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The Bullhorn, Issue #053 -- Monthly Motivator for November 2010
November 04, 2010

Just the right push to succeed!

Now what?

While much of the challenge of staying fit is just getting started, there’s a continual challenge we all face when something changes. It could be that we achieve a life-long dream…we checked off “Marathon” from the bucket list…or it could be that we get injured and are plagued with some limiting factor that pushes our training plan out the window…and then we suddenly seem lost and ask ourselves that helpless question: “Now what?”

Sometimes the answer can be as simple as setting a new goal. Other times the approach may require dealing with a set-back and re-calibrating our expectations. Unfortunately, I have an example…my right hamstring started ‘acting up’ about a month ago…in the peak of my marathon training plan (‘monster month’). I scaled back my running from 5 to 2-3 days per week…to just the weekly key workout (long run or mile intervals). It’s not cutting it. So what else can I do? My advice to others is always REST! But somehow when faced with my own advice, I’m not content to follow it. Bottom line: Sometimes we need to step back, re-assess, and re-chart our path. In my case, it means changing my plan…abandoning short-term goals for long-term sustainability.

If you’ve ever attended a large marathon event, you’ve witnessed a diverse crowd of people that have overcome obstacles. Most large marathons have dozens of wheel chair entrants, runners with prosthetic limbs, and people of all walks of life from age 18 to over 90 years old. There are some runners trying to qualify for Boston for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,,, or more time. There are others that are celebrating a weight loss goal or have stopped smoking. There are people that faced some gargantuan obstacles just to get to the starting line and they found a way to do it. They woke up one day and asked themselves, “Now what?”…and now look what they can do!

If you’re committed to a long-term fitness plan (which I hope that you are), you’ll likely find yourself on this “Now what?” plateau many times. And while it’s not a fun chapter to start, it’s the launch pad for great things to come for those that persist. So dig deep, and ask yourself what your goals are and how you’re going to get there. Push through the excuses and get to the point where you have a positive solution. Obstacles make us stronger and smarter if we have the courage to work through them.

Need Motivation to Run?

The other day I was reading Christopher McDougall’s blog…as he always has some entertaining stories and nuggets of advice. On it he had a short speech / video clip that reminded me why I love running. It’s a great clip, check it out here. You can also find info on his upcoming event “Reinventing Running: The Cabaret” being held on Friday night (Nov 5) near this weekend’s NYC Marathon Expo…sounds like an entertaining venue of great speakers.

Most people I know find it hard to believe that running can be a lovable task. It’s work, they say…or a necessary evil to justify their eating habits. And sadly, I can often relate. Many of my workouts are prescribed and set in stone and I run because the training plan says I “have to”. Then there are other days when I just go out and run. I ponder life, take in the scenery around me, and not care about the time or distance covered…I just run. These are the runs that keep me coming back.

So where did we go wrong? Our lives seem to be so chocker-block full of activity that everything has turned into a “have to” and we forget to decipher what might have originally been a “want to”. If we want our fitness plan to be a success, then we need to fill it with activities that we enjoy and perhaps that starts with the goals that we set for ourselves and the stringency that we apply. Pushing ourselves is good…pushing ourselves with some flexibility to make it fun is better!

If you're in NYC this weekend, you'd enjoy this...

Reinventing Running: The Cabaret. On Nov. 5, the Friday before the New York City Marathon, Born to Run author Christopher McDougall and actor Peter Sarsgaard will host an evening devoted to humanity's first fine art: distance running. Modeled after the wildly successful TED conferences, speakers will condense their talks to 15 intense minutes and then gather on stage for audience Q&A. Guests speakers include:

Dr. Daniel Lieberman, Harvard's "Barefoot Professor" and co-creator of the "Running Man" theory of human evolution.

Coach Eric Orton, the wizard from Born to Run who rebuilt McDougall in time for the epic race against the Tarahumara.

Barefoot Ted McDonald: BFT will simultaneously demonstrate how to craft Tarahumara-style racing sandals while describing his search of the perfect minimalist running shoe.

John Durant: fresh from his star-turn on The Colbert Report and a national leader of hunter-gatherer athleticism. AND hula dancers, Vibram FiveFingers giveaways, personalized book signings.

When: Friday, Nov 5. Doors open at 6pm Where: Right by Central Park in New York's Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th Street Tickets: $10. Pick them up in person at Paragon Sports on Broadway between 17th and 18th St near Union Square, or buy online at Check it out!

Holiday Gift Buying Guides:

If you’re one of those ‘on the ball’ early shoppers, you can find some great deals out there now. Here are some pages to help you with gift ideas, product reviews, and buying guides…

Gifts for Runners: This page is loaded with books, gear, and gadget ideas along with some links to product reviews.

Running Watches: This page offers comparison data on popular watches and which features they offer. Many of these have really come down in price over the last year (Example: Garmin 405 is $237…last year it was $340?!).

Treadmill Buying Guide: This page offers what to look for in a new treadmill along with a table that compares the top models on the market. Treadmills are another item that have come down in price. Most of the dealers are offering free shipping, too.

Elliptical Buying Tips: Here you’ll find a buyer’s guide for great cross-training machines with similar promotions and deals as the treadmills.

Exercise of the Month:
Bicycle Crunches!

This exercise is a very productive ab exercise, as it works both the rectus abdominals (“washboard” or “6-pack”), and the oblique abdominals (sides). While on your back, place your hands behind your head and lift your torso slightly off the ground. Bring your feet 6 inches off the ground to start. Begin by pulling your left knee towards your right elbow, then straighten out your left leg and bring your right knee towards your left elbow. That is one repetition. The movement of your legs should be similar to peddling a bicycle. The movement of your elbows should be done by pulling your back off the ground, not by bending or straining your neck. Try 10-25 repetitions to start off with, depending on your ability. You want to stress your muscles with this exercise, but don’t take them to the point of exhaustion. It’s better to gradually increase repetitions over time than it is to do the maximum amount possible…followed by down-time due to over-fatigue or injury.

Sound Off!

If you have any feedback (positive or negative), success stories to share, or suggestions for future articles, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and we take all feedback, suggestions...and yes, even criticism very seriously. We’ll use this information to improve our newsletter and The Fitness Motivator site to help you and others like you attain your fitness goals.

Happy Holidays & Happy Running!!

Encouragement to Succeed!

P.S. - Please feel free to forward this to a friend!

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