Positive Affirmations For Runners

Every runner has had those days. The key is to get through it and finish up your run. Believe it or not – sometimes running is more mental than physical.

So, how do you get a little extra motivational push to get through your run? Try positive affirmations for runners! Affirmations are defined as something declared to be true; a positive statement or judgment. Affirmations are powerful if you are feeding your mind positive statements. I am a firm believer in positive in all areas of my life. In my personal life – my business life – and my running life.

A positive, motivational energetic affirmation can help you get rid of the negative self-talk that may happen on a hard run. You know the negative self-talk: “I’ll never make it up that hill”, “I just can’t run anymore”, etc. More positive self-talk will help your self-confidence – and so will you.

Think of a one line statement that you can say to yourself over and over when you need that little extra push. Two of my favorites are: “I am a strong and healthy runner” and “I run all distances with ease”.

Here are a few more examples of some great running affirmations:

  • My body is a finely tuned machine.
  • I run through the pain straight to the gain.
  • A great runner lives within me.
  • I am filled with energy.
  • I love running hills.
  • I always finish strong.
  • I am keeping up a strong pace.

Saying something positive to yourself over and over will help you get through that rough spot or up that big hill. You know – like the little engine that could – but instead of starting with “I think I can” – say “I know I can”!

Look for in a Climbing Instructor

There are many types of climbing qualifications from indoor awards to people that are able to guide you up Mt. Everest. I would never recommend booking a course with anyone that does not have a Single Pitch Award (SPA) or Mountain Instructor Award (MIA). The MIA is a well respected award that will allow the instructor to teach any aspect of rock climbing anywhere in the UK. The SPA is also an outdoor climbing award but it does have limitations. Find out how will be teaching you and what qualification they hold.

Look into how long the rock climbing instructor has been working in the industry. Some one that has not been teaching for long might not have the experience you thought you were paying for. On the other hand, someone that has held the climbing award for 30 years might not be up to date with current practices. I would look for someone who is a member of Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI) as their members are required to take regular training courses.

The price is also an important factor. There is some truth behind the statement “you get what you pay for”. People who have been teaching rock climbing for a long time and are passionate about it will have invested a lot a time and money. High level climbing qualifications take a lot of time and money and climbing instructors would not go throw the long process of gaining these if they were not able to charge more money to their clients. Have a look at what is included in the price of the course – will the instructor provide you with all the equipment, lunch, transport etc. You should understand what you are paying for.

I would also look at group sizes. If you want to learn a lot from your course you will be able to learn more if there are fewer people on the course. A typical group ratio is one climbing instructor to 12 clients. I would suggest that this size of group is far to large for a quality climbing course. These type of courses will be much cheaper but like I said before “you get what you pay for”.

Safety Tips For Rock Climbing

  • Planning each step in your mind before you take the step is very important for your safety. You must literally map out the next step in your head and see if the step is feasible for you to make. If it is ok in your mind only then can you take the step successfully. You should also remember not to move too fast. Every step you take must be a deliberate one, made only after taking into consideration the prevailing weather conditions.
  • Working with the rock will deliver better results. Each rock has its own characteristics and therefore there are different techniques to help you climb it carefully and efficiently. This means that you should try to study the rock and make sure you are using the right technique for the right rock. Not using the steep rock technique on a steep flat rock wall can lead to bad accidents.
  • Remember not to look too far down. When you are climbing, at the back of your head you will always be aware that you are pretty high up. But the more you look down the more fear might start to take over you. When looking down only look as far down as to see your feet and to make sure they are properly aligned to keep you balanced.
  • Always do your homework. Watching experts is a great way to learn. Using their techniques can be very beneficial to you. also it is a good thing to remember is that learning from your own mistakes can be very important but you cannot make all the mistakes on your own so read up on the accidents that have occurred can help you not to make the same errors.

Running Watches

First of all, I’d been using a Garmin Forerunner 405 on my runs for several years. I really liked that watch – but it had many bells and whistles on it that I really never used. The perfect running watch for me would be one that simply kept how far I had run (so I could know when to turn around if I was running out and back and how fast I had run each mile). In addition, I did like to know what my overall pace was for my run. I’m a simple runner – and I wanted a more simple watch.

The Garmin Forerunner 10 seemed to fit that bill perfectly. My prior Forerunner was a little larger was a little bulky for me. I do have a smaller wrist – and sometimes the bulkiness of the watch annoyed me. The Forerunner 10 is smaller – but the numbers are still easy to read. (For those of us that are a little older).

