Happy Global Running Day!

Comment

Happy Global Running Day!

For Global Running Day, I thought it might be nice to reflect on my own running history..... as it has been quite an interesting ride since I went out for my first run less than 5 years ago. (side note: just realizing that this summer/fall will be my 5 year running anniversary! WOAH!)

For the record, I have NEVER been a runner. As a child and teen, I played sports (generally mandated by my school). I was not athletic. Very regularly got injured. Running was NOT my thing. I was joking over brunch this past weekend after the Retro 5-mile race about how, as a 5th grade basketball player, I would not run to the other side of the court. (why run, when they'll just come back to this side in a couple minutes!!!)

Anyway, I digress... 

This never-a-runner now has a marathon under my belt, an uncountable number of half-marathons (seriously, I just tried to count them out.... but I'm not sure the exact number... over 10), 2 olympic-distance triathlons, a century ride, and over 200 total miles raced in NYC alone. I have raced through the mountains in Hong Kong, through Times Square, through the French Quarter in New Orleans, and through the Redwood forest (to name a few of the most-awesome spots). It really has been an amazing (almost) 5 years.

I have to say that it probably was not until the 2015 Brooklyn Half that I began to enjoy running. I remember that being the first race that felt fun, felt easy.... was entirely enjoyable. It was my 3rd time racing the Brooklyn Half, so I already knew how fun a race it is. But there was something about that May, where everything seemed to fall in place, and it felt truly enjoyable and I had the thought ("oh, this is why people think running is fun"). It took quite some time to get to that point, however. I often hear from people that they "hate running", and I can commiserate. I'm still not the type that jumps out of bed early every morning looking forward to getting some miles in. I doubt I will ever be that person. 

But I have found that I like the challenge of training for a race. It helps keep me accountable, keeps me going. It's a way of setting a goal, working towards it step by step, and then getting it done (a transferable skill to many & most other tasks in life). On this Global Running Day, I'm looking forward to refocusing my running and my physical fitness regime to start my NYC Marathon training. This will be my second marathon, and I have lots of lessons to be learned from the first (2014). [future blog posts to come] I am also ready and prepared to take my training to a new level... recognizing the many aspects and challenges of training for such an intense event. Really focusing on support systems and self care, avoiding burnout, reworking negative thoughts and thinking patterns, staying motivated & really working to mentally prepare for the challenges of running 26.2 miles. I also hope that through this blog, Therapy for Runners groups, and working with individuals 1:1, I can help others achieve similar goals with their running, and within their lives.

Happy Global Running day, y'all. Feeling grateful to be a part of such a great community of runners! 

Comment

holy cow, instagram!??!

Comment

holy cow, instagram!??!

So, I have been a casual instagram user in my personal life- only following a handful of close friends, some running-related pages, and a lot of dogs & cats ;) so I started the Therapy for Runners Instagram LAST WEEK, and already have over 600 followers. It is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

I never, ever would have expected to see that number keep climbing. I feel incredibly humbled and excited, but also now (as never before) feeling the pressure to keep posting things and find interesting things in my life (related to therapy or running), and sometimes I'm just not that funny or interesting, and definitely do not always have smart things to say/post about running and therapy.  (confession)

But, I will try to keep it up. I like it. I like following runners in Brooklyn & NYC (and all around the globe) and seeing what an incredible online community runners have. It is nice being a part of that. Really nice.

So, thank you Instagram and internet running community for welcoming me into your club! 

 

Comment

Marathon Support Group- REGISTRATION OPEN!

Comment

Marathon Support Group- REGISTRATION OPEN!

Sign-ups now open for 20 and 10 week Marathon Support Group taking place bi-weekly in Brooklyn Heights. Contact me to get started! 

20 week program dates (10 sessions):

June 20, July 11, July 25, August 8, August 22, September 5, September 19, October 3, October 17, and celebration/reflection November 7th!

