Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Respect Your Goals (& Homemade "KIND" Bars!)

“The first step in achieving your goal, is to take a moment to respect your goal.  Know what it means to you to achieve it.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Respect your goal.  Anthony and I have lots of goals – life goals and fitness goals – and we always make sure we take time to recognize what it takes to achieve these goals and why we want to achieve them before we attack them.  When you know why you are going after something and are aware of what kind of work and sacrifices it will take, the journey becomes much more meaningful.  

Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it.

The big fitness goal that we are working towards right now is Ironman Lake Placid.  Why do we want to achieve this goal? There are so many reasons, but to list a few: we love endurance sports, we love challenging ourselves, and we love that feeling of completing a race that we worked so hard to train for.  Training for an Ironman is a whole new ball game.  A marathon takes about 16-18 weeks of training and the longest week (for us) is about 55-60 miles (no more than ~8.5-9 hours).  We are 5.5 months out from Ironman Lake Placid and our training weeks are currently between 11 and 14 hours.  To stay motivated and stick to a training plan, we have to constantly keep our goal in mind and we have to continue to respect that goal and what it means to us.

Achieving a big goal like training for an Ironman has some serious ups and downs.  After “the worst training session ever” we have to wake up and approach our next workout with an open mind.  We must believe that it will be better and stay motivated enough to push ourselves through regardless of the outcome of yesterday’s workout.  These are the times when a support system comes into play.  When I doubt myself, Anthony always picks me up reminds me that it’s a new day and that I am strong.  He helps me to attack my next workout like that bad day never happened.  He also reminds me after my awesome workouts to REMEMBER them and stock them away for when I’m having one of those bad days.  Yeah, I am pretty spoiled to have Anthony by my side setting goals with me and helping me to respect and achieve those goals!  Our coach is pretty darn supportive and motivating as well! :)

Another aspects that comes into play when working towards any big goal is FLEXIBILITY.  A work meeting runs late and you can't fit in your evening workout or you get a cold and have to miss a few workouts or you have to get into work super early and can't make that morning workout or a family situation comes up and you have to miss a workout or a stress fracture keeps you from running for six plus weeks...the list goes on and on and on.  Flexibility is key to success when it comes to big goals.  Ups and downs are all a part of the journey to great achievements.

What is your current fitness goal?  What does it mean to you to achieve it?  Do you want to run a 5k? Feel comfortable sitting at the front of yoga class? Boston Qualify at your next marathon? Finish an Ironman? Run your first sprint triathlon?  Qualify for Kona?  Whatever your goal is – make sure you respect it!

If you want to qualify for Boston, you can’t run just 4 days a week and ignore tempo and interval runs.  If you’ve never run a day in your life and you want to cross the finish line of your first 5k without walking, it’s going to take time and commitment and it’s going to be frustrating.  If you want to finish an Ironman, you can’t just workout a few hours a week.  If you respect your goal, understand what it will mean to you to accomplish that goal, and are flexible along the way, the commitment will come naturally and the outcome will be amazing. 

Know what you are capable of and respect yourself enough to know that with hard work and persistence, you can and you will accomplish your goal.  You may fall a few times along the way, but if you get back up and continue working towards that goal, your perseverance will pay off and you WILL accomplish that goal.  As you work towards your goal, you will learn a lot about yourself along the way and you will grow so much.  Setting goals and sticking to a plan to accomplish them, while being flexible, is what has kept me happy and healthy - without a goal in sight, life tends to lose a bit of its purpose.  Keep working towards that big goal!  Respect it. Give it time.  Be flexible. Work for it!

What is your current fitness goal?  How do you stay motivated?  Do you have a good support system?  What does it mean to you to achieve your goal?  

p.s. I made these Homemade "KIND" Bars this weekend and they were AMAZING I made Almond Coconut and PB Dark Chocolate - can't wait to try the others!!  http://www.theyummylife.com/Homemade_KIND_Bars

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Staying Motivated Through the Winter Months

It’s been a long, cold, and snowy winter.  It’s not very motivating.  It makes it harder to get out from under the covers in the morning and harder to get motivated to get that workout/training session in.  What’s the best way to get past the lack of motivation?  Keep your eye on the prize!! Whether it be a marathon or a 5k, a sprint triathlon or an ironman, a bike race or a duathlon…. Sign up for a race and keep your eye on the prize!  Everyone has different goals and whether yours is to cross your first 5k finish line, cross your first triathlon finish line, or run a PR marathon or Ironman time, signing up for a race is a great way to stay motivated through the winter months.  And try to remember that a good sweat session can help you overcome the winter blues!! 

“Tomorrow’s battles are won in today’s practice.”

