Staying motivated

Training for a marathon isn't an easy endeavor. There are early morning runs to avoid the heat, lots of long weekend runs, speed workouts, cross training, and to add to it, sleeping, eating and your non-running life! It can be hard to balance everything, especially during the summertime when we are taking vacations and enjoying the nice weather and longer days. Losing motivation or finding yourself skipping runs is a natural by product of training. When you find yourself in this predicament, try these 4 tips. They've helped me and Jessica out of a few ruts.

1. Meet a friend, or a group, for a run. Use your easy or recovery days to run with a friend. Use the time to chat and keep yourself honest with your pace (this should be your slower run). Group runs are great because of the different paces; one week the group pace might challenge you and another week, it's might help you hit that slow, easy pace.

2. Pick a destination. Use your running time to reconnect with friends and then continue the conversation over drinks, brunch or coffee. Or, head out by yourself - plot out runs that end at your favorite brunch spot, new coffee shops, or your local wine bar and reward yourself at the end.  Don’t forget your money (we keep our money and IDs in a plastic sandwich bag- it works)!

3. Change of scenery.  Keep things fresh or re-inspire your running by exploring new routes through your city. Hop on a subway, train or drive out to a park or lake you haven't run around.  If you’re traveling, look online for local running spots instead of leaving directly from your hotel. 

4. Accountability. Find a coach, a buddy, or a family member to hold you accountable. Give them your training schedule and ask them to ask you about your runs.  If that's too much, print out your monthly plan and tape it to the mirror in your bathroom or leave it on the fridge so you'll see it everyday.

Motivation Monday - Week 3 of Marathon Training

Week 3 brought my first hot, sweaty runs and hiking as cross training. Monday was an easy 5.5 miler, Tuesday I did 3 miles and the Hot Bird Running workout. Wednesday was our last Forest Park trail run. It was another hilly one! It was a great way to end the series. I felt much stronger than I have in past weeks.

Friday, I woke up and ran 14. Friends joined me for 10 of those miles which was great and needed! It was hot! I was doing great and keeping the pace to a nice 8:05-8:10 until about mile 12 when I started to slow down. By mile 13, I was down to about a 9 minute pace and looking for water. I've found that my body is just kinda done about 1 mile before my long runs end. Going to have to fake myself out in future runs!

I stretched, used my Tiger Tail roller and had a great day walking about Portland and eating well. I was ready for bed by 11pm that night though!

Saturday, I went to the coast and hiked Neahkanie Mt with some friends. It was a beautiful hike. Jessica was down below running with her Dad and baby, Lucia. We met up after for some drinks, food and a little smashball on the beach. 

Week 3 was great - I didn't do everything on my plan but I felt pretty strong and ready to tackle week 4 and the half marathon on Sunday. 

Monday Motivation


picture courtesy of: Meaghin Kennedy PhotographyThere are days, weeks, even months when I'm not motivated to run. Having run 11 marathons and, thus 11 marathon training cycles, I've dealt with the ups and downs of training and putting in high mileage weeks. My first couple of years training for marathons, I use to beat myself up about missing a run or skipped miles. Over the past few years, I've given myself a lot more leeway with my training schedule and allowed my miles to be less on days or weeks that just felt off or when I wasn't motivated. I incorporate more strength and cross training. Taking a spin class allows me to think differently during the workout (I'm less concerned with miles and pace per miles) and gives me both a physical and mental break. Strength exercises allows me to focus narrowly on my movements, without worrying about times or minutes.

Along with switching up my schedule and being flexible with myself, I've learned that sometimes you just need to put your shoes on, step outside and run - without a plan, without a route, and without pressure to hit a specific pace. Living in a new city has allowed me the freedom to go for runs where I don't know the mileage or how long it'll take me to get to certain points. I run to explore Portland, to see a new part of the city or to just get lost. On the days when I'm just not motivated but the sun is shining, I simply lace up and step outside. Even if it's only 20 minutes, I feel better and I've seen a new road or section of the city.

