Brittany Runs a Marathon.... and could she use a therapist?

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Brittany Runs a Marathon.... and could she use a therapist?

I’m a therapist who loves working with 20 (and 30)- something new Yorkers working to make changes in their lives.

Basically, Brittany would be a perfect client. I’d love to meet her.

As a therapist and a runner (and having seen the movie already twice in the theater, haha), I’ve had some Therapy For Runners-type reflections.

No big* spoilers… but by the end of the movie, Brittany has figured a lot of shit out. She’s gotten her goals and priorities in line and, at the core of it all, has realized how to trust and rely on others. Oh, and she ran a marathon.

*okay, maybe some general theme spoilers. But the title of the movies says she runs a marathon, so I figure that’s a given.

While watching- and as one of the 50,000 people in the movie shown actually running the 2017 NYC Marathon (and contrary to the news reporter in the movie, the runners did NOT love the rain. smh)… there’s a lot the movie gets right. As a therapist in Brooklyn, there are definitely some parts that are a bit of hollywood magic. I tell my clients (and remind myself, regularly) that there is no easy button. I’ve seen a lot of blow back in various running forums online about the movie not being very realistic in terms of Brittany’s transformation. Going from barely running one block, to running a marathon… in that timeframe, may be a bit of a stretch. But in those scenes, there’s a lot that IS CORRECT. At least for a runner like me (and maybe for a runner, or future-runner, like you). I was never athletic, running did NOT come naturally. Since I’ve been running now for about 7 years, and have done 2 marathons and more halfs than I can count… I had forgotten what getting started was like. But the movie brought it all back. I remember downloading one of the couch to 5k type of apps, leaving my apartment in Bed-Stuy and slowly way walk-running maybe a 4 block radius. It was slow, not fun, scary, terrible and overwhelming and all.the.things! But I did it. And each day I went out there, maybe I went a bit further, or it felt a bit easier… maybe.

Making a big change in your life (whether it’s starting running, or making other changes) is never a direct A-to-Z line. It will be all over the place. Sometimes going forward, but many times going backwards or in ever-frustrating circles. There will be challenges, barriers, successes, distractions, good days, and bad days. Many days when you won’t want to trudge through the hard stuff. A lot of days when it would be easier not to have to do it all alone. That’s where I feel like there could have been a good role in Brittany Runs A Marathon for the support of a therapist. [raises hand, I’ll be your therapist, Brittany].

Brittany was a clear success story in the movie. She gets fit & strong, changes her life, improves friendships and romantic relationships, AND runs a marathon. I’m not saying that I think all of that is impossible, I know for sure that it’s not. I just know that it’s a hell of a lot harder than the movie makes it seem. And I’m gonna keep working to motivate myself to make positive changes in my own life, and keep working with people to help them be more of the self they really want to be.

I’m really excited about the future of Therapy For Runners, and some new ideas that have been percolating. A lot of what’s in the works is a better way to help support more people enact these big, positive changes in their lives. Stay tuned for more information coming soon (before 2020). Feel free to sign up for the newsletter below (I don’t send a lot of emails, don’t worry). As always, feel free to reach out to me anytime.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about above… here’s the Brittany Runs A Marathon movie trailer:

And for fun, here’s a before & after pic from my 2017 marathon day:

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A year post marathon training injury....

So, it’s September…. I’m not exactly sure where the summer went, but I am accepting the fact that it’s September in NY, fall is around the corner…. and #winteriscoming.

I’ve been thinking this past week a lot about my previous year. I honestly haven’t given my injury a ton of thought… it comes up when I realize I’m not as fast as I used to be, or when I felt grateful for finishing the Brooklyn Half pain free. But for the most part, it does kind of seem like last September-December has disappeared into a black hole of marathon training injury feelings. Anyone else have a similar experience?

This time last year- I was at the very beginnings of my injury. I remember it first popped up after a Mile High Run Club class where something felt a little off and tight. But no pain intense pain. I just had a weird feeling in my hip. I stretched after what felt like a good class, and went on with my day. I was well into my Chicago Marathon training… just under 5 weeks out from the event. Which would have been my 3rd marathon. I had just nailed what felt like a very solid (and speedy, for me) 17 miler. Things were feeling good.

