Time to take a break

What sports to step into when you need to step away from running

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

So, the next race I want to run is in November. I have a while, but I just can't get into it. This brings up a great topic. When is it time to take a break from running? Here are the top reasons why you should:

  1. After a big race- Let's face it. You are just over it.
  2. During and coming back from an injury- We all want to keep going, but you have to stop if you want to get better.
  3. If you have a bad attitude or low motivation- You are obviously bored.
  4. You are not seeing progress- This could be a symptom of overtraining.
  5. You need to drop some serious weight and tone- You have hit a plateau and running can only take you so far.
  6. You are prepping for a race, but you have an early start.- This is a great opportunity to pick up another sport for a couple of months before your training begins.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it is time to pick up another sport. Don't worry, you are still a runner. Here are my suggestions on other sports that are not only a new challenge, but they also compliment your running addiction and will improve your running performance.

It's funny. All runners think alike. When I wanted to discuss this topic, I took to the internet. I knew which sports that I wanted to highlight, but I found this article by this guy who writes for Men's Running UK named Tom Bristow. He chose the exact same sports to discuss. This is me giving him his props.


Walking

I know walking. I built a business on it. Let me tell you a little bit about walking. It is not for wimps. If done correctly, walking is a full body workout that can burn anywhere from 90 to 200 calories. (Depending on whose walking). It reduces body fat and improves balance. It builds stronger bones and muscles in the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Its great when done with others.

In Houston: I would say this, but join Houston Tourism Gym on a walking adventure.

Cycling

Cycling improves the muscles that you already use for running by making them stronger. It gives the hips and knees a break from the impact of pounding on the pavement. It improves flexibility and coordination as well as builds leg muscles. If you want massive, sexy calves like Fred, then try cycling.

In Houston: Try a social bike ride like Critical Mass or Tour de Taco.


Swimming

This activity is great for runners. Although it is a full body workout, swimming gives your running muscles a break while working out different sets of muscles. It strengthens muscles and joints. For runners, its a great alternative because it increases your cardio endurance and your VO2 Max. Swimming is also a fun and relaxing pastime. Lastly swimming is great for cooling off in hot-ass Houston.

In Houston: If you do not have a pool of your own, you can access one at your local gym or recreation centers like Emancipation Recreation Center.


Rowing:

Another full body workout that is great for runners. If you are injured, you get to get off your feet. But, don't discount this activity. When done right, it will work your entire body. It is best for improving respiratory function and body composition. If your goal is fat loss, rowing torches calories.

You can find a rowing machine at most gyms, but if you want the real thing, you can rent a kayak at The Waterworks at Buffalo Bayou and spend a day on the water.


Boxing:

Remember the scene where Rocky is running stairs at the Philadelphia Art Museum…running is a part of a boxer's training. So I guess runners should include boxing in their training. This is definitely a good idea if a runner wants to improve his or her speed and running posture. Improve your agility with the fancy footwork of a boxer. Learn better ways to breath. There is no other way to relieve stress than boxing. It strengthens your mental muscle and boost confidence. Lastly, boxing teaches you self defense when you find yourself on a lonely road.

In Houston: You could order equipment and box and home or you can get proper training from a boxing gym like Title Boxing Club.

So, before I get into some heavy training, I'm choosing a couple of these activities to get into. I'll let you know how it turns out. Please let me know which ones you have tried. Send your emails to info@tourismgymhtx.com.

H-Town Run Tourist

Are you an H-Town Run Tourist?

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

You may have noticed that I have begun calling my column: H-Town Run Tourist. H-Town Run Tourist describes my relationship with the city I live in, the sport of running, and myself. Below is a list of the characteristics of an H Town Run Tourist. Read and decide if you if you are a run tourist too.

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You are super curious.

If you are anything like me, you love to discover new running or walking routes. What is this? What is that? Who painted that? When did that open? What does that taste like? Sometimes I feel like I am a dog that has her nose in the grass ready to smell just about anything.

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You started running to find yourself.

A lot of people spend a lot of time running away from themselves. But, if you are like me, you starting running to run into yourself. (Clever, huh) If you missed it, what I mean is that maybe you started running for your health, a mid life crisis, a divorce, or for your mental health.

When I was in Africa, I asked many of the other runners why they were running in Victoria Falls. I got many answers, all of them were amazing. However, one gentleman answered that he and his wife always wanted to run a marathon. She had died the year before and he was running for her. (I know, I need a tissue too.)

You are just not that competitive.

When I thought about it, I found that I am not competitive with other runners as to be the best. I am more interested in how well I can beat my best self. I am always competing with myself. I feel that once you make it to the start line, you have already won. (many things can happen before the start line.) Many times, I "compete" with how much I can enjoy the experience of the race and still stick to a timetable. I love reading signs, taking pics with new friends, and chatting with people at the before and after party.

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You love to think and dream. BIG.

If you are like me, you love to dream and think BIG. If you are running a long distance, you have time to dream. I quickly found that I could let my mind go. When you are on the open road for hours training, you find that it is the best place to solve problems. Then, I began to dream big. I quickly decided that I wanted to run around the world. I set the intention and I was able to achieve that goal. I also use it to meditate. I love studying flowers and trees for their fractal patterns. It helps get the best endorphin high.

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You have wanderlust.

Let me get this straight. If I strap on my running shoes, walk out of my door, and just keep going, I'll end up in this cool place. If I can do that here, where else can I go? This rabbit hole is worth going down. Where is the next race? In Houston? In Austin? In a national park? In a jungle? Overseas? It never ends.

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You can totally put yourself first.

This sounds crappy. Co-dependent people confuse this with being selfish. Healthy minded individuals know that true self care means to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others. Others will try to get in your way by guilt tripping you to spend more time with them, but know that you have to be in a good place to help others or it just will not work.

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You are truly grateful for......everything.

Chances are, you don't even know that you practice gratitude. It just comes naturally. If you are anything like me, you starting running out of hardship, almost necessity. But, along the way, you could not help but notice the trees, the flowers, and the birds. You just had to stop and smell the roses. Gratitude comes naturally to you!

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You are Houston Proud and Houston Strong.

If you are like me, you love you some Houston, Texas. Whether you are running in Memorial Park to Buffalo Bayou Park or in the Chevron Houston Marathon. You could be running downtown Houston passing by originals by Gonzo 247, David Adickes, or Daniel Anguilu. You know one thing…..You would not live in another city in this country. In fact, you can't wait until this weekend to do your weekend long run and enjoy all the Houston craft beer that goes with it.

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