Self-Care Series – Exercise

Welcome to the first official installment in the self-care series! Not sure what self-care is? You can read about that here in the introductory post.

As with any form of self-care, finding what genuinely works for you is the true key to finding a health balance in your lifestyle. But when it comes to exercise, finding what works for you and how to make it work for you is the most important aspect, especially if exercise hasn’t been your most favorite activity in the past.

Starting Small

Health (mentally or physically) isn’t something that’s going to fall into your lap. Ask anyone who’s trying to lose weight or has gone through the process of therapy. It’s a series of ups and downs, gains and losses. It’s about continuing to look for those ups when you’re in the middle of a down!

Personally, I think that’s where the largest hang-up for many comes from with exercise. We’re all guilty of wanting that instant gratification of losing five pounds in our first week of exercising, but unfortunately, it doesn’t go that way for everyone, and for many, this discouragement leads to quitting – which really points to the larger issue.

To genuinely get started on the right path to exercise becoming self-care, before you take actions like buying running sneakers or work-out DVDs or joining a gym, what you really should do is take some time to think.

Why is exercise something you want to introduce into your life? If it’s to lose weight, why do you want to lose that weight? To improve your self-esteem, to run around with your future children, to live a long life, to have a higher daily energy level… these are all motivations that point toward self-care.

But what if this isn’t where your motivation lies?


What if it’s to get back to your high school weight, to wear a bikini this summer, to make your ex jealous, to not be the “fat friend”… If that’s what’s putting the fuel in your fire, don’t extinguish it! These forms of motivation are an amazing way to kickstart yourself, but eventually, this fire will fade, and that’s where you’ll need a more maintainable, self-care focused thought-process to fall back on. Try coupling your intense motivation with one of the self-care ones – for example, fitting into that bangin’ bikini this summer will no doubt improve your self-esteem and keep you wanting to feel that good!

See how that works? So whether or not you start off incredibly gung-ho and excited to exercise or not – where you mentally need to begin is knowing that you will (and can!) make this a lifelong habit, because the benefits of routine exercise are much greater than hitting your goal weight.

Step Up Your Game
Okay, now, repeat after me:

Exercise is not a punishment.
Excerise is not a punishment.

In May of 2013, I started running because I had been previously doing elliptical workouts, and I knew running burned way more calories. Since May, I have logged 532 miles on MapMyRun… and maybe become a little bit obsessed. Now, why am I telling you this?

Well, my fiancé’s brother and mother are both notorious for going on weight loss kicks and falling off of them very quickly (probably a lot because they don’t start with the right motivation!), and if you know a runner, you know we love to talk about our shoes, our upcoming races, and practically every daily run we ever complete – SO, they know I run… duh. My fiancé is a pretty healthy dude – he eats well, and he lost 40ish pounds (I think about that) when he started college, but after he lost that weight he stopped exercising routinely, so I’m trying to get him back into running. He did three miles with me recently, and we’re signed up to do a color run in May! All of this is amazing to me, and so exciting to see him starting to embrace a long-term healthy lifestyle, but from his family, this is greeted with – “Why are you going to do that? (color run, as if it’s not SUPER FUN!)” or “Oh Daniel, I’m so sorry” (implying that he had no choice but to run with me).

Let me just tell you, if you start out with that mentality about exercising, you WILL fail. Now, you can hate running – that I don’t care about! I was a competitive swimmer in high school and asking any of us girls on the team to run was like asking us to jump off a bridge – but we swam for 10+ hours a week, because we loved it.

What you can’t hate is the whole premise of exercise. Exercise is AMAZING, people. For someone recovering from anxiety, exercise always kept me centered, and it still does. It peps you back up after a long day of work or class (or both!). It gets your day started off on the right foot. It builds your confidence. It helps you stay at a healthy weight, or helps you get to a healthy weight! It makes you a total badass. It helps you avoid becoming a murder.


So you can’t hate exercise, okay? But you can hate some of this stuff:

Hate moving fast or breaking a sweat? Buy a book on strength training or find an app you like that will create a workout for you. Walk! Outside, on the treadmill, at an incline!

