Mental strength in running

mental strength in running

“It all starts in your mind” – We all heard this phrase before. But have you ever thought about how much your mind really affects your running performance? Marathoners know the mental strength in running. There is no such thing than a great mindset. Heading to a race with all positive thoughts means you’re half way through the race. It’s that simple.

I’m a strong believer of the fact that when you want to accomplish something and you truly believe in yourself, you’ll make it eventually. But how do you train your mind as a runner?

Over the years I have taught myself some great skills to trick my mind here and there and build mental strength in running: also ways to work on the right mindset while training for a race.

Ever ran 13.1 miles on the treadmill?

Believe it or not, but I run half marathons on treadmills every now and then. It sounds horrible and boring (and yes that’s exactly what it is), but it’s such a great help to strengthen your mind while you’re training for a long distance race.

Running for hours can get extremely boring if you don’t know what to do with yourself. Running long on a treadmill teaches you to stay mentally occupied. It builds confidence for future long runs outside. Like “Hey I ran the same distance on a treadmill, no way I’m getting bored here right now. Let’s focus on my surroundings and enjoy this run”.

Work on your own insecurities.

Talking about confidence: Another great way to train a strong mind is to actually build confidence. I know this is easier said than done especially when you’re not the most confident person in the first place. But think about your own success stories. Races you crushed, personal bests you ran. Isn’t that something you can be proud of?  It totally is. Whatever your story is, your transformation and journey, you have a million reasons to be amazed by yourself.

Now picture yourself struggling in a race or during a training run. Focus on your own accomplishments. Use this energy and emotions that come with it to get back on track in that moment. You want to know how I do it? I remember running the NYC Marathon.

When I got anxious in March about the NYC Half Marathon and it’s new course I told myself: “Girl you ran 26.2 miles last November. You killed it. What is a half marathon compared to that?” I repeated that phrase throughout the race any time I felt awful and unfortunately I had to do it many times (read my NYC Half 2018 experience here).  It’s simple and it works. Be your own hero.

Mental strength in running with simple tricks

What I struggle the most as of right now is the constant reminder of how many miles I have left on my watch while I’m running.

It’s a bad habit of knowing and remembering every single part of my running route. Switching things up is the easiest way to stop this, but it won’t serve the purpose of building a stronger mind.  If you actually want to work on your mindset and be stronger than your well working memory just start to distract yourself when your mind starts playing with you again.

Look around you. Watch the people. Enjoy the city, the sunrise, an amazing sunset or the beautiful nature. There is so much to explore while running, but most of the times we torture ourselves by constantly checking the time, pace or distance that we completely forget how blessed we are to be able to experience the moment of the run.

Mental strength in running: Fix your attitude

Also learn to look at your watch with a positive attitude. Let’s say you have 6 miles  on your schedule for the day and you’re looking at your watch at mile 2. Tell yourself it’s only 4 more miles to go not “Oh my good I only been running for two miles – this is awful”.  A positive attitude fixes the fact that your mind wants to mess with you again.

Especially during your long run which sure can become boring after a while this positive attitude make you enjoy the run so much more.  While running a race this trick will push you through much easier as well. “I’m half way there. Only 3 miles to the finish.” … And so on. Try it. You’ll be surprised.

Of course training your mind takes time and it won’t happen overnight. I encourage you to focus on mental training as much as your regular running training. Without a strong mind you won’t be able to give your best.

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Did not finish

DNF-in-running

Training for a race is your journey to the start. This starting line is something you’ve been waiting for. A goal that you’ve been wanting to accomplish. You hear the gunshot and you’re off to your race. Not all races are meant to be finished though. The more you’re racing the higher the possibility of not finishing one. 

Have you ever thought about it? Or maybe it even happened to you? A DNF – “did not finish” – is very common but still something runners don’t really like to talk about.

So, here is how I think you should handle it if a DNF ever happens to you and also some thoughts from my end on when it’s time to quit a race or not. 

