5 podcasts you should know

I rarely listen to music when I run (ultimately I rarely listen to music, I have to change that!)

but I always listen to podcasts.

This is the last post of the year so instead of hammering you with New Year’s resolutions which I kind of did last week I’d like to share my favorite podcasts of the 2018. I have a lots of them but I give you 5 because it’s a perfect number for Friday.

Check them out and take them with you on your walk/run/commute.

At the end of each show description you’ll find a type of run I’d combine:

For those who are interested in nutrition explained by a specialist  

The Funk’tional Nutrition. Don’t despair, it’s not an academic podcast. Erin and Kyle are both nutritionist who know how to explain the most burning issues about nutrition and understand that nutrition is not only about food but how we approach both life and our health.

Recommended run: uphill or sprints

For my ladies (and gents) who love cruelty free beauty products and a good laugh

Natch Beaut, a podcast by Jackie Johnson, a comedian passionate about all things beauty. What’s different about this podcast? This podcast is about cruelty free products and Jackie is a personality! I’m always for a good laugh and I’m quite sure that even if you don’t care about cosmetic industry you’ll love the show!

Recommended run: intervals

For those who love cinema and a good interview

Off Camera with Sam Jones. Sam Jones is a photographer who worked with many celebrities. Thanks to his unique talent to connect with people he manages to make great photos and great interviews. I discovered that many people I wasn’t interested in have a very interesting things to say (#life).

Recommended run: long run with steady pace

For those who love sports, adventure and new ideas

The Rich Roll Podcast. An old favorite that never fails to bring an inspiring content. Rich Roll is an athlete, speaker and author who talks to other athletes, doctors, scientists and inspirational figures. You’ll be inspired and amazed, trust me on that!

Recommended run: tempo run or broken miles

For those who want to change the world one step at a time

Ways to change the world Maybe it’s the Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s  soothing voice, wide array of guests (writers, musicians, politicians, actors) or in depth, meaningful questions but every time I listen to this podcast I feel compelled although every episode is a quite easy listen.

Recommended run: steady relaxed run

What are your favourite podcasts? Do you listen do podcasts or prefer music on your run/commute?

I hope you’ll find my suggestions interesting!

Once you’ve decided..new goals you should put into practice

New Year’s resolutions

Wait, what? Aren’t we supposed to give up resolutions? You’re right, resolutions sounds so 2010, let’s call them running objectives that is much more athletic and professional.

We run for new PBs, we run to be in shape and most of all we’re running because we like it, we love it, it keeps us sane. Our running objectives change throughout the year and we can have as many as we want. Let’s make a list and draw a simple plan so all this won’t seem so unachievable.

Run/exercise regularly

Not all of us are fitness junkies (WOOT?!) and we just can’t make it. Or can we? It’s a matter of priorities.

HOW? Make a small, humble and doable plan. I know, we all want to feel like a superheroes and that means running a half marathon like it was a piece of xmas cake but the TRUTH is that everyone focus on that big race, huge medal and pain is temporary and other glory related quotes.

Nobody tells you that squeezing 15 minutes every day into your schedule to do the strength work or 20 minutes run is the fabric that superheroes are made of (make a t-shirt with that phrase. Or pyjamas).

Once you’re no longer suffering doing that add minutes to your walk or run or add another session.

Getting fitter is all about controlled suffering. Once your body adapt you must make it suffer some more so it will adapt even further and you will become a badass.

Oh, you can’t do that?  I apologize, I thought it’s a fast course to become a badass.

Dat DIET thing

OMG, don’t make me even start on that, you should eat cabbage and drink only water with apple cider vinegar all day long! What do you mean you like pizza and fries and beer? Stop!

