Tip 3 of 10 for a Better Running Routine: Unclench The Claw

July 27th, 2009

The Claw at Dreamworld
Photo Credit: Now I’m Always Smiling

Tip 3: Unclench The Claw!

This sounds freaky, but it’s really true. I bet you are just like me in this way, too. Having a run hanging over your head can stress you out, can’t it? It can for me. Just knowing that I want to run 4 times this week, and really get in nice, meaningful runs, can cause a bit of a pang in my stomach, and a clench in my hands. I somehow develop the, you guessed it, CLAW!¬† (Now, this isn’t to be confused with the Mommy Monster Claw that I use to chase my kids around the house, just like I always stop them from doing on their own, with my hands in the air poised to tickle them into fits of giggles.) This tension-filled, OMG I-have-to-run-and-get-this-over-with-Claw is more of a symptom of the wrong attitude I sometimes fall into regarding my running altogether.¬† Stressing about getting the run “in” is in direct conflict with the peace and tranquility one is meant to find from the run itself. Is this true for you, too?

In many ways, getting into a better running routine for me comes down to a few basic things. It’s not really all about being goal-oriented or serious about running or needing to train or get into shape. For me, sometimes, it’s simply about chilling out and remembering that at the end of any given day, I am a happier me if I go for a run. I’m a better me once I’ve finished a run. I listen better. I laugh easier. I’m more patient. I have better ideas. I can stay awake later. I can even wake up in the morning quicker! And all I have to do is run to have all these benefits! So what’s with The Claw?

Unclench The Claw. Chill. Take a deep breath. Enjoy the idea that you are going to be a better you after you run. And then, tada! You will go and put on those shoes and hit the road. Done deal.

May your next run be a good one.


Tip 2 Of 10 For A Better Running Routine: Finish Strong

July 19th, 2009

Tip Two: Finish strong.
When you finish a run, do you sometimes feel so exhausted that by the end you’re just happy to be done running? Does your pace become an afterthought because you feel so exhausted? Then this tip is definately for you. Try visualizing a finish line, like this one, and quicken your stride. It doesn’t matter if you finish at any certain pace. What matters more is that you feel like you’re giving an extra effort for that last quarter of a mile to the finish. Why? This is where you can build your endurance, gain greater speed and psychologically overcome the feeling of exhaustion. By finishing strong, you actually push through the toughest part of the run with intensity, thereby allowing yourself to bring more intensity to your next run. Best part of this trick is that once you’ve finished the run, you can feel certain that the next time you run you won’t feel that tired. You’ll have made yourself just a little stronger, confident and fit.

Yesterday, my friend and I ran together and as we approached our finish we picked up the pace to finish strong, like we always do. Today I can feel a little soreness from that stride in. And I love it. The strength I gained from just that stride, that extra effort, is something I’ll actually bring to that same run when I go back to it this week, and I’ll finish even stronger and with more speed. It’s not just a perceived benefit. It’s a tangible benefit. Try it and you’ll see what I mean. I bet you’ll love it, too.

May your next run be a good one.

Tip 1 of 10 For A Better Running Routine: Buy the Shoes Tomorrow! Run Today!

July 18th, 2009

New running shoes complete with Nike + iPod sensor

So yes, here’s the first in a series of Top 10 Tips For A Better Running Routine. They are designed for the psycho runner who can find any reason in the world to keep her from hitting the road! So get ready! If you’re used to putting running on hold for a variety of reasons, these next few posts will challenge you to knock it off and commit to a consistent running routine!


Tip 1: Buy New Shoes Tomorrow - Run In The Old Ones Today!
Some days I put off running just because I start to think that I need new shoes and I’ll get into a better routine once I buy those new shoes. You too? Well, here’s the challenging thought: buy the new shoes tomorrow. But get off your behind and run in the old ones today. It’s that simple. One more run in the old shoes is not going to make a big difference. Make the plan to buy the new shoes. Commit to run in the old ones until you get the new ones. May sound obvious, but if you’re like me, it may mean getting in a few more runs, and a few more days of fitness, vs. allowing yourself to languish in the days of no running and therefore lack of fitness benefits.

