Just. Do. It.

Just Do It... I always hear people talk about how hard they work to get to a certain place in their life, whether it's business, financial, relationships, fitness, health, spiritual, etc.I hear people talk about how hard they work to get to a certain place in their life, whether it’s business, financial, relationships, fitness, health, spiritual, etc.

I always feel bad when I hear this because I really don’t feel like I work that hard to make my goals. Today as I was doing intervals on the treadmill, I was thinking about this because, for once, I actually was working pretty hard!!

Since I was working really hard on my intervals, it got me thinking how often do I work hard in my life? And I came up with an answer that kind of surprised me. I don’t think I work hard very often, but what I do is no matter what, I do SOMETHING! No matter how I am feeling that week or day or moment, I just do it!

I know that sounds cheesy like a Nike slogan or something but it’s the truth.

For example, today I had no interest (or motivation) to run at all, but I wanted to get in a short interval run before my massage because I’m racing this weekend and I want to be slightly recovered. PLUS (let’s be honest here) I am trying to stay under myfitnesspal calorie goal and it’s been tough lately…like impossible, so I made myself get on the treadmill. I ran at a super easy pace for a few minutes which got my heart rate up, got the blood flowing through my body and brain, and the endorphins kicked in and I started feeling good! So I actually finished my interval run and here I am!

So I don’t feel like I necessarily work hard for the things that I want, for the things I accomplish in my life, and for my successes, but I do feel like I always do what needs to be done.

Now that I think about it, this is actually in alignment with how I do everything in my life, baby steps. I talk about baby steps all the time, how I take small incremental teeny tiny little steps toward what I want in my life, but I do them over and over and over again and it ends up looking like a success, that I’ve accomplished a goal, that I’ve done something big!!

And what I did today with my intervals is no different.

Last weekend I had a race. On the way there I had told a friend that I didn’t feel like I was ready for this race, that I didn’t feel like I’ve been training enough and that I hadn’t put in the hard work. When all was said and done, I did extremely well on the race. Looking back, I didn’t work hard to train for the race, I just did something every single day toward my goal of doing well in the race.

I have a big race coming up next week and people keep asking me if I am ready for the race. When I think about it, I think no, I’m not ready, I haven’t done hard enough workouts, I haven’t done many long rides or long runs, so no, I don’t feel like I’m ready.

BUT! In reality, I’m ready! I’ve put in the hours. I’ve put in time for the past 19 seasons that I’ve been a triathlete and for the past two years that I’ve been working toward this goal of qualifying and racing at the Ironman World Championships in Kona.

So yes! YES I am ready, whether I feel like it or not, I know I am ready!!

So I guess what I’m saying is that you don’t necessarily have to work hard all the time. Working hard is exhausting, it’s time-consuming, it’s mentally draining, and it’s often frustrating. So don’t do it, don’t work hard ALL the time, just do something, do something every single day. Do something every single day that moves you toward your goal. Do something every single day that move you toward your ideal life.

You will get there before you know it! Trust me!

Check out my updates on my journey to Kona…
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And please please please whether you feel like it or not, do something every single day to create your ideal life.

Just. Do. It.

See you soon!

How I Became A Faster Runner

How I Became A Faster Runner | Kirsten McCayI wanted to share this for those of you who are new to running or struggle with it. It gets easier and you will get faster!!! I started running in 1999 when I decided to try a triathlon. I hated it, it was hard, and I was slow. The worst part was that I was an aerobics instructor so I was actually in good shape, at a normal weight, and in my late 20s. Running should have been easy for me, or so I thought.

After my first tri (the run was 2 miles) I was hooked on triathlon, but still rarely ran because I didn’t enjoy it. In 2001 I decided to sign up for an ironman distance triathlon where I would have to run a marathon. I decided I better start running!!!

After 10 years of racing I still didn’t like running, but I was slowly (emphasis on slowly) getting faster. Some seasons I did a little speed work, some seasons I ran more miles per week, some seasons I did stepmill and hills, some seasons I ran mostly on the treadmill, but all seasons I kept running. Other than a 2 year break, I have been consistently running between 10-60 miles a week. My average I would say is 25 a week over the past 19 seasons of triathlon.

