One task, one goal

..at a time. Can you do it?

Today I tried to

  • do abs
  • listen to a webinar
  • take a shower, get dressed and all the rest
  • prepare my lunch and snack for work (ok, it’s only an apple so not a big deal)

And I tired to do it all mainly by doing two things at a time.

Let me tell you: I’m not a multitasker. My lunch finished on my clothes, I didn’t get much of the webinar and I left home stressed. I don’t know how other people do it (multitasking) and to be honest I highly doubt they do

Later in a day I found that article:
https://medium.com/darius-foroux/the-power-of-single-tasking-b8a08e8b1084

And it made me think about how I approach life and everyday routine.

I try to do more than one thing at a time and according to this article it just doesn’t work. One goal, one desire in each field can help you to streamline your energy into one direction. Sometimes your goal can be so important that it will define other goals or even eliminate them. For example if you want to start your own firm you must probably downsize your expenses and spend more time on the new project. No dining out, new clothes, holidays or procrastinating: new business is your main thing.

I thought why we or I tend to put so much on our plate. Maybe we’re not committed enough to choose only one important project? Or maybe one goal is so intimidating and we need something else to keep us sane (or distracted)? Or maybe..just maybe..we’re afraid of failure so we engage in million different things hoping that at least one of them will work and we won’t see ourselves as a complete failure?

Another possibility is that we’re so accustomed to doing more than one thing and having a single goal is so close to being obsessed with something. Our society love obsessed people: the geniuses that create amazing things. We love to read about them, we love to buy things they’ve created, we go to see movies made about their lives. But we don’t want to be obsessed weirdos, that’s a hard life.

Doing one thing is scary perspective to me. Some of the things suggested in this article scare me! Going for a workout without music? Turning on the ‘don’t disturb mode’ in your phone for the whole day? Damn, that’s extreme.

But I’d like to practise single goal approach. Running, work, life.

Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of men’s desires, but by the removal of desire.” (Epictetus)

Are you a single goal type of person?

What are your goals at the moment?

5 for Friday

All female Milan Marathon Relay: running for a good cause

This Sunday Milan will be full of runners! Between marathon runners and relay runners there will be few people left on the couch..

Let’s hope they will not stay there, we need some cheering along the way!

This year I run for AISM (Associazione Italiana per Sclerosi Multipla), an Association that helps people affected by multiple sclerosis, both patients and their families. Thanks to my friend Greta I’ll be joining another 3 women in a relay. I have to say that running for good cause is incredible: you feel faster that you really are basically you smile all the way. Finally you’re running not only for your benefit! If you want to donate (what you pay for your regular coffee would be great!), please follow the link https://bit.ly/2IcFMRx

Green monster: my shake full of goodness

You know I love my fruits and veggies but I’m not a big fan of fruit juices as they have little to no fibre. Recently I found myself in an emergency: I had to process a bunch of oranges that started to go bad (nice problem to have, I know).

That’s how I created a Green Monster: oranges blended with a lot of fresh spinach and some fresh ginger. If you don’t like spinach trust me you won’t feel the taste of it! Vit C from oranges will help to absorb iron from the spinach and ginger will do some good as well and give you that sharp, ‘zingy’ taste!

Reading: a bit of spookiness and of course running

I have two new books on my Kindle and I love them so far! The first one ‘A skinful of shadows’ is a very well written spooky story. I’m not a fantasy of horror lover and this one is not a typical ghost story. It’s about a girl living in England around English Civil War, a girl with a particular gift, trying to deal with it the best she can. The synopsis will probably won’t make you want to read it but trust me, it’s a great story!

‘The way of the runner’ is an incredible book: it’s not about Kenyan runners or obese people becoming runners! That alone should sold that for you!

Seriously, this book tells a story of fenomenon:running in Japan. I knew japanese runners were fast but I had no idea how fast and that running was such a big deal there. You probably heard of ekiden, a relay running in a japanese corporations but I bet you didn’t know that the big companies have professional running teams! I’m getting into this book and if you’re like me, a running nerd, you’d like it as well!

Coconut oil

I’ve already told you I use coconut oil everyday but now I’ve found another use: taking off my makeup. I’ve tried that method a while ago and it didn’t go well and now I know why. Simply the coconut oil I had before was not of a great quality..The one I’m using now is simply divine. I put a small amount on my face, makeup simply melts off and I take everything with a small cloth damped previously in warm water. Then I normally wash my face with soap. Works incredibly!

Spring!