Hate exercising alone? There are SO many classes and group activities out there. Zumba, yoga, Crossfit, boot camps, recreational sports like soccer, softball or volleyball

Need low impact exercises? Again walking, also swimming and biking

Don’t want to shell out the money for a gym membership? Use the millions of YouTube workout videos; walk or run outside; go hiking; download a free app that creates at home workouts for you (there’s TONS. I use one called Bodbot).

Don’t think that exercising means you are confined to a jail cell in the form of a cardio machine, if that’s what you hate! For me, running and cardio machines are where I’m most comfortable. I love the feeling of “hard work” it gives me; I love the sweat and I love the feeling of muscle fatigue and pride afterward. But that isn’t for everyone – and that’s okay, because there’s so many options!

Try and try and try again. Once you find something that works for you, you’ll just know. It’ll click and more importantly, you’ll enjoy it.

Make it Forever

The most important thing about exercise, and any of these self-care posts, is that it’s got to be sustainable. When I first starting making my exercise regimen a forever decision, I was a disgustingly over-scheduled, ridiculously stressed out college student, so what was sustainable for me was spending 20-30 minutes in the gym 3 days a week. Sometimes this meant I was only spending an hour in the gym a week.
And that’s okay. Because it works!

Exercise keeps me centered, and I can feel it in my bones if I’ve gone too many days without it now. Now I exercise 5-6 days a week depending on what’s going on. I basically have the mentality that I could work-out every day and if I don’t, it’s due to extreme soreness or an extremely busy day.
And that’s okay. Because it works!

For me, my forms of sustainability went from “dedicated but stuck” to “insanely dedicated combined with a little more free time to work with”… both of the schedules work(ed) for me, and got the job done – reliably. Reliable is the key – don’t believe that you’re going to go the gym every day if you just can’t. If you’re constantly taking children to practices etc in the evenings and Tuesdays are the only evenings you can get a walk in, then so be it. Walk Tuesdays and weekends. But always walk Tuesdays and weekends. Even if that means getting up early one Tuesday because you have a pop-up something that evening, that’s what you have to do it, because Tuesday is your week-day exercise day. The minute you don’t stick to your schedule is the minute your old habits of putting it off slip back in, and that’s the last thing you want.

As you get more comfortable with your routine, you may find that you enjoy the endorphins, change in energy level, change in your body, etc, so much that you might want to start waking up early on Mondays to get a walk in too. Awesome, that’s amazing! If you can do that, do it! And if not, go back to just Tuesdays and weekends. Catch my drift?

Eventually, for me, I got the point where I LOVE exercise. You may get this point too. Exercising isn’t something I schedule anymore (Except for now I’m on a half-marathon schedule because I’m training), because I know why I do it. I’ve mentioned it earlier, but it keeps me centered. Exercise has been proven in study after study to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and that’s why I do it. I feel off on days without it, and that’s why I know I will always do it – because I believe in what it’s done for me.

So maybe one day, you too won’t need to say “every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday,” or maybe you always will. As said before, you’ve really gotta find what works for you!

Conclusion – Step-by-Step

1. Believe in exercise. Believe in what it can do for yourself, your family, your overall health, your lifestyle and your entire life. Believe it in so much that you know you’ll believe in it for forever.
2. Don’t be a dummy and hate exercise. If you hate it, don’t do it. Why would you? With so many choices of what you can do to get active, why would hating one form be an excuse? It’s only going to drag you down.
3. Once you find what you love to do, figure out how often you can do it.
4. Don’t overcommit, and then don’t skimp on what you commit to.
5. Drive jog off into the sunset. 


100 Happy Days Challenge; 1 – 10

A little over a week ago, I heard about the 100 Happy Days project.


When you suffer from any form of mental illness, it sucks the life out of you. It steals your happiness! My anxiety had me focusing on getting done what I needed to, and what it would take to just get through every day; I just wanted to survive, and hopefully not be as anxious as normal. I wanted to be happy again, but it wasn’t at the top of my priorities list.

