So about those 2014 goals………

Does anyone else feel that blogging is amazingly cathartic? Or has magic powers? In my last post I was talking about my intermittent foot pains, and wondering whether they were real or all in my head. Well, guess what? Those aches disappeared as soon as I hit publish. It’s a Christmas miracle!

And what great timing! Today I cranked up those Christmas tunes and planned out my Christmas Day grocery list. The countdown is on.

Another, less fun countdown is the closure of my pool and gym. Yes, they are both moving to an awesome, brand-spanking new facility even closer to my work, but the gym is out of use til Jan 12th and the pool is closed for 10 days starting this weekend. Not so awesome timing – especially with the amount of food and beverages  that I plan to consume in the next week. Oh well.

Mon: 1750 yd swim

Tues: 5.1 mile trail run (so awesome – raced the sunset!)

Wed: 2000 yd swim

Thurs: 4.7 mile run

This time of year is also a great time to look back at 2014 and see how those pesky goals worked out. So here’s a reminder of the running-related goals that I set myself way back in January. So, how did I do?

1. Stay injury free

This was probably my most ambitious goal for the year. The last third of 2013 was pretty much derailed by injury including a month or two with exactly zero miles. I also had some consecutive injuries from a case of the TMTSs (too much too soon). Looking back, I probably should have reworded this to something like “Minimize risk of serious injury”. Basically, I had hip pain in February that disappeared pretty quickly, but which morphed into knee pain that needed trips to the physiotherapist until August. That sounds like a total fail, right? Well, I don’t think so. Because, during this time I managed to set a half marathon PR (see below) and was able to ramp up my base mileage. At the same time the PT identified my muscle imbalances (basically my whole right leg) and improved my form. I had a brief rest in May with mild foot pain which was cured a 2 week break from running.

But most importantly I completed my 18 week marathon training program (+ the marathon itself) injury-free (I think I skipped 1 run because I was feeling a little sore). The injury that I’m currently recovering from resulted from a case of the NRAMs (not resting after a marathon). I learned the hard way that I need to take two weeks completely off from running after a marathon. Valuable lesson. I did manage to get through the whole year without a zero mileage month (November was the low at 28 miles).

Personally, I think that I learned a lot about listening to my body, being proactive about injury and understanding the importance of rest. And the by-product of all those PT exercises – my legs have never felt stronger.

2. Set a new half marathon PR

This is a definite win. I shaved 3.04 minutes off my PR at the Salt Lake City half marathon. This was a tough race for me (went out too fast and held on for the last couple of miles). I also feel that there are easier courses and would love to get lower into the 1.30s next year.

3. Complete my first full marathon

Yes! I really enjoyed the whole marathon experience. The weeks of training. Those new-to-me distances every week. There were a couple of awful runs and plenty of times I wondered if I was capable of finishing 26.2 miles but it all come together in October with a dream marathon debut at Twin Cities.

4. Run in the Hood to Coast Relay

I can’t believe I never wrote a post about this. But it was amazing! I guess I can do a 6 month look back. 24 hours – minimal sleep (I slept on a tarp for 2 hours in random place Oregon) – 40 min wait for my teammate at 2 AM in the freezing fog – and bringing the team home on the beach. Unforgettable.

5. Run 1000 miles for the year

My yearly mileage ticked over 1000 at some point during the Twin Cities marathon which I think was extra fitting. This seemed like a huge goal at the start of the year – and is more than I’ve ever run in a year by a lot. I’m hoping to tick across 11oo miles for the year. I’ll get back to you in two weeks.

6. Run a sub-7.00 min mile

This was the first goal that I crossed off my list for 2014. I somehow (and totally unexpectedly) managed a 6.36 during my first 10K race of the year! I very rarely see a 6.xx on my Garmin. I think I could count on both hands how many times it’s happened this year. Weirdly, it showed up twice during this race, and then a couple of times during some short tempo runs in marathon training. I’m hoping to become better acquainted with this number in 2015!

