Sleep for a Healthy Body

 

Sleep is a good thing.   Lack of sleep, is not.

One of the most common reasons I’m given by people who miss boot-camp on any given day is that they have been having sleep difficulty.  Sure, I know that they could be feeding me a line, but hey, I’m an optimist 🙂

I suffer from sleep problems off and on.  Sometimes I wake up after a few hours and am up until 2:00am before being able to fall back asleep.  Or I can’t fall asleep until after midnight.  Sometimes I wake up at 3:00am and my brain goes into hyperdrive and I’m up.  I try to take naps if I can in the afternoon to play catch up.   And then there’s coffee.  Always coffee.  I put a hard stop on coffee after 4:30pm so it’s not a caffeine-thing.  In case you were wondering.

While I’m not a big fan of sleep aids I have taken slow-release Melatonin which has worked and also a homeopathic remedy, but I have to remember to take it early.  I won’t take anything after 9:00pm because I worry that when the alarm goes off at 4:00am it will feel like a truck hit me.  Those boot-camp classes are hard to teach with sleep meds coursing through your veins.

I think I’ve shared that I often do my meditating at night.  To help me unwind enough to sleep I look for those that focus on relaxation, calming or has “melting” in the description.    I lay down, open the podcast and off I go.  Sometimes I doze off  and when it’s over I either turn it off and fall asleep or sometimes the episodes keep rolling.  But even if I wake up to turn off the podcast, I’m able to use the techniques to quickly fall back asleep.  If I wake up at any time during the night, I use the visualization to get back to sleep.  My favorite guided meditation podcast is Meditation Minis by Chel Hamilton.  She’s on iTunes and her stuff is free.

Easy yoga is also a good way to relax and prepare for slumber.  My gal Adriene, over at Yoga with Adriene has short practices that can help you get into sleepy-mode.  Check her out at www.yogawithadriene.com.  While you’re there, look into her 30 day TRUE series that she’s offering.  I’m on Day 10 and am loving it.

Recently I’ve also found this really nifty podcast called Sleep with Silk.  There are  a variety of podcasts they offer to help you sleep and I choose the Soothing Voices podcasts.  Basically it’s people with very soothing and comforting voices reading a story, providing a guided sleep meditation (my fav is ‘Take a Nap’) or even chanting.  The only tricky part is figuring out the earbuds while I’m laying down but I have some DIY idea I’m going to try that include a flat pair of earbuds and an old Lululemon headband.   You can also find them on iTunes.  And their shorter versions are free.

I know that I’m not alone in this so share your tips, tricks and strategies.  And please, try and get some zzzz’s.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

 

 

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This Little Piggy…

In September I decided to get back to the mat for yoga.  My practices had gotten fewer and farther between and I missed Yoga with Adriene (www.http://yogawithadriene.com/) and her dog Benji.  I also really missed the practice of yoga itself.

And because I’m weird I can’t do anything just to do it, I need to have a goal.  So I decided to do yoga as often as I could and also decided that I’d work on my Crow pose every day.  Just to see if I could finally get my crow to fly. Ha ha, yoga humor.

Crow is an arm balancing pose.  And it is,  in my humble and non-yogi opinion, hard as hell.  At first you think it’s all about arm strength.  And it is.  But it’s not.  It’s core strength, balancing and upper body strength.  Also, it’s supposed to look really graceful.

This is what it looks like, according to Google images. 

 

And this is what it looks like in my living room last week.  With my Yoga Cat, Cody.

I worked at this every day for almost a month and I got up.  Not very high, but  I mean  those toes are a good, what 4 inches off the ground.  Nice!  Sure, there are problems with the posture and I’m wearing yoga pants.  (Ok, laugh for a second then let’s get on with it.)  But I am damned proud of this.

Do you want to know the hardest thing about this pose?  It’s not crouching down into a froggy position and doing a toe balance.  It’s not even holding myself up on my hands and preventing my face from smashing into the mat.  Or on the cat.  It’s not even the fact that I’m taking a photo wearing yoga pants.

It was lifting the final toe off the ground.  I would get the left foot up, then I’d be on the big toe of the right foot, just kind of hovering there, willing myself to lift that toe off the mat.

I mean you think sure, just lift the stupid toe, Keli.  What’s the problem?  What’s so hard about that?

