September Recap

September is one of my favorite months. September is when summer winds down and, fall begins. It is hot and cool, fun and cozy, a time to get in your final hoorah of summer while pulling out your fall sweaters too. This was a great month for me because it was my last month training for the Chicago marathon! The race right around the corner (October 7th!). So, how did I do with my goals?

  1. Stay healthy in the last build up for the Chicago Marathon
    1. Very excited that this goal was accomplished. I did a lot of injury prevention and stayed on top of my hydration and nutrition this month and, it paid off! No injuries and all good to go for the marathon!
  2. Smoothly execute double workouts before my taper
    1. Yesssss. My three weeks of doubles was a little easier than it was last year when I tried the same approach. I actually really like running in the morning but, I don’t like doing my hardest workouts in the morning. Getting out the door at 5am to run 5-ish miles for three weeks was such a great way to get my thoughts untangled before the day even started. Plus, I caught some awesome sunrises over the Pittsburgh Rivers!
  3. Eight Pull-ups!
    1. 10 is the goal but, I can happily say that I did 8 straight pull-ups in the first week of September. It was hard. Like, really hard. But I am excited to start lifting again after my marathon and try to aim for 9 and 10!

How was September for you? What goals are you setting for the last three months of 2018?

Happy Running,

❤ A

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Training while Traveling for Work

It can take a lot of planning to figure out what your training will look like during a travel week for work. With all-day conferences, presentations, endless meetings, and long nights at dinner trying to be social with coworkers and clients, here is the best advice I can give you: be flexible.

This week, I left for a week in Minneapolis on Monday after work. My trip back to Pittsburgh was not until Thursday evening (tonight!). In fact, I am writing this post from the St. Paul airport! I am lucky that it is my taper week but, taper doesn’t mean no running at all – it just means less running. I packed three running outfits and, after seeing that the temperatures in Minneapolis would be in the 50’s I was pretty excited to get some runs in. Here are my top 5 must do’s before traveling during training:

  1. Scope out the area that you will be in, for sidewalks that you can run on, trails that are within easy access, a local track, etc. Hotel concierges are great resources, as is the Instagram running community! 🙂
  2. Plan for the temperature! Make sure you know what to expect temperature wise. The last thing you want is to be over or under-dressed for a run!
  3. Make sure you know if there is a fitness center and, what’s in it. If you need to lift weights or, do a treadmill workout, it is really nice to know if there is a fitness center at your hotel or, your site for work!
  4. Plan for the chance of missing workouts. When traveling, there is always chance that meetings will run late, happy hours will go too long, etc. Be prepared and have a plan for how you will navigate through the social barriers that present themselves. Try to get your workouts in first thing in the morning, to avoid awkward situations!

Happy running everyone!

❤ A

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Current Favorite Foods

Summer eating is by far my very favorite! The abundance of fresh fruit is incomparable to any other season. With September rolling in and, hints of fall in the air, I am holding on to the flavors of summer for as long as I possibly can. Here are some of my current favorite foods:


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Bell Peppers

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Homemade Trail Mix

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Fresh Mozzarella

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Soba Noodles

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Yum! What’s on your plate these days?

Happy Running,

❤ A

Confidence and Running

Having confidence as a runner goes much farther than how many miles you are logging a week, what pace you keep on your workouts and, how fast you can finish a marathon. Confidence in your running must be developed over the course of your time spent as a runner. And, if you are open to the idea of learning from your mistakes and owning up to who you truly are, you can find confidence. What I am trying to say is that confidence comes from within you. For me, running gives me confidence. I am confident because I run. I am not a runner because I am confident. Here is an example of how the progression of my confidence levels have grown the longer I have been a runner.

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In the first two years of high school, I would start getting the jitters the day before a meet. On the day of the meet, the butterflies in my tummy would be so bad, I thought I would be sick. As the bus rolled out of my high school driveway and to the site of the course or track, I would calm myself down enough to eat a lunch and pray. Warming up with my team always helped get me a little more relaxed. I think that as a young runner, I ran very tense because I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in my abilities.

For the last two years of high school, a few things changed. I switched schools and wanted to prove that I could contribute to the cross country and track team there. I had figured out that I was in control of my efforts and, I started putting more thought into how I could actively play a role in my improvements. It worked, and I became less and less nervous before races.

In college, the jitters came back but, I was lucky enough to have joined a strong team that was very supportive. There was not a lot of room for any demons to pour doubt into my mind. My confidence grew as a college runner because of the environment I put myself in, the belief I had in my team and, the guidance of great coaches.

As a post-college runner, I have actively made the decision to continue competing to the best of my ability. I do not get very nervous anymore (or, at all). Despite not having a team, I have found a lot of support in the community around me, my training partner, my coach, and the city as a whole. As an adult, my confidence stems from the belief that I can create all the positive energy I need, to be successful and happy. Running enhances that belief.

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Here are three ways that you can boost your confidence as a runner:

  1. Find the best way to remove self-doubt from your mental thoughts. Whatever works for you, practice that, every single day.
  2. Surround yourself with people who emanate something you want to see in yourself, and who support you in your journey.
  3. Hold your chin up. Yes, literally hold your chin up. Look up! Smile! Even if it is fake….if you do it long enough and start to believe that you are a confident person, you will become more confident.

Happy Running, everyone!