How was 2014 for you?

 

Real trees are awesome.

Learning to trust myself

Hello again! Last week was a much needed break from blogging – busy at work and stressful personal stuff do not make a good combination. But luckily this weekend has been the definition of relaxing and worry-free. And we finally got into the Christmas spirit. Tree. Check. Cards mailed. Check. Gifts purchased. Check-ish.

Real trees are awesome.

Real trees are awesome.

So let’s rewind to workouts. I was trail running with a friend this week (more on those runs later) when she asked me if my foot pain is real or psychosomatic. And I wasn’t sure. I know that when I’m distracted or running then my foot doesn’t hurt. But I’m terrified of getting a stress fracture so I get random foot pains and convince myself that I’ve broken my foot. That is super duper fun. As well as that, after every run I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop……..so to speak………..really I’m waiting to get punished for daring to try.

As someone who never exercised regularly growing up I’ve always found it hard to trust my own opinion of how my body is feeling. I seek reassurance from PTs or doctors to hold my hand and tell me when I should push myself a little harder. Having to rely on my own judgement for this is scary. I’m scared of making the wrong decision – and maybe this is a reflection of my life in general. The fear of choosing the wrong thing and being full of regrets. I know that I need more faith in myself. In my own judgement. And not being so afraid – of failing, getting it wrong, admitting I f*cked up.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Running when I’m a little scared – of triggering my injury, getting a compensation injury. Believing that I am more resilient than I believe. Aren’t we all our own harshest critics? I know that this is true for me. I hold myself to much higher standards than I expect from anyone else. The one thing I have noticed is that yoga seems to aggravate my foot – probably due to the one-footed balancing – so I’m taking a break from that. My gym is also out of action until mid-January so strength training isn’t really an option right now either. Cardio it is!

Sat: 2000 yd swim (this is the half iron-man distance 1.2 miles)

Sun: 4.2 mile trail run + PM skiing!

Mon: 2000 yd swim

Tues: 4.2 mile trail run

Wed: 1350 yd swim

Thurs: 3.9 mile run

Fri: 4.35 mile trail run

Sat: 2500 yd swim (fastest mile 37.05 minutes, and longest distance!)

Sun: 5.3 mile run

My doctor recommended that my return to running should be on softer surfaces – so for me that means plenty of trail runs. I’m lucky to live in Salt Lake City where it is easy to get to a trail-head in 10-15 minutes (including a whole bunch right by my workplace). Although they tend to be full of hills.

One route I’ve been running is a little over 4 miles with 500 ft of elevation change plus beautiful views over the valley. I’ve been lucky in that both J and my trail running buddy A have made these runs so fun – plenty of chatting which keeps the pace manageable. Most of these runs have also been at lunchtime which gives me the rare pleasure of daylight running in winter. It was even in the 60s for our run on Friday!

On Tuesday we tackled Dry Creek canyon. I ran this a lot during the summer. It’s one tough uphill run – a little over a mile non-stop uphill with 426 ft elevation gain in that distance (800 ft total for the whole run). It is hard and I couldn’t quite make it to the top without stopping for a walk break. It was a little discouraging – I used to run ALL the way to the top in the summer – so I know that I’m not where I was during marathon training. Although why that was surprising to me I have no idea. I haven’t been running the same mileage, tempo runs or hill work so why should I magically retain that fitness? I guess I needed to get a reality check.

I will defeat you Dry Creek!

I will defeat you Dry Creek!

What I like about trail running is my complete lack of interest in pace/split times. I personally believe that trail running improves your running efficiency – it shortens your stride, strengthens your feet/ankles, and works your cardiovascular system in a way that seems fun (well……..most of the time). One of my main goals for 2015 is to do longer trail runs in the ski resorts in Park City and enter some trail races. (I always thought that these races were for crazy people………..so um yeah I think I’m turning into a crazy person).

Top of Dry Creek from the summer.

Top of Dry Creek from the summer.

The other running option is a local park about 1 mile away that has a wood-chip 1.5 mile trail around it. We had plenty of rain here yesterday so when I went for my run today there was a real spring in my step. I had no expectations for this run except that I wanted to run at least 5 miles. When I left my house it was 33F and snowing lightly and I felt great. So I pushed it a little – 8.08/8.07/8.10/7.55 for 4 miles. And the first time I’ve seen a sub-8 minute mile in two months. After that excitement I decided to be sensible and slow it down for the way home. Overall, 5.3 miles at 8.14 min/mile pace. And it felt awesome! I might not be in peak shape but I can see myself getting there again.

The other thing that you may have noticed is that ski season has started. We haven’t gotten a ton of snow here in Utah yet but I wanted to test out my ski legs. So last weekend we headed up to Alta for a couple of hours of skiing – $10 for 1.5 hours. 5 runs and no quad burn. That is usually the factor that puts an end to my ski day. Luckily the green runs didn’t kick my butt too much this time.

Skis!

Skis!

So I think I might be finally ready for winter…….

The view from our room

Swimming Lessons

I like to find the silver lining in even the darkest cloud. In my running life that means taking the positives from a layoff due to injury. To summarize what I learned from my first one-two punch of sciatica and hip burisitis in 2013:

1. Don’t ignore a new pain. Rest. Scale back your miles. Get it checked out.

2. Don’t rush your comeback. Injuries take time to heal. Don’t jump straight back into your regular mileage – this will inevitably lead to a new injury or a recurrence of what you are healing from. Trust me on this one.

From my latest break from running I’m learning something else.

3. Cross-training can be fun!

After completing an 18 week marathon training plan I was a little burned out with running. Or more specifically with following a plan with prescribed workouts – pace/distance/number of runs per week. I wanted my workouts to be fun again. And not being able to run meant that I HAD to change things up. The first couple of weeks I had to avoid anything that put weight on my foot – so no running (obviously!), no leg weight training and no yoga. I was pretty much free to do anything else. Luckily, this coincided with a burst of beautiful fall weather in SLC. So to keep up my cardio I started biking into work 3-4 times a week and I started a swimming program. This time around I completely avoided the elliptical – mainly because I think it is the even more tedious/mind-numbingly boring cousin of the treadmill. Biking got me outside and swimming had a plan with a measurable end goal -> my kind of combination. As I improved (and my foot was never terrible to begin with – see lesson #1 get that sh*t checked out straight away before it gets out of hand) I added back in yoga and weight training with a couple of very short (1-1.5 mile treadmill runs) and on Thanksgiving did my first run outside.

What surprised my most was a new love for swimming.

Like most people I took swimming lessons when I was young – learning the basics before graduating to a weekly 1.5 hour swim practice where I tried to figure out the butterfly stroke. Then I hit my teens and pretty much gave up on any exercise for the next………….um………….10 years.

So I started a swim program with the aim of completing 1 continuous mile after 6 weeks. I also had an old (5+ years) Speedo swim suit and goggles and I was ready to go.

My first day there the plan was to swim 700 yds total (4 x 100 yds, 4 x 50 yds and 4 x 25 yds with rests in between). That sounds pretty easy, right? Well, no. It turns out that swimming is all about technique and breathing (duh!). My technique is pretty crappy but enough to get through a lap. Breathing was the thing that took me longest to figure out. At the start I was holding my breath so that when I turned my head to get air I had to first empty my lungs and then breath in. As you can guess this is not efficient in any way at all. I was literally gasping for air after every lap. But without really working on it my breathing suddenly became more natural. After a couple of weeks everything started feeling effortless. No more swallowing that delicious chlorinated water and spluttering attractively during every break between sets. It’s amazing but true – our bodies will automatically become more efficient with practice.

