Running Tips for Non-Runners

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After I ended my volleyball career I was not totally sure what to do for workouts. Because I was an athlete, working out was part of my regular routine so forcing myself to get to the gym was never the issue. The problem I began to face was trying to fall in love with the workout. As a volleyball player, I could use practice time as an escape from my life and I struggled to find that again. So, I started running. And let me tell you this was not easy. Never before in my life did I consider myself a runner, so the first few weeks were brutal. I honestly could barely get myself through a mile. Over time I trained myself and fought through the mental battle in order to succeed. Here are a few tips that worked best for me individually, and might help those of you who want to get better at long distance running.

 

  1. Just start doing it

The absolute first thing you have to do is get yourself motivated to try it. Do not get discouraged when your body is dead after .4 of a mile. You WILL get better. Practice running 3-4 times a week get on the treadmill or run outside for at least 20 minutes. If you need to stop and walk, that’s okay just listen to your body, but make sure you are running for at least 20 minutes.

 

  1. Time Yourself

After about a week or two of light running, start to test yourself. Run at least half a mile to a mile and keep track of your time per lap. When you are first beginning, you might not be able to keep a steady pace, but try your best to run at a constant pace. What you want to avoid is starting off really strong and using all your energy on the first two laps, and then failing to finish the rest. Start at a slow pace so you can run for a longer time.

 

  1. Increase your distance every few days

Every few times you run, start to push yourself a little further. This is how you will train yourself to get better. Even if it is only .2 further than before, your body will soon adapt to running. This is also about mental toughness. Sometimes you need to just force yourself to go the extra distance. If you can’t do it, then stop, but really try your best to increase just a little because over time it will add up.

 

  1. Listen to your body

Sometimes you will get on the treadmill, feel good and will be able to run four miles. And other times you will struggle to get through one. This was one of the hardest battles I faced. Listen to your body and rest if you have to. It is not good to run long distance more than twice a week. If you are not feeling up to it then run at a slower pace or even take this day to speed walk on an incline. However, don’t mistake fatigue for laziness. Sometimes you have to push through the first mile before your body gets in the swing of things.

  1. Fight the mental battle-

The biggest struggle for me is fighting the urge to stop. Most people are physically fit enough to run long distance but they lack the mental strength in order to get there. Sometimes I get so bored, and my body thinks that means that I am too tired to keep going. What helps with this is setting goals. These goals can be pace, distance, trying new routes and sometimes even counting calories. This actually distracts me from thinking about running and ultimately allows me to go further.

 

The number one thing I can tell you is to not get discouraged. It takes a while for your body to get used to running; it took mine an entire semester to get good at it. Take it slow, set goals and do not mistake boredom for being fatigued. Running can sometimes get boring so run with friends, play music or even watch TV. Whatever you need to do to make it enjoyable.

Summer Abroad Packing List

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For months before I went abroad for the summer, I was constantly thinking about what I was going to bring. I had heard so many mixed reviews on weather, I had to bring something for every occasion. Since I have been here I have been super happy with what I brought. I am not backpacking so I had enough room for a lot of clothes. Although I wanted to bring everything with me, I had to narrow it down to 50lb suitcase. Many girls have asked me what to bring so I thought I would make a SUMMER EUROPE PACKING LIST.

  • Light dresses

It is so hot in Europe; the last thing you want to be wearing is tight clothes. Flowy dresses are super ideal, light to pack and can be worn for more than one type of event.

 

  • Two pairs of shorts

Of course, you have to bring one pair of denim jean shorts, they go with just about everything and are super comfortable. I also brought a pair of white cut offs that I wore when I got tired of wearing the blue ones.

  • Jean Jacket

This was the most important thing I brought with me. I wear it pretty much every day, and can also dress it up at night. I bought a few more jackets with me, but never really wear them.

