Exercise always sounds good in my head, “Oh, today I need to run 15 miles, no big deal.” (This was my exact thought just this past Sunday.).  Well, 3.5 miles into the run, 11.5 more sounded like a bigger deal than before, but I didn’t turn around and head home, I kept on running, one mile at a time, until I finished.  The beginning is usually the easiest part of anything, the commitment to finish the entire distance is what turns something into an accomplishment.

Over the past 4 years of training for half, and now, full marathons, I have found what I call some of my “exercise essentials.” The list evolves with me as my body changes and as I train for new events.  Keep in mind, you don’t have to be training for marathons to apply any of these, they will work in almost any fitness routine.


  1. Find the correct shoes for your workout.  Having the right shoes is vital to preventing injuries to your body when you exercise.  My husband and I were both fitted for running shoes at The Running Zone in Melbourne.
  2. Develop a well-balanced nutritional lifestyle.  Believe me when I say that I have been on almost every diet imaginable, but nothing ever had long lasting results until I made exercise and a healthy diet part of my everyday life.
  3. Eliminate carbonated drinks from your daily diet.  If you need a soda every now and then, have one as a treat, but the best way to stay hydrated is to drink water.
  4. Music! By now, you all can see that I thoroughly enjoy my workout tunes.  The iPod Shuffle is the easiest and lightest way to carry music with you at the gym or outside and it is under $50!
  5. Challenge yourself!  When 13.1 miles became easy for me, I wanted to strive toward a new goal, so 26.2 miles is now the challenge.  I like to prove to myself that I can do things that I never thought I would be able to.  Achieve your goals, celebrate and reach for more!

Playlist Songs of the Week

“Everytime We Touch” Cascada

“Raise Your Glass” Pink

“Behind These Hazel Eyes” Kelly Clarkson

“On the Floor” Jennifer Lopez

“Price Tag” Jessie



Ashley Shih has lived on the Space Coast for the past 5 years, and she can be seen training for marathons on the beaches of Brevard. Her goal is to share the ups and downs of her fitness experiences with readers in order to help them with their lifestyle goals. Please email her with questions or feedback at ashleyerin.shih@gmail.com.