Sunday, August 7, 2016

How I Stay Fit - One San Diego Runner's Story

What does running REALLY do for you?

By Kathleen Lisson

San Diego Runner's Secret to Lifetime Fitness

From the outside, I look like a success story. I have been the same dress size for 25 years. I wear out two pairs of running shoes per year. I have raised thousands of dollars for charity through my long distance running.

What do I look like from the inside? Running and meditation are the top two ways I deal with strong emotions. If I feel cooped up, I run. If I feel emotional, I run. If I have a big decision to make, I need to 'run it out' in my heart during a long, slow run. Being injured has shown me (the hard way) that running is the key to my inner balance, so I protect my ability to run four ways.

My top secret to keeping fit is focusing on my overall wellness, not just the number on the scale or the fitness watch. I make my wellness a priority by:

  • Nourishing my body. I eat smart by following Brian Wansink’s tips for preventing mindless eating. I serve meals from salad sized plates for natural portion control and leave only fruit and healthful snacks on the kitchen counter. If I feel sick and bloated, I won't want to run.

  • Keeping track of my heart rate. If my morning pulse starts rising and I feel cranky and tired, I may be overtraining. I stop overtraining in its tracks by booking a relaxing massage and shortening my workouts for the next few days.

  • Recruiting a team to help me stay fit and healthy. I meditate with a group once a week, train for half marathons with Team in Training, get a massage at least once a month, have a weekly ‘date night’ with my husband and see my doctor and dermatologist for regular checkups. I know I can face and overcome any obstacles I confront if I have my team behind me.

  • Having a Plan B. I have faced many obstacles over the years, including running injuries, a sprained ankle, relationship breakups, long hours at work and a skin cancer diagnosis. I was able to bounce back because I had a Plan B - a list of alternatives for my preferred exercise routine. In fact, switching up my normal routine is sometimes just the change I needed to prevent workout boredom.

What does running REALLY mean to you and how do you preserve your ability to run?

Kathleen Lisson is a RRCA Running Coach, certified Meditation Teacher and Labyrinth Facilitator and teaches Meditation and Mindfulness at IPSB college in San Diego. Sign up for a private meditation lesson or labyrinth walk in the comfort of your home here:


  1. OOH I love the salad sized plate tip!

    1. We switched to salad plates and haven't felt deprived. They fit better in the cupboard and the dishwasher, too.


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