And for me this effortlessness came after a threshold. 200 yds seemed difficult at first and the 66 laps needed to complete a mile…………..oh my God, how would that ever happen? But once I did 400 yds, 600 yds wasn’t that bad and 1000 yds seemed doable. It was kind of like marathon training. When I first looked at the training schedule that 20 miler seemed crazy. But after finishing 16, and then 18 it suddenly seemed doable. It’s strange to me how progress can sneak up on you that way.

My one piece of advice is to splash out (pun intended) on some gear. My old goggles were made of hard plastic and hurt (I’m talking red marks around my eyes), before they finally cracked just before I was about to get in the pool (great timing!). It also turns out that swim suits have come a long way in the last decade. I took advantage of the REI sale and found a TYR swimsuit and I love it. My other piece of advice is to prepare for some dry skin. I have been moisturizing like it’s going out of style.

Any of course the number one advantage: cute guys in speedos no impact cardio.

Mon: 3.25 mile run

Tues: Strength workout + 1650 yd swim

Wed: 3.30 mile run

Thurs: Yoga + 1650 yd swim

Fri: 4.15 mile trail run

And just have to brag a little about my husband who this week made homemade pasta which was amazing.

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We got to use the latest attachment for our KitchenAid.

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We actually took a cooking class while in Tuscany on our honeymoon and have been waiting for the right moment to try it in our own kitchen. It was amazing – it just slid down my throat and tasted exactly like how we made it in our Tuscan restaurant. Married life rocks.

Tuscan countryside

Tuscan countryside

The view from our room

The view from our room

 

I Mustache You Some Questions

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It usually takes me a while to get round to these type of things (thanks to Lee at FLRunnerBoy) but here’s some random facts about me.

 

Four names other people call me other than my real name

1. Sal (but only by my Dad and my brother)

2. Sorcha (only by J)

3. Fogie (by my BFF)

4. Dr (by my boss when he wants me to do something he knows I won’t be happy about)

 

Four jobs I’ve had

1. Manager at McDonalds in my teens. Lots of fun, lots of drama and lots of fries.

2. Office assistant in local government. College summer job. I basically got to hear people complain about why their trash wasn’t collected on the correct day. It was then I knew I could never work with the public.

3. Scientist in Dundee, Scotland.

4. Scientist in SLC, UT.

 

Four movies I’ve watched more than once

1. Love Actually. I watch this every Christmas – the airport scene at the end always has me in tears. So much home-sickness.

2. The Little Mermaid. The first movie I saw in the theater and I had the VHS. I think I still know all the words to every song in that movie.

3. Pride and Prejudice. The Keira Knightley version. I watch this J is out of town. Along with a glass (maybe two) of wine and something chocolate-y.

4. Mean Girls. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler – yes please.

 

Four books I recommend

1. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Read this at the start of the year and loved it. Great premise and thought-provoking.

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I love books that make me cry like a baby – catharsis?

3. His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. Another baby-crying book. If you don’t cry at the end of book three then you might have a heart of stone.

4. The Book Thief. Another book I read this year and loved. Much better than the movie and another tear-jerker (I’m sensing a trend).

 

Four places I’ve lived

1. Leixlip, Ireland. Hometown.

2. Dundee, Scotland. Grad school.

3. Salt Lake City, Utah.

No number 4……….yet but it seems like I’m trying to get further away from Ireland.

 

Four places I’ve been

1. Thailand. 30 days in after I completed my first year of grad school. Amazing experience. Jungles, temple ruins, SCUBA diving and the most unbelievable tropical islands. And then the food…..

2. Llubjlana, Slovenia. After traveling through Europe with my friend we parted ways in Croatia. She headed to Venice by boat. And I caught the train to Trieste, Italy and then on to Slovenia. A beautiful city and my first time going solo.