  • Comfortable Shoes

This might be assumed, but bring the most comfortable shoes that you own. In Europe, you do so much walking and cannot afford to wear a pair of shoes that will hurt your feet. I have two pairs of Adidas cloud foam shoes that I LOVE. They are so comfortable and look good with all of my outfits. Really recommend getting these exact shoes.

  • Going Out Clothes

So the thing about Europe is that people kind of wear the same thing out as they do during the day. I packed way to much stuff to wear out. Bring a few tops that you can mix and match with a skirt or black jeans.

  • Jeans

I’m in Europe over the summer so I never really wear them, but I brought two pairs of jeans. One pair of Levi boyfriend jeans and one pack of high wasted black jeans. I have worn both of them a few times but defiantly could have gone without them. If you are here anytime other than the summer, I for sure recommend bringing them, but right now it’s so hot they weren’t necessary.

 

DETAILED PACKING LIST

Day Clothes

  • Dresses (x4)
  • Flowy Skirt (x2)
  • White T-shirts (x2)
  • Comfy shirts (x2)
  • Cute Tops (x4)
  • Romper (x2)
  • Tube Tops (x3) – worn during the day and out at night
  • Black Jumpsuit
  • Black Jeans
  • Denim Jeans
  • Denim cut off shorts
  • White Shorts
  • Jean skirt

 

Night Clothes

  • Black Leather Skirt
  • Pencil Skirt
  • Going out tops (x4)
  • Black Deep V bodysuit

 

Comfort

  • Sweat Pants
  • Shorts for chilling (x2)
  • Running Shorts
  • Lulu pants (x3) – also used to workout and go to class
  • Lulu Tops (x2)
  • Pajamas (x2) – have to do wash a lot
  • Over Sized Comfy shirts (x2)
  • Sports Bra (x2) – only need them if you plan on working out

Jackets

  • Jean Jacket
  • Leather Jacket
  • Puffy Jacket – didn’t need this
  • Rain Jacket
  • Comfortable Hoodie

Shoes

  • Adidas (x2)
  • Running Shoes – Also used them to go hiking
  • Mules
  • Flip Flops
  • Wedges
  • Sandals

Essentials

  • Bras (x3) – one strapless
  • Underwear (x15)
  • Calvin Klein Sports bra (x3)
  • Socks (x16) – I like changing socks multiple times a day
  • Hair Ties

Accessories

  • Black Baseball Hat
  • Black Train Boy hat
  • Beach Hat
  • Bandana
  • Silk scarf (for neck and hair)
  • Long Champ bag
  • Mini backpack
  • Mini Crossbody purse

 

 

 

 

 

Tasty Low-Calorie Shrimp Tacos

Going out for dinner and margaritas is always a good time, but it can get very expensive. Of course, there are places all around Austin that offer great happy hours and specials, but why not make dinner at home every once in a while. After some trial and error, I finally found a super tasty shrimp taco recipe that is quick and easy to make. They are also low calorie, with about 118 calories per taco. Along with the tacos, I made skinny mango margaritas. Staying in and making your own food not only saves you money but it also can be super fun. Here is the best recipe I found.

What you need:

Tacos:

  • 20 medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Salsa:

  • 1 tomato chopped and seeded
  • 1 avocado peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice  (half a lime)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • 6 small flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

 

How to Cook:

Shrimp-

  1. Mix together the garlic, cumin, chili powder, onion salt and olive oil in a bowl. Add shrimp and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (up to 24 hours).
  2. Heat up a pan on high for two minutes. Lightly cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil and add the shrimp.
  3. Cook the shrimp for 4-6 minutes until cooked through and until the shrimp is pink & crispy.

Salsa-

  1. Mix together the avocado, tomato, lime juice, jalapeno, salt, and pepper.
  2. Cover until you are ready to use.

 

Cilantro Sauce-

  1. Place sour cream into a bowl and add in lime juice and cilantro.
  2. Stir until it becomes liquid-like.

 

Finally, warm up the tortillas on a stovetop until they are nice and crunchy. Spoon the salsa into the freshly cooked tortillas, then place three shrimp on top. Finish with a drizzle of Cilantro Sauce.