This year I have PRd my 5k, 10k, half marathon, and ironman marathon. And last night I just PRd the mile. Before last night my fastest mile was 6:04 in 2005. Last night, 12 years later at the same race, I ran. 5:52. I am 44 years old and am still getting faster. And I can finally say, after 19 years of running, that I finally like running.

The 4 things in my opinion that have helped me get faster this year are:

1. Last year I lost 10 pounds and this year I lost an additional 5.

2. 3 years ago I became 100% plant based so my body recovers more quickly so I can train longer and harder more consistently. This year I am eating more raw foods which are nutrient dense and low on inflammation.

3. I race as much as possible to learn how hard I can push my body before I crack.

4. I now have confidence as a runner so I can start a race a little harder and with a faster group pushing me to go faster to keep up.

So if you’re struggling, if it’s hard, if you hate it but want to like it, stick with it. Once it’s easier for you, you will enjoy it more. Once you enjoy it more, you will do it more often, and in return get faster!!!

One last thing…

You need a good reason to want to run or you won’t lace up or get out of bed at the crack of dawn or head outside after a long work day. Why do you run? Why do you want to be a runner? Figure it out and make sure it’s a compelling reason, like at least an 8 on a scale from 1-10.

I want to be able to compete at a high level in my age group in triathlon. On a scale from 1-10 that’s a 10 on importance to me. So I get up and get running so that I can accomplish that!!

What is your reason to run????

Hope this helps any of you struggling today!

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My Friends ROCK! – Sending Kir To Kona

My Friends ROCK! Send Kir to Kona!!!A little over a month ago I qualified for the Ironman World Championships which take place in Kona, Hawaii on October 14th.

Although I had been training hard and had a 2 year goal to qualify, I went through several life changes in the 4 months leading up to the race, which resulted in me having to use all the money I had been saving toward my trip the past 2 years in hopes and preparation of qualifying, on other life expenses.

All went well on race day and I qualified!! I was ecstatic and grateful that all my hard work had paid off. The race was Sunday and if you want to secure your spot in Kona, you have to pay for the race Monday morning.

The entry fee alone was $999. I had $1,000 left in my savings. PERFECT! Entry was paid for and I had 4 months to figure out how I was going to pay for my trip.

My amazing friend, Tara, had the idea of a “go fund me” campaign which I reluctantly said I would consider with no intention of actually considering “begging” my friends and family for money to help me reach my goals. That seemed very self-indulgent to me.

But reality set in and honestly I didn’t know how I was going to save up an additional $5,000 over the next 4 months when I didn’t even know where I was going to be living 2 weeks after the qualifying race in Boulder.

So I gave in and thought “what the heck, I’ll see what happens”.

Tara wrote a heartfelt summary of my time leading up to the race from her perspective, and I posted it to my social media. What came next brought me to tears.

Within a day I had received about $1,500 of my $5,000 goal. People wrote me notes like “you have helped me so much, I’m happy to return the favor” and “go for your dreams”. And many of these were people I didn’t even know! This blew my mind. I couldn’t figure out why all these people would help me!

So I thought back to all the times I have helped people I did or didn’t know without any expectation of getting anything in return. It reminded me how amazing people are and how we all just want to feel connected to those around us. That our community is strong. That at the core of our being, we want to see each other thrive. That helping those who need our help is fulfilling. And that karma is beautiful and the more we live to serve others, the more others live to serve us.

And it’s such an upward spiral of positivity. The more donations I got from my peeps, the more I wanted to give. And the more I give, the more others want to give. Pretty soon we are all giving and receiving and loving and connecting and all is well in our world.

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to my dream! What you have done has not been taken lightly at all! I have a plan to make a banner before I leave to Kona on October 5th and put every single name of every person who has made my race possible, and take it with me to remind me I am loved. To remind me I am doing the race for all of you who believe in me. To remind me that what I do every single day in my life makes a difference. And to remind me that we are all just walking each other home.

I love you!

Thank you!

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See you soon!

