running

Reflection on 2017 and What’s to Come in 2018

First, Happy New Year! Although I’ve been MIA for a solid minute, I’m hoping to be back for a while. I wanted to start back this year with a little reflection on 2017 and sharing some goals and changes to the blog for 2018.

#1. If you had to describe your 2017 in three words, what would they be?

They would be: Exciting, Adventurous, challenging

#2. What, or who, are you most thankful for?

My friends for supporting me through the ups and downs that I’ve faced the past few months.

#3. What new things did you discover about yourself?

I learned a lot of things, but the main would be, when I put my mind to something, I’ll achieve it.

#4. What single achievement are you most proud of?

I’ve achieved a lot this year, but honestly, the thing I’m most proud of is my volunteering twice a week with Reading Partners and helping my RP become a better and stronger reader.

#5. What was the best news you received?

That I got accepted into the University I’m attending, which was my first choice #ReignCane!

#6. What was your favorite place that you visited in 2017?

Panama City, Panama. Hands down an amazing country with amazing food and people.

#7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

I’m going to say friendliness. Starting college requires you to go out of your way and be friendly to people since everyone’s trying to make friends.

#8. Which new skills did you learn?

I learned how to ask for help.

#9. What was the most important lesson you learned in 2017?

The only thing stopping you from doing something is you.

#10. What advice would you give your early 2017 self if you could?

Be excited about opportunities, and enjoy the adventure along the way.

Getting Excited About 2018

Despite the fact that any day of the year you can set a goal to achieve, January 1st seems to be the day we all choose to do so. I have three main goals this year. I’ve already been working on these goals whether I’ve actually started working on them, or I’ve just been planning the steps needed to achieve it. Here are the three goals I’m hoping to achieve or start the journey to achieve in 2018.

#1: Do well in college

I’m not going to lie. College is hard. There’s a transitional period that nobody tells you about. Which is that it takes you about half of your first semester to learn how to study in college because mid-terms and finals in high school are comparable to that of quizzes in college. So my goal is to keep my head above water this year, and the next couple of years ahead of me.

#2: Run a sub-2hr half marathon

I ran my first half-marathon this year. It was an amazing experience, and I did it with relatively little training. Don’t worry, that sentence makes me cringe too. At the time of which would’ve been time to train for it, I was on a D1 collegiate rowing team. Due to rowing being an endurance sport that requires a lot of strength, I was able to pull off a decent finish for my first half-marathon. With the races I’ve signed up for this year including 2 half marathons, I’m going to truly train for them.

#3: The Next Phase for RunningSoleGirl

It’s crazy to think I started RunningSoleGirl as a freshman in high school, and I want to continue on with it as a freshman in college. RunningSoleGirl has always focused on empowering women when it comes to health and fitness, and my mission is to continue that. However, I want to change it up a bit, but this has to do with my other two goals to begin working on in 2018. I plan on posting my training logs as well as tips to survive college. The usual health and fitness posts will continue on, but there will be some variety now. This makes it easier for me to continue posting on here, and I hope you lovelies support it.

Here’s to the journey that 2018 will bring us on!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

How You Can Be More Active in Your Everyday Life

When we talk about being active and living a healthy lifestyle, it isn’t just about going for a run each evening but being completely sedentary the rest of the time. In order to be truly more active, then there needs to be some things that we change in our everyday lives. When we are always more active, at work, school or at home, then we are really on the way to living a healthy and active lifestyle. All of those extra things can help us to stay well. So what are some changes you could be making? Here are a few ideas to help you be more active in your everyday life.

Walk More

It might elicit a moan from you or your family, but walking more is a great way to be active. You’re using your whole body, burning calories, and getting your heart pumping faster than it would be in the car. Even something like taking the stairs over the elevator is a good way to be more active and walk more. Plan your time better to walk to more places and you’ll really feel the benefit of it. You could also look to get a step counter to encourage you to be more active. We should be aiming for at least 10,000 steps per day, but many of us fall short of that. You can read more here if you want to http://stepcount.org.uk/. So if you’re curious to see where you are with that at the moment, then a step counter will be a good way to start being more active.

Take Regular Work Breaks

Work or school are going to be some of the places where we find it hard to be the most active. We can’t just get up and leave when we want. However, we can take breaks to have a quick walk around the office or to get a glass of water. You shouldn’t be sat at your desk for hours on end without moving. Consider standing at your desk if you need to, to get your body moving and some weight bearing on your feet. You could even look into getting a bike or elliptical installed under your desk, like this one https://www.hereon.biz/under-desk-elliptical/. What a fun way to be more active when you normally wouldn’t be very active. Employers should take note!