Another thing that I really like about the smaller Garmin Forerunner 10 is that it uses button instead of the touch bezel face of the prior Garmins. The bezel would need to be locked when running if it was raining or was extremely humid. I like the ease and simplicity of button punching to the screen that I need.

If you are using the run/walk/run method in your training – you will especially like this Garmin. You can set the intervals the way that you want them set up for your workout. It will let you know when to walk and when to start running again. That way you don’t have to keep watching your watch.

The only downside that I’ve found is that sometimes the satellites take a few minutes to find me before I start my run. Other times it will pick me right up. I’m not sure why – but it probably has something to do with the atmosphere. Not a major thing – just a sometimes annoyance.

Benefits of Rock Climbing

The most obvious and main benefit of rock climbing is to be physically fit. As we all know that it involves a lot of physical movement and exercise. Climbing up, stretching to reach out for the next rock while climbing, pulling yourself up, helps you to keep yourself in shape. It helps you to tone your muscles, increase metabolism as calories burn, increase stamina and give you more and more energy and strength that will keep you fit. With health at the top of everyone’s charts it seems to be a good option rather than visiting the gym.

Outdoor rock climbing also helps you to spend time with nature. You get to see new and beautiful places. Rare plants, animals or species. Being with nature really calms you down. This is good for de-stressing yourself. Relaxation helps improve your health as well. Hence it also contributes to giving you better health by allowing you to de-stress. Since you don’t know what it is going to be like at the top of the summit or at the endpoint it also brings in a challenge. It also makes you more confident and helps you improve your skills to take on challenges. As we don’t know what we are heading towards while climbing you require good planning, execution, and motivation to keep going. If you have these then you will definitely reach the endpoint successfully feeling like a winner. That’s why rock climbing is said to be an adventurous sport.

However, you can’t just start off with any range of rock climbing. You must have an instructor to guide at the beginning to take you through the easier ranges of rock climbing and then moving onto the more tough paths. This way you will remain fit to move onto bigger challenges and not injure yourself by jumping into difficult ones before you are ready for it.

Clydesdale Runners

Most of the rules that apply to lighter runners also apply to Clydesdale runners. However, there are some things that you need to be aware of and may need to modify your running. Now, I will be talking about “heavier” runners. That is not meant to be detrimental in any way.

First of all, you need to be careful about increasing your hard running. You still want to do long runs, speed work, hills, etc. that all runners should be doing. However, you need to be careful when increasing your mileage and running fast. You are carrying more weight and therefore you are exerting yourself more. So, it is even more important that you listen to your body.

Make sure that you are staying hydrated. You need more water than a smaller person for a couple of reasons. A heavier person sweats more than a smaller person and if a person that is in shape sweats more than a person that is out of shape. So, since you are a heavier person that is in shape – you need to make sure that you are getting plenty of water.

Shoes are important to Clydesdale runners. Make sure that you go to a specialized running store and fitter properly for your running shoes. You need to make sure that you have the support that you need. Heavier runners need a heavier midsole. The salesperson will be able to find you the shoe that will work for you.

It is important for all runners to change their shoes regularly – but even more so for Clydesdale runners. The rule of thumb is to stop running in your shoes after 300-400 miles. If you start noticing them breaking down – you definitely want to change them. Making sure of the support of your shoes will keep you from getting injured.

Make sure that you are using Vaseline or Body Glide on you before you head out for a run. Chafing is a problem for most runners – Clydesdale or not. You want to put this on all areas that you may chafe – where your arms swing against your body, between your thighs, etc. This will help you to stay more comfortable on your runs.

West Virginia Hiking Trails

Loudon Heights Trail

This hike passes through three states from Georgia to Maine. This section of the trail also passes through the idyllic Harpers Ferry, a small tourist town on the banks of the Shenandoah and the Potomac rivers. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park — located close to Harpers Ferry, is home to Redoubt Trail, a short, wheelchair-accessible through some historical military buildings and spaces once used in the defense of Harpers Ferry in the Civil War.

Lower Otter Creek Wilderness

Hike to and camp on Otter Creek — a beautifully clear mountain stream with interesting rock formations. You can also climb up on to the high country on Shavers Mountain. Pitch camp here and call it a day to give yourself time to savor the view. Finally amble along Green Mountain, enjoying a few more vistas before walking back down to Otter Creek and the end of the trail.