This morning (I’m all about running in the morning these days) I ran in my old shoes. I’m convinced I need new ones. I haven’t purchased the new shoes. But I have been tricking myself into thinking that my running routine and the new shoes are related. I had hoped to buy the new shoes this week. But factors kept me from researching the shoes I think I need, locating them and hence buying them. See how it works? Do you ever do this?

It took a bit of psycho babbling in my head to get me to simply make the list that includes all three of those time-consuming tasks and realize that I may not get those new shoes for a couple of weeks. I’m not sure which ones I want to get. I cannot afford another pair of shoes that creates discomfort in my foot or knee. I need high-arched, stabalizing running sneakers. This might take a little time on my part researching, trying on shoes and talking to friends whose feet are like mine. So fine. I may not get those shoes for another week.

But I’m still going to run. I cannot afford to wait for the new shoes.

Deal? Now get out there and get that run in! You go!


May your next run be a good one.

3 Ways I’ll Be Your BFF!

July 15th, 2009

another bracelet!

Just like they say on iTwixie.com, let’s be BFFs!

I promise, as your BFF, to:
1. Always share chocolate cake if you have leftovers on your countertop
2. Make sure I’m in bed by 11:30pm, so I can wake up early enough to run with you or to let you know that I did, so you’ll feel motivated to do the same
3. Try and run in the morning, at least 3 days a week, so that on those days I will be chipper all day long and I’ll even try to get you to run with me

That’s the kind of stuff a great BFF will do. I promise I’ll always be your BFF!

May your next run be a good one.

Absolute Clarity.

July 10th, 2009

Clarity in Photoshop free action

It’s clear to me.
I need to run every morning or it’s just not going to happen.


May your next run be a good one.


Why run?

July 3rd, 2009

Keep Going

Photo Credit: rightee

My new friend, Jill, reminded me that running is not about beating people, achieving a certain time or even about winning a given race. Running is really all about besting that terrible inner voice that tells you to quit.

Here’s to besting that voice every day. Here’s to “keep going.”

Happy 4th of July.

May your next run be a good one.

It’s A Tiny World!

July 1st, 2009

Small World Liverpool2

I’m often reminded that we live in a tiny world. With the launch of iTwixie.com, I’m getting the rare opportunity to hear from girls all over the globe. It’s amazing to me that regardless of culture, many of these girls struggle with many similar themes. And yet, doesn’t it make sense? If you’re a girl 8-14, aren’t you just bursting with enthusisam, curiosity and the wish to be who you feel you really are deep down inside? And as you find yourself experiencing all kinds of new things, aren’t you realizing yourself that there is even more to you than you thought?

Do you remember what it was like to be a tween?

I started to run when I was a tween. I thought running would help me look a certain way. But over time running became my escape. A pressure release. My challenge. Time alone. A moment of clarity. And at the end of every run I felt that everything was really a lot better than before I had gone on that run.

Thing is, today, our global society puts more pressure on our tween girls than ever. But we don’t have to. We can join forces and foster the development of tween girls no matter where they live. We can help tween girls identify tools for identifying their moments of clarity. Escape. Release. Challenge. We can help them see the world around them in a better light.

iTwixie.com. Join the revolution. Because it is a small world and together we can change it!

May your next run be a good one!

1 Thing To Do When You Run Hills!

June 18th, 2009

IMG_0432 - "GO!" - Running up that Hill #3

Photo Credit: OldOnliner

Most people hate running hills. I love it. Know why? Because a friend of mine took a running class with the NYRRC (New York Road Runners Club) and she shared with me this excellent tip: it’s the one thing you must do when you’re running hills that will make all the difference for you every time!