3. Yellowstone National Park. Breathtaking.

4. Italy – three times. Cinque Terre, Venice, Rome, Tuscany………….

 

Four places I’d rather be right now

1. In my parent’s house – drinking some wine and eating my Dad’s food and Mom’s baking.

2. Hiking in Yosemite. I’ve never been and it looks so amazingly beautiful.

3. Sitting by a pool somewhere warm – cocktail in hand with a good book.

4. NYC – big city during the holidays – yes please!

 

Four of my favorite foods

1. Chocolate. Any kind. In any form.

2. Enchiladas – I’m a little obsessed right now.

3. Mashed potatoes. They are my comfort food of choice.

4. Avocado. On sandwiches. With eggs. In guacamole.

 

Four things I don’t eat

1. Coffee. Not a food but the one thing that gets commented on the most.

2. Pickles. No American – I do not want these with my sandwich.

3. Canned tuna. Ick!

4. Bananas. I’ve tried really hard but I just can’t eat them without feeling nauseated.

 

Four tv shows I watch

1. The Mindy Project. I binge watch three seasons over a couple of weekends. Love it.

2. How to Get Away with Murder. That mid-season finale!

3. Scandal. That reminds me I need to catch up on the latest season.

4. The Daily Show/Colbert Report.

 

Four things I’m looking forward to this year

1. Skiing! I’m a pretty mellow skier and love a good bluebird day.

2. Going to Boston in April. No – you haven’t missed my Boston qualifier recap. J is running and I get to go visit Boston for the first time and maybe see some of the Maine coast.

3. Marathon number 2 in May. Not sure how winter training will go……….

4. Some of J’s family will be visiting in Feb and I’m excited to show off our awesome city.

 

Four things I always say

1. What are you doing in the morning? (We’re morning work-out-ers)

2. I’m heading to bed (usually at 930 #oldlady)

3. I ran x miles today! (Always said with mild surprise that I’m not broken)

4. Have a nice day (Said with a peck on the check to J before I leave for work)

 

Anything you want to share?

Millcreek_run

Hope you had a great four-day or two-day (non-Thanksgivingers) weekend.

Thanksgiving started with a “Pumpkin Pie” yoga class where sadly no pumpkin pies were eaten. But we did try to get into the most ridiculous crescent roll pose.

Something like this - minus the beach.

Something like this – minus the beach.

Then a quick stop at home to get some dough ready for our contribution to the Thanksgiving festivities.

Freshly baked sourdough courtesy of J.

Freshly baked sourdough courtesy of J.

And then on to the part that I was dreading/looking forward to all week – my first run outside in about 7 weeks! My treadmill runs had been going fine but were incredibly boring (I swear that time slows down in the vicinity of the dreadmill). I wanted to get outside so badly that I was having serious runners’ envy when I spied people on their daily runs. I decided that Thanksgiving was the day to take things outside.

But there has also been the ever present knowledge that doing too much too soon (AKA the classic injured runner trying to get back on the road ASAP) could lead to recurrence of my injury or even worse a full scale stress fracture. I haven’t noticed any symptoms in my foot since taking a break from running back in October but I am all too familiar with finding myself with a brand spanking new injury while recovering from something else. Yay – runner’s problems!

So with a little trepidation I headed to one of my favorite trails near SLC – the Pipeline in Millcreek canyon. The temperatures in the valley have been pretty mild lately and our high on Thanksgiving was set to get near 60F. Obviously I decided to wear some shorts and contemplated running in just a t-shirt. That is until we got near the trail head and saw snow everywhere! Yike! I guess I forgot that 1500 ft can make such a difference in winter.

Millcreek_run

It wasn’t that cold – 39F – but the trail was packed down with snow for the first mile which made running a little slower and a lot slicker than normal. The second half was snow-free and mostly dry although I still manage to get my legs nice and muddy.

Running

 

Just a little over four miles but with 898 ft of elevation gain. Maybe not the easiest way to return to running but it felt amazing! Pain-free and out on the trails – who could ask for more?

