Saturday, January 4, 2014


     Everybody has it in some amount. Everyone has to deal with it. But how? Several studies have shown that running/jogging helps relieve this stress. I agree 100% with these results, and I'm sure any other runners would too.

     At the beginning of the season, running was probably the cause of my stress. It wasn't that I hated doing it or anything but the coach made us have practice before school, after school, on weekends, and I never got a break. Homework drove me insane and I broke down crying trying to figure out a simple math problem. But like they say, times do get better. I guess I just finally got used to everything being so hectic in my life and I stopped worrying about not being able to complete things. The first period of time I stopped running, I started getting so much more stressed. I felt like homework was coming in from everywhere, and to top it all off my English teacher never gave me an A on my papers. Honestly, not even once. I'm a little bitter. But anyway, I realized that when I actually ran it got my mind off of so many things I didn't even know were there.

     There will always be problems in your life and obstacles you have to overcome, but running can make them seem more bearable. I don't really believe in taking any medication to relieve stress because it just makes you fat and sad. Doctors should prescribe exercise, not Prozac.

     When I run, I feel that I could finally think. Sometimes I bring along my iPod, but when I don't it's like the whole world just quieted down. Us human beings and especially us high school students are constantly  spending time with other people, laughing loudly, listening to lectures, blaring music! But sometimes you just have to get away from it all for thirty minutes.

     If I'm ever mad, I always want to punch something. I've broken a few walls because of this, and now I just wonder why I didn't just go for a run. Your feet hitting the pavement is a much better way to deal with anger than punching walls. When you run, your mind clears out and your body does whatever it wants. It's a lot better than seething all alone in an empty room.

Thanks for listening guys, if you're ever feeling stressed out, go out and run!

Song of the week:


     Yes, winter break has started and I'll just be completely honest with you guys. I haven't run in like FOREVER. I am so deeply ashamed of myself but gosh darn I've been incredibly lazy. Granted I had the flu for a while and could barely get out of bed, I still should've probably done some core work. So training starts NOW! Even though there's only two more days of winter break... No better time than the present right?

     An important lesson I just learned is to never put things off. Back on the first few days of break, I thought to myself, "Oh yeah! I have tons of time left to workout I'll do it later." Well, that never happened. I just kept indulging in more and more holiday food. But hey, what's done is done. I'm just begging all of you to never be like me, so start going out and jogging or at least core work!

     I actually really like core because I could do it inside where I won't freeze off my limbs. It's also really fun to mix up all the workouts and junk. Now I'm just going to share some of my lovely workouts with the rest of you.

    First major thing to do is crunches! Woo-hoo! These are relatively simple because you just lay on the ground with your knees bent like you would do a sit-up but instead you just lift your shoulder blades off the ground. I usually do 30 regular crunches, 20 crunches with your legs laying down sideways to work your obliques, and 10 with your legs up at a 90 degree angle. Around 4 sets of these and you're all set.

     Next, are planks! If you don't know what a plank is then it's basically being in a push up position but on your elbows and staying like that. For these, I either do 45 second repetitions or I challenge myself and see how long I could stay up for. The longest I've hit so far was 8 minutes I believe and after that you sort of drain yourself of any ambition you had left. You could do back-planks, front-planks, side-planks, or front-planks!

     Even though everyone hates them, push-ups are good for you. I'll admit, I can barely do five without having my arms begin to shake uncontrollably, but that won't stop me from trying! I do at least 5 push-ups in between every repetition for crunches. Therefore, I'm doing them, but they're not so concentrated that I end up breaking both my arms.

     Finally, lunges! These are really good for your legs, but I find them extremely difficult. At cross country, our coach made up this thing called the "lunge-matrix." It consists of eight forward lunges, eight side lunges, 8 back lunges, and eight more side lunges. The numbers are interchangeable but that's our basic routine. I think it's a pretty good workout and I recommend you guys to try it!

I'll definitely be doing more core-work blog posts, but for now it's goodbye! I wish you all the best!

Song of the week:

A Runner's Christmas Wishlist

     As the holidays are approaching, I'm sure everyone is desperately trying to come up with some kind of fantastic gift idea that will totally impress your friends and make them love you. Speaking from experience, I know this is a tough thing to do at most times, which is why I'm here to help you (when it comes to your runner buddies that is). Although I have no idea what you should get your 93 year old grandmother who spends an abnormal amount of time on her rocking chair, I do have an idea as to what to get someone who loves to run. Of course let's not be completely selfless, you could definitely buy these things for yourself too!

     The first thing I would recommend is socks. Who doesn't need an extra pair of socks? I personally love socks made for runners because they feel really comfortable and secure. I wasn't even aware a sock could make you feel safe but it could happen. They also look really cool in my opinion. And to top it off, it's a great gift for girls and boys! These usually go for about 6 dollars a pair.

