We are going to teach you to run right now.
With no week-by-week program, no instructor, no iPhone app.
If you’ve always felt like you need to run in order to get in shape, you’re not alone. Running is fantastic exercise, and runners tend to be very romantic about their favourite pastime, but it’s not for everyone. It takes time to build up to running and when it doesn’t go smoothly in the first attempt, many would-be runners give up.
You ask: But, aren’t all the “real” runners looking at me?
Why is running so intimidating? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are all BORN runners. Every child runs. You know this because you are constantly running after those little runners; are we right? Then, sometime in our teens or twenties, we stop. The truth is, the ability to run — more than a minute or two — doesn’t come naturally if you don’t run often. Not being able to run the distance we want to feels like failure. But it shouldn’t. As with all things, if you want to be good at running you must, simply, run.
It’s important to realize that all of those other runners out there are actually NOT looking at you and thinking, “Pffff… She stopped for a walk break? Clearly she is not a real runner.” This is in your head. You may think you are not a real runner. Everyone else is just running around thinking about themselves and their own running as well.
Start running today. Guaranteed.
Now here is the part where I tell you how to become a runner — like, TODAY. I promise — this works. Here is the simplest advice I offer — on a regular basis — to people who express interest in running but have trepidation about how they will “perform” when they head out for their first run:
1. Choose a time you can commit to — say 30 or 60 minutes, total, out of the house. Start your watch when you head out the door. Now you will not look at this watch again except to acknowledge when you’ve hit your 30 or 60 minute workout lapsed.
2. Run until you can’t run, then walk. When you feel like you can run again, run. Then walk when you can’t run anymore.
3. To figure out your route, use your watch to determine when you’re at the halfway point of your workout, then turn around and double back. You’ll probably travel at roughly the same speed, and making it back to your house in that second half of the workout might even motivate you to walk or jog slightly faster.
4. High five yourself (this is dorky — wait until you get in the house to do this or just high five yourself in your head, peeps) because you just went out for a RUN!
Mind. Blown. Yes, it’s that simple. Enjoy!
Don’t like running outdoors? Try a treadmill. There is no wind resistance or change in incline/decline, which makes treadmill running more accessible for the beginner runner.
Don’t push yourself hard enough? Join a learn-to-run group for beginners. Then, when it’s over, join it again! Or progress to the next level if you feel ready. Perhaps a 5K training group or even a 10K.
This post was previously published on BellyBootCamp.ca
RELATED: Stay Safe When Running Solo
Are you giving your boot camp workouts your all every morning and then grabbing an iced coffee? Are you taking the kids to the park and packing juice boxes? Are you heading out for your evening run and following it up with a sweet vitamin drink?
Unfortunately, how you hydrate could be sabotaging your fitness goals. Your favourite “healthy” beverages might actually be packing more of a calorie punch than you think, adding back those calories you’ve slaved away to burn AND derailing your health goals.
The average North American consumes 6% of their daily calories in the form of added sugars in beverages...that’s about 150 calories per day. 150 calories you could avoid by trying a still-satisfying, delicious alternate to iced tea, sports drinks, and sweetened coffee drinks.
Despite our love for sugary, cold beverages, we are chronically dehydrated - with most of us consuming only five glasses of water per day, on average. The Dietitians of Canada recommend we drink between 2.2-3 L of fluids per day. No surprise, they also recommend we choose water over pop, sport drinks, or fruit drinks due to the amount of added sugar and empty calories.
In my years of coaching, I’ve learned that many poor nutrition choices can stem from a lack of information and it's easy to understand why. Nowadays, consumers can be mislead to believe drinks have a healthy component when there is a huge push to talk up miniscule benefits in an otherwise poor beverage choice.
Let’s look at some “healthy” (and even some not-so-healthy) beverages - because you may be surprised at what you’re really consuming;
What if we replaced these drinks with something our bodies actually need every day, like water? For some, water is an acquired taste, but luckily there are some really great ways around that obstacle! In fact, when surveyed, dehydrated Canadians admit they'd drink more water if it were somehow more “fun” or tasted better.
Last summer I bought a SodaStream (water, meet fun!). I was tired of spending $2-3 for a single bottle of sparkling water. I was pregnant. It was hot. I couldn’t have a frosty beer every time the urge hit. I loved it - and not only because sparkling water just feels special. It’s a treat. It feels like luxury. As my son says, it’s “growmup" water. Having a SodaStream at home allows me to turn ordinary tap water into fresh sparkling water in seconds and paid for itself in only one month. There was no longer a need to purchase sparkling water every day. And when I really want “growmup" water I have calorie-free sparkling water to mix with tequila or gin when friends and family come over.
Plus, I actually drink more water now. I used to pack one bottle of water every morning when I left the house to keep me hydrated and get me through my busy day. Every day, I ran out of water. I am one thirsty lady. Now I now leave the house with TWO bottles of water every morning; one bottle of plain tap water for sipping when I'm parched or work out, and another with sparkling water, sometimes with a bit of flavour (more about that below) for later in the day.
You can turn your SodaStream sparkling water into all kinds of fruity, herbaceous, infused waters. Try some, (or all!) of the following:
Sparkling Spa Water
Add cucumber, mint, basil, strawberries, lemon, lime, oranges, raspberries, or even watermelon to your sparkling water. Maybe ditch the fluffy spa robe. The neighbours will think you've gone off the deep end.
Refreshing Calorie Free Flavoured Water
A splash of fresh juice will keep your calories and sugar to a minimum and help you down more water in a day if you really crave the sweet stuff. I love adding just a tiny bit of the SodaStream FREE Lemonade flavour with my sparkling water and a squeeze of fresh lemon - it's delicious but tastes natural and not too sweet.
Surprise Berry Cubes
If you’re outside and trying to keep your beverage cool, it’s super simple and fun to freeze berries and herbs in a tray of ice cubes just for your SodaStream water. The cubes will keep your water chilled while you watch the kids play and slowly infuse your beverage without stewing in the sun.
We know we're supposed to drink more water to stay healthy, quench thirst, and keep your skin and body hydrated - and now we can do it while saving ourselves the empty calories!
Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or just a plain old omnivore, we can all agree that _____ [insert fave condiment, spread, veggie, meat, or fish] on toast could be its own food group. I mean, as kids, we ate peanut butter toast, cheese toast, tomato on toast, cheez whiz on toast, and jam on toast. Then there's the whole bagel-&-lox phenomenon... fish on toast! And Sweaty Hubby even grew up with a combo of melted cheese and relish on toast that makes me want to hurl but is his sick-day comfort food. We all have a toast "recipe" that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Whoever thought you could take two ingredients, combine them, and call it a recipe? I mean, I'm pretty sure my grandma never stumbled across a recipe for "peanut butter sandwich" in Ladies Home Journal and revolutionized the way she approached school lunches. But if you can Gwyneth it, you can sell it. Since Gwyneth featured a recipe for "avocado toast" in her healthy eating bible It's All Good, the internet has exploded with squares of green bread. Sprinkle it with sea salt! Sprinkle it with chili flakes! Add a tomato! Try it on crackers!
What about a gluten free oat cake? That's even more Gwyneth-y than Gwyneth's original toast recipe! #gwynning
Sadly, as delicious as toast is, toast and avocado does not a meal make. For ideal nutrition, every meal you eat should contain a significant source of protein. For vegetarian types, this means combining your starches (toast) and fats (avocado) with protein (nuts, beans, legumes). For omnivore types, this usually means combining your starches (toast) and fats (avocado) with protein (animal, fish, egg, dairy). Why? Simply, you need protein to maintain muscle mass, optimize your hormones, keep you satisfied, and maintain your metabolism (just to name a few functions).
So as not to kill your toast-loving buzz, I present to you my next-level avocado toast recipe. Super delicious and indulgent while still only bringing you in at around 400-450 calories for a whopping 25 grams of protein and a very tummy-filling combo of nutrients. It won't leave you looking for a snack 2 hours later like plain old avo toast might. Plus, it's pretty to look at, on trend and perfect for a spring brunch! I think it's also a fab lunch for the stay- or work-at-home mom and a delish breakfast-for-dinner option. When you're alone, I whole-heartedly recommend eating this with your hands.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a simmer over medium heat.
Crack one egg into a ramekin or other small dish.
Begin swirling water with a spoon to create a "whirlpool" and gently tip egg into swirling water (OR bring water to a simmer with 2 mason jar lids in bottom of pan, then gently tip eggs into lids to contain).
Repeat with remaining egg, working as quickly as possible.
Turn heat off and cover pan for 4 minutes; remove with slotted spoon to a plate to drain.
Meanwhile, slice avocado thinly and toast bread.
Spread avocado over toast and mash gently with a fork; sprinkle with chili flakes, if using, and season gently with sea salt and pepper.
Place one egg on each slice of avocado toast and season with additional sea salt and pepper, if desired.
Serve immediately, while yolks are still runny.
Don't forget to think Gwyneth-y thoughts. Like... what would you do if you had only $25 per week for food?