Use Standing Time To Move

Think about times in the day when you stand up but don’t do anything. You might be waiting for the kettle to boil or for the oven to heat up. But use that time to get in a mini-workout. How many squats can you do in the time it takes for your pasta to cook or the kettle to boil, for example? When you’re having a phone conversation, how many times can you go up and down the stairs or do something else that is active like cleaning the house? Multitask and get a few more mini-workouts in each day and it will help you to stay fit and well much more than people that don’t.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

You Shouldn’t “Walk Off” An Injury

While often used as a comedic device, the idea of being able to “walk off” an injury is nevertheless a persistent one. Trip and fall while out running? Walk it off! Stretch too far during a yoga class? Walk it off! However, here are some reasons you shouldn’t walk off an injury.

The whole idea is based on a fundamental lack of understanding about the human body. While there are some injuries which are temporary – momentary spasms of pain that will recede on their own – there is a huge threat caused by trying to “walk off” an injury that can’t be walked off. Of course, you have no way of knowing if the injury you have sustained can be walked off before you try it – but what happens if you give it a go, and what harm are you doing if you’ve calculated incorrectly?

Think About R.I.C.E.

You’re more than likely aware of what “R.I.C.E” means in an injury capacity, but if not, let’s be clear – it’s not this:

What it actually stands for is the way that you should handle an injury:

R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compression
E – Elevation

While you might think you will always know which injury needs the R.I.C.E. treatment and which doesn’t, you’re probably incorrect. R.I.C.E. is not just for those sudden, sharp injuries like turning your ankle – it should also be used for gradual stress injuries, that you might not even notice are building up.

As a rule, if you feel persistent pain – no matter how mild – in any area of your body, it needs to be R.I.C.E-d.

Strength Through Rest

You might think that because you work out regularly, use supplements like AlgaeCal, and have done your research, then you know best. You know that resting an injury can sometimes be worse for it than anything; back injuries, particularly, have a tendency to get worse rather than better if you cease all exercise.

However, learning about the AlgaeCal plant calcium side effects and researching the latest exercise techniques does not mean that you have the power to see into the future. How do you know the pain you’re experiencing in the moment is the kind that won’t benefit from rest?

Put simply: you don’t. It’s great that you have educated yourself on the supplements you should be taking if you exercise regularly and know your way around dealing with workout aches and pains, but you can’t predict the future. It’s far better to stop the moment you feel pain and make a clear-headed assessment of what’s happening to you.

Pain Isn’t Embarrassing

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the “walk it off” line is often used in comedic terms – i.e. someone walks into a door and is told to “walk it off”. This suggests that pain is an embarrassment, the fault of the person who is feeling the pain.

This isn’t the case. It might be embarrassing to trip over while running, but the pain itself should never be a cause for shame. Bodies go wrong. We make mistakes, miscalculate, and hurt ourselves – it’s completely natural. What is embarrassing is trying to carry on when your body is telling you to stop, thereby inevitably making life worse for yourself. Don’t fall into this trap; if something hurts, stop, evaluate, and then make a decision on how to proceed – no matter what anyone else thinks.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

3 Ways To Alleviate Running Pain

Running is a hard, but enjoyable past time for us. It gets us fitter, it makes us feel good by releasing endorphins into our system, increasing our quality of life overall! However, like any sport, running does come with pains and aches, some more serious than others. There are many different ways to alleviate running pain, and here are the best 3 ways to do it!

Get The Right Pair Of Shoes

Running shoes are incredibly important for the well-being of your legs. They properly distribute the weight of your feet across the sole and support your feet, unlike normal trainers. This is important because naturally, humans run on their feet! But in shoes, we run flat footed, and over extended periods of time, this causes damage to the feet themselves, the ankles and the knees. If you’re not running very often than a normal pair of running shoes will do you fine, but if you’re a more regular runner you need to get specially fitted shoes! Companies like FleetFeetSports offer fitting services and can find the perfect shoe for you, eliminating the risk of getting any foot related issues!

Stretch Out After Each Run

Stretching is also a very important component of running. When you exercise, your muscle contract and relax, however, due to the intensity of exercise your muscles don’t fully relax, instead they keep slightly contracted all throughout your run. If you get back from a run and don’t stretch out, you will continue to feel pain in your legs! Stretching forces your muscles to stop their constant contraction, meaning that you can relax and not have any problems. As an example, many runners will have stumbled across problems with the dreaded iliotibial band, causing a clicking whenever the knee is bent. This can be incredibly debilitating, however, if you purchase a foam roller from companies like Trigger Point there are stretches you can do to slowly nurse the IT band back to full health!

