Changing Up Exercise: How Often Do You Do It?


080831_1029 First up and most importantly:


She is beautiful, caring, thoughtful, loving, funny, charming, and very generous. Despite our conflicts when I was a teenager, my mom and I have now grown into best friends. She supports me in whatever I do and she is my probably my biggest Oh She Glows fan, reading every comment and always telling me her thoughts on whatever the topic may be.

She is currently in L.A. about to embark on a wonderful birthday cruise of the French Polynesian…lucky lady!

She will be spreading the Operation Beautiful message everywhere she goes and documenting pictures of it too. I can’t wait to see them.

Love you mom! xo


I completely forgot to mention this, but last week our beloved Canon 30D SLR + Macro lens + external flash was dropped on our hardwood floor.

It was straight out of a horror film. I saw Eric reach for the camera, he fumbled it like a bad pass in football, and then there was a huge smash on the floor. We both uttered a few curse words and stood there in complete shock. I think a single, quivering tear dropped from my face as Eric picked it up and assessed the damage.

I still wasn’t breathing at this point. He tried to turn it on and the screen read ERROR. Still notIMG_7112 breathing.

Being the technology genius that he is, he decided to remove the macro lens and snap it back into place. Once he did this, the error message was gone and it was working again. It has been fine ever since (knock on wood), but boy did that give us a scare! Canon cameras are STRONG.  Whenever I get emails from readers asking me about cameras I always suggest Canon.

I was able to resume my normal blog photos of Sketchie…and he carried on with Project Hibernate.


I have also had my point-and-shoot Canon Powershot SD800 for about 4 years now. It has suffered a ton of hardships- drops, food particles, water, etc. and it still works like a charm! The best part is the price has dropped over $200 since we got ours 4 years ago.



Changing Up Exercise: How Often Do You Do It?

A while back, I did a post asking you how you define a rest day. It was a really interesting topic and I loved reading everyone’s thoughts!

Well, today I wanted to talk about changing up exercise.

After my half marathon a week and a half ago, I told myself that I would give my body as much time as it needed away from running. My legs had one heck of a summer- a 10k, 10 miler, and 2 half marathons within 4 months.

It was a lot to chew and I knew that.

However over the past 1.5 weeks, I have been struggling with a few things:

1) I have been feeling quite sluggish, yet I don’t feel ready to dive into exercise.

2) I have been wondering if I need to change what I am doing for exercise.

Running has taken up a large part of my life and has consumed 100% of my activity over the past 4 months. Training for races takes a lot of time and it did not leave me for any free time to pursue activities like strength training or yoga. It was actually a miracle that I found the time to train despite being so busy with everything.

I have been asking myself- Maybe this is a chance to try out something new and back off running a bit.

Maybe I can try yoga again and just focus on yoga. Or maybe I can do strength training and really stick with a schedule. Maybe I can use my free pass at the gym and do some non-impact stuff. There are so many wonderful activities out there that I have not been doing and I think it may be time to change it up!

I am guessing at this point you are probably asking yourself…so what is the problem, Ange?

Well, the problem is that I have been feeling guilt over it.

I have been feeling guilt about:

1) taking this exercise break, and

2) considering taking a (longer) break from running.

Crazy thoughts have entered my mind like…

  • Maybe I am not a real runner if I take a break from it?
  • What will happen to my training, my endurance, my speed?

In reality, I know that taking a break from running is not the end of the world. I have prior experience of course with my injury last Winter. I also know that my anxiety from taking exercise breaks is in large part due to my disordered eating and compulsive exercising in the past. It is sort of like that voice that never goes away, even though I find that I do a pretty good job silencing it for the most part. It is still there occasionally telling me I need to do this, this, and that or ‘x’ will happen.

Well anyway, last night I did my first 15 minutes of yoga since I-don’t-know-when.

And it felt amazing!!!!

I did the P90X YOGA DVD (first time) and started off slow with just 15 minutes (in the dark!). I actually really enjoyed it.

You know what else this told me?

I have been neglecting my flexibility way too much. My muscles are so stiff it is unbelievable. I have also been having back and shoulder pain from baking and packaging all day. My muscles have been crying out in pain from all the abuse! So I really think it is time that I addressed this aspect of my fitness.

For once in my life, I feel excited about the possibility of practicing yoga and trying something new without the pressures of scheduling a million other exercise goals into my calendar.

I think it may be time for a change- for now anyways!

Despite my anxieties, I am going to go with it and listen to my body. And right now my body is looking for a different approach to fitness.


