Alternatives to Running

If you’re anything like me, when you hear the word “exercise” the first thing you do is think about running. And the second thing you do is groan. Running is definitely my most common form of exercise, but let’s be real here, it isn’t always fun.

Now that the weather is heating up, the sun is shining, and spring has sprung I’m all about finding alternative ways to exercise. There are so many outdoor activities that will get your heart rate up and provide a solid cardio workout without your body even realizing that it’s working!

I thought I’d share some of my favorite non-running exercise ideas in case anyone needs some extra motivation to get moving:

Hiking

I went hiking for the first time in a loooooong time the other weekend and my legs were killing me for DAYS! I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, so I was surprised at how tired my legs felt after the 6 hour hike and at how sore they were for the next three days. I could barely even walk! That’s when I realized how great of a workout hiking is: I climbed, crawled, and sometimes even jumped off rocks; my body didn’t even realize it was working that hard…I was just trying not to fall!

Sports

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Duh, organized sports are a good workout. That’s a no-brainer right? But they can be somewhat of a time commitment that many adults are not willing to make. You don’t have to join a team to get a good workout though. You can easily work up a sweat by just kicking around with some of your buddies. If you are all particularly as bad as I am, you will get plenty of running in as you’re chasing missed shots that soared 100 feet past the goal!

Swimming

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I am so, so excited for the pool at my apartment building to open. Okay, okay, mostly I just like to lounge around outside and tan, but occasionally, I’ll do a few laps in the pool. Did you know that swimming is actually a great aerobic activity? And for the most part, you don’t even feel that fatigued because the pool is wiping all that sweat right off your forehead. Awesome!

Dancing

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Have you ever come back from a night out on the town with your feet aching and your legs burning from dancing so much? I definitely have. Now, I’m not the most coordinated dancer in the world, but I’ve been told that after 2-3 drinks I turn into Chris Brown…or maybe that’s just in my head. Either way, I love to dance and it’s actually a great cardio workout too. Double win!

Golf

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When I polled my male friends about what they thought a good non-running exercise was, golf was a popular answer. I can’t really speak to this since I’ve never been golfing in my life…unless we’re counting frisbee golf, which I’m told we aren’t. I have been told that you can walk 10+ miles (maybe an exaggeration), while carry a 30lb bag, and stopping every five minutes to swing a club. I’d imagine that’s hard work. I’m sure most of those calories burnt are offset by the exponential amount of beers that are also consumed. But hey, who’s really counting?

What are your favorite non-running exercises?

March is for…RACES!

Legs, meet sun. Sun, meet legs. It has been far too long since you two have been acquainted, as is judged by my pasty-whiteness (beach trip, anyone?).

Welcome back spring, please never leave again. It had been far too long since I woke up to the sound of birds chirping out my open window, but this morning delivered just that. By this afternoon it was a perfect 65 degrees and sunny as could be and I was able to bust out the shorts for the first time since winter. It almost made my afternoon run pleasurable. Yeah, almost.

March is starting out on quite the right foot if you ask me. I’m hoping that this trend continues because I have races galore planned for this month! Okay, well just two actually, but that’s still quite a few for a single month. Let’s do a quick overview.

The Shamrock Half – March 17

Okay people, get pumped, because this is my favorite race of ALL TIME! Yes, that is quite a bold statement, but I mean it. This race has it all: it’s flat, on the beach, there’s beer (lots of it) and live music at the end, and they give you a ton of swag (finishers t-shirt AND hat? Yes, please!). What more could you possibly ask for? This year will mark the 3rd year in a row that I’ve run the Shamrock Half. I will be running with my little bro, who I’m sure will most likely beat me by well over an hour.

Last year I ran this race in 2:02:and-some-change with very minimal training. So, I’m hoping to run right around the same time [or beat it] this year. Although between you and me, my half marathon PR (which I set in 2008 during the VA Beach Rock ‘N Roll Half) is 1:58:17, so I’m honestly gunning for that, but not optimistic. I’m excited for this race though, regardless of the time I get, since it’s my first back since the marathon!

Monument Ave 10k – March 31

I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I did a 10k. Actually, that’s a lie. It can tell you. It was exactly 3 years ago in 2009, the last time I ran this race! I got suckered into running it with a friend of mine who then bailed at the very last minute (you know who you are)!

Yay for new running friends!

Just two weeks after I run the Shamrock Half, I will be heading to Richmond to run this year’s Monument Ave 10k. I’ve been itching to do some “shorter” distance races lately. I like the concept of training for a marathon, but in practice, it’s extremely time consuming and intense. Just as long as I have a race to train for (it doesn’t have to be a marathon), I’m completely content with running 4-5 miles a day. That’s why, when my friend Meredith informed me that she was running, I jumped at the chance to tag along!

Last time I ran this race I was dealing with some personal stuff and became a running FIEND, so I freak-of-nature PR’ed with a time of 0:50:18. I’ve done plenty of 6 mile training runs since and most of them haven’t even come close to beating that time. So, for this year’s race, I’m setting a more realistic goal of trying to keep my time under 1 hour.

What I remember about this 10k is that it was a pleasant 6 miles through the heart of downtown Richmond. A lot of college students (read: hipsters) come out of their apartments, drink, and cheer on runners. It’s a fun atmosphere and relatively close to home, both are wins in my opinion! Plus, I can’t wait to reunite with these two lovely ladies:

Aside from running my favorite races, my March calendar is beginning to fill up. Here’s are some fun things I already have on the docket:

  • St. Patrick’s Day, obviously!
  • My first Brazilian Steakhouse Experience
  • Joining a Body Challenge for work (what’s up, weight-loss goals?)
  • My first haircut in over a year. Ahhh! Haircuts give me anxiety.
  • And some exciting family news that I can’t wait to share when the time is right!!

Are any of you running races this month? What are your other fun plans for March?