Women's UA Mini Headbands

     The second gift I'd highly recommend giving would be running headbands. I'm not sure if boys would appreciate these, but for girls it's a must have! You have no idea how long I've been wanting a headband for... I still do. But anyway you could either buy the thicker winter ones designed for running in cold or summer ones that could be worn all year round basically. Prices vary a lot but the thicker ones go for 10-20 dollars while most of the thin headbands come in packs for about 10 dollars.

     You know what everyone loves receiving? Gift cards! No matter their gender, anyone would love a gift card to their favorite sporting store. If you don't know what store they'd like to buy from, I recommend either Dick's Sporting Goods, Sport's Authority, Footlocker, Lady's Footlocker, Saucony, Nike, Underarmour, or maybe even a local running shoe store. The great thing about gift cards is they're totally customizable, but you should probably put on at least 20 dollars.

     Lastly, if you're kind of broke but intent on making that one person happy, make a customized water bottle! This is something all the girls do on the team. Buy puffy or fabric paint from your local crafts store and a nice water bottle. Then you just customize the water bottle anyway you want with the paint! Don't worry if you're absolutely awful at anything artsy, just try to make it neat and I'm sure they'll love it. I like putting cute quotes and sayings on mine with little foot prints going along the side.

     I know there's tons of different thing you could get for a runner who is dear to you, but these are just some of my suggestions! Happy Holidays everyone!

Song of the week:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quotes to Keep You Going

     Since winter running has started, and the weather is getting FREEZING I think we all need a little bit of inspiration to keep us going through this hard post-season.

     Already, I've noticed that I'm becoming increasingly lazy when it comes to running and it keeps getting more and more up appealing to go outside in the below zero, snowing, and sometimes rainy weather. Not only has the weather gotten worse, but now it gets dark even earlier! I know that all of you feel similarly, but I'm here to say that in the end, it's all gonna be worth it! If you keep training now, when track season rolls around, you'll be so much farther ahead of other people that didn't run in the winter. 

     If you honestly can't even stand cold weather, I suggest getting a membership to a gym. I would definitely do this, but unfortunately there's not a gym nearby where I live. Either way, I'm sure it's a really great investment during cold seasons. 

     At times like theses, I feel we can all use a little bit of inspiration! So, I've complied a few of my favorite running quotes in hopes that you'll fell better about this whole running thing. Enjoy!

“The will to win means nothing if you haven’t the will to prepare.” – Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner
“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.” – Maurice Greene (attributed to Roger Bannister shortly after running the first sub-4 mile)
(My eighth grade cross country coach always told me this story!)

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?’” – Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian and Sub-2:12 marathoner
“A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.” -Billie Jean King (tennis player)
“If you can’t win, make the fellow ahead of you break the record.” – Unknown
“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.”-Doug Larson
“Some people train knowing they’re not working as hard as other people. I can’t fathom how they think.” -Alberto Salazar
Song of the week:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why Do You Run For?


     A little while ago, I happened to stumble across this video in my search results called "What do you run for?" It seemed interesting enough, so I watched it. I was actually really surprised. Here I was, just an average everyday high school student running, and I never really asked myself why. Why does anybody run? To stay in shape I suppose. But there are some people out there who truly wanna make a difference on this world.

     There are countless cases where some poor kid is told that he'll "never be good enough," and that child grows thinking he actually won't be good enough for anything. But the amazing part, is that others try to prove that person wrong and end up succeeding . Michael Jordan is probably the most famous example of this. It really is so inspiring to see that with a lot of hard work and dedication, everything is possible. People with life-long injuries run all the time, and a lot of them are amazing at it.

     I think the thing that really makes me keep going is the fact that there will always be those runners that run simply for another person. There was a really interesting story I read once about a Dad who raced hundreds of times all while carrying his son in a wheelchair. This man was an amazing runner and own countless races, all the while carrying his son along with him. And when asked if he'd ever run on his own, he said no. 

     I always find myself thinking, why do I run? I could be doing so much homework, hanging out woth friends, watching TV, but I chose to run. I like winning. I'm sure everybody does. But others run with no intention of winning. I may not be the best runner out there, but I am blessed with the ability to run. Some kids just like me, don't have that option. No matter how hard they try, they will never be able to run on their own. They'll never get to experience running quite the way I do. And I'm really lucky to have that.

     So now, I'm asking you. What do you run for?

Song of the Week:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Running Attire

     As my previous one blog post stated, the weather is indeed getting colder. For those of your newbies joining any winter running programs to keep in shape, I'm here to supply you with some pretty valuable information.

