Learning to run

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Something I’ve grown particularly fond of over the last few years is running. It started off as a way to lose the few pounds I’d gained during university from eating late-night junk food and drinking beer a bit too often. It turned into something extremely fulfilling for both my body and mind. Over the weekend, I ran my first 5k race – a fun run featuring hundreds of Ugly Christmas Sweaters! I was happy with my time and pace, especially since I was totally overheating by the end in my chunky red sweater.

Here’s the thing though. Like so many folks who decide to start running, I totally sucked at it for a while. Stopping, starting, running out of breath, getting horrible side cramps, giving up for weeks at a time, maxing out at 1k, giving up again, maxing out at 5k, wondering if I’d ever be able to run more than that. You know how it goes. Over time, though, I began to realize that that learning curve was natural – so I figured I’d pass on some tips for getting into running based on my experience.

1. Slow and steady does win the race
I started out thinking I was a total failure if I wasn’t running 5k within a couple weeks. Not true. Your body needs to get used to the whole running thing – let’s be real, most of us spend most of our days sitting at desks. Running is the opposite end of the spectrum. What that in mind, give yourself a nice long stretch of time to slowly train. Programs like Couch to 5k are a great way to start. And that brings me to my next point.

2. Set a goal
Sure, you can run aimlessly without knowing how far you’re going, but there’s something truly exciting about hitting a milestone. Start off with a goal of 2k… then 5k… then maybe work up to a 10k (I finally hit that mark this year.) It won’t happen overnight, but having something to shoot for can keep you motivated.

3. Use a buddy system
Few things are better motivation then friends. (Preferably ones who nag a little bit). I also run with my boyfriend, which helps push me a bit farther. If none of your friends are into running, try joining a running club. For instance, in Toronto, the Parkdale Roadrunners meet every week and welcome beginners. Google local running clubs to see what’s around in your area!

4. Sign up for a race
We all like to get our money’s worth for things. So why not sign up for a race to give you incentive to train? Pay the fee, sign up for one that’s a few months away, then just keep on running. It’ll give you a goal to strive for and help you set a concrete timeline and schedule to get you there. Sign up with friends to help motivate you all. And then enjoy the satisfaction of pursuing a goal!

Do you have running tips to share? Let me know in the comments!

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A little bit in love with Hudson’s Bay

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Once upon a time, I wouldn’t step foot into the Bay. (Unless my mother dragged me, of course.) But Jordan and I went for a stroll through the iconic Canadian department store recently and were in love with… well, pretty much everything. The whole store is filled with fantastic brands, beautiful displays, and some fun pop-up shops. Basically it’s a goldmine for potential Christmas presents – I definitely know where I’ll be doing a chunk of my shopping this year!

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How fun are these shoes? Chuck Taylors adorned with the instantly recognizable Hudson’s Bay stripes.

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There was a full Kate Spade display at the Eaton Centre location. Pure gold for a KS lover like me.

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Ridiculously adorable phones? Check.

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Here’s the fun part – pop-up shops! Now, instead of trudging outside to a Drake General Store, you can just head to the Hudson’s Bay basement. You’re welcome.

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Also awesome: The Brika pop-up shop. Handmade goods, all beautifully designed (above).

Bottom line? The Bay is fantastic nowadays… and definitely worth a visit.

Links of the week

pumpkinsAutumn pumpkins via All That is Sweet in Life

Why living a life with meaning is so important.

A sleepy sloth belts out some Whitney Houston.

How managing your expectations can help you lower your stress levels.

A map of Toronto’s neighbourhoods… all based on hilarious stereotypes.

Some fun (and afforable!) date ideas for fall.

If you’re reading this while sitting down, you might want to stand up.

There’s a few decisions in life (like whether you shave or wax) that you just don’t have to justify.

Prepare to cry when you read this story of love spanning 7 decades.

Best thing ever: An HTML cheat sheet for bloggers.

Tips for planning a vacation that you can actually afford.

The more you text, the less you’ll sleep. Yikes!

Giving thanks

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To all my Canadian readers – I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I spent the weekend with Jordan and my family. The first day was all about turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and all that good stuff. The second day… we tried to burn it all off with a 2-hour hike. Seriously, it was the most gorgeous day out today, which made for a perfect hike through the escarpment to see the gorgeous fall colours.

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I reflected on a lot of things during our lengthy hike – including what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. Most of all, I was so thankful this weekend that I was able to go home and spent time with my old buddy – our 15-year-old dog, Max.

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Earlier this year he was diagnosed with cancer and we thought that was it. That it was time to say goodbye. I’d gotten the phone call from my parents back in the spring and learned that he was limping horribly, and that our vet had told us the prognosis was dire. At the appointment to say our final goodbye, though, Max was bouncing around the room, friendly, happy, wagging his tail – the vet walked in and was shocked to see how much he’d approved. That was back in May. He’s currently on meds and has started limping again, which is a reminder that we definitely don’t have forever. So I’m so thankful that I got to spend another Thanksgiving with him.

What were you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Links of the week

a576873a27b6bb2440a189a071bfffccMacarons via Four Seasons

Nice round of up where to see the fall colours near Toronto.

Tips for creating a content style guide for your blog.

marriage proposal in Home Depot… with a choreographed dance number. (Have tissues handy!)

If a task will take less than 2 minutes to complete, regardless of its importance, take care of that task immediately.

It’s every young renter’s dilemma: Do I buy now, or wait?

This man should win grandfather of the year, hands down.

Heartwarming example of the power of a pet.

Fascinating read on how you can be happier by using science.

A few myths about your hair, debunked.

Farewell to September…

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I can’t believe it’s the end of September (and officially autumn… where did the time go?) For me, it flew by, since there’s been a lot going on! Just a few of the latest developments in my world:

I gave All Things Nice a new look just in time for October.

I finally launched my personal style posts, which I’ve been wanting to do for awhile.

Also celebrated my birthday and wrote about my reflections on turning 25.

My story about caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s (a very rewarding one to write) was published on Best Health’s website.

The Kit quoted me regarding a Twitter style tip in one of their issues – a fun surprise!

Oh, and I went to Blog Podium – had a wonderful time and learned lots, too.

I wonder what October will bring? I guess we’ll all find out soon enough!