Now that I’m on what I believe is my upswing back into mostly permanent normalcy, I was thrilled when I heard about this challenge. It argues that we live in a society wrapped up in the pride of being busy – and I definitely agree with that. I used to suffer from that heavily, and all it did was feed my anxiety! – instead of taking the time to smell the roses, and appreciate the life we’re living. It says that taking the time to find the good in every day for 100 days will leave you living an overall happier, more content lifestyle.

To document your challenge, it gives you several options, including privately doing it, or publicly doing it through various social media sites. I chose to post my photos to my Instagram, and then I’m also posting them to my personal Facebook page to share with friends and family who aren’t on Instagram. And honestly, I highly recommend sharing your photos if you elect to do the 100 Happy Days challenge (if you’re comfortable with that), because I’ve already inspired two other people to do it too!

So, without further ado, here are my first ten #100HappyDays posts:

Day 1:


I’ve touched on the topic of this photo on the blog before here and here, but the essence of this photo was appreciating the beauty of where I grew up, because I definitely took it for granted when it was my permanent home.

Day 2:


In high school, I stage managed all of our musical productions from 10th – 12th grade, and when  I graduated my sister took over for me! I miss it like crazy still, even though it’s been three years – it’s been long enough that now my sister just completed her last year as stage manager! My little brother also played a leading role as Tom Sawyer’s little brother. It was wonderful!

Day 3:


Went to lunch with two great friends, and the fiancé! It was so nice to catch up, and time with them is always appreciated because of how rare it is with all of us being at school in different places.

Day 4:


If you’ve been living on the east coast and dealing with the Polar Vortex, you know that a day of 39 and cloudy felt like a HEAT WAVE, so that explains itself!

Day 5:


I’m slowly working up my long runs every week as part of my half-marathon training, and prior to this, I had run every distance that was allotted on the plan – my prior longest to 7 was 6.5 – and I was AMAZED at this pace with it being 7 miles. For my half, I’m shooting for a modest 11:30 pace, but this run made me think that maybe I’m underestimating my ability!

Day 6:


We went from a nice, warm 39 degrees to a SNOW STORM! So bad that we were under a snowstorm warning, travel advisory, and school even got cancelled – and that was the happy moment of the day! I didn’t even have to get out of bed.

Day 7:


Thanks to the fiancé for making me smile this morning🙂 He keeps me even though I’m annoying!

Day 8:


I think this speaks for itself. Mmmm

Day 9:


Daniel (fiancé) joined me for my short, pre-long run. Just three miles! Slowly trying to get him into running, too!

Day 10:


I promise not every day is about running… Though, seriously, I actually have to try really hard to NOT make every day about being proud of my runs! But this is me – in my post-run exhaustion, because I ran EIGHT miles. That’s A LOT… for me, anyway, and if that’s not something to be happy about, I don’t know what it is!

What makes you happy in your day-to-day life? Would you consider doing the 100 Happy Days challenge?

Self-Care Series: What is Self-Care?


Though many people believe that a change like a new car or job will bring them the satisfaction they’re missing, most of the time this isn’t true. Happiness comes from within, and if it’s not something you’re feeling, you also need to look inside yourself to find out exactly what you’re missing.

For many people (including myself at one point), what’s probably missing from your life is some form of self-care. If you’ve never heard of “self-care,” it can be broken down to simply exactly what it sounds like: taking care of oneself.

For me, personally, one of the biggest strides I made in recovering from anxiety was an active effort to incorporate self-care into my daily life in every way that I could. The specific self-care categories that I’m going to touch on are: exercise; sleep health; avoiding procrastination/chaos; cutting out the unnecessary; hobbies/personal time; mindful/healthy eating; and setting goals.

When I misstep on one of these forms of self-care, I can feel it. When I don’t sleep well or skip exercising for too many days, I almost definitely don’t feel in the greatest mood, and can even feel some underlying anxiety itching at me. Same goes if I have a week that I poorly scheduled and things feel out of control, or I am neglecting “me time”.

Every form of self-care is important in its own way. In this series about self-care, I’ll share my tips on how to start small with each one and how to build from there to find the best way to make the particular form of self-care permanent in your lifestyle.