TOTALLY AWESOME Transformation: Dawn Ashcraft

TOTALLY AWESOME Transformation: Dawn AshcraftI have worked with so many incredible women over the years, I wanted to show them off and share their experiences since they are all so different than mine. I am hoping I can help and inspire and motivate more and more people by shining the spotlight on these amazing women.

This month’s shining star is Dawn Ashcraft. I met Dawn after the bulk of her weight loss/health journey. She came to me to up her game and run the Bolder Boulder 10K race in Boulder, CO in May. I am so proud to announce she made her goal and finished the race! And now she’s ready to do another one even faster! AWESOME!

Here is Dawn’s story…

In 2012 I lost my 24 year old son to an accidental prescription drug overdose. I spiraled into a deep depression I didn’t know if I would ever come out of. In the process I stopped taking care of myself and used food for emotional support and comfort. I didn’t exercise or even leave the house most days. At my heaviest I weighed about 310 pounds.

In 2015 I was tired of being sad and tired all the time and I was sick of hating who I saw in the mirror. I knew I had to change. I realized my son would have been disappointed in me if I kept on the way I was and he wouldn’t want me to be in this dark place forever.

I met a guy who was a boxer and I started boxing with him. I started boxing 90 minutes a day, 4 days a week and lost 15 pounds in the first month. That kept me motivated to keep going. Not only did I start losing weight, I had more energy, my complexion was clearing up, and I actually wanted to eat better. All the hard work was paying off and I could tell immediately this was a path I wanted to continue.

In changing my eating habits, the first thing I cut out was fast food. Next was soda and cutting down on my alcohol consumption.

Once I was down to pounds in May of 2016, I decided to run my first 5K. It took me 43 minutes. I wanted to challenge myself to get faster and better so I did another in 38 minutes and then another in 35 minutes. I love running because it’s something I can do alone. It’s just me out there with my thoughts. I can reflect on my life and my transformation. Plus my son loved to run and I know he would love that I am a runner now!

When I got down to 190 pounds, I started getting really excited. I could see my muscles and I felt confident in my new clothes I had to buy to fit my new body. I continued boxing at home 3-4 days a week and run 3-4 days a week. My ultimate goal is to get down to 155 pounds.

My advice for the person who feels helpless and hopeless in her weight loss journey: Sit somewhere quiet and talk to yourself. Tell yourself that you love yourself every single day and promise yourself no matter what, you will always want to take care of yourself, because you love yourself.

Unconditionally!

If you have a bad day, let it go. Start over tomorrow, it’s one day out of your whole life!

Keep a journal. Ask yourself why did I eat this, what am I feeling, talk about your journey, tell your story.

Move. Even if it’s walking 2 blocks, just move! And do more than you did yesterday!

What would I tell my old self? You’re worth it. You’re worth it. Fight through it, you’re worth it!! You’re going to get through it and you’re going to be an amazing!!!

What is my favorite part of this journey? I smile more. I have a great smile and I didn’t smile before. I like who I am becoming and I’m not done yet!

THANK YOU DAWN! And you are right…you are NO WHERE NEAR being done! I am grateful to be a part of your life! Keep shining!

See you next time!

Race Report: 2017 Ironman Boulder

Race Report - 2017 Ironman BoulderSo two days after I raced Ironman Boulder, I sat down to do my race report. In my head I was just going to give some details about my race, with extra on race day nutrition (because that’s what I was getting the most questions about from my clients, friends, and fellow tri-geeks).

As I started my video, I realized there was so much more to this race than just a swim, bike, and run for me. This was a really important race for my self-worth and confidence and confirmation that I am on the right path in my life.

After 4 months of transition, traveling, life changes, doubts, fears, and constant inner struggles, it all came together on this one long day.

After I finished my report I noticed it was 32 minutes! HOLY CRACKERS! That’s a fricken long ass race report! I was convinced no one would waste 32 minutes of their life to find out what happened in the 10 hours and 55 minutes I spent racing my heart out on June 11, 2017.

I was wrong.

I have received so much love and support about my long race report where I chose to be brave and vulnerable and transparent. When I started to tear up the first time, I was so tempted to turn off the camera and start over, but decided to just feel whatever I was feeling. By the third time, I just let the tears roll down my cheeks.

