Friday, June 30, 2017

Increasing Your Running Mileage

Yesterday was my off day, so we spent the evening running camper errands while the girls played with the neighbors. They had a rolling down the hill contest. We didn't end up getting anything for the camper, but we did get some good ideas and big progress is coming! I can't wait to do the reveal.

This morning started out with an easy paced 5-mile run. (I'll talk more about that later). Then we filled the rest of the morning with chores. Some of which have been pushed out of the way and into the back of my mind for too long.  V thought he was being such a good helper by pulling out the folded clothes and putting them back in the dryer. 

Despite the little helper, I got a lot done this morning. I'm guessing that has something to do with me getting my run in early instead of waiting until night to run.  Then the girls met up with their friends and played on the front lawn for a while. I sneaked a picture of their cute little group out the window. 


So like I said I did a 5 mile run today. YAY! that's been a long time coming. After having V, I have had a hard time getting back my mileage that I had before I was pregnant with him. I'm not where I was, or where I want to be, but hitting the 5-mile mark is a big step. 

I'm not the only person who has had a hard time adding mileage to their running schedule, so let's talk about endurance for a little while. 

How nice would it be if we could wake up and say "I feel like running 5 miles today" and do it on the first day we start (or start again) running? It would be fantastic, but that's not how it works. There's a lot of work, sweat, time and some pain to get there. I think that's one of the best things about running. Seeing the things your body can do. Noticing that you're able to do things today that you weren't able to do yesterday. Seeing the progress in yourself is worth all the work in the end. 

Here are a few ways that I add mileage to my run and strengthen my endurance. 

1. Like so many other things with running, it starts with making goals. It helps me focus on the smaller goals and not bite off more than I can chew all at once.  I start off by adding one mile extra at a time. Once I hit that goal, I work for one more mile after that. And that doesn't mean all in the same run. That means over the course of a week or more I'll work on that goal.

2. I move my run outside. Not everyone can do this, and thank heaven for the treadmill because some runs just wouldn't happen at all without it. But for me, it is so much easier to go further when I don't have a stop button in front of me. When I'm outside running and want to stop early, I remind myself that in order to get home, I have to run there anyway, so I might as well finish. It's also a lot easier for me to stay interested when I'm not staring at a TV, or wall, or the numbers on the treadmill. 

3. Slow down. When you want to lengthen your run, you can save a little energy with a slower pace, and use that for your extra mileage. Adding mileage will, in turn, help you increase your speed on your shorter runs.

4. Increase your daily mileage. That doesn't just mean running. Get out and move more often. Go on walks or bike rides. Cross training is a good way to help you increase your endurance.

5. Tell someone where you're going. Not only is this a safety tip we have all learned since we were kids, but this is a helpful little tip if you are driven by keeping your word. 

6. Get a buddy. Running buddies are good for more than just adding mileage, but it is super helpful to go further when you know someone else is counting on you and working with you.  You can help push each other through your hard miles. 

7. Don't get discouraged. Sometimes when we want something so bad, we get discouraged when we don't meet our goals. I've had this happen so many times and it usually leads to a burnout. Remind yourself that everything good takes time. Recover from that run and try again with your next run. 

What's your mileage goal right now? 
       Since I just hit 5, I'm working toward 6!

What is your most productive day of the week?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Things From Our Day and What I think About On a Run

