Consistency

How sticking with one thing can change everything

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Over the Easter long weekend Happy Hubs and I drove to Northwest Indiana to spend some time with his parents as well as spend a day in one of our favourite cities- Chicago. If you haven’t been to Chicago I highly recommend checking it out. It has some amazing coffee shops, incredible food, beautiful buildings and a waterfront to make all Torontonians envious.

Normally when it comes to travelling, even 3-day weekend getaways, I let everything fall out the window concerning the healthy lifestyle I lead in my day-to-day life (because nothing counts when you’re on vacation right?) However, at the beginning of this year a friend and I vowed to run a minimum of 100km/month for all of 2016. At first, I thought this would be a no brainer and was pretty excited to see that number reach over 200km/month once I started training for some goal races. However, after looking over my training logs, it seemed that I was in for a bit of a challenge. If there was anything consistent with my running, it was that I am unbelievably inconsistent.

Up until recently, it was apparent that I thought I was running much more than I actually was. Looking over my logs, even in the months leading up to my first half marathon, my runs were scattered all over the place. One week I’d run 4 times, the next only once, some weeks had no runs at all. I embarrassingly realized that I wasn’t even giving myself a real shot when it came to training.

While I am aiming to run a marathon this fall, I didn’t really have any upcoming spring races in mind (besides the Sporting Like 10k that I run every year) when I started running a consistent 100km/month. Very quickly though, I started to notice some small changes. I have been sticking to a long run every. single. week. and my gains have started to become very apparent on those long runs. Each week, just by consistently running 14-17km, I am getting faster, something that has never happened with long runs before. Building a base at these distances has helped me immensely. Until this recent consistency, I always took walk breaks but I haven’t taken a walk break now for over a month on a long run! While I have been doing speed work for quite some time, and throw in hill workouts every now and then as well, it’s really all started to come together since I started sticking to my long runs. For the first time, I feel like I am seriously improving at distance running and I feel I can begin to set some solid time goals (before, my approach was always “just finish”).

A big thing that has helped with this is that I started doing my long runs with the club I run with whereas I always used to do them alone. Running with people has helped me so much because we push each other to keep going, and chatting away week after week makes the kms fly by. On a bit of a whim, I have decided to run a half marathon at the end of the month in Montreal. I’m approaching it as more of a training run, just to sort of see where I am after a few solidly consistent months of running.  I think I kind of owe it to myself, now that I’ve actually been staying consistent.

All of this being said, one thing that I love about Nike Run Club is that so many different cities also have a club that more or less follows the same schedule. It’s pretty cool to see the larger Nike community on social media and know that we are all in this together. Happy hubs and I decided to stay overnight in Chicago and, to not throw off my consistent training, decided to do my long run with NRC Chicago on the Saturday morning.

I sure am glad we did. We have both spent a fair amount of time in Chicago before, but there is something to be said about seeing it on a run. We woke up bright and early at 7:00am, put on our run clothes, scarfed down some breakfast and headed out. It was chilly, but nice and sunny which definitely made up for it. It was pretty cool to see the Nike space in Chicago. While the space was different, it had the same vibe that the Toronto club does, a solid group of like-minded people buzzing about all there for the same purpose. The pacers were super welcoming and glad to have visitors from Toronto joining them.

We ran a gorgeous 8 mile out and back south along the waterfront. The waterfront trail in Chicago is just amazing. Sure, we have some nice parts of ours in Toronto, but it doesn’t even come close to the beauty that is the waterfront in Chicago. I’m already dreaming about running along it the next time I am there. If you are visiting Chicago, make sure you take a walk along the waterfront (north or south, it’s all gorgeous). The view from the Adler Planetarium is something else.

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If you had told me a few years ago that I would wake up at 7:00am while on a holiday for the purpose of running 8 miles, I would have not believed you. They say that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Now that I am three months into consistently running, I can’t imagine NOT running, even on vacation. It’s crazy how easily something can become a part of your life if you really make the time for it.