Why I Stopped Counting Calories

For the first four-ish months of my anxiety, I had a huge issue take over my brain – anxious eating, and specifically, anxious binge eating. It was this sad cycle of doing cardio Monday – Friday for 30 to 60 minutes, and then binging on fast food and chips and just junk at night… and I mean binging, to its fullest extent, including the sickeningly full feeling and all of the buckets of guilt that go along with it. Then, my anxiety developed a new, fun twist – constant dizziness and light-headedness. During this period, I developed a belief that this dizziness was due to poor nutrition, and I was also working at a summer camp (aka binge eating on the couch in front of the TV wasn’t an option), so I would load up on food at meals, believing that I “needed it,” or else, basically.

When I got back to college that fall, I started to acknowledge more that I definitely had a problem that needed addressing. Over the course of the 2010-2011 school year (my senior year of high school), thanks to being on the swim team and watching what I ate, I managed to lose 20 pounds. At this point after summer camp, I had gained all of that back, plus 10 more. I didn’t have any conscious thoughts for what I was putting in my mouth – so I started counting calories.

From September to December of 2012, I counted calories. I had minimal (read: no) knowledge of what I should be eating calorie-wise, though I had always heard the tried-and-true “average woman needs 2000 calories a day” (ha!), so that’s what I ate during those months… and it lost me 10 pounds, just doing that. It was great! But I was still 20 pounds away from where I had gotten before, and I knew I wanted to get that back – and if I was going to do that, I knew I wanted to do MORE, so I set a lofty goal of losing 50 pounds.

I started exercising several times a week in January of 2013, but at this time I stopped counting calories, because I was extremely overwhelmed by the whole process. Unfortunately, I was still impressionable, and my binge eating habits slipped right back in, so in March of 2013 I became an avid and obsessed calorie counter. I learned about terms such as basal metabolic rate, how many calories are in a pound, etc – I was knowledgeable and on my way!

For anyone who’s ever counted calories before, you know that you start slow. You forget to log some days, or you only log half the day – but then, you learn about meal planning and you begin to look at everything you eat based on its calorie content. EVERYTHING. No more candy bars or just grabbing something quickly to eat if you’re hungry. No more sneaking spoonfuls of peanut butter, because is a spoonful of peanut butter really worth 100 calories?

I am grateful for this past year I’ve spent counting calories avidly, because it’s certainly taught me a lot about the nutritional value of food. I could have a crummy microwavable meal that’s less filling and more calories than a gigantic salad loaded with bright, crispy veggies. I don’t need 10 cookies, nor do I want 10 cookies. Lessons like that I’ve learned through diligently watching my food intake.

But ultimately, for me, calorie counting become a different kind of obsession. It didn’t help me stop constantly thinking about food. When I was binging, I would constantly thinking about the next meal I would get to stuff my face with. When I was counting calories, all I did was shift my thoughts of binging to thoughts of how to stay under, how much exercise I would need to do to afford a piece of cake, how though X was yummy, it wasn’t worth the amount of calories in it, what was going to be served at a dinner I went, what could I eat a restaurant… on and on, ’round and ’round it went.

Admittedly, for the past month or two I’ve been highly over calorie-counting. The scale hasn’t been budging much, so I’ve been frustrated all around with this whole weight loss process. Finally, two Saturdays ago, I pulled the plug. I’m done, I’m free, no more! Though it wasn’t that easy – it caused me a lot of strife and panic and worry that I was going to slip into the ways of old, binging Mandi, but in the past two weeks, I’ve actually maintained my weight. Hallelujah!

Honestly, in the past two weeks, I’ve really come to peace with this decision. I feel so much more free, and I know I’ve learned how to be a better me in this arena. I’m still training for my half-marathon, and then after that, I’m spending another incredibly active summer working at camp. I’m not at my goal weight (though I’m more focused on a goal “size” now, a look and a feel… I’ll know it when I see it!) and I hope to continue to see changes in my body, but I believe I can do that by eating well and watching what I eat, and continuing to be active (and I need to start lifting more)!

