The Little Things
photos: Kim Reierson
Believe it or not, I actually don't go to the gym (except for the occasional sauna/hot tub/rainy SB day treadmill session).
I do try to do all the 'little things' - elements of training that don't require a ton of time commitment, but add up over the weeks, months, and years.
What that means for me could be completely different for you, but what's most important is the commitment to consistency.
Everyday I spend:
-30-45 minutes reading in the morning with my breakfast - usually oatmeal with dried nuts, fresh fruits, and a green smoothie. I find reading sets the speed (a slow one) for my day and gets my mental juices flowing. I dive into my tasks less rushed and not stressed, but in a more contemplative and calm mood.
-15-20 minutes doing a foam rolling/stretching/yoga/mediation routine I've developed over the last decade that is really relaxing. I build this into my day and do it shortly after getting in some calories post-run. It's a great way to relax the body & mind, as well ass feel where any niggles might be creeping up as I add intensity and mileage. I believe this is the best small chunk of time I spend each day. I always feel refreshed after this short period of centering and calming activities. On complete rest days (every other Monday), I typically start my morning with this. Sometimes I'll do this two or three times per day if my body/mind is feeling really run down.
-15-30 minutes of napping. If I begin my day early (which I typically do), I enjoy a light lunch around noon, followed by getting horizontal, cuddling with the dogs on the couch, curling up in a hammock or sprawling out at the beach. If I'm at the ocean a refreshing dip in the Pacific is a must. I won't nap after 3p (ideally before 2p) unless I know I have a later night planned for an event, travel, etc.
-8+ hours of sleep each night. Not 6 or 7, but 8. Anything over 9, unless I'm following up a particular shitty night of rest, and I'll feel groggy and lethargic. With 8.5 my internal batteries feel charged up, my mental precision is on point, and I'm ready to move through my day's activities with intent and enthusiasm, whatever they may be.
-2-3 hours in various chunks where I legitimately don't know and don't care where in my house my phone is. Devices are disgustingly distracting from productivity. I walk the dogs w/o my phone and I run w/o my phone. Sometimes I even turn it off. It feels amazing to disconnect even if only for a brief period of time. I promise you, the world will not end.
-3-4 days per week I spend 15-20 minutes each day doing a varied core/upper body routine (planks, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, etc). I alternate these days with 15-20 minutes of various body weight lunges, ankle strengthening exercises and other drills. after runs as well. The leg routine I do on workout days and the core/upper body routine I do on easy recovery days. I'm trying to get out on the SUP more often and open water ocean swimming is a great challenge that's relaxing too.
-2-4 days per week I add an easy bike spin to loose up the legs. I've found these low-impact actives are vital for my high preforming musculoskeletal system (Normally on Tuesday/Wednesday and Friday/Saturday, though sometimes I commute more often by bike).
I always have a beverage with or near me so I'm never dehydrated and I focus on small sips throughout the day to avoid having to 'pound' anything to catch up. A consistent hydration plan carries over into race day success as well. Finally, I don't prescribe to one nutrition plan; I eat a lot of fruits, veggies, and everything else (including chocolate) in moderation for the most part.
I challenge you to create healthy habits that work for you and your life. There is no single solution or plan that anyone can sell you. Experimentation is key and you should always tinker with new elements to see how your body reacts before full implementation. Over time you'll find a plan that will set you up for success in all aspects of your life.