Hello! I have been getting emails and messages lately that I have been struggling to get to and I apologize for that. I decided to create a blog post that covers a lot of what is being asked. I, like many of you, have been struggling with the change of season. I have had to force myself to work out since it has gotten so cold. I have not been running as much as I would like. It is actually a bit frustrating for me, but I am pushing through it! Running is something I am asked about a lot. From what I can see, a lot of people just over think it. Running is hard, but at the same time it is easy to do. You have all the equipment you need. Well, you DEFINITELY need good shoes and either a sports bra or whatever boy-part support works for you. Haha...yes, I had to go there! This is what works for me: I run with headphones (with just one ear in when I am near traffic-Safety first!). Part of the reason is so I don't hear myself breathe. I have never concentrated on any of those things. Honestly, I just go out and run. I have from the very beginning. I am a mid foot striker, naturally. I actually have spent a few runs checking in with that every now and then, but the more you think about it the weirder it gets so just do what feels natural to you. It sounds over simplified, but spend the next hour thinking about how you walk and you will NOT walk normally, I promise you that! The only time I make myself think about my feet and I actually kind of chant it, is when I run down hills. I make an actual effort to mid-foot strike. The more you think about all those things like form and breathing and where your foot lands, the harder it is going to be to run. If you are new to running, you have to find out if you enjoy it before you start making all kinds of rules for it. There will be time for that later if you and running truly hit it off. Remember, running is natural. Same for breathing. I know there are running coaches that give all kinds of breathing advice, but we all know how to breathe. Honestly, if you feel like you are breathing too hard, just slow down a bit. I actually run off of my heart rate monitor. I want my heart rate to be around 160-170 on an average run (that's for me, you'd have to look into what is a good rate for yourself). When I first started running, I felt like I couldn't breathe (it's mental, not really anything else!) and I would glance at my heart rate monitor and it would be at 145. How lame! I confirmed that I wasn't going to die and laughed it off. I still pay no attention to my breathing. It is much harder to breathe when it is 34 degrees out, but I still don't have to think about it. I just do what feels good to me. Sometimes that is mouth breathing and sometimes through my nose. Just like writing this blog...Ha! My body won't let me NOT breathe so I really don't put much thought to it. As for distance, my subdivision takes me on a 1.1 mile figure eight loop. I initially was doing a C25K program, of sorts, so I would do the walk and run intervals. At first I would just walk home when the time was up. After about a week, I just kept up the intervals until I was home. I would say, it all depends on you. Now, most days, I have a specific distance in mind when I go out to run. The one exception is the day before a race. I run for an easy 20 minutes and walk for 10 as a cool down. Period. No matter what distance I run, I typically walk another loop to cool down before I go home and stretch. If you are using a program, it is most likely based on time. There is nothing wrong with that. If you are aiming for a set amount of minutes of exercise a day, you can do that. If, like me, you have a neighborhood or subdivision, you can use that as your guide. No matter what, just go out there and run for the run of it! As for eating, I have stomach problems galore and food issues (allergies, etc), so I have to eat every 2-3 hours. I usually eat 3 'meals' and 3 snacks, with my calories divided up as well as possible. I weigh, measure, and track everything I eat. I eat very basic stuff, and often weird combinations, but I do my best to have a protein and carb combo every time I eat. That is what works best for my stomach. I do eat higher carbs and that works well for me. Protein is not something my body gets too excited about. I am probably about a 90% clean eater. It is just what works for me. I also don't eat before morning runs. I have not found anything I can have that doesn't bother my stomach. If I run later, I pretty much eat normal and wait about 2-3 hours before I run. I always eat within an hour of working out, no matter what the workout is. I drink Smart Water and Nuun for the electrolytes. It all seems to agree with me. It is definitely a science experiment to figure out what works best for your body. You will get there and you can do it! Run if you want to run. Don't do it because it seems like it works. You have to do something you enjoy and it's ok if running isn't for you. One thing I would recommend is a heart rate monitor. Machines at the gym and online calculators are going to give you more of an estimate as they are based off averages. My actual calories burned are about half of what online calculators estimate. That is a BIG difference! Let me explain though...I DO NOT use my calories burned for anything other than my own FYI. I think there is a big misconception in looking at your calories burned as a way to determine how much you can eat. Look at it like this: If you fill up your cars gas tank and drive it around, it burns up the gas. The fuel gauge goes down. Your car DOES NOT give back any gas just because you drive it all day! You don't EARN any gas! You fill it, it burns it and then you fill it when the gauge is near empty. Think of your body the same way.
If you want to lose, you have to use!
You aren't earning food/fuel/calories with your workout. I know there is all kinds of stuff online and trackers that tell you how many calories you have burned, etc, etc... Those calories you burn are money in the bank. Eat all your SET daily calories to fuel your body and give it the nutrients it needs. Workout to be in better physical condition, increase muscle and improve cardiovascular endurance and to burn the reserves you have (that's the whole idea, to get rid of what our body doesn't need). Bottom line, do not eat and workout in a give and take manner. The two things work together, but look at them individually. I am not a professional. This is my opinion. However, I have successfully lost 50 pounds and have maintained that loss. I eat healthy. I work out. There are no short cuts. I have a healthy lifestyle and it is available to everyone.
That completes today's lecture! HaHa! Honestly, you have to find what works for you. Let others be your inspiration, but you have to be your own motivation.