I do believe that calorie counting is a great way to get started. I mean, it helped me lose 35 pounds! And I know some people (including my dad) who, it works for them, and they’ll probably do it for their entire lives… but that’s just not me. Since I started developing anxiety, my brain has latched onto a love for an unhealthy relationship with food, and calorie counting was just feeding that, so for me, I’m happy and optimistic now about starting a path to healthy, mindful, intuitive eating.

Treadmill Methods

For anyone who’s experienced the ease and enjoyment of outdoor running, you know how frustrating, mindless and soul-sucking running on the treadmill (especially distances over three miles) can be. This morning I was up at a ripe seven o’clock (I’m not looking forward to graduating in May and starting a lifestyle where I’ll probably be laughing at this being considered “early”) for four miles, and with the polar vortex still swirling its ugly head up here in NY, of course this run was bound for the treadmill.

Running on the treadmill is something that I’ve come to loathe after gaining an appreciation of outdoor running during the fall – it seems endless with the seconds clicking right in front of you… staring at the time just makes it seem longer. It’s also really frustrating to not pace yourself naturally as you go through a period of fatigue, amped up by a song, whatever it is. Regardless, running on the treadmill is a necessary evil for keeping up your endurance, mileage or the beginning of spring races training.

I ran on a treadmill 90% of the summer when I first started running, mostly because running in the heat left me so sweaty and red-faced, and I didn’t have a water bottle that was a good size to carry with me and was often left dizzy from the heat + no hydration (even though I was only running 2 or 3 miles at a time at that point). And now with this insane winter we’ve had kick in, I’ve had almost all of my runs since the beginning of January have been back indoors.

That being said, I’ve developed quite a few methods for making time pass a little bit quicker on the treadmill with all of the hours I’ve logged on one. Here are a few of my recommendations:

  1. Alternating speeds by 1.0mph. Take the typical pace you feel comfortable at (for me this is 6.0) and subtract .5 – this is your recovery pace. Take that same pace and add .5, this is your quicker, working pace, and then alternate between these two paces every minute. This will leave your overall run looking like you ran a consistent pace, but it gives your mind and body some variation.
    So for me this looks like:
    1 minute of 5.5mph,
    1 minute of 6.5mph,
    and repeat.
  2. Increasing or decreasing by .1. This is my latest favorite thing to do on the treadmill. You can do this one of two ways; you can either set yourself a range that you feel comfortable or a range that starts with comfortable and ends with working harder. My range is from comfortable to working, and that’s 6.0 to 6.5 (If I’m warming up, I’ll go from super comfortable to working, which is 5.6 to 6.5). You can start at the top of your range or the bottom, and every minute you’ll increase the speed by .1 until you hit the end, and then you repeat! I personally like to start at the top and work down, it seems to feel like less work that way.
    So this looks like:
    1 minute of 6.5,
    1 minute of 6.4,
    1 minute of 6.3,
    1 minute of 6.2,
    1 minute of 6.1,
    1 minute of 6.0,
    and repeat.
  3. Pyramid. You can also adjust the method in number two into a pyramid. You can take your range, go all the way up and then all the way back down (or down and then back up). I don’t really prefer this method, but I have tried it and it’s definitely time-consuming – for example, for me, one pyramid of my set above takes 12 minutes.
  4. Alternating Running and Walking. For this, pick a quick speed and a comfortable walking speed. Keep in mind that this isn’t going to be your quickest time, but it works really well for longer treadmill workouts. I usually pull this one out when my training calls for five miles. My speeds of choice are 6.5 for running (and I mean run this, don’t pick a jogging pace) and 3.3 for walking – I do a three minute circuit of two minutes of running and one minute walking and just continue to repeat it. These two speeds usually average me at about a 10:30 – 11 minute mile when all is said and done. This is one of my favorite ways to pass the time, because you’re only work hard 2/3rds of the time and practically resting for a minute, so the running pace doesn’t feel too strenuous…and the pace is pretty good for getting to walk every third minute, too.
  5. When in doubt, Pinterest! If you want a hard workout, but you’re not the best at holding yourself accountable once you actually hit the treadmill, or if you want a very solid plan for your workout, I love Pinterest treadmill workouts. There’s so many, of varying lengths, inclines, speeds and intensity levels! There’s walking, jogging, running, all varieties. I did quite a few of these over the summer when I was first getting into running because I wasn’t setting specific mileage goals in my head; I more just wanted to log a certain amount of time on the treadmill, so that’s where the workouts from Pinterest came in.

