Tag Archives: motivation

One Run At A Time, Or How To Avoid Toxic Thoughts

Good morning loves,

I am happy to report that I’ve learned yet another invaluable lesson during my 7 km run yesterday. But before I jump to that, here is my Week 6 training schedule of half-marathon training:

Monday – 4 miles
Tuesday – 30-40 minutes of cross training: HIIT
Wednesday – 4 miles + kettlebell toning
Thursday – 40-50 minutes of cross training: booty + cardio
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 8 miles
Sunday – rest day

*Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5*

The more I runSource

So a very interesting thing happened to me yesterday. You may or may not have read my previous post on how running makes us happy, but happiness makes us better runners. I tried my very best to be positive about the run, but it was such a struggle. Nothing hurt, but I had a full blown mental battle with myself, despite trying to keep my chin up and think happy thoughts. So what happened, you say?

I think the best way to put it is: I got caught in a web of self-doubt.

A little progress each day adds up to be resultsSource

You see, it’s been a very long time since I ran a distance of 10 km and more (apart from Week 3 and 4 of my training). My runs got much shorter since I got pregnant in fall 2014. Something happened to my bladder throughout my pregnancy and I could barely stay on a treadmill for 15-20 minutes before dashing to a ladies room. *Pregger problems! Haha!*

For some strange reason, something snapped when I saw that this week’s long run is a grand total of 8 miles. Toxic thoughts invaded my mind. I mean, I’m training for a half, so this distance is definitely not a surprise. I ran much longer distances in the past. But all of a sudden I got intimidated and mental games began. As I was running, all I kept thinking about was how am I gonna do that long run. And as many of you know, it is not a good place for any runner or any fitness enthusiast for that matter to question their own abilities.

Good news, it is reversible! *Haha!*

one day at a time, enjoy the journeySource

It is so sooooo important to focus on one workout at a time and not to get too much ahead of ourselves. Just like in our daily lives, in order to be efficient and not to get overwhelmed, we must prioritize our to-do list. First things first. The same goes for running. Not only our ‘present’ workout will be more effective, but also there is absolutely no reason why we should psych ourselves out of the challenge that lies ahead. Tackle it one day, one workout at a time.

Has ever self-doubt affected your workouts? How do you avoid psyching yourself out before a long run?

Keep moving forwardSource

Missed some of my most recent posts that created great discussions among my fellow bloggers? Here is your chance to catch up:

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

23 Comments

Filed under Half-Marathon Training, Motivation

Running Wisdom & Giveaway Winner

Well, hello there!!!

Have you read my last post on whether you should run with or without music? I absolutely LOVED the discussion it created! At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong as long as it makes you happy and brings you peace or the burst of energy you are craving!

First of all, I would like to congratulate Roxanne who won my giveaway for the Armpocket by following my blog via email! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it because I love mine!

congratulations

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Today I’d like to share some of my random Instagram ‘wisdom’. I recently started looking up some quotes before heading out for a run. This way I have something to reflect about. I actually enjoy this new habit of mine!

be kind

Don’t you love it when you run and a passerby says or nods you ‘Hello’ or simply gives you an encouraging smile? It doesn’t take much to be kind. 

Yesterday, I was reading one of my blogger friend’s post, Anna from Piper’s Run, and she mentioned how her daughters saw a lady running past their house and started cheering for her. Wouldn’t you want to be that runner?

I think this is one of the reasons I loved my Spartan experience so much: There was this sense of unity and support where competitors encouraged each other and stopping to made sure that no one was hurt. *Sprint, Super, Beast 1 & 2.* It was great!

Also don’t forget about those you care about the most because they tend to be neglected the most. Make sure you kiss and hug them and tell you love them. It never gets old.

the grass is green

As of recent, I find that my running experience has improved drastically. Why? I stopped comparing myself to others. It’s not a competition to me anymore, it’s MY running journey. I want to make this journey memorable and without any regrets.

It’s so sad when comparison prevents us from even starting something new! I know it has stopped me in the past. And there was no better feeling than chucking that heavy weight off my shoulders and living my life for me.

fix your ponytail

This quote is, once again, simply a reminder to all of us to be true to ourselves and train at our own pace. We don’t have anything to prove to anybody. Your health journey is YOUR journey. Stop comparing yourself to others. Ultimately, your own happiness should always prevail!