I love summer even more but I have to say that spring, longer days and everything that blossoms makes me very excited for each day! I love light, I’m addicted to it so springtime makes me feel so positive even if not everything is perfect 😉 Few weeks ago I went for my first bike ride of the season and I can’t wait for another one!


Pre race stress

Weeks of preparation (or not), looking forward to the date that seemed so distant and here it is.

Only few days to your (or mine) race day and you start to go mad…

Ok, I exaggerate a bit but we all know that taper week and pre race madness is real!

Stress is your friend

Just like with training:a good amount of stress help you grow as an athlete. When it’s too much you get injured.

A mental stress gives you the right amount of adrenaline kick and keeps you going like a Duracell rabbit. When it’s too much you lose all your special powers. So get the best from stress but don’t overdo it.You know, like with coffee.

Pre-race stress is understandable and quite normal. All those months come to one day, a final exam. Some of us prepare diligently with great or less great results, others are less fortunate and can’t prepare or refuse to go by the plan. Either way you can’t really do much in the last few days. Try not to waste everything by eating poorly or not sleeping or running all the miles. Apart from that: relax.

Doubts

Am I ready? Will I be ready? Have I done everything right? Would would Jesus do?

The answer is one:you can never be sure and it really doesn’t matter. Sometimes I think people ask the wrong questions or even waste time asking questions at all. We ask questions about the past: how we could have done better training, prepare better and they are valid questions before preparing for the next race, project etc.

Analyzing is good, dwelling on what’s been already done is not.

Doubts are normal thing because few of us have the certainty to be flawless. What you can do is to switch doubts, that uncertain state of things into excitement. If you think of it they are quite close to each other. Race is this d-day when you’re not sure what’s going to happen but it can be super fun and amazing. Usually it is. Unless you have diarrhea. Then it’s not that amazing. #notapersonalstory

What would Meb do?

I have no idea, I haven’t read his book (yet) but I heard he thought of dropping out of each marathon he did. Which makes him a drama queen. C-Mon Meb, you got this! Every single time!

What you can do and what I do the days before the race is rest, hydrate, do yoga, take care of my nutrition. Basically what I should do normally but I’m too lazy.

I try to take a special care of myself, treat myself better. I mask, do my nails, visualize what I will do after the race #celebrate

Do you go mad before the race?

What’s your strategy for pre race madness?

Do you have a pre race ritual?

Motivation lie

I have a strange feeling that before the social media era we were not bombarded with the idea of motivation. Of course everyone knew that you have to be motivated to accomplish something but the ‘where to get your motivation’ or ‘how to stay motivated’ posts and articles were not so nagging.

You can’t ask others for motivation, you can’t get it from somewhere like you get healthy fats from nuts. You can watch Phelps in the under armour ad, you can listen to  ‘chariots of fire’ but in the end it’s like a shot of espresso. A quick pick-me-up. A reminder why you do what you do.

Nobody can give you your motivation or make it last, your motivation is your ‘reason why’.

Waking up at 5 am to go for a run.

Not buying a pair of shoes and saving money.

Not having a drink or two and waking up the next day without a hangover

Reading and researching on a specific subject.

Anything that makes sense for you. Others might not get it but it doesn’t matter.

It must be important enough for you.

I love running. When I see someone running I feel jealous it’s not me even if I already ran on that day. I try not to make running my identity but inevitably it became a huge part of who I am.

Still there are days I have no desire to run.

Rarely but they appear like a sneaky little grey cloud on a blue sky that no one invited.

Do I stop running? Do I give myself a free day? Maybe I should and I give that advice to all runners who seem to have lost their running mojo. I also don’t ask myself why I run even if I should. Running  became a habit, daily pattern so natural like taking a shower and just like a shower I treat it like a part of my hygiene. Mental hygiene.

Running is not something that I loved from the first step but once I came to like it it was already engraved into me.

So when I lack motivation I don’t ask myself why I run or should I take the day off.Just because. I might be making a mistake but I like it. If you, on the other hand, are looking for a motivation believe me if I say: motivation doesn’t count. Sure, it’s a nice spice for your daily routine and it’s important to have a goal, but motivation is overrated.

Consistency is key. Keep showing up. Every damn day.

Game changer

I think we should all make an investment in something that will make us live better, feel better, run and recover better. I mean a really powerful tool: sleep.

Sleep is my favourite.

My grandma used to tell me that sleep is the best skin care you can get.

True but it’s much more that that. Lack of sleep has a true domino effect on your life, if you fix that everything else becomes easier.

