How to Start Running Even When You Hate It

I have been running for awhile now, and have gone through many ebbs and flows with my running love affair. There have honestly been more times when I hate running than times when I like it. I know that sounds like a horrible thing for a “runner” to say, but for me, it’s the truth and I’m owning it. I would MUCH rather sit on the couch and watch Hulu than go outside and sweat, be uncomfortable, and bored for an hour. However, the things I DO love are the benefits of running. For me, running is just the necessary evil to get there.

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I love the post run high, the extra energy it gives me, the calorie burn, and the competition aspect. I love the comradery with other runners, the race expos, and the bling. Some of you may be nodding right along with me, especially the beginners who feel like it will be impossible to ever get up to a “far/long run”, or feel like they love it. Unfortunate reality: you may never actually love it. However, that’s ok! You have two choices: 1.) Find something else to do 2.) Do it anyway because you love what it GIVES you, even if you don’t love the act of actual running.

I’m here to give beginners my best advice if you decide you do want to try out the running thing (even if you are currently hating it).

1.) Make a list: What is it you are hoping to accomplish with running? Why did you or do you want to start? Sometimes having a clear and concise reason can help get you moving when you want to take a nap instead. Maybe you want to lose weight, or maybe you just need some alone time. Some people start running to be social with a running group, and some want killer legs. All are valid reasons. You as an individual need to have a goal or focus on WHY you lace up or it may be stuff to stick with it.

2.) Start Slow: Trying to do too much too soon is not only overwhelming (and dumb! Injuries suck!) But it can cause you to give up before you have even gotten started because it seems too hard. Gradual build ups are best mentally and physically. Start with a walk and throw in a few 20-30 second jogs every now and then. Count mailboxes. Tell yourself you will run for ten mailboxes then walk for 20. Get creative but don’t over do it trying to get results faster.

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3.) Schedule your runs and keep track: I am a numbers nerd, and seeing my progress on a piece of paper (or in a spreadsheet for you non paper people) makes me want to keep going so I don’t “lose” my progress. Keep track of how long you go for, and your time. Also be sure to schedule your runs into your planner (or Google calendar, whatever my tech savvy friends are using these days), so that you will actually do it. Heck this blog started because I used it as an accountability journal. I said I was going to run in a blog post, so then I knew I had to follow through.

I have a set of free printables you can download and print out to help you set goals and keep track of your fitness if you want to check them out!

4.) Talk to a running friend: For some reason, we humans like talking to people who have gone through a hard thing that we may be currently dealing with, and have made it out the other side. It’s comforting to know we aren’t alone, and that success is possible. Find a running friend or online buddy who has accomplished a certain goal you want to reach (a time goal, distance goal, whatever!) and pick their brain. It will give you confidence you keep going!

5.) Picture that end result and just do it: I know this seems pretty basic, but it’s just truthful. Think about why you are doing this, then suck it up buttercup and run. You will feel better when it’s over. I have never regretted a run once I was finished. That’s a true story!

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Note: There are people who just LOVE running, and that’s awesome too! There have been times in my life I was that person, but overall, I have to really psych myself up for the actual run portion. I much prefer the results, the social aspect, the races, and the bling as mentioned before. We are all unique and different and that’s what is awesome! This post is not meant to knock anyone who truly enjoys the act of running, but instead to motivate those who are struggling some (or most) days.

10 Tips for Running in the Heat

As the weather warms up, it’s wise to take a few minutes to think about how this will change your runs. If you don’t plan ahead, you may be setting yourself up for failure (or heat stroke!) so be careful and make sure you are prepared. Here are my best tips for running in the heat.

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1.) Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen! Also, for really long runs, I reapply after an hour.

2.) Wear a running hat or visor. I always feel so much cooler not having the sun on my face. Plus it will help fight against wrinkles and sun damage.