So if one of your workouts didn’t go as planned, who cares? Have some rest, cheer up and go for it again the next day! Consistency pays off and so does listening to your body!

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Do you ponder about life when you exercise? What’s some of your most recent wisdom?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

41 Comments

Filed under Motivation

How Yoga Has Helped My Running Game

Hi friends!

Before I get into today’s topic, here is how Week 2 of my half-marathon training looks like:

Monday – rest day
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Thursday – 3 miles
Friday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Saturday – 5 miles
Sunday – rest day

*You can see Week 1 plan here.*

A few days ago I got a question on Instagram: How has yoga helped my running game?

To be honest with you, I never really thought about it. I love yoga and enjoy running very much, so I simply have been doing the two things that bring a smile to my face and make me feel good. However, the question prompted me to think. There is definitely an undeniable complimentary relationship between the two.

Yoga 1

Injury prevention

There is a reason why we need to do warm-up and cool down stretches before going for a run. Yoga stretches ultimately lengthen the muscles that get tight during running. It is especially useful for those with very tight hips and hamstrings. Yoga can also help with soreness after the run.

yoga 2

Proper Breathing

It is detrimental to breathe properly when you do yoga in order to reap all of the benefits of any given pose. Better breathing during running allows a larger delivery of oxygen to the muscles, consequently increasing performance.

I find that I learned various breathing techniques while practicing yoga. A lot of people underestimate savasana, or a corpse pose, because you’re ‘simply’ lying on the floor. However, it is one of the best way to learn how to breathe properly:

  • Lie down comfortably on your back on a yoga mat,
  • Become aware of your natural breath and its rhythm,
  • Focus on raising your belly as you inhale through your nose,
  • Lower your belly as you exhale though your mouth.

yoga 3

I paid closer attention to my breathing over my last few runs. And you know what? I definitely noticed a big difference compared to how I was breathing only a couple of years ago. My breath control has improved drastically and I don’t find myself panting all the time, unless I’m giving it my all as I sprint.

Core Strength

The poses held in yoga strengthen the core, hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. Strong core translates into a good running posture which helps with your speed and endurance. It is easier to run.

yoga 5

Mindfulness

Yoga teaches us of how to stay inthe present moment, how to be mindful. In my opinion, mindfulness is extremely important when you run. It is so much easier to run when you focus on your breathing and stop thinking about how much more you’ve got to go!

On a separate note, I feel like a lot of runners don’t do yoga because they are intimidated by elaborate poses they see on the Internet…

But you should definitely give it a go. Try this awesome yoga for runners routine!

Or if you don’t have 30 minutes, give a try to this sequence.

be3a267c403f4129_yoga-for-runners-pinterest-poster-350

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Recently, I came across the following quote and fell in love with it.

admire someone else's beauty

In my opinion, it refers to much more than outward beauty.

It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, instead of being inspired by their success, we, often times, get discouraged by thinking that we aren’t good enough.
The reality is, there will always be someone who is stronger, faster, more flexible, more successful, you name it, than us, but you can’t let this hinder your personal progress and growth.

To avoid this, accept your status as novice, if that’s the case. Accept where you are today, be proud of your accomplishments so far. Celebrate success of others and let it motivate you to reach for new heights. Never underestimate yourself and what you are capable of. Self-doubt is your biggest enemy. Always aim to be the best version of yourself. You are unique and you deserve to love yourself.

handstand with Sofia - large.jpg

Do you practice yoga? How has it helped you?

Want to read more on yoga?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

17 Comments

Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Half-Marathon Training, Running

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s the last day of 2015?!

I can’t help but to reflect on what a wonderful year it has been.

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I have so much to be grateful for! Our baby Sofia and 4-legged baby Bella, our family and friends, old and new.

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And last but not least, my beloved husband.

I’ve definitely had some tough situations to deal with this year and he’s always been there for me. As they say, through thick and thin till death do us part. He is my best friend, and I still can’t fully grasp how lucky I am to have this man in my life and that two of us created our beautiful precious baby.