Sleep and your appetite. To be concise I’ll tell you only that our appetite is regulated by 2 hormones and lack of sleep destabilizes the level of the hormone that makes you feel satiated.

So if you don’t sleep enough you feel hungry even though you have eaten enough. When I don’t sleep enough I crave sugar as a quick ‘pick-me-up’ solution.

Sleep and your time reaction Researches show (I always wanted to use that phrase) that sleep deprived people have similar time reaction to drunk people.You probably have seen it on your own example: if you haven’t slept it’s hard to focus and remember things, simple tasks can take you a long time and you’re moody. What’s worse you can’t just make up for a week of insomnia by sleeping in during the weekend. Consistency, even if so boring, is always the key.

Why we actually have to sleep?

The debate is still open on that.For a long time we thought it was all about regeneration of our bodies but the newest researches shows that the main reason might be different. Every day we see different things, receive a lot of informations and stimuli. It seems that sleep is the moment we’re saving those informations on our internal hard disk. Crazy idea, right? Consider this: we use only a small amount of our brain and during sleep our brain activity and overall body activity doesn’t just stop, it goes on.We’ve managed to land on the moon but we still are not sure how and why our brain and body function.

Did you know that the idea of sleeping 7-8 hours per night is quite new notion? It’s a XX century ‘invention’, before that time it was believed that 4 hours will be enough.

Ok, so how many hours per night do you sleep?

Are you waking up rested?

Do you wake up during the night?

Are you a sound sleeper or anything can wake you up?

Lazy runner

Days are getting longer and warmer.

Races are approaching.

And all I want to do is stay on the couch, read and watch films on YouTube.

I know, that’s the motivation you’ve been looking for.

Honestly there’s no reason to be lazy: the weather is great, running is going well and I no longer have those pains in the left quad that were making me so anxious.

Have you ever experienced this state of laziness? Partially I blame the weather for this, spring has come early (not complaining) and now is playing hide&seek with us

Once I’m out running I still enjoy it but I find it so difficult to get out! On the other hand, on the rest days I can’t wait to be running again!

I have some suspicions to why it happens

  • I sleep poorly these days, melatonin helps but I still wake up too early
  • Changing weather makes me moody
  • I lost my morning routine which makes me procrastinate in the morning
  • I eat more sugary stuff
  • The last dentist visit resulted in taking a lot of painkillers which I usually don’t take and my body feels ‘out of normal’

Out of that list I think that poor sleep is the most aggravating of all and the most difficult to manage for me. I can more easily deal with other issues but sleep. Damn, sleep is so powerful mood boosting and recovery tool. Sleep is my favourite.

Food trends: do you follow?

If you pay attention to new healthy crazes on Instagram or Youtube you probably know that celery juice is the new black. Celery prices are going over the roof because someone made a claim that celery juice will change your health.

I guess eating more vegetables is always better than having less of them and green juice a day won’t hurt anyone.

Do you want to have a brief round of recent health trends with me? Let’s see what’s been going on recently in the fitness world.

Celery juice

To juice or not to juice…

It supposed to help you with

  • Inflammation
  • Gut health
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Pay your taxes (I was just checking if you were reading)

From what I read and heard from  people who had it form some weeks it can be good to your health. In my opinion though any vegetable juice is low in fructose, has a lot of vitamins. So if you fancy a celery juice (a round of applause), go for it, you can’t go wrong with vegetable juice. I think that like with all of Instagram trends there’s no solid proof (aka long term research non based on animals) to prove its miracle benefits.

Chia seeds


They became healthy few years back among runners as a perfect source of Omega 3 and a great way to stay hydrated. Why? If you ever put chia seeds in a liquid you’ll know that they absorb it. So if you add them to your smoothie, porridge or even water you’ll ingest a sort of gelatin consistency. In theory that could keep you more satiated for longer. It’s like a gift that keep on giving. Plus they are a source of micro nutrients and vitamins like zinc or phosphorus. They do contain Omega 3 but the short- chained ones (ALA) that must be converted into long-chained Omega 3 (EPA and DHA) before our body can use them.

And they are still quite expensive, rightly so because they grow in Central America.

Superfoods, both because of the way they are sourced (high standards cost) and because they support local agriculture shouldn’t be cheap.

Are they worth the hype? Yes, but if you want add Omega 3 to your diet take flax seeds as they contain more Omega 3.

Grind them in the blender and add to your salad, smoothie. Hydration? There’s no way around it. Drink water, eat fruits!