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3.)Hydrate ahead of time, and bring water with you. I have a small insulated cooler I pack my drinks in with an ice pack so I can grab them at the car as needed. I also like Gatorade because I sweat a lot and need to replace some electrolytes. Nuun and coconut water will do the trick as well.
4.) Wear loose fitting moisture wicking fabrics. Cotton is never your friend as a runner, but particularly when you are sweating a lot. Running Skirts actually has a tank top that cools you down as you sweat. It’s awesome! It’s called the “keep it chill” racerback.

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5.) Try to run early in the morning or after the sun goes down at night. Between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM is when the suns rays are the worst. It was still be very warm but when the sun is down it feels nicer!

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6.) Pace yourself. Don’t expect to have an awesome training run in which you PR at noon in July. Stop or slow down if you need to. Be realistic about your expectations!
7.) This goes with number 6, listen to your body! If you start to feel overheated or dizzy/lightheaded, walk, or find some shade and take a break/sit down. One run is not worth your health.

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8.) If you must run in the heat of the day, run shorter distances or use these days for easy runs.

9.) Put a wet washcloth in the freezer, then carry it with you on your run. it will keep you nice and cool if you put it on your neck.

10.) Keep drinking water after your run. Sometimes if I don’t drink enough during a really hot run, I get a bad headache and am more exhausted later in the day. Be sure to take care of your body AFTER you run, and not just during!

QOTD: Any tips I forgot for running in the heat? What has helped you?

8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Run

Let’s be real here. There are some days that I wake up and the last thing I want to do is go for a run. I have a million excuses I have used, ranging from the weather to a busy schedule to not feeling well. However, nine times out of ten, my excuses are not legitimate, and I just need a little push to get out the door. Below are eight ways to motivate yourself to run that have helped me over the years when I am having a hard time getting motivated to run for whatever reason.

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1.) Buy some new gear: Running in new shoes or wearing cute new capris always makes me feel lighter, faster, and happy. Try wearing something new and see if it motivates you to get out the door.

2.) Find a new route: I have the attention span of a gnat. I am constantly jumping from thing to thing, so as you can imagine, running on the same roads over and over again gets really boring to me. If I know I am going to be bored, it is so much harder for me to lace up for a long run, so I try to pick different neighborhoods to run in to keep things interesting.

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3.) Start a training plan: If I am running aimlessly without a goal in mind, I will quickly lose focus and purpose. I am not one of those people that can just go out and run thee miles four times a week with no end goal. Finding a training plan where I am running different distances and speeds every time helps to keep me form slacking.

4.) Sign up for a Race: I don’t like to waste money. If I pay for a race, gosh darn it, I’m going to run it, so I may as well train for it.

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5.) Join a running club: This has been a more recent development for me, and I have done several runs with our local Fleet Feet. It keeps things interesting, and the idea of prizes and free drinks at the end of a run is very motivating!

6.) Tell everyone: I love this one, because it is the whole reason my blog got started! I started it as an online accountability journal while I was getting ready for my first half marathon. I knew if I put it “out there” on the internet that I was running a race, I would have to actually train!

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7.) Reward yourself: I personally don’t like using food related rewards, but something fun like a pedicure or a new running top could be a way to reward yourself for sticking with your training plan for a week or a month. Try it!

8.) Learn about yourself: Sometimes I “think” I know myself, but turns out I was wrong or that my preferences have changed. Are you hating your runs because you are trying to do them all at night, but you are a morning person? Try to learn about yourself and see what the underlying problem is as to why you don’t want to go on an individual run and see if it’s something you can fix or change.

QOTD: What is your best tip for motivating yourself to run?

Jeff Galloway Tips: Dealing with the Heat

Hey friends! These tips for dealing with the heat from Jeff Galloway could not have come at a better time! We are in the middle of a serious heat wave here in the south (our daily heat index has been around 107 with high humidity) and running has been difficult. Please enjoy these tips:

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Training through the summer can not only be grueling, but down right dangerous.  Here are some tips to train safely and as comfortable as possible in the hot summer months.