So, next time you are feeling unmotivated, just lace up and step outside. Something good will happen...promise!

Monday Motivation - Expect Great Things


Over the past 10 weeks of training for a half-marathon PR (personal record), there have been many times when I didn't think I could run the goal times listed in my training plan. I literally had to talk to myself and tell myself that I can run those track repeat times and that I can do the tempo times listed. Hitting those times were tough my first four weeks and many times, I didn't hit them. I kept going and have seen in my recent runs how that determination has paid off. I'm running 9-10 mile runs faster than ever. Throughout my training, I believed in the process and, more importantly, I believed in myself. Begin your training expecting great things of yourself and then go out and achieve them.

Start Where You Are


You have to begin training based on where you are at today, not where you were 3 months ago or based on an older personal best time. It can be difficult to start back up when you are use to performing at an optimal level. When I started training for my October half-marathon, I wanted my tempo and track times to be the same times I had been running in March and April. My legs didn't agree with me! They knew it was too much, too soon. Over the past 8 weeks, I've built back up to my fast tempo times and my previous track times. I love this motivational quote because it reminds me, in the moment, to use what I have and do what I can. It's not always smooth going or happy sailing as you are building back up and training for a race, but recognizing where your fitness level is and drawing on your past will get you the results you want because you are doing it safely.

Just Keep Going


I read this motivational quote this weekend and it resonated with me as I'm getting back into race training mode after a brief hiatus. I'm in my second week of 1:34 half marathon training and I'm reminded that I can't just jump back to the pace I was running this spring. Instead of pushing myself to hit those times (causing possible injury), I've backed off a bit to run a slower pace, be consisent and do all of the workouts. I know I will get to my required tempo pace or my 800 split times. I'm going to keep at it and know I'll get better. We're not meant to be perfect or the best at everything all the time. Even the best in the world require practice, coaching and support. I've got my coach (Jessica) to help me adjust and talk through my plan - yup, even coaches need some coaching every now and again! :)

So, today's motivation - just keep going!

happy running!

Find a River - Motivational Monday

by Jessica Green

After 17 days of driving from Brooklyn, NY to Portland, Oregon and almost as many hotels, I can't tell you how many times I tempted the idea of waking up early and just dealing with the hotel gym to get my workout in after pulling in to our hotel late in the evening. Most of the cities were foreign places to me - and many of them involved less than 2 hours of awake time before moving on to the next westward location. Time was precious and needed to be used wisely.

The thought of spending a ton of time figuring out the best place to run outside started out daunting, but soon I learned that if you pick a hotel near a city park area or along a river, you'll most likely find a nice pathway waiting for you to get your workout in.  Not only did I get to run OUTDOORS instead of at a makeshift gym inside a room the size of mini hotel room, I also got to explore a part of each of city (no matter how random they felt), find morning inspiration along hidden river pathways and feel part of these cities even if only for brief moments in time. 

Next time you can choose your hotel, don't get the one closest to the highway. Instead, pick one close to a river park or within the city limits so you're close enough to access outdoor areas without taking too much time out of your travel schedule to actually get there.  

Motivational Monday- Take a Leap!

by Meghan Reynolds

The Hot Birds believe in stepping out of our confort zones in order to experience adventures and understand what you are capable of doing.

We are relocating our headquarters to Portland, Oregon this June. For me, Meghan, this means moving across the country and leaving behind friends, family and the life I've created in NYC. Over the past few months, my emotions have been up and down about the move - I've been happy, sad, overwhelmed, nervous and frustrated when thinking about the move. I kept asking myself, "Am I making the right decision?" "Do I want to live that far away?" It's a lot of work and effort, and sometimes pain, to move and start in a new city.