Now, go run!

January Artsy Event: Wicked

If there was a show called “True Life: I’m Obsessed With Wicked” (as in, the musical), my fiancé, Daniel, would maintain the starring role. He’s seen it four times (I think that’s right…), and he’s sat in the pit orchestra to observe his oboe teacher once. So by association, I myself have seen Wicked three times (to be fair, one of these times we both saw it was during a high school band/choir outing).

Seeing that we’d both seen it a handful of times, when I found out Wicked was coming to Buffalo this past month, I wasn’t particularly keen on seeing it again (especially since last May was the most recent time before this). Not because the show isn’t amazing, but because, as you know if you like Broadway shows, they’re expensive, especially on a college student’s budget – a popular show like Wicked also means zero chance of student rush tickets, too.

However, Wicked announced that this time they’d be hosting a lottery – 20 seats in the first few rows would be given away for every show, names drawn. If you won, you only had to pay $25 per seat. Pretty amazing, right? So Daniel and I decided it was worth the shot at entering. We made our way to the theater two and half hours before show time, entered our names and waited for a painstaking half-hour for them to pull the names. When it came time for the names to get pulled, we waited anxiously for one of our names to be the one pulled out of the bin…

Unfortunately, we didn’t win the lottery, but afterward, they offered a deal to those of us who didn’t win – tickets anywhere that were left for only $40 a seat. This is the view from where we ended up sitting to see Wicked:

These seats were the second area of the balcony – we checked online and they are normally $80 a piece, so we got them for exactly half-off! The good thing about Wicked is that you get a stunning experience no matter where you sit – but this time felt extra stunning because we got such a great deal!

I actually even tweeted about how stunning the Act I finale is – Defying Gravity – and got a response back from the Wicked twitter account. That felt pretty cool, considering my tweet didn’t even include “@Wicked_musical”, and if you reference my above statement about my fiancé’s overbearing love of Wicked, I’m sure you can guess that he was way more excited about this nice encounter than I…

By the way, this post is part of my following up on my goals for my last semester of college! Keep on keeping your eyes peeled for more arts events reviews and book reviews, along with my regular updates of my fitness and weight loss goals!

Training for My First Half-Marathon

My official twelve weeks of half-marathon training starts this week. I will be running the Flower City Half-Marathon in Rochester, NY on April 27th, 2014. Being that it is my last semester as an undergraduate student, this is only one of many exciting, big things happening in the coming months. After looking around at various programs for beginners, this is the one I decided on. Being that it’s my first half-marathon (the longest distance I’ve run to date is 6.5 miles), I didn’t want to get bogged down with tempo runs, speed work, etc. because frankly, I love the feeling of just going, just running, and that’s how I want to approach my first half-marathon. It’s double the farthest distance I’ve run to date, and I want to focus on being mentally there, instead of trying to get a quick time.

That being said, I took the general framework for this plan and edited it into a calendar that I’m going to post on my wall. I shifted the days around in the plan to make them work better for my schedule, and I also took into consideration things like when my spring break is and Saturdays or Sundays that I know are already packed with an event of some sort. The sole advantage of training for a half-marathon during college is that everything is planned on a semester basis, so I know 98% of what my life is going to be like for the next three months, so I was able to work that in.


 About My Training Plan


The miles per week comes solely from the training plan that I linked to above. The alteration I made for most weeks was changing Thursday’s run to Fridays. My long runs are tentatively set for Sundays, but that might change from week to week, depending on other fun weekend things that might pop up (or crazy amounts of homework!).

I highly recommend looking at your schedule before sitting down to formulate a training plan. I’m the kind of person who likes to be organized and have everything written down like this, so looking at my schedule ahead of time to look at where I should write things down is definitely going to take the headache out of training.