So, yesterday I thought I'd take the kids to Target to get some new swimming suits. J's broke (the clip that holds the straps up snapped in half) and M's is getting just a tad bit stretched out. The kids usually don't mind Target, especially if I offer to look (even though we don't buy) at the toys. Anyway, we get there and there are no 3 seater carts. This is normally not a big deal, but this day, it was! It was to M! She immediately started throwing a tantrum and continued to for the next 15 minutes. On the floor, in the cart, all over Target. I warned her, I asked her nicely, I lost my patients. I started to walk out the door and she started to run the other way. So I turned towards her and told her that I was going to count to 3 and if she didn't come, then she would get her bike taken away. "1....." a barely teenage boy walked by and sassily (I'm sure trying to lighten the mood and be funny or help (sorry for the evil look, I didn't mean it))  says "2..." By this time M decided she didn't want her bike taken away and came over, still throwing a fit. So I told her if she would stop, we would continue looking for her new swimming suit. So she calmed down. But now V was getting bored. He was buckled in but managed to wiggle out of the buckle and was standing backward in the front seat. Then he started pulling hair. The girls started screaming. I turned V around and he started pulling my hair. We all calm down long enough to look at the swimsuit section which was a really short time because they only had a couple left and they weren't the right sizes anyway...waste of time. So then I decide while the kids are being good, we will look for some camper stuff we were thinking of getting. The kids decide they are bored again and V goes back to pulling hair. Both girls screaming! So I turn V back around, but he reaches from behind to get the hair, ALL kids screaming. We passed a cute couple who's backs were turned to me and I mutter something about how kids can be such a pain. She turns to me smiling...and very pregnant. (SMH!...which I just found out means "smack my head") "Oh, no, don't let me discourage you!!! There are so many good times too!" She smiles again and says not to worry, she's not discouraged.  We decided to leave...empty handed and all worn out. Walking out, I was trying to smile like J but I'm pretty sure we all felt like M.

And that's just a snippet of this week so far. V is in a ruthless stage of getting into everything. Really, I do mean everything. We have child locks on every single cupboard, but he bypasses them.  One is double child proof (Has 2 different kinds of child locks on, he bypassed it!) He needs THIS SHIRT because it's him so perfectly. 

This morning I mopped my floor first thing, and V kept trying to run on it, then he would fall and get mad. 
(notice he also has a marker, which is a no-no, in his hand)

He must have wanted to get me back for laughing at watching him slip and slide all over the wet floor because while I was in the bathroom he dumped maple syrup all over my just-cleaned-floor.  (Grandma Ann would say "UGH! Murder.")

After a bath and mopping the floor 3 more times (and it's still sticky) he decided to get into the pantry, which was only open because I was mopping and the mop goes in the pantry at our house,  and dump out all the cereal. (All the bad words) At this point, it's so frustrating that it's funny.  At least J decided to help clean up what could be saved. (sorry, blurry picture)

So after a week like this, I desperately needed a run. I was supposed to do my long run, but we had to run some errands that took way longer than planned and it got too late to do a long run. So I did hill repeats. Which turned out to be really good because I had been meaning to do hill repeats for several days and hadn't gotten around to it. The temperature was perfect, and the hill was shaded. And the sunset was beautiful. 

Then I looked down at my legs and realized my tan line kind of resembled the sunset. Clearly, I need to wear something other than my compression shorts while running for a while. It could be worse. The run helped me clear my head, and drain the frustration away so I could start all over again tomorrow.

While I was on this run, I realized that my mind wanders a lot while running. So I thought I'd share a few of the things I think about while I'm running and trying not to think about stopping.

- What did I eat for dinner? Oh yeah...I think I ate too much.
- Look at that sunset!
- I wonder if they thought I was my sister. (My sister and I look a lot alike and live in the same neighborhood so people get us mixed up all the time).
- This is a good song for running.
- Just a few more times, I'm rocking this.
- It's getting harder now.
- Think of something else.
-I wonder if I should just keep running instead of doing another repeat.
- That's one of my worst habits running, I always change my planned run. 
-That might make a good blog post. My worst running habits. 
- I need to make sure I'm pacing myself right
- That might be another good blog post. Okay, worst running habits, and pacing.
- One more and I'll go back home. 
-Hey look, sprinklers are on. 
-It's always colder than I think it will be.
-Ok, finish strong. Finish fast.
-That was a good run.

When was the last time things got so bad they were funny to you?

What do you think about while your running?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

My Favorite Time of Day

The other day I was trying to get ready for my workout while the kids were still not in bed yet. Normally I will run while they are still asleep in the morning, or when they go down to bed at night. But sometimes, when I know it's going to be a long run, or I have plans to meet someone or I feel like I won't go at all if I don't get going now, I'll go earlier and Trevon will put the kids to bed.  This particular night was an "It's not going to happen at all if it doesn't happen now." kind of night, and we had let the girls stay out and play a little longer than bed time. I was getting frustrated and impatient. One of them asked me what I was doing and I said very impatiently,  "I'm getting ready for my run. Because I have done everything for you guys today and nothing for me. And now it's time for me to do something for me." It still took another 15 minutes to get out the door, but at least it happened. 

Some mom's favorite time of day is nap time, or when their husband gets home or when their kids head off to school, (I love all those things too) but, mine is my workout. It doesn't matter what time of day it is, when I'm working out and taking care of myself, it's my favorite time of day. (Selfish?? eh, if you're not taken care of you can't take care of the kids, right?) 

I saw a quote a while ago that said something like "my favorite time of day is when I go running. Because somehow exhausting myself is the most relaxing thing..." I don't know who said it, but that was the main point of the quote and I totally relate. 

V is at a really hard stage right now. He is into EVERYTHING. This morning he got into the bath with the girls, fully clothed, while I was running into the bathroom right behind him. He's quick and mischievous and curious. I try hard to give the girls all the attention I can, too. 

So on the days that I workout at night, I sometimes struggle to feel like heading out the door or doing anything but relax on the couch. But, I never regret doing it.  And once I get started I am always reminded that running time is my favorite time.

Last night's workout was weights.  I did a 15-minute speed run to start, and then I focused on arms and core. It was one of those nights that I just had to push myself through the whole workout. My body was worn out and didn't want anything to do with it. But I'm glad I pushed myself. 

Tonight is my long run and then we move on to morning workouts for the week. I'm surprised how much I'm liking morning runs, and hopefully, I'll keep enjoying them that much because it really does make my days better. 

What is your favorite time of day?

When do you prefer to workout?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

When You Miss a Workout and We Are Making Progress

We are making huge progress on Kit. I'll be posting a before and after/ update on the whole project really soon, so stick around. We used every single ounce of primer. 

Home made donuts from the neighbors at 10 AM? Sure, why not. V polished his off in about 10 seconds. 

I had to hide to eat mine before he saw it.

Lately V's favorite thing to do while the girls are playing outside is to wander. He's kind of like a wind up toy sometimes, as soon as you set him down he goes straight, which ever way he's facing.  

His second favorite thing to do is sit inside things. Anything, it doesn't matter what's in it or what it is, he's in it. I think he gets this from me. I have several pictures of my as a baby sitting in apple boxes, laundry baskets, Tupperware drawers...basically anything.

 This little one is at a pretty hard, but also pretty magical stage. Her imagination is huge and so is her spirit. We've spent a lot of time lately arguing and we both have spent time in time out lately. She does her best to keep up with the "big kids" even if they always make her be the pet instead of a person in their make believe games. I remember always being the dog to my little girl. (little sister problems)

J lost another tooth this morning...and then she lost the tooth. It fell somewhere in her room and it seems to have vanished. Either way, she's going to have a little bit of a harder time eating until her teeth come back. 


I didn't do one workout last weekend. We were so busy with camper stuff that I just didn't have time (even in the mornings because we would work until late at night).  I'm not one to normally skip out on a run, I never feel good about myself when I do that. And this was no exception. I could tell that it effected my mood, and I was constantly thinking about how I wasn't going to meet any of my goals because I wasn't getting my run in.  

Every once in a while stuff like this happens. We get busy, or lazy, or injured or whatever and we don't make our workouts. The best thing is, it doesn't even matter that much. We can always get back out there the next day.  

Right now I have some goals.

1. Get back down to my PR. I'm embarrassingly far from it.  I haven't had the time or drive to get out there as much as I did before I had V. I'm getting there though. 

2. Hit an 18 minute 5k. This is a really far ways away. But I believe that if I try hard, and take baby steps toward this goal, it can happen.

3. Run a 10k. I haven't run more than a 5k in a really long time.  But this is something I know is absolutely possible if I put my mind to it. 

Sometimes when we have a goal, and we miss a workout it can damper the whole drive for that goal. The key to not letting this happen is to remember that we are all human and we will all need an off day now and then. Something that Janae from The Hungry Runner Girl blog says that really stayed with me and helps me through the off days is that Running will always be there for us when we are ready for it. So when off days happen, just start back where you left off.

Anyone have big goals they are working for?

What's your favorite dessert?