But wait, let’s “drill down” a bit and think about it.  That stupid little toe can actually be the difference between staying where you are and moving forward.

We sometimes get *this* close to doing something…then we retreat.  We may do something else.  We may do nothing at all.  We may decide it’s too hard.  Or too complicated.  Too challenging. We’re not that smart.  Not that talented.   The list can go on and on.

So next time,  just lift the stupid toe and let your crow fly.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

How I Stay Focused

Like you, I cycle through phases where it’s harder to stay on track and motivated.  Giving up isn’t an option so I’ve developed some tried and true strategies that help me reach my goals.

Prioritize

You cannot expect to reach your goals if the steps to reaching them gets scrapped because something comes up.  In my world that means I make a conscious decision to get up at 4:00am so I can get my training done before I have to be a Mom or an employee.  It’s not always easy, I won’t lie.  But I can count on one hand how many times I regretted the workout when I was done.  And I’ve been doing this since my son was 2 1/2 (he’s almost 12).

The only actual workouts I can ever remember truly regretting were the two Bikram Yoga classes I took.  Hot yoga and me are not friends.  However, I digress.

Schedule

I am a huge fan of having a schedule.  It’s what gets me through any training plan, cycle or training season.  Right now I am following a training schedule for the Ragnar race in November.  I put together a training plan, printed it out and it’s currently to the right of my computer monitor.

As you can see, it’s a working document; miles added, subtracted and plotted out.  This mess keeps me on track and focused on my next workout.

I also transfer the miles , my boot-camp class schedule onto my weekly calendar so it is right there with my son’s soccer practices, dentist appointments, work schedule, meetings, etc.

It may seem like overkill or duplication but I consider my training and workouts to be as important as other meetings so it has to go with the other responsibilities I have.

Find “Yes” People

I try and surround myself with people who are supportive of what I do.   You need this.  If you are trying to eat better, starting to run or cutting out unhealthy behaviors you want people that are going to say “Hey, you’ve got this”.

This doesn’t mean you need them to jump on your wagon.  But if you have someone telling you “running will ruin your knees”, or “aren’t you worried about getting too muscular” or if your spouse is cranky about the time you’re taking away to go on a run or take a class, it makes it harder to take the steps to reach your goal.  Find your “yes” people.

Push Through

I rarely skip a scheduled workout. Sure there are days that  I’m tired, cranky, annoyed, or just not ‘feeling’ it.  But unless I’m sick I just power through.  Why?  Because if I skip today then it’s easier to skip tomorrow and the next day.  Once you drop the excuses and get up and go you’ll be very happy you did.  (see Schedule above).

Challenges

When I really need to amp it up or pull myself out a lull I do a 30 day challenge.  Currently I’m 14 days into a Burpee Challenge; doing 10 burpees a day for a month.  I’m also working on the Crow pose in yoga. Every day I hop onto the mat and practice.  Listed out on paper it looks like a lot.  But I look at things as time commitments so the burpees takes me less than a minute and the yoga and Crow is maybe 10 minutes.  It’s just the extra push I need right now.

These strategies work for me and I hope you can find one or two that will help you stay motivated and on point with your training. Let me know!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

Here Comes the Sun

Welcome to Day 10 of the 30 Day Boot-Camp Challenge.  Good job!

Yesterday I ran a 9.6 mile night trail race so I’m looking forward to today’s workout; Sun Salutation.

It’s a great practice to start your day but it can also be used as a way to wind down in the evening.  You can perform the sequence one time if you’re crunched for time but ideally 3 times at minimum.

You want to generate heat in the muscles so you’ll move with greater ease each time.  Don’t be surprised if your body is stiff the first time through.

Below is the info graphic of the movements.  Click the link to pull up the detailed practice so you can follow along.  30 Day BC Challenge Sun Sal

 

 

 

 

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

The Other Four Letter Word

Running injuries don’t usually come on like a mack truck.  They usually start out small.  Quiet, like a whisper.  You may feel a twinge, a tingle, a dull ache or stiffness.  Sometimes they work themselves out or are resolved with some extra stretching or by implementing a solid warm up and cool down.  A pack of ice on the affected area or some Ibuprofen can also help.  Maybe one day off.  Or two.  But after that it’s back to the run.

