Monday, June 7, 2010

30-Something Runner Introduction

Okay. Today is the day! I have been running consistently for about a month now. But, inevitably, the question begs: "Where is this going?" When one commits to an activity, the end state is usually questioned. It could be a relationship with another person, obtaining education, or working for a company. When committing to these activities, it is easier to obtain your goals because they have obvious end states. A relationship with a person either ends in marriage, a committed partnership, or a break-up. Obtaining education usually ends in a degree, whereas working for a company leads to promotions and pay raises. However, I have come to the realization that when it comes to an exercise program, most people forget the end state they want to reach. The value of this end state is forgotten when the activity becomes challenging and downright painful. I have tried everything, from fat-looking pictures of myself next to 'goal' pictures that I aspire to emulating, to tracking every calorie of every piece of food that goes into my mouth. I often find myself envying those who never have to think about the food they eat or even getting in a couple of miles (or not being able to). That being said, I cannot let this envy or lack of inspiration, detract me from the goal I have set myself to lose 40 pounds while simultaneously learning to run a sub 8-minute mile for the duration of a marathon.

The point of this blog is to share with the readers my journey to long-term weight loss and increasing speed. The point of the activity of increasing speed is to eventually qualify for the Boston Marathon. My hope is to inspire other 30-somethings to finding their own end state in the way of fitness and health and be able to obtain their goals. I will start with my own brief history.

I am 32. I have two daughters, ages 8 and 13. I can no longer blame my youngest for me being overweight, nor can I blame working or life. I am married to an Army Warrant Officer and we are currently living in Bad Windsheim, Germany. My husband is stationed at the remote location of Illesheim. There are very few jobs here, so I am currently unemployed. I have just finished an MBA program and expect my degree in the mail any day now. Regardless of my education, there are no jobs for me here. We are in the process of trying to return to the US so we don't end up in bankruptcy court, but until then, there are many hours in the day to fill while my kids are in school. Therefore, I am taking a vested interest in my body and how to improve it.

Here is my planned workout schedule: Mondays-Tempo Run; Tuesdays-Steady State Run; Wednesdays-Cross Training; *Thursdays-Mid-Distance Relaxed Run; *Fridays-Rest; *Saturdays-Long Run; *Sundays-Rest. *Thursdays and Fridays as well as Saturdays and Sundays will often interchange due to weather or scheduling conflicts.

As for diet, I follow the principles of The Paleo Diet for Athletes created by Loren Cordain. Basically, 85% of the time I do not ingest legumes, dairy or grains. However, I do have a wide array of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and seafood to choose from. This basically translates to eating clean most of the time. I do schedule "cheat" meals where I include dairy or grains (never really cared for legumes). These meals are typically Sunday morning breakfast, Wednesday lunch and Friday dinner. Each cheat meal helps me stick to my diet in between. As opposed to "The Paleo Diet" I am allowed high-carbohydrate vegetables, such as potatoes. While following "The Paleo Diet", I lost 15 pounds without the need for exercise. Now, I have started running again, and I need more energy. To get this, I must consume more calories, but they must be nutrient calories. I opt for potatoes, sweet potatoes and other tubers. They have a high amount of potassium, just what sore muscles need for recovery. I also allow coffee (2-3 cups) in the morning, and chocolate during PMS.

There are many ailments that come along with a steady training ritual. One to be especially aware of (since I am currently dealing with its sting) is sunburn. Coppertone makes a great spray, but it is essential to remember to put it on BEFORE leaving the house! Also, putting it on your back is easy with the spray function, but one must also remember to do this to get the benefits! Another is sore muscles. Now, while one may be tempted to load up on anti-inflammatories and pain killers, trust me when I say this is NOT the way to go. In fact, it is a really good way to hurt yourself. I ended up laying myself out of running for two weeks by taking OTC medications to avoid muscle soreness. The best way to deal with muscle soreness is to decipher the type of soreness. Once, when I had especially sore calves due to overuse, I looked up the reason for my soreness. There is an acronym for it: DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). This usually starts two days after the activity ended. So, if you run for two miles today, in two days you will feel the soreness. I have discovered that if I run today, and tomorrow, I can delay the DOMS until my rest day. I have also found that by doing this for four weeks, the soreness is typically limited to just after the workout, but subsides after that night's slumber. If the soreness is unbearable, then I will reanalyze my training regimen. Did I speed up too fast? Did I log too many miles? Did I overstretch? Perhaps I overdid it during cross-training. This is why keeping a training journal is important.

Training journals: I have a lot of these laying around the house not filled out. I have learned that I am not good at keeping journals. So, instead I have found websites that allow me to keep up with a myriad of training options. My favorite is It is a free site that tracks my improvements, weight loss, and cross training.

Planning: It can be very difficult to plan out training, but it is essential to successfully achieving your goals. The plan I have already shared works for me, mostly because I don't work. But, when I did work, I found it best to get my workout done first thing in the morning. Otherwise, I would find a million excuses not to do it later in the day. I actually would prefer to work 2nd shift just so I can get my workout in without having to get up at some ungodly hour! Regardless, it is very important to make an appointment for yourself to complete your workout, or everything else will take precedence.

OK, so this blog is a self-empowerment blog. I plan to follow through with these plans and I will continuously update this blog with each day's results. It will include the good, the bad and the ugly. Also, I will give calendars for races I plan to run in and my finishing goal. I hope that the readers are able to enjoy these anecdotes and any tips I have learned along the way. Of course, everyone is different, and meeting with your doctor before starting any kind of diet or exercise program is always recommended, so if these tips, tricks and established plans do not work for you, modify as you see fit. The point is to keep it up and don't get discouraged. There are always good and bad days as well as improvements and set backs. It is essential not to dwell on problems in training or even in races, and to move on, striving for better results the following day. I have learned to treat each day as a new one and try to do better than the previous day.

Here's hoping each day is better than the last!

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