DNF in running: What does it even mean?

A DNF in running means DID NOT FINISH. Meaning the runner wasn’t able to finish the race. This may have many different reasons. Injury, health issues like stomach pain, dizziness, dehydration, or even just a weak mind (yes, we all know the mind is a strong tool, when it comes to running).

A did not finish in running can happen in every race from a 5K to a full marathon. The highest percentage of runners not finishing a race is during a full marathon though. Fun fact: The percentage of people finish the marathon varies from city to city obviously but can go as high as 97.9% in Boston.

This might be due to its uniquely high qualification requirement rectified out those that were likely to give up. Boston is a different world, right?

What happens to your mind after quitting a race? Mentally a DNF listed in the race results right behind your name might leave you frustrated, irritated and upset with yourself. Some runners are so disappointed about their failure that they will connect so much negativity with running which causes them to stop running completely for a while. But does it have to be that way? I don’t think so. I truly believe that every DNF in running has a bigger meaning for the runner.

But before I’ll get more into this thought I would like to discuss when it is time to quit a race and when you’ll probably can or should work yourself through the risk of ending up with a DNF. 

Should you quit a race?

Luckily it has never happened to me before that I had to quit a race. There were times when I ran a race in 98% humidity and felt so awful that all I thought about was stepping aside and just go back home. But this is why I always recommend to not only train your body to get ready for a race but also your mind. 

The right mindset is the halfway to the finish. If you’re heading to a marathon with the thought of not going to finish this thing, you’ll probably won’t. Same with struggling while running the race.

Once you’re getting your mind right focus on why you feel like quitting right now. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you’ll quit the race.

Why are do you want to stop running? Is it pain? How bad is it? Are there any injuries that you know about and you’re risking to get even more injured?

How long have you been training for this race – put the pain if you’re feeling one on a scale next to the hard work of training. Is it worth it quitting? Is it your mind that is messing with you right now?

Once you’ve been running for a while you’ll know your body very well and are also familiar with certain pains we may feel sometimes. So definitely take all of this awareness about yourself and your body into consideration before deciding to not finish a race. When you feel pain and you’re not sure if you should quit or not, look for a medical tend. The doctors there know their business and can let you know what the right thing to do would be at that moment. Listen to them. 

When to stay on the course

My wonderful friend Lunden Souza just ran and finished the Vienna Half Marathon 2018. Her time was almost 20 min slower than she was actually training for. Lunden did not quit the race even though she was struggling a lot. Some people aren’t the quitter type of person. 

“When my knee pain came at km 16 (mile 10) during my 4th half-marathon I was a little bit annoyed. This was the 2nd time in a row that knee pain got me during a race (NOT during my 4 months of training). I decided to keep going and power walk those last 5 km honestly because of my dad. He NEVER let me quit anything without finishing out the course, year, season or race my entire life.

But during this race I really thought to myself: it’s just a race, there will be more races, at least I have legs and I can walk to the finish…and (truthfully!) it’s a nice day and I am getting a great sun tan! When I crossed the finish line of the half marathon just as the female winner of the full marathon was finishing — it was EPIC and I am super glad I was able to witness that. There will be more races and I won’t stop running!”

Lunden’s situation is a good example of how to assess your situation carefully. She decided to not quit the race but to slow down drastically to avoid any serious injuries. With that being said I think the best recommendation on how to know if you should quit a race or not is to listen to your body and never ever force yourself to finish a race only because you feel like you have to. There will be another one and another one and a race after that. It’s not that serious after all. 

Of course it is super disappointing to train so hard for a goal and then out of the sudden you’re not able to make it. Health is wealth and it’s better to come back stronger instead of hurting yourself. 

Did not finish and how to benefit from it

Everything happens for a reason. A DNF is not the end of the world. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Stepping aside during a race and leave the course takes courage. Deciding to stop because of an injury is a smart move. It actually shows that you’re taking care of your own health and are able to put your pride aside. 

Not taking a medal home will leave a mark that’s for sure. But you’ll also know why this happened to you. So next time you’ll be smarter about it and avoid mistakes you may have done that have lead you to the DNF. Meaning you’ll come back stronger.

Have you experienced a DNF in running? Please leave your story in the comments. 

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Fit on vacation

stay fit on vacation

You want to stay fit on vacation? Don’t let your upcoming trip screw your diet and training goals. It is absolutely possible to go on vacation, enjoy yourself and stick to your diet as much as you can. 

If you’re usually going on vacation to completely lose it and you don’t care about your diet and training, this article isn’t for you. Do I run while I’m on vacation? Yes! To me running on vacation should feel like a treat, not a chore. You feel the same? Then continue reading!

Here are a few simple tips how to stay fit on vacation and how to stay on track with your nutrition while still having tons of fun on vacation

Start before leaving on vacation

Your vacation and your possible chance to start screwing up your diet starts at the airport. I always make sure to bring my own food. Even on my 8 hours flights to Germany I have my meals prepped so that I won’t even get tempted to eat all the poor choices you can make at the airport. It’s a myth that the TSA will take the food away from you. As long as it’s not liquid you’ll be fine. I brought meat, yogurt and fruits – all good.

Also bring everything you may need that you won’t get at your destination:

My most recent vacation was a 5 days cruise to the Caribbean. Most people go on a cruise to drink and have fun. I didn’t drink much, but I had tons of fun and laughter. If you want to stay fit on vacation, there are a few tips you should follow:

#1 Make smart choices

No matter if you’re eating in a restaurant or from a buffet, you are able to eat healthy. Skip the lines for the pizza, burgers and fried food and get a plate with greens, salad and fresh grilled white meat or fish. Most likely there will be rice as well. Vacation shouldn’t be torture. If you feel like having a dessert, or even a slice of pizza, go for it. Everything should be in moderation and with the awareness to save some calories with another meal.

Also when you order at a restaurant, skip the sauces, the dressings and everything that comes out on your plate fried. Substituting steamed vegetables for the usual sides like mashed potatoes are more great ways to reduce the caloric composition of your meal. 

#2 Don’t skip meals

We’ve all been there: We miss the breakfast because we slept too long. Then we had a huge lunch, started drinking and ended up having pizza late at night, because we also missed the dinner due to high alcohol intake earlier that day.

Oh well, this happened to me in my early 20’s and is nothing I would ever do on vacation anymore, but this leads to missing out meals. If you’re having 4-6 meals per day at home and on vacation you’re getting 2-3 big meals this can easily lead to consuming too many calories at your next meal. Your body will be confused because it’s not used to having huge amounts of food at one time. 

Me especially due to running and bodybuilding I have to make sure to eat enough throughout the day. So for me to stay fit on vacation also means not missing out any meals. To me this most likely happens when I’m out exploring or just away from food (mountains, beaches). If you’re staying at an airbnb on your trip, great! You can meal prep and take the food in a cooler with you.

We went on an excursion in Mexico and I brought my own food that I had packed into my containers earlier, so that there won’t be any cravings or even poor food choices along the way. If you’re in a resort or on a cruise take advantage of the buffet. Most restaurants are open from AM to PM so there will be food all the time. Pack it and take it with you if needed. 

#3 Load up on water

Just like at home, make sure you’re always hydrated. Especially with alcohol in the system it is even more necessary to drink as much water as possible. I follow the 2 for 1 rule. Meaning for every drink I’ll have 2 glasses of water. 

#4 Exercise and fitness on vacation

Leading to this article I asked my followers on Instagram who works out on vacation. 40% of them said “Hell no”, a good amount of 60% hits the gym during their vacation. That’s awesome, isn’t it? 