I decided that the move was best because it will propel Hot Bird Running and at the end of the day, I needed to step outside of my comfort zone.  I'm ready for the change and the chance to find out more about myself. That piece of mind did not happen over night! Here are some steps that I used and practiced to find out which decision was best for me:

  • Practice Non-attachment. I let go of particular results - moving will get me X or will do Y for Hot Bird Running. Instead, I'm moving to experience something new for myself. In other words, let go of your attachment to a certain outcome; instead, focus on the joy of doing whatever you're doing.
  • Practice Acceptance. Moving is stressful, costly and slightly painful. I slowly learned to accept it and almost shrug it off. I accepted the cost to ship my bike because I know I will want it out in Portland. If you're clinging to your comfort zone, you're hanging on to the idea that the world is supposed to be a safe and predictable place, which we all know it isn't! Don't set yourself up for frustration and disappointment. Accept changes and see the possibility it creates.
  • Enjoy the unknown. I took a deep breath and decided to be excited about not knowing what was going to happen next! It's a great feeling to know that I can CREATE what I want in Portland. It's unknown to me and therefore, totally open for opportunity and creation. Enjoy the butterflies, the mixture of anticipation and anxiety that makes your heart flutter and stomach turn at the same time.

A Little Monday Motivation

We love this quote because it's so applicable to running and it's a manta we repeat many times to ourselves. We are capable of a lot more than our mind tells us or convinces us is possible. Next time you are out for a run and your mind tells you to stop, push through and give a little more. If it's your body telling you to stop, i.e., a bad/nervy pain somewhere, stop. However, most of us don't push through the discomfort because we convince ourselves that it doesn't matter. You are capable of a lot more than you think and the greatest highs can come from pushing through discomfort. Give a little more on your next run or workout.


Interview with a Runner

What can we say about Rob? He's funny, witty, convinced an awesome girl to marry him, runs, is really good at stick figure drawings and oh, likes to complain about things. He lives in Tribeca NY and plans to get famous via the internet. He's a recovering lawyer who tutors High School kids. He's a 3 time NYC Marathon deferrer - we are getting him to run it this year - look out 2013! Check out his blog and Facebook page for insights and laughs.

How do you know us - Hot Bird Running?
I own a BBQ Chicken establishment in Brooklyn, NY.  Every day, Meghan and Jessica run by and wave.  I thought we were friends.  In 2010, they stole the name of my business and used it as their own.  I recently initiated a high stakes law suit to bar them from diluting the "Hot Bird" brand.

OK, fine. I went to Hamilton College with them. (note from the Hot Birds - and he thinks our biz name is VERY clever!)

What are your current running goals? Are you training for anything?
A HORRIBLE toe injury put me on the shelf for several months. It happened during a yoga class. I'd share pictures with you, but I put them on facebook and a lot of people flipped out. Apparently feet pictures are a "thing" for some people (not in a good way).

Now that I have recovered enough to run with only mild pain, my running goals are:

a) Run at least 2 days per week;

b) Increase to 3 days per week after I complete goal "a" once; and

c) Run the NYC Marathon (I’m now a three time deferrer).  I just can’t get over how hot it gets in August.  I sweat a lot.  Everyone’s all like “Oh, you just have to run at 5 am.  It’s not so hot then.  Yeah, it’s not so hot, but it’s 5 am.  That’s insane.  No one does that.  Plus, it’s still hot.  And 18 miles is really far. 

Who or what inspires you to run?

What is your favorite running route/place to run?
The bagel run I do every weekend morning.

Who is your favorite person to run with and why? 

I love to run with other people.  So if I picked a specific favorite, I'd have to deal with “how come you don’t like running with me the most??????” conversations.  I don’t want that.

Instead, here is a list of characteristics of my ideal running buddy, taken from actual traits that I admire in runners.  

An ideal running partner: 

-        Talks A LOT.  Like non-stop.  

If I have to do the talking, then I get winded too fast.  Then I get tired and want to stop.  So I like to run with someone who does all the talking for me. Like a live podcast.  