I woke up the next day expecting to feel pain – and I did but mostly from my intense yoga posing – hello hip flexors! My calves felt a little tight, which seems to be the story of my life. But I can deal with muscle pain – it doesn’t scare me like tendons/bone pain.

After de-muddifying we headed for dinner and filled our bellies with an amazing spread. This might be a controversial opinion but my favorite thing about Thanksgiving dinner are the sides. Give me extra mashed potato and stuffing over pie any day.  And pumpkin flavored things – meh – I can take it or leave it – and this even applies to pumpkin pie. Sorry if we can’t be friends anymore – although if we stay friends I’ll give you all of my pie (in return for some of those taters).

Friday was some low impact cardio – a 35 minute (uphill) bike ride to work (yes work – boo) followed by a core yoga class. And then more trails on Saturday (right now I’m running every other day) – 3.75 miles – bringing my total mileage for the month up t0 28ish miles. Not exactly what I wanted but I am going to take.

And I’ve become an accidental triathlete. Biking + trail run on Saturday and a swimming session on Sunday. Don’t worry – I have no plans to ever ever ever intentionally do a triathalon – that is officially for badass/crazy people. But I am really digging all of this cross-training right now.

 

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Update

Today I did something I rarely do – a lunchtime workout. I wanted to do a swim workout and usually that means hitting the pool after work and getting home late, or going at 6 AM and having breakfast at work. I finally figured out option 3: go during my lunch break. And take advantage of our amazing weather (clear blue skies and in the 50s) for a nice 15 minute walk each way. I am usually stuck in my building from dark til dark these days.

Winter came on Saturday but was gone 4 hours later.

Winter came on Saturday but was gone 4 hours later.

 

Plus I swam 1 mile for the first time – although with a couple of breaks – but I am almost done with my 6 week zero to 1 (continuous) mile swim program. And I could spy the new cardio equipment and 50m pool in the new gym that will be opening in January 2015.

Shiny new gym.

Shiny new gym.

I could get used to three day weeks! No races for me tomorrow. My body (or more specifically – my right foot) just isn’t ready – and I know that I cannot take it easy in a race situation. I’ve managed two 3 mile treadmill runs in the last week. Running is pain free but my hypochondriac injury detector has gone into overdrive.

When I started back with my 1 mile runs I was feeling little aches in weird places (shins for the first time ever and calves as usual) but these went away pretty quickly. I think that my body was just getting used to running again. So one part of me now thinks that I just need to be brave and push myself a little. To toughen up a little. But (there is always a but) I still don’t feel right. It’s hard to explain: I’m not in pain (and certainly not the rapid onset that made me make an emergency appointment with a doctor) but my foot doesn’t feel normal. I’m not sure if this is actual or imagined weakness in my foot, but I think it isn’t doing any harm to be hyper-vigilante as I start to add back the miles. So vigilant that I’m wearing my compression socks today.

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I kinda feel like a superhero – wearing my superhero socks under my regular clothes!

So, like I said no race but tomorrow is a big day. I’m planning to try a short run OUTSIDE on one of my favorite trails with J and my running buddy A. I haven’t run outside since October 16th and I am so excited, especially because the weather here is meant to be unseasonably warm. Thank you Thanksgiving gods!

Seriously, if I ever move back to Ireland or the UK I am bringing Thanksgiving with me. It is just the best holiday ever. Like Christmas without all the pressure of buying gifts. I also like to think of it as practice for eating Christmas dinner which is a huge deal in Ireland (we do turkey AND ham). We will be eating delicious food and hanging out with our awesome friends.

Speaking of delicious foods……….I think enchiladas are my favorite thing ever.

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These ones are black bean and sweet potato (and you know I need to have avocado and jalapenos). But I’ve been making my own sauce for a while and thought I’d share because it is ridiculously easy.