Monday, June 26, 2017

What Running Does for Me and Weekend Highlights

The other night was a camper night. We worked on the camper from 7:00 until 11:00 with a break to put kids to bed around 8:30. (I'll post some good inside pictures of it soon).

If you're wondering how we get anything done on the camper with 3 small kids, it looks kind of like this.

And we, luckily, have some pretty great neighbors and the kids all play outside together while we are out there watching them and working. She sent my this picture while we were working on the camper. 

Because we got to bed so late (and then had kids wake up all with bad dreams last night) I didn't have the energy to get up and do my hill repeats that I had planned. But we must have worn the kids out playing because they all slept in, which never happens in our house. J and V are normally up by 7:00 AM and then M shortly follows that. Once they woke up, I decided we should do some kind of small workout for the day. So we used our Google Chromecast and looked up a youtube workout for kids and adults. 

We also looked up Chicken Fat (a really old workout for kids) and did that one too. My girls love to do Chicken Fat. 

After we got our workout done, breakfast in and some chores done, we decided it was time for a picnic with the cousins at a park near us.  V doesn't let much phase him. He's pretty fearless...which is good and bad. But his first time down the slide, I think he was a little unsure of until he got done. Then he wanted to keep going. 

We noticed the sprinklers were on and let the kids go for it. It was the perfect way for them to cool off and run off some energy. J didn't want to get wet, but she was brave enough to run through a couple of times. 

It was a toss up, but I think M got the wettest. This girl was soaked to the bone! 


I saw this quote on Facebook the other day and it made me think of all the things running does for me. 

It's always been amazing to me that I can be in the worst mood all day and as soon as I get out on a run, my entire day turns around.  Running helps me sort out so many things in the tangled mess that my brain is sometimes and all my emotions can be straightened out nicely after a run. It doesn't cure my problems, it doesn't change the things that happen, but it changes the way I think about them and that helps me cope with things better.  

Running has always been there for me and always will be. A lot of people feel this way about old friends.  I have friends who will always be there for me to talk or to give advice, and I love every single one of them, but sometimes when I can't find the words that I need to say, the first friend I turn to is running,  (does that sound pathetic?) 

When I need to feel better about myself, a good run is sometimes all it takes. It lets me prove to myself that I am good at something. I'm in control of how fast I go, where I run to, and when I get out there.

There are a lot of things that can do this for us, but for me, it's running. 

What is something that changes your whole day around?

What's your favorite way to cool off on a hot day?

Highlights from the weekend?

Friday, June 23, 2017

What To Do When You Get Tired While Running

Yesterday's big accomplishment was saving this baby bird. We went out to get in the car and the girls saw it and couldn't stand to leave it there where a car might run over it.  The next is up in our carport and you can't get to it, so we did our best. We made a makeshift nest out of dead grass in a tin can and set it in the shade as close to the nest as we could.

When Trevon got home, he made a smaller nest up by the mama's nest and it worked! Mama found the baby and it's still chirping.

This morning was a speed workout. It's been a while since I've done a speed workout outside, and my shins were not wanting to run on pavement, so I headed to some grass by our house and did some intervals. 30 seconds on, 20 seconds off for 15 minutes. 

 Then I finished the workout off with some planks.


Do you ever start feeling extra tired in the middle of a run?  You can feel your back start to slouch and your arms start to hang low, your legs don't seem to want to move another step?

Every so often I'll be on a run and just hit the wall.  Then it's not only a physical workout but a mental one.  There are a few things you can do to push through those runs, and while it doesn't make your workout seem like a breeze, they will help you finish.

One of the things that really helps me power through my tired runs is to stretch my arms out above my head and stretch my back a little bit. It kind of helps to reset your posture which helps you have more energy. Sometimes I stopping and stretching your muscles will help give them the last little push you need.

When my legs don't feel like they can move another step and my feet start to drag, I make sure my arms are moving.  When I started running competitively, I went to buy some shoes, and the owner of the store had me try shoes on and watched me run to make sure I was looking for the right kind of shoe for me.  While I was running he noticed that my arms were swinging leading with my fists. So the next pair of shoes he had me try on, he also had me put on this little elastic harness around my arms (like you're putting on a backpack) that hand holes to put your thumbs in by your shoulders. Then he had me run again and explained that it was helping me lead with my elbows instead of my fists, which gives you more power. He said, "Now when you start to feel like you're dragging and getting tired if you'll lead with your elbows and keep swinging your arms, your legs will follow." It's never failed me, and I've never bought shoes anywhere else.

