TWIR #113: is this week over yet?

The thing about going a mile a minute for a couple weeks straight is that you’re bound to crash. And this week I crashed. This was the week I lost my energy, motivation and desire to do anything other than lay on the couch mindlessly watching TV. The only unfortunate part is that I’m still working on three jobs, writing this blog, and trying not to lose the fitness I’m starting to gain. In other words, laying around mindlessly all day hasn’t been an option. Also in other words, this week has been really long and tiring.

Let’s see what my body got up to to try to keep the old mind focused, shall we?

Saturday
Activity: hike!
Relevant Stats: 10-11 km, 400ish m elevation gain
Observations: We hit the road and drove out to a local trail that was supposedly very challenging and that supposedly featured great views. The trail turned out to be far easier than expected, though it was considerably longer than what I’ve hiked lately, but we never made it right to the end so I can neither confirm nor deny the views. My better half hit a part of the trail he did not like, and I did try to quickly get to the end on my own, but I realized that it was still a lot farther to the end, and I couldn’t leave him standing on the trail alone forever. Especially with the mosquitoes.  Good lord, the mosquitoes. I hadn’t experienced swarms of mosquitoes so terrible since the summit of Mount Allan on Centennial Ridge (a stunning hike, by the way, aside from the bugs).  They were fearless vultures, landing on us en masse whether we were moving or not. Ugh. Aside from the bugs, it was a great outing and definitively proved hiking is getting easier again.

Sunday 
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: cozy rain day
Observations: Sunday was supposed to be gross, which hasn’t happened here in a while and which seemingly justified a day of doing nothing. I luxuriated in laziness, making waffles, baking a cake, meal planning, and watching hours of golf. It was a lovely day of rest for this tired body and mind.

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 50 min.
Observations: I was feeling good about my strength and fitness on Monday so I decided to up my weights on step ups and single leg squats, and also combine them with split lunges, back squats, dead lifts, and single leg dead lifts. My poor glutes. They didn’t hurt so badly in the moment, but man were they tender by the end of the day!  I was sort of proud of myself, but also sort of annoyed because it hurt to do basic things like, you know, sitting down. I suppose this is where that stupid expression ‘no pain no gain’ comes from, right?

Tuesday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: My glutes were still sore as hell for this workout, but I thought spin would be just the ticket to loosen them up. Spoiler alert: spin does not loosen your glutes, especially if you do a ton of standing hovers and epic hill climbs.  In keeping with my gym wifi woes, my Apple Music failed to function yet again, which left me super irritated and robbed of spin music variety. I really, really need to update my playlists on my phone so that my workout vibes aren’t hampered by spotty wifi, and yet I’ve been thinking that for months and I’ve made no progress so I’m not holding my breath.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 55 min.
Observations: Well, I got my money’s worth in this workout. For one, it was inexplicably 10 minutes longer than usual. On top of that, I asked last week for lower body in our next session and my trainer certainly delivered. Unfortunately, she chose to listen to me during a week when I’d absolutely slayed my glutes already. They were even more tender going into this workout then they’d been the day before. She started me off pulling the sled loaded with way more weight than usual (though she claimed that it wasn’t that much heavier), incorporated some heinous resistance band forward and backward low squat walking, and then also kettle bell lifts, kettle bell squats and glute bridges. My hamstrings and glutes were toast by the end of this one.  Let this be a lesson to us all: be careful what you wish for.

Thursday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: I didn’t have time to do a full workout, so I gave my all to this 35 minutes. Sometimes when I know that my time is limited, I am able to push myself 100 times harder than I would with extra time.  This was that workout. I finally (!!!!) got my Apple Music reliably working and I used some of the longest and most epic Guns n’ Roses tunes to fuel some seriously tough progressive hill climbs. I’m talking 14 minute progressive hill climbs.  I tried to switch up my musical choices at the end to fit in some sprints but my legs legitimately had nothing left in them. On the plus side, my glutes finally relaxed a bit, so I considered this workout a success on many fronts.