Get Physiotherapy

This is the last line of defense in alleviating injuries, and should only be done if you really need it! Physiotherapy differs from person to person as each problem is unique. However, they do offer medication and exercises after a consultation and examination of the problem you are having. Then a physician will take you through the necessary things you need to do. The treatment can often include massages and other muscular stimulation exercises. If you want to find out more about this topic, because it is very complex and specific, go to PainEndsHere.com. Companies like this are able to offer professional help for those that need it. So, if this applies to you then you should definitely reach out to one of these businesses.

So there you have it! The three best ways to alleviate running pain, any of these are guaranteed to make your pain go away. However, if it is more serious you need to make sure you see a doctor because you can’t remedy everything yourself! If you’re looking for other ways to avoid injuries when preparing for a run, read this.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

The Top 3 Sports To Help You Get Back Into Shape

There are many ways to keep fit, and sport is one the most enjoyable ways to do so. If you know you need to shed a few pounds, then maybe it’s time you consider taking part in a sport you might enjoy. Not only will you start to feel better about yourself, but you will also meet like-minded people who will keep you motivated. Consider the following sports to help you get back into shape.

Tennis

This popular sport is perfect for giving all your muscle groups a workout. From running around the court to swinging your racquet, you will improve the muscle tone in your legs and arms. There are other benefits too. For starters, your reaction times will improve, and your aerobic skills will be called into play as you bounce around the court. The sport is also good for your cardiovascular system, increasing your heart rate and lowering your risk of heart disease.

There is bound to be a tennis club near you, though you could always hire a court to play with your friends and family. You will need the right gear, including one of these colorful tennis headbands, decent tennis shoes and loose clothing to help you get around the court. Tennis is a great choice for anybody keen on getting into a sport. While it’s not only as simple as batting a ball over a net, this is a game still relatively simple to learn.

Running

There are many benefits to running, including burning away calories and strengthening your leg joints and muscles. Running is also a proven way to alleviate depression due to the release of the feel-good chemicals known as endorphins and can reduce the effects of stress.

Running is one sport that you can do in your own time and the place of your choosing. You might run around your local street or park, rather than a traditional running track. Don’t expect to be able to run a marathon within a few days, however. It is important to pace yourself, otherwise, you are at risk of one of these common running injuries. Take care as you go, buy the running shoes that are comfortable to wear, and drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated.

Swimming

Unlike other sports, swimming will put less pressure on your joints, while still helping you to build muscle strength and lose calories. It is also good for your heart rate, and will get will the blood pumping through your body. The added benefit to getting in the swimming pool is having a place to relax after going a few lengths of the pool.

It’s possible that swimming is the most effective sport you can take part in. Unlike a trip to the gym where different pieces of equipment work on isolated parts of your body; swimming enables you to use most of your body’s muscles. The butterfly stroke is said to be the most effective way to lose weight, but find something you are comfortable with.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Get Ready To Improve Your Running Performance With A Bike

When it comes to running, whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, there are some plenty of tips that you didn’t even think you needed. We have touched on the most obvious of them in a previous article on runningsolegirl.com. For a start, a healthy runner, needs to pick the right attire, which means that you need to choose shoes that can absorb the shock and protect your knees and ankles from getting injured. When you run, you need to accept that you are investing in your health. Consequently, you have to be ready to pay the full price for a pair of shoes that will help you to prevent injuries. But naturally, embracing the running side of life doesn’t stop there. Your body goes through a lot, especially if you decide to run long distances. You need to adapt your diet to your workout requirements so that you can fuel your body with all the nutrients it needs to perform. However, you can also improve your running performance with a bike. Want to see how? Read below.

Pick the Right Bike for Your Needs

Just like running requires the right equipment, cycling does too. However, the kind of bike you need will depend on your cycling abilities and preferences. Are you a road cyclist or are you an off-road enthusiast? If you fancy the idea of cycling along natural tracks in the countryside, you might need to studies some of the mountain bike reviews from mountainbikesreviewed.com to find out everything you need from brake power to suspension. As a rule of the thumb, runners need a light to a medium-light bike that is suitable for road and slightly out of the beaten track trails so that you can follow your usual running route. Stay away from heavy bikes, and pick instead bikes that offer a responsive, stable and smooth riding experience.

Bikes Offer a Friendly Training Option

Contrary to running, cycling offers a joint-friendly alternative, that is very helpful if you’re recovering from an injury or if you suffer from painful joints. In truth, cycling regularly can help your joints to become stronger and can gradually help you to prevent the development of long-term weaknesses such as arthritis. More importantly, it keeps your muscles active even through a recovery period, which makes it the ideal activity to maintain your strength without causing your body any further damage.

