When you mentally feel burned out.

 That moment you’re at work, snacking on a pack of raisins (because apparently raisins are good for runners), and you throw a few in your mouth only to realize you’re chewing on a ball of dirt that was disguised as a raisin. THAT moment happened to me. It was disgusting and my front teeth were shaded with dirt patches, that made me appear to be toothless. But really, all I could do was laugh about it. It was basically the cherry on top of everything I had been dealing with all week. You know you are having a rough week when eating a piece of dirt puts things into perspective.

It all started with a few bad runs. Now about three months into training for The California International Marathon we are running about 35-40 miles per week. It’s becoming exhausting because running isn’t just running. There’s much more that comes with running that takes up a lot of time. From having clean running clothes, stocking up on GU supplements, electrolytes, eating a well balanced diet to refuel before and after runs, ice baths, rolling-out, and sleep. Not only do you have to consider all of these things throughout the week you are also trying to balance the other aspects of your life-yes, we do have lives! For me, that consists of working, going to school, cooking, cleaning, being married, and hanging out with my family. It’s been a tough balancing act. After runs and rolling out all I want to do is nap. Here are a few tips to help you get through the “burn-out” phase of training:

1.  Evaluate what’s really bothering you.

I realized that not only was I feeling overwhelmed by training but a lot of other things were starting to build up. Being able to stop and evaluate what’s causing the stress is the best way to tackle life and decide on how you can overcome those obstacles.   2. Take a few days off.

For me, going for a run was becoming more of a chore than something I enjoyed. Taking a few days off and spending time with family, binge watching Netflix, shopping, and cooking really helped me re-focus. Also, instead of running you can do other cross training activities that will keep you active. I would try hiking, swimming, and biking to help clear your mind.  3. Never stop having fun.

I realized I was so focused on meeting my marathon goal pace (8:12 min) that I was getting upset on training runs when my pace wasn’t as fast as I wanted. This made running stressful and not fun. Stopping and looking at old race paces helped me realize I have come really far and I should be happy with the progress I have made throughout training.

4. Treat yourself.

Agree or disagree with me on this one but buying yourself something new for running always makes me feel better. Whether it’s a new pair of running shoes, or something as simple as trying a new flavor of GU helps break up the routine you’ve created. 5. Turn to your friends.

Your running friends are the best resource. They are your cheerleaders and truly understand where you are coming from. Turning to them during this time will help keep you motivated and be a listening ear. I had posted a few things on social media that let everyone know I was feeling burned-out. I immediately got messages and comments from friends suggesting things they did while in a similar situation.

One of the best lessons I have learned during this burn-out phase is that my running friends aren’t JUST my running friends but are friends I will have for life. You are not alone and life can be really stressful. Running is the best outlet to relieve stress and take time to count your blessings, if you are feeling burned-out, try these steps and just know everything will get better.
  
  
  
#ByeGirl #RunningForCarbs

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Tips: How to get back on track after summer.

ICYMI:  Here is the article I wrote for RunHaven.com on “How to get back on track after summer”.  To read the entire article click here: How to get back on track after summer.

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When all your running friends are moms.

In honor of Mother’s Day, today’s post is about moms. Running moms. I’m in the age group where my friends are either getting married, having babies, or already have babies. It’s just become part of our running schedules to coordinate times based on babysitting availability.

What do you do when all of your running friends are moms? Most of my closest running friends have children. Some weekends I’ve tried to schedule a run and no one can meet me because they have plans with their families. As selfish as I may want to be, I get it. I really do. Here are a few tips for keeping up with training when all of your friends have kids. I’ve included pictures throughout this post with all of the running moms in my life.

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1. Be flexible.

Okay so you don’t have kids. Wonderful! But all of your friends do. As busy as we (people without kids) get, their lives are that much busier with the coordinating of all things children. Be flexible. It’s easier for you to work around their schedules.

2. Understand that sometimes plans change.

For runners without kids let’s just call us RWK (since everything’s more fun in abbreviations), we plan these long runs with high expectations. Maintaining a certain pace, GUs at mile five, meet at 8am sharp, have the same meal before every run. As simple as life can be for RWK, our friends have a lot more going on. Moms are more concerned with feeding their kids and getting out the door unnoticed. Be understanding and don’t expect things to always go as planned.

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3. Listen.

Runs are our homes away from home. Nothing is better than having a stressful week and meeting your running friends to chat about the stressors in life. Moms are managing several schedules and juggling day to day activities. Sometimes they just need a listening ear. Be that friend and be aware when it’s time to talk about yourself and when it’s time to just listen. I used to always run with my earphones. I now make a conscious effort to not wear them with certain running friends so we can catch up.

4. Don’t be sensitive.

It’s happened to me more than once that  everyone is planning on meeting Saturday morning at 8am and at the last minute everyone cancels because they want to hang out with their kids. I have to remember that one day I’ll be on the same boat and it will all make sense. Until then support your friends and don’t be sensitive. Their kids are cute and why wouldn’t they want an extra cuddle on their day off instead of running 10 miles?