Friday
Activity: hike!
Relevant Stats: 8.5 km!
Observations:  Fridays are my new favourite workout day. We’ve gotten into a good rhythm of hitting the trails together and, depending on my workload, our hikes vary in length, but we got in a good one today. It’ll probably mean working a bit this weekend but it was worth it to get out there for a good chunk of trail before the rain descends this weekend.  And, if I must say, we really hauled ass…well, once my tired hamstrings and glutes woke up, that is. Hiking success!

The weekend is now upon us and, here at least, it’s looking like a total rain fest. At first, I was quite upset by this, but I suddenly see the potential to be lazy yet again, to perhaps completely finish one of my projects so that I can go back to having a reasonable two jobs, run stairs again (because rain = not too hot) and maybe even to find a new guilty pleasure on Netflix.  Yes, I lead a wild life. Happy weekend y’all! Get out there (or stay in) and do what you love.

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Training Tuesdays: when things start to feel easier

It is hard to stay motivated towards fitness goals when things feel hard. Who hasn’t gone out for a run at some point and struggled to make it to a half hour, only to return home utterly discouraged and wishing you could just give up running altogether? Who hasn’t been so sore from a workout that you wondered if it was even worthwhile, if it would ever start to feel good to exercise?

For me, the last couple of years have been a constant battle to keep putting in the work on my strength even though I rarely felt like I was getting stronger, to keep hitting the trails to build up hiking endurance even though every hike reminded me just how little endurance I had.  I’ll be honest, particularly when it came to hiking, the delta between where I used to be and where I am now was at times so vast I almost lost my hiking mojo completely.

But there is this magical thing that happens over time when you stick to whatever your activity of choice happens to be: things start to feel easier.  You have a moment where you suddenly think to yourself ‘hey, this isn’t as painful/tiring/hard/challenging as it used to be!’ It can happen in a moment and serve as a spark to keep you pushing forward.

I was lucky enough to have two of these moments in the last week. The first occurred while running stairs.  It sucked. My lungs were burning. My legs felt like dead weight.  But as I stood there trying to regain my breath at the top of the stairs, I realized something big: I had run to the top of that set of stairs several more times than on my last outing. Even though it still felt really hard, I was making progress. I was doing more and feeling no worse as a result.

The second moment occurred on our weekend hike when I realized that all those easy trails that we’d been hiking, the ones I thought were doing nothing for my hiking fitness, were actually making a difference.  My legs weren’t tired. This longer and slightly more challenging trail felt comfortable. Did I feel ready to tackle a 30km day hike like I used to? No. But I could tell I was making progress.

These moments when things feel easier, when you can tell you are making progress, are the ones that can keep you going when things feel hard, when you feel discouraged, or when you inevitably have another bad workout day.  Bottle that feeling to pull out when you need it most and you just might find yourself a bit more inspired to go harder, push your boundaries, and to just keep going.

TWIR #112: bring on the weekend

Hello and happy Friday, my friends! It has been yet another week filled with long days of work and I, for one, am thrilled that Friday has rolled out around again and that, quite blissfully, I have zero plans.

I set a goal this week of two after-work walks and accomplished neither, so I’m feeling like a big old activity failure this week, aside from my normal workouts, that is. It’s amazing just how sedentary one can be when she is highly focused on her work. I sort of miss the days when I was bored out of my mind and had nothing to do at work. I tended to go for a lot more walks back then…Okay, okay, I don’t really miss that because boredom at work is nothing but soul crushing. Enough ramblings, let’s get on to the workouts!

Saturday
Activity: hike!
Relevant Stats: 10. 3 km
Observations:  My parents were visiting for some weekend adventures, so we packed them up in the car bright and early and took them out to a local park where we pieced together several trails to form a pretty decent hike. While it wasn’t a great idea to hike 10 km before eating breakfast, we at least avoided the heat and crowds. We rounded out our day with some winery visits, and since hiking + wine is pretty much my perfect day, it was a good start to the weekend.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: all of the wine + gelato
Observations: We replaced our morning hike with morning waffles (homemade of course), which I feel is a worthy substitute on a Sunday, and then hit the road to visit even more wineries.  Yay! We even took my parents to our favourite gelato place which was predictably delicious (strawberry custard + milk chocolate for the win). And then I made a ton of pizzas for dinner. Wine, pizza, gelato, waffles. What a day…at least, if you don’t think about the fact that I was barely active…

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 50 min.
Observations: With my parents safely on their way back home, I dove straight back into work. And with a busy work day came the absolute need for a solid workout. This strength workout focused on slow and controlled movements since my SI had been feeling a bit stiff, and mostly targeted my legs and glutes. As I’ve been upping cardio, I’ve been worried I haven’t been spending enough time focusing on strength. This workout was my way of telling my stablizing muscles that I hadn’t forgotten about them.

Tuesday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats:  45 min.
Observations: Spin first thing in the morning is the worst. It takes my legs some time to wake up and spin requires legs that are awake. To add insult to injury, I had this grand plan of spinning to some classic G n’ R, which required Apple music, but the gym’s wifi was being a total jerk. I had to use the boring old music stored on my phone and I was just not pleased. Still, I held on for the full 45 minutes and getting my workout of the way allowed me to power through a work day full of calls (seriously, 7 hours of phone calls. ugh.).

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: This was all arrrrrrms. Why?????? My trainer claimed she was trying to balance out my strength but I genuinely like that my lower body is stronger than my upper body.  It serves me far better to have strong legs than strong arms. This week she also introduced some ridiculous contraption filled with water, which is apparently called a slosh pipe, and which seemed like it would be easy but was far from it. I was supposed to hold it out with my arms fully extended, but these arms of mine were having none of that so we had to significantly modify to allow me to bend my arms. It was both embarrassing and a relief.  I told her that next week my whole damn workout better be legs. Sigh.

Thursday
Activity: stairs
Relevant Stats: 32 min.
Observations: Well, I learned what time not to go to the stairs.  There was a group of dudes who were going balls out sprinting to the top, which made me feel like the world’s slowest human. That said, the stairs are getting ever-so-slightly less horrible, even though I am still a far cry from my former level of stair-running fitness. I forced myself to keep going even when my legs wanted to give up and I consider that extra two minutes beyond a half hour a prize-worthy victory.

Friday
Activity: mini hike
Relevant Stats: 6 km
Observations: I expected my legs to be far worse today but they were ready to roll even on an early morning hike. We did one of our favourite short loops which has a reasonable climb and lots of excellent scenery, and there is something particularly rewarding about finishing off a trail workout before 8:30 am.  I consider this an excellent kick start to the weekend.

With that, I am off to enjoy the fruits of my labour this weekend. Wishing you all sunshine, warm weather and much fun this weekend. See y’all next week!

TWIR #110: all of the walking and all of the beer and cider

Hello and happy Friday! I kicked off this week of workouts in Portland, where I did very little actual working out but a very lot of walking on the daily, and lifting glasses to my lips. Bicep curls, right? The rest of the week seemed to be a slow recovery from the excessive  beer/cider sampling and I’m fairly certain that I don’t need another beer for a very long time (although talk to me this weekend when temperatures are supposed to be close to 30 degrees…).  But if you are heading to Portland any time soon, I am sorry because I do not believe there is any sour ale or cider left in the city. I drank all of it.

Enough preamble, let’s get to it!

Saturday
Activity: all of the walking
Relevant Stats: about 16 km
Observations: We set off to explore Portland on foot, and did we ever succeed! We discovered you can walk anywhere if you’re willing to, you know, just suck it up and walk.  It helps when on the other side of walking there is a cold beer or cider waiting for you. And there was. There was so, so, so much cider and beer.  I believe we visited at least four breweries, but it could easily have been five or six, and I know we visited three cideries. In case you were wondering, yes that was a lot for one afternoon, particularly when coupled with hot sunshine, a lot of walking, and definitely not enough water. But was it also worth it? Hell yes. Also, Canada has a lot of work to do on the sour ale front. I was astounded by the number of sour ales and super interesting flavour profiles. Mmmm, sour ale…

Sunday
Activity: all of the walking again
Relevant Stats: 18 km
Observations: We didn’t have a full day so we had to maximize our time with an epic walk to a new neighborhood in search of the supposedly best ice cream (Salt & Straw). I did not feel fantastic, care of Saturday’s adventures, but also did not feel awful. The walking helped I think, and man were my feet and legs sore by the end of the day. Obvious suggestion: don’t walk 18km in flip flops. Perhaps not surprisingly after Saturday’s consumption, we drank absolutely no beer or cider on our adventures, but perhaps more surprisingly, I was not willing to stand in the ridiculous line for Salt and Straw. Maybe it was truly the best ice cream I would have had in my life, but I also tend to believe that places with the most hype aren’t always all they’re cracked up to be. In my mind, it wasn’t worth a one hour line up and I feel no regrets for taking a hard pass on it.

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations:  Since I took an unplanned rest day on the weekend, I wanted to kick off the week with a solid workout. And did I ever. This workout was legs and glutes, and then more legs and glutes. I think I was just so excited that two days of walking in flip flops hadn’t thrown my SI into total disarray that I figured I might as well wage a full assault on my tired legs and glutes.

Tuesday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I’d like to thank the Counting Crows for this spin session. I know, they don’t sound like a good upbeat spin music choice, but if you’re selective about the tracks I can promise you’ll get a good mix of sprints and hills out of it. This is exactly what I did and my lungs and legs were burning by the end, and I was also a sweaty disaster. Seriously, my face was red for at least an hour afterwards. It felt like good penance for a weekend of gluttony.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: My trainer has finally realized just how leg dominant I am. She was constantly astounded by my willingness to keep doing leg work and to find most of the leg work totally doable. When it came to my arms, however, I was all whining and complaining. At least this week she had a good mix of upper and lower body exercises, unlike last week’s arm-only ridiculousness.

Thursday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I went back to some pretty bad 90s and early 2000s rock to make this spin workout a major success. I’m actually too embarrassed to admit my musical choices this time around. At any rate, I did so many hills and sprints that I was actually a bucket of sweat by the time I wrapped this one up. It felt like my best spin session in a long time, and like I might actually be starting to get some cardio fitness back.  Hurrah!

Friday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I am beyond shocked that today’s workout was as fantastic as it was.  I had to go to the gym first thing in the morning to fit in my workout, which usually means sluggishness and a lacklustre effort. I have no idea what was going on for me today, but I killed this workout. I even added weight to my single leg squats and voluntarily did box jumps. Who am I?

Can I just say how absolutely pumped I am that it is Friday. Despite the positive, chipper tone on this TWIR, this was by far the longest and most exhausting work week that I can recall for a very long time. I have worked more and worked harder than I have had to in the last two years. My workouts have been the only thing to keep me sane. I am looking forward to some solid downtime this long weekend (sadly not all downtime, since I will still have to work. Ugh.), and hopefully a little more movement.  My workouts were great this week but, aside from the workouts, I’ve barely moved from my desk. There have been days when I’ve walked less than a kilometre. It is shameful and also just not good for me. Here’s to a weekend of walking…maybe just with less beer and cider.

Happy weekend y’all!

Training Tuesdays: celebrating small victories

I’ve been dealing with injury recovery cycles for over two years. Sometimes I am still shocked when I remind myself that it’s been that long. That’s two years of trying to build up strength, improve my form, deal with imbalances, trying to run then giving up running again, trying to hike then giving up hiking again, and dealing with way, way, way too many days when I’d wake up so sore and stiff that I’d wonder if I’d ever be ‘normal’ again.

Just this weekend I had this small moment that I consider a victory for my chronic injury: I realized that, more often than not now, I wake up without stiffness, soreness or pain. I remember, for the longest time, I’d get out of bed and the first thing I’d notice was that my sciatic was tight or that my SI was stiff.  It was like I had to warm up just to perform basic daily life functions like walking to the bathroom, taking a shower, or getting dressed for work. It became my new normal, and I always hated it. In my opinion, there are few things more frustrating than being told you are doing everything you should be doing to improve your injury and then still waking up sore every. single. day.

Lately, though, the days when I wake up with stiffness or soreness are fewer and farther between.  It happened so gradually that I just hadn’t noticed. I can swing my legs off the bed recklessly. I can get up and walk without hobbling. I can even kick my day off with a workout (though I rarely choose that time of day willingly).  It is both a small thing but also a pretty big thing for the chronically injured. So I’m going to celebrate it today, and I’m going to continue to express some serious gratitude for every pain free morning I notice.

For anyone out there who is suffering from a bad injury, or dealing with a chronic injury that you just can’t seem to kick, perhaps this will give you hope. After more than two years of doing the work, paying attention to what works and what doesn’t, constantly learning from successes and failures and, above all, being patient, I wake up pain-free like a normal person most mornings. It’s slow progress, but it’s progress nonetheless. You can find it too.

TWIR #109: Short Work Week for the Win!

I like my job. I really do. But even when I like my job, I am still excited by a short work week. This week is a three-day work week which makes everything just a little more tolerable, and even made me more motivated to fit in lots of decent workouts before we skip town for a mini-getaway. Let’s see what I got up to!

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: golf + roller shade shopping
Observations: I thought I would want to hike in the sunshine, but honestly I wanted to do nothing at all. That said, it was a gorgeous, sunny day so I had to get out there and do something. We opted for 9 holes of golf, and then spent several frustrating hours trying to track down roller shades for our patio, only to find everywhere had sold out already. Ugh.  We then drowned our sorrows in the sunshine (unfiltered by a screen, I might add) with lots and lots of chilled beverages.

Sunday
Activity: stairs!
Relevant Stats: 36 minutes
Observations: I claimed that extra minute beyond 35 minutes, because holy hell stairs suck. I remember a time when I used to run stairs weekly, when I used to drag my coworkers along and try to get them excited about running up and down stairs until we couldn’t feel our legs. What was wrong with me? I did not enjoy these stairs, but as you saw earlier this week, I’m trying to get back into them so I pushed myself as hard as I could for as long as I could. I also think I should get bonus points for doing stairs in the blazing sun.

Monday
Activity: cardio warm up + strength training
Relevant Stats: 10 min. spin + 40 min. strength training
Observations: You know when you totally feel like listening to certain songs and you can envision spinning to them? No? That’s just me? Well, whatever. I had 10 minutes worth of songs I just had to spin to, but then my legs were so tired from the stairs on Sunday that they had no more cardio in them. I switched to strength and hammered my legs with weight instead.

Tuesday
Activity: spin!
Relevant Stats: 42 min. (I think)
Observations: I said “I think” it was 42 minutes  because I stopped the timer on the bike when my Apple music was randomly pausing itself (and completely pissing me off in the process), and then I forgot to start the timer up again. Sometimes technology is more trouble than it’s worth. At any rate, it was a solid spin despite my legs being incredibly tired from weekend stairs and Monday’s leg and glute work.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: OMG, my arms. I firmly believe that trainers have been taught to pay attention to what you hate and throw 100 times more of it at you. I told my new trainer that I hate arm exercises, and sure enough she built an entire workout around my arms. Actually, that’s not true. The start of this workout was all glutes and legs, and holding weighted positions, which made my legs want to fall off, and I was just starting to wish for my poor legs to get a break. So really, I got what I wished for, but instantly realized that the grass is not always greener. I was certain I wouldn’t be able to move my arms by the end of the day.

Thursday
Activity: dog’s breakfast
Relevant Stats: 10 min. spin + 20 min. legs and arms + 10 min abs
Observations: This was one of those days where I felt like I was wandering aimlessly around the gym with no purpose, as sometimes happens when I have to work out first thing in the morning.  Nothing felt great, my SI was a bit tight and I was feeling pressured to fit in a good workout before leaving town. All in all it was a bad combo of mindset and tiredness, but any workout is better than no workout I suppose .

Friday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: Ugh, bench hogs at the hotel gym. Okay, to be fair they were actually using them and they were there first.  But still…it messed up my plan. Regardless, I fit in a decent set of random exercises and I always consider any workout while on holidays a major win.  Especially when the rest of my day may or may not revolve around donuts and ice cream…

With that, the weekend is here (for all of you suckers…mine, on the other hand, started Wednesday night!). As you read this, I’m probably sampling donuts, or craft beer, or small-batch ice cream, or maybe all three at the same time, because why not when you’re on a mini vacay. Happy weekend! May you find fun and sun and whatever activities get you jazzed. Yeah, I said jazzed and I’m sorry for that. But still, have a great weekend!

Training Tuesdays: stairs, stairs, stairs

I fondly remember when I was super crazy fit and genuinely enjoyed running stairs weekly. Yes, I looked forward to my stair running days. It was never easy, per se, but I had built up my fitness to a point where running stairs wasn’t the most excruciatingly awful activity I could imagine. I have no idea who that person was and I am a far cry from her now. However, I am committed to getting back to the occasional stair workout because stair workouts are crazy legit and a great way to build fitness. Also, I live practically next door to a giant (and I mean giant) staircase and it seems like something I should probably take advantage of.

That’s my long-winded way of saying, welcome to my inspiration for this  week’s post on tips for getting stair fit!

Why stairs? 
Okay, let’s just come right out and say it: stairs suck. There. Does that feel better? I hear you. Walking or running stairs does suck. But here’s the thing: it’s also really, really good for your fitness. You’re combining tons of muscle groups with almost instant heart-rate elevation (particularly if you’re just starting out).  I’ve done a fair bit of reading about stair climbing (mostly because I couldn’t figure out why they never seemed to get any easier), and it turns out that stairs are so damn good for you because you are fighting gravity with vertical movement, requiring your muscles to work harder. As a result, you not only increase cardiovascular fitness, but you also build muscle. Even running doesn’t have the same benefits (though it obviously does have many other benefits). So there you have it, stairs are awesome for your health…even though, yes, you’ll probably hate them.

A really important note here, when I say stairs, I mean legit staircases, not stair machines. I have no research to back this up, and am relying only on my own experience, but I have never used a step climber or stair machine that felt anywhere near as difficult as actual stairs. Maybe I haven’t been using the machines correctly, but the motion just doesn’t feel the same. I never feel like you have to propel yourself in the same way as on real stairs. It’s a total bias on my part, but I’m owning it.

How to Build Up your Stair Climbing Superpowers

1. Take it one step at a time (pun intended): This gets the prize for most obvious of tips but I don’t even care: start small and start based on your current fitness level. If you’re super fit already, you’re going to be able to start with running stairs. If you’re starting from square one, you’re going to want to walk before you run. If you’re somewhere in the middle, start with mixed intervals. Regardless, don’t be like me and decide to pick up stair running after a two-year hiatus with a set of 300 stairs. You’ll die. Find a staircase length that fits your fitness and goals and work with that. Build up from there.

2. Mix it up:  Stairs offer opportunities for workout versatility. You can just walk or run, but you can also take two steps at a time. You can do two-legged jumps up a flight or two in between running flights. You can mix in some side steps, and even work in a side lunge motion. I can’t say the sky’s the limit, but I can say there are a lot of variations so that you’re not just mindlessly running up and down a set of stairs. Sometimes that simply gets boring.

3. Work on strength on the side: Sure stairs help your strength, but building strength will also make stairs easier. Squats, lunges, calf raises, wall sits, and virtually any other leg and glute exercises will help build up the muscles that will make stair climbing easier. Note, I did not say they will make stairs easy, just easier. It’s all relative.

Other Tips & Watch-Outs

1. Be prepared for sore muscles from going down stairs: There is something about running down a set of stairs that will really engage some lesser-used muscles. When I first run stairs after a long hiatus, I find myself in some serious pain…but only when I go down another set of stairs. It may not happen to you, but if it does, you’re not alone.

2. Watch your step (literally): The last thing you want to do is fall flat on your face when going up or down stairs. Be careful. Walk before you run. We all have varying levels of balance, equilibrium and grace. If, like me, you are on the lower end of these spectrums, take time to get used to the motion of stair climbing before launching into full-on sprints.

3. Always have water: Long sets of stairs are going to leave you tired and parched, no matter what. I spent years thinking I didn’t need water during workouts. I was wrong. Take a bottle, park it at the top or bottom of the set of stairs you’re using and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

4. Outdoors is always, always better: On my lazier days, I used to run the stair wells in my condo building. All 14 floors of them. It was dark and overly warm and completely uninspiring (not to mention I always had an underlying fear that I would trip and fall and be found dead, crumpled at the bottom of steep concrete stairs, days after my fall). Outside, you can at least distract yourself with people watching, fresh air, birds, traffic, and a million other things that will briefly take your mind off the fact that you’re running stairs. Trust me, finding an outdoor staircase is worth it.

So now that I’ve got you all fired up, get out there and get your stair climbing on!