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The 5 Things You Should Never Do in a Race

The 5 Things You Should Never Do in a Race

After 13 half marathons, 1 marathon, and over 100 5k’s, I think I can comfortably say that I am phenomenally mediocre at running.

What I have learned from logging thousands of miles and spending hundreds of hours pounding the asphalt jungle is the importance of humor.

Because whether it’s a 5K, Tough Mudder, ½ marathon, or even the goofy challenge, there’s always a point in which you need to find (desperately) some way to entertain yourself.

Through my personal experiences, encounters on the course, and my own twisted sense of humor, here are some suggestions/thoughts/things to (not) do in your next race that will surely make you and probably everyone around you laugh.

Remember, through all of the pain and training, it’s important to always maintain a sense of humor. After all, you’re paying good money to run as fast as you can away from where you started to return to where you started as fast as you can.

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Seems sensible, right?

You’ve been warned… Here are the 5 things you should (never) do in a race.

1. (Never) wear something ridiculously awesome under your throw away clothes or nothing at all

While you and your closest 5000 friends are standing, waiting in your corals like cattle on a dairy farm, you need to find a way to keep warm for those early starting, brisk and often frozen race day mornings.

Enter throw away clothes.

Until the race begins, no one actually knows what you are wearing under that thrift store exclusive. Next race day, surprise them all when you do your starting line striptease with an Armani suit, dress, bikini, skeleton pajama onesie, banana hammock, hot pants, Ghostbusters outfit, Snuggie, birthday suit or really – whatever your heart desires.

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Whatever you do, rip off those throwaways like a starting forward in the NBA and stand proud while basking in all its glory. And then run like hell!

2. (Never) have a messy public break-up with your shoes

We’ve all been there before. A crappy run, an uncoordinated walk, a sudden trip where you get so pissed off at your shoes you want to throw them off a bridge. Whether you’ve had them for 3 miles or 300, every shoe relationship has its moments.

Try spending 4+ consecutive hours on asphalt with them and you’ll be sure to come across some rocky road. The next time you cross the finish line after hours of burning rubber and feet, stop, take your shoes off, scream at the top of your lungs, “I’m done with you” and throw them into the crowd like a grenade souvenir.

Then simply just walk away.

3. (Never) enjoy a mid-race unconventional snack:

One of the unwritten rules of running is to never eat something new on race day.

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Well, the fact is GU gels go anywhere from delicious to acrylic paint. Clif Shot Blocks and GU Chomps will occasionally hug your teeth, and Sports Beans’ flavors sometimes resemble more of a Willy Wonka creation gone wrong than an actual nutritional aide. However, we all know these things are necessities when it comes to surviving longer races and runs.

But once, just once, don’t you wish you could whip out something a little more delectable at mile 9 or 15?

When I was a personal trainer, I once saw a man eating a sandwich on a treadmill. So I can’t possibly see how pulling out a Twinkie, Bear Claw, Pad Thai, bag of Baked Lays, or a rack of ribs (protein, right?) as mid race snack can possibly go wrong. . .

4.  (Never) high-five! Everyone

You’re exhausted, you’re hallucinating, you’re delusional, you’re excited, you’re energetic, you’re in dire need of support, frankly, and you’re a mess. For me, that pretty much sums up my first marathon experience.

One of the most energizing things that can happen during a race is getting a high-five from a stranger. Several lined up in a row? Practically orgasmic.

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Next time you hit the course try to give high-fives. . . to everyone. The water stop volunteers, the random kids along the race that are confused why their parents dragged them out to cheer on people they don’t know, the police officer blocking the side roads, the guy handing out beer (especially him), or the person holding the sign “Worst.Parade.Ever.” Got it in you? Challenge accepted! High-five!

5.)  (Never) kiss, make up, and celebrate in style

It is tradition at the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Speedway that the winning driver and crew kiss the bricks around the start/finish line after the race. Nothing says romantic like a big ole smooch with exhaust soot, burnt rubber, and spilled gasoline but by golly they still do it.

Then there is the INDY 500, of course, where the winner drinks/showers in milk on the podium.

I don’t know about you, but I will probably never “win” an actual race. However, that doesn’t mean we all can’t come in 247th place like a champion.

During your next race have a good friend wait for you at the finish line with a bottle of champagne (Andre – only the finest). When you are about to cross the finish line, kneel down, kiss the finish line (or blue and orange Lego block transmitter) and grab that bottle of the $9.99 rack’s finest. Shake, pop, and celebrate. Congratulations, you just made average look phenomenal.

Go get’em!

Featured photo credit: Buzzfeed via buzzfeed.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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