The other way I push through the tired runs is by playing mind games with myself. I'll set a point and tell myself I only have to keep going until that point. When I reach that point, I set another one, until I get home. Or I start counting my steps, turn my music on, paying attention to my rhythm of my breathing.  Sometimes I also purposefully run in a place where I know that people who know me will see me (It always helps to have someone see you and cheer you on.) The other day I was running in my old neighborhood and I was getting to a point where I wanted to take a break, and then I heard someone yell "Good job cute Jenny!" And that's all it took to keep me going the rest of the way. The fact that 1. someone was excited to see me running and 2. I didn't want them to see me give in to the weakness, helped me keep going until I was done.

When all else fails it is 100% OK to take a break when you need it.  Sometimes having these kinds of runs is our body's way of saying it needs to take some time off or that we didn't prepare ourselves enough (drinking enough water, eating the right way....) for our run that day.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How to Avoid Side Aches and other things

Today I want to share a little bit about running with side aches (because I've dealt with that a lot) but first, here are a few pictures from yesterday.

I'm not sure what it is about laundry baskets, but these kids think they are the greatest seat. I didn't even have time to finish putting away the clean clothes before these two climbed in to play. V is getting really attached to his blanky now. And it's probably one of the cutest things I've seen when he carries it around everywhere. I'm sure in a year or so, it won't be as cute and I'll be complaining about it. 

We are kind of in a waiting stage on the camper. We didn't get to do much work on it last night because we were waiting for some plaster to dry before we can move on to paint. So I decided that I would finish some sewing so that I would feel like progress was still being made. I made this pillow to go with the rest of the pillows on the couch/bench.

I've had some pretty tight shoulder muscles lately, and a big knot that comes and goes. So I've spent a lot of time working it out with part of Trevon's body wrench. It's amazing what I can get out with this little ball. 

Yesterday was stinking hot! Utah has finally decided that it is summer time. I was worried that my run would be unbearably hot (It was my evening run), but by the time I was getting ready to go out, the wind blew a storm in and it cooled things down just enough to be comfortable. And I got to see this beautiful sunset. 

At the end of my run, I saw this guy wandering the sidewalk. I scared him pretty bad and he ran up the side of the hill. It's not very often you see a deer down this far into town, but it seems like it's happening more and more. 


There are a lot of things I would change if I could go back to my high school races. I feel like I was pretty ignorant about the way running works and what not back then.  I would probably do a lot more research and a lot more listening than I ever did. 

One of the biggest problems I had while racing in high school was that I always....almost always got a side ache. Probably at least half of the time.  There are so many things that can cause a side ache, and I think that's why it makes it so tricky to prevent them. You could have eaten too much before your run, or you didn't have enough electrolytes. You could have had too much (or not enough) to drink before your run. Sometimes rapid breathing can cause a side ache. There's just so many things that can cause it. 

So because there are so many things that can cause side aches, here are a few ways to try to prevent them.

First of all, I've heard a lot that drinking pickle juice can help, I don't recommend this. Even for someone who loves pickles, drinking the juice wasn't a very pleasant experience and I don't even think it worked for me. 

Eating:  When it comes to eating a meal before a race or a run, don't over eat and make sure that you have time to digest. During my morning runs, I usually don't eat at all until I'm done unless it's a race. If it's a race day, or if I'm running in the evening, I try to make sure that I'm done eating 2-3 hours before my run. 

Warm up: Ah, let's add this to the list of things I'd do differently in high school...and something I should do better at now. Warming up helps do so many things for your body, and this is one of them. Warming up before a run preps your breathing for your run. 