8 oz can of tomato sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp chilli powder

1-2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 chili in adobo sauce chopped (these are in cans in the Mexican section of the supermarket)

Mix everything in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 10 mins and it’s ready to pour over. I think I could happily eat this everyday.

Workout summary: 11/17 – 11/26

Mon: 2 mile run + leg strength/stretching

Tues: AM: Yoga

PM: 1600 yds (40 mins)

Wed: 2 mile run + leg strength/stretching

Thurs: AM Yoga

PM 1600 yds (40 mins)

Fri: 2 mile run + leg strength/stretching

Sat: 1600 yds (40 mins)

Sun: 3 mile + full body strength

Mon: Rest!

Tues: 3 mile + leg strength/stretching

Wed: 1650 yds (1 mile!)

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! And if you live in the UK or Ireland I recommend that you take the day off work and have an early Christmas dinner!

How to get your mojo back

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It’s taken a while but my motivation is back! Thank God! To be totally honest the marathon took a lot more out of me than I expected. Well, not just the race itself but the 18 weeks of training. I was tired and a little sick of running. So what I should have done was take a full two weeks off and enjoyed some rest. But what I did instead was take 4 days off and then start freaking out about my next half marathon. I did a couple of runs – that were all terrible – and ended up with my stress response and some unplanned time off. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

No early mornings. No runs in the dark. Lots of rest and recuperation. And now, a little over a month later my mojo has reappeared – 5.40 AM wake up calls, working out almost everyday and I’m loving it (well not first thing when I wake up) and here’s how I got it back.

1. Make your workout part of your schedule. I don’t know about you but when a work meeting is on my schedule it is non-negotiable. I cannot miss it. And when I’m planning my week my workouts go on my schedule and become non-negotiable. I look at my day planner and it becomes another item that I have to do. I don’t have to think about whether I’ll go to the gym or to yoga class – it just happens.

2. Make it easy for yourself. My yoga studio is half a mile from my house. My gym is on my way to work. Same for my local pool. It is easier to go than not. Especially if I change into my workout clothes at work. Or have my swimming gear already in my car. Or have my yoga mat and outfit waiting by my bed. Don’t give yourself the time to talk yourself out of going.

3. Wants and needs. Sometimes – OK a lot of times – when my alarm goes off or when I’m finished work I WANT to go home. Then I have a little talk with myself and woman up. I try to remember how good I’ll feel once I’m done, and try to think long term. But sometimes you NEED to take a break. Some days you need to have that extra hour in bed. Or that ache could benefit from a days rest. Be honest with yourself about what you’re feeling – do you want to or need to take a break?

4. Find a buddy. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Plus, friends can turn into great accountability-buddies. Lucky for me, J is a morning person. In fact, I used to think that he was crazy for getting up early to workout. How times have changed! But when he’s up and getting ready for yoga class in the early hours it’s a lot easier for me to get up and follow him.

5. Set mini goals. For this break from running I wanted to do a different form of cardio, so I picked swimming. I’ll tell you right now that I am not a swimmer. Sure, I learned the basics when I was a kid but I never swam in high school (high school sports are not a thing in Ireland unfortunately) or college. So basically I had no idea what to do in a pool. I found a 6 week couch to 1 mile swim program. A short program with designated and progressive workouts finishing in a one mile swim. That is perfect for me (although it might not work for everyone) and gives me a short goal to work on while I get back to running.

6. Treat yourself. I don’t know about everyone else but I love cute workout gear. So after a couple of swim sessions in my very old swimsuit (and after my goggles broke right at the start of one workout) I hit up the REI sale and picked up a new TYR suit and goggles. And I was excited to go and try out my new gear- > added incentive to workout!

7. Develop a habit. Being consistent is the number one key to getting and staying fit (whatever fit means to you). Like most things those first few workouts are going to be hard. But it gets better. You might have to force it at first but once you develop those habits it’s easier to keep them going.

So, I’ve got my mojo working for me! I hope you have found yours!