❤ A

September Goals

I literally cannot believe that September is here! My goals are very marathon based and, I am so excited about that!

  1. Stay healthy in the last build up for the Chicago Marathon
    1. No injuries, stay well fed and hydrated, start mentally preparing, etc. Running is very holistic!
  2. Smoothly execute double workouts before my taper
    1. I started doubles in August – it is exhausting but I love the thrill of it! I want to get through a strong month of doubles with no injuries! I have done it before, I can do it again!
  3. Eight Pull-ups!
    1. 10 is an overall 2018 goal…I successfully got to 7 in the month of August. Time to step it up and attempt eight in September!

What are your goals this month? Are you staying on track with your 2018 resolutions? Now is a great time to check back in!

Happy Running!

❤ A

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Hill Training

But Coach…..I am running a flat race. Why do I need to do hill training?! I have heard this exact sentence from track runners and marathon runners of many abilities. You signed up for a flat race. It is 18 weeks away. Your coach has incorporated hills into your training….but, your race has no hills! You even studied the elevation map on the racer website to make sure. But, the hill workouts aren’t going away. And, you hate hills! So, why do them?

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Great question, runners! Let’s be clear here: I do not hate hills. I do not live in a flat city. I run races that incorporate hills and flat terrain. I am racing a very flat marathon in 12 weeks. I am currently doing hill training.

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Why do we train on hills when our races are flat?

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Because to become strong, you have to challenge your body through a stimulus that will make it work harder than it needs to on race day. A cross-country runner practices hills to become more efficient at hills because they are an inevitable part of their racing environment. A road racer may choose a flat race but will still train on hills in order to teach his body how to do something efficiently, even when he does not need to perform that activity in his performance. Hills are a part of endurance training and, should not be avoided. There are multiple variations of hill workouts, all with different purposes for different runners. Powering through a few hill repeats a week during your “flat-marathon” training will prepare your body in a versatile way for your race. How? By forcing you to use muscles that you are not using when you run on flat terrain.

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The next time you have a hill workout, embrace it! Hills really do make you stronger. They may never get easier but, they will make you faster.

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A little humor and, a little truth. 🙂

Happy running,

❤ A


Work/Workout Balance

Maintaining a work/workout balance is extremely delicate and requires a lot of planning. While I do not have a family to balance into work, training, and life, I can only imagine how much support and flexibility you need. I have the utmost respect for those balancing marriages, children, training, work, and the rest of life too. Because I can only speak to my own experiences, I am going to share the greatest lessons I have learned about meshing your professional work with your athletic passions (for those of us whose passion cannot become our professional work). First of all, let me start by saying that I 100% believe that you can have multiple passions in life. The work you do on a daily basis says a lot about you, the things you care about, and the ways that you want to make a difference in this world. It is okay to have more than one passion! And, it is okay to change your passion! I love the work that I do, the subjects I have studied in school, and the learning opportunities that I am presented with at my job. At the same time, I am crazy passionate about running marathons (actually, just running in general), training, and overall wellness. Balancing those two worlds is not always easy but, here is what I have learned along the way.

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Talk About It

I talk about running at work, all the time. In fact, I have my Boston Bib hanging above my desk and love answering people’s questions about it. My favorite to date is, “where did you buy that Boston Bib?”. Haha, I had to break it to my co-worker that you actually have to qualify for the Boston marathon, to get a bib. I keep a foam roller and massage ball under my desk for my afternoon stretching sessions and, nonchalantly take over the middle of our collaborative office space to foam roll and do foot exercises. Everybody around me knows that I am a runner. It is part of who I am and, there is no need to hide it. I am proud of the fact! When others know about your passions, they will be curious to learn more themselves and, they will respect your out-of-the-office endeavors.

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Set Your Bottom Line

If you are following a strict training plan or, any training plan, make sure that you schedule the time to run/lift/cross train, or whatever else you need to do, to get those sessions in. I am lucky to have learned this in college.: training is not something you do when you have time. It is simply something you do. When you set your bottom line as to when you will be training, those around you in the workplace will respect that and, will value your time more. Of course, there will always be exceptions to this rule, like when big projects or long meetings keep you behind but, like anything frequency is more important than intensity. Show the frequency of your efforts, and they will be honored. Literally, put it on your calendar.

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Honor the System

There are two systems, here (in no order). First, is the system at your place of work. It is really important to pick up on organizational culture cues and, to follow those as best as you can, especially when you are new. I made sure that the first two weeks of my training were really light while I got settled into a new job. The second system is your training system. How many times a day do you need to workout? How many days a week? At what time? Taking a look at your work system and your training system can help you line the two up. The longer you are at your job, the better you will become at figuring out what works best for you. Because of my type A personality, one of the first things that I do when I take on a new endeavor such as a new job, is create a table to show what each hour of my day is dedicated to. This helps me figure out the most reasonable times to get my training in. I recently started a salary job, which means that I have the flexibility to control my working schedule more than I did before. This has opened up a lot of time for me to get morning sessions in, and to work from home when needed.

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At the end of the day, it is important that can answer the most important question, which is WHY? Why are you at a particular job? Why is your training important to you? Why do you want to balance the two? Why? If you can answer that, you will undoubtedly find a way to organize your life around these two facets, or even more. And, to keep your mental sanity in the process.

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Happy Running,

❤ A

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