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Over 30’s Running: Negative Nancy to Positive Polly (Mindset)

Running long distance is more than just having a physically-able body. In fact, without having a strong, positive mindset during and before the run, it can be the most strenuous, difficult task you ever set out to achieve. Oftentimes, it can be the people who either stop in the middle of a race, or don’t even attempt the race who have a weak mindset (just to clarify: this isn’t always the case). As a result, I have conducted a list of different ways you can have a positive mindset when running a race; whether it be for a marathon, half marathon, or even triathlon (or training for a race). Let’s find out, shall we?


Surround yourself with positive people


When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re likely to have their positivity brush off on to you. It’s inevitable, which is a good thing. Think of all the people who are negative, and try your best to remove them from your life (sometimes, in certain circumstances, that’s not possible). Instead, find groups who share similar interests with you, and are always happy and outgoing. Even if you’re a little timid and shy, it can help you break out of your shell if you surround yourself around positive, like-minded people. A great way of doing this is to join sports, or even go on Meetup and see if there are any long distance running groups around your area. This is a great way for over 30’s to make life-long friends with similar interests as your own.


Remind yourself that you can do it


Every morning and night, months before the race even begins: you need to reassure yourself that you can do it, and you’re not going to fail. A positive mindset is fundamental when running a long distance race. Even if you don’t feel you can do it, saying “I can do it” out loud can help you build your confidence, and eventually, you will genuinely believe you can do it. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t think you can initially run the race – most people begin with this mentality, because let’s face it, these races are one heck of a long distance, and can feel unattainable at times, even for the best of runners. It may be a good idea to begin with a 5k race, and then build your way up to a full marathon.


Eat healthily


Having a healthy diet equates to a healthy mindset. Put the junk food away, and start eating healthier, more natural foods. Although it may not seem like eating more healthy foods will impact your mentality at the time, I can assure you that you will feel better after just one or two days of eating less junk. I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself to a chocolate bar now and then (or even I’d go crazy) but make sure you keep it as “now and then”, not on a regular basis. Remember: having a positive mindset when you’re over 30 can be more challenging than it was when you were younger.


Think of things you appreciate in life


Think of all the people in your life you appreciate. Then think of all the things in life you appreciate. Fortunately for you, you are more fortunate than a lot of people in developing (third world) countries. The fact you’re able to pay to run long distance, and even read this article on a device should put things into perspective of how good you have it. I understand it’s probably bad to compare happiness, particularly of those in not-so-fortunate places, but the fact is, it can make us feel good if we know we genuinely have a good life; running just makes it that much better!


Stay focused on what you want to achieve


Whether you want to achieve simply finishing a race or making a certain time – it’s important that you stay focused on your goals, and not so much on other things (with exceptions of family and friends). Treat yourself with a good movie or a nice bottle of wine every now and then, but don’t forget about what you want to achieve from your race, and do whatever it takes to ensure you can achieve it. The months before running the long distance event are crucial to work hard and be able to physically run the race, as well as mentally.


Set realistic goals


Instead of wishing you could be as good as Joan Benoit or Frank Shorter, start wishing you were as good as you can personally be. There’s nothing worse than setting an unrealistic goal and not even getting close to achieving it. All you’re going to get is an overwhelming sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction to what should have been a really positive experience. You’re over 30 now – things don’t come as easily as they used to, unfortunately. It’s best to set a goal you think you can truly achieve, and not something that is beyond even your capabilities.




As mentioned earlier: having a positive mindset is essential for every long distance runner. It can help stay motivated, and overall help you run long distance in comparison to having a pessimistic mindset. By following these points, you are guaranteed to go from Negative Nancy to Positive Polly.


Author Bio:


Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast and has built his own website located at It’s stacked with information and other goodies regarding marathon running and training for those over the age of 30. If you want to find out more about Curt and what he writes about, click the link mentioned earlier.


Sugar…as addicting as drugs?

Sugar…an addiction like alcohol and drugs?


             SUGAR…It’s everywhere!


I’m sure you know of someone, maybe even yourself, that believes they can’t cut out the sugar from their diet.  And looking at our population, it seems to be that, as a society, we are addicted to sugar.  I’m sure many of you will disagree so let me make my case.

What do I mean when I say addicted?  Well, according to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction is a “chronic brain disease that causes compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences”.  It’s easy to understand and associate addiction with Alcohol and drugs, at least it is for me.  Addiction to alcohol and drugs results in some pretty harmful consequences: jail, broken relationships, violence, psoriasis, loss of memory (blacking out), throwing up, not taking care of yourself, malnourishment, etc… These are definitely some serious consequences.   Unfortunately, for the alcoholic and/or addict, sometimes, these consequences aren’t even enough for them to quit their use.  Now for sugar addiction…I think the reason why people are in denial about how bad it is, is because they aren’t seeing immediate consequences.  It takes some time to put weight on and because it’s happening so slowly, many people don’t realize it until it’s out of control.   Did you know that it takes 10 years before diabetes actually shows up through medical testing, and by then it’s usually too late!  Diabetes isn’t the only thing you need to take into account.  Here’s a list of other negative effects of ingesting too much sugar:

  1. Raises cholesterol.
  2. Increase the risk of diabetes.
  3. Kidney disease.
  4. Depression & anxiety.
  5. Arthritis.
  6. Constipation.
  7. Fluid retention.
  8. Induce headaches & weakens eyesight.
  9. Causes gall & kidney stones.
  10. Hormonal imbalances.
  11. Tooth decay
  12. Several types of cancer.
  13. Yeast infections.
  14. Weight gain.
  15. Asthma.
  16. Coronary heart disease

The average person consumes 19 teaspoons of sugar every day!  That’s an extra 285 calories!  Try to limit your sugar intake to less than 100 cal/day for women and 150 cal/day for men.