 One friend literally recounts stories from the New Yorker to me on long runs.  Why is that great?  Because every one else hates reading the New Yorker and doesn’t have the patience to slog through a whole 30-page article.  When a friend takes the time to read it, AND remember the fun details, AND tell them to me like a little story, I almost forget how hot I am on mile 2.  It’s like running with Malcolm Gladwell.

- Is faster than I am, but only a smidge.

If your friend is too fast, then you feel like an ass for ruining their run.  If they are way slower than you are, then you get antsy.  So the ideal running partner runs a little faster, but not so fast that you have to tug the back of her shirt when she pulls ahead.  

Running with someone faster means that sometimes I get tired and huffy puffy and bitch a lot.  But it also means that when we train together, I’m forced to work harder than I probably want to, which isn't a bad thing and gives me plenty to complain about at the time.  

- Doesn’t let me stop when I want to.

I warn everyone up front that I'm going to complain a lot.  The best running partners tolerate my complaints, but do nothing to accomodate them.  

Like when we're running and there's a big hill, I’d be all, “this is hard, I don’t want to go up that hill, I’m tired, Running is stupid, can’t we just stop, I hate you, why did you make me do this, it’s 5 am in the morning and August, I’m sweating so much, did my heart just stop beating?  I think it did, do I look pale?  Why aren’t you sweating?”  

The ideal running partner just says, "Shut up, Rob."  

Then I shut up and berate my running partner in my head.  When I finish my imaginary rant, we’d be at the top of the hill and I’d say, “That was easy.”  We'd laugh.  Then I’d collapse and an ambulance would pick me up.  It was fun for everyone.

- Is organized and motivated.  

I won't negotiate how far we’re going to run, what time we’re going to run, or where we’re going to run.  But if someone else has a plan, I'll just do it.  It's especially helpful when someone else puts together a calendar and emails it to me. 

But the best running partners never cancel.  Once someone cancels, then it's allowed.  I try to come up with any excuse I can muster to get out of a run if I'm feeling lazy.  If the other person has never canceled on me, then I know I can't cancel because I'll get in trouble.  However, once there's been a cancellation, it becomes allowed and expected.  Like stopping at a water table during a race.  If you go by the first ten tables without stopping, you don't think about water.  Once you stop and drink and your legs take a break and realize how magical it feels to stop and rest, then ever water station becomes a little panacea of awesomeness. 

-  Carries one of those idiotic looking fanny backs with water.

My friend Jess does this.  I didn't want to mention names, but she wears one of those tool belt things and it looks ridiculous and I mock her for it relentlessly.  Goddamnit, though, I love that thing when I'm thirsty and she lets me have a sip.

What is the best piece of running advice you ever received and who was it from?
In 1980, my dad ran the NYC Marathon in 3hr 19min (suck it, Meghan). I was two. To commemorate my dad's race, my mom bronzed one of his disgusting, smelly sneakers. My friends thought it was stupid to have a golden shoe in the living room.

So when I first started running, and was feeling particularly lazy and unmotivated, my good friend Ryan said, “Hey, if your dad can run a marathon in that heavy bronze shoe, you can do half in those shitty Brooks. So I did.






 What is your favorite running gear/piece of clothing?
Body Glide. Second favorite is this hideous yellow Fred LeBow shirt (the combination of the mustard yellow and the face picture is a real winner):


Tunes Tuesday - Songs to Get You Movin'

We all need a little extra boost or motivation during our runs. Music is a go-to for the Hot Birds when we need a little extra push. Here's what we are listening to this week.

Lights by Ellie Goulding

Starships by Glee (yup, we can't get enough of that show!)

What are your favorite running songs? Leave a comment below and tell us!

Tips to Start Running

We've heard it a million times before, that running is one of the best ways to get fit and lose weight. So, why isn't everyone out there running or jogging and getting fit? Because running can be daunting and painful and not the easiest activity for people. Many of our clients come to us because running is not comfortable for them or they don't know how to start running. Questions abound: how fast do I run? Am I running correctly? Why can't I run for more than a few minutes?