Intermittent fasting

Again, I’m a fan of intermittent fasting,meaning a way of eating where you alter the period (or a window) in which you eat with a period when you don’t. I theory we all do that every day, that’s why we break fast every morning after hours of non eating. Still, real benefits of fasting can be obtained after at least 10 hours of not eating. What are they?

  • Your muscles adapt better to burn fat
  • Improvement of gut hormones levels and insulin sensitivity: that’s why intermittent fasting is often advised to diabetics
  • Your body uses better the surplus of the energy from the food

These are the main ones but definitely not the only ones.The thing with IF is that it’s not a weight loss diet and so many people think it is. It can help you to improve your hunger levels but it won’t do the work for you!

I have to be honest, I’m a fan of all of above mentioned trends, they will do you no harm and potentially can make you healthier. Try them, maybe they will work for you. What I always ask from myself and others is critical thinking. No one gives you a free pass on that. Don’t bottle down juice and expect to be healed. Check your sources, don’t take anyone’s word for it, not even mine. I’m not a dietitian, I just like nutrition, I read. Do your own research!

Packing for a race

I normally pack in one bag but by normally I mean not for a race.Do I even travel anymore if not for a race? Anyway..if you have this problem I think I might have a solution

What you actually need?

Make a race list and if you don’t have an app for this download a…grocery shopping list, mine is called MyGroceries (#shocking) and it works just fine both for shopping and for race packing.

Take no more than 2 sets of clothing for the race, it’s not a beauty contest. If the weather changes drastically you might get something from the race expo. Hint: check out if you have everything once arrived at the hotel and before heading out for the race expo.

Recap: you need your running clothes, energy gels, of course your shoes and other gadgets like cap, gloves, chafing gel, gps watch and charger for it.

And of course your shoes. My personal advice if you take plane for the race: always put your shoes in the hand luggage. If your main luggage gets lost you can always buy running clothes but buying and running in the new pair of shoes is a bad bad bad idea.

Imagine them gone..

What should be on your ‘emergency list’?
Ahhh, emergencies. Don’t we love them. All the unplanned problems like gut issues, flu, sore throat. You might notice that I mention all possible health issues. The thing is all the other running related emergencies you can resolve easily aka buy stuff. If you, on the other hand, have fever, something you ate made you puke, ecc. it’s better to have something on hand. I know, I sound like a grandma. Call me running grandma.

Things I put on my emergency list? Painkillers,pills for urinary infections and anti-fever pills. You might say that if you need those you shouldn’t run and you’re probably right. Sometimes you’ll decide non to run and it’s ok, sometimes you take one pill and your ready to go the day after . No matter what will be your choice you still need a pill

A ‘nice-to-have’ list

Not so important as emergency list but I would argue that you still need to think about it. It’s all about relaxing and feeling a bit less overwhelmed and more like at home when you’re away. You know best how to achieve it. For me it’s a herbal tea and a good book the night before, for you it might me and essential oil or your favorite good mood play list. Something to chill is easy to find, just remember to take it with you!

My go-to de-stress set before the race

What’s on your list to pack for a race?

Do you have an emergency list?

How do you relax before the race?

5 for Friday!

Podcast

One of my favourite YouTubers, The Lean Machines, have finally launched  podcast!

Leon and John are personal trainers and movement aficionados from UK and on their channel you’ll find great advice for training, nutrition and life. They have a great sense of humor and some distance to this crazy fitness world. If you don’t know them yet it’s time to make amends!

App

NTC, Nike training center. I used to train with the old version refusing to switch for the new one but I finally had to..the old one stopped to function. I shouldn’t have waited for so long! I use mainly 15-20 min long workouts for abs and legs (sometimes arms) and I really like the. The best part: they have stretching incorporated which means I can’t skip it..which I would always do.

Food

Oriental-ish, that’s what I would call many of my favourite dishes recently. Miso soups, ramen, lots of veggies, lots of spices. Last few weeks has been cold and I was craving hot soups. It’s not difficult to prepare once you got some essentials: soy sauce, rice, rice sheets, miso paste, noodles, fresh ginger. Cook your favourite vegetables in water with miso paste and fresh ginger, add your protein of choice (or not),throw in noodles for the last 5 minutes and it’s done.

Another thing I’ve been doing with my veggies is changing the form of serving: chop them differently if your bored and instead of salad wrap them up in the rice paper, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Most of the time the ingredients are the same, only the form of serving them change.

#lesswaste

Do you wash your face or/and remove makeup? I do and recently instead of traditional  cleansing balm and face wash I decided to go naked.