Now excuse me while I go get ready for a run….

Happy trails!

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Nike Training Club Canada- “Nearly Impossible Alone, Totally Possible Together”

My friends in New York City have been telling me for a couple years about their experiences with Nike Training Club. When they initially told me they attended free NTC classes at NYU I truly didn’t believe them. I thought they must be paying for it somehow in their tuition. They described these classes to me as a total-body workout involving metabolic conditioning in a super fun and motivating group environment all run by amazing NTC trainers. It seemed almost too good to be true. Still, I was envious that we didn’t have any NTC classes in Toronto when my friends explained this all to me.

Well, as of September I started seeing things about NTC Canada on Facebook. I clicked on the page and I didn’t see any info on any classes. However, a few weeks later an event for a NTC class popped up on my feed! I investigated and found out that all you have to do is write “count me in” on the wall of the event page. I was still a little skeptical and thought there must be some sort of catch. However, I decided to give it a go and attend a Saturday class and convinced my sister to join me. The classes are being offered at  http://academyoflions.com which is located at 64 Ossington Ave (Ossington and Queen West) in Toronto, a good trek from my eastern suburb, but after the raving reviews from my friends in NYC I decided it was worth the journey.

We arrived and checked in and sure enough, there really was no catch, it was definitely free!  The Academy of Lions gym is a neat space, and I didn’t feel intimidated being there (which is a feeling I have felt upon walking into other crossfit gyms). In fact, the atmosphere made me pretty excited (which is hard to feel knowing a gruelling workout is in front of you). We walked up the stairs to their second floor which has walls covered in NTC quotes and of course, tons of swoosh symbols.  There was loud, trendy music playing and I really couldn’t wait to get moving. All in all, there were at least 40 girls there (and a few brave men! YAY to them!!) We met our fun, itty-bitty, cheerful coach, Jenn Thompson (who’s body was all the motivation I really needed) and started a warm up. The warm up consisted of a nice mix of cardio and dynamic movements going from one side of the room to the other. Then, the hard stuff got under way. The whole class was a solid mix of intervals involving some plyometic movements, crunches and the like, combined with a circuit that we completed in teams as a relay. I really loved the circuit part of it all. One team member went at a time and went through 10 reps at each station (weighted lunges, dips, rows, burpies, squat jumps) and then held a plank at the end. The next person would start, and then release the team mate holding the plank at the end once they got there, who would then run back to the team members and send the next person. It was a lot of fun, and having a team to cheer me on really kept me going! The best part was that while we were waiting we were not just standing around. Jenn had us doing squats or jumping jacks and as soon as we started slacking, we were all down for 10 push-ups.

My only criticism of the whole experience is that I saw a lot of people rushing through their movements with less than optimal form in order to make their team win. However, Jenn was pretty good at fixing this- and given the class size, it would have been a lot of work to make sure every single person was doing the moves properly. For this reason, I wouldn’t say this would be the best class to attend if you are a total newbie to working out, but at the same time, I would still encourage newbies to the fitness world to check it out just because it was so fun and motivating!

All in all, I had an absolute blast! I really wish I lived closer to take full advantage of these free classes offered 3 times a week! I love the team environment and the completely female friendly easy going attitude I felt from everyone. I sweat like a pig, had fun, and left feeling accomplished. Not to mention, there is a cute little coffee bar right in the gym where I enjoyed a wonderful coconut milk latte after the class (why do more coffee shops in Toronto not offer coconut milk as an option?) It really was the perfect way to spend the first half of my Saturday. I mean, a good workout AND good coffee, what’s not to love?

Check out the classes! Just head on over to https://www.facebook.com/niketrainingclubcanada/app_233752330117269

Click on the drop down menu where it says “Train with NTC” and then select “Events.” That will take you to a page with all of the listed classes. Be sure to sign up early, they fill up fast! Make sure you write “Count me in” on the event wall in order to be registered. The best part? You can attend as many classes as you wish!

I hope to see some of you there next time I go!

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