Slow down by 30 sec/mile (20 sec/km) for every 5F temperature increase above 55-60F ( every 2.5C above 14C)

When the temperature is over 70F (21C) you may take a 5 minute “cold shower break” every 25-30 minutes to keep cool.

Try to complete your run before the sun rises above the horizon.

More frequent walk breaks during hot weather can lower body temperature increase.  If you used to run 3 minutes between walk breaks, run only 90 seconds (walk 30 seconds) at 70F (21C) and at 80F (26C) drop to 60 sec run/30 sec walk or 30/30

When you start to heat up more than normal, take a longer walk in a mall or indoor AC building

Pick shady courses on hot days.

Don’t wear a hat!  Pour water over your head

Have an indoor alternative—treadmill, etc

Run in the deep end of the pool, using a flotation belt

QOTD: What is your best tip for running n hot weather?

Disclosure: As a Jeff Galloway blogger I am given special tips to share with you, my readers. No compensation has been given to me.

Tips for Running on the Beach

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few days in Destin, Florida. Not only did I get excited about the sun, sand, and crashing waves….but I was stoked to have a new scenic place to run. Let’s face it friends, Jackson Mississippi isn’t exactly a “pretty’ place to run. No mountains, no beach, not many trails. This is why when I go on vacation or work travel, I try to take every opportunity to go for a run in my new surroundings.

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Below I have complied a few tips to help you make the most out of your ocean side run.

1.) Run on an even surface: There are a lot of slanted places at the beach, it hurts my ankles just walking on the slanted parts after awhile so I can’t imagine running like that! Sometimes, depending on the tide, this means I can run in packed sand right down by the water, and sometimes it means going up a bit further to find that flat land.

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2.) Wear Shoes: I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, and that’s ok. Personally though, getting a shell in my foot or stepping on a jellyfish barefoot do not sound like a good time. I especially recommend wearing shoes if you have arch or foot problems, running shoes for plantar fasciitis are still needed even when running on sand. I require a more stable shoe due to weak ankles and high arches so I most definitely need shoes on the beach!

3.) Keep your run short: It may be tempting to run forever in such a scenic place, but if you aren’t used to beach running, you will realize that you get sore and tired MUCH more quickly than usual. It’s a great calorie torching workout, but don’t overdo it.

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4.) Protect yourself from the sun: In Destin, the sugar white sandy beaches are beautiful, but boy does the sun reflect off of it! I am always careful to wear sunglasses, and depending on the time of day a hat as well. I also wear plenty of sunscreen when I run on the beach, even if it’s early in the morning. No one wants to be red for the rest of their trip!

5.) Body Glide your feet: One thing I quickly noticed while taking my running shoes out to say hello to the ocean was that sand. gets. everywhere. It’s inevitable, so to protect your feet from getting blisters, try wearing dri-fit socks and putting body glide on your feet to help with rubbing.

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Happy running and enjoy the view!

QOTD: Anything I left off? Do you ever run on the beach?

Assume You’re Invisible, Make Yourself Seen

Folks, this is a GREAT and very important guest post. It could save your life so don’t skip over it! A huge thanks to Mindy for writing it!

This summer I tragically lost a friend when she was hit by a distracted driver while on a run through the neighborhood. Her legs were crushed and she sustained severe brain injury – they took her off life support within a day. In trying to heal from this, I have decided to do something positive with this event by using it to bring attention to how important it is for us, as runners and walkers, to always watch out for ourselves. Hopefully, by passing along this advice, we keep the rest of our community safe on the streets!

Part 1: Assume You Are Invisible

· The only safe assumptions you can make are: No one sees you & no one will stop for you.

· Even if you have the right a way … don’t go until you make eye contact with the driver and the driver waves you on. If you are concerned about your pace and don’t want to stop, choose a route where you won’t cross a street.

· Run opposite traffic. That way you can see who is coming towards you and are able to move as needed.

Part 2: Make Yourself Seen

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As runners, we are not known for our fashion sense … embrace that! Wear bright colors and outfits that don’t match … STAND OUT! Kris says he’d rather have drivers laughing at his outfits but seeing him, than go unnoticed and have to dodge cars. (Kris would also like to point out that is NOT him in the picture.)