If the problem returns or intensifies, the next step is a trip to the Google search box.  Typing “calf tightness”, “Plantar Fasciitis cures”, “my knee hurts when I run” will yield a variety of resources for an injured runner.  Foam rollers are purchased, yoga mats pulled out of the closet and the rehab gets cracking.

Here’s where runners get skewed.  Now trust me, I’m a big fan of remedies.  Having my fair share of pulls, strains, aches and pains I get it.  But sometimes one needs to just a break.  An unapologetic, unabashed, body-restoring running break.  For at minimum one week, better yet, 2 or 3.

Sure you may lose some running fitness.  There, I’ve said it.

But what happens when you “run through” an injury is that not only can you do more damage to the affected area, but your super-smart body, will compensate for the hitch in your giddyap.  Yay, right?  Wrong.

Muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints work together.  If one area is compromised it will affect the entire mechanism.  Which will lead to further problems.

So I propose that if you are hurting, you take a break.   Stretch.  Roll.  Hydrate.  Swim.  Spin.  Get massages.  Elevate.  Do yoga.  Address Mobility.  Work on strength.  And most importantly do something other than running.

After 2 weeks start back up.  Slowly.   Walk first to warm up then add some running segments.  Move to softer surfaces such as a trail or track.  Start slow.  Increase time gradually.

Let’s take care of our bodies so we can do what we love.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

PS –  You all know that if you have heard a pop, felt a snap or are in continuous or chronic pain you should get to a doctor ASAP, right?  Ok, just checking.

Stuff I Luv

I’m often asked about certain running gear, products, and stuff in general.  Here’s a partial list of the things I have, use, read and love.

Garmin 405 Watch

watchIt tracks my stuff, is pretty easy to use and the face isn’t so sensitive that I can mistakenly reset it on a run. Granted it’s older and there are some peccadilloes to deal with, but the truth is, I’m older too so we’re a perfect match.  The key was replacing the plastic band with the Velcro one.  Now this bad boy has tons of functions but I just want to see how far I ran, how fast I ran and the total minutes I ran.   I’m actually on my second one, the first bonked after about 6 years so I was sent a refurbished model for free.  Garmin stands by their products and I appreciate that.

Thin, No Show Socks

I know compression socks are “yuuuge” right now, but give me a very thin and very low pair of socks.   I don’t need cushioning or extra padding.  Just the socks, ma’am. My favorite are the ones from Road Runner Sports.  I just bought a new 3-pack for $30.  Score.  And thank you Shelly for the gift card!

Nathan iPhone Arm Band download

Until 2015 I had a well-loved iPod Shuffle for my long runs.  I think it was my 4th shuffle.  I had the same playlist “Keli’s Running” for oh, about 4 years.  It had 80 or so songs on it.  In mid 2015 the shuffle died and I upgraded to carrying my iPhone.  I tried various arm bands and finally found my soul, or arm-mate.  This little jobber is small, holds nothing but an iPhone 5s (because as you may have realized I’m a tad behind in tech) and I can listen to my podcasts or the Hamilton soundtrack to my little ear’s content.

Brooks Shorts – Versatile 5″

Sadly, Brooks doens’t sell these shorts any longer.  And it’s a shame because these are the perfect running shorts. I don’t like shorty mcshort shorts so these cover the bits, the cheeks and I don’t have to worry about my nether regions being on full display when I stretch.  So when these are no longer wearable I’m screwed.  But they made the list because I love them so much.  Um, Brooks Running.  Help a girl out!

Champion Sports Bras

Some low-priced athletic gear works well.  Champion Sports Bras (sold at Target) are a gem.  Being, um, less-endowed than many other females on the planet I don’t have a need for underwire or super industrial materials.  In fact, I can live with a uniboob.  I mean, I’m not looking for a date, I’m running and those girls just need to lay low.  And bonus!  The ones I have are reversible.  So it’s like 2 for the price of 1.

Runner’s World Magazine

The Runner’s Bible.  The Holy Grail.  If you can’t find what you need about running, nutrition, etc. in this magazine, on their website (www.runnersworld.com) or via their podcast then it’s not necessary.   What I especially appreciate is that they have embraced that runners come in all speeds, shapes, sizes and abilities.  Whether we run a 7 minute pace or 12 minute pace we’re still covering the same ground.