Now enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Eat Salads, Not Your Feelings

Freedom. You are finally away from your parents, no curfews, no nagging, so what do you do with all this liberty… gain 15 pounds? Not this year. The No. 1 thing college students struggle with is creating a lifestyle with structure. Although Austin is a mecca for foodies, there are countless healthy options that your body will thank you for later. Living a healthy life does not mean you have to cut out the late night snacks and workout every day, but there are a few key things you must do in order to keep your body strong.

1.) Make a calendar and stick to it
People in college spend enormous amounts of time trying to figure out what needs to get done. As a college athlete, I had to balance school, practice, coaches meetings, tutors, etc. I depended on my calendar for everything. Every week I would add everything I needed to do onto the list. By creating a calendar, you make yourself get up and do things rather than sitting around, wasting time. I recommend buying a dry erase calendar, these can be bought for fairly cheap on Amazon, at Staples or any supply store.

2.) Sign up for workout classes
One of the best things about college is that you have free access to a gym, as well as incredible student discounts at workout places around Austin. But the first thing you have to do is SIGN UP for classes in advance. Many times people tell themselves they will work out when it’s convenient, but without signing up for the class, there is no incentive to go. Go online, book a few classes a week, and put them on your calendar! This way you will know exactly when they are, and it will force you to get up and go.

3.) Only drink when it’s worth it
No parents, endless amounts of beer, why wouldn’t you drink your life away in college? Well, the answer to this question is portion control. Not every night in college means you have to go out and consume massive amounts of alcohol. Decide in advance which nights you think are worth drinking. By doing this you will not only feel much better in the morning, but you will save your body. Drinking every night ruins your body’s routine and does not allow you to function at high levels. This being said, it will be much harder to live an active lifestyle if you are drinking every night.

4.) Don’t eat out 24/7
Austin offers a huge variety of food, but for some reason students stick with fast food. Why…? Because it’s cheap. What many people do not realize is that going grocery shopping is actually much cheaper than buying fast food for every meal. Places like Trader Joes and HEB offer premade meals that are many times less than four dollars. These meals are also much better for your body than fast food. With all the alcohol you are consuming, you need to be eating a balanced meal. This will not only keep your weight steady, but it will also make you feel more energized and will allow you to focus better in school.

Once you commit to a healthy lifestyle, your body will get accustomed to it. It will no longer be as hard to get yourself to workout, and you won’t crave all that fast food. By sticking to these four lifestyle tips you will not only look better, but you will feel significantly better.

 

 

Photo by Bella Edwards

Why Walking Away Was The Best Decision

If there is one thing I struggle with in life it is caring too much about what people think of me. I am 19 years old and I am making decisions because they are the “right” decisions according to others around me. After coming to the University of Texas to play for one of the best Volleyball programs in the country, I realized that Volleyball is not my whole life. I was surrounded by unhappy girls who were not satisfied with their lives. Slowly over the course of 365 days, I started to feel the same way. I was no longer playing Volleyball for the love of the game, but merely to get through each day. My attitude changed from determined and hungry to anxious and depressed. What was this all for? – to say I was a collegiate athlete? I was counting down the days until it was over, yet bragging to people that I played for Texas. I was so amused by the title, that my beliefs and livelihood became less important. So I decided that I am done. I am done getting punished. I am done walking on eggshells everywhere I go. And lastly, I am done getting treated with disrespect.

So, after 10 years of playing the sport I truly loved, I quit.

And let me just tell you this was the best decision I ever made. For the first time in my life, I have the option to be spontaneous. In just a few months I will be packing up my things and moving to Europe for the summer. I have four years left before I have to sit behind a desk and answer to my boss, why would I do that now?

From this whole experience, I have learned a huge lesson – get out of toxic situations. Do things that you enjoy. Do things that make you happy. And lastly, wake up each morning excited for the day. Because that’s what I have now, and it rocks.