· When running in low light and at night – wear reflective gear and flashing lights. Draw attention to yourself. (Photo was taken with the flash from an iPhone- car headlights would illuminate me from a good distance away!)
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(This is an example of a great reflective vest you can find from www.ruseen.com)

Other Safety Tips:

· Stay off the streets as much as possible. If available, run on trails, canal paths, greenbelts … places where there aren’t cars.
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(Greenbelts are GREAT! There are usually a lot of people around – playing at the parks, running, walking, bike riding. They also normally have restrooms and water available at some point. And, most importantly – no motor traffic!)

· If you must run along a street – use the sidewalk and/or stay as far from the road as possible. I know people think it is better for you to run on the asphalt than on cement … studies show most of us will never notice this difference! It isn’t worth the risk! clip_image008

· As much as possible, run with a buddy … The more eyes you have scanning for trouble, the better. Plus, if anything were to happen – you have help!
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· Wear a RoadID

· Take a cell phone or at least tell someone where you are headed and when you should be back.
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(We found our love of trail running this summer. There is something very peaceful being out there! But, make sure you plan ahead – if you can’t go with someone; tell someone where you’ll be and when to expect you back! Also, carry a trail map or make sure you familiarize yourself with the area so you don’t get lost.)

· If you must run near the street – don’t wear earbuds! You want to have full use of all your senses. I can’t tell you the number of times Kris and I have scared runners while on our bikes because they had no idea we were coming their way even though we announced our presence. This is another reason to run opposite traffic and stay out of the street – most of the runners we encounter are running in the bike lane, with traffic – they then don’t hear us coming because they are listening to music and we have to put ourselves at risk by moving into the traffic lane. Cyclists and pedestrians should be working together to keep everyone safe!

If you remember nothing else, remember this: It doesn’t matter if you had the right a way … if you get into a battle with a car, the car will always win. I know it’s frustrating and there will be times you want to prove your point because drivers don’t always give us space and respect we deserve … IT’S NOT WORTH IT! Ultimately, when we hit the streets for a workout, our main goal should be to make it home safe!

Please be safe out there!

-Mindy
You can find Kris and me at www.raceeverystep.com or on twitter @raceeverystep

Cold Weather Workout Motivation!

 

Hey there Running with Sass readers! Alyssa from FunFitFashionable here. While Heather is away, she was kind enough to let me write a post for her!

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Let’s face it, most of us dread when the chill sets in during winter, and we’re left wanting to snuggle under the warm covers. It’s not ideal to “rise and run” or workout at all for that matter.

Personally, I have been having issues with this since the Runner’s World half marathon a few weeks ago. I thought I would share a few ways I like to make it easier for myself to get a good workout in during the freezing temperatures.

Join a Class

I joined a yoga program recently, and because others are involved, I’m much more likely to attend a class and push myself to greater lengths than I would if I had been practicing alone. With my personal mentality, I know that when I pay for something, I am going to get my money’s worth out of it, so if I miss too many classes, I’ll probably feel slightly guilty ;).

At Home Pilates Kits and Weights

If you’re not the ‘gym’ type, you’ll be more motivated and excited to get a workout in at home. Quickly push out a few squats, pushups, and a Pilates session ;).

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I purchased an at home Pilates kit from Amazon for this purpose. On days when I’m feeling less than spectacular, I will pull it out and get a good burn going.

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DVDs

When you need a little push to get your butt in check during a workout, DVDs are an amazing option! My favorite is Insanity, because it’s more hardcore than most workouts I have tried and I KNOW I am going to sweat – ALOT.

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QOTD: What’s your favorite way to keep fit during the winter?

Mission: Runpossible!

 

5:00 AM: The alarm rings, I spring out of bed to silence the mechanical chirp and dash off to the other quadrant of the house, draped in darkness. In that room, my supplies are ready to go. With a quick fuel stop, satellite acquisition and deep breath, it’s go time.