Staying fit on vacation also means to exercise. For me as a runner who is in race prep most of the time I have to run even when I’m on vacation. If I can, I run on the beach or I work out outside, which is absolutely beautiful. My workouts are a little different and shorter while I’m on vacation though. Just because I want to spend more time relaxing instead of lifting weight or running crazy miles.

My breaks between my reps are shorter, I perform more super-sets (to get the max out of my workout time) and my treadmill workouts include more speed work such as intervals and sprints. This is also beneficial for your fat burn and after burn effect. I also feel less bloated after working out on vacation and I’m grateful for every water that I’m losing. I have to admit that I pay a lot of attention to the gym while booking a hotel. But if there’s no gym in sight, bring it with you. You can get a full body workout with resistance bands, or simply utilize hotel room furniture.

#5 Cross training to stay fit on vacation

Vacations should be a break from routine, so it’s a good time to try other activities and use different muscles. Cross training such as cycling or swimming can easily be implemented into your vacation. If you want to stay fit on vacation, you have to be active and not sit on your backside all day. Try new things, get out of your comfort zone. 

Again staying fit on vacation is a mindset and a lifestyle someone follows or not. I’ve gotten a lot of laughter for working out on vacation and I know a lot of people who are in pretty good shape at home, but don’t work out on vacation and that’s okay. I actually enjoy it, believe it or not.

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5 Reasons Why I Run

Reasons for running

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “Why do you run so much – What are your reasons for running?” I’m giving a quick answer like, “I just need to do it for my inner peace.” Most likely that confuses everybody even more and might confirm their suspicion that somebody who runs so much as I do must be crazy. I feel like people want me to elaborate on exactly what reason I have why I run. So I started thinking about it: What are my very individual reasons for running?

My reasons for running: Real talk

There are times when the reasons for running are hard to explain. For example when I’m having a hard time to get out of the bed on the weekends to run my long run, or when I’m super tired already, but I know I have to finish this exact workout right now because I won’t have time later on. My schedule is super tight and super timed out also. My running days right now are also my workout days at the gym which means I have to push myself through two workouts. One in the morning which is most likely the run and another one at night at the gym where I focus on weight training obviously. Most people I know find that crazy. Some others feel inspired or motivated.

So why do I do this? What are my reasons for running? I’m pretty sure you’ll find yourself in some of my reasons why I run.

1. Running makes me feel empowered and resilient

Have you ever heard of the runner’s high? There is no greater sense of satisfaction than what you get from setting a personal goal and conquering it. I feel so strong and satisfied both immediately after a run and in the longterm—from the confidence that crossing finish lines or just finishing your hard workout gives you that carries over into your daily life. Reasons for running in my life are definitely the feeling of having the strength to not let anything get me down. I am able to take these feelings in my daily life and also with me to the next workout. Especially after running the NYC Marathon for the first time in 2017 I feel like nothing in the world can intimidate me anymore. 

2. Good bye world

Feeling disconnected nowadays is a blessing. Being outside with my music and thoughts means the world to me. I could be super angry about something start my run and feel relieved and less stressed after the workout. The only time I have my phone in my hand while I’m running is to take a picture, that’s it. I also shared my experience on how running relieves stress for me before. You should check that out as well.

3. Let’s race

My closer friends and family know my inner beast. I’m such a motivated and competitive person. You won’t see me doing anything half ways. I’m either 100% or nothing. Racing is part of my running life. It gives me some kind of satisfaction. Honestly it’s not about finishing first place. It’s about the training before and my way to the finish line. Training for a race means work. I’m not slacking. Never.

4. Running makes me experience the nature

Have you ever thought about, how much time we actually spend inside? Running makes me go outside. I feel the wind, the cold, I run in the heat (even though I don’t like it), I feel rain on my skin and watch the most beautiful sunrises in the morning. Would I experience all of this when I wasn’t running? No! I take that as a blessing since I spend most of my day inside the office, at home, on the train, the gym, or the grocery store.