Bikes Can Develop Your Endurance

Last, but not least, cycling offers an ideal combination of strength and endurance; which can help you to improve your performance. Cycling long distances with periods of sprints is a preferred training method for runners who want to maximize their endurance. Since it gradually develops your muscles to sustain a bigger effort. Additionally, there’s no denying that cycling helps your lung capacity to grow; which is exactly what you need when you are running long distances. You will find yourself feeling less out of breath and able to tackle more sizeable running challenges. As surprising as it might sound; one of the best training approaches for a marathon is to go cycling, a lot!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

5 Tips For Getting Back On The Track After a Muscle Injury

Things are going well. Your running times are improving all the time, you can feel your body adapting to the demands of the sport, and you’re confident that all in all, you’re on the right track (hey) for running success. And then you feel a twitch in your leg and, just like that, you’re laid up and unable to run. There are two options in this scenario: you can lie down and bemoan your luck, or you can do all you can to get back up and running as soon as possible. Let’s take the second option, and get back on the track after a muscle injury.

Keeping Things Cool

If you’ve injured yourself now, then you’re fortunate that it’s summer, because things are about to get pretty cool. When you have a strained muscle, ice will be your friend. How you do is up to you; you can get an icepack and target the sore spot exclusively, or you can be brave and have an ice bath. Settling into a bath of icy cold water might not sound like much fun, but it has bags of benefits before your injured muscle, including boosting your all round recovery, boost circulation, and even give your happiness levels a lift too.

To The Core

You might have a massage to help you unwind, but to recover from a muscle injury? It’s true. A deep tissue massage will relax your muscles, which will soothe the pain of the injured area, and also get those deep-lying toxins and tight muscle areas moving, too. Beyond speeding up your recovery, there’s another obvious advantage to getting this type of massage; you’ll feel extra relaxed, which might be important when you’re not able to release those tensions through long running sessions.

Stretch it Out

Stretching is an underrated tool for runners. For starters, if you make stretching part of your everyday routine then you’ll be greatly reducing your chances of getting injured; indeed, it’s because of inadequate warm-ups that cause most injuries to happen in the first place. When you are injured, stretching will help strengthen your muscles in a low-impact way. When you get back to running, your muscle will be stronger and less like to be re-injured if you’re stretching every day!

To the Pool

Everyone knows how important momentum and being in the “workout groove” is when you’re trying to build endurance and prepare for a long race. If you’re lying on the couch every day, then by the time you get back on the track you might have lost the edge you’ve gained during your training. As such, head to the water when you can’t run. It’ll cause no troubles for your legs, but will help you stay active and build up your endurance. And who knows: you might fall in love with swimming, too.

Rest

OK, last tip: when you’re injured, it’s extra important that your patient and get plenty of rest. If you neglect to do either of these things; then you’ll run the risk of having a relapse as soon as you’re back running. Not what you need!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Exciting Exercise Options For Every Bored Gym Bunny

When you love to workout, you often find yourself hitting the gym a couple of times a week. Whether you love to use the cardio machines and run up a sweat, or hit the weights and build a bit of muscle, you often find that doing the same thing all of the time gets super boring really fast. But what can you do to change that? Aside from switching up your workouts every few weeks, you may also want to think about getting out of the gym and trying out more exciting forms of exercise.

Cross Country Running

If you love to do cardio at the gym, but you find yourself getting bored with it, why not think about trying running outside instead? It can be a lot tougher than running in the gym, but the challenge is always exciting. And, if you want it to be as good as it can be, run cross country. Running the roads can be fun, but going through fields and enjoying the countryside views can be one of the best ways to enjoy your run.

Biking

When you feel like you want to do something completely different to what you do in the gym, why not think about starting to cycle? Trying out biking can be a lot of fun, a vigorous workout and a bit of a rush too. When you’re looking at the right bicycle, be sure to check out the best hybrid bikes under $1000 while you do your research. With a hybrid bike, you can ride the roads in an everyday manner, but you can also explore the mountains. And heading out into the mountains is definitely an exciting workout option.

Roller Skating

If you want something less vigorous but just as fun, why not have a go at roller skating. As a kid, you probably got out on your skates all of the time. But as you get older, you forget all about the fun you had and feel as if you have to try out more serious forms of exercise instead. Until now. When you’re bored of the gym, get on your skates and enjoy riding around with friends or racing yourself.

Wakeboarding

Or maybe you want to get out into the water and have a go at a fun kind of workout that way? Although there are so many different water workouts that you could try, wakeboarding is definitely one of the most fun. Not only can you enjoy the action and adventure of throwing yourself around on the water, it’s definitely a challenging workout too.

