How to Start Running

Today I’m sharing some tips on how to start running.

With New Year’s resolutions in full swing right now I’m willing to bet that there are a lot of people out there who are getting into running for the first time. I know that starting any kind of new workout or sport can be intimidating and overwhelming. It can be tough to even know where to begin. I’m hoping that this post will help you get started with running. If you’re in the market for a pair of running shoes, be sure to check out this post.

Talk to your doctor

If you’re new to fitness or coming back to workouts after some time away. it’s probably a good idea to set up an appointment with your doctor and tell her/him you plans. They can help get you started. If you have any previous injuries or any chronic health conditions, they can also give you some guidance and guidelines for what activity is safe and helpful for you. If you have any questions about any how any health conditions you have will be impacted by running, they can also give you some good advice.

Have a plan

Hire a running coach or a personal trainer to come up with an effective and safe training plan for you. They’ll be able to take into consideration any factors that are specific to you, such as health conditions, time you have to devote to running, and even how to incorporate cross training (which is so important to preventing injuries as a runner). If you’re living somewhere that has restrictions on gyms or fitness centers, you can find some great trainers online. Just be sure to do your research and make sure they have a certification/education background that you’re happy with.

If you’re already into fitness and already have a good aerobic base to start with, try using a running training plan. There are lots available online (once again do your research to make sure it’s been put together by someone who knows what they’re doing) as well as in running books. There are running plans to suit everyone – from run/walk ones for beginners to plans specifically for completing 5K or 10K races.

Rest days are important

It can be really tempting to go all out at the beginning when you’re feeling motivated to run. It’s crucial that you pace yourself and allow yourself to take days off of running as well as workouts entirely. It’s always smart to start slowly with any new kind of workout, running including. Start with three workouts per week and work your way up from there. You shouldn’t increase your mileage more than 10% per week. And that’s a maximum. I like to be cautious. I’d much rather take it slowly than end up with an overuse injury. If running is new for you, you’ll want to give your body time to get used to it – everything from your bones to muscles, tendons, ligaments, lungs, and heart need time to adapt.

Fila Royalty 2 Shoes

Start slowly

Like I mentioned above, when you get started running you may want to do it every day, do faster, or run for longer than you should. I know that it can be exciting when you first start running, with buying shoes, hiring a coach, and having a new training plan to work on. It’s so important to take it slowly and follow your plan. Especially in the beginning when your body is still getting used to running, you don’t want to over do it. It might be frustrating to start with, but if taking it slowly prevents and injury, it’ll be worth it.

Find a running buddy

If you’re able to and it’s safe according to your local restrictions, enlist a running buddy. Having a friend to go for a run with will help with motivation to actually get runs done. If I know that I have a friend waiting for me I’m much more likely to show up. In addition, if your friend is already a runner they’ll be able to share some of their knowledge with you. They may know about great running trails, local races, and even the best running stores.

Connect with your local running community

Whether that’s at your local running shoe store (Running Room has lots of locations all across Canada), a local running group, or in a Facebook group, it’s helpful to connect with like minded people. They can share their favorite shoes, running paths that get cleared quickly in the winter, and even the best races to participate in. If you have any questions I’m sure you’ll get lots of advice.

If you’re already a runner, when are some of your tips for people who are new to running?

Friday Favorites: New Planner + Bread

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite things from the past week.

2021 planner

Although I use Google Calendar for appointments, I also like to use a paper planner. There’s something about being able to write things down and flip through the weeks that helps to give me a better idea of what I have coming up. I bought this Blue Sky (affiliate link) one just after Christmas and I’ve been really happy with it so far. At first I wasn’t sure if I would like the bigger size (it’s 8.5″ x 11″), but so far I haven’t found it too big or bulky.

I have enough room to write things down for each day without feeling like I’m crunched for space. Blue Sky is a new planner brand for me. I’m pretty happy with it so far. All the hype that I saw online about them was well earned!