We firmly believe that everyone is able to run! How you start is very important. We recommend you create a plan or strategy. Here are our top tips for how to start running.

1. Run/Walk - this is probably the most effective way to start a running routine. Begin by walking fast for 5 minutes and then run for 1-2 minutes. Continue with the run/walk for 20 minutes (we suggest 3-4mins walking and 1-2 minutes running for beginners) Experiment with different lengths of running and walking.

2. Map it out - know where you are going. Use Map My Fitness or Google pedometer to map out a route that is 1 mile

3. Get some motivational music - pick about 7-8 of your favorite songs, load em up on your iphone, ipod, etc and head outside. Put a few of the slower tracks first and then build up to the fun, dance songs. Run for the length of your mix (20-25 mins). Here are some of our favorites: Hot Bird Music

4. Take it slow - pace doesn't matter! Start off slow and let your body get use to the new movement.

5. Make it social - find a friend and run or run/walk with them. Put it on your calendar and you'll be less likely to skip it. lululemon stores lead fun runs out of their stores. Find a store near you.

6. Keep an exercise log/journal - keep a record of your runs. Write down your activity - time, run/walk intervals, how you felt and time of day. This is a great way to see your progress.

7. Find a coach who you relate and will help you reach your goals!

We hope this motivates you to lace up those sneakers and get out there. 

HBR Nike Training Club Challenge

We love training for races. We also love our non-race training months, like right now.  During these months, it's our time to really commit to cross training: kick boxing classes, take ballet (okay, that was once but really fun!), try a new global conditioning class, or torture ourselves at a barre class (we have a secret love for Physique 57 and Refine Method).

For the next few weeks, instead of taking a bunch of classes and being indoors, we decided to challenge ourselves (and all of you!) to a 21 day focused workout goal. We are taking advantage of the awesome Nike Training Club app for this challenge and committing to one NTC workout every day for 21 days.

Join us and commit to an NTC workout once a day for 21 days; it takes 21 days to create a habit!  The app (available for iphones and ipads only right now) offers 15, 30, and 45 minute beginner, intermmediate & advanced workouts. Check out the app - the awesomeness speaks for itself from the second you launch it!

Follow our progress here or on Facebook. Don't forget to tell us about your own goals and progress!

Yoga for Runners

We asked one of our favorite teachers, Stephanie Creaturo, to help us with some post run yoga. Her take on yoga, the body and runners always blows us away. Need to slow down, relax, stretch or feel good after a run? Head to Mala Yoga. Every single teacher knows their stuff and cares.

As a yoga teacher and a runner, I get asked a lot what are the best stretches to do after a run. There’s a good chance my fellow runner will also say “I don’t have a lot of time to stretch.” I get it! There are a million stretches out there and even more yoga poses.  And training for a race takes a lot of time. What’s a runner to do?

I totally believe that running and yoga can peacefully co-exist!  I hope you can check out an appropriate-level class for you at your local yoga studio – many studios (like mine) offer classes just for athletes or runners. Even if you go once a week, the teacher will lead you through a variety of poses, some of which you may be familiar with, some of which you may not.  Either way, you’ll certainly stretch out those muscles used in running, but you can also be inspired to get out of your stretching rut!  Yoga mixes up how it challenges the muscles in the body, which is great conditioning for the body and the mind.

Here’s one of my favorite poses to teach runners and to do after a long run. (Note, I don’t use the words “stretch” and “pose” interchangeably; I can think of a million different things when I’m stretching. When I’m engaged in a yoga pose, my attention is squarely placed on my breath and how my breath is guiding my physical alignment. But no matter what you do post-run, yoga or stretching, your body will thank you by staying healthy!)

It is called Parsvottonasana, or intense side stretch. Many yoga teachers call it “pyramid pose” because of the shape your body takes once its in the final pose. I find it to be a wonderful post-run balm for the backs of my legs, my low back, and my spine.