Until they weren’t. The morning following that MHRC class, I woke up unable to move without extreme pain. The worst pain I’ve probably ever experienced. I had been going to Finish Line Physical Therapy for preventative work throughout my training, so I was quickly able to get in and try to figure out what was happening. It was not clear. Was it my SI joint, a slipped disc, a quad injury (my quad would uncontrollably spasm)…. doctor’s appointments, regular PT, X-rays & an MRI…. and still no clear answers. I remember moments hoping to just be able to put on pants without pain, or to walk without a limp (and pain). It’s amazing how quickly your perspective shifts…. and, when running & healthy, how much you do take for granted. Needless to say, I was not healed and ready by October 7th. And I did not run my 3rd marathon. However, I still carb loaded and fully enjoyed Chicago— cheering on all the other rockstars. By that point, I was generally happy to be able to walk around the city with limited pain. It felt like a win.

So, a year later… as we’re getting ready to be in fall marathon season, I’m reminded on how far I have come. I’m still frustrated by never getting a clear answer or fully understanding what happened. And angry that I’m still paying off the MRI that it didn’t seem that I actually needed (after a frustrating experience with a doctor who did not listen to what I was telling him). But I’m happy and grateful to be fully healed. I didn’t run again until the very end of December. I slowly built up and tried to get into a regular routine again. The Brooklyn Half was successful…. not my fastest by any means, but finishing easily and pain free felt just as good as getting a PR. This summer I ran 2 10k legs in the Catskill 100k relay. I’m not currently training for anything, but I am pondering what might be my next steps. And taking time to enjoy the cooler fall running days.

I’m someone who typically likes plans and lists and getting shit done. So, taking a step back and just letting things be isn’t necessarily my norm. So, here it goes…. we’ll see what happens.

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Lower Your Anxiety Now: CHALLENGE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

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Lower Your Anxiety Now: CHALLENGE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

LOWER YOUR ANXIETY TODAY!

3 reasons negative thoughts make us feel so bad &

3 steps to show them who's boss.... (aka YOU)

Negative thoughts..... ugh..... you know, those things that make you feel depressed and anxious and all-over terrible.... we've all got em. But we don't need to let them be the boss of us, and control how we think and feel and act.

One of the first things I hear in therapy sessions are these negative thoughts that come up for people. Everyone has them. Though some people are better than others at realizing that they are around. They're often the things our brain tells us, like "you're not good enough" "there's a reason you're single" "there's no point in applying to that job, you won't get it"…. etc.


Maybe these sound familiar to you. The reason why they're so crappy is:

  1. they make us feel bad. Terrible. Anxious. Depressed. Hopeless. Etc.

  2. they're also often not even real or true or based in any tiny bit of factual information.

  3. and for most people, we don't realize our brain is doing this. it happens so fast, automatically. and our brains have gotten very good at doing this for X # of years. 25, 32, 41.... for however many years, it's a lot of years of practice.

The general way for dealing with them is based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is an evidenced-based therapy modality. All of that therapymumbojumbo basically means that it's proven to work. I use parts of this in my work with lots of different people. But it's not everyone's jam.... so if it's not yours either, don't worry!


3 steps to "mastering your negative thoughts"
might sound easy, but remember... your brain has gotten very, very good at doing this. Many many years of fine-tuned practice. So, it's not so easy or quick. It is a process.

But the 3 steps don't really change:
Step # 1- catching negative thoughts. First, you need to identify and increase your awareness of when these thoughts pop up. You can do this on your own, or work with a therapist to help. When I'm meeting with people, I am listening for a lot of different things, but negative thoughts that you aren't fully aware of, is one of the big ones. And I'll tell you when I hear them. Once we have a good idea of what they are, then we can move to step 2.
Step #2- looking for evidence. Gathering actual, objective evidence to support or disprove your thought is an extremely important step. The objective part is key, though. You can't trust your own brain here. In sessions, I am often reminding people of the objective evidence that very often fully disproves their negative thoughts.
Step #3- finding an alternative thought. Once you identify the negative thought, and are able to disprove it.... now you need to tell your brain what it should be thinking instead. This would be your new & improved, alternative thought. This one is based in reality and objective evidence. And, hopefully, makes you feel a bit better than the first automatic negative thought. It should also be easier to believe (remember, evidence).... but might still take some time to convince your brain, so you might need to actively remind yourself of this newer way of thinking.


