Soul running

Soul running

Today I did something that I’ve never done before, I ran without the music and without a partner. To anyone that knows me they know that this is something very unlike me. I’m the type of person that if I get to the gym and I don’t have music I turn around and go home. Today however, I decided to run without music and without a partner to see what would happen. I felt I needed more from my run today. I was curious about how my body would feel, how I would do, and if I could connect to my body somehow. As I started my run I instantly knew that this is something that I would have to start incorporating into my running schedule. A soul run. A run that has a sole purpose of connecting me to my body, my soul.

I had no expectations for this run. I took my sports watch to track my distance and time, since I had to be done by a certain time to get the kids. As I ran, I listened to my body. I ran as fast as my legs wanted me to go. I slowed as they wanted me to slow. I took in the scenery. Watched birds fly, squirrels and rabbits hop away blissfully. I listened as the breeze blew through the trees and past my ears. I meditated on the rhythm of my footsteps and my breathing. Sometimes my breath was a bit labored, sometimes it came with ease.

I allowed my mind to wander wherever it chose, only calling it back when the competitor began to speak. It would urge me to check my pace, that wouldn’t it be awesome to let go and run faster than I’ve ever run by shear “coincidence”. To push myself up a hill and take it on. I hushed that voice, that was not the purpose of this run. This run was to connect with nature and myself. This was a run for my soul and nothing more.

We all have a different “soul environment”. What I mean by that is that we all have different environments that speak to us, put us at ease, relaxes us. For me, it has always been water. I love a river, lake, the ocean. The waves or the ease of the flow. Since I was young, I have always pictured myself in my prime (retirement?), sitting on a deck sipping my morning coffee and overlooking a large body of water. I am connected to it somehow. We all have a different place that speaks to us. The desert, nature, the city, mountains- our souls all connect to a different environment. Where do you tend to vacation? Where do you feel most at ease, relaxed? This is your place.

It becomes so easy to get fixated on training for a race, or running faster, farther, speed work, tempo. There are so many labels that go along with running. It’s all ok, we need those runs. We need to train and run our long runs, our tempo runs. It all has a place. In that process though, we lose something. We become rigid and lose that mind and body connection. I strongly feel that we need to throw a run to connect our mind and body. I am not talking about a religious thing, although it could be. You can use this to connect to a higher power or to simply connect with yourself. The goal is to just let go.

If you would like to try to Soul Run here are my tips:

  • Run in an environment as close as you can to the one that you feel most at ease.
  • Run without music. Listen to your surrounding, your footsteps and breathing.
  • Run without a partner. You can begin a run together, but don’t run it all together. When you run with a partner one of you is running according to the other person. You lose yourself and the purpose.
  • Run as far or as little as you would like. Seven miles felt great today, but next time maybe only 2, or 10. Run according to your body.
  • Silence the competitor. Tell yourself to just feel the run. Don’t run at a certain pace. Just feel.

I would love to hear from you. Do you already run this way? If you try it, let me know how it goes. I will be tagging my soul runs with the tag #soulrunning Feel free to join in!! Thanks so much for reading!

Holidays done healthy

Holidays done healthy

As temperatures cool and we begin to cover ourselves with more layers, it gets more and more difficult to stay motivated to keep fit. As if that wasn’t difficult enough, we have holidays that revolve around food bring in this season. We gain an average of 5 pounds during the holiday season and that doesn’t even count Haloween! You might think that I am posting this a bit early considering the “true” holiday season begins in another month. However, I really feel that we not only need to plan ahead, but as it begins to get colder, we find more and more excuses to skip that workout. We start to eat more comfort foods and grab some extra holiday lattes. So here are my biggest tips to not become an unhealthy statistic.

*find a motivator to keep you in check that doesn’t involving a bathing suit.
*remember how you feel when you eat crap and write it down. Put it some place you will see it. (Too much sugar gives me a headache, I feel bloated, sluggish, mad, etc)
*in the same fashion, write down how you feel after eating right and working out. Put this list right on your fridge.
*find a buddy who wants to stay on track, not someone that you always have to motivate.
*try a new class and make friends. You’ll be surprised how accountable you become when others notice when you missed a class.
*if you LOVE holiday baking but have no willpower, bake and take your treats to a nursing home, a favorite local store you frequent, donate to a homeless shelter.
*find healthy treat alternatives. There are plenty of healthy dessert type recipes out there.
*start a new tradition, find an alternative to baking, make holiday crafts instead.
*start your holiday morning with a workout but don’t use it as an excuse to eat more.
*eat a LITTLE bit of everything. I am that girl who will have a tiny sliver of each pie!
*find workouts you can do at home with little or no equipment.
*don’t give up, if you have a set back get right back on the wagon.
*develop a workout plan and write it down. (Ie Monday is upper body, Tues lower body, Wed is Zumba, Thur and Fri rest, Sat run…) whatever works for you
*find HEALTHY motivational people to follow on social media. Just make sure they keep you motivated and give you ideas, not make you feel bad.
*DO NOT MAKE UP FOR MISTAKES BY STARVING YOURSELF. That’s right, I shouted! Do not gorge yourself on Halloween candy and then starve yourself for the rest of the day and following day. Your body needs nutrients and enough calories to function. Eating a measly 1000 calories or less will only mess up your metabolism. DON’T DO IT, just don’t, please.
*find you community. Use apps or social media to challenge yourself. Many apps have you “compete” with its users. I love my Nike+.

So hopefully that gives you some ideas or sparks some of your own. How do you stay motivated when all you want to do is curl up under a blanket and drink a latte?