I am so grateful to have attracted such amazing people into my life! Yes YOU!!! You get me excited for my next adventure in hopes that it will help you get excited about yours!!

If you missed my race report, here it is…

If you don’t want to miss my next one, join our community…

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Thanks again for giving me a safe space to be me!

I LOVE YOU!!

See you soon!

How I PRd my Half Marathon

How I PRd My Half Marathon - People always tell me they want to be a runner but they hate running. They ask my advice on how they can like running more. Here is what I say…Last weekend I ran my 83rd half marathon. I ran my first one in 2001 when I decided to train for my first ironman.

At that time I was 29 years old and the longest I had ever run was a 10K…once! And BTW…at that time (and for the following 10 years) I pretty much hated running. I did it because I liked triathlon and if I wanted to be competitive in my age group, I had to run. So I did.

People always tell me they want to be a runner but they hate running. They ask my advice on how they can like running more. Here is what I say…

1. If you truly hate running, find another form of exercise that you love or you will never do it anyway! Or you may do it short term but never stick with it long enough to enjoy it or get the benefits running offers.

2. If you hate it but have a strong “why” you want to do it (my case) then keep running.

3. The more you run, the easier it is.

4. The longer you run, the easier the shorter runs are.

5. The faster you run, the less time you spend running a certain distance, and therefore feels easier.

6. The less you weigh, the easier running is.

7. The more nutritious your meals are (lots of fruits and veggies), the more energy you have, and the more energy you have, the easier it is to run.

In summary: Run more, run longer, run faster, eat better, maintain an ideal weight for you, and running will be fun and easy! Once it is fun and easy, you will like it more, maybe even love it!

No short cuts, no secrets, just do it…like most things in life you are successful with!

So basically that is how I PRd my half marathon. That and it was a flat course at sea level.

Over the past 15 years of my running career, I have had ups and downs: injuries, digestive issues, and a love/hate relationship with running to name a few. I even took 2 FULL years off and didn’t run a single step about 9 years ago.

But in the past 3 years, I have consistently been getting faster and improving my running times following the guidelines I posted in this article. I want to place at the top of my age group in my triathlon races this year and qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI (my why).

I am doing a running streak at least a mile a day (I’m on day 57…running more)

I have now done 67 marathons including a series of 7 marathons in 7 days (running longer)

I am incorporating 30-60 second ALL OUT intervals on all my treadmill runs (running faster)

I have lost 5 pounds this year from last year so I weigh less, and I am 100% vegan now and eat more raw fruits and veggies throughout the day so I have more energy and recover more quickly so I can run longer, faster, and more often

So that’s it! The secret is out!

Here are a few other articles that may help you with your run…

Making Running Easier, With Interval Workout!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/making-running-easier-with-interval-workout

I didn’t even really like running…until today!!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/i-didnt-even-really-like-running-until-today

Advice For Your First Marathon

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/advice-for-your-first-marathon

How I Trained For 7 Marathons In 7 Days

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/how-i-trained-for-7-marathons-in-7-days

I can’t hear about how much you LOVE running at this time next year!

Share your story with me!

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See you soon!

What I Am Adding To My Ironman Training For 2017

What I Am Adding To My Ironman Training For 2017… As an athlete who is getting faster as I get older and getting better every year, I get a lot of questions about what I am doing differently as I age up.As an athlete who is getting faster as I get older and getting better every year, I get a lot of questions about what I am doing differently as I age up.

Here are the 4 things I have added to my ironman training this year.

My first race is April 1st, so I will let you know how it worked out, but from how I am feeling so far and the small tests I have given myself over the past 3 months, I know all 4 of these are benefitting my training, racing, health, fitness, and life as a whole.

YOGA

I have literally been “trying” to add a regular yoga practice into my life and into my training for the past 10 years, with no success. It’s always the first thing to go when I get busy. It’s slow, I get bored, or I just forget to do it even when it’s scheduled in!

In July last year, one of the companies I am a rep for, Beachbody, put out a super easy to follow yoga program that streams online on any device anywhere (http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/AABOD)!