Rock Climbing

Finally, you may also want to think about trying out something completely different like rock climbing. If you want something that will push you both mentally and physically, rock climbing is it. But don’t worry if you don’t have the experience. You can try it out at indoor centers and even get instruction before you’re thrown in at the deep end. Then, when you’re out on real rocks, you’ll get both excitement and a workout all rolled into one.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

How to Safely Start Running

There is so much information out there about running – how to make the most of it, how to reach your fitness goals. You can even find out about what you should be wearing and when. But there is relatively little talk about the safety side of things. Safety is important; in fact, it is the paramount concern when you are out and about jogging in the streets or in the nearby fields. So many experienced joggers do not do everything they can to stay safe; sometimes the result of this can be disastrous. If you are a keen jogger, or you are about to start jogging, it might be worth to think about how to safely start running.

Partner Up

You don’t always have to run with someone else, of course, but it is sensible if you are concerned about your safety. This might be especially important if you live in a particularly rough area; where you might even risk being attacked by an unscrupulous stranger. However, even in safer areas it is wise to jog with someone you trust, even if only so there is someone there to help if you fall and badly injure yourself. This is particularly important if you frequently jog in more rural areas or out in the sticks. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere and breaking your ankle while on your own is no fun at all. It is much better if there is someone with you who can help you get back home… and probably to the hospital.

Go Easy

We all like to push ourselves a little; after all, that is kind of the whole point of jogging to get fit. But there’s pushing yourself and then there’s masochism; that is something you want to avoid if you can help it. If you take it too far, you will probably end up causing yourself more damage than good, and that kind of defeats the purpose of the exercise. There are a few concerns here – for a start, you need to look after your heart. Pushing too hard can cause serious heart problems, and before you know it you need to be shocked with Foremost AEDs. You also need to think about your hydration levels. Go too hard, and you might even cause yourself to faint. Be careful and only push yourself a little at a time.

Stay Alert

All in all, there are a number of things which might possibly cause you harm as you go jogging. In order to remain safe, you need to make sure you stay as alert as possible. A common concern is when joggers run with headphones in playing loud music. This can easily lead to accidents, especially if you run on pavements or have to cross roads. Make sure you stay alert, don’t block out any of your senses, and keep your wits about you. That way you can enjoy jogging for many more years to come still, and get even more out of every session.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Don’t Make A Knee Error When Exercising

We all know it’s so important that we are careful when we are exercising. While there are a ton of benefits, it can cause us to have a bad injury if we are not doing it properly. And then you can be out of action for weeks while you try and recover. In some cases, people have to go on to have an operation if they suffer from a bad injury. And one area which often can be affected down to exercise is your knee. But it doesn’t have to occur. In fact, here are some ways to ensure you don’t make a knee error when exercising.

 

Listen to your body

So many people push themselves when it comes to exercise. They want to hit their goals, so they go the extra mile to achieve them. After all, they hope to lose weight and tone up as much as they can. But if you do too much, you could end up with an injury. After all, it’s putting pressure on areas like your knee which can’t handle too much at one time. Therefore, you are more likely to end up crippled with pain, and you won’t be able to continue exercising. To stop a knee injury occurring, you need to make sure you listen to your body. Believe us, it will tell you when you have had enough. If you start feeling any pain around the legs, it’s time to stop. And if you are finding it a struggle to continue running, it’s time to stop to ensure no injury occurs!

 

Strengthen your knee muscles

As much as you might want to start pushing your knees to the limit, you need to take it slowly to ensure you don’t end up with an injury. After all, you can’t go head first if you haven’t exercised it before. Therefore, it’s so important that you work on strengthening the knee muscles so that you can exercise without having to worry about an injury. There are lots of different exercises you can do to work those knees. Planks and bridges are just two which can help to keep them in good order. Also, leg raises and step-ups can help to build those muscles. And strengthening your knees will also ensure you can avoid problems in the future. After all, you want them strong and healthy to prevent arthritis which can lead to a total knee replacement. And remember to work those other muscles like the hips, so it takes some pressure off your knees!

 

Make sure you rest

When you love to exercise, it can be hard to consider taking a break. After all, you can’t wait to do it every day. But as much as you might want to go running, you need to rest properly in between. Otherwise, if you are constantly on the go, you are going to put a ton of pressure on your knees. And then you could soon end up with a serious injury if you do not give your body time to rest. It’s so important to make sure you are spending time resting. Have plenty of sleep and relax your body, so it has time to heal and refuel.

 

And remember to always see a doctor if you are struggling with knee pain!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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