Seneca Creek / High Meadows

Walk down Seneca Creek for watery vistas and some great trout fishing; while there, you can opt to spend the night at Judy Springs, a walk-in campground. Challenge yourself by making your way down Seneca Creek to the upper Falls of Seneca, and then back up to the High Meadows Trail. You can also leave your packs at your hotel in town and just take a day-pack for some quick romps on shorter trails that branch of the main route.

Blackburn Trail Center

This hike offers a number of excellent views of the Shenandoah Valley, and the rocky footing and steep climbs pose a challenge for avid hikers. Hikers are rewarded with stunning views and memorable picnic spots. The best thing about this trail is the fact that it is easily accessible from Charleston and nearby Washington D.C. — perfect for a quick weekend getaway.

About Endurance Walk

From the starting point it seemed easy enough though, especially now that it was only 30km, how hard could that be, compared to 75km of Mossel bay? The route was of loose small rocks at the beginning and everyone was optimistic including your’s truly. I remember saying to one member of the well-known strong teams in the competition that this is going to be ‘child’s play’. I’ve done most of the difficult routes like Mossel bay Vasby, Mossel bay Khoikhoi Stamp, Polsmoor, Kanaland, Gaansbaai Endurance walking competitions to name but the few, so I did not expect much difficulty with Tulbah.

As I sat on top of Tulbah Mountain, thinking if only I could get water, I could exercise this advice (pour water over my head and the back of my neck), and maybe I would feel better, but where was I going to get water from? I only had a half 500ml of energy drink and was hoping to keep that until I could see the next water point a mile away. I had begged my team members to please leave me behind I would be OK and I would find my way back once I feel strong enough. I promised them that if I am not feeling better I would call in and tell them and they would send in help and they promised to call every 30 minutes just to be sure, and they did.

It was embarrassing really, within only one kilometer into the walk I had realized that I was having difficulty breathing. It was like my nostrils were closed, the oxygen I was breathing was not enough to sustain by labored breathing. I was feeling more detached second by second. So I breathed thorough my mouth which was a very bad move. Within seconds it was like I’ve been chewing gravel and swallowed it without full processing it. The pain was so excruciating as if someone had sand-papered my chest inside.

My walking shoes were finding it difficult to stick to the ground, and you can blame that to my legs turning to jelly. I kept on stumbling and was afraid I would break a leg. My heard was swimming and lolling as if I hadn’t have enough sleep. My vision distorted, try though I did close my eyes, when I opened them my vision was still nowhere near improvement. I did not understand what was happening to me. I’ve never been an excellent sports woman even at school level I have to admit. I played to the best of my ability though that could never have won me a Sports Woman of the Year Award, but this was pathetic, I though grudgingly.

I tried all kinds of sports I could get myself into at school but was not an excellent athlete, with the bird frame body I have my primary school teachers always hoped at first, until they realized that I lack the energy to go faster. In athletics, I easily got tired, even at 100m or I would drop the baton, who does that really? Even asthmatic kids did better than me.

So I tried something I knew I CAN DO, walking. Walking is easy right? I mean you walk for kilometers no end but the end result is you’re walking, how difficult could that be? I grew up in very rural areas where walking very long distances was a daily ritual. I had to walk 6 kilometers to and from school every morning and afternoon throughout my junior and high school, raining or not no school bus. Or a long walk visiting friends or relatives living far away, so walking was my thing. I might have not be a serious athlete or played any particular sport with excellence but I knew I could walk.

Maybe it wasn’t so wise after all really boasting that I had competed in the great Mossel bay Vasby 75km for the first time with the known killing beach walk and had earned a bronze medal. Or that I had also competed in the Gaansbaai Endurance walk and came up with a silver, and today I was going to scoop a gold medal. Although I wasn’t just pulling his leg, I just couldn’t help but remind the competition that we were there to win. I had actually competed in almost all the small competitions including the ones I mentioned and received medals although not gold yet and I reckoned I was fit. My team members kept talking about how difficult this route was on our way to Tulbah but I just discarded that as non-optimism.

Try though I did I increasingly found that I actually walked better with my eyes closed. That was impossible though because we were not walking on a tarred road but on a part of route that had a mini-stream with dangerously slippery rocks. I kept on walking and tried to guard my steps but it became difficult with every step. Especially because we were the first team in front and there were groups of people behind us anxious to pass and there was only one path and I was being very slow on it. My team mates tried to put me in front of the team for morale. One dragging me with a makeshift bandage rope tied in my middle and other pushing me from behind but they eventually understood that I was a semi-hospital case.

