How to Become a Marathoner

TUK_2301Have you ever wondered if running a marathon or at least a 10K is for you? I want to assure you – yes it is. If you think you can’t do it, I have good news for you, my friend. Anybody can do it with enough motivation and training.

Almost 6 years ago my friend encouraged me to run a marathon. “No way!”, I said to him then. Little did I know that one year later he would be meeting me at the finish line of my first marathon in rainy Venice.

So, what do you need to run your first marathon? I will share 5 most important points with you. In the same way, you can apply them to a half-marathon or any other race. As a matter of fact, it’s much wiser to start with an easier race than 26 miles. So, let’s dive in.

1. Motivation

If you’ve ever tried to accomplish anything without motivation, you know how hard it may be. You could force yourself, but it won’t last long. Eventually, you will say to yourself – enough, I’m done with this. Motivation is what keeps us going. It’s like fuel for a car or power for a computer.

Find your motivation. Would you like to lose weight and feel more confident about the way you look? Or maybe, you have been running for years, and now you feel like it’s time to take it to another level? Perhaps, you’re like me, and you need an upcoming race to motivate you to run every day. Whatever it is that drives you, use it for your benefit. Take advantage of it and let it motivate you to start preparing for your first marathon.

Strangely enough, but my decision to run that first marathon was motivated by the desire to show my boyfriend that I can. I was also desperately trying to connect with him and running was our common interest. Paradoxically, we broke up two days after the race, but I am still thankful to him for inspiring me to run a marathon. It was an incredible experience and honestly, it got me addicted. There’s nothing like the feeling of crossing the finish line and hearing the cheer of hundreds of people you don’t even know!!!

2. A race planned

Frankly speaking, I am not a very disciplined person. I always strive to be one, but it doesn’t come easy. So, getting myself out of bed and out of the apartment to go for a run is a constant struggle. There’s one huge motivation that helps me get into running clothes and get out of the door – a future marathon or a half-marathon.

My friend Debbie and I love traveling to different cities and countries to run races. It’s our way of seeing the world and experience new cultures. Moreover, it’s a great motivator for me – if we have a race scheduled, I know I have to train for it.

LGC_5132Therefore, after you got your motivation to become a marathoner, you need to plan a race. First of all, check if there’s one nearby. Probably, there’s a marathon or a half coming up in your own city. Otherwise, look through possibilities to travel within your country or even abroad. Believe me, it’s going to be a fascinating adventure for you and those you’ll be traveling with.

 3. Training for a race

As soon as you have a race scheduled, it’s time to start training for it. There are lots of different training plans for beginners. If you can’t find anything decent, message me, and I will send you the plan I was using for many years. It’s doable even for those who don’t like to run much, but would love to finish a marathon.

Training for a race is extremely important even if you don’t care about the result, but only hope to finish. Your legs and your whole body are most likely not used to such extreme challenge. You need to train your muscles, your core and your legs so that on the race day you can endure pain and fatigue.

Don’t try to run without preparation. You might be able to accomplish it, but the consequences will show themselves much later.

4. Clothes

When I first started running, I didn’t think much about clothes. I grabbed the first thing that looked like it was for fitness, put it on and went out. Later, when my milage started growing, I realised how crucial it was to wear the right shoes and the right clothes.

For instance, if you run in a cotton T-shirt or shorts made of natural fabric, you might have bloody wounds on your skin after 40-60 min of running. It turns out to avoid chafing you should run in clothes made of wicking material. It will absorb moisture and won’t rub your skin creating sores.

Similarly, you should be careful with what type of running shoes you’re wearing. A lot of people try minimalist shoes nowadays. I am a big fan of my 4 mm heel drop shoes – they are light, easy to run in and have helped me avoid injury for 5 years already. There’s so much to talk about when it comes to clothes and shoes. So, I might write a separate blog just about that. The story of my experiment with “barefoot” running is worth telling.

5. Food

When you’re preparing for a race, it’s very important to watch what you eat. First and foremost, fat, greasy food should be avoided. It’s bad for us even if we’re not going to run a marathon. Next, you need to make sure you have a balanced diet – protein, unsaturated fats, carbohydrates, necessary minerals and vitamins.

TUK_2108Also, when your race day is approaching, it’s important to train your body to eat the same food before the long run. In this case you will know what to expect when you have the same meal the evening before your marathon. Usually people try to eat carbs (pasta, not greasy pizza) the evening before and something light in the morning. A piece of white bread with jam or honey and a banana for breakfast have worked miracles for me.

Another thing to remember is fuelling during your marathon. If you’re going to run a 5K or a 10K, even a half-marathon, you might be ok without any food during the race. However, if you plan to run 26 miles (42 km), it’s important to have special energy gels or bars along with you. Don’t forget to try them during your training. Your body should be used to them and not surprise you with sudden cramps at the race.

Bringing it all together

In conclusion, running a marathon is an incredible adventure that is totally worth our efforts. When you cross the finish line, the feeling of relief, accomplishment and personal victory will be a great reward for everything that you have to endure.