If you have any questions, you can always reach out to me. Or if you want to try out this process in real life, let's book a session to get started! Remember, this format doesn't work for everyone, and it's not the only way to tackle feeling crappy. But it is a process and a tool that can work for a lot of people.

Click the button below if you'd like to get my FREE PDF guide to challenging your negative thoughts. It will walk you through all of the steps needed to get started, you can sign up to get it here…. FOR FREE.

#winning

#goodbyenegativethoughts

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Anxiety- friend or frenemy?

This video just crossed my path and it is absolutely AMAZING! I have been known to encourage people to name their anxiety- i.e. “Hi Gloria, I have no time for you today” sort of naming, but this takes takes it to a whole new level.

You can read along with Jae Nichelle here.

Let me know your thoughts or, as always, feel free to reach out if you want to take some new steps to KNOCK OUT your own anxiety.

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SELF CARE IN THE SUMMER: 5 FREE Summer Survival Skills

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SELF CARE IN THE SUMMER: 5 FREE Summer Survival Skills

It’s July. It’s officially officially summer (yes, I know the equinox passed us already). There is something about July in NYC that is….. Let’s say, distinct. Kids are out of school, but the hoards of people haven’t fully left the city yet (like in August). It’s hot, humid, and the streets smell of warm trash (not fun). There are constant fireworks going off in most Brooklyn neighborhoods (as well as the occasional gun shot). Quick thunderstorms roll through, sometimes cancelling your favorite outdoor event (be it a movie screening, concert, or yoga in the park). Not the best time to be in Brooklyn if you’re a dog who’s scared of those things (which I have). And sometimes can be a hard time if you’re just a regular ole human.

So, how best to manage it all….. And, dare I say, enjoy the summer in the city! As a therapist in Brooklyn (and having lived here for 17 years in August)…. I have finely tuned some of my summer survival skills. 

Self care can encompass lots of different things, depending on who you talk to. Some poo-poo it as spending money on yourself. This can be true, but does not have to be the case. Let’s start with the foundational basics, that are all basically FREE & go from there….

1) HYDRATION- Please drink a glass of water every morning when you wake up, and try your best to continue drinking a hydrating beverage throughout the day. Rosé or your favorite summer craft brew don’t count. But given the heat index, and the propensity for summer social drinking events…. make an effort to get in the habit of hydrating throughout the day, your body will thank you.

2) SLEEP- Depending on your air conditioning situation, and being able to sleep through the summer night noises of Brooklyn (fireworks, gun shots, etc).... Sleeping in the summer can be a challenge. If you have AC, use it when you need it! It can also act as a white noise to help drown out the street noises. White noise machines (or apps) can also be helpful. If you don’t have AC- maybe try taking a cool shower before you go to bed, or putting an ice pack on your neck (or anywhere comfortable on your body) as you fall asleep (a cool or frozen washcloth can also do the trick).

3) EAT LOCAL & FRESH- Summer is my favorite time to eat in NYC. We may live in a giant-ass city, but we are surrounded by farms ( Sign up for your local CSA, swing by one of the many the farmer’s markets, or now you can even buy a one-off CSA box from Fresh Direct-so you don’t have to commit to a full season, if that’s too much). Enjoy all the local and delicious fresh fruits & veggies.

