My Temporary Break-Up With Distance Running

I feel silly starting this by saying that writing this post has been difficult for me to do. I feel silly because in the scheme of the world me giving up running for a while really is a non-blip on the map. But for me personally, it is a tough blip, regardless of how small it is.


You’ll notice I don’t say I’m giving up running entirely, but in all honesty aside from the few races I have left in the season (including two I’m not yet registered for but plan to do) I don’t intend to be running at all for the rest of the year. Yes that means I’ll be running those races I still have to do totally untrained, but it won’t be the first time (nor likely the last). Fortunately I have a good aerobic capacity so I can get away with it more easily than most though I certainly don’t recommended it!.

So an alternate title for this post could be:

Why I will only be running another 30.2km this year

But I didn’t that would roll off the tongue as well ;)


If you’ve been around here for a while you’ll know that over the past 18 months I’ve struggled with my health. First with some serious adrenal fatigue from overtraining (i.e. teaching too many cardio classes for two long), which brought a hormonal imbalance along for the ride (the two often go hand in hand).  Then last fall while training for a half I ended up with serious digestive issues that took me a good 6-8 months to sort out.


I took a few weeks off from running when the initial adrenal & hormonal issues began, but other than that I plugged along all last spring, summer and fall running race after race regardless of how I was feeling. Why? Because it’s one of the only times I feel free to just “be”. I can’t answer emails or write posts. I’m not responding to text messages or planning classes. I’m not working on new routines or office work. And mostly, I’m only responsible for my own workout.


As an instructor I might “get” to exercise  a lot, but please don’t be fooled. Teaching a class, and taking a class are two very different things. When you take a class you are focused in on your own workout. Sure you might notice what else is going on around you, but your sole focus is on what you are doing. As an instructor you do the exercise, while telling everyone else how to do it, and watching them all to make form corrections to ensure everyone is safe, and keep track of the music so you can cue everyone for the next move at the right time, while trying to remember what exactly the next move is suppose to be. Basically it’s anything but relaxing.

That’s why running appeals so much to me. It’s a time that I can let my mind wander if I want. I can focus on my breathing or my pacing without worrying about everyone else around me. The same can be said about yoga, but the big difference (for me) is that when I do yoga, I’m usually still at home, still in the house with the lure of distraction (computers, phones, TV, people, cats, etc.) because I am only free to practise at weird times of day.


But back to my distance break-up.

I don’t want to do it. But I need to do it. I’m still dealing with hormone imbalances that I am trying to get sorted, but my biggest roadblock is stress. Not just mind stress, but physical stress and exercise – and running, especially distances puts a lot of added stress on your body. Especially when you are already teaching many hours of fitness each week.

So while it’s not something I want to do (in fact one of the half marathons I really wanted to run was this past weekend, and it made me quite cranky to know i was missing it, especially since the weather was beautiful!), it’s something I need to do. In order to protect my bones, and strike a happy hormonal balance within my body I need to do what seems like the hard thing and give up something I really enjoy.


Even as little as two weeks ago I was still planning for a fall marathon, but after my last 5K, I spent the following days with the same side effects/symptoms I have the previous two races which solidified the fact that it wasn’t just a fluke. That the added stress of running is doing me more harm than good right now. So I will finish out my races for the season (all of which are 10K or under) and that is it. No running for me, outside of my classes the only exercise I will be doing is walking, swimming – which is usually more floating than anything), yoga and some strength training.

And when it comes to my races, depending on the distance I will probably be running purely for the enjoyment, and not for time. If that enjoyment coincides with a new PR, that’s great, if it doesn’t – that’s fine too.

So, the rest of my running season for 2014 looks like this:

So that’s my story, and why I won’t be doing any distance running (or much running at all) until 2015. And I’m hoping that when I ring in 2015 I’ll be feeling super balanced and ready to take 2015 by storm!


How Can I Get Past Zumba Releases?

I get this questions all of the time so I decided it was time to write a post about it.

In short, you can’t.

New Zumba Instructors often feel limited by the amount of music/choreography that they start out with, but we were all in that same boat at one time or another so us more seasoned instructors understand your frustrations.


The problem is it is a direct violation of your ZIN license agreement to share music or choreography albums/DVDs even with other instructors an members of the Zumba Instructor’s Network. That’s a large reason why I started entering the song titles from each album here on my site, so even though you can’t buy the Zumba album, you can at least find out what songs were on it, and in the case of remade songs you are still able to purchase the original song and go from there. Lots of times you might know the accompanying choreographing from taking classes so there is no stopping you from using it in that manner, but as instructors we can’t lend you our CD’s or DVD’s, nor can we make copies of them for you.

Having said that, I’m sure there are people who do share their music, I’m just not one of them. So if the thought has crossed your mind to email or message me and ask me for a song I’ll spare you the trouble – I’m not going to share it with you. Sorry.

The way it was explained to me, is that Zumba licenses the music on each CD for a certain number of copies for instructors. And once that amount is issued that it it. If they were to offer back copies they would have to continue paying new fees for licensing on older releases making it much more expensive, and therefore we’d end up paying more. I don’t know if that’s exactly how it goes, but that’s how I understood it.

As we all know, the music only makes up one part of the class, you could have all of the best music available and still be a terrible instructor, so my advice is to use what you’ve got, and then find some other songs (from previous ZIN’s that you can purchase the originals of or just songs you like that fit the Zumba mould) and go from there. Before you know it you’ll have more choreography than you know what to do with!

P.S. Don’t forget, there is extra choreo available on the ZIN site for specialties too that you can use if you’re into those.

Have fun creating!



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