon Dijon, 2 sliced green onions, 1/2 teaspoon curry, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix 4 chopped, hard-boiled eggs with yogurt. Cut two whole-grain bagels in half. Divide mixture among 2 slices; top each with avocado, cilantro, and remaining bagel.

Perfectly Peel-able Hard-Boiled Eggs

Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder to 4 cups of water and dissolve. Add eggs to pot with egg timer. Turn on burner to high and wait for water to boil. Once water boils, set timer (regular timer) for 15 min and turn down heat from a rolling boil to softer boil. Once 15 min is up and timer shows eggs are boiled, run cool water into the hot water with eggs until the water becomes cool and you can no longer feel the hot water (don’t drain the hot water!). Let eggs sit in cool water for 5 min. Begin peeling and enjoy!

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Why: Ali Goes The Distance

Why: Ali Goes The Distance

Thanks for visiting! I’m a University of Tampa graduate living in Tampa Bay; I love good coffee, teaching fitness classes, running, and visiting friends under the sun. I’m currently training for the 2016 Miami Marathon, so you can be sure to find me on the run! 😉

Fitness is my passion! I love helping people achieve their goals towards to be their best. I’m certified as an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Personal Trainer, AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, qualified in the TRX Rip Trainer, and a Barre Above instructor. I teach weekly classes and have personal training clients in the Tampa area; I’m also an ambassador for Fit2Run.

I came up with “Ali Goes The Distance” from a few ideas. Running was my first experience with exercise…EVER (see Starting From Square One) and fortunately it was a positive one because I’m still going strong today and love it more than ever. I also love long runs in general which prompted me to sign up for the 2016 Miami Marathon…yay!, one of the main reasons I started this blog and came up with the title. “Ali Goes The Distance” was created in reference to the 26.2 miles I’ll be running (eek!!), but also refers to the journey from achieving one goal to the next. It all takes the three ‘Ps’: persistence, patience, and positivity that makes the distance along the way rewarding.