Article by: Nicole Street
March 27th, 2017
"Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do"
First things first, hello!!! I am so excited to have the opportunity to write for twentysixtwo.com and join a wonderful community of runners!
"Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do" is, and forever will be, my daily motto. (In case you're not familiar, Leslie Knope is the annoyingly cheerful, energetic, hardworking, and determined heroine of the show Parks and Recreation, sadly now off air). Yes, my role model is definitely a TV show character but for good reason! She appreciates the small stuff, loves her friends to death, and always works her butt off even for the most seemingly mundane tasks.
And of course, I 100% apply that motto to running. But let me clarify: trying to have an unwavering sense of cheer and being hardworking does not equal perfection at all times. Quite on the contrary. Because like every human that ever human-ed, there are days that I really just want to sit on the couch with a pint of ice cream and binge watch some Netflix. I think it's only natural to lose motivation every now and again.
The key is to not let "every now and again" turn into "every single day". Which is easier said than done, especially with full days of work combined with a social life and general adult commitments (because groceries unfortunately won't buy themselves).
How is this even possible, you ask?
- Have a routine
Having a set list of things to do before running is so helpful. Are you a morning runner? Maybe you need a few extra minutes to drink coffee first. Are you an afternoon runner? If your commute stinks, try listening to fun podcasts to keep you motivated and energized on the way home. Example: I've been working early mornings lately so I've been an afternoon/evening runner on weekdays. When I get home, I change straight from my scrubs into running clothes before I literally do anything else. I know if I sit down or put on comfy clothes, it's game over. The hardest thing for me is jumping over that "I'm so tired" hurdle so I bypass it completely.
- Have a relaxation ritual
Not sleeping well at night? That can totally impact any desire to run, morning or evening. Being tired makes it hard enough to make it through the day, let alone log miles or train hard. Even if you can't completely detach from electronics at night, find *something* that helps get you in the sleepy time zone. Get cozy. I'm talking fluffy robe and warm socks cozy. Tea + turning off my computer + watching mindless TV
- Don't get discouraged
Literally everyone has off days. I'm not even close to pro, but I'm sure that even professional runners have days where their legs feel like cinder blocks and they just feel like crud during their whole run. One bad run does NOT mean that you are a bad runner. Heck, just lacing up and running around the block proves that you are an awesome runner.
- Have a goal
No matter what the goal is, I strongly believe it's important to have a goal. Whether it's to finish a race or be able to run 'x' miles, adding a purpose to all of the miles helps tremendously. On the days when I don't want to lace up, I remind myself WHY I'm lacing up and even if I still don't want to hit the road I know I'm doing it for a reason. Write it on a sticky note, make yourself a phone background, find a way to always remind yourself WHY.
- Create a social environment
Running alone all the time can get, well, lonely. Join a running group or find a friend to share some miles. Not only will you have a reason to show up to the run (so you don't stand up your friend/friends!), but you will also have the opportunity to build a friendship with people who love running as much as you and will help push you to the next level! My personal favorite is a morning weekend run followed by bRUNch!
- Eat well & stay hydrated
Kind of in the same vein as finding a way to relax, I know if I'm dehydrated or haven't eaten "well" I will have no desire or energy to run. So, easy healthy snacks have become my bestie and I carry a huge water bottle with me at all times. This definitely takes planning but it's so worth it...I'm sure anyone who has skipped lunch or hasn't had water for hours can attest to this.
Bonus: Have fun!
Love what you do and do what you love. If something isn't working for you (i.e. running on the treadmill) find a way to make it work (create a new playlist, listen to a podcast, run outside if your schedule allows). Run with friends! Run to brunch! Get joy from whatever goal your are working towards. Find a way to make even the lamest treadmill run or hardest hilly run work for YOU.
And always remind yourself to be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do!
Hello! My name is Nicole. I am a pediatric healthcare provider by day and a long distance runner by morning. And evening. And anytime really. My favorite things in the world are caffeine (coffee and tea for life), reading, science, dessert, and hanging out with my cats and husband. I was born and raised in New England but am happy to now call Atlanta my home!
I ran my first marathon on October 10, 2015 in 4 hour and 55 minutes. I was instantly hooked. My running goal has gone from finishing a marathon to fundraising for a major marathon. I am fundraising for a charity called Team for Kids. My goal is to raise $2620 to help fund running and physical fitness programs for school age children across the United States. My next race: the New York City Marathon in November 2017. After that? Who knows.