In Plane View

I found some Essie nail polish on sale last week so I made sure to take advantage of it. I bought In Plane View (affiliate link) and a few other colors. I’m still waiting for one of them to arrive. They were 40% off so I figured that I should take advantage of the sale. I’ve slowly been growing my collection of nail polish colors since I started doing my nails every week over the summer. I tend to gravitate more to the darker colors – blues, greens, and purples. My closet is full of blue, green, and purple clothes, so it makes sense that I would like those colors on my nails as well.

In Plane View is really pretty blue/green color. I haven’t tried it on my nails yet, but I think it’ll be the nail polish that I put on next. It’s a really pretty dark and saturated color that’s perfect for winter. What colors are you typically drawn to for nail polish? Let me know in the comments below.

Home Before Dark

I’m still taking full advantage of the library to borrow physical books. I recently finished Home Before Dark (affiliate link). It reminded me a bit of The Haunting of Hill House, in that it’s also a book about a haunted house. The ending was definitely different than Shirley Jackson’s book though, so it was fun to see how it ended. The cast of characters in Home Before Dark was great. I wasn’t able to figure out the “guilty” character ahead of time. I kept changing my mind about how it was that was behind everything.

If you’re looking for some mystery/thriller books to read I highly suggest Riley Sager’s books if you haven’t read any of them yet. She’s a new to me author (I discovered her less than a year ago) and I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve head of hers so far, including Final Girls (affiliate link) Lock Every Door (affiliate link), and The Last Time I Lied (affiliate link). My favorite out of all the ones I’ve read so far was probably The Last Time I Lied. It’s set at a summer camp. I went to camps as a teen so it was fun to re-visit those experiences through the book.

Cheese and beer bread

I wish I could take credit for this delicious bread, but my dad found the recipe and baked it up. It was a cheese and beer bread and had the perfect balance of a hint of beer along with the savory cheese. Needless to say, it went pretty quickly. Within a couple days it was gone. I liked it with some butter on it while my dad thought it was really good toasted with some jam. There’s a ton of cheese and beer bread recipes online to pick from. My dad used this one. It doesn’t require using any yeast so if baking bread is intimidating, this one is a bit easier.

I don’t have anything much planned for this weekend. We’re still under increased restrictions here in Alberta (though a few of them are changing on Monday), so I’m going to be staying close to home. Let me know if you’re doing anything fun this weekend in the comments.

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No Equipment Workout

Today I’m sharing a no equipment workout that’s perfect for exercising at home.

Gyms are still closed here in Alberta, so I thought I’d share a workout that you can do at home with no equipment. Workout equipment has been tough to find here, even second hand like on Facebook marketplace. I makes sense though – since gyms are either closed or people don’t want to risk going to a gym, they’ve turned to at home workouts. You don’t need anything for this particular workout other than a bit of space to be able to move.

This is a full body workout, taking you through exercises for your upper and lower body, core, and even a bit of cardio to get your heart rate up. If you’re looking for a workout that targets a specific body part, or a cardio workout, check out my workouts page. I have it organized so that it’s easy to find exactly what you want. If you try out this workout then be sure to tag me on Instagram.

Perform each of the following exercises for 30 seconds, followed by a 30 second rest. Start at the top of the list with the bodyweight squats and continue down to the plank. Rest as needed and then start again from the top. Complete 3 or 4 times through for a full workout. I find that it’s easier to use the timer on my phone to let me know when it’s time to start or stop rather than just keeping an eye on the clock. It’s so easy to go for too long to stop early if I’m not paying attention.

  • Bodyweight squats
  • Push ups
  • High knees
  • Crunches
  • Alternating lunges
  • Punches
  • Skaters
  • Plank

Below I’ve provided descriptions of each exercise just in case you need a refresher.

Bodyweight squat

With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, using your glutes to propel yourself.

Push ups

Starting on your toes and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your heels to your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line. An easier modification is instead of being on your toes, lower to your knees.