     I'll be honest here, I haven't actually been in a winter running program before. But I have ran in colder weather and snow many times before so I've come to figure out what some of the best things you could wear are, in my opinion of course. As with everything, what you have to and don't have to wear depends a lot of body factors. I am cold all the time. I actually shiver and my teeth start chattering when I'm in school. Cold weather is just not my thing. But hey, if I can do it, so can you!

     Let's be serious here, running clothes can get expensive... especially running clothes designed to keep you warm. The good thing though is that if you invest in some high quality clothing, you'll end up getting a ton of use out of it all and you'll be glad you didn't settle for the cheaper, less effective versions of different sportswear.

     The main basics for running clothing are sweaters. I like wearing the type of long-sleeve shirts you would get at cross country meets. These are great because they're usually very light weight and you can layer them easily. Hoodies or sweatpants aren't really recommended
to wear because they weigh you down A LOT. You're definitely gonna notice the extra weight once you start running.

     The first thing I HIGHLY recommend anyone running in the cold to get is an under armour. My personal under armour cost me about fifty dollars. I'm sure you could find some for cheaper and even pricier but mine keeps me quite warm. A bunch of different brands sell these sweater-type things but I always feel that the material is much thinner and doesn't trap your body heat as well as under armour does. Also, if you are planning on being on a team of some sort I recommend you buy a basic color like black or white that you could wear under your uniform. There are always a bunch of fun colored ones too but it's better to be safe than sorry in this cold weather.

     The second must-have for the winter running season is running tights. So far, I haven't found a pair that legitimately keeps your legs warm, but there is a pair from Nike that has fleece inside it that I really want! My friend owns these, and she says they work great. from where I've seen, they go for around fifty dollars as well, maybe a little more. If you don't want to pay that much for tights, I suggest going to TJ Max. I can almost always find a nice pair of simple or really crazy designed tights there from Nike to Reebok.

     You're probably gonna find that  you can't feel your toes this winter season. You may or may not know that I am a HUGE fuzzy-sock fanatic. If I could wear fuzzy socks as shoes, I would. These socks can cost three to six dollars! You can get them anywhere from Target to Costco. I actually haven't ran in fuzzy socks just yet, but I predict doing so in the near future. If you're too cool to wear fuzzy socks in public, I have a pair of regular Saucony running socks that are actually really thick and keep your feet nice and toasty. I suggest wearing the latter option, but hey do whatever you want.

     As the season goes on, I'm almost sure that I'll be posting a second winter running clothing post, so stay tuned!

Photos from:
Snowy gif is from tumblr, all others from their brand websites.

Song of the Week:

Mile Time Trials

     In the past couple of weeks, I have done two Mile Time Trials and I'm here to tell you a few tips about them.

     Although I'm obviously not a great mile runner, I did reach my goal of under six minutes! I scraped by just getting 5:59 at the finish and I was a little bit too happy. Considering it was FREEZING that day and I was running in short sleeves and knee-tights, I was pretty proud of myself. I ended up being the twenty first person from our cross country team to finish the mile under six minutes - a new record for our school!

     I'm not sure exactly how others school's tracks are like, but my school has a 400 track, and 4 laps make a mile. I'd ask a coach or gym teacher if you're not sure about the length of your school's track, but if you don't have access to a track, my team sometimes does the time trial at our local forest preserve. You can mostly see the mile markers on the trails and if you can't, odds are that there will be some sort of map of the whole preserve.

     As for actually running the mile, it's pretty damn difficult. People tease me for being nervous about the mile, but they're obviously not in cross country. Although it's definitely not the toughest workout, it can get pretty crazy. For one, you're basically going 100% the whole way, apart for the places where you're going 110%. 

     Starting off, you really want to get yourself out there. The first two hundred to four hundred meters are your chance to find a group that you could run with. Make sure to not overshoot it and find that you're gonna die halfway through the mile. The first half of the race is pretty easy mentally, at least for me, but the third lap is KILLER. I always always always always seem to slow down there! Don't be like me! I've been trying to really push through my mentality at this stage of the mile. You have to remind yourself that you're more than halfway done! This is the part that makes or crushes you! Keep a steady pace, and DO NOT let go of it.

     The last four hundred is where you really just go all out. Especially right when it's about one hundred meters to go you wanna kick it and sprint as fast as your legs will let you, making sure not to ease up. You wanna lengthen your stride and really just try your hardest on this last stretch. It's the difference between a six minute mile and an under six minute mile.

     Since these time trials, aren't that long, eating one of those Gatorade chews or something that helps you get pumped isn't a bad idea. I always forget to pick them up at the store, but I have heard various good things about them!

     Good luck if you're ever planning on running a mile time trial in your lifetime!
Song of the Week: