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Guest Blogger, Iron Mike Stone
 
As Bruce Springsteen once said… glory days, they’ll pass you by… did you ever feel that way?  Kevin played baseball in high school and was always a top athlete… that was 20 years, three kids, and several jobs ago. Sandy, was always active as a kid, but the demands of college changed her priorities fast. Kim, used to love to run and often entered 5k races, but motherhood took her energy in another direction. Weather your glory days were many years ago or just months ago, you can get them back. Whatever your story, and whatever your previous fitness level, you can make a comeback. Here are seven steps that you can use now to get back to those better fitness days. Try them in your own personal sports and training routine to stay motivated and to train well.  
1. Start at your own pace – but START
Don’t be afraid to start slow. Getting out and starting is what counts. Don’t become distracted by what other people are doing or what level they are at. If you’re a runner, start off with a short comfortable distance and pace and increase your mileage each week. If you weight train, begin with light weights and add weight and reps slowly. Make your training your own.
 
2. Set goals and keep a log
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up someplace else! Pick a small goal to start, and after you hit that goal move to a bigger goal.  Next, track your training- it will help encourage you when you see that you’ve been making progress. Be patient with yourself. Some days you may feel happy with your improvements, and other days you may feel slow. Focus on the big picture and always keep up with your workouts. Hint: Check out http://www.dailymile.com for a great way to keep track of your training.
 
3. Join a training group and find a friend
 
Having company and accountability is important. It’s easy to become unmotivated when you know what your body used to be capable of. Some peer pressure can help keep you on track and make great friends. Join a gym, find a training partner, and join a local club. When they run local events, join in. A good group will support you every step of your comeback.
 
4. Make training a priority
It’s easy to become distracted with the various demands of life. When we fall out of the habit of training, other things start becoming more important and it’s hard to get back into the routine of training. Schedule your trainings and make appointments with yourself or with your group. Resist the temptation to skip anything pre-scheduled.  Creating a regular routine for yourself can change your life.

5. Change your diet

Now that you are back to training you need to think about how you fuel your body.  Remember garbage in equal’s garbage out.  Start with slow changes and focus on adding protein and complex carbohydrates to fuel your body. Don’t focus on cutting things out at first as that can sabotage your enthusiasm and your attitude. Put good fuel in your body. Check out “Fast Nutritional Tips” on my blog: 
http://mikes-tri-moto- blog.blogspot.com/p/nutrition.html 
 
6. Setbacks beware-treat them as guideposts not road blocks
Defeat may test you, it need not stop you.  Before you begin your new training plan, be prepared for the day when you will lose focus, miss training, and get discouraged.  By understanding that these obstacles are inevitable on the path to success you can change your reaction to them when they arrive.  Consider them a guidepost to success, check them off as old friends you expected to see along the way. Just be sure to keep moving down the path.
 
7. Believe in yourself–you can do it 

This is the most important step. You were once there and you can get there again. Often we crave instant results, even though we know better. Staying focused will pay off in the long run. Believe in yourself—have faith. Motivation can be a funny thing and it does come and go. Write down some inspirational quotes. Listen to music. As Zig Ziglar once said, “People say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”  

Implement these seven steps right now and you’ll be on your way to your own personal comeback or even more. Who knows, maybe your best glory days are yet to come!
 
Iron Mike Stone is an Ironman Triathlete–  High Performance/Personal Development Trainer/Coach/Motivator — as well as an Independent Financial & Tax Advisor  (MBA & RFC with 22yrs experience) — Check him out at: Mikes Triathlon, Fitness, and Motivational Blog    & http://www.freedomtandf.com/— email him for a complimentary newsletter at mjjstone@yahoo.com

 

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Guest Blogger of the Month, April 2011: Luis Bueno

Running is difficult. I forget that sometimes. I’m not exactly a gazelle prancing through races and long runs, but I’ve logged my share of miles over the last couple of years.

However, running 4-6 miles on any given day is not difficult. I finish those runs and don’t face too many mental or physical challenges.

Sometimes, though, I need a good reminder that running should be and is indeed difficult. And for that, I’ve got the San Francisco Marathon, slated for July 31. I’ve run three marathons in my life, and while the other two marathons were difficult and had their own sets of challenges, San Francisco was a snarling, hilly beast, prepared to do battle against any and all contenders. It was love at first sight.

Perhaps it’s the difficulties the San Francisco Marathon presents that seize my attention. Marathons are difficult enough. Getting to mile 20 is a challenge but the last 6.2 miles is mentally exhausting. The San Francisco Marathon sees those challenges and raises them quite a bit higher.

San Francisco is, of course, notorious for its hills. The mere mention of the city to runners can cause grimaces and shivers. Imagine, then, having to ponder such monstrous challenges that a marathon presents and having to play them out on a never-ending hill. The course is obviously not all uphill, but a sizeable portion is. It’s a steady wave of hills. However, there are also some amazing and unique sights – starting on The Embarcadero and running past Fisherman’s Wharf; smelling the freshly baked sourdough bread past the Boudin bread factory around Mile 2 instantly made my mouth water; houses overlooking the sea on the Presidio; an oasis of flowers that is the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park; trudging around AT&T Park at Mile 25 and of course running across the grandiose and historic Golden Gate Bridge.

The hills are the fun part of the race. Hills add spice to any run, and running up and over a hill can cause you to throw your arms up in celebration. Take that challenge and multiply it by 26.2. and you get the San Francisco Marathon.

Now, perhaps I’m a bit different. Perhaps I’m used to challenges and need a good challenge or three in order to feel like I accomplished something. You see, I used to weigh more than 300 pounds. For most of my life I was overweight but in my mid-20s, the weight skyrocketed and just got out of control. When I was 30, I was a father of two young girls (2 and 6 mos.) and feared setting a bad example for them. With the help of my wife I signed up for a trainer at the local gym, put all my trust and faith in him and off we went. By changing up my diet and exercising, I lost 60 pounds in 2006. In 2007, I lost 60 more all by myself. I was used to the monstrous challenges that weight-loss presents and I conquered them.

I slowly got into running and ran a 5K, a 10K and wanted more challenges. A half marathon followed in April 2009 and then I decided to go for the full, which I ran for the first time in February 2010. After running a marathon, what’s next? An ultramarathon? A triathlon? Short of tackling those superhuman challenges, I thought about taking on what I considered the ultimate marathon. On July 25, 2010 I ran the San Francisco Marathon in 4:37:51, beating my previous time by five minutes. I’ve since beat that time and when I go back to San Francisco for this year’s race, I won’t go there with a PR in mind.

The San Francisco Marathon isn’t where you go to get your PR. It’s where you go to get your Marathoner’s Badge of Honor. I got mine last year and I fully intend on getting another one this summer.

You can follow Luis’s adventures in running at his blog: Muddy Runner and on Twitter at Twitter.com/RunnerLuis.

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