10 week program dates (5 sessions)

September 5, September 19, October 3, October 17, and celebration/reflection November 7th!

 

Pricing:

$60/session

BUY ALL 10 sessions, save $100! Buy 5 sessions, save $50!

 

Group goals:

*BUILD CONFIDENCE & CALM RACE ANXIETY
*FOCUS ON SELF-CARE, AVOID BURNOUT
*TRAINING & RACE TIPS
*GROUP SUPPORT & ACCOUNTABILITY
*FACILITATED BY THERAPIST & RUNNER
*GREAT FOR 1ST TIMERS!

Homework and training challenges provided for off-weeks (optional). 

Space is LIMITED, so sign up early and get ready to take on your NYC Marathon training! Contact me to register or if you have any questions!

Comment

Comment

Marathon Support Group.... starting in June!

Looking forward to talking with some runners this week (I'll be volunteering at the Brooklyn Half Marathon Pre-Party/Expo), and sharing information about the new NYC Marathon Support Group that will be starting up in June:

Group details for the 10 and 20 week programs will be finalized and posted this week. 

Comment

New things coming!

Comment

New things coming!

I took down this blog for a bit, as my focus and attention were directed to other aspects of my private practice and life- but am happy to report that it will be back in action!! Not just the blog, but some new & exciting things coming this June!

As a therapist AND as a runner- I am excited to combine these parts of my life and expertise to offer some new support services for runners: marathon support groups, tailored psychotherapy sessions for runners, and regular blog posts exploring the intersections between life (and life stressors) and running.

Stay tuned!

Comment

Mental Strength Training: STEP ONE = FOCUS

1 Comment

Mental Strength Training: STEP ONE = FOCUS

So, I am under 6 weeks out from my next race (New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Marathon), and coming to my own realization to start kicking into full gear with training. Sure, I’ve been training (technically) for the last couple of weeks- following fairly closely to the schedule I outlined at the beginning. I think, physically, I’ve been on point. I’ve been getting my long runs in, crosstraining (rowing) and strength training (bootcamp!), but I haven’t started to take the time to focus on mental training. I’ve been THINKING a lot about it, about things that are important to me and what I want to share with the general extended world of amazing people who might end up reading this.

So, here goes… my 6 week Mental Strength Half Marathon Training plan. (sure this could go for other races as well: 5k/10k, full marathon, triathlons, etc.—but I also plan on in the future making some more specialized plans for each different endurance race).

Week by week, I'll focus on 6 key steps for Mental Strength Training for runners. This week, we'll start with #1 FOCUS.

Focus: Define Your Goal

This week it’s time to clarify your focus and truly define what your goal is with your upcoming race. Perhaps you signed up weeks ago, and that initial rush and surge of excitement and commitment has since passed…. It’s time to get that back. Time to re-focus on your intention. Let’s start with 5 simple questions:

o   Who? (YOU!!! Any friends, family, running buddies joining you? Or are you tackling this one solo?)

o   What? (Race info, distance. Is this your first race of this distance? A milestone? Celebrating something?)

o   Where & When? (Race info, again. But think about climate and the course…. Do you need to travel to get there? What will that entail? Is it a new race or a new city to you, or happening in your background and on roads you run every day)

o   Why? (this is the big question………. )

 Why did you decide to sign up for this event (just to run another race, because a friend convinced you to, or did you have a clear wellness and mental strength goal from the beginning- to run your first half marathon, to celebrate a birthday, proving to yourself that you can come back after ___________________ (fill in the blank: injury, illness, a breakup, having a baby, etc). Are you raising money for a cause that’s important to you? Challenging yourself at a new distance, or trying to get a PR?

Whatever your reason for signing up for this race, clarify it and remind yourself of it OFTEN. Think about your answers to all the questions above… recognize all the thoughts and feelings that come up (the good ones AND the bad, negative, self-doubting ones). Most importantly, WRITE IT DOWN.