5. Running brings me community and awareness

Runners are super cool people. This is also why I love to race by the way. Runners help each other and support you. I’ll never forget that girl in Central Park at a 5 miles race who pushed me through the finish. I was running my personal best and I guess she saw the pain in my face. All she did was smile at me as she came closer. Basically helping me not to slow down and keep up with her fast pace. Running has connected me with so many other runners, both in person through running groups and online. It has made me aware of the many charities that people run for, the causes that are close to their hearts and drive them towards pushing through mile after mile when it gets tough. 

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Running Motivation for 2018

running motivation

With the new year, there are a lot of resolutions going on and a lot of goals we want to accomplish. A lot of you guys have issues staying committed with running and are looking for running motivation for the year ahead of us. 

There are a few tricks how to keep up with your running motivation throughout the year even when the weather is shitty and all you want is stay in bed and skip that run. 

Running Motivation: Let’s talk commitment 

#1 Schedule your run

We all have a busy schedule and sometimes it is hard to squeeze in our workout. We rather skip it instead of actually making time for it. Finding the excuse in being busy is something that I hear a lot from my clients. Just to give you guys some sort of motivation and scoop you into my routine: I have a full-time job, I run my own business with this blog and my running coaching, I run (obviously) and I also implement bodybuilding into my routine. I’m a daughter, a best friend and I have a life beside all of this. With that being said I want you to realize that your day has 24 hours. If you really have a goal (losing weight, becoming stronger, faster or bigger) you have to make the time for it. 

Let’s say you want to run 3, or even 4 times per week. Find out which works best for you: Running before work, or after. If it’s before work, yes, set that alarm at 5 AM and wake up early. You will get used to it. Trust me there is no better feeling heading to the office knowing you already got your workout out of the way.

If you rather train after work, make it a habit and have a coffee and a 30 min rest after you got home and then go and crush it. Once you implement your running into your daily schedule and your routine, you will see how easy it will be to stick to it. Running motivation fades fast with excuses. Don’t make time for them.

#2 Consistency is key

I just mentioned the word habit, right? Whatever you do in life, once you do it consistently, it is easier for you to make it a habit. It becomes part of your life. Like brushing your teeth in the morning and at night. I always recommend, if you’re that type of person that tends to lose motivation at some point, get yourself a running plan and follow it. This will give you consistency and it will help you with running motivation. 

Even when I’m not training for a specific race I have a training plan I follow. It is not even necessary that this plan is following a goal. Just having a plan helps to keep up with running when the motivations is becoming less.

#3 Can’t make it? Split it.

I know, life can be tempting. All these friends who aren’t running, or just living a different lifestyle. Those who don’t eat as healthy as you do and then they invite you over on the weekend. You will have wine, drinks, probably pizza and maybe you will stay out longer than you had planned and boom your long run, which should always be the main focus while you’re training for any race is in danger.

It has happened to me before and it will probably happen to you, too. My advice for the morning after: Try to at least do something. If the energy the next day isn’t really there, split your long run into two parts. Run the first one in the morning and hit the road at night again.

It won’t have the same training affect on your system, but you did at least something, right? This will make you feel better and also help you with your running motivation because you stay committed. When I’m traveling to Germany I’ll have the craziest jet lag the first morning after I got there. No matter how tired I am, I’ll go for a run. It’s like saying hi to my country. 

#4 Socializing helps 

This trick is something that I have realized during my marathon training last year. It kind of freaked me out knowing I have 20 miles ahead of me, so I ran it with a friend of mine which helped a lot to stay consistent throughout the run and not to give up. Also as a beginner, if you sign up for a running group or you find a friend you will go for a run with, you will have a harder time canceling on them instead of just being responsible for yourself. Connecting with friends through running makes it easier to stay committed to the sport. 

Going back to the thought of being super busy with life: Think about how great it would be to combine both working out and being with a friend. Also it will challenge you to run faster and become a stronger runner. Group runs are a great way to embrace yourself as a runner.

