Stay In the Mile You’re In
Issue 31: The best advice I ever got about running a marathon applies to all things.
Happy Wednesday, friends! Just a little top-of-the-letter reminder that I’m running the NYC Marathon this year, raising money for The Fresh Air Fund. (Read about why right here.) I’m SO CLOSE to my goal! Please support the effort by heading to my fundraising page. Any donation helps and I appreciate every cent.
It’s been way too long since my last issue of The Final Rep—the longest hiatus I’ve taken from writing since I started this newsletter almost exactly a year ago. (A YEAR?! IDK how that happened.) My excuse is that I moved to a new city and started a new job while training for a marathon and wrapping up some freelance gigs. All very exciting things that I have truly loved but ones that haven’t left me with much extra time.
I’ll admit that I’ve felt a little overwhelmed in the past month, juggling said jobs and workouts and trying to get settled in my new home. But I’ve had plenty of runs—and quite long ones, considering I’m up to 18 miles on Saturdays—to think about what I want to share with you all. And there’s one thing I constantly come back to. It pops up on slow miles and speedy intervals alike, as well as when I’m stressed by a long list of to-dos.
When training for my first marathon (NYC back in 2016), I had the privilege of training with Team Asics and getting to chat with some of the brand’s sponsored athletes, like Deena Kastor, Sarah Hall, and Ryan Hall. One night at a dinner a couple of days before lining up at the start in Staten Island, each pro marathoner shared their best advice for race day. The one that stuck with me the most (from Ryan Hall): Stay in the mile you’re in.
To me, it sounded simple and revolutionary at the same time. You focus on the mile you’re running—not the one behind you or the one in front of you, but what you’re running right now. As you probably know, so much can happen from mile five to mile 25 in a marathon and of course, it’s impossible to predict how you’ll be feeling in the future. So, worrying about mile 25 when you’re at mile five? Certainly not helpful. But enjoying that mile or focusing on working through it if the steps feel tough? Much more beneficial.
Obviously thinking about running an entire 26.2 miles is overwhelming. So is thinking about an entire week’s worth of tasks. But breaking it up, one mile or mission at time makes it much more approachable. Every time I’m feeling stressed about fitting in all the things I want to get done in a day or a week or a workout, I try to remind myself of that. It’s conquering one small step at a time that gets you to the finish. Simple as that.
A few other people’s words about wellness I’ve read (and loved) recently:
Camonghne Felix’s profile of Simone Biles for The Cut was equal parts heartbreaking and empowering. Biles talked about her Olympic experience and what it’s been like after, plus her mental health and the journey of addressing sexual abuse, especially in such a public case. Biles’ strength, courage, and vulnerability make me admire her even more.
Not to shamelessly plug my work, but I’m going to shamelessly plug my work, at least the editing part. I love the story, “How E-Bikes Got These Riders Back in the Saddle and With Their Communities,” by Selene Yeager for Bicycling.com. She talked to several avid cyclists who suffered severe injuries or illnesses—were talking car crashes and cancer—that kept them from riding. Each person turned to e-bikes to get back on the road or on the trails so they could find joy in their favorite sport again—and it’s definitely inspiring.
Because I still have a major travel bug that has not been cured, here’s another wanderlust piece from Outside, “The Best Airbnbs Near Joshua Tree National Park,” which also happens to be the location of one of my favorite past trips. How dreamy is the hot tub at this location?!
The latest updates on the fitness industry:
This week, Apple Fitness+ released new workouts, including Pilates, as well as guided meditations. They’ll also release a program to get you ready for snow sports and a Group Workouts feature, so you can team up with your friends for a sweat.
Speaking of Apple Fitness+, those with United Healthcare can also get access to the platform for a year, at no cost.
The winner of the Vienna City Marathon, Derara Hurisa was disqualified for wearing the Adidas Adizero Prime X shoe, which is 10 millimeters thicker than the World Athletics allows. Read more about it on Outside.
Here’s one form cue that always resonates with clients…
These words tend to work for individuals I train as an ah-ha moment for feeling stronger in a move or activating the right muscles. In a kettlebell swing, make sure you’re snappy with it. (TBH, in sessions, I often snap my finger to help people drive through the feet and send the hips forward, which sounds weirder than it is in session LOL.) Lots of times, people will move slowly through the exercise, when really you want to make it quick and aggressive. To do it, remember that hinge position of sending the hips straight back, with back flat and knees only slightly bent. Drive the feet into the floor and squeeze the glutes to stand back up. Let the kettlebell guide you back down, into the hinged position, and repeat.
One move to add to your exercise routine…
For one core-centric exercise, do a single-leg glute bridge hold with leg abduction. To do it, lie on your back, right knee bent with foot planted on the floor, left leg lifted straight out, both knees aligned. Drive through right foot and squeeze glutes to lift hips up toward the ceiling for the single-leg glute bridge hold. (Make sure abs are engaged, so you’re not lifting with the low back.) Hold here. Then, drive left leg out to the left side, slightly beyond left hip. Bring it back in so knees almost touch. Repeat for 10 reps. Then lower hips back down and switch sides. You should feel this in the glutes and abs.
For a full workout, try…
This eccentric quad workout on Runner’s World! I’ve already told you how much I love reverse Nordics, and now you can incorporate them into a whole workout that strengthens your legs—particularly for downhills, whether you’re walking or running ‘em. These moves are also just great for building strength in your lower half, even if you don’t have endurance events on the calendar.
The gear I’m loving to get me out the door…
OK so not quite ~gear~, but the one thing that is getting me out the door for long runs is Nuun. These fizzy tablets come in many delicious flavors and offer up needed nutrients, whether you’re looking to fuel your miles, regular vitamins, or a dash of energy. I’ve been adding the Vitamin tablets to my water during the day because I drink so much more when I have flavored water, and I pop the Sport tablets into my water for weekend workouts. I’ve also used them in the past for long hikes—it’s easy to toss the container in your bag and have a drink mix on the go.
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