Do You Have a Mentor?

I love discovering new interesting people who I can learn from. We all know how important it is to have a mentor if we want to grow personally constantly. As for me, I don’t have a real mentor even though all my friends teach me something. It’s a great honor and pleasure to learn from them since each one of my closest friends is an incredibly intelligent person.

I am proud to say that all my friends constantly feed my brain with ideas and help me grow although they are not really my mentors, they are my friends.

There are several people who I can call virtual mentors. Jeff Walker and Marie Forleo have been such people for me in the last few years. Their experience and wisdom helped me understand a lot about business. Their weekly and sometimes daily videos gave me a chance to learn from them on a regular basis.

Recently I’ve discovered several new people who started inspiring me even more: Michael Hyatt, Rory Vaden, Simon Sinek. All these successful entrepreneurs and fascinating personalities  have a message to convey and an experience to share. Why not use the opportunity that our online world gives us?

Who are your mentors? Is it somebody you know personally or virtually? Can you advice an interesting public figure who helped you grow personally and professionally?

 

Judge or Not Judge?

HW8_7804Why is it so hard not to judge people? Why do we have such an obsessive need to express our opinions even if nobody cares and nobody wants to hear them?

About a decade ago I used to think that being opinionated is cool. One of my closest friends called me opinionated, and I was almost proud of that. But times change, and it sounds almost like an insult now.

There are three facts that I want to say about judging others.

  1. We can’t help it.

Is it in our nature? I want to say – no, but unfortunately, I can’t. We were not created with this need to judge everybody. However, we were created with the free will to whether say what we think or keep silent. And our twisted human nature just can’t let us be silent. Our twisted mind can’t help it. Whether out loud or in our head, we start judging and spraying poison onto our relationships.

2. We even love it.

Recently, an old classic best-seller caught my attention, and I decided to finally read it. I am sure you’ve heard about it – it’s Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. He wrote this book in 1930s, and the lessons from it are still relevant. He talks a lot about the human nature and emphasizes that we’re all selfish. Each person spends 95% of the day thinking about him- or herself. Most of us love the sound of our own name and prefer talking about ourselves rather than listening to others.

So, to sum up, we love ourselves more than anything. We care about our needs, desires and opinions more than about anybody in the whole world. And sometimes it all turns into judgement of others. And then this judgement turns into gossiping. And we start savoring it, enjoying it, like it’s the most delectable dish we’ve ever eaten in our life.

3. We should stop it.

How can we stop it? Is it even possible? Maybe it’s hard to stop doing it completely, but we should at least try. And then try again. And after the next failure we will not give up, but try once more. And it will work. With God’s help, we can fight it and defeat it!

I know, we can’t do it alone, but we can help each other. If you hear me being judgmental, say it directly to my face. Especially when I judge those who judge, because that’s my problem. I judge judgmental people and can’t help it. It poisons my mood and darkens my days. Help me fight it and join this battle together with me!

Happy Women’s Day!

It’s an International Women’s Day today. Did you know? The world is celebrating all women, not just mothers, and it’s a great thing. No offense to you, guys. Men are very important, but we’ve known that already, right? The majority of cultures in the world are patriarchal, so men established their influence and importance long time ago. Although, women started defending their rights only in the past few decades.

I wish all women to believe in their great potential, wonderful gifts and talents, abilities and strengths. I wish us all to unleash our creativity, use our potential and do our best to change this world for better. Steve Jobs said that only those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. I believe we can, ladies! Let’s do it!

I wish all men to appreciate their women, see their wonderfulness, and regularly tell them about it. Let her blossom! If your woman flourishes, your life will change, and your success will soar! I dare you to try.

7 Best Winter Activities

“Winter is coming!” – this is the phrase they have been saying in Games of Thrones for 5 seasons and finally “Winter is here!” Well, it’s been here for more than a month already, but I got to write this post only now.

Winter is one of my favorite seasons. Other favorites are spring and summer, but winter is probably the most fun. Christmas and New Year is in winter, my birthday is in winter, and skiing is in winter!

So, let’s start the list:

  1. The very first and most fun activity for me is downhill skiing. Do you like freedom and elegance? Put on a pair of skis and prepare to fly! The excitement of speed and the elegance of flight is what attracts me in this sport.
  2. Some of you will argue with me and say that snowboarding is better. I would just say, it’s also fun but it’s different. Tastes differ, so if you prefer snowboarding, go for it!
  3. In the previous post I talked about running in cold weather. Believe me, it’s much more fun than you might think. It’s challenging and refreshing, and the feeling after the run is incomparable!
  4. Do you like ice-skating? I love it! This is another activity that is beautiful and elegant. It’s like dancing on ice, what can be more graceful?
  5. If you have hills in your town, go sledging with your child or with your friends. I don’t think there’s any age limit for that even though it’s considered for children. We’re all kids in our own way.
  6. Are you fond of fishing? If yes, then it’s the best time for you to go ice-fishing. This is one thing I could never understand, but I know a lot of people love it.
  7. And if you are not that much into outdoors, you can just curl up on a couch with a great book and a cup of hot chocolate. Isn’t that one of the best things about winter? Another variation of this would be a good movie with friends or even by yourself.