Plus, there are workouts from 10-30 minutes to choose from so even when I only have 10 minutes, I can still do something! I toyed with it on and off last year to start the habit so that this year I could turn it into a regular practice. Some weeks, of course, are better than others, but for the most part I have been doing yoga 3x/week typically for 15 minutes each. Sometimes a little longer, sometimes a little shorter, but always at least 10 minutes.

MEDITATION

If you have read any of my other posts, you know I have also struggled with a regular meditation practice since I was a kid. I do believe it’s a good idea and will help me in ALL areas of my life, but as with yoga, when I am busy, it’s the first thing to go!

At the beginning of this year, I uploaded the HEADSPACE app which is guided meditations. I did like this and it started me in the right direction in forming a habit. However, once I started working in the mornings, my morning mediation habit left the building. I have been working on some other ways of meditation that are starting to stick a little better, ways that work better with my lifestyle and my crazy brain. As of now I am doing some sort of mediation pretty much daily. So I will keep doing what is working for me. I definitely recommend trying LOTS of different meditations to see what fits into your world and your head.

STEPMILL

Ahhh the stepmill! The thing that looks like you are walking up an escalator, and feels even harder! I decided to make this a regular part of my training when I decided to do the St. George 70.3 race again this year. The bike is super hilly and the run is super hilly. Since the race is early May, I won’t be on a lot of hills outside before then, so I thought this is the next best thing.

I started in January with 15 minutes once a week. 15 minutes on that thing is HARD! Each week I added 15 minutes until I got to 2 hours. Then I stayed there, let’s not get too crazy! So once a week I do 2 hours on the stepmill. By the end my calves, quads, and glutes are trashed, so I know it’s working. The St. George race is May 6th. I’ll let you know how it goes!

ROWING MACHINE

What? How come no one ever told me how awesome the rowing machine was? I thought it was just some old school piece of equipment leftover from the 80s infomercials! I don’t even remember WHY I decided to get on it one day. I think I wanted to strengthen my upper body for swimming without actually doing any strength training. #lazyathlete

So I got on for 5 minutes and LOVED it! Not only did I feel like it strengthened my shoulders and back, it helped my posture, stretched my chest, worked my forearms, strengthened my glutes, stretched my calves, and helped the flexibility of my knees. I decided I would add it in 3x/week. I started with 5 minutes, added a minute each week until I got to 15 minutes and decided to stop there for time reasons. So I have been doing it 15 minutes 3x/week every single week.

I am excited to see how these 4 new additions to my training help me in my racing season this year. I age up to the 45-49 age group in triathlon so anything I can use to keep my body recovering quickly, my joints and muscles pliable and flexible, and my mind excited to keep training and racing will help me physically and mentally.

I would love to hear your favorite workouts and what you are adding ad taking out of your training as you get older and wiser!

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Fun Holiday Fitness Challenges

Fun Holiday Fitnesses ChallengesI’m not a religious girl, so Christmas isn’t an important holiday for me. I do love that I get to see my family for a week straight, including my sis and her kids from Cali that I don’t get to see as often as I would like. I also like the parties that the holidays bring, and by parties, I mean my fun workouts I create around the holidays.

On Xmas Eve, my friend Wendy and I swim 100×100. If you aren’t a swimmer, 100 yards is 4 lengths of the pool, so we do that 100 times. Usually we do it on an interval with breaks and equipment changes every 10-20 100s, which is also how we keep track of our laps. With pee, drink, and Shakeology breaks, this usually takes about 3 hours.

I love doing this on Christmas Eve morning for 4 reasons…

1. There usually isn’t much going on in the morning for me since I don’t “do” Xmas

2. I get a little anxious around the holidays so this helps me release pent up stress

3. I burn a lot of calories so I can eat my magical sandwich (or 2 or 5) that evening

4. To inspire others to do something good for YOU before you spend a day typically catering to others or dealing with family, travel, friends, in-laws, traffic, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and other overwhelming activities that are made even more stressful when many people are doing these tasks all at once

Have I convinced you to start a tradition to do a swim (or other fitness) challenge in the future? If so, here is how to get started…

1. Pick your challenge. I would choose something where you move to burn calories AND energy (stress). I would choose something you LOVE to do so that the years you feel overwhelmed at having ANOTHER thing to do that day, you remember it’s something that you love and you will do it anyway. I would also choose something that is DOABLE (with your time frame and abilities) but is CHALLENGING (so that it excites you and gives you a feeling of accomplishment).

