Need Some New Year’s Inspiration?

I’ve long-held the belief that just because your friend/spouse/parent loves to run/swim/play basketball/go hiking/lift weights, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your thing.

I’ve also long-held the belief that there is some form of exercise for everyone.

And here’s the beautiful part: your figuring out what you love to do and how your body wants to move is a wonderful journey.

Some people know instinctively that they love to play team sports.  Others might try a pick-up game of soccer and find out that they really enjoy the quiet of the golf course.  You may also try spinning for a year or a two, and then decide that a pilates class will challenge you in a new and different way.  There is no one path.

The only rule is that you do something that feels good and makes you feel confident in your body.  If you get to the point that you feel ‘off’ when you miss a workout, you’re on the right track!

When you find your fitness groove, it’s like magic.  For some people, it creates a lifetime habit of movement, flexibility, balance, and grace.  And sometimes it comes together most unexpectedly.

Here’s to finding your fitness groove in 2016.  May it be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Good health and great happiness to you!

Comrades Update: Phase II Planning

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Of all the differing opinions about how to best prepare for Comrades, there is one piece of advice that everyone seems to believe: Comrades training begins on January 1st.  Popular opinion also says that training should include at least 1000KMs (620 miles) between January and May.

Comrades offers a training plan written by their official coach Lindsey Parry.  There are options for every goal finish, as different medals are awarded for different finish times.  From what I deduce, this plan will get you to the start line without an overuse injury and will prepare you to finish.  It relies on the strategy of double-blocking long runs on the weekends pretty much every weekend January-May.  Nearly every run is to be done at a slow pace.

There is another popular free training plan written by Norrie Williamson and sponsored by Old Mutual.  This program has more speedwork included, both in the form of tempo runs, intervals, and hill work.  There is more variation in pace for different runs, although the majority of the training is not surprisingly long,
slow distance.

I was surprised that neither training plan takes runners past 50KM in the build up to Comrades.  In my mind, that seems not far enough, as it leaves (nearly) a full marathon between the longest long run and Comrades itself.  I think the logic is that it is better to be underprepared than overtrained (and injured).

Neither training program specifies strength training, although most coaches and Comrades runners profess that strength work is non-negotiable for the Down Run.

So with these two training plans and the seven decades of collective running experience– and a little bit of hubris– between us, my dad and I spent some time over his visit at Christmas to devise our game plan.  We looked at both the Old Mutual plan  and the “official” plan.  We looked at our calendars to determine what races we’d like to use as supported training runs.  We noted when we’d both be in the same city so that we could plan a long training run together.

We decided on three races to enter so we can practice our race day pacing and fueling: Waco Miracle Match Marathon 50K at the end of January, Ft. Worth’s Cowtown 50K at the end of Feburary, and the North Texas Trail Runners Grasslands 26.2 in mid-March.  We won’t be racing at any of these events; rather, they are long runs that will offer some of the excitement of race day and break up the monotony of solo long runs.

We will also be hosting a DIY 40-miler at the end of April.  Using a super hilly 4.5 mile loop that starts and finishes at my house, I’m planning on running 8 full laps plus a final 4-mile loop to knock out a 40 miler as my penultimate long run before Comrades.  I plan on enlisting the support of my running friends to join me for a loop (or more) as I get nine hours on my legs.  Stay tuned for more info about how you can come join me!

All in all, my training plan will bring me to about 880 miles if I run the four-days-a-week as planned. That gives me wiggle room to hit my 1000KM in case I get sick or injured or just need a mental break one week.

In addition to the running, I’ll ride my FitDesk bike one day a week.  I have one day of yoga-for-runners and two days of strength training built into my plan.  I have one day of full rest each week.  All in all, it seems like a lot of work but in a very manageable way.

I’m going to chew the elephant one bite at a time.

If you’re interested in seeing the excel spreadsheet that details my training plan, leave a note in the comments.  I’d be happy to email it to you.

 

 

 

 

Polar Bear Plunge 2016

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I am a water person.  I am a water person through and through.  I love teaching swim lessons.  I love teaching aqua yoga.  I love taking a break from the summer heat and running in the pool.  Water simply makes me happy.

That said, one of my mottos is: Life’s too short to swim in cold water.

I am a wimp.  I seriously dislike being cold.  And because I love water so much, being in cold water is especially unpleasant.  I just don’t do it.

Let me put it to you this way: I haven’t swum in the Austin landmark Barton Springs Pool in over ten years because the water is too cold for me.  It’s a cool 64 degrees year-round thanks to the natural spring that fills the pool.  Even when we have out-of-town guests who want to visit this Austin gem, I tell them I’m happy to take them, but there’s no way I’m getting in.

However, I am all about facing my fears.  I am all about teaching my kids that just because you’re a little bit scared of being uncomfortable, you shouldn’t let your limiting thoughts prevent you from having fun.  I’m all about identifying my goals and then going about and smashing them.

In the last days of December, I asked my family if they wanted to join me for the 2016 Polar Bear Plunge at Barton Springs Pool.  The community event supports the Save Our Springs Alliance, a non-profit which works to keep the local ecosystem in balance.  A good cause, right?!

My husband and oldest son had no interest in taking the plunge– “Are you nuts?” they asked.  But they wanted to go along, and they served as our Official Event Photographers.  (Hey, everyone has a role to play in this life.  Find one that makes you happy.)

My middle kid– aka The Monkey– was ALL IN.  This is exactly his kind of thing.

The Stowaway will do anything The Monkey wants to do.

So we packed up and headed to the pool on New Year’s morning.  It was a cool 47 degrees outside.  (That’s cold for us Texans.)  Bring it on!

Once we arrived and The Stowaway felt how cold it was outside, she started having doubts.  “I don’t want to jump in,” she said.

“Let’s just take a picture, and then we’ll see,” I told her.

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“I can do it!”

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We lined up, toes on the edge, and counted 1-2-3 JUMP!

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Wheeeeeeee!

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And we did it!

 

In the end, it was all smiles:

 

Here’s my advice for 2016:

When you’re a little scared, hold hands with someone you trust, take a deep breath, and then jump on in.  You’ll love it!

Good health and great happiness to you!

 

 

 

 

Five “Wins” from 2015

Goodbye, 2015!Thanks for the memories!

One of the best parts of blogging is that I have an easy way to review my year.  I can’t say that 2015 was my greatest year ever, but there are definitely things I’ve learned this year.

5. I earned my certification as a Third Age Woman educator.  As someone who is in the beginning of the peri-menopausal phase of life, this course was educational for both personal and professional reasons.  In addition to confidently helping perimenopausal women in person, I’m busy developing an online course to help other women develop strategies to balance fitness, hormones, and the priorities of life in their 40s and 50s.  Subscribe to my newsletter if you’d like to know when it launches!

4. I’ve undertaken the longest training cycle in my nearly 30 years as a runner.  In June 2015 I started prepping for a 5K on July 4th.  That was the beginning of a training cycle that will peak (hopefully!) on May 29, 2016 in Durban, South Africa at the finish line of Comrades Marathon.  I’ve had a busy fall of training and racing.  The end of 2015 marks the halfway point– stay tuned for what’s coming to get me ready to toe the line in Pietermaritzburg in just under five months.  (You can click on the Comrades tag on the right ————> to find all the blog posts about this adventure!)

3. I made my first attempt at blog post series this year.  The first series was about aqua yoga— I absolutely LOVE aqua yoga, but since I can’t be with all of you poolside, sharing the highlights of this practice was the next best thing.  I also ran a video blog series about How to Do A Pull Up. Looking for an achievable fitness milestone?  Follow the videos and feel the confidence that comes with the strength and coordination of doing a pull up.

2. Even as my business grew this year, reaching more personal training clients and swimmers than ever, I was able to balance work and family.  From the ways kids can help me see the world in different ways to how having older kids is really fun to the occasional night out as a family of five, I’ve enjoyed sharing the stories of my family with you.

1. I earned my certification as a Prenatal Kriya Yoga instructor.  This is a bit of an ironic highlight to my year, as I don’t really teach prenatal yoga very often. However, the certification process was a fantastic education in yoga, and the summation retreat in California was one of the best few days of my whole year.  It was a great reminder that when business growth and personal growth can happen simultaneously, I’m one lucky gal.

Hope your 2015 had some meaningful wins for you.

Here’s to good health and great happiness in 2016!

 

Congratulations to Robyn— she’s the winner of the Leonie Dawson 2016 Shining Life Workbook and wall calendar.  

You didn’t win?  BOO!!!

You can still order a Shining Life workbook or planner for yourself — order a .pdf version, and start filling it out right away!  Go make a great life!

Comrades Update: Enjoying Rest

It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since my disappointing Comrades qualifier at the Dallas Marathon.  As was the plan I set out several months ago, I’ve been taking it easy on the running front.  This break from long workouts was perfectly timed, what with Christmas and three young kids out of school and a husband on a business trip and visiting parents and all.

After the marathon, I took off five full days from running.  I enjoyed a massage and some epsom salt baths.  I spent a little more time than normal doing yoga and stretching.  I tried to keep myself well hydrated and get extra sleep.  I didn’t really feel like my body needed much recovery from the marathon, but my mind sure did welcome the break.

On the Saturday after the race, I took my two younger kids to a nearby park.  While they played a game of pick-up soccer, I got in an easy 30 minute run with zero aches or complaints.  It felt great to have recovered so quickly.