The most important aspect of all these activities is that you enjoy them. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth it. Life is full of amazing wonderful moments, and we should cherish each one of them.

7 Rules for Running In Cold Weather

7679767b-f6c7-4e0e-b557-8c8b2b5eba37If you’re interested in running, I bet you also like to do that in different places of the world and in the variety of weather. It makes it more exciting, challenging and unique. One of the best things about traveling is that you get to run in all these wonderful countries, cities and states that can be pretty diverse and absolutely fascinating!

Recently, I had a chance to travel from cold Ukraine to warm and sunny Arizona and then five days later to snowy Minnesota. It’s an incredible experience to be able to run in just a T-shirt and then almost right away to have to put on tons of cloths and endure minus 15 F which is minus 26 C.

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So, here are some tips for those who don’t want to wait for spring and are ready to run in cold weather. And when I say “cold”, I mean below zero whether in C or in F.

  1. First of all, make sure you don’t dress too warmly. A lot of people think that because it’s cold they have to put on warm jackets or a lot of sweaters underneath. Big mistake! You will start running and very soon it will be unbearable. You’ll get too hot and too uncomfortable.
  2. It’s better to put on layers, and nothing should be too warm. Pick a base layer, a fleece and a running jacket or another very light kind of jacket.
  3. If you’ve always been wearing tights for running, make sure you have special ones for winter or be ready to put on shorts underneath or on top of them. Another choice would be to put on sweat pants on top of your tights. When the temperature is below freezing, your legs might get too cold especially if the wind is strong.
  4. I assume everybody knows it’s important to wear gloves, although if the temperature is below -10 F, you might want to wear two pairs of gloves.
  5. The same goes for a hat. A few days ago I ran in only one hat and got extremely cold. Of course it was about -17 F or -28 C with windchill. It felt like my head was going to explode. So, don’t forget to put on two hats and two pairs of gloves.
  6. I always wear a buff around my neck and usually pull it up on my nose when running in a freezing cold weather. Although, a few days ago it was not enough anymore. I had to also put on a scarf which made quite a bit of a difference.
  7. A lot of times when it’s this cold, the sun rays are extremely bright. So, a pair of sunglasses would be a must. The combination of sun and snow have the potential to burn the surface of our eyes, causing a temporary but painful condition known as photokeratitis.

One more additional rule would be to put on extra lotion on your face before getting out of the door. Last week I made a mistake of forgetting to do that. The result was horrendous – my face got covered with red spots because of extremely cold wind and for two days I looked like I had just eaten tons of chocolate.

So, if you are not afraid of challenges and love to test your level of endurance, if you’re a strong personality ready to take it to another level, try this amazing experience of running in cold weather. It’s usually incredibly beautiful when it’s this cold! You will love it! And I am sure, you’ll feel really good about yourself afterwards.

What to Do At The Airport

img_0439Have you ever been stuck at the airport for more than 3 hours? When it’s only a 3-hour layover, it’s nothing. By the time you get from one terminal to another (or just from one part of the airport to another), go through the security check and find your gate, it could easily take 2 and a half hours.

Although, if you have to wait for 5 to 8 hours, it could get really boring.

Here’s what I usually do:
1. First, I need to find my gate and sort of understand the direction that I will have to go as soon as it’s time. It’s important to have an idea how long it will take me to get there from different parts of the airport.
2. Then, if I have more than 5 hours to kill, I like to find a nice comfortable place to sit or even lie down. In Amsterdam they have reclining chairs for that in different areas of the airport. It could be a bean bag chair or just a soft nice couch, or an armchair.
3. If I am really tired I try to take a nap but put my carry-on or my purse under my head, like a pillow. In this case nobody will steal it from you.
4. After resting for some time, it’s time to look around. I prefer to go to the book shop or a souvenir store. In a book shop you can just take a book and dive into at least a few pages. You don’t even have to buy a book, just kind of get an idea what you would want to read in the future. I usually download my books to my awesome little Kindle Paperwhite.
5. And all souvenir stores can tell you so much about the culture of the country you’re in, that it’s worth spending at least half an hour there.
6. And the last thing I like to do before actually going to my gate is find a nice inexpensive café and have tea or even a meal there. You can order something familiar or try authentic national food. I am usually not a big risk taker when it comes to food, so I often get a sandwich and a drink.
7. Of course, my favorite thing to do at the airport is read. It’s one of those few opportunities to dive into the book without feeling guilty because you need to get back to work. I read while sitting ata café, resting on a comfy chair or just waiting for my flight at the gate.

So, this is my routine. What do you usually do? Could you share some tips?