At the end of the day running, or any kind of activity you do to stay fit and healthy is something you really have to want to do. These 4 tips to keep up with your running motivation will only help you, if you have decided for yourself to accomplish your goal. Nothing in the world will ever be fun if you’re not loving it. This happens with running, eating habits, relationships, your job – everything. 

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Stay motivated – Motivation tips for runners

motivation tips for runners

Motivation is the key to success which is why I want to share my motivation tips for runners with you today. What should be done if we are facing a lack of motivation? First, let’s be clear that losing motivation is absolutely normal and happens all the time. With these simple motivation tips for runners you’ll be back on track faster and you will be able to maintain your daily motivation easily.

Motivation tips for runners: Make good habits

To get yourself going everyday I find the Runtastic Step Counter App “Runtastic Steps” super helpful. It gives you a good feeling of how much you are actually moving throughout the day. I love to share it with my friends, we have little competitions and the steps app keeps us going every day. Also the app offers walking weight loss plans to motivate you even more. You will push your limits and go a little bit further day by day, week by week until you have reached your very individual goal. 

1. HAVE A PLAN

It is much easier to stay motivated if you have a concrete plan for your workouts and your diet. A training plan will help you to build a routine, so working out and eating right becomes part of your life. Make sure you set goals within that plan to avoid disappointments. 

2. MUSIC MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND

The right music before your workout will set the right mood for you to sweat and work hard. For example, while running people listen to fast music to run a faster pace. Music is a powerful force that gives you that extra push to get yourself moving. 

3. JOIN A CLUB, OR A GROUP

Take advantage of the benefits of working out with a friend, or in a group. When the little voice in your head starts telling you to skip the next workout, your accountable, because somebody else relays on you to hit the gym, or run the 6 miles with you. You push each other mentally through the workout and support each other just by being present. Here is why running in a group is so much fun.

4. SOCIAL MEDIA

I totally agree that most of us spend way too much time on social media. But I realized that it is motivational to have your very own “Instagram crush”. A person that you look up to. Who’s workout videos, pictures, and quotes give you insight on how to improve yourself and inspires you. Do you follow me on Instagram already?

5. TREAT YOURSELF

Working out is hard sometimes, we all know it. That’s why it’s really important to treat yourself when you finished your next 4 weeks of eating healthy and working out regularly. Go to a spa, do some yoga, enjoy a manicure or just buy the nice jeans, or shoes you always wanted. Never forget, that you’re doing this for you. So it’s super important to pamper yourself after accomplishing goals you reached through your hard work.

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The NYC Marathon: less than 24 hours to go

less than 24 hours to go

Here I am! Less than 24 hours away from my biggest race ever. My first marathon. My home run. 26.2 in New York City. The city that has changed my life in the past 4 years. Let me share some final thoughts and emotions before my big day.

I’ve been training for the NYC Marathon since July. Looking back when I wasn’t sure if I should run this race or not, makes me laugh today. It was already one of the best experiences in my life – and I haven’t even crossed the finish yet.

Always 100

I was able to get to know my body so much better and I have learned so many things about myself along the way that it was all worth it already. Waking up early on a Sunday running 15 + miles – no alcohol, a strict diet and no long night outs and parties. I’m a very dedicated person and everything I do I’ll do it 100 – I know I could have been a little bit more relaxed about a few things here and there but I wasn’t – it’s just how I am I guess.

With only a few hours away from the start I feel strong, confident and today I know that you can accomplish everything you want as long as you work hard enough for it. “You can do anything” – that’s my mantra for the race. Weeks ago I felt intimidated and anxious. Today I know what I am capable of. I trust my training and my body.

I’m so proud of you

My family lives thousands of miles away from me which is why I’m so grateful that I was able to have my Mom and my brother by my side the past 2 weeks – I loved their presence, their energy and their pure and strong believe in me as a runner. Training for a marathon does help a lot to build your confidence on the road but there is nothing like a Mom who tells you that she is so proud of you doing this.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” – Thanks to everyone who was a part of my journey to my first marathon – you guys are the best. I can’t wait to run this thing tomorrow – it’s time to earn the medal.