Best part? It’s so easy!
As you start up your next hill, pretend you’re holding potato chips between your thumb and middle fingers which you cannot break. These potato chips aren’t the crunchy, kettle chips either. These potato chips are the flimsy, fragile Lay’s Brand potato chips that will crack the minute you hold your fingers together too tightly.

Try it. You will never hate hills again. Ok. Well at least you’ll never approach a hill the same again.

Here’s why: when you’re pretending to hold that chip, you’re also forcing yourself to keep a light touch about your fingers; your hands; your arm; your shoulders. The tenseness that often comes during a part of a run that runners hate — which often results in a tensing of the shoulders, especially in women runners — just won’t happen to you while you’re running up that hill. Sure the challenge will remain the same. But your experience of this challenge will change dramatically. Promise.

Just don’t break those chips!

May your next run be a good one.



June 16th, 2009

Finish LIne

Photo Credit: Cole24

Look at that.
Read this.
Then go for your interval run!

You don’t always have to be in the lead…
If you have the heart to come from behind.
Don’t give up hope, don’t doubt yourself,
And a new strength is what you’ll find.
The spirit of competition, the desire to succeed
will always be important for life.
So give your all, everything you’ve got,
No matter the occasion, through pain and strife.
So step up to the plate, enter the race,
Never be afraid to take your turn.
Because winners are people who just never quit,
And this is a life lesson we all will learn.
©Melissa Underwood

May your next run be a good one.

5 Great Runs This Week!

June 15th, 2009

Freihofer's Run for Women

Photo Credit: pillotgirl

Check out the runners in this picture. It’s a great shot of the Freihofer’s Run for Women. Aren’t they inspiring? Let them get you psyched for a week of running! Get off your couch and plan to join me for these 5 days of running this week.

It’s easy! Just plan to go out for these 5 great runs with me. Check in and let me know how you did!

(Remember, before you ever start a new fitness routine, it’s always good to check in with your physician to make sure it’s right for you.)

5. An easy 30 minutes. For this run, just go out and run for about 30 minutes without worrying about your pace. The idea for this run is to loosen up after the weekend and get your breathing in check.

4. Intervals! Break up your course in 4 sections. For me, I’m going to for 40 minutes for this run. You should plan to run a distance you know you can cover, but that you can really deliver some speed, too, and that you can easily break up into 4 intervals.

Interval 1: easy
Interval 2: slightly faster
Interval 3: race pace
Interval 4: easy

This run will challenge your muscles, your breathing, and of course, your endurance. Make sure your “easy” intervals do not become a walk and that your form does not break down. If you feel like you need to walk, then you probably are running too fast during the quicker intervals, so make sure you don’t overdo it.

And make sure that your “slightly faster” interval doesn’t become your race pace. This is a nice drill on controlling your pace and identifying “faster” vs. “race.” So if you realize you’re not nailing the right pace, know that we all do this. It’s part of what this run is designed to teach you!

3. An easy 20 minutes. For this run, just go out and run for about 20 minutes without worrying about your pace. The idea for this run is to loosen up after the interval run.

2. Hills! Find a course near you with 3 nice hills. If you live in a flat area of the country, then consider a treadmill that allows you can alter the incline. Hill running is an incredible help for fitness, endurance and strength. I’m going to plan on a nice 5-mile run with about 7 hills. They are rolling hills, so I won’t have to worry about training for them. Remember to always use your arms on the uphill, and to be sure not to land on your forefoot on the downhill. Form on the downhill is important so you don’t get hurt.

1. An easy 20 minutes. For this run, just go out and run for about 20 minutes, but this time, give yourself a nice “stride” in the middle of it. You will feel able to run faster, so enjoy a nice 4 minutes or so with an increased pace. But make yourself stay loose and at an easy pace for the majority of it. The idea for this run is to loosen up after the week of running.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

May your next run be a good one.