Still having a hard time staying motivated?  If your budget can make it work, I highly recommend hiring a coach to help you reach your goals and not only stay motivated, but use these winter months to get faster and stronger! If you can’t afford to hire a coach, find a friend to train with you!  It could even be a friend that lives across the country, just knowing that your BFF is training to run by your side at a race may be enough motivation, plus you can help each other to stick to a plan! It is hard to lose sight of your goals when you have a training buddy and/or coach to hold you accountable.  I have the luxury of training for all of my races with my hubby by my side, so we keep each other motivated and on track with training sessions, nutrition, and rest and recovery!  Along with not losing sight of your goals, it is equally important to remember why you have those goals…because you love to move your body and train and race.  Make sure you and your training buddy remind each other that you are lucky to have a hobby you love and even luckier that your body allows you to push it every day!  

“The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”  - Bobby Knight 

Training for a race without a support system can be hard.  If you don’t have a friend or family member to share the process with, get on social media and I can assure you that you will find a zillion people that will support you on your journey and inspire you with theirs!  Just remember that if you want something, you have to work for it.  A great race doesn’t just happen, you have to put in the work and stay motivated.  Do that 15 minutes of core work instead of sitting on the coach for an extra 15 minutes – you can even watch TV while you do it! 

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going!”

In other news…Anthony and I are taking advantage of a great opportunity to head to St Croix at the beginning of March to get certified as USA Triathlon Coaches!!  We are looking forward to learning even more about the sport and the amazing human body and we are SO excited to start helping people to accomplish their athletic goals.  From crossing that first 5k finish line to crossing that first sprint tri finish line to working towards goal times and PRs in all distances, we cannot wait to be able to help age group athletes accomplish their goals!!

85 and Sunny in St Croix!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A new perspective

When Anthony and I decided to sign up for our first Ironman, I was not 100% sure what to expect of the training process.  Now that I have a better grasp on what it takes to train for an Ironman and what the next 5.5 months of my life will be like, I could not be happier.  When we signed up, I saw this goal of completing an Ironman as a check on the bucket list.  Check the box and move on, but now I have a whole new perspective.  I am realizing that a goal that once seemed close to impossible is actually what I am meant to be doing (and not just once)!  So far, this journey has been so fulfilling.  I thrive on this lifestyle and I am so happy that I can share it with Anthony.  Sure it may be “lame” to go to bed early pretty much every night and wake up before 5 am on a regular basis during the week, but I love it.  I feel healthy and strong and there is no better feeling than that!  Plus it feels so good to get to work at 8 and already have 2 hours of training complete!  Aside from finding such happiness in this lifestyle, I have learned so much!

What I have learned so far on this journey (besides realizing that this is the lifestyle Anthony and I were meant to live!):
  •      It is AMAZING what the body will allow you to do if you treat it right.
  •     Having big goals is so good for our mental well-being.
  •     Being a little selfish in terms of your health and wellness makes you a better person – a better wife, husband, friend,…etc.
  •    You are stronger than you think.
  •     Training with someone you love makes the process even more fun!
  •     While our society seems to thrive on burning the candles at both ends while compromising our diet and sleep….a healthy diet and adequate sleep (7+ hours!) will make the hours that you are awake much more productive…GET GOOD SLEEP & EAT WELL.
  •     Ironman training is expensive.  There are two of us.  We both love the sport and all the gadgets that help us train better & smarter.  Did I mention the gear you blow through when you’re training?  We need to win the lottery.
  •     Our vacations will likely be planned around races for many years to come.
  •     If you put in the work, you will see progress.  It may be a slow process, but you’ve got to trust the plan, you will make gains!  I am amazed with how much more comfortable I am in the pool…I actually look forward to my swims now! 
  •     I want to coach some day.  I want to inspire people to get fit, help people complete goal races with confidence, get inactive people active, get active people faster & stronger.  I love seeing people outside & at the gym moving their bodies and I would LOVE to be able to help people accomplish big fitness goals whether that’s a first 5k or an Ironman!
  •     Training for an Ironman is more fun than I ever imagined and I never want to lose sight of why I am training...because I LOVE IT & IT'S FUN!
  •     Training for an Ironman means making sacrifices and the people around you may not understand completely...be understanding of the fact that they don't understand - triathlon is not their lifestyle.
  •     Stretch.  I have always known that stretching is the answer to less injuries, but this process has just made it even more clear how important it is to stretch and foam roll.
  •        I’m not sure how married working couples with kids train for an Ironman and make enough time for family, but someday I may be soliciting those couples for advice!!

Get outside, move your body, be a little selfish & start working towards some goals that scare you a bit!
See you out there!