Do you go through phases in your exercise or chosen activities? Do you change it up or decide when it is time for something new??

Well, this post was ummm….a bit verbose. I think I am due for a Wordless Wednesday, no??? haha ;)

Happy Hump-day!!!!


Don’t forget this is your last chance to enter the Garmin Forerunner Charity raffle!! It is for a great cause so submit your entry today!! :) They are due by midnight!

Also it is your last chance to vote in the Foodbuzz Nominations! Please vote for your favourite bloggers!!!!

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

megan October 28, 2009

I think this is a great idea! Around this time of the year I generally switch up my exercise from running to more indoor type things – elliptical, raquetball, arc trainer, lifting. I think it helps me stay well rounded, and I really don’t notice a huge difference in my endurance when I start running again in the spring. and by then I can’t wait to get out and run! It’s a mental break as much as anything else. This year I really want to try out yoga too. Thanks for the reminder about flexibility…I need that!


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 28, 2009

I don’t think you should feel guilty at all, Ange. The ways you mentioned on how you are feeling could be signs of over-training. I think it would be great to do yoga and switch it up. I am a huge fan of changing up workouts – I rarely do the same thing twice!


Kate October 28, 2009

I’m so glad you posted this! I was just telling my boyfriend the other night that I go through exercise phases!!! I just got out of a 5-month yoga phase and prior to that, I did 1.5 years of the P90X program. I think part of it is that I get really excited about doing one thing and go all out, then once I reach whatever “goal” I had set, I’m ready to start something else and create a new “goal”. I’m back into running now and plan on running a half in the spring (I better do it now before I start a family!). But I’m sure after that I’ll be back into yoga and wanting something that’s less of an impact on my joints – when I did yoga I didn’t have any blisters on my feet! Ouch! Best part was how I felt! It was such an amazing feeling when I could do the splits or run 8 miles without being too winded or do a set of bicep curls with 25lb weights. I love challenging my body!! Good luck to you and keep us posted on what you end up doing! :)


rhodeygirl October 28, 2009

Happy birthday to your mom! Make sure, if they stop at the St. Regis Bora Bora, that they eat at the Lagoon restaurant!!!

I know it is hard to not feel guilty, but think about your purpose for exercising. If your purpose is to run faster races, then ok you need to keep up a running schedule. If, however, your purpose for exercise is to stay in shape/relieve stress/be healthy etc, then you should do what FEELS good!


Kristine October 28, 2009

Gahh! Yes, I know how you feel. I am someone that has never taken a break from running in over 2 years! Granted, I don’t run many miles (about 4 to 5), I couldn’t tell you the last time I took more than 2 days off from running!! Am I crazy? Possibly. With the winter coming up, I have been thinking about trying to incorporate yoga into my life, but I am just so USED to and COMFORTABLE with running, that it is hard to change things up. Thanks for this post. It’s been on my mind a lot lately!


Paige @ Running Around Normal October 28, 2009

I just wrote about taking a break from running to take on other forms of exercise a couple weeks ago – check it out!:)

I completely hear you. I’m so excited to take on new activities like yoga, classes, more strength training, etc..

Oh, and Happy Bday OSG mom!! :D


Joanna October 28, 2009

You should also consider the effect of the seasonal change – with winter approaching, our bodies want to join Sketchie for Project Hibernate! The days are shorter, the weather colder, and most people gain a little weight in preparation for the freeze – our natural thermal insulation. You might be feeling sluggish because your body is trying to use less energy in an attempt to convert your fuel into a) heat and b) an bit of padding to keep you cosy. So if you eat a little more, you may feel your excercise drive coming back. Alternatively, just exercise less and curl up with a hot tea, good book and Sketchie!


Jil October 28, 2009

I have the same Canon point and shoot, and boyy has it taken abuse! I always recommend Canon, they’re just so good! I think I need to change up my routine, too. I’ve got a yoga DVD just sitting on the shelf…I think it’s time to dust it off.


Leah @ Simply fabulous October 28, 2009

I couldn’t agree more with Sabrina (rhodeygirl)… I like her comment and want to echo it! I definitely think that your inner voice is trying to tell you something. Maybe you have burnt yourself out and just need a few weeks to do other things until you get the running bug again. I know for me, after I ran my half and had an unbelievably crazy summer the last thing i’ve wanted to do was run. Doing other things (like walking, yoga) has helped me so much. I struggle with the guilt too, and wonder if i’ll put on weight or something. Have you read Heather’s posts over at heathereatsalmondbutter? She went from running to yoga and has never looked back.