2. Round up at least one other friend to do it with you. The more the merrier. Not necessarily to physically do it with you, but at least to hold you accountable. This year Wendy is in Georgia and I am in Colorado, but we are still both committing to doing it “together” virtually.

3. PLAN in advance (as far as possible) and schedule it into your calendar. Check to make sure you have all the logistics far in advance. About 2 months ago I asked at the gym to make sure they were open Christmas Eve morning and for enough time for me to do my swim (and 30 minutes on the bike for my bike streak). If they weren’t, I would have checked the hours for the next closest pool. Set yourself up for success from the very beginning.

4. Commit to doing it NO MATTER WHAT! No excuses! Tell your friends and family (or whoever you will be with that day) that you aren’t avail until whatever time you are scheduled to finish.

When you take time for yourself and keep your boundaries set, you will inspire others to do the same (whether they are upset with you or not).

5. Have a blast. Make it fun! Reward yourself with something important to you! I like to get my hard work out in so that the rest of the day when I am sitting at my mom’s house just hanging out with the fam, eating, and not lifting a finger, I know I have already done enough to stave off stress and overwhelm, and I have burned enough calories to sit around and eat my insanely delicious sandwiches!

Oh…and in case you were wondering about those sandwiches…

Every year our family tradition on Christmas Eve is “sandwich bar” where we put out anything you could possibly imagine having in a sandwich and we all make our own. We pretty much eat these all eve and well into the night and next day. My special AMAZING sandwich is Dave’s Power Seed Bread (http://amzn.to/2h7XHeh), Natural Peanut Butter (http://amzn.to/2hoULHD), Strawberry Just Fruit Jelly, and Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Sea Salt Potato Chips (http://amzn.to/2id9kOF). #promo

Try it and let me know if I am a genius or what!!!

Happy Holidays if that’s something you do this time of year!

Join our swimming group for more fun (and shorter) swim workouts…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/IHeartSwimming/

See you next year!

My Dream Job

My Dream JobOne of the exercises I do with the coaches on my Beachbody team is to help them come up with their dream job. This would be the job you would have if you could do anything but still had to have a job.

This is hard for most people at first because we aren’t taught to “think outside the box” or “dream big” so we typically think of jobs we have had or believe we can have.

These don’t usually work as our dream job because (unless you already have your dream job) if you have had it or believe you can have it, you would probably already have it!!

I ask a few questions like “if money weren’t an issue, what would you do all day” or “do you know anyone who has your dream job” or “what are your favorite things to do” and these help prompt some answers. But usually most people still struggle with coming up with something until I share mine.

My dream job is to get paid to do what I would be doing each day anyway. This includes sleeping, training, racing, helping others build a business, writing out training plans, writing out meal plans, writing blog posts, listening to podcasts, making healthy foods, and helping people online, through social media, and through text reach their health, fitness, nutrition, career, life, happiness, and relationship goals.

All the things I just listed are things I would do each and every day whether I got paid to do them or not. As it turns out, I get paid to do about half of those things! Lucky me right? Nope, not luck! I have been working on the exercise of creating my dream job for about 10 years now, baby steps, and over time my life is looking more and more like I want it to look. Of course there are still things I would change, but I’m working each and every day to change the jobs I don’t want into jobs I do want. And it all started with KNOWING what my dream job is.

The whole reason I was thinking about this today is because of something that happened this past weekend. I ask for sponsorships for races so I can race more. A business or person will pay my race entry fee, and in return I will promote their business or cause in my newsletter, on my social media, and to my network. This is an example of my dream job. I am getting paid to race. For the payment, I do what I would normally do anyway!