Strong Core:  Having a strong core can help support all your organs so that nothing is getting pinched. It also helps prevent extra movement for your trunk, which can help prevent cramps and wasted energy. Just one more reason to work on your core muscles

Control your breathing: This one is an obvious tip, but it can be forgotten, especially if you run with your headphones in. Try it, start your run off without music and see what your breathing feels and sounds like. Try to make it even. Slow your pace down if it's sporadic, your breathing should have a good rhythm to it. 

If you do get a side ache,  slow down and stretch it out. Stretch your arms up over your head, stretch to the side. Take some deep breaths. Run out your side with your arm as you jog slowly. Once it's gone you can pick your pace back up again. The better in shape you get, the less you'll get side aches. 

How often do you get a side ache?

If you could go back to high school what would you do differently?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why Core Strength is Important for a Runner and some other random things

Yesterday morning was full or chores. Laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house....So the afternoon was for playing and relaxing. The girls asked to have a tent picnic in the kitchen for lunch so we did that. Our tent is an old hand-me-down and is sad condition, but it works.

After lunch and V's nap time, none of the girl's friend could play so we found our old sprinkler and the kids ran through the sprinkler for an hour.  I love summer. I love how there are so many simple ways to be entertained in the summer. 

M didn't hesitate at all, she was in the water as soon as it was turned on. J needed a bit of convincing though. 

After we had dried off, our neighbor brought us a donut for an afternoon treat. We really love where we live and the people we live by. The girls are so lucky to have lots of good friends just their age to play with. And we have the best neighbors. 

Last night was my strength training workout.  I did something a little different for it.  I normally incorporate some cardio in between my different muscle groups, but last night I decided to do a 15-minute speed workout and then do the strength training.  I found a great workout challenge and modified it a little because I started late. You can learn more about it HERE.  Instead of doing just the red, or just the blue as many times as I could in 10 minutes, I did all of it three times in 10 minutes. 

Let's talk a little bit about core muscles. Everyone wants to have that nice 6 pack, but not many think of what having good, strong core muscles do for you.  Most runners focus on strengthening their legs and not so much everything else.  But core muscles are super important for runners. Core muscles are what keep you upright while running. Having strong core muscles will help you keep a good running form. And good form helps you with your speed and endurance. 

You use a lot more energy while you're running when your core is weak because your core helps you run more smoothly with a lot less swaying or moving around.  It also helps you recover faster from stumbles or miss steps. 

How do you know if you need to work on core strength? I don't think there's ever a time we shouldn't be working a little bit on our core. But one way that you can tell is noticing while you're running if your back starts to ache a little during the end of your run, that's one good way to tell. 

You can also check your form. Are you slouched over? Are you dragging your feet? Are you looking up? Are your arms moving side to side or front to back? If your form is off, there's a good chance that it's because your core muscles are weak and tired.  

I have a few favorite core exercises for you to try (that aren't sit ups).  It's always a good thing to switch your exercise up every now and then. Different exercises target different muscle groups. Your core muscles are your back, abdominal and pelvic muscles.  You can target them all differently to strengthen each group. 

Plank: Planks will target several different areas and are great for quick core workouts.  I do a lot of planks because I do my core work at the end of my workout most of the time. And by that time I'm tired and ready to be done. Planks are good because they can be done pretty simply and quick. Start with a small amount of time, 30 seconds-1 minute and add time on as you get stronger.

Supermans: these are one of my favorite back exercises.  There's no equipment needed and you get a good workout without a ton of effort, and you get to lay down. 

Flutter kicks: Flutter kicks are great for your lower abs and pelvic muscles.  And, again you get to lay down.  

100's:  I learned this one in the only pilates class I ever took. And it stuck with me because I saw a lot of improvement in my abs.  I would suggest not to do these every time you work core though.  Sometimes you can strain your back by focusing too much on your abs. 

There are so many different ways to exercise your core muscles. If you ever need to make sure you're doing an exercise right or just need ideas on what kind to do, there are a lot of ideas on youtube.

What is your favorite core workout?

What's your favorite thing about summer?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How to Start Exercising Again After a Break

I've been asked by a few people lately how I find the motivation to start running again after having a break. So I thought I'd share a little bit about that with you today.

