3 WAYS TO EMPOWER YOURSELF THROUGH RUNNING

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There are so many things I love about running and I know I be a runner for the rest of my life. Of course this wasn’t always the case, since I used to hate running, always coming in at the back of the pack during those awful mile run tests in P.E. class during highschool. Luckily since then I have found my love for running as I run along our beautiful beaches on the Seawall, doing the Maui Half Marathon under the hot Hawaiian sun, and now training for my 6th half marathon with the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in June. Many things keep me running, but the way my runs keep me feeling empowered is how I know I will be a runner for life.

Here are three simple but powerful ways to empower yourself through your runs:

1. Use your running time to be present and connect – Take a break from the craziness of daily life and use your running time to finally tune in to yourself. Use the rhythm of your breathing to clear your mind and let yourself feel your own presence as your stride connects with the ground. During this time, you don’t need to worry about anything or anyone else except yourself, your body, and your heart beating. As you run, you are reminded that you can put yourself first, that your needs are important priorities, and that you could use more time to be present for yourself.

2. Practice pumping up your positive self-talk – I am a big fan of affirmations, especially while I run! The combination of heart pumping, sweat dripping, and thinking thoughts that make me feel strong and powerful is the biggest adrenaline rush I get on my runs. Whatever I am wanting to achieve at that point in my life is the soundtrack I play in my head. I look forward to running because I know I’ll come back even more pumped. Each time you run is a chance for you to practice positive self-talk.

3. Run through the items on your gratitude list – When we feel good, we do good, and this is one of my favorite side-effects of running. Especially on days when I’m not feeling strong physically, I’ll focus more of my energy on feeling grateful for all the things in my life, including being able to breathe and being out there pounding the pavement. When you can remember that there are others struggling simply to take a breath or who lack the privilege of being able to move their legs, you quickly appreciate your own ability to be out there, enjoying this excruciating thing we call running.

When I am gasping for air during the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon as I push myself to run my sub-2:00 goal, I know I’ll be relying on the strength I have built from some of these tips as well as those kilometers I will log between now and race day. From one empowered runner to another, see you out there on the road! Happy running!

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4 WAYS TO BUILD STRENGTH & COURAGE FOR YOUR LIFE

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Strength training came into my life one afternoon in highschool when my friend Chris asked me to spot him while he bench pressed in the school weight room.  It was LOVE at first sight even though I didn’t start lifting weights regularly until university, and it remains my big love to this day at age 37.  There’s no feeling more empowering than an awesome sweat session from lifting weights and getting stronger everyday.

As I got more into strength training, those of you who lift will know what I mean when I say it is such an important metaphor and teacher for life: the more we practice lifting heavy things, the more strength and resilience we cultivate for handling the heavy things in life.  Soon, I was asking myself ‘how can I do strength training for other aspects of my self and my life?’

The more we can make a regular practice to build strength physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, the more this strength becomes internalized in who we are and COURAGE is what we become.

Here are four ways to build strength in your life in ways that will serve you:

1. Physically – Get physically strong! The body-mind-energy connection is so incredible that by getting strong on the outside, we start to get strong on the inside. It takes determination, tenacity, discipline, and self-belief to cultivate a strong body, and in that process, you start to embody those qualities.  Lifting heavy weights is always good, but if traditional weight training is not your thing, find other ways you enjoy getting physically strong.

2. Mentally – Just as we practice flexing our physical muscles on a regular basis, we should do mental training on a regular basis as well.  Daily affirmations, journaling positive things, reading inspiring books, making goals, are all great ways to build mental strength. When life gets challenging, will you have the mental strength to stay positive, think empowering thoughts, and make great decisions? Here is a great affirmation practice if you are looking for something to get started.

3. Emotionally – Let your walls down and take risks from the heart.  Just like tearing apart muscle tissues through lifting heavy weights helps to rebuild the muscle into something bigger and stronger, a heart that breaks is a heart that is open and able to rebuild itself  into a stronger one.  When you are willing to let yourself risk heartache and disappointment in order to stay true to love and compassion, you build up your emotional resilience.

4. Spiritually – There is no power stronger than the energy of the Divine Universe.  The more we can stay connected and interact with it on a daily basis, the more we draw from this infinite and all-loving power source.  Create rituals and routines to connect in your own way. Every morning as soon as I wake up, I step outside to my patio and offer a thank-you prayer to the Universe for me being alive and for blessing me and my life.  I journal and write thank-yous for all the things I’m grateful for as well as for the things I would like to manifest and achieve.  When I run, I pay attention to how my feet connect with the Earth and enjoy the nature around me.  Cultivate your own relationship with the Divine Source.

The strength you need and want is already within you.  

The courage that is your life is there for you to cultivate and nurture.  

Believe in the power that you have what it takes to craft your amazing and powerful life.

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