HOW? In a ideal world I’d told you to throw away all the junk food from your pantry (and give it to me, no food should go to waste). In real world I’ll tell you that if you really want junk food you’ll find a way to get it. Get that chocolate, one piece of chocolate and make it a good quality, same with peanut butter or premium quality chips. Which doesn’t mean you should have it all the time, just as an emergency. Before the emergency occurs, prepare. Get the whole bunch of fruits and vegetables you like, not that fancy kale nobody knows what to do with. Everyone likes potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, apples, bananas. Buy those and buy good spices or soy sauce, something that will make it taste better without a load of calories.

Don’t plan elaborate recipes, cook a batch of good rice or quinoa (it’s good, I swear, you probably cooking it the wrong way!) to have it in the fridge.

Supplements

Let’s face it, it’s hard to survive in this world without some support (wink, wink). And supplements, at least the ones you should care about, are still legal. Consider including some into your diet.

HOW?

Don’t throw yourself on million things before blood test cause some supplements might be bad for you (like iron) and you can spend this money on junk food (joke: spend it on kale or beer). What you can experiment with (all drug related conversations starts with this phrase) is (drumrolls)

vit D3 combined with vit K2 because there are high probabilities you’re not having enough of it. D3 means healthy bones and vit K2 put that calcium only into your bones and not into your veins (horror story, just take that vit K2 with D3, okayy?). Anything else? If you’re an athlete try carnosine monohydrate that will help your muscles recover and stay in top form or build muscles if you’re a gym junkie.

Cross training

I don’t mean only abs. But abs are a good thing to look at so..your choice.

Still if you’re an ambitious athlete you can’t just do your sport without well shaped abs, glutes and legs (ok, add shoulders as well) because flappy muscles are the reason you get injured and not training sucks and we get angry and hungry. And abs.

HOW? The tactic is quite similar to the running regularly plan with the small twist: it’s completely different. If you make time for running you should get time for doing your abs or legs exercises. But probably you don’t like it or you think that running will solve everything, even the world’s peace issue. The solutions for you cross training phobia are two: you make time for abs (see the first point of this post) or you take up a new sport. Swimming, cycling, judo..anything that will make you happy and make that muscles work! Choose your happy path, that’s an advice that will get you far, my friend.

I hope I gave you some ideas for getting better, happier and putting that resolutions into practice! At the end of the day it’s your will to change and some strategy to put things into practise that make that resolutions work!


Health is simple. It’s not easy.

Health is boring. It’s not sexy like well made Instagram photo. Health is simple yet not easy like a grandma recipe for a homemade broth.
Eat better. Sleep better. Move more. Don’t be a dick.
That’s it.

Sleep better. Going early to bed and wiping your mind of all thoughts or prioritizing your sleep over something else (morning run or mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed. Yes, I’m pointing finger at myself. Guilty AF) is, in my opinion, one of the biggest changes in your life. Actually, it’s life changing.

Last year I made a post about morning running and I’m still a morning runner but I’m no longer a ‘run no matter what’ type of runner. I’m not lazy when it comes to running and I think many times an additional hour of sleep would have done me more good that a 10 km. Sleep deprivation and a consistent sleep deprivation, I mean 1 or 2 hours of less sleep for more than a week is a real negative game changer. You feel sluggish, you miss things, you’re negative, you’re more hungry! Try to get in at least 7 hours of sleep and go to bed before midnight.

Eat better. I said better, not perfectly. Nobody eats like people on Instagram, most of them do those photos because this is their job. Yet, it’s nice to have a great meal. You’d probably never have a perfect meal plan, because life happens. Or you just tired and you want this cake, pizza, fries and eating better is a process. How to change this? Again, I’m not an expert, I can only speak for my experience and I will in the future. For now I’ll just leave you with this concept, quite new but already supported by scientific research: your gut controls your behavior. Sounds spooky, I know but in short your gut bacteria have a huge impact on how you react. If you eat poorly your gut will be populated by type of bacteria that not only will damage your immune system but also affect your brain and probably your emotions. In short if your gut is populated by wrong type of bacteria it can lead not only to obesity but also to depression.