The Ragnar Race Seriesragnar-logo

A 200-mile, 12-person, 24 to 36 hour relay run?  Ragnar is like a frat party on wheels. Without the drinking and nudity.  Or maybe with all of that, but in a different context.  Only sweatier and smellier.  Did I mention that you sleep in the vans too?  Whatever.  Find one.  Run one.  If you need a teammate, call me.  I’m your gal.  www.runragnar.com

Running Buddies

A running partner will motivate you and push you to be a better runner.  Do they have to be the same pace?  Not necessary, but it is nice to be close enough so you’re not dragging behind them too far or having to sprint to keep up with them.  How can you find a running partner?  Ask your friends, look at your social media feed to see who’s posting about running, or the races they are doing.  Look online and join a local running club or drop into a running store and see what they have going on.

Bani Band Headbands

I have a small head and slippery hair (attractive, right?) so headbands tend to fling off my head easily.  These are backed with a soft-grip backing material and you can cinch them for any head size so they stay put.  I am partial to the ones with glitter or sequins.  They make me happy and they aren’t too pricey.  The ones I get are $13 or so plus shipping.  Even better, they have a whole network of home sewers who are stay-at-home moms, veterans, college students and grandmas who make their products.  Check them out at www.banibands.com.

A LAX Ball, Foam Roller and Yoga Mat…walked into a bar

Like onion, celery and carrots are to a chef, these three items represent *my* Holy Trinity.  The LAX (lacrosse) ball hits the tight spots in my glutes, the foam roller tingles the IT band and my Yoga Mat is just y(om)my.   If you run you need to go get all three.  Next week I’ll post a mini tutorial on how to use them.

Ok, there you have it.  My list of fav things.

So now it’s your turn.  What’s YOUR go-to, must-have running stuff?  Drop me a note, post a comment on my FB page (https://www.facebook.com/seekelirun/) or tag me on twitter @kelihonsberger.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Greet the Day – Sun Salutations

Today we’re doing Yoga!  Sun Salutation, to be exact.  This series of poses warms up the body and the more times you repeat the cycle the more flexible and open your body becomes.  Aim to do the cycle 4 or 5 times.

Below are step by step instructions (courtesy of www.verywell.com), and an infographic. You can also follow along watching Yoga with Adriene (click here).

Sun Salutationsun-salutation

Begin in Mountain Pose

To begin, bring yourself to the front edge of your mat in mountain pose (tadasana) with the hands, palms together at your heart center.

Inhale. Bring the arms out to the sides and up to the ceiling to join your palms above your head in raised arms pose (urdhva hastasana). Lift your gaze to your thumbs and slide your shoulders away from your ears.

Exhale. Release your arms to either side and forward bend over your legs (as if you were doing a swan dive into a swimming pool) to come into a forward bend (uttanasana). Alternatively, you can keep your palm together and pass them in front of your heart as you fold forward.

Place your fingertips in line with your toes. Flatten your palms if possible or tent your fingers. Place your hands on blocks if they don’t reach the floor when your legs are straight. You can also bend the knees a little if that makes you more comfortable.

Inhale. Lift your head as you come to a flat back (ardha uttanasana), coming onto your fingertips or placing your hands on your shins, whichever allows you to get your back really flat.

Exhale. Plant your palms and step or jump back to a plank position. In plank, make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and your butt is neither sticking up nor drooping down. A straight line from the crown of your head to your heels is what you are going for. Take an inhale here.

Exhale. Lower to your knees, chest, and chin. Keep your butt high and your elbows hugging your ribs.

Inhale. Come forward to a low cobra. Anchor your pelvis and the tops of your feet to the floor but try not to press into your hands as you come up into the backbend.

Inhale. Roll over your toes (if possible) to come into an upward facing dog. Bend your elbows out to the sides at first in order to bring your shoulders down and away from your ears. Then straighten your arms. Make sure your legs are straight and your knees are lifted off the floor.

ExhalePush back to downward facing dog. You can come through hands and knees on the way if necessary.

Stay here a few breaths (or more) if you need to take a break. If you are going for a brisk pace, just stay one breath.

Exhale. Step the right foot next to the right hand and then bring the left foot to join it in standing forward bend (uttansana).

Inhale up to a flat back and then exhale back to uttanasana (forward bend).

Inhale. Lift your arms out to the sides and up, reversing the swan dive to return to raised arms pose.

Exhale. Come to stand in mountain pose with your hands in a prayer position at the heart.

Namaste.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