Here’s some good news: our flights and hotel rooms are BOOKED for BOSTON 2018! So that’s happening.
It’s training season. Time to regroup and refocus. Soon enough, the humidity lifts, summer ends, cooler mornings begin. Are you ready? I am ready to get back to setting and chasing down running, fitness, food goals. Who’s with me?!
Let’s hear it for a 3-step guide to refocusing our fitness goals. Y’all know how I like a step-by-step guide.
Sign up (decide)
Deciding is always the first step. When you go to sleep at night, decide how many miles you will run the next day or what time you will go to the gym after work, what you will do there, how long you will stay. Sign up for a spin or barre class the day before. Decide what you’re going to wear, what snack you’ll eat before you go.
If you go ahead and decide, you’ve cleared the first, and sometimes most challenging, hurdle.
If you’re a runner, pick a distance, find a race and sign up. Like I said, it’s training season. If you haven’t picked a race this fall (like me), DO IT! So many great options.
Buffalo Run — Palmetto Bluff, SC — October 8, 2017: This is a 10K, 30K or 50K trail run through magical Palmetto Bluff Resort. My girl, Anna Jones and her team are in charge of this race, so I’m strongly considering a trip to Savannah and a chance to cash in my free massage that I won at the half marathon in March. But, it’s also the weekend Carolina plays Notre Dame at home. A tough call. Get your priorities straight, Helen.
Charlotte Marathon — November 7, 2017: A lot of hype around Charlotte for this one. I’m considering running the half marathon. After all, this is my new city!!
Kiawah Marathon — December 9, 2017: Kiawah in December sounds like a plan to me. Eyeing the half. Early December is a good time to sneak in one more race before Christmas and New Year’s.
A few past time favorites:
Bull City Race Fest and Food Truck Rodeo — October 22, 2017: I ran this half several years ago on a cool, crisp fall morning. It’s hilly, but oh-so fun. And the food trucks are an added reward at the end. Plus, Durham is awesome.
City of Oaks — November 5, 2017: This is my all-time favorite race. It’s a great time of year and beautiful views of downtown Raleigh and greenways. I’ve run the half twice and the full twice. Ran my Boston QT on this course last year. It’s magic.
Friends running these upcoming races*:
Marine Corps Marathon — October 22, 2017: Good luck to my friend Marshall Fowle! We are cheering you on and can’t wait to hear about the race!
New York City Marathon — November 5, 2017: My new running buddy, Cameron MacLennn, is running New York and racing for a Boston QT! I’m training with her, even though I won’t be running the race. We logged a steady 10 miler Friday morning but have some longer (and hopefully cooler) runs around the corner. Good luck, Cameron!
* It’s too late to sign up for Marine Corps or New York this year, but keep your eye out in late winter/early spring for registration. These are fun, challenging races.
Lace up (the chase)
So, you’ve decided. You will train for and run that race, that half, that full marathon several months from now. You are going to that spin class at 6 a.m. tomorrow, boot camp after work or yoga in the park. Now what?
LACE UP PEOPLE.
Grab your shoes, water, and A-game and get out there. No excuses. This is happening.
You’ve got two priorities: 1) physical training and 2) mental training.
Physical training — no one can do it for you, but you. You have to put in the miles, the sweat, the effort.
Only you can pull yourself out of bed when you’re alarm rings, throw on your workout clothes and hit the pavement. You’re the only one who can push through two more reps of those burpees, lunges, dead lifts. It’s up to you to finish that 10-mile run in 100% humidity.
Get it done.
Why? This is training season. You cannot just go out there on race day and expect to run your PR. You signed up. You decided. And you owe it to yourself to improve, get stronger, grow as an athlete.
Put “the chase” in chasing your goals.
Here are a few new Charlotte training favorites:
– The end of a speed workout, coached by Jamey Yon of TRiYON Performance. Cameron motivated me to attend this 5:30 a.m. Wednesday workout and I’m hooked. There were at least 30 people out there, pushing and motivating each other before sunrise.
– Also hooked on Sweat Cycle, a new spin studio in Charlotte. Wednesdays at 5:45, Brittany (to my right) teaches a hip hop hump day class that feels like you’re at a party (and profusely sweating and consuming an exorbitant amount of water). Loved the class and the studio. Brittany is fire.
Mental training. So important. Mental training is that voice in your head when the alarm rings at the crack of dawn and says, I can do this. I will do this.
The voice says:
I will not cut myself short on this run today.
I will push myself 10 seconds harder each mile today.
I will do 5 more push-ups than I did yesterday.
I want to sleep in, but I signed up for this race, I made a training plan, I’ve put in countless miles the past few weeks, and only I can make myself get up and get out there.
I want to make excuses. But I won’t.
I can. I will.
That’s your mental training voice. It’s in there. Find it. Listen to it. Exercise it.
It will grow. And it’s a really powerful tool in your overall training plan.
Your mental voice, if trained properly, will pull you through the last 3 miles of a marathon, the rain, the heat, the humidity. It will get you out of bed and make you work so hard that you will want to go to bed earlier and start all over the next day.
Get to know the voice. Train your brain.
Run the race (do what you do)
When the gun goes off and you cross the start line, that’s it. That’s my favorite moment in all of running. I love it even more than crossing the finish line. Because I know, no matter how I perform, whether I meet, beat or fall short of my goal, all I have to do at that point is trust my training and enjoy the run. Do what you do.
The finish is pretty great too. If you’re not a runner, you need to come up with an “end game.” Something for which you work towards. Your shining moment, so to speak. That’s when you feel the reward of your hard work.
My little cousin, Johnathan Baddour, won the North Carolina State Tennis Championship 12 and under in both doubles and singles last week! We’ve been watching him grow and improve on the tennis court for years. He could already hang with his talented tennis parents and with my brother who is a 4.5-5.0 player. Now he’s at the top of his game. Talk about chasing goals. JB is a great example of how putting in time, sweat and mental toughness pays off. Go JB! We are so proud!
I’ll never forget the moment in the City of Oaks Marathon last November. Crossing the finish line and seeing 3:26 when the best I knew was 3:49. That’s when I realized every early morning and tough run was completely necessary. And so worth it.
That feeling of tackling your goal… it’s the best. It’s what motivates me to sign up and lace up again and again. I just want to share that with you. I want you to set goals and chase them down. And I want you to tell me about them!
What races are you running this fall? What fitness goals have you set for the remainder of the year? Let’s encourage one another. And put the “chase” in chasing your goals!
See you out there.
**Cover photo and first photo of Allen and me running, taken by the talented Jack Baddour. Thanks Jack!