One of the highlights of the trip (among many) was meeting Sid Garza-Hillman at the Stanford Inn in Mendocino and going on a trail run with him. Trail running isn't something I'd usually consider if I'm unfamiliar with the area so having Sid agree to lead me around was fantastic. While out jogging around trees and rock bluffs over the ocean we talked about food, family, and running. There are few things I like more than talking about running and I mentioned at one point to him that I had tried something new this year during the Island Series. Before each race I'd roll out of bed for a quick shakeout jog before I ate, drank or did anything. All I'd do is throw on some shorts, pull on my sneakers and jog for 15 minutes around my neighbourhood.
What I found with the shakeout jog was that it woke me up, got my juices flowing and helped me get in the right frame of mind for race day. I didn't tire out (it was super easy, maybe 2 minutes slower than race pace per kilometre) and arrived back home ready to eat my pre-race meal, feeling energized and happy. I'm not sure if it's a good routine for marathon races, but for half-marathon's or shorter distance races I'm convinced it's worth a try. As it turns out Sid did try it and PB'd his half marathon. I feel I deserve pretty much all the credit. (that was a joke, insert laughter here)
One takeaway that my wife and I took from Sid was his small step approach to fitness goals. I'm a pretty self motivated person with fitness. I'm more inclined to be upset if I miss a run than have to convince myself to lace up each morning. One thing I learned last year though was that cross training is vital and while I do workout in the gym (as well as swim and cycle) I tend to be inconsistent. Ever since my boxing classes ended this summer I've had a hard time convincing myself to get back in the gym. In particular I know I need to keep my core and glute (yeah that's my butt muscle) strength up to help prevent injury.
Sid talked on his podcast and to us about using an app on his phone to remind him to do pushups every so often during his day. I think he does squats too. He doesn't do a lot of them, and keeps it simple. Over the course of a day and week he ends up doing way more fitness than if he had stressed himself with trying to schedule in a proper long gym workout. My wife was so inspired that she now has a timer on her phone to remind her to step away from her computer at work and do a few pushups and squats every hour. Not wanting to feel left out I dug out some apps on my phone that I hadn't used in a long time. Runtastic has two apps that I have started using (as of today) called Six Pack and Butt Trainer. I've set them to remind me each day to run through the beginners drill which is about three different exercises each.
Today I wrapped the app workout into my regular gym routine but I plan on trying the 10 day and 7 day plan for each app when it reminds me even if I don't have a scheduled workout. It won't take long, just a few minutes and I think/hope that the routine will help build a habit that will benefit me. It might not be the tiniest of steps, but I think it's the right step for me at this point. And that's the big takeaway that I think we can all benefit from. If you have a piece of fitness that you know you need or want in your life but can't seem to fit in or have resistance toward, maybe you just need to small step it a bit. Maybe do one pushup a day just before brushing your teeth. Or take the steps at work instead of the elevator at lunch each day. Too much? Then take the steps up one floor and catch the elevator on the second floor. It's all progress.
If you haven't heard of Sid or haven't listened to his podcast I highly recommend you check it out. It seems rare you meet someone in person that is a genuine reflection of who they appear to be online. Sid lives a life that really reflects the message he puts out in his podcast and online. It was an honour to meet him, I'm hoping we can be friends. I did help him PR his half marathon after all.
As for me, my next race will likely be the Run for the Mountain mostly just because I want to try it, I doubt I will run it very hard. I'll be starting to train seriously soon enough. Happy small stepping!