Strength Training

Strength training has always been something I’ve had interest in in spurts. Being that I’m still amidst trying to lose weight, I try to burn the most calories I can with the time I get to work-out, because the more calories I burn, the more I can eat, plain and simple. So if I have a choice of strength training for an hour and burning 200 calories, or running for an hour and burning 650-700, I’m sure you can guess which one I’m going to take.

Being that my program recommends two rest days a week from running, I’m going to convert one of those rest days into getting up early and doing a half hour to an hour of strength training. I cannot stand taking more than one rest day a week; sometimes I go 8-9 days of working out straight before I take a break, and that’s usually because I have other things going on that impede me from working out, not because I don’t want to, so that’s why I elected to set only one rest day a week.

Rest Days

The plan specifies that rest days are important. I can see how this is necessary, even given what I said before. I think once my long runs on Sundays start getting over 6, I’ll start to feel that the rest days are more necessary, but working out also helps keep me sane, so some of those Monday Rest Days might become easy elliptical days or additional strength training.

Zumba, Swim, Yoga

One of my goals for my last semester was to try a Zumba class and a Yoga class. At my school, Zumba classes are on Wednesdays, which doesn’t fit amazingly into my schedule, which is why it’s only on there once. I frankly have a feeling I’m not going to like it (mostly because I’m easily the most uncoordinated person ever), but I’m going to try it. If I enjoy it, I might make time for it more often.

As far as yoga goes, it’s on Tuesdays and Thursdays here. I didn’t work it into the schedule because my class and work schedule is packed up until 4:30PM on those days, and the yoga class starts at 6, and I’d want to get my run in before I try the class if it were a Tuesday. I’m going to try the class at some point very soon (and post my thoughts for you!), and my current plan is to go to the class on Thursdays in addition to my strength training if I like it.

Swimming – you’ll notice that I only put that in twice. It’s going to be my substitute for strength training when I’m home for Spring Break, because I can go swim laps at the pool in my old high school. I was on the varsity swim team in high school, and I direly miss swimming, so I’ve trying to soak up as much of it as I can while I’m home, and I thought it’d be nice cross training that would be easy on my knees!

Empty Days

I left days blank that I know I’m going to be traveling, or have a full day of events going on here at college. March 22nd/23rd I’m going to be on a trip to New York City, so that weekend is blank and my long run for that week was moved to Monday since I’ll be home with nothing to do on Spring Break anyway. And April 12th I’m going to be working my college’s Spring Open House giving tours from 7AM to 12PM and then at 1PM is my fiancé’s Senior Oboe Recital and an early dinner following that. Running just probably won’t be happening those days, so I was honest with myself when making my schedule.

My Advice for Formulating Your First Training Plan

  • Look around at various programs that are out there. Do you want to challenge yourself physically and mentally? Do you just want to get through 13 miles? Do you want a very simple plan? Do you want to train for 10, 12, 16, 20 weeks? There’s all sorts of plans for all types of people; think about what it really is you want to focus on for your first half-marathon and find a training plan that fits the bill.
  • Even if you’ve been running for a while, be safe and consider the beginner training plans. This is your first half-marathon; the last thing you want to do is blow yourself out with intensive training your first time out.
  • Integrate some cross-training if you want to work out (for weight loss reasons or whatever it may be) more than the five days that most training plans recommend. Try to take it easy on the joints in your legs on these crossing training days; fatigued legs because you didn’t want to take a rest day is the last thing you want – you’ll be in pain and burned out.
  • Write it down – and why not make it fun! I found the cute, free printable calendars above online, google searching “printable calendars” (I went to a Pinterest link that led me to a website). I downloaded the jpg file, and opened it in paint (I’m a PC, not sure what you would do if you’re a Mac), and then used the text box function to type on every box. The font is a font I downloaded to my computer a long time ago called “Amy’s Handwriting”.
  • Be honest with yourself, and adjust your schedule as needed. Though most weeks I changed Thursday runs to Fridays, there’s some weeks where I know I’ll be heading home for the weekend on Friday, so I moved my run to Thursday so I’d have time for it. If you know you’re going on a trip or have a super busy day going to a wedding or something like that, don’t stress that you won’t be able to run; as long as one of your weekend days is your long run, missing the other shorter run due to something fun isn’t a sin!