I got a message from someone on Facebook wanting to sponsor me for an upcoming race. When I asked what she wanted me to promote, she said “Nothing, I just want to thank you for the help you have given me with my fitness and nutrition.” WHAT? How AWESOME is that??? THIS is my dream job. To do what I was doing anyway (sharing and helping on social media) and get paid for it (in the form of a race entry, which I would have paid for anyway)!! #dreamjob

Take some time today to think about your dream job. If you don’t know where to start, answer the 3 questions I asked earlier. Write down your answers. Make a list of all the things you do each day that you love doing. Start to open your mind to ALL possibilities, not just what you were programed to believe about what a job should look like. Visualize yourself DOING your dream job every single day. And then take action DAILY (even super small actions count…remember baby steps are still steps) in the direction you want to go.

I would love to hear what YOUR dream job is! Comment here or share with our community at…

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See you soon!

Advice For Your First Marathon

Advice For Your First MarathonLast week I had someone send me this message on Facebook: I am running my first marathon this weekend, do you have any advice?

YES! Don’t ask for advice 5 days before your first marathon!

But seriously…

I am running my 64th marathon this weekend so it’s safe to say I am a marathoner. I am happy to give any advice and share my experiences to help you have a great first (or 20th) marathon. Since I’m sure this woman isn’t the only one looking for advice, I thought I would share with you (and expand on) what I wrote to her.

Before I get started, I just wanted to share that you should have your marathon race day prep (mental, physical, and emotional) all planned out more than 5 days in advance, so you wouldn’t even need (or want) to ask someone else their advice. I help my clients work on this from the very beginning of their training. Sometimes even a year before their race. A marathon is a mental event. Running 26.2 miles is very physical, don’t get me wrong, but if you aren’t prepared mentally, when it gets hard, you will stop. So it’s important to train not only physically, but mentally as well for the event.

So based on my 15 years of marathoning, here are my top 3 pieces of advice…

Follow a plan and practice your race day nutrition. Whether you find a general training plan online or hire a coach to write you out a specific training plan custom to your needs, you need to follow a plan. WHY? Because it will give you the best chance for success. The coach writing out your plan knows how to train you for your specific race. If you follow the plan, you will complete your race and most likely hit your goal. Left to your own devices, emotions, commitments, priorities, doubts, etc will creep in to your mind and body and sabotage your marathon.

Within this training plan should be mental training AND nutrition training. You will want to practice on your long training sessions your race day nutrition plan. Elite athletes may be able to run a marathon on 4 cups of water and 1 gel, but you and I can’t. We will be consuming some sort of calories during the 3-6 hours it takes us to run and unless we have practiced during training, our bodies won’t respond well during the race. Trust me on this one!!

Enjoy the process. The process of training your mind and body to run 26.2 miles is life changing. Whether you started off as a runner or not, you will finish as a runner. This transformation is exciting and I don’t want you to miss a beat. This is also important because your race may not go as planned! Let me re-phrase that…your race probably will not go 100% as planned.

Life is unpredictable. Weather is unpredictable. And our bodies are unpredictable. You can train exactly as planned, have your nutrition dialed in, taper perfectly, and then wake up race morning with a migraine or a sore throat. Nature may toss you into a snow storm or a heat wave. You may get a cramp or twist an ankle or any number of random things could happen before or during your race.

If you have a bad race or don’t make your goal, and you DIDN’T enjoy your training, you are going to be disappointed, frustrated, and possible out of the sport for good. If you have a bad race but you loved your training and everything it took to get to the starting line, then you will walk away with experience, lessons learned, and excited to do the next one. Trust me on this one too!!

Have fun! There is no point in taking the time, energy, and effort it takes to train and race a marathon if you aren’t enjoying yourself. Especially on race day!

Get there early, take a selfie, meet people, tell others to have a great race, smile for the camera, sing a song, when someone passes you tell them they are looking strong, if you pass someone encourage them to keep moving, make up a rhyme to count down the miles, thank a volunteer, just enjoy yourself.

Believe me, at mile 20 you will be feeling so much better if you are having a good time. And again, if your race result wasn’t what you wanted, at least you had fun! And possibly made a few new friends.

I hope these are helpful! If you have any specific race questions or want a custom training plan, email me at coachsmith@usa.com

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See you soon!

Follow a plan and practice your race day nutrition and pacing during your long runs. Enjoy the process just in case your race doesn’t go as planned. Have fun!