Someone from another team joked as they passed us and I realized he was from the team I had boasted about my achievements to earlier. “You guys are a strong team ‘dragging a trailer all the way to the finishing line’, typical competitor of cause. Being a hospital case on top of the mountain where no vehicle could ever reach was a very dangerous joke. The closest we had to paramedics in any case were wild-fire fighters, standing at the water points a kilometer apart. Now if I happened to get very sick on that top of the mountain maybe I could get help, but help from a paramedic seemed better than that from a wild-fire fighter.

So I decided that they must leave me there at least I could make my way back to the starting point we had left behind in an hour and some tens of minutes ago. I would rest then make my way half way down and find the support vehicle at half a kilometer back, have lots of water then get back to the starting point with my spikey tail between my shack legs. Although it was very disappointing for my team mates to leave me behind they had to continue now individually with the competition.

I surely had let them down I thought, we were not very good contenders to the gold medal but together we knew we could make it. I was feeling very bad about that more than I was feeling bad about my immediate predicament. I had broken the team spirit, now they had to compete a woman for herself. Every team passing me lying on the ground felt sorry for me and asked if there was anything they could do and I said no, I was fuming inside. Even the elderly teams over 50’s were going strong and I was almost half that age, what was wrong with me? Having trouble finishing even the first two kilometers of the walk.

Lying there I realized that feeling sorry for myself and disappointing my teammates are not every attracting words put together. I was giving up and I felt helpless like that no good for anything child I had been in primary school over again. Oh! And the reality of why I suddenly lost energy hit me, I was even embarrassed to admit to anyone. I did not eat breakfast, I fashionable skipped the every first and most important meal of the day, so I was hungry, jeez! The added strain on my body was draining my energy source and guess what, there was nothing to drain from because there was no food in my stomach, how foolish of me?

I always get anxious so much that eating becomes difficult when I’m going to travel to a faraway place. So I usually just take my food with in the morning and eat when I arrive but that morning we were a bit late and just minutes after arrival the walk was about to start. I couldn’t eat and since it was just a mere 30km I thought that I will make it, but I was very wrong. And guess what? I hadn’t heeded to the organizer’s advice, (if you don’t have back-up help carry some sweets, energy boosting chewable tablets, banana, headache pills etc. in a moon bag around your middle.)

Fuzzy though I was, I was determined to walk and finish my walk, now that I knew I was not really sick but I did not have the strength because I was just hungry. Although I was very behind my team, I was definitely going to finish the walk. Giving up was not an option where I am concerned, and besides endurance walking was a newly found passion, the only thing that I thought I’m good at, giving up on it would be betraying that thought. Jelly feet, shaking hands, swimming head, distorted vision and all, I attempted to stand up and walk. I could not let this Tulbah Mountain defeat me. Even though there were very few birds on that mountain, but those small things appeared be laughing at me, the looser!

Instead of walking back towards the camp though, I was walking up the mountain in the direction of all the other teams that had passed me feeling sorry. I was damned if I was going to give up and be beaten by a 30km route? Never! The first team I passed could not believe it. One wide-eyed member exclaimed, “Did you just wake up from the dead? Unbelievable!” “Oh yeah and I’m here to stay”. I said edging past the team, still weak and shaky but was determined to go forward. As I continued in the route one thing and one thing only was on my mind I was going to complete this route no matter what. I could feel that I was getting stronger and stronger as I went up the mountain. Maybe the sight was helping me to get stronger surrounded by the mountain brush and Cape fynbos, the fresh air on top of the mountain helped me regain my strength.

By the time I made it to the next kilometer I had recovered and feeling much stronger. So my next goal was to catch up with my team mates. They were not going to believe what they were going to see. They kept through to their promise to call every 30 minutes and a few times I told them I was heading back to the starting point. When they called every time after that I would tell them that I’m either nearer the starting point or I have arrived and I’m well. So with that re-assurance they walked on full speed to the finishing line. They were as surprised as every competitor I had passed on the route, when I came into their view a few meters to the finishing line.

They kept asking how I did it. I was definitely a semi-hospital case and they’ve seen that when they left me behind. We made it together with my teammate across the finishing line. Although we did not win the gold medal for the firstplace because of distance between team members and check point reporting technicalities, I was nevertheless proud of myself for enduring!

