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#PlankADay, and why everyone needs a secret guru

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  October 26, 2012 06:34 AM

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Remember when we told you about #plankADay? Well, the co-creators of the hashtag that encourages people to do at least one plank a day house-crashed The Boston Globe earlier this week. We even formed a plank-circle (think drum circle ... only planking instead of drumming). You can see co-creators Mike Bauman in the tan shirt and Dr. Sherry Pagoto in the orange top in the photo above (I'm the one in the gray dress.) We also gathered up White Coat Notes blogger Chelsea Conaboy, Globe Health/Science editor Gideon Gil, and Features Editor Katie McLeod to plank with #plankADay in the Globe Media Lab during their visit.

But the visit wasn't just about planks (as much fun as that was!). Sherry and Mike also came to wish me luck as I try to keep my nerves under control just nine days out from the biggest race I've ever run. The counter below shows just how close my half marathon really is (gulp!).

Time until race day


Why did these crazy kids come to wish me luck? Maybe they just wanted to see behind the scenes of The Boston Globe? Truth is, it's because these two (whether they know it or not) have become my secret fitness gurus.

Let me explain exactly what that means.

Having a secret fitness guru is just another way for me to get support for what I'm trying to do. Of course, my family and friends are supportive, but there's something about getting advice and encouragement from people outside of my immediate circle of friends that seems to make a huge impact on my ability to stick to what I'm doing.

Since I'm not a doctor or scientist, I'm not going to tell you that it's necessary to have a secret guru (or two in my case). But, I will tell you that all of the experts I've talked to say time and again that it's important to find something that works for you. And for some reason this works for me.

What's important to note about Mike and Sherry is that I consider them "gurus" in the sense that they are both runners (much more seasoned than I -- Sherry just did the Chicago Marathon for a *second* time) and both know a lot about weight loss.

Mike has lost 60 pounds (no fad diets!) through hard work on his diet and exercise on his own. And, he's a great guru because he makes a point to check in with me when he knows I have a bigger run coming up. That little action itself seems to help me immensely when it comes to sticking to my training schedule. If I've told Mike about my run, odds are good he'll check on me to see how it went and I don't want to tell him I couldn't get my lazy bones out of bed that morning.

And Sherry is actually a licensed clinical psychologist and professor at UMass Medical School. She has extensive expertise in nutrition, fitness, weight management, and all sorts of other things. She's super smart, but is also great at answering any questions I have in a way that doesn't make me feel like I asked a dumb question. She always doles out advice with a bit of humor and encouragement. She and I are constantly tweeting and re-tweeting interesting articles we find in the health field, and her motivational "reason to exercise" hashtag is just another small piece of the puzzle when it comes to things that help reinforce my healthy behaviors.

Who's better than this duo to give my running stride a little extra pep in the days before my big race? They are the people who first told me I could run a half if I wanted to, all I had to do was commit. And now, here I am, on the verge of running that very race.

Do you have a secret fitness guru? Who do you look to for advice?

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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