First let me say that I didn't take breaks seriously until after I'd been running for 10 years.  The first few of those years were very low key, non-competitive running years. When I got into high school and started competing, I wasn't very smart about the way that I did it. I kept running after high school, and I took things a lot easier than I had done before. I ran for the fun of it, I ran to clear my head, stay focused, feel like I had a handle on things, but I didn't compete much. Then I decided to run this race with my cousin and my mom.  It was a relay marathon and it was a lot of fun. I actually felt pretty good about how I did, but I wasn't expecting to run that far, you can read all about that race HERE. So the next few days I was really sore and knew I needed a good break. That break turned from a couple of weeks, to a couple of months and then I felt like I hadn't run in years.

I got back into running again, just little bits here and there, again non competitive. Getting up to 3 miles felt hard sometimes. I stayed in that place for a few years. It wasn't something that I was working hard on. I was, again just doing it to help me feel like I had a handle on life and to keep in shape.  When I was pregnant with J, my Dr (who was an older Dr) told me it was best not to exercise while I was pregnant. Don't do anything but walking. (This has been proven wrong now, but I was a newbie and I wanted to make sure my baby was safe). So I took a full 10 months to a year off.  Shortly after J was born, we moved into my parents house. We were grateful that they were willing to take us in, but we wanted to be on our own so bad. Rent had been changed since the last time we rented, and we couldn't afford it at the time. We were going through a job change. I had depression. We had a lot of family things going on and a lot of those things were very frustrating to me. I didn't feel like I was making progress. I didn't feel like a good mom. I felt continually judged. I wasn't me. When I was thinking about it one day, I realized I hadn't been running in quiet some time. So I loaded J up in my running stroller, and I headed out. My goal was a slow 3 miles. I made it barely a mile and I was dying. I started feeling discouraged and complaining to Trevon when he had to stop me to remind me that A: I hadn't been running in a really long time and B: running with a stroller was completely different than running alone (not to mention I had just had a baby). It wasn't long after that, that Trevon found a work out that he wanted to do. It required 3 running days a week and it promised to help cut your 5k time down in 70 days. When he told me about it, I decided to join in.  Since then, I have always bounced back from a break fairly easy. I've taken a break durning the end of my pregnancies, and for a while after having my babies. Here's a few ways to make coming back off of a running break (or starting for the first time) easier.

1. Set a goal. Set a reachable goal for yourself and tell someone about it. When we let people in on our goals, we are much more likely to achieve them. Sign up for a race or set a goal to run for 20 minutes without stopping. It doesn't matter how far you can make it in that time frame, just as long as you keep moving for 20 minutes. If 20 minutes seems like too much for you, that's ok. Pick a number you're comfortable with and stick with it. Once you reach that goal, set another one.

2. Find a running buddy. This little tip has been one of the most effective ways for me to get going again. I do much better to get a run in, when I know someone else is counting on me to be there too. Plus it makes running more fun when you have someone to chat with during it. Your running buddies become some of your best friends.  They also become some of your best cheerleaders.

3. Mix things up. Sometimes when we are starting back up with our running, it can be slow going and you can get bored. Don't just go jump on a treadmill and keep it at the same speed every day. Change up your workout. Add some strength training, do some speed, cross train a little bit. Find other ways that you enjoy exercising and do them.

4. Take a challenge or start a program. I've done a few different challenges/programs, some of them I liked more than others.  One time I wanted to be better at push ups, so I did the 100 push up challenge and it was supper effective in the push up area. It didn't help a ton with running, but it was still fun. I've also done Insanity and Tabata which both helped with cardio in general and I've done the TSC Heart of a Champion program. While I don't agree with everything that Chris Kruger says, the workout part of this program did help cut some of the time off my 5K.

5. Prep the night before. This helps a lot if you're working on being a morning runner. If you set your clothes, shoes, keys...everything you're going to need out the night before. It's going to be easier to get out of bed and go in the morning. I do this with every morning work out I do. That way my mind is already planning on going out, I don't have to spend any time finding my gear. I just go change and head out the door. I also have my run planned so I don't have to worry about deciding how far I want to go or what route I want to take.

It doesn't have to be hard to start exercising again after a break. The hardest part is deciding that you really want to do it. Then taking the first step out the door.

What's the longest break you've taken from exercise?

Do you have any favorite workout challenges?