4) TAKE OFF SOME DAYS OFF- What I hear over and over from people (and experience in my own life too) is that the summer weekends are already booked up with activities and events from now through Labor day. Us NYers are busy in the summer. It can be hard to avoid it. There are so many things to do, and FOMO is a real thing. But please please please take a day off every now and then. And not a day off that is then re-filled with house chores & laundry (tho that has to get done at some point). But a true day off to recharge & rest. If a full day is too much, start with a part of the day: a lazy morning or evening at home, or (GASP) a day that has nothing planned and see where the day takes you. You might end up lounging in Prospect Park for hours or going to a movie (I love going to the movies in the summer, and will probably write a whole separate blog post for that- but basically it’s a lovely deeply air conditioned escape). If you prefer not to shell out the $17+ for a movie ticket, maybe you end up at one of the many free outdoor movie screenings (not as air conditioned, but just as fun). 

5) TRY SOMETHING NEW- NewYorkers are creatures of habit. We take the same trains to the same neighborhoods, often going to our same favorite spots with our same favorite people. Having favorites is great- I love that about NY. But the summer is also prime time to try something new, and there is scientific evidence that trying something new can be helpful for improving your mood. Just sayin’. It also does not have to cost money to try something new (though, of course it easily can). Try a free fitness class, aforementioned free movie screenings, free concerts, free theater, go to Governor’s Island (first ferry is free) and escape the city, go for a hike in the trails/wooded areas of Central or Prospect Park. The list can go on and on, and there are many places on the interwebs to find such lists. And if you need guidance, reach out & I’m happy to point you towards some fun, free options that you might like to try. The specifics don’t matter that much...The point is to mix up your routine a bit, and you might even find a new “favorite” thing to do. 

As I tell a lot of my clients- don’t try to make all the changes at once. Try just one small step or action, and try to make it sustainable. Reach out if you have any questions, need any ideas, or have your own favorite free NYC selfcare items to add in :)

Happy July, y’all.

ps- I’m not southern, I just really like using y’all. And it basically has been a part of my vocabulary after spending time in Baton Rouge in 2004.

(I took this cover photo at this year’s FREE Shakespeare in the Park)

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why all the F-bombs?

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why all the F-bombs?

After a recent website re-vamp, you might have noticed that there are a couple F-bombs circulating around. For awhile, I used to censor myself (once editing out a rogue FUCK from a past blog post). Over the years of being a therapist (now, well over a decade), I would often work especially hard to not say certain words in sessions, fuck very often being one of them. I don’t swear more than your average New Yorker, but I do swear. And I’m done hiding it. How can I help you be authentically you, and not fully embrace my own goddamn self?! I can’t.

I also cannot count on my fingers & toes the number of times I’ve heard from people about previous bad therapy experiences they had- where they felt judged for swearing, and one person said the therapist even asked they did not swear in session. I was and am so appalled by this. And want you to know, I will not be that therapist.

I have worked with people who will quickly apologize after swearing, or ask permission to say a bad word in session. Again, 100% not necessary. There will be plenty of other things you need to give yourself permission for, that will likely come up in sessions (hint hint: taking care of yourself and your needs and making this a priority in your life), but swearing will never be one of them.

So, this week I got my new office toy- the photo cover here. And I fucking love it!

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Ready for Saturday?

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Ready for Saturday?

Hey Brooklyn Runners! I just picked up by number & shirt from the rainy Brooklyn waterfront, and am getting ready for the race Saturday. I wanted to share with you a FREE (and hopefully helpful) planner to get ready in the next few days! Do you love to-do lists? I do! I have done far too many races where I have forgotten some key ingredients come race morning. Items like: headphones, fuel, dry change of clothes, layers, metrocard to get home, etc.  *Also, my go-to must have on a rainy race day is a trash bag. I sometimes look strange, as I am often the only one wearing a trash bag in the morning... but am DRY & happy. And would HIGHYL recommend! Hehe*

DOWNLOAD IT HERE!

As you may know, I am also a big fan of self-care... especially leading up to (and immediately after) a big race. So this planner will help you set some intentional self-care plans. Some good (and highly recommended) options: SLEEP, massage (self, partner or professional!), some healthy and delicious carbs (do cookies count? i hope so), treating yourself to that way overpriced (but hydrating & good for you) juice or smoothie.

Feel free to add in the comments any other self caring you like to do before/after a race, and any other reminders of things not to forget on race day!