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7 easy to follow Running Training Tips and Tricks

Running training tips

Run your best with my running training tips and tricks. Based on my experiences I would like to share my top 7 running training tips that will keep you running strong and healthy. Running requires a lot more than just an pair of running shoes and an open road. Here is what you need to know when it comes to running training.

Running with a group

Push yourself harder while running with a group. Running groups offer a great way to learn more about different running training tips from your running buddies, you will meet new people and it will never get boring.

Follow a plan

Especially as a beginner or when you are training for a race, running training plans help a lot to stay on track with your running motivation and focus. It is great to follow a plan, but please never forget to listen to your body. I offer online training plans as a general guidance for reaching your goals as well. Find out more about my online coaching here.

Rest is key

One of the hardest things to understand as a runner and one of my key running training tips is to give your body proper time to recover. Dedication is amazing, but it is also important to take a break and rest. When you are still feeling sore from yesterday’s workout, take some time off and relax. It’s more beneficial instead of forcing yourself to do too much.

Nutrition

Another main running training tip: Never underestimate the power of proper fueling. Before, during and after running. Make sure you meet your individual needs in terms of proteins, fat and carbs. During my longer runs I always bring energy gels to make sure that I’m not running out of gas. Read more about a proper diet for runners, supplements for runners and the correct macronutrients for excellent performance.

Cross-Training

If you are having trouble taking full days off, try cross-training like swimming or cycling and incorporate it as a form of active recovery. Paired correctly with your running training plan, your racing needs and nutrition this can actually help your fitness even further. I also add a lot of strength training to my running training. Here is a great video about a great leg workout you can do by using a bench.

Pace yourself

I think it’s pretty obvious that not every run has to be a fast one. Actually it can’t always be, right? So one of my running training tips when it comes to pacing is to run different type of trainings, such as intervals, speed workouts (fartleks), longer slower runs and shorter distances where you run a little bit more aggressive. Switching things up will help you to reach your goal pace and become a stronger runner.

Race if you can

Luckily I live in a city that offers a lot of road races. Running in New York City means being part of the race culture. Signing up for a race means motivation and dedication, which is sometimes needed in the cold winter months for example. Participating in a race is so much fun and one of the best running training tips I have to share.

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5 benefits of running with a group

running with a group

This morning I had my very first running event in New York City. With a group of 30 runners we met at Central Park for a 5 mile loop through the hilly course of the city’s most beautiful park. Runners from all fitness levels showed up.

Absolute beginners, marathoners and the casual Sunday joggers. People say, that running with a group makes you a better runner. Group runs are super inspiring and motivating as well. Here are the five benefits of showing some love with a group.

Benefits of running with a group

#1 Learn from others

Running with a group makes it impossible not to learn from each other. While I was running with my group today I was trying to exchange as much experience as I could to make sure we will all learn from each other. There is a collective wisdom of the group which is a great benefit of running with a group. It’s not a secret that runners love to talk about running while there are running.

#2 Accountability

When the little voice in your head tries to convince you to skip today’s run your running group will hold you accountable. One of the biggest gifts running partners give you is accountability. When there are others counting on you, it’s even harder to not show up to your group run. Most people stop running or working out in general because of a lack of accountability.

#3 Motivation

There is no better motivation than running with a group because there is always someone who is faster, ran  more races than you did, or is fitter than you are. This will encourage you to give 110% while you’re running with the group. Group runs are also a great way to bound with the other runners.

Everybody knows what the other person is training for right now. So the next time you will run a race you have a whole group of people cheering for you which feels extremely motivating as well.

#4 Consistency

You only become a better runner if you practice and keep training. For people who have issues with motivating themselves a running group will help a lot. Having a regular (weekly, or daily) meet up with your running group will give you consistency and make sure that you will stick to your training.