That means go for products without plastic packaging. Once more my beloved Lush came to rescue. First I go with solid cleansing oil ‘Like a virgin’

Like a Virgin solid face oil
Movis soap: loooove it

and once I removed all the dirt,makeup I clean my face with Movis soap. Both products are incredibly gentle yet effective, they have no packaging and easy to travel with. If you know any other similar products let me know!

Athlete: Latoya Shauntay Snell @iamlshauntay

I knew her already from Rich Roll’s podcast but her Ista Stories got my attention recently. She’s a badass woman and incredible athlete.

Actually athlete is just a part of her life; she runs, she writes, she’s a professional cook

Runner who is a living proof that when it comes to running it’s your will that makes all the difference. She fights prejudice about race, sex, prejudice. She struggles with more than that. Do you know what endometriosis is? I’ll let you do the research and think about it next time you’ll search for an excuse for not running.

she’s so fierce!

What are your favorites?

Plans for the weekend? Anyone racing or cooking something good?

I want them all

..especially electronic devices: gps, power meters, massagers, oxygen levels measures, compression sleeves. All the hydration belts, caps, earphones,glasses.

Oh, and socks, never enough socks, right?

I want all the gadgets and if I only had a black American Express and could switch off my conscience..  

Are you tempted by the gadgets? If so, let’s take a look at what might be useful and what..can wait

Fancy GPS

How fancy? The thing is those new and sophisticated watches cost a lot. How advanced are you with you’re running? Maybe the simple entry level model will do and won’t break a bank. If you’re running for some time now and you’re doing long runs, intervals, tempo runs or you’re thinking about multi-sport then maybe the more expensive watch is a good idea. Think twice and if you have doubts research first, I can recommend the DC Rainmaker blog for everything tech related.

Bottom line: you’d probably don’t need that fancy watch if you’re a beginner

New running clothes…that you actually don’t need. In every race pack I got a technical t-shirt and most of the pants/shorts don’t wear out that easily. In general running clothes last. Have you noticed that although you probably own numerous running t-shirts you wear the same 3 all the time? I justify owning more and more technical winter gear as it dries slowly and the temperature can change from chilly to super cold overnight and you need something really good for keeping the sweat away when it’s cold outside. Apart from that: save your money on running clothes and put them into running shoes fund, you’ll need them!

Bottom line: save your money!

Compression sleeves/socks There are compression socks that you wear during a run and other types for recovery. Nowadays they don’t cost a lot and you can get them on sale and, in a opinion of someone with big calves aka me, they do make a difference. From what I understood they prevent the lactic acid from accumulation and help blood circulation. It’s worth give them a try, especially if you have circulation problems. If you don’t, just use them when needed, like during your long run.

Bottom line: worth a try!

Massagger (like Compex, Mark Pro, ecc.) This one is fancy and potentially useful. And deadly to your wallet. I said  ‘potentially useful’ because it all depends on level, intensity and frequency of your activities. The more you do the more useful it can be. Do you work out numerous times per week, find yourself fighting with cramps, sore muscles? Do you invest a lot into sport massage sessions? Maybe you also have a partner who work out? You do cross fit, running, biking, weight lifting? If you answered ‘yes’ to more than one of the above questions then you might consider a compex or similar. It’s costly but effective.

Bottom line: it depends.

All the supplements and protein powders

I’m convinced we all should supplement Vit D (combined with vit K) as we don’t get enough sun exposure to synthesize it. Magnesium supplement could be a good idea if you work out and have some trouble to fall asleep.

And then it all depends on your blood results and what you do (sports, life). In general it’s hard to overdose vitamins but ask your doctor anyway (and don’t sue me). If you’re an athlete try your best to eat balanced diet. Do you need protein shakes? I personally take them after a long run because I can’t stomach anything solid. But for me long run starts at 21 km or more. Stop obsessing over losing muscle, make them in the first place. Get your veggies, fruits and invest in good food. If it’s not enough look for protein shakes and other powders.

Bottom line: real food first, astronaut food later!

If you were never tempted by all the running gadgets than I seriously envy you. There are times I’d buy all the things I don’t need but then I open my wardrobe and see so many running clothes I don’t know what to do with. I have a new GPS watch. I try to supplement the essentials and not to go overboard with all the new superfoods, I’d rather spend more on the farmers market. Anything new on my wishlist? Sure but I don’t have limitless resources and at the end of the day I tell myself that the most important things in my running is my body and mind, I must take care of them first.