Most of all, enjoy Saturday! The Brooklyn Half is by far the most fun race I have had the privilege of running. And honestly, the rain will very likely be much more enjoyable than the years it has been sunny (and so hot on Ocean Parkway!). Just prepare & pack accordingly. 

See you out there!

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Welcome Spring?

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Welcome Spring?

So, it's official. I am not the best at regularly keeping up with this whole blog-writing thing. I will aim to do better, pinky swear. 

It's April (already mid April! woah), and I'm about halfway into training for the Brooklyn Half. I have been easing my way back into running and training, after taking some time off this winter (and post NYC Marathon 2017). This Brooklyn Half will be my 4th time running this fun race, within the last 5 years. (took last year off to do the century bike Ride to Montauk, which was very challenging and a lot of fun). Very much looking forward this year to running to Coney Island. 

Stay tuned for some exciting things Therapy For Runners will have to help with the end of Brooklyn Half training. (Hint hint: it might have something to do with my favorite topic, self-care). 

In the meantime, check out the Spring Wellness Intensive offerings. Full package on sale ($100 off!) until April 30th!

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February! Happy New Year (a month late)

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February! Happy New Year (a month late)

Holy cow, it's February! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Where exactly did January go? Anyone else feel like it just sort of magically disappeared. I mean, I remember the weeks-long stretch of really, really cold days.... but overall, it does feel like it flew by. Perhaps it was because I have been sick and/or dealing with miscellaneous mini-injuries all month. I did not get to start 2018 in the focused, goal-oriented, resolution-energized way I maybe would have liked. I woke up New Years day with the beginning signs of a cold. And, that cold (or a combination of other ones I caught along the way), is still kicking it's way around. An entire month of cold-symptoms, ugh! Aside from this never-ending cold... I minorly hurt my neck (skiing), and randomly did something upsetting to my subscapularis/shoulder muscle. These mini-injuries added to my list of (mostly valid) excuses for taking it easy. Semi-hibernating. My January definitely did not start off the way I had hoped.

January wasn't a complete waste- I completed a meditation teacher training, got 4 days of skiing in, registered for the Brooklyn Half, and signed up for a yearlong bootcamp membership.

So, now it's February. And, while still coughing and blowing my nose, I am ready to start tackling some of my 2018 goals! First up, is getting back in shape- post 2017 NYC marathon (and basically almost 3 months of taking it easy).... they say fit-ness runs on 3 week intervals. Meaning, my body won't feel the benefits/effects of working out for about 3 weeks. So, while getting back into things, I'm looking at 3 weeks of feeling out of shape and speeds/exercises that used to feel easy (at top-marathon training), will undoubtedly be quite challenging. The good news is that February is a short month, and I should be caught up by the end of these 28 days.... and ready to start up Brooklyn Half training in March.

Here goes!

 

 

(**and just because I got a slow start this 2018, doesn't mean you have to. Spots still available in the Winter Wellness Intensive)

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10 days to go!!! SELF CARE CHALLENGE!

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10 days to go!!! SELF CARE CHALLENGE!

10 days til #tcsnycmarathon = 10 days of self care!

November 5th is almost here (insert: panic & excitement! AHHH). For those running, I’m sure you are going through lots of different emotions right now- I know I am. After spending 5 months focusing on one thing, one goal, one day... the realization of all of that’s about to happen is starting to sink in. Marathon blues, are definitely a thing. I used to think they’d just pop up post-marathon, but I have been feeling them this week. Tapering is different for everyone, but I spent the first part of this week feeling highly unmotivated- not getting out of bed in time to get the miles on my training plan in, and then beating myself up about it. I realized Tuesday of this week that I was being a bit silly. I’ve followed my training plan (for the most part, very closely), had a great 20 mile run & even felt really good about running the last 10 miles of the course on Sunday. However, for some reason Monday-Wednesday this week felt like I had lost all focus & motivation.