IMG_8278 edit.jpg

I know it will probably sound absolutely crazy, but when I was pregnant, it seemed like a miracle that there was someone growing in my belly. And now, I am a mom. I LOVE being a mom! It is such a rewarding feeling.

being parents

I haven’t been much in the blog world this year. I guess, it’s mostly because I wanted to live my experiences and not to spend a lot of time writing about them. That being said, I am so grateful for my blog friends and readers. You are like an extended family to me and I value more than you can ever imagine!

I am so excited for 2016! It will be a year full of firsts for Sofia. It’s so inspiring to watch her push her boundaries each day. My aspiration for 2016 is to grow too. I want my little girl to be proud of her mommy.

Happy-New-Year-2016-Download-3D-Wallpapers-2

I am wishing you all a beautiful year ahead. Make it memorable. Make it count. Tell your family and friends how much you love them and appreciate them, don’t wait for special occasions to do so. Love. Create new memories. Share smiles. Don’t forget about people in need. Don’t be greedy. Get stronger day by day. Be healthy.Be happy. Explore new horizons. And be the best possible version of you not for everyone else but for YOU!

Happy 2016!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Spartan Beast & Trifecta That Almost Didn’t Happen (Part 2)

I KNOWWWWW! How could I leave you hanging like that?! Well, I just did! *It was done with love lol!*

If you missed the first part, here it is: Spartan Beast & Trifecta That Almost Didn’t Happen (Part 1)

at the start line

That’s me at the start line. Worried, ecstatic and everything in between. Understandably so! The furthest distance I’d ever run before was 16.8 km and there were NO mountains! This being said, I had my water and gels, AND a friend to run with. Joe ran with me the previous two races too *read more on Spartan Sprint – here, and on Spartan Super – here*; however, we ran at our own pace. This time around, we decided to stick together: Running such a long race is more of a mental game than anything, and we knew that we would need to be there for each other emotionally.

I didn’t have much time to stretch, even though the start was pushed to 10.40 am, but at least I was able to calm down after a whirlwind of an adventure of us getting to the race. I was calm and composed. The plan was to go at a steady pace up hill and speed up on trails as well as while going downhill. I had 6 Gu’s with me, but I was shooting to take one every 5-6 kilometers or so.

The race started out with a gentle hill, but that didn’t last for too long. I considerably slowed my pace, and I was glad I did. The hill was getting really steep. At times, I even had to grab on to trees and their roots to climb huge rocks. It was FUN! Unfortunately, I started getting cramps in my glutes, so I would stop every now and then to massage them a bit.

butt cramps

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I am really grateful that my friend was really understanding. I knew, however, that once I got to the flat or downhill path I’d be able to fly, and that thought definitely kept me going. In addition, the weather  was overcast, so I didn’t have to worry about the heat.

This race was definitely the most challenging at 24 kilometers long. This time around there was much more mud on slopes, more heavy weight lifting, lots of crawling under the barbed wire be it on a flat surface, incline or in water.There was a fair share of people who were feeling sick, throwing up and unable to walk anymore, which was a good reminder that it’s good to have ambitious goals, but it’s important that they are manageable too. That being said, there was a lot of inspiration all over the place! People constantly making sure that everyone is okay, offering their help to those in need, a lot of cheering and smiles. However, I never imagined I would see anything like this.

comradery

I actually saw these guys while running down a very slippery and muddy hill. I was barely able to keep balance on my own when I noticed one of the guys bringing down the wheelchair and another carrying his friend on his back. I even teared up a bit for how great witnessing something like this was!

wheelchair under barbed wire

I forgot about any pain I was experiencing right that moment!

Some of the obstacles I enjoy the most are the rope climb…

climbing rope

Monkey barrel roll *I really have no clue how to call those! It was the first time I ever did it, and I LOVED the challenge!!!*…

barrel

*That’s me sweating there on the far right with a red Camelbak! Haha!*

Oh, and monkey bars, of course!

monkey bars

*As you can see it on my face, it’s a piece of cake haha!*

I would be lying if I said I was able to avoid all burpees!

I slipped on the traverse wall…

traverse wall

And I didn’t even attempt completing this challenge and went straight for burpees. *The finish line was about 100 meters away and I had sever lower back pain.*

the iron ring burpees

*Can you see through those rings how excited I was? NOT! Haha!*

As I mentioned before, there were a lot of obstacles that included lifting heavy objects. I was really surprised that most of the times girls had to lift the same weight as guys. Even though I completed all of them, I was really struggling, especially when the weight was distributed unevenly. Definitely something I have to work on!