In the ten days since, I’ve gone for a few more easy runs.  I’m running when I feel like it, as fast or slow as my body feels like going.  Right now, it’s just about enjoying the feeling of each step.

Perhaps my best Christmas gift this year was going out for a very hilly 4.5 mile (7K) run with my dad, my husband, and our two sons.  It wasn’t fast, but it was a great family effort.  To give my kids the same gift of running that my dad gave me is one of my great joys of motherhood.

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GIVEAWAY: Look Back to Get Ahead

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The end of the year always heightens my need for personal retreat time.  It is time to pause, step back, and look objectively at my work-life balance. It is useful and beneficial to get quiet and clear about what my intention is with my work.   It is imperative for me to pause, do a body scan, and make sure that I’m treating my own body well.   It is important to reflect on how I’ve used my creative talents and served my greater community.

Before you go thinking that I’m going to tell you to wander through the woods or take a spa weekend, let me be clear: a personal retreat does not have to be extravagant or expensive.

For me, personal retreat time does usually mean nature.  I have a park near my home where I like to go hiking, and it is during these quiet solo hikes that I can think clearly.  But sometimes it means simply locking myself in my bedroom in my PJs and slippers and taking some quiet time.  I think about the parts of my business that are working well and the parts that are chafing.  But most importantly I think about how I feel towards my work.  Is it still feeding me?  Am I still giving my clients my best self?  Does my family suffer because of my work?  I love to have time to free-associate and think of all the ways my work and life are flowing– and clogging.

But just as important as time for reflection is time for planning.  After all, if we don’t use the reflection for growth, it just becomes sappy nostalgia.

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I know I benefit from both the mental wave-riding of free thinking about my year as well as a more structured, guided reflection.  I have used the Leonie Dawson Shining Life workbooks for several years with great enjoyment.  They never fail to challenge me, even as I’m encouraged by all that is going well in my life.

I so believe in the power of reflection and planning to help you achieve your goals that I’m giving away a 2016 SHINING LIFE WORKBOOK.  I know that it will help you take stock of where you are now and map out where you’d like to be this time next year.  It’s not just for entrepreneurs, either– anyone can benefit from Leonie’s colorful, engaging, creative, and soul-stirring prompts.

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As someone who promotes balance and wellness in all that I do, I want you to experience how good it feels to know where you are right now and know that you can get where you want to be.

It may feel luxurious to indulge in navel gazing, or it may feel like a waste of time.  Either way, it will be worth it.  If you can use what you have learned this year to plot out how you want to grow in 2016, you’re already bringing balance into your life.

If you just can’t wait to get started on this work (I know am the type!), use the button on the right ————> to order your own Shining Life or Shining Biz Workbook right now.  You can buy a .pdf copy of the workbook that will be sent to your inbox for you to start TODAY!

Well done, You!

GIVEAWAY:

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If you would like to be entered into the drawing for a Leonie Dawson 2016 SHINING LIFE WORKBOOK & WALL CALENDAR, leave me a comment that tells me one thing you learned in 2015 and one goal you have for 2016.

I’ll draw the winner at random at 10am Central time, Tuesday, 29th December, 2015.  The workbook & calendar will be mailed to the winner that day.

3 Last-Minute Gifts That Won’t Break the Bank

To say that I’m a frequent user of Amazon Prime is an understatement.  We could, apparently, make a Christmas tree out of boxes that have arrived on my doorstep recently.

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If you’re struggling to find a gift for that active person on your Christmas list, it’s not too late for Amazon Prime to come to the rescue.  Today I want to recommend three budget-friendly items that I have bought and used myself that I recommend regularly to others.

My favorite socks

I’ve worn DeFeet socks for running for at least 20 years.  I like their thin profile, and I LOVE their fun designs.  I still race in Texas flag DeFeets, just like I did when I was a homesick Texan living in Boston in the late 1990s.

But my favorite socks for gifting are the smiley face socks.  I mean, really….how can you have a bad workout if your socks are smiling?  Impossible!

I love to gift these socks to my personal training clients as they reach their goals.  Hooray for smiley socks!

My favorite strength training book

Like many runners, I’m terrible about making time for strength training.  But this book has a program that’s so easy to follow (click here for full blog review) that there’s no excuse not to do it.

If you know a runner who is reluctant to begin strength training either because she doesn’t know what to do or because she feels like it will take too much time, this is the book they need!

My favorite yoga mat

It’s thick.  It’s cushy.  It’s not slippery.  All of these things is important if you’re trying to progress your practice, particularly doing balancing postures or work on hands and knees.

It has a handy carrying strap.  It comes in cool colors.  It’s affordable.

It’s pretty much perfect.

Go forth and give gifts!  And may you receive health and happiness in return!

The links included in this post are affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase an item through these links, I receive a small referral fee.