What mission is this, you may ask? A top-secret military mobilization process? A complex battle plan enacted by highly trained soldiers? No, it is something much more coordinated: the allusive implementation of the solitary pre-dawn ritual of only truly dedicated individuals…

…or for those of us that speak regular English: the early morning run.

I, like many 9 to 5’ers (or more accurately, 8 to 5’ers) with crowded work schedules, find the time before heading into the office as ‘best’ time for getting in a training run. While it might be dark, cold and kind of lonely, there are definite advantages to running before the dawn breaks – including less traffic, cooler temperatures (in the summer) and that feeling of a runner’s high throughout the day.

That said there are also some negatives: the most obvious being the fact that it is DARK. So, this is my battle manifesto for conquering that o’dark hundred run:

· Crave your run – make it the reason you go to bed at a reasonable time.

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· Eliminate the need to think – for the first 10 minutes that you’re awake – set out your clothes, shoes and gear so there’s no need to shuffle around in the dark (or better yet, sleep in your running clothes – I even pull on my compression socks the evening before if I want to wear them on my run).

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· Light your path – literally and figuratively, with a headlamp or flashlight to see, and a mapped out plan (even if it is just in your head) of your running route.

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· Do what you need – to make it a habit. Use this solitary time to think about decisions you need to make, or go the opposite way and run out your worries! I use my morning runs as a time to catch up on Podcasts, which I [safely] listen to through the speakers in my running vest! I know that missing a run will mean missing an episode, so it’s another way to keep myself accountable.

Once you’ve got your rhythm figured out, hitting the pavement before the world wakes up can (and will) become a part of your life, too! Really, it does get easier…but you’ll still impress your friends and coworkers with your early morning motivation J

QOTD: When do you run? How do you stay motivated?

How to Avoid 10 Race Day Misadventures

 

You might be tempted to skim through this with a smirk. Thinking to yourself, none of these race day catastrophes will apply to you, because you’re too good, too fast, and have learned every lesson there is to learn about racing and the prep necessary to get through it without incident. If that’s you, awesome. Please stop reading now. And, should you suffer through one of these in the future, we’ll be sure to share a tip from this list with you when we pass you on the race course…with a smile of course.

1. Let’s start with multisport athletes. The Wetsuit. It’s a sponge. Donning it race morning, after not wearing it for a year (because you do all your swimming in a pool at home) will be trouble. Soak it two days before, let it dry out, and get it on your bod for a quick swim before race day. Use your body glide wherever hotspots pop up.

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Happy Wetsuit Wearing Women.

2. Diarrhea, and other G.I., malfunctions. Stay away from products with lots of magnesium (warning: this is going to be very difficult). One suggestion for diarrhea issues: Take 1 or 2 anti-diarrheal tablets pre-race. Keep one handy for later. And drink plenty during the race (these tablets cause dehydration) Hey, nobody said this was going to easy.

3. T.P.: Throw a few squares in your bento box or pockets. Sure, it’s a luxury. But if you’re droppin trow mid-race, in or out of a portopottie, it’s a nice mental boost knowing you can spare a square.

4. Toenails: We’re not talkin about a pedi here. Cut them the night before. Even if you think you don’t need to. File ‘em.

5. Chafage: The length and type (is there salt water involved?) of your event determines the degree of self-inflicted burns you will be forced to endure. Make sure you’re well-manicured wherever possible, and use your favorite glide, balm or other goop in every spot that rubs…. And by rub, we mean skin-on-skin (upper arm and thighs) and apparel-on-skin (neck, chest, etc)

6. Passing: On the run or on your bike, we in the U.S. pass on the left. Which means, if you’re NOT passing, scoot over. The last thing you need is angry athletes ruining your first 50 mile bike ride for MS by shouting “Move over!”. (Yes, we’ve heard it on the run and on the bike)

7. Ego Check: Leave it at the race packet pick up table. Race morning, line yourself up according to the time you’ve ACTUALLY run (or swam) in your most recent tempo practice runs. Lining up at the front, or even a few rows from the front, is inviting not only injury to your over-confident ego, but a potentially very real injury by an angry mob. Find your corral and go smack-talk with some new friends there.