So, with 10 days left to go, I’ve decided I’m going to focus (even more than usual) on SELF CARE.  I’m a big believer in self care & also know that most of us do not do it enough. Living in this city is hard enough. It’s been an incredibly hard year in the world. People have jobs & family & responsibilities & so many stressors... all.the.time! Throw the insane idea of training for & running a marathon on top of that. It’s a bit crazy. So, yes, self care- it’s important & necessary! And, trust me, it doesn’t just happen naturally (unless you’re some sort of magical human with lots & lots of resources). But for most of us, it’s extra time... extra money.... extra focus.... and all of that can be hard to come by most days.

So, for the next 10 days leading up to the TCS NYC Marathon, I’m going to focus on one thing (self care-related) each day. And I encourage you to do the same!! I’ll be posting on Instagram & Facebook. I love the running community & think it’s a great place to get support and connect with others! So, if you’re down for the self care challenge please post along the way and add the tags:  

#therapy4runners

#10daysofselfcare

#nycmarathonselfcareclub

I hope with using the hashtags, people will be able to get new ideas of self care! Either to do in the next 10 days, or even better- to turn into a sustainable self care practice. (Remember: nothing new on race day!!)

What if...
I’m not a runner but want to join in....
I’m a runner, but not running the NYC Marathon this year...
I’ve never focused on self care before & this is scary and weird....
I have no time/money/energy to do something self care related each day....

PLEASE JOIN US!
...start small (5 minutes/day counts!), support others, try something new... and, best of all, take care of yourself!!!

And for the 50,000 rockstars doing the marathon next week... enjoy the next 10 days! Enjoy every moment (and every delicious carb) that will get us to the Verrazano bridge.  

If 10 days of self care seems like a lot... know that you've already come this far, you are capable and strong and determined, and fully deserve to treat yourself to some TLC!

Happy tapering, folks! I look forward to sharing (and learning) new self care tips & ideas in the next 10 days!

Finish strong! 

~katie

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Miles.... Half-Full, or Half-Empty ~ NYC Marathon Training HALFWAY POINT!

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Miles.... Half-Full, or Half-Empty ~ NYC Marathon Training HALFWAY POINT!

I'm halfway through marathon training, as are most folks who are doing a 16 week program for the NYC marathon. Honestly, I'm kind of surprised it's already halfway done. Sort of sneaky how time goes by that quickly!! How are others feeling out there?? I find that when your focus is literally just on what you need to get done this week (or, just even, today), time has been moving quickly. I've been able to stick to my plan pretty closely, and although I'm tired and my legs are having all sorts of feelings..... I generally am feeling okay about training so far. So, I guess, one could say.... optimistic, glass half-full sort of outlook. Or, well, miles half-full. This is most definitely NOT all days. There have been days that have been hard..... hard getting the miles in, hard doing what I know I should be doing to help support my training (foam rolling, strength work), hard getting out of bed (but then reminding myself that my muscles need sleep, and trying not to be too hard on myself for sleeping in). It is a struggle. I think that's probably half of the reason I like signing up for challenging races and training. It is a struggle and a challenge, but if you put the work in... it is always completely attainable. Following small steps and goals, you can slowly get there..... then, BAM! you're done, and you have to start all over again :P haha...

So, that's just a quick note & check in about my training journey so far. 

Coupled with this, I am continuing to work and diversify my business and private practice. After taking a bit of a break this summer (hmmm.... maybe that's why there have been no blog posts since June, oops).... it's time to re-focus.  I have had a lot of interest in my Walk In the Park  aspect of my business and am working to figure out how to expand this and also how to incorporate running into some outdoor therapy sessions. More to come soon on that. 

In the meantime, happy running! And happy training to all those with their sights on the TCS NYC Marathon in LESS THAN 8 WEEKS! 

 

(picture from this Sunday's 5th Avenue Mile- getting ready to start...!)

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Happy Global Running Day!

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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! 

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holy cow, instagram!??!

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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! 

 

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Marathon Support Group- REGISTRATION OPEN!

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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!

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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. 

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New things coming!

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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!

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Mental Strength Training: STEP ONE = FOCUS

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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

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Staying Active and FIGHTING BACK against Winter!

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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!

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

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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. 

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