Happy Birthday to your beautiful Mom!! Wowee she will love her vacation! Lucky lady indeed!!


kelly October 28, 2009

Your mom and I share a birthday! Happy Birthday OSGM!!!

Great post, as usual.


*Andrea* October 28, 2009

happy bday to your beautiful mom!!! i also have that annoying voice that tells me to do x instead of y because of a similar disordered eating/wayyy overexercising past. someone once posted about how if you miss a workout one day or don’t eat enough fruits you can make it up the next day because thinking sooo short term aka by day is silly for long-run health! time is just arbitrary. also, i love getting in 10 min of yoga or mediation if i can’t workout one day


Clare October 28, 2009

Hi Angela-
I just want to thank you again for your positive presence here. And, as a vegetarian for the last 17 years, I so appreciate your sweet and reasonable voice for animals. I am a yoga teacher here in Northern California-and I would just reccomend listening to your body here. When your body wated to run-you let it. Now it wants to rest-and stretch. Sounds like a plan! You can download free 20 minute yoga classes from!-or download Elsie Escobar’s free whol hour yoga class podcast on itunes. You may even want to reset your clock with her yoganidra. A 65 minute guided “sleep” meditation. I know-for a go machine like you that sounds like alot-but you can lay on the floor and do it before bed and ahhh… Pronto Relaxo! Good Luck, Clare


NySoonerGirl October 28, 2009

This is a great post! I’ve had to stop running for the past couple of months as my knees and ankles have had it. I’ve been doing some of the P90X DVDs just to switch things up. I really want to do the yoga one, but I know it’s an hour and a half long and I just can’t fathom that! Reading this post made me realize my duh! moment. Why don’t I just do part of the yoga?! I can’t believe that idea didn’t occur to me. Thanks!


Kristin October 28, 2009

The best thing about running is that it’s always right there – it’s not going to go anywhere while you do other things. Becoming a better runner sometimes means placing your focus somewhere else. Every competitive sport uses cross training to build strength, flexibility and endurance. Spend some time with yoga, your body and mental state will both benefit and you can find a better inner place to make these kinds of decisions from. Then play with strength training, non-impact etc. What about totally mixing things up? Try cycling, group sports through your gym, swimming, whatever. There is no limit to the things you can try, the important thing is to play, play, play, and find the enjoyment in exercise again :-) Re-find your Glo, lady!



Britt (runnerbelle) October 28, 2009

Happy b-day to your mom! :-)

I do like to mix up my workouts, although I have found that my base exercise is running. I just don’t have to do it every day.

If I’m not running I’m usually doing Kettlebell, which I LOVE! Its a group style class, some days you compete with yourself for time other days its testing your strength with how much you can lift. Its definitely firmed me up all over and challenged my body in new ways.

Once in a blue moon I do yoga…. I really want to go more. I’m thinking after the marathon I’ll try to get back to going at least once a week. I found one class that involves a lot of visualization and relaxation techniques, it is perfect for me with all the hard workouts I do.


Vanessa (Last Night's Leftovers) October 28, 2009

Happy birthday OSG mom!

Funny you should mention cameras today…I’m in the process of finding a new one, and everyone I’ve spoken to has recommended Canon! I am sold. :)


Kate October 28, 2009

Forgot to add this – there is such a variety of yoga out there, too. :) I did Bikram yoga which gave you more of a cardio workout as well. Not all forms of yoga are for everyone. I personally enjoy the ones where I can feel a DEEP stretch. That’s what relaxes me. I suggest trying a few types out and see if there are any that fit your style and what you’re looking to get out of yoga itself. :)


Morgan October 28, 2009

P90X yoga is a surprisingly good workout!
You shouldn’t feel guilty about doing what’s right for you and what feels best for your mind, body and soul. Who’s to say what makes someone a true runner anyway? Is someone like Lance Armstrong, who runs a fast marathon a runner? I don’t know, I think the definition is whatever you want it to be. You need to do whatever keeps you happy and ‘glowing’!


Chelsa October 28, 2009

I don’t get why you have to completely take a break from running. Why can’t you just run for fun some days and not for time or speed. I’m not a very advanced runner at all but I like to go running a few times a week and on other days do yoga or pilates or a cardio class. I like to mix it up and it works really well for me. I’ve also had eating/exercise issues in the past and I find that enjoying a variety of exercising from day to day keeps me from competeing with myself. You should give it a try.


lora October 28, 2009

i agree with the exercise topic! I ran so much and ever since my half (a month ago) all Ive wanted to do was strength train, swim and ellliptical…running only 10 miles a so a week. I feel I love running when I don’t force myself to do miles. When I can just run outside, then its more enjoyable…I go back and forth with exercise tho. I am sure next month I will only want to run :)

p.s happy birthday OSG momma !!!