So, lets take a look at what sugar is and what it does to the body and the brain.  First, when you eat sugar it is immediately taken up by the blood stream and you get a “sugar high”.  graph of blood sugar spikeYour body, the amazing machine it is, releases insulin (a hormone) that shuttles that sugar into your muscles for energy.  When the sugar is removed from the blood, you feel the “crash”.  This is when most people will reach for another sugary substance to make themselves feel better.  And the cycle continues.    What is even more interesting is what happens in the brain.  Sugary substances effect the same areas of the brain as drugs!  Even the mere thought of a sugary snack can trigger the same area that the thought of a drug stimulates for an addict.  A study done on the “Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake” in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, concludes:

The concept of “food addiction” materialized in the diet industry on the basis of subjective reports, clinical accounts and case studies described in self-help books. The rise in obesity, coupled with the emergence of scientific findings of parallels between drugs of abuse and palatable foods has given credibility to this idea. The reviewed evidence supports the theory that, in some circumstances, intermittent access to sugar can lead to behavior and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse. According to the evidence in rats, intermittent access to sugar and chow is capable of producing a “dependency”. This was operationally defined by tests for binging, withdrawal, craving and cross-sensitization to amphetamine and alcohol.

Do you crave, lose control, and eat more than you plan?  You just may be addicted to sugar.  Now that you know the problem, you can make a decision, take action, and live in the solution.

What does this mean?  Well, slowly start to slash the sources of sugar from your eating.  Start with the most harmful: simple carbs (candy, syrup, soda, table sugar).  Be mindful when buying processed foods of all the different labels that translate to sugar.

1.    Brown sugar

2.    Brown rice syrup

3.    Cane syrup

4.    Agave necter

5.    Honey

6.    Molasses

7.    Evaporated cane juice

8.    Malt syrup

9.    And anything ending in –ose (glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, dextrose)

Next, be cautious of the complex carbs which are broken down in the body to simple carbs: refined breads, pastas, chips, fries.  If you eat complex carbs be sure to opt for the healthier versions such as sweet potatoes, Ezekiel bread, brown rice, quinoa, and oats.  But these, too, should be in moderation.

Be careful of BBQ sauces, ketchup, salad dressings, baked beans and processed foods!  They are usually loaded with sugar.

What to do?

Start to limit your sugar intake this week.  Be mindful of labels.  If you are craving something sweet, reach for berries or fruit.  They have fiber and nutrients that help slow the digestive process.  Use stevia if you need to add a little sweetness, but be careful of the artificial sweeteners.  Increase your protein intake.  This helps keep you fuller for longer, helping to reduce sugar cravings.  And of course…Drink more water!  After a couple of weeks, your taste buds will reset and you won’t feel you need sugar anymore!  Be good to your body!



So I got a great question from a newsletter subscriber today about gluten-free products and if they are good or bad. So, I figure I would post my response for all who are interested in my two cents. Of course, if you have Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance), please do what’s best for you and if you think you have a problem with digesting gluten then consult your physician.

Hey Alyssia,
Great questions! And all the info at there makes it very confusing for most people…
First off, Gluten-free became extremely popular with all the health claims attached to them but truth be told, if you aren’t gluten sensitive then it’s really not necessary to restrict gluten from your diet. However, it’s the products that contain gluten that should be avoided. For example, most baked goods and flour…these don’t just have gluten but they tend to be high in carbs and fats. If you eat whole foods (unprocessed) you don’t have to worry about this issue at all. Gluten-free products will have a lot more of what you don’t want to put into your body (fats and simple carbs and sodium). I love the Paleo lifestyle for anyone looking to become healthier. If a food source was around when the cavemen were alive, then you can eat it! Bread, cereals, baked goods…came much later!
Second…sodium…you should not consume more than 2300mg per day. Again, processed foods will have sodium in them so if you eat whole foods without adding too much sodium to them, you should be ok! Eating more than 2300mg a day will cause your body to hold onto water (hence making you bloated), and it will also lead to high blood pressure along with a multitude of other health issues.
So, in conclusion, I wouldn’t waste my money on gluten-free products but I also wouldn’t eat much of processed foods (like pasta, breads, cereals, etc).
I hope this helps!
Thanks for the questions…
To your best health…

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;

but remember that what you now have

was once among the things you only hoped for.

                          – Epicurus


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  -Marianne Williamson