cardio fantasyI’m training for my second half marathon, the first one, back in September was a life changing achievement for me, you can read about it here. Back when I trained for that race the goal was basically just to finish without dying. This time around, the goal is to run 13.1 miles faster than I did last time. That means training often and well, that means doing long runs and tempo runs and pushing myself each time. It’s hard y’all, and it hurts muscles I haven’t used since Step Aerobics back in the 90’s!

On Monday night, I ran 9 miles. 9 freaking miles after working all day and waking up at 5AM… that is no small feat people! As I was running I was using my usual MO for getting through any strenuous workout and since so many of you ask me about my work out regimen, or how I stay in shape, or how I train I thought I’d share it with you. It’s utterly ridiculous, and even a little embarrassing but it works for me: Every. Time.

I like to call it a Cardio Fantasy.

A Cardio Fantasy is the big crazy dream I’m usually imagining myself in, during a particularly difficult workout. Sometimes the music in my headphones can get me through, but when the going gets tough, the tough (me in this scenario) imagine themselves vacationing with George Clooney at his house in Lake Como! Laugh at me all you want, but I’ve found that the more outlandish the cardio fantasy the more time I can pass without noticing that my quads are screaming. Don’t have your own cardio fantasy? Borrow one of mine, these are (no seriously) my go to’s:

Best Friends with Your Hero: You all know how much I love books and there’s no author on earth I want to meet more than Deborah Harkness. Because I’m a super nerd I also know that she lives relatively near-ish my weekly running spot. There’s a pretty detailed scenario where she’s on the same trail I am and I recognize her and we basically become best friends and meet weekly to walk and discuss the intricate plot points of her next book.

Vacationing with Celebrities: I wasn’t kidding about the George Clooney thing. I like to imagine I’m part of a pretty large collection of celebrity couples and we’re all vacationing somewhere amazing. In this same scenario my hair is always shiny and my makeup a dewy J-Lo-like special. I make everyone dinner and they all love me because, for a billionaire media mogul I’m surprisingly down to earth… also, I really know how to throw down in George’s million dollar kitchen.

Singing on Stage with Lionel Richie: I have a lot of Lionel Richie on my iPod so this was sort of a forced fantasy. It’s some big birthday party of mine (35, let’s say) and Lionel is a longtime family friend and he surprises me by coming to perform at my party. At some point he pulls me up on stage and we sing together… I can’t actually sing well in real life, but in this scenario I CRUSH Dancing on the Ceiling.

Ryan Gosling or a Hemsworth Brother: I’m far too much of a weenie to have any real fantasies about these guys, but I do like dreaming about some situation where I look flawless and am so totally hilarious and witty that one of these stallions can’t help but hit on me. Propriety forces me to tell Ryan/Chris/Liam that I’m happily married, but the dream of them asking will still be with me when I’m 90 years old.

All of these scenarios are ridiculous… more than one of them is downright embarassing but they help me and I’m willing to embarrass myself if it means the idea might help you too. Your fantasies will be different than mine, maybe you’ll cure a rare disease or have dinner with Oprah. Maybe you talk politics with Roosevelt or try on dresses with Edith Head. The point, is that you don’t think about the challenge before you. You strap on your shoes, set the timer on your watch and get out there and exercise! Good health is truly one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. So stop laughing at my nerdiness and find whatever motivation you need to get out there today and MOVE. xo, Rachel