#5 Social Facilitation

Running with a group even benefits on a psychological level. The term is called “social facilitation” which basically means that running in a group helps you to put in more effort than you usually would. Running with others makes you keep up with them and also helps to run faster.

Today I met a woman who never ran more than 3 miles before. She ended up doing 5 miles with a short sprint in the end. This is exactly what group runs do to you – that let you get out of your comfort zone.

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My Bad Workout Advice

Bad Workout Advice

Let’s keep it real. It happens to all of us. Experiencing a bad workout / run is frustrating and sometimes irritating because most of the times it happens out of the blue. Of course it has happened to me before and I’m not going to lie: It’s super annoying. But why do bad workouts happen to us and what should we do when we experience them?

Follow my bad workout advice and you will be 100% prepared the next time you will have a bad workout experience.

Bad Workout Advice: Real talk

As runners we spend a lot of time on the road. Of course we are expecting great results. But it’s pretty unreal to expect that every run will be amazing. Bad runs, or bad workouts will happen eventually and it’s part of the journey to whatever you are training for.

My next goal is crossing the NYC Marathon finish line in November this year which is why my training is pretty tough right now. Beside my full time job, my work for the blog, gym sessions and a private life running has become an even more important part of my life right now. Last weekend I went for my long run and here I was: Struggling. Dehydrated. Feeling absolutely horrible at mile 3 already.

Why do bad runs happen?

Was it time to change my routine? Am I overdoing it already? I have to admit that I’m pretty competitive and a total perfectionist. There is no half way for me. I’m all in or not at all. Same with marathon training. I kind of knew why my legs felt fatigue so early on and why I had to walk back the last mile of my run after I had to stop the workout. Any of the following might be a reason why we struggle sometimes and a bad run happens:

#Not enough or bad sleep

I’m having hard times falling asleep sometimes and I’m also waking up several times at night. So less sleep is always bad for the energy you need for your training. For us runners it’s important to give our bodies enough time to fully rest. If that’s not the case you will find yourself having issues keeping up the hard work long term.

My bad workout advice is to make sure that you sleep enough and let your body recover. Melatonin does help with sleeping problems by the way.

#Running out of gas

Fueling properly is the key to make your legs moving as you want them to. I ended up having a tough run last weekend because I was completely dehydrated. Especially before long runs it is important to drink enough water the day before and also right before your run.

Are you eating enough calories to fuel the type and amount of calories you’re burning during your exercise? It’s very easy to forget about that. While fueling make sure that your food is high quality (no fast food, or high in sodium food) and has not too much or better no sugar at all. My diet contains vegetables with unprocessed carbs like brown rice or sweet potatoes and lean meat.

#Too much too often

Rest is key. We all know that. Not always our body let us actually feel, that we need a break. We just keep going. One tough workout follows the next and for me I also have to deal with both bodybuilding and running. I’m basically heading from one soreness to the next.

My bad workout advice is that you should take the time off you’re supposed to and not doing too much too often. Also don’t do your harder workouts back-to-back. Give your body the time to rebuild and come out stronger.

#Hit the gym

I know that some of my hardcore running buddies don’t care at all about weight lifting and strength training. From my own experience I can tell that hitting the gym and working on my muscles has made me a stronger runner. Of course if your focus is running only you don’t have to hit the gym as much as I do and lift the heavy weights, but decent strength training will help you a lot.

Check out my leg workout for runners if you want to do it outside instead of going to the gym. My bad workout advice is to work on your core, focus on small stabilizing muscles and increase your overall strength. You will see how strong you will become when your runs are getting tough.

#Having a bad day

From my overall bad workout experiences this is the most common one. We are humans and life sucks sometimes. Heartbreak, trouble at work, stress or the time of the month for us women – we are all having bad days once in a while. My bad workout advice when you are having a bad day is to fight yourself through it and then get over it. There will be a better day. Tomorrow. And then your run will be great again.

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