If you’re interested read more about it here:

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-43815370

Move more. Don’t roll over your eyes, moving more does not mean running or power lifting. Movement is everywhere, join in. 30 minutes a day of a brisk walk. You can do that after lunch or after dinner. And yes, use the stairs when you can. Movement is disguised in different moments of our day, don’t think about it as a workout, think about it like taking some fresh air, giving yourself some space and time to breath. Switching from one closed space (office) to another (supermarket and then home) will never help. Speaking about time to breath: there are 3 extremely powerful methods to free your mind for at least a while. Put down your phone, try to count your breaths for few minutes and not to think what to do next, try to prolong your inhale and exhale time staring from 4 (you could arrive up to 6 or 8 if you want). I like to think about breath work as an ‘internal shower’ for your body.

Don’t be a dick.  What that has to do with health? It’s not difficult to get. Our health is also our mental health, our wellbeing and it’s influenced by everything we get into our bodies, that is food and emotions and what we give out, like the energy we spend and give to others. I can bet it’s not easy to sleep, digest or think when you’ve argued with someone or had a stressful day. We’re nurtured by everything: food, air, relationships, news. If you’re eating a macrobiotic clean diet but you’re a nasty little prick to others it won’t work. You can have a 6 pack-abs but in a long term it won’t work because this perfect little picture of yours is false. So don’t be a dick.

Few random Q&As on running

Are you on Quora?

Quora in an online platform where people can ask questions and other users who deem themselves experts or just think they know the answer can reply. I like to read and comment on Quora and reply to questions about running. I’m not an expert, I just ran a few marathons and running is a passion of mine. I thought it would be fun to post a few questions from Quora I replied to. If you like them please follow me on Quora  https://www.quora.com/profile/Hanna-Gierzynska-Zalewska or just give a look on the website!


Why do people pay to run a marathon? Why not just run the 42 km on any other day?

Because you want to measure yourself on a given day on that distance and have a proof of that. And a medal. And photos.

You want to test your luck, maybe you’ve trained but on that day you will suck anyway.

Travel: you want to run where you’ve never ran before. Sometimes running a race is a cherry on top of your training.

The best way to know is to run a marathon or watch a marathon in person.

What it means to ‘hit the wall’ in the marathon?

When you finish your physical and mental energy. I would argue that it’s mainly your brain because when it senses that your finishing glucose it just goes on energy saving mode to save itself. There’s enough glucose for the brain so it says to your body to shut down. Which sucks cause you mentally and physically feel like you can’t go any further BUT

You actually can, you just have to tell your brain ‘I know what you’re up to, you’re not fooling me’ and go on.


Will anyone ever run the marathon under two hours?

Humanity is getting there and the latest record in marathon (Eliud Kipchoge 2h 1 min in Berlin Marathon) shows that we’re close.

I’m quite positive that it will happen.


Is it important to monitor the heart rate while running? If yes, why?

It could be very useful as it gives you a feedback on intensity of your workout or your overall health. If you don’t have a special heart condition it’s just something you might use not something that is necessary. Many runners look at heart rate monitor too religiously.

When I would strongly advise running with a heart rate monitor? If you’re running while pregnant as you must keep your heart rate way lower that before pregnancy.


Should I treat life as a sprint or a marathon?

Orienteering but without map and compass.

Last 60 days of 2018..are you diving in?

Is it November yet? Get ready, New Year’s resolutions are coming your way!

I now some people hate them and I can imagine why. Instead of stressing about that can we just ease into 2019 by doing something good for ourselves and maybe setting ourselves on a path we’d like to take in months to follow?

Just an idea, last 60 days of 2018, what you’d like to do? I have some small goals that I’d like to achieve by the end of this year, the bigger ones will need time but why not lay down the foundation now?