Getting Started With Climbing

Profile of a mountain climber

A mountain climber must be in excellent physical condition as well as agile. The mountain climber must have an attitude of determination to overcome every obstacle, focused and positive, as well as the predisposition to mind and master safety procedures.

Getting Ready

The best way to prepare is by reading books on climbing. This will help give the mindset you need to climb a mountain. Climbers learn how to make decisions quickly, so access your mental ability to size up a situation and react.

Mountain climbing is a little like learning a dance, but with a terrible, potentially fatal partner! No matter what the season, climbing can be dangerous. Avalanches are alone an unknown killer; between 120 and 150 people die in ice or snow avalanches every year – ski instructors, mountain climbers, etc.

Physical Conditioning

Walking, jogging, long distance endurance training, scrambling exercises up a hilltop, skiing, and swimming are all good ways to get in shape before your first major climb.

Tools and Equipment

When it comes to hiking gear, it’s said that mountain climbers are obsessed with weight, and for a very good reason. No matter how strong you are, be prepared to carry no more than 25% of your body weight. Here is a checklist of what you need to bring. Cotton is heavier than synthetics, which is the reason for the “no cotton” rule. It can vary upon the trip and terrain, but here are some of the basics.

What to wear

Hiking Pants no cotton jeans. Socks, shoes, and sneakers (hiking boots are usually unnecessary). A non-cotton T-shirt, long sleeved with or without a collar and a baseball cap and/or cheap sunglasses.

What to bring

  • A map 1:24,000
  • A good quality Compass
  • Sunscreen (packaged in an eyedropper bottle)
  • LED headlamp with fresh batteries
    Small toothbrush with toothpaste “dots”
  • First aid. This consists of 4-5 band-aids, ibuprofen, Imodium, gauze pads, medical tape rolled onto a plastic straw.
  • For fire building, bring a few Matches, stored in a zip-lock plastic bag. For fire-starter, (essential!) use another other zip lock bag filled with ordinary dryer lint, or cotton balls soaked in Vaseline.
  • You will also need a 1 litre sized water bottle, and a 33 gallon garbage bag to use as a raincoat or emergency shelter.

Climbing Ethics

Never climb alone – bring along friends who are experienced climbers. When you go on your first climb, remember that it is a privilege to climb in a pristine, natural environment. Many climbers adopt a “Leave No Trace” mentality – no garbage left behind, not even smashing flowers as they pass, whenever possible.

Barefoot Running

Wearing a minimalist shoe causes certain modifications of the body that allow the exerciser to do more work with less demand on the body, such as more efficient stride lengths and frequency. And, it’s less fatiguing than running in traditional shoes because it leads to lower energy consumption, thereby delaying the onset of fatigue. Another benefit is that it helps to improve proprioception (the body’s ability to sense stimuli). When a runner isn’t encased in all that running shoe technology, the little sensors in his/her feet can actually feel the surface beneath and then allow the foot to react appropriately-thereby reducing injury and improving balance. And, it helps strengthen all those muscles in the feet and ankles because they are recruited more for support. Finally, most traditional running shoes have a heel lift. By removing this, it helps the Achilles tendon and calves stretch and lengthen, thereby reducing injuries such as calf pulls caused by short, tight tissues.

Now that you have decided to make the switch, transition slowly to running in this footwear because so much more ankle and footwork is required, and those muscles and tendons are not accustomed to the stress. Begin by doing various activities of daily life in these shoes, such as gardening or cleaning the house. Then, begin to adopt a progressive overload approach. For example, wear them for 10 minutes at the beginning of exercise and another 10 minutes at the end. Slowly, add in another 10-minute bout. For the first 2 weeks, keep the total training time to no more than 30 minutes per session. Be mindful of how your feet and ankles feel after wearing the shoes, and slowly progress the amount of time exercising in them as long as you are pain-free.

Beware, however, that there are cons associated with this type of running. As I stated earlier, minimalist shoes don’t offer a lot of sole-support, so one has to be very mindful of the surface upon which they run and be on the lookout for glass, rocks and other sharp objects. And, because one’s calves and Achilles tendons are accustomed to a more supportive shoe, minimalist running may over-stress them in the beginning. So, follow the progressive overload protocol I outlined above. Finally, this type of running may be contraindicated for those with diabetes because peripheral neuropathy (a common complication of diabetes) can lead to a loss of protective sensations in the feet.