High knees

Starting in a standing position, quickly bring your left knee up in front of you as high as you can. Step back down and repeat with your right leg. Repeat.

Crunches

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feel flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Make sure your neck stays in a neutral position. The upper back should be moving, not the neck. Slowly lay back down on the floor.

Alternating lunges

Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the front leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot. Continue alternating legs for the entire 30 seconds.

Punches

Stand with your feet hip width apart with your left foot slightly forward. Lift your arms up so that your hands are in front of your face with your left hand slightly forward. Punch one hand at a time in front of you, repeating as quickly as possible while maintaining good form.

Skaters

With your knees slightly bent, jump to the right and land on your right leg with your left leg bent behind you with your foot just off the ground. Keep your left foot off the ground. Pushing off with your right foot, jump to the left and land on your left foot, keeping your right leg bent and right foot off the ground behind you.

Plank

The plank is very similar to the starting position of a pushup. Your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width, and your body is a straight line from your head, through your shoulders, hips, and knees, to your heels. Just like with the pushup, if you need an easier modification, use your knees instead of your toes.

What’s your favorite exercise to do that doesn’t require any equipment?

Talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed for you.

Self Care Ideas

In today’s post I’m sharing some self care ideas.

I feel like I’ve been hearing about self care for years, but especially in the last year. 2020 was pretty stressful, and so far 2021 has been too. I know I’ve been feeling more anxious than I have in a long time between the pandemic and American politics. What happened last week at the US capitol building was particularly scary. It’s a lot to deal with and I don’t think anything will be resolved in a few weeks. It’s tough when you don’t see an end to the things that are stressing you out.

I’ve been trying to do at least one thing each day that is self care for me. It looks different for everyone, so in this post I’ll be writing about the things that have worked for me. I’d love to hear your self care ideas in the comments below.

Appointments

With how the world has changed over the last 10 or 11 months, it’s been easy to let appointments and check ups fall to the way side. Whether it’s an annual physical with my family doctor, a dentist check up, or therapy, getting those things done has been really helpful. It might not seem like self care, but making sure that I’m taking care of my physical and mental health is so important.

Workouts

It’s no surprise that one way that I practice self care is by working out. Not only does moving, getting out nervous energy, and sweating help with my anxiety, it also feels good to know that I’m doing something good for my body. In terms of self care, my go to workouts are yoga, strength training, and cardio. When I get on my yoga mat all I think about is my breath and the pose. It’s such a great break for whatever else I may have going on that day. In terms of strength training, it feels really good to work hard to lift weights or do more reps than I thought I could do. There’s something about exceeding my expectations in workouts that also translates into everyday life. For cardio I loved the elliptical when it was safe to go to the gym. Since I’ve been working out at home for nearly a year now, I’ve been using our treadmill and running. Being able to set the pace and just move without having to give it much thought allows me to zone out for a bit.

Meditation

I’ve written about how helpful meditation has been for me before on the blog. Check out posts here and here. My go to app right now is Headspace. Just recently I decided to subscribe to it again to gain access to all of their meditations. I’m so glad I did because I’m using it multiple times a day. They’ve added a bunch of features since I last had a subscription, including sleepcasts. They’re basically bedtime stories for adults. They have a bunch to choose from. My favorites are Rainday Antiques and Pooch Palace. The Headspace sleepcasts are the perfect thing to keep me focused on so that I don’t worry while also allowing myself to drift off once I start to feel tired.

Headspace App

Meditation definitely doesn’t have to be “woo woo”. It can be as simple as staying still for a minute or two and focusing on your breath or counting your breaths. If you had told me five years ago that I would be someone who meditates everyday, I would have told you you had the wrong person. I’m so glad that I started doing it though. It’s so helpful to know that I have a tool to help me deal with worrying or anxious thoughts throughout the day.

Reading books

I know reading isn’t everyone’s favorite thing, but I don’t know what I would do without books. Ever since I was a kid it’s been something that I’ve been able to lose myself in. I really enjoy getting to know characters and read about their choices and different lives than mine. It’s fun to escape into a different time and place for awhile. If you’re looking for something good to read, check out my favorite books of 2020.