The second half of the race was mostly run on trails which felt AH-mazing!!! There was also a lot of walking, crawling, swimming in water which was very refreshing and welcome.

And guess what? I actually have a decent jumping over the fire picture this time around!!! The fire was so high that I totally thought that it was gonna be one of those pictures again.

jumping over the fire

 *Aren’t you proud of me?! I, personally, can’t believe I was even able to jump so high after the longest race of my life so far, forget about the face and shape! LOL!*

Want to know another fun fact? I almost broke down crying when the girl was putting the medal around my neck. I was happy, I was overwhelmed, I was tired! To make things even better, my hubby decided to take his coat and turn away as I was running the final stretch, so it took me probably 15-20 minutes to find him. *Mind you, I could barely walk, and and my brain was fried and I couldn’t recall what he was wearing.* And he, poor thing, was still waiting for me at the slippery wall! *I actually was able to see him when I zoomed in on the picture above, looking away, waiting for me to arrive. Haha!*

Anyhow, once I found him, I was a happy trooper again!

at the finish line

Do I have any regrets? Of course! I am definitely saddened *and ecstatic at the same time* that the Spartan Trifecta is complete. Now I need to find another worthy and exciting challenge to complete and train for. Also… Ummm… I regret not taking a granola bar with me, my stomach was definitely unhappy from not eating anything but gels from 7 am till about 5 pm!!! Haha!

Have you ever been upset about completing your goal? What are your favorite obstacles? Any near missed big races?

xoxo
Olena

16 Comments

Filed under Cardio, Fitness, Health, Motivation, Race Reviews, Running

Everybody Wants To Be A Winner, But What Does It Mean ‘To Win’?

Guys, you won’t believe it! *Well.. actually… you BETTER believe it!* Yesterday I succeeded to wake up at 5.50 am and at 6 am I was already on my yoga mat for another EMPOWER session. And it’s a big one for me considering that only last week I was able to somewhat manage to open my eyes by 6.50-7 am!

Morning yoga

Yup… That’s me rocking a headstand in the morning after not having done one in over 11 years! *And, nope, I have no clue why my hubby decided to cut off my feet. He was still sleepy, I guess. Haha!*

Waking up early to squeeze in a 40-minute workout session before heading off to work was THE BEST thing I’ve done for myself in a VERY long while. I felt and still feel like a WINNER! *Damn right!*

winner

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It’s quite funny because when I was reading Run or Die by Kilian Jornet later on, something clicked and made me really think. Well read and judge it for yourself:

Winning isn’t about finishing in the first place. It isn’t about beating the others. It’s about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears. Winning means surpassing yourself and turning your dreams into reality. There have been many races in which I have finished first but haven’t felt that I was the winner. I haven’t cried when I crossed the line, haven’t jumped for joy, and haven’t been swept up in a whirlwind of emotions. I merely had to win the race, had to finish in front of the others, and before and and during the race, I knew and was sure that I would finish first. I knew it was no dream and didn’t think for one moment at any point what would it be like not to win. It was too easy, like a chef who opens his restaurant each day and knows exactly how all of his steaks will turn out. There’s no challenge, no dream to wake up from. And as far as I am concerned, that isn’t winning. On the contrary, I have seen big winners, individuals who have overcome themselves and crossed the finish line in tears, their strength gone, but not from physical exhaustion – though that is also there – but because they have achieved what they thought was only the fruit of dreams. I have seen people sit on the ground after crossing the finish line of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, and sit there for hours with blank looks, smiling broadly to themselves, still not believing that what they have achieved isn’t a hallucination. Fully aware that when they wake up, they will be able to say that they did it, that they succeeded, that they vanquished their fears and transformed their dreams into something real. I have seen individuals who, though they have come in after the leaders had time to shower, eat lunch, and even take a good siesta, feel that they are the winners. They wouldn’t change that feeling for anything in the world. And I envy them, because, in essence, isn’t this a part of why we run? To find out whether we can overcome our fears, that the tape we smash when we cross the line isn’t only the one the volunteers are holding, but also the one we have set in our minds? Isn’t victory being able to push our bodies and minds to their limits and, in doing so, discovering that they have led us to find ourselves anew and to create new dreams?