8. Two nights before event: You should be avoiding salads, veggies or any fruit for at least 3 days. Period.

8a. And make sure your bag, or apparel of choice, is all prepped. It may seem elementary and a blow to your super-smart-self to have to do it like your mom did when you were 5, but would you WILL forget something you absolutely need the next morning if you don’t line up everything you need prior to the race.

9. We have 2 more things, but we got a little carried away in this post. So rather than go on for another 200 words, and have poor Heather get comments about guest bloggers who go on and on and on and on…. We’re stopping.

Hopefully, we’ll come back again soon to entertain you in future posts.

Tanya Maslach, Founder of GOTRIbal, the only place dedicated exclusively to connecting women with other women who share their active, adventurous lifestyle journeys in endurance sports.

QOTD: Can you think of something not listed here that would be a good fit for this post?

Working Out When Sick

 

Well, it happened. After flying, driving, being on a cruise ship and out of town for a week, I have come down with a cold. I started feeling “yucky” Tuesday but forced myself to the gym anyway, where I felt awful and really didn’t want to be there. Usually when this happens, once I get going I am ok, but not this time. Then, this morning I woke up congested, with a pounding headache, and couldn’t taste anything. As hard as I try to stay germ free, they somehow found me and attacked.

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Ah, boat, I guess being cooped up on you helped spread the germ love.

I am slightly frustrated because as it is I  missed my long run last weekend being out of town…and I have a half marathon coming up. Not cool. I decided to take the day off from exercise, which led me to think about working out and being sick, and if it’s ok or not, how much, etc.

There are a lot of factors that come into play, for instance the fact that I am training for a half marathon. If I wasn’t training for anything, I would be content to work from the couch and not worry about my missed sweat sessions. But with 18 days until my race and only a 6 miler under my belt since RnR New Orleans, I really need to get my rear in gear.

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me and the lovely Karen at the RnR NOLA expo.

Here are a few simple rules I personally follow. Please remember, I am not a doctor, although that would be cool, right?

1.) If it’s in your chest, stay in bed. Going into a coughing fit every 24 seconds is not cool for you, or the people around you at the gym. If your cold is in your chest, it is better to rest to fight another day.

2.) If you have a fever, cool it. (no pun intended…well…maybe a little.) You don’t want to raise your internal body temp any higher than it already is, or you could get sicker.

3.) Do what you can. Pretty simple right? If you feel ok to go for a walk, but not a run, don’t try for a sprint workout. Even just a little bit of exercising might help you feel more accomplished and maybe even better, but don’t push yourself too hard.

4.) Listen to your body! It’s better to take a break so that you get well soon if you have something like the flu. Prolonging your symptoms and sidelining yourself longer is no fun.

5.) If it is in your head, and not your chest, but you just don’t feel like working out anyway…that’s ok!!! My cold is in my head, but guess what? I decided to just chill today and try again tomorrow. I don’t feel guilty about it, I know I need to rest and re-energize my body so I can be back to 100% as soon as possible.

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Tips for lessening your cold symptoms:

1.) drink Emergen-c

2.) Drink lots of water

3.) rest when you need to do so

4.) take your vitamins

5.) wash your hands to help keep family members well

I want to elaborate a bit on number 2. The kind folks at zero water provided me with a filtered water pitcher to try out, and I absolutely love it. We drink a lot of water at our house, but I hate how even the “filtered” water out of the refrigerator doesn’t really truly purify the water. A lot of toxins enter your body via the water we bathe in and the water we drink, so I was really excited to try out the filter and I love it. it’s easy to use and the water “tastes” great. be sure to check out their website and Facebook page if you are interested in purchasing a filter.

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QOTD: What are your rules for working out when sick?  Do you drink filtered water?