Last month, I hustled to the gym and out for long runs. I hustled to get work done so I could get outdoors and go on adventures with my guy. I love that developing my athleticism has become such a key part of my life. I feel strong and healthy. This month, I chose the word “focus” so that I can hone in on some very specific goals I have set for myself.
Career: I want to focus on marketing myself and developing my freelance career. I have been blessed with some amazing clients and I am so excited to share the fruits of our labor with a portfolio update and blog posts about my process and the final products.
Financial: I have always struggled with managing my money, but as a freelance designer it is an important skill for me to develop as I grow in my career. I proudly just finished paying of my credit card debt (art school!) and now I want to focus on my student loans and other short and long term goals.
Athletic: Running is a huge passion of mine but I’m also getting exposed to other great activities to stay fit, such as swimming and biking. (Just got my first mountain bike!) I also love lifting weights and boxing. As for running, I want to continue to do my weekly long runs, aiming for 12 miles each week, while I work on my pace and skill, and increase from running 2-3 days per week to at least 4 days. I also really want to try a boxing class that has been on my list forever, but have always felt a bit intimidated by it. I also can’t wait to get out on the trails with my new mountain bike and my guy to explore.
What are your goals for the month? Do you have a word of intention for the month?
When I started running 6 or 7 years ago, I never thought I would like it as much as I do. I was never athletic growing up. I played a little soccer and tennis, but running was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do. Well it turned out to be a real passion of mine. I’m by no means an expert, but I thought I would share five tips that helped me get into it and still help me as I try to improve.
1. Ease into it. If you are just beginning, start by doing run/walks. Break up running with as many walking breaks as needed. Build up slowly until you don’t need to walk anymore. Once you can do 3-4 miles without walking, start building miles. Make sure to not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% or you risk overuse and injury. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are slow to make progress. When I first started running, I had a hard time improving, but because I enjoyed it so much I didn’t give up. Let’s face it, I still struggle to improve. That’s part of the challenge and excitement of training.
2. Find a friend or group to run with. It’s easier to find motivation to get out of bed in the morning if you know someone is waiting for you. If you want to work on your speed, run with someone who is just a bit faster than you. You will see improvement this way. It also helps the miles pass by quicker if you’re lost in conversation.
I’m part of a running group and although I still usually run by myself, being a part of the group is motivation enough. I consider myself so lucky to be a part of such an active and supportive community. You can get great advice from runners who have more experience than you. We also have people in the group who are over 70 and still running their butts off. I want to be them when I grow up!
3. Make a playlist. If you can’t run with someone for every run, create a running playlist that motivates you. I use Spotify to keep a playlist and I update it whenever I hear a song with the right beat or lyrics that inspire. You can put your playlist on offline mode if you have a premium account. This should go without saying, but do be careful and stay alert if you are running with headphones on the road.
4. Vary your workouts and running surfaces. Try trail running. Try speed work on a track. You might be surprised that you love running hills or are speedy on the track. At the very least, there is no better way to improve your running skills than to try new things. When I consistently run hills, I notice that it becomes less of a challenge. It’s also very satisfying.
5. Set goals and reward yourself. For me, training for a race is just as fun as actually running it. Since I am trying to work on my speed, I use my Garmin to track my pace and play games as I’m out there to push myself to improve. I keep track of my average pace and feel a sense of accomplishment when I whittle it down a bit. I like to treat myself to cute workout clothes when I have accomplished a goal, like workout out consistently for two weeks straight, losing a few vanity pounds, or after a well run race. Hey, a girl’s gotta look good when she is out there working hard.
If you stick with it, it does get easier. Plus, there is nothing more satisfying than a good run. I find it to be very meditative and sometimes come up with some of my best ideas out there. Do you have any tips to get started? Feel free to leave them in the comments along with any questions. Good luck!
For my dear friend Suzanna‘s recent birthday, we paired up with our friend (and super talented photographer) Anna Claire, for a fun, playful friend photoshoot. We found the perfect spot in Monterey and passed the afternoon giggling and playing models. We had an absolute blast and I couldn’t help but share the results.
And saving my favorite for last. Not exactly sure what is going on in this one, but it pretty much sums things up nicely.
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