It’s written so beautifully. He hit the hammer on the nail! SPOT ON!

make it happen

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To win can mean many different things to different people. In my opinion, I am a winner because:

– I have an amazing husband, family and friends, and Bella, of course!
– I have a stable job where I can grow, and a great team who supports me.
– I am healthy.
– I am privileged to be able to exercise and get stronger day by day.
– I have a roof over my head and food on table.
– I live in a beautiful country where everything is possible.
– I am able to travel and learn more about the world I live in and other cultures.

i am the luckies girl in the world

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What does it mean to you to be a winner?

xoxo
Olena

 

14 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Motivation

Back To Basics: Working Out For The FUN Of It

Hi loves!

First of all, congratulations to Germany for winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup!

germany

What a beautiful goal it was!

Also, I apologize for disappearing on you for the second half of last week. The truth is, I’ve been having somewhat of a workout mental block that started right after the Spartan Sprint. Not that I didn’t want or feel like working out, I was too exhausted to do anything. To make things worse, my knee felt weird. I couldn’t help but feel discouraged: the Spartan Beast is only 2 weeks away and I pretty much haven’t run over the past 2 weeks.

you don't workout

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It is easy to get overwhelmed by a demanding training schedule. Oftentimes, routine becomes too routine, and the novelty of it goes away. At some point I even got scared that I was losing my love for running… And believe me, I don’t want this to happen… EVER! So  I dug deeper to find the real root of the problem. Over the past week, instead of centering my mind on the upcoming race and being harsh on myself, I decided to focus on the following basics:

1. Getting enough sleep: In my opinion, this was the biggest issue. It seems like 6-7 hours is not enough for me. I feel best when I get closer to 8 hours of sleep. So I made a conscious effort to get to bed earlier. After all, it’s all about prioritizing, and my top priority is TO FEEL GOOD. *Read more on how to sleep better here.*

getting enough sleep

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2. Eating clean: Nobody likes to feel heavy. I’m no exception. This being said, I couldn’t help myself but feel bloated all the time. The fix was quite simple: I cut down on the amount of meat and alcohol, increased the intake of fruits and vegetables, and started controlling my portions more. The result was almost instantaneous: I FEEL AWESOME!

Here is a picture of some cherries and gooseberries from my parents backyard. They’ve got pretty much everything in there: white, red and black gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, grapes, not to mention a wide variety vegetables and plants! *Can’t wait to have my own little garden too!*

berries

In addition, I recently discovered Freekeh. This grain is packed with fiber, vitamins and nutrients. And it tastes delicious. I added it to my salad instead of quinoa, and it was a nice change!

Freekeh

3. Staying hydrated: This one is pretty much self explanatory. I make it a point to drink more water throughout the day by having a water bottle next to me at all times. *Read more here to learn about dangers of dehydration, and here – to find 4 delicious favored water recipes.*

4. Relaxing: I needed it  more than I realized. So I treated myself to a nice bubble bath with candles…

bath time

Learning more about running…

reading

And, of course, treating myself to a dessert!

cupcake

5. Doing exercises that make me feel good: Yoga has been one of those things that made me feel exceptionally energized and alive recently. I won’t lie, I am sore after my yoga workouts. They make me feel strong and determined. It is an energy and confidence boost I needed.

I took it even a step further and registered myself for the EMPOWER challenge from Yoga With Adriene. *If you are interested in subscribing, you’ll have to hurry and reserve your spot by July 15, watch the video below for more information.* Can you tell I’m hooked?! *Haha!*

6. Thinking of workouts as ME-time not Jeez-I’ve-Got-To-Do-This-Again: This point is the MOST important. At least to me. Somehow we get so caught up in training for a race, competition, achieving a new PR, that we forget the initial reason why we started this fitness journey all together. Go ahead, and I ask yourself this question, ‘WHY?!’

Unfortunately, I can’t answer for you, but I can for myself. I love how being active makes me feel strong, unstoppable and healthy. It makes me feel alive. So why not go back to these basics and focus on them? It helped me!

So forget about timing yourself, tracking the distance, and just run… FOR THE FUN OF IT!

change the way you look at things

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What do you do to bring excitement back into your workouts?

xoxo
Olena

42 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Motivation