5. Support them.

Life can get so busy that we forget to support each other. A lot of my running friends are at different fitness levels. Some have just had babies, some push their kids in jogging strollers, while others bring their kids to the gym with them. Always find ways to compliment their workouts and support their progress.

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I may not be ready for kids at the moment but I love that all of my friends are at this stage of their lives. Everyone’s reasons for running are different and I appreciate my running friends with kids very much. I learn a lot from these women and it amazes me how they can juggle life so effortlessly. For all of you running moms keep up the hard work. Like everything in life I hope by using these tips it helps others treat their friends and family the way you would want to be treated when you decide to venture into motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms in the world.

#ByeGirl #RunningForCarbs

Easy steps to becoming a runner

Becoming a runner can sometimes seem intimidating, but following these few steps will help you ease into it. I always remind myself and my friends that if you run, you’re a runner. Whether you run 1 mile, 5 miles, 26.2 miles-if you run, you’re a runner! It’s simple. So how do we as runners get started? The steps I’ve outlined below are what helped me. I hope you find them useful.

1. Sign up for a race!

I’ve always noticed I am more consistent with running when I have something to work towards-a goal. Signing up for a race is easy and a great experience. The camaraderie between runners, the adrenaline in the air, the motivation all around you-it’s like nothing else. Start small and sign up for a 5K (3.10 miles), then eventually a 10K (6.2 miles), and next thing you know, you’ll be training for your first half marathon (13.1 miles).  Below are links to find races in California for 2015.  If you are interested in running a race in Sacramento through Sacramento Running Association as a host, you can use promo code “SRA46” for a discount.

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http://www.halfmarathons.net/california-race-calendar/

http://www.active.com/running/5k

http://www.roadracerunner.com/Races/RunningCalendar.aspx?state=ca

2. Use a free app to track your runs.

When I first started running, I didn’t track my runs which meant I had no idea how far or fast/slow I was actually going. Using an app like Nike Plus Running (my app of choice) or RunKeeper, will help you stay consistent and keep track of your progress. These apps are free and keep a log of your daily miles, pace and calories burned. They even allow you to upload photos which show the distance you ran. Celebrate your achievements and let the world know you ran!

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3. Make a running playlist. 

I love, love, LOVE making running playlists. I use Spotify because it has a great variety of music I can pull from. I’m very meticulous about my playlist. It starts off slower to keep my first few miles at a more comfortable pace and then builds up to faster music. If I keep up with the faster beats, I know I’m running at my desired pace. A lot of my songs bring happy memories and the positive thoughts keep me motivated. My playlist is available under my name, Tiffany James, and is called “Run Gurl” if you are interested in a combination of electro music, throwbacks, and some Latin spice.

4. Set one attainable goal a week…..build mileage.

Set goals for yourself weekly-something feasible you can work towards. For example, on your first week of running you can set a goal of completing one mile. Start at home, go out 0.5 miles…and then you really have no choice but to turn around and go home! I mean, unless you call someone to go get you…but don’t do that. Do that every other day until you can run that mile without stopping or walking. Next you can try to run from home, out 3/4 of a mile, and back-BAM! You’ve then completed 1.25 miles. Try not to create limitations or excuses. It will get easier if you just give yourself time.

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5. Don’t compare yourself to others and have fun!

Try not to compare yourself to anyone else. This is definitely easier said than done-for me anyway. I force myself to remember that everyone is different and what may be easy for some will not be easy for others. Most runners will tell you they stick to running because they are passionate about it and truly love it. Take time during your run to reflect and appreciate your life, your experience, and where you’re at with your running.

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6. Breathe. 

A big part of becoming a stronger runner for me was learning how to breathe-sounds pretty simple right? WRONG! You can’t disregard your breathing because if you do, before you know it, by half a mile, you’ll be panting like you’re dying. Figuring out how to breathe well during your run will help you get less side stitches and improve your posture. I’ve included a link from Runner’s World that will help your breathing technique. The sooner you can control your breathing, the sooner you can increase your speed and/or distance.

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http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/lung-power?page=single

7. Get fitted for running shoes.

If you enjoy running and it feels like something you may want to stick with, I suggest getting fitted for proper running shoes. This may cost anywhere from $100-200 depending on the shoe type, but the investment is well worth it. Your feet and body will thank you later. Proper running shoes will help your body stay injury free and provide the adequate support for running. If you live in the Sacramento area Fleet Feet of Sacramento is a great place to buy your first pair of running shoes. The staff is terrific and attentive. They will take their time to watch you run and recommend the best shoes for YOU.

These are just a few tips that helped me when I first started running. Please remember to go at your own pace. Enjoy every minute of it and just keep running! You’ve got this!

#ByeGirl #RunningforCarbs