Diana October 28, 2009

Happy birthday to your mom! :)

Well, right now I do a bit of cardio and my PT and I focus more on strength training because honestly.. I need it. I’m very weak and I also have a high percentage of body fat, even though I’m at a average weight. It is pretty normal though, when one loses as much weight as I did without strength training (for real). So we focus on that, we just keep adding weight and he always teaches me new exercises because that way it’s not boring for me (or my muscles!).

I may try some yoga, pilates, etc, in the future, but for now I’m focusing on this. :)


Courtney October 28, 2009

I have been trying to lose some weight and been stuck at a plateau even though I was exercising like crazy and carefully watching my calories. I spoke with my trainer as I was frustrated with the lack of progress and we decided to cool it a little. I haven’t worked out in a few days and although I am still tracking my calories, I’m pretty much eating what I want. Well, I’m down a few pounds already. My body was screaming for a break and for some fuel..and by honoring that I made progress.
You should honor your body as well and you will see progress!!
Adventures in Tri-ing


Mellissa October 28, 2009

I change up my exercise plan every few months and take a week off about every 2-3 months and just let my body rest. It needs it!


Kristie Lynn October 28, 2009

You know, I was wondering the other day if you were keeping up on the strength training at all – I was just remembering the challenge you had in the spring and wondering if you would still take little breaks to do planks, pushups, lunges and stuff. So thanks for reading my mind :)

Happy birthday to your Mom – and hooray for shared birthdays (mine is today too!)!! :-D


Katie O. October 28, 2009

Hi Ange- love this post! I too have had the same thoughts when thinking about easing up on running after having IT band issues… will I lose my endurance that I’ve worked so hard for? I think that the previous commenters have it right- your body is trying to tell you something, and there are just as effective lower impact exercises out there! I switch things up often just to keep my interest piqued- typically running 2-3x a week coupled with yoga and/or strength training 2x a week. I love doing yoga on my off days of running; it’s the perfect complement for me. has great free 20 minutes sessions, which I highly recommend! I just finished reading the New Rules of Lifting for Women- it’s an interesting read and I plan on starting this workout plan in November.

As long as you are treating your body well (which you clearly are), there is no need to feel guilty!

btw Sketchie is so cute- I love all of the pics you post of him. Happy birthday to OSG Mom!


Small Town Runner October 28, 2009

I always wonder about changing up exercise, too. If I do things besides run, will I miss running too much? Is that such a bad thing, since maybe it will make me more likely to run the next time? Is it better for my muscles to scale back on running for a few months and do something else? And, as you said, am I not a truly committed runner if I take a break from running? But I’ll never be a professional runner, so as long as I’m keeping fit, I think it doesn’t really matter how I choose to do it. In fact, I’m going to the YMCA today at lunch, and was planning to just run… but after reading this post, maybe I’ll use the bike or the elliptical, too! Thanks for your thoughts.


Nicole October 28, 2009

I have been having the workout blues as well! It might just be that it is getting colder out, and you have a hard time leaving the warmth of your house!! I know I do!! What about some yoga to help with your muscle flexibility?

I recently took about a month and a half off from all things triathlon to refresh my mind. I was allowed to do yoga if I wanted, but I was also traveling (and I like taking it in a class like atmosphere). I used the elliptical, stairstepper, and row machine. They were all great at first, but they lost their luster last week. I’m starting my new marathon training program this week just in time which includes yoga and triathlon off season training!

Maybe you just need to do your own thing (Besides running) for a while!


The Voracious Vegan October 28, 2009

I have been neglecting my flexibility and stretching TOO! I need to be a lot more diligent with that starting NOW.

Actually, I don’t change up my work out too much, I am a creature of habit, I suppose. I do at least an hour of cardio on an elliptical/summit climber/bike/treadmill 4 days a week. 2 days a week I do a light 20 minute cardio workout and then do a full body weight training workout. About 4 days a week I ride my horse which is definitely the absolute hardest workout of all, full body and cardio, it is killer. And ever day we take our dogs walking or hiking for an hour or so.

Occasionally I do some yoga, or swimming, or some pilates. But basically I stick to the same thing!