Doing my nails

I used to do my nails all the time as teen. I stopped when I started university and I haven’t really done it much since then. This summer I decided to start doing my nails each week and I’ve had more fun doing it than I thought I would. It definitely looks some time to remember how to apply nail polish well, but I’ve gotten a lot better at it now compared to back in June or July. It’s such a little thing that brings me so much joy throughout the week every time I see my nails. My favorite polish by far is Essie (affiliate link). And if you have a hard time sitting still like I do, check out the Expressie line (affiliate link too). It’s a quicker drying version of their nail polish that I really like.

Little luxuries

One thing that I’ve been doing more of since the pandemic started and I’ve been spending more time at home is indulging in little luxuries. It doesn’t have to be anything big and expensive. It’s usually something as simple as burning a candle that I’ve been “saving” or making a fancy hot chocolate with marshmallows, taking a bubble bath, or putting an extra cozy blanket on my bad on a cold night. It’s those little things that I wouldn’t typically do, but are super easy and low cost that make a difference for me. Once again, those little luxuries will be different for everyone, so take a moment or two and think about one that you could give to yourself today.

What are some of your self care ideas?

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Top Posts of 2020

Today I’m sharing some of my top posts on my blog all in one spot.

When I was going through my analytics to put together this post I was happy to see that some of my favorite posts to write made it into the top 10 most popular posts on Get Fit Fiona. The posts on this list include food, fitness, and workout playlists.

My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal Premium: Is It Worth the Money?

This post is by far the most popular post on my blog. If you’re wondering if it’s worth it to pay for the premium version of My Fitness Pal, I answer all of your questions in this post.

Tracking Food in My Fitness Pal

If you’re just getting started tracking your food intake with My Fitness Pal, this is a great post to start with. I’ve broken down the basics and share how I use the app to keep track of what I eat.

Online Workouts

My Favorite Barre Workouts on YouTube

Since Covid shut down gyms, fitness studios, and gyms here in my city. I’ve turned to the internet and apps to get in my workouts. In this post I share some of my favorite barre workouts on YouTube.

Barre 3 Online Workouts Review

I subscribed to Barre 3 Online Workouts for awhile awhile a few years ago. I loved that their workouts were super easy to do at home. They don’t require a lot of equipment and you don’t need a ton of room either.

Workouts

Group Power Class

I almost always research new to me group fitness classes online before I take them for the first time. I wanted to share an introduction to Group Power classes. I had a hard time finding information about them online. It makes it a bit less scary to walk into a new class when you have an idea of what to expect.

Cardio and Upper Body Workout

I wasn’t surprised to see a few workouts in my top 10 posts. This one is great because it combines cardio and upper body exercises.

Full Body Deck of Cards Workout

I remember creating this workout a few ears ago – it was inspired by a workout that I did with a client at one of my internship placements. It’s one of those workouts that feels hard doing it, but by the time I’m done I’m so impressed with myself that I stuck it out and finished.

30 Minute Interval Bike Workout

I don’t think I have very many bike workouts on the blog. Honestly it’s not my favorite form of cardio. I’d much rather spend 45 minutes on the elliptical. Maybe I should be adding more bike workouts though if that’s what you like to read about!

Workout Playlist

40 Minute 80’s Workout Playlist

It wouldn’t be a great workout without some good tunes. The 80’s were both a great and not so great time for music. I put together a workout playlist with some of my all time favorite songs from the 80’s.

Girl Power Workout Playlist

This is probably one of my favorite workout playlists that I’ve shared on the blog, so it’s not a surprise that readers like it too. I included artists such as Katy Perry, Aretha Franklin, and Lizzo.

What’s your favorite kinds of posts to read? Any suggestions on posts you’d like to see on Get Fit Fiona?

As always, talk to your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify workouts as needed to work for you.