I love to do this pose with my hands on a wall or a park bench. By pressing my hands into a wall or the edge of a bench, I can integrate my arms to my shoulder sockets and let my shoulders & hips be aligned while I lengthen the muscles at the back of my legs.

Let’s get into the pose on the right side first!

1.     Place your hands on a wall or the edge of a bench.  Keep your ears in line with your upper arms as you walk your hips & feet back in space, bringing the spine parallel to the ground beneath you.

2.     Step the right foot towards the wall or the bench. The right toes point straight forward. Keep the right knee straight and the right heel in line with the right sitting bone. The right hip draws straight back in space as you firmly press the four points of the right foot into the ground beneath you.

3.     Squiggle the left leg back a bit, angling the left foot at a 70 degree angle. Zipper the outer edge of your left foot to the ground as you firmly press the four points of that foot down. The left heel is in line with the left sitting bone.  Your legs are now asymmetrical to each other.


4.     The hips are level in space – imagine that you’ve placed your open bottle smack in the center of the pelvis and you don’t want it to slip to the floor, spilling all your water.

5.     Push your hands into the wall or the bench, which will help take your hips and thighbones back in space. Keep firming the bottoms of the feet to the ground as you tack your sitting bones to your heels.

6.     Make sure you’re not locking your knees! Of course, if the hamstrings are singing an opera to you, then bend that right knee. Otherwise, engage the quadriceps to the thighbones and make sure you’re not rolling to your outer right foot.

7.     Breathe in Parsvottonasana for at least five breaths, working up to 10 deep breaths. To exit the pose, lift your gaze, step your left foot forward to meet your right foot, then repeat on the second side.

Now that you’re in the shape of a pyramid, you may wonder why it’s called intense side stretch. Good question! Most of us would call it calf or hamstring stretching pose.  But the name is a great reminder to keep the sides of the waist long and the abdominal area engaged as we stretch our legs.

Remember, yoga poses can take a zillion different shapes and your body is as unique as your fingerprints! When doing a post-run pose, make sure you’re stretching the belly of the muscle and not at the junction your muscles connect to the bone. Also, use resistance – it is a great tool to keep the muscles, bones & connective tissue speaking the same language post-run.

Lastly, make sure to budget a few extra minutes into the end of your run to stretch or strike a pose - it’s a better than striking out due to injury or exhaustion, especially if you’re training for a race.


Listening to your body

As the days become shorter and nature moves into hibernation mode, us humans do the exact opposite. We are at a million holiday parties, eating & drinking more, and running around trying to get everything done. We are moving in opposition to nature and thus, more likely to become sick or feel lethargic.

Take time this winter/holiday season to stop and rest. Maybe skip a day of running or go for a walk with a friend, take that yoga class that has been on your list. Give yourself the gift of time this holiday season, even if it's only 5 minutes.

And if you can't make it to a yoga class or slow down on your run, try Legs up the Wall pose; you'll melt and feel lighter.

Happy Holidays!

Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.

Lance Armstrong said that and it's a great motto. Yet, with the return of my once ancient knee injury, I find myself asking "am I quitting or being smart?"

Recognizing injury and pain, and taking the necessary time to recover is difficult because we come face to face with the "no pain, no gain" mentality nearly everyday. People want to push through challenges, push through the pain and for what? A medal, a time, a good sweat? All of those things are worth it as long as the pain is "good pain" and not "bad pain". I use quotes because my yoga teachers refer to good vs bad pain a lot in class.  Good pain is that dull pain or sometimes burning sensation you feel in your muscles when you push them too hard. This is the pain I feel while doing pushups or a lot of sit-ups. Bad pain is a nervy or sharp pain. When you feel bad pain - stop immediately!

That isn't quitting, that is being smart.  However, many of us do not take the necessary time to recover and rehab the bad pain. It might mean sitting out a marathon you've been training for or not participating in your flag football season. The long term effect of properly resting and recovering is worth missing out on 1 event or 1 season. That's not quitting, that's listening to your body and knowing that running is forever; not a temporary part of your life.