Nicole October 28, 2009

I forgot to add: ALL REAL ATHLETES take a break from their sport for mental and physical rejuvenation!! (or at least in the tri community they do! Yes, you are a little out of shape when you get back into it, but you are still way ahead of where you started last year!!! And, you won’t run the risk of being mentally burnt out from it!


Janna (Just Flourishing) October 28, 2009

Happy Birthday OSGMOM!

I think you always need to go with your gut. Don’t force yourself to run just because you think you have to. I was running a lot over the past 6 months and then… I just didn’t want to anymore.

I started doing more fun exercise classes and yoga and it just felt right. I might get back into running eventually… but for now, I’m taking it easy and that is just fine with me.


Kim October 28, 2009

I think it’s always best to just listen to your body – if it’s not wanting to run, don’t push it – you’ll just burn yourself out on running entirely by forcing it. Try other stuff – you might like them better for now, or you might find that they make you want to run. And if you’re really worried about losing some of your running mojo you could add one run in a week just to keep yourself in it?


Leah @ L4L October 28, 2009

I like to make sure my weeks are balanced overall so that I don’t go through huge phases. I like to incorporate a cardio + stretching + strength training in EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT, excluding when I just do a session of yoga, which I consider stretching + strength training for the more challenging sessions.


Estela @ Weekly Bite October 28, 2009

Never feel guilt about taking a rest day! Your body is trying to tell you something.

Give yoga a shot! I’m an avid runner, and like you, I knew my body needed a break… 4 1/2 years ago I decided to give Bikram Yoga a try… I never looked back… it’s just what my body needed! Running w/ yoga is the perfect balance in my opinion!


Jennifer October 28, 2009

I think everybody needs to switch it up every now and then. Variety is the spice of life! You will appreciate the running so much more when you get back to it. Heck, I love my kids but it doesn’t make me any less of a mother when I get a break from them. You are no less of a runner if you take a break. In fact the break makes us both better. :)


Kirsten October 28, 2009

Great post-I have been going through the same thing lately after my half. I am pretty busy too, I miss yoga, and training was time consuming, but I am still feeling ‘guilt’ and worry about my body dropping back from that fitness level.


Jennifer October 28, 2009

Ps Happy Birthday OSG MOM!! She definitely glows.

PPS I was wondering what you thought of pilates? I have heard so much in the past of how popular it was…I haven’t heard much about lately. Have you done it? Do you think it is beneficial or was it just one of those “Fads”? Thanks!


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty October 28, 2009

Happy Birthday OSGM – Wow there are so many people born on this day!!

Why not try something totally different. Rock climbing maybe? Climbing is just fun, doesn’t feel like working out, and it’s a mental challenge too!!

I’m not one to speak about this stuff though, as I have completely given up on running… and I loved it so much, I just can seem to take the first step!

Good luck and we’re all sending you good running vibes!!!


Lindsey @ Sound Eats October 28, 2009

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY OSG MOM!!!!!!

I definitely change up my exercise. I actually just realized yesterday how beneficial that has been for me too. There was a period where due to some shin and knee issues I couldn’t run. I’d jog for a minute and want to start crying because the pain was so bad. Well, long story short, during that time I varied up my exercise (still 5-6 days a week, strength training 4-5) with stair master, walking, elliptical, bike, etc. Just last week I was finally able to start running again. I thought I’d have to slowly build my way up from the bottom again, but I started at 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, and yesterday I went for a 35 minute jog. Totally unexpected and proof to me that I don’t need to run for my only exercise to stay in shape. I actually feel as though variety in my fitness improved my overall fitness in all areas. :)

Ok, all that to say yes, variety is good for my brain and my body. :)


Morgan @ Life After Bagels October 28, 2009

I’m starting to think about getting into yoga. I tried doing hot yoga before but I had injured my hip at the same time I started. My doctor didn’t think it had to do with the yoga but couldn’t be sure and in my head it’s all tied together. 3 years later and I haven’t done yoga again since. I’m sure I could ease into some nice 15 minutes sessions though, nothing too intense. I think I need it for the whole relaxation part of it. My bf always goes to yoga when he needs to clear his head.


AGS October 28, 2009

That is a lovely write-up for your mother’s birthday. Happy Birthday to OSG Mom!

I have had some of my best exercise/fitness break-throughs when I have been forced to switch things up. Running is a friend. It will understand if you need a break or at least a little space. You will be stronger and happier as a runner if you incorporate something new into your “running relationship”. Good luck with yoga! Look forward to hearing about whatever it is you try!


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