For those of you maintaining a moderate to high level of activity and looking for a little something more there are many options to heighten your fitness routine and keep from getting in a rut. The more commonly sought after may include 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, triathlon, color run, mud run, warrior dash, full marathon! I’m sure there are many more and most of these events also donate entrance fee money to a variety of charitable causes! There are a huge variety of training plans to choose from for most of these runs depending on your starting level of activity and many nutritional products to supplement your nutrition when burning so much energy on a regular basis. I do emphasize real, whole food sources rather than processed, packaged, powdered foods when possible, but busy schedules sometimes require us to get some of our calories and protein from supplements while training hard.
I myself have only sought after the full marathon which was an absolute once in a lifetime, however, it will only be happening once in my lifetime!!! It was very enjoyable to train for and rewarding to finish, but very hard on my joints after spending 10 years as a competitive gymnast. I trained my senior year in college and ran the Madison City Marathon in 2006.
Years before my marathon I had caught the long distance biking bug and have been getting my fix that way ever since. It all started at the end of my freshman year in college. I remember getting a call from my best friend Sarah asking if I would like to do a bike trip to our friend Kay~tee’s house in Madison, WI. I had just finished a season of college gymnastics and hadn’t started my summer job yet so I agreed. Sarah mapped out our route which would begin in River Falls,WI where I had gone to school that year and would follow the lesser traveled country backroads with wide shoulders until we would get on 100 miles of limestone trails that had once been old rail road lines. These trails consisted of two tunnels carved out of the limestone which would require head lamps because it was pitch black most of the time. Walking your bike was also required due to the dark, the bats and the natural spring water falling in the tunnels to avoid complete disaster!
We planned to camp each night along the way and bring only the bare minimum of clothing and toiletries. I remember weighing our bikes to make sure we were as light weight as possible and sleeping together in a one man tent! The entire trip was about 350 miles with plenty of hills throughout Wisconsin.
The people we met along the way, those we have convinced to join us over the years, the charming little restaurants, the dive bars and the natural wonders we found will never be forgotten. This trip has remained our favorite and has motivated us to take it to the streets and trails all over the state of MN! We have come a long way from the first year with no extra inner tubes or way to fix a flat. Here are some of our secrets and tips to taking a fitness trip of your own…
Always bring a headlight…aka flashlight that straps onto your head to wear while biking at night.
Always have a good map of the area and a phone with map ap.
Have plenty of bike racks, water holders and baskets to hold necessities and to keep things handy. Consider saddle bags if you plan on multiple trips. Bungie cords work well to secure a back pack to a bike rack.
Pack plenty of snacks and water in case there are not many places to stop.
Bring a few extra inner tubes and an air pump if you are biking.
Map out campgrounds along your route and use them as a goal end point to each day. Consider sleeping in friends or families yard along the way if possible.
Bring a small tent, lightweight blanket and consider using bag or sweatshirt as a pillow to avoid extra luggage. Tinfoil emergency blankets provide a ton of heat if temps dip down during the night, but are also noisy. Bring earplugs.
Bring mace in case you need to protect yourself and always keep it handy.
On that note, have friends and family track you via GPS on your phone. Just in case.
Bring phone chargers and charge phone at every moment possible. Consider extra batteries for your phone.
Music helps with morale.
Keep a positive attitude.
Plan your daily miles and to end the day in a place you know will have a motel or campground and plenty of places to eat.
Be flexible as there may be flat tires, injuries…
Wear plenty of sunscreen during sunny conditions and take advantage of bodies of water in high temps.
Always have a destination like a friends house, cabin or event that you are trying to get to for motivation.
Dont forget to have fun on the journey and take advantage of the things you find along the way.