Get Race Ready

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This year, I’m holding myself accountable for the goals I’ve set for myself and the things I want to accomplish. In order to be successful, there are lots of things I need to take into consideration and take care of. Though some goals are harder to achieve, when you have all the tools necessary and have the right mindset, you can accomplish just about anything. Proper preparation is absolutely key to get race ready.

My main running goal this year is to run my first half marathon, so I’m taking the necessary steps to make sure I can achieve this goal injury-free. Here are some tips and things I’ve learned that could also potentially help you along the way to achieve the goals you’ve set out for yourself.

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1) Train properly.  The one thing I’ve learned from last year’s injury is to make sure you train the right way for the goal you’ve set for yourself. That means, if you’re planning on doing a run, make sure you also cross-train, do some weight-lifting, incorporate yoga or swimming into your weekly practice or other activities that will complement your training and will strengthen other parts of your body. Additionally, it’s important to have a running plan that increases distance, changes pace, terrain, etc. the proper way. Increasing distance more than 10% a week can have a negative effect on your body, so take a calendar and plan the weeks/months leading up to your sporting event. Also, pre and post-workout stretching and foam rolling are just as important as the workout itself.

2) Eat right. This may be obvious but it’s easy to get off track. Make sure you have some carbs and protein 30-60 mins post-workout in order to facilitate the replenishment of muscle glycogen and muscle repair. Making sure you eat clean as much as possible is also key. Being a vegetarian (borderline vegan), I have to watch my protein intake and make sure I don’t develop any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. If you don’t have time to make your own meals, look into getting a meal prep service, there are so many great ones available today.

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3) Go for tune-ups. The one thing I omitted to do last year was going for tune-ups when I started training heavily. Whether it’s visiting a physiotherapist, acupuncturist, RMT, chiropractor or even nutritionist, these people will have a positive impact on your training and can also help prevent injuries or further injuries in the future. These professionals will be able to give you some stretching tips, make sure you’re training properly, getting the right nutrition, etc.

4) Get into the right mindset. You can’t achieve what you set out to do if you’re not in the right mindset. If that means downloading the Headspace app, or signing up for meditation classes, going to see a therapist, whatever you have to do, do it! You need to feel confident, comfortable and in tune with your body and mind in order to accomplish your goals. There’s no shame in taking care of your mind as it is just important as your body.

Now go ahead and crush those goals!

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Nike Run Tear Women’s Tank (get it here), Nike Power Legend Brush Women’s All Over Print Capri Tight (get it here), New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 Women’s Running Shoes (get them here).

This post was written in collaboration with Sport Chek but all opinions are my own.

5 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

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The holidays are just around the corner and though it can be the most exciting and joyful time of year it can also be a very stressful time for some. Because I have been on the path to reduce and eliminate as much stress from my life as possible these past few months, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned in hopes that it may lead to a more relaxing holiday season for you all!

1) Download the Headspace app. The Headspace app has been my go-to during the past year when my schedule’s gotten crazy, when I’ve wanted to decompress or deal with a stressful situation. The app is a guided meditation and mindfulness app that helps you deal with whatever situation or feelings you may be going through in life. You can download their free introductory series Take10, they offer 10 sessions of 10 minutes. It has been a HUGE help with my anxiety, insomnia and has helped me become more calm and focused as well as a happier and healthier person.

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2) Get sunlight. The sun is a great way to produce serotonin, the feel-good chemical, which is a great way to alleviate stress and anxiety during the holidays. It can also help reduce the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), something I have been affected by in years prior. My favorite things to do even during these colder months is either going for a walk during the day, go for a run, riding my bike (when there’s no snow!), go snowboarding, etc. Vitamin D will be a huge mood booster and stress reliever during this busy time of year.

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3) Stick to a routine. During the holidays, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the parties, events and things you have to do. Hence why sticking to a routine as much as possible is incredibly important. Prioritize the things that you absolutely have to do and ditch or play by ear the things that aren’t mandatory. Squeezing in too much can lead to extra stress for nothing.

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4) Don’t forget to work out. The holidays may be extremely busy but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make time for yourself every day. Even if this means getting up an hour earlier every morning, or taking some personal breaks during the day, this oh-so precious “me time” will have a huge impact on your day and how you feel during the holiday season. If you don’t have time for a long gym workout, run, swim, etc. get active for 15-20 minutes, anything counts. Even if you can only do one quick NTC app workout in the morning by your bedside, your head and your body will thank you. I always feel so much calmer and energized after I take time to work out every day. Plus it’s a great way to reflect, focus and make sure that you are taking care of yourself.

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5) Ditch the smartphone. Take time to really enjoy the holidays this year. Enjoy in-real-life conversations, debates, enjoy the quality time with your friends and family. Make an effort to put your phone away or put it on airplane mode. You don’t need to be browsing Instagram, obsessing over what everyone got during the holidays, what people are doing, etc. Be grateful for the present moment, the interactions you’ll have. It’ll make you feel a lot calmer and most definitely less stressed!

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