Try the following exercise!

Fold a paper into 4 quarters (any which-way will do, just make 4 sections).

·         In one section, write your goal out in big, BOLD letters.

·         In your second section, put your reasons WHY you are running this race. (could be bullet points, sentences, random words, essay-format…. Doesn’t matter).

·         In the third section, write out all the feelings that are brought up. (this is where you can add in your anxieties and self-doubts, but make sure to include the positive feelings too!).

·         For your forth section, write out what will keep you going throughout training and to get you to the finish line. THIS IS YOUR FOCUS! (part why, part feelings…. What you think about when things will get hard that will keep you going and on track).

 

Then, hang it up!!! On your fridge, next to your training plan, in your bathroom, above your kitchen sink… wherever! Somewhere, ideally, where you can check in with it daily and/or weekly to re-focus your training and remind yourself of your original goal. Revisit it whenever you’re feeling sidetracked or unmotivated.

Here’s what mine looks like for my upcoming race. Feel free to share pictures of yours, or comment about the process below or on Facebook.

 

Running (and any physical challenge) is very much a mental activity, requiring strength, practice and training. Next week we’ll start visualizing our success. But for now….. focus!!!

-k

1 Comment

Staying Active and FIGHTING BACK against Winter!

1 Comment

Staying Active and FIGHTING BACK against Winter!

Today was/is cold. The first brutally cold day in NYC. (Though an appropriate seasonal reminder of what the weather should be like). Winter sucks. The days are short. It's cold. And most people are either crankily hustling around the city or are hibernating (and social gatherings and interactions become increasingly rare). Winter can be isolating and depressing. It's supposed to be a time of year when people make New Year's resolutions and plan a fresh (productive) start to the new year..... but it's hard, very hard. Today, for me, the deep bone-chilling wind had me (momentarily) questioning my next goal-race on my calendar.

Each and every year (for the past 3 years) I have signed up for a half marathon in the early spring. If I don't have a race planned, a clear goal, and a training calendar as my guide- I'm worried I just won't keep running or stay active in the winter. (because, let's be honest, who wants to run in the winter?? Not me! that's for sure). Staying motivated in the dead of winter can feel impossible.

Signing up for races keeps me accountable and active, especially in the winter (when most mornings I really just want to stay in PJ's-- or in bed-- a bit longer, and enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the warm surroundings of my Brooklyn apartment). But with my goal set, I somehow am much more likely to get up when I should and head outside to log some miles. The problem is..... it's cold, super cold.

So, it's time to FIGHT BACK. 

My top 5 tips for surviving winter and staying active:

  • Set a goal- as I shared, I typically sign up for a half marathon in March (this year, it'll actually be in February). Your goal doesn't have to be so crazy. But it should be something to hold you accountable and keep you focused short-term to get through these hard months. Tell your friends and family about it- and don't just tell them about the race (or goal), but tell them about your PROGRESS. Each and every little step, share it! Be proud of the hard work you're putting in, and find cheerleaders in your life who will support you.
  • Reward yourself- staying active in the winter is HARD WORK. You should most-definitely be rewarded for this. Think of some possible rewards that might help keep you on track. Treat yourself to something nice. After doing something active for x-number of days (whatever # works for you? After 3 days? 5 days? 10 days?), allow yourself a treat. Do you like shopping? For each mile logged (or each 15 minute increment at the gym), allow yourself $5 in a fun shopping outting. [25 miles completed this week.... $125 shopping spree!]. Is ice-cream more your style? Or a nice bottle of wine?  Sleeping in on the weekends? Set a reward, stick to your criteria (NO CHEATING), do what you need to do.... and then enjoy what you earned! 
  • Be flexible- I am a strong proponent of rest-days. I find them helpful scheduled into my training schedule in advance, but also allow many “flex days” which can easily be switched to an off/rest day. If there’s an insane blizzard outside or even if it’s a wonderfully warm winter day (which we’ve had a few of) that would be oh-so-perfect for running/going outside, but you just don’t feel like it…. Allow yourself a day off. Don’t feel bad about it. Just get back out there the next day!
  • Positive self-talk- it helps. When you are doubting yourself, think of your goals. Think of how strong and incredible you are, and that you are more than 100000% able to do this one thing. Repeat a mantra that works for you. Visualize the end result of your goal (finishing a race, getting stronger, feeling more confident). Buy shower crayons and write notes to yourself in the shower (i do this, true story). Whatever you can say (aloud) or think/visualize or write down that is positive and reassuring and motivating. DO IT. 
  • Get a buddy- If you can, get a friend to join you. Maybe they'll join you and sign up for a race too! Even better. Or perhaps you can only get them to commit to a day at the gym, or even a walk through the park or along the waterfront will do. Search for your local running clubs (or club of interest). If group runs aren't your thing, and you can't get a friend to join you... consider indoor classes at one of my favorite spots in the city, Mile High Run Club (where you get to run indoors, surrounded by people of all paces/abilities, and with a coach encouraging you along throughout the full workout). And lastly, you could consider alternate routes to finding a new jogging buddy :) :