Here is my list. Short because, you know it’s only 2 months left…

Headstand. You probably have no idea how big it is for me. I’ve been practicing yoga for years but I still haven’t done a headstand or as pros call it: Sirsasana. It’s not about doing what everyone does or calling myself a ‘true yogi’ because I think there’s no such thing. Yoga is not a competition and I’m not competing even with myself (as I do in running), it’s about conquering my own fear. I’m terrified of going on my head since I remember. Approaching this fear and getting rid of it seems almost impossible.

Nutrition course. Right now I’m almost done with the basic nutrition course I started in the summer and once finished (keep your fingers crossed for the final exam!) I’d like to embark on a 1 year journey with more in-depth course. Although I’m more and more interested  in Indian and Chinese medicine I think a course based on western approach will complete or give me a good start. Nutrition and wellness has been a big passion of mine for a long time and I feel it’s time to do something about it.

Be kind to myself but push myself when needed. Do you find this part difficult? I do. Sometimes I just have to let go or slow down but every time I need to do it I tell myself it’s laziness. The fact is I’m rarely lazy and if I am maybe I need to be. And I have to find the truth and objectivity inside myself to recognize these moments.

Marathon. I gasp writing this, if you follow me you know how badly my half marathon went and mentally I haven’t recovered from that completely. The biggest obstacle I’ll have to face is mental. I’ll have to stay focus and believe, be sure that I’m able to to what I trained for. It’s funny, I’ve done more that 15 marathons and I’m still struggling at times like a newbie. This will be a race like this. The beautiful and the ugly part of distance running: you may train but the final result can always be a surprise. If the final result is not what we imagined we usually call it disappointment.

Ok, that’s my list, I think it’s quite challenging but doable.

Any thoughts?

How to get over a failure aka get back on track

I trained, I was ready, I couldn’t wait. And when the race day came all went wrong. I wasn’t enjoying myself, I was tense and my pace followed. The race I ran twice the third time wasn’t that magical and fun as I remember. I finished with the worst result in years (1h51min) and I was quite down. Still am. What next? Am I as good (relatively) as I imagined or maybe I’m a fraud? After the last sentence you can imagine how I feel. But life goes on and I want to run. Have you ever been in a similar situation? How to get out of this post failure funk? Here’s my personal list, apply this to every failure

Analyze&learn. This is the worst part for me but maybe not for you. What went wrong and how to prevent it next time? Mental part, execution or some detail that ruined the whole thing? When running some things are predictable, routine, like e.g. eating before and during the race, clothes you’re wearing, your pace strategy. Other things like weather or sudden gastric issues are out of control. What you do when unexpected happens? When I got late into pre-race area I panicked and tried to surpass everyone. I was so tense for the first half and then… I just stopped caring? I still have to figure that out.

Give yourself a break In Italy people use to say ‘not all doughnuts come with a hole’, that means not everything you do will be a success. It’s a part of life and although it seems so deep and philosophical please remember that you shouldn’t identify with your failure. It was a moment in time and it passed and you should pass over it. You’re not your mishap, it just happened to you.

Put things into perspective. Will you remember this particular event in a week, month or a year? Maybe but will it matter and will that weigh on your overall happiness? It will if you choose to dominate your life and change your attitude. Make a list of things that go well in your life and list of things that are more important in your life than this event that went wrong.

Focus on next goal Every time something bad happened to me I look amazed at nature. Somehow I expect that the world should notice I feel bad and stop for a while. It’s stupid, naive, but sometimes with all the violence and conflicts that happen around the world I wonder how come the globe turns with no regards to what is happening.

Still, the sun rises and so should you. If failure left you with no love and passion for what you were doing you need to move to the next thing that will make your heart beat faster. But if you still love what you failed at then ‘dust yourself off and try again’ as the one and only Aaliyah used to sing.

In my case running is always raising my heartbeat so I’ll stick to it. I’m used to trying over and over again.

Do you dwell on your failures? How do you get out of the post failure funk?