 

If you need further inspiration, or have questions/comments. Please reach out! You can contact me anytime. 

Stay Warm. Stay Active. Stay Happy!

1 Comment

A New Year.....                   a new blog.

Comment

A New Year..... a new blog.

Happy 2016! Its a time for new goals (or "resolutions"- as some people say). I prefer the idea of goals. I make lists, typically a page or two.... of goals for the year, in a to-do list format... crossing off things I've accomplished as I go. This works for me, but I know everyone has their own system.  (if you are looking for a new system, I'd love to help you find what will work best for you). I make to-do lists a lot. I like the feeling of accomplishment when crossing something off- and tackling the final un-checked items always feels more manageable when everything else is already checked off. 

A new year.... a time for new ventures and new adventures (and for a new blog). I'm quite hopeful this blog will both be a venture AND an adventure, and I'm looking forward to the journey. 

As a clinical social worker, psychotherapist AND as a runner.... I am looking forward to exploring the many overlaps that I see in understanding yourself and your mind better, and the lessons learned and challenges faced as a runner*. 

Some topics that will be addressed:

  • goal setting- where to start and how to make the progress you want
  • mental health benefits to running- battling depression or anxiety with running
  • getting started and/or coming back (after injury, pregnancy, etc)
  • avoiding burnout and staying present
  • being a "runner"- coming to terms with this label, accepting/finding a running community
  • getting comfortable WITH the uncomfortable- an important key for achieving progress (in running, in life....)
  • challenging our doubts and negative self-talk, using running to improve self esteem 

I will also be developing mental health training plans (to go along with your 8 week or 12 week half-marathon & marathon training plans), exploring and practicing how to be mentally strong for your next big race. 

.....and if you cannot wait for the blog posts to roll in (hopefully, weekly.... that's the plan), I offer tailored psychotherapy and mental health coaching for runners. Please feel free to contact me at any time to set up an individual session.

 

One step at a time.... quite literally. That's all it takes :)

 

*When I say, "runner"-this can incorporate lots of different things & we'll get into this later. You might not see yourself as a runner, just yet. It took me a few years to accept this label for myself, so I understand that for some it might not come so easy. Maybe you're a triathlete, maybe you love yoga, maybe you're looking to increase your physical fitness and get into something new. Whatever your history or experience (or lack thereof), you are welcome here.  

 

Additional disclaimer: I am a clinical social worker and mental health professional, I am NOT a doctor or a fitness/nutrition coach. I cannot give medical or training advice, but I can refer you to fitness coaches, helpful doctors, physical therapists, nutritionists and other resources as needed. My thoughts on this blog are based from my personal experiences as a runner and my professional training as a clinician. 

Comment