Dec 22, 2010

Sluggish mood

Why can it be so difficult to find the motivation to get moving, let alone getting out the door to go and exercise?  I work the swing shift at my job and usually have school in the morning to keep me busy. However, now that it is Christmas break, I have my morning’s pretty open right now. Even though I am available to go running, today I just wanted to sit around at home and be with the family.
Usually the busier you are, the less likely you are to go running. While a busy schedule can be a motivation killer to go running, so can having too much
free time. I was excited for Christmas break so that I could get some quality running time in.  I do not feel fatigued or have any muscle soreness to encourage some down time, so why do I seem to need such an extra boost to get going?
The funny thing about this is the fact that after my run I look back to this morning and ask myself why that was such a big deal?  This always happens whenever I finish a run on a not so motivated day. In fact, I usually end up doing some of my best runs on days that I feel sluggish.
I can understand the fact that sometimes you just have bad days and some down time is needed.  This is normal, but only if it happens every so often. My frustrations are with the normal running days that I should go out but I have a bad attitude and can easily be talked out of going. I always regret not going at the end of those days, and am not happy with myself.
It really comes down to how bad I want the results from that run. It is sometimes best just to not think too much about it. The good thing about just going is that my mood will usually brighten after a while. It is always easy to ask yourself if it is worth it or talk yourself out of it. Just try and convince yourself that it wasn’t worth it after you shed the weight, or accomplish those fitness goals that seemed so unachievable. Hopefully by now you know better, and cannot help but smile at how well you have done, and how much you have accomplished!

Dec 17, 2010

My footwear

I have had a lot of people inquire about what type of shoes I use.
Like most people who are casual joggers and not looking to break any records, I use to buy whatever was on sale or what seemed the most comfortable. This is a common thing to do especially for beginners. However, along the way, as I started to increase mileage, I noticed certain muscles in my lower legs would seem to act up. Shin splints would arise whenever I would try to go farther distances. Even when I only increased my mileage by 10%.  
After a season of recovering from a sprained ankle, my lower legs were incredibly week. I heard about the Vibram five finger shoes and thought that these would help with strengthening my lower legs. It took a while to get use to these shoes, and I never took them out running until after a couple of months of just walking around in them.
Running in these definitely gave my lower legs a tough work out. It took time to build up my mileage in them but it was worth the time.  I can now run a marathon in these without any problems.
In saying this I do not want to mislead anyone by advocating minimalist shoes or going barefoot. While I wear these to train in and maybe do some races in them, they are not my primary shoes. However these are a great lower leg builder and can help build the proper form a runner needs. There are plenty of people who never have problems from over padded shoes, and that’s great. It really came down to the fact that I have a different style of running and this seemed to work for me.
And by the way I do not receive any endorsements from anyone to talk about their products.

Dec 16, 2010

Diet plan

Today I Googled the word “diet plan”. I was disappointed with how many false claims there are out there! Good grief! There are many that claim to have found the silver bullet to stop obesity in its tracks. Some out there are partially true and want to make a difference. However, I couldn’t believe how many were saying that they had it all figured out and the other ones out there are misleading. A person really has to be careful where they get their information from. Eating healthy and finding the right exercise regimen that works for you takes time. But it shouldn’t be so
confusing that you feel discouraged in making the necessary life changes.

For me, eating carbohydrates that are naturally accommodated by fiber (which make up about 60% or more of my daily caloric intake), drinking enough water, avoiding too much red meat, and not eating too many artificially sugared or fatty foods works well. Whole wheats, fruits, and vegetables are a key staple in my personal diet. I exercise when I can, and try not to be too sedentary when I have free time. This works great, for me. It took time to get used to. Sure, every day I have to do my fair amount of research when reading food labels and mentally tracking my calories but it is worth it. Over a few months it became a natural habit. There are plenty of times when I am strapped for time and or just plain tempted to eat out or get a quick fix. I have found that I do have to plan out what I can take with me for food, or to prepare something on hand in case I don’t have time to put something together. Something as simple as a prepared sandwich or a cut up apple or grapes in the fridge can help with this, even taking along a bag of baby carrots or a piece of whole wheat bread or whatever else.  Just finding something that works for you when you are on the go will help. Only you can really determine what you will like and what will help stop the racing mind that comes with hunger pains. I have to be careful to not under eat as well. This will mess up your mind, thyroid, and many other parts of the human body. Placing your body in starvation mode can eventually signal it to hold one to everything because it doesn’t know when it may eat again.

It is obvious that everyone is different, and everyone needs to make a plan for their own needs. When a person is striving for weight loss, it is important to accept the fact that good results will take some time. Not everyone can up and start exercising at a high intensity for 30 minutes a day and really enjoy it. The same goes with changing up your diet. It takes time, so don’t quit because you are not seeing huge results right off the bat. If you had a bad week, month or year, just move on! Losing 30 pounds the healthy way, while building lean muscle mass looks a lot better than just starving yourself to loose 50 pounds! Patience is a friend of ours, especially when it comes to making a lifestyle into a healthier one.

Dec 2, 2010

Winter Running

Spring, Summer, and Fall. All of these seasons tend to be the favorite time of year for most runners. Why is winter given such a bad name? The only thing winter does is bring awesome holidays, and the cold. Why are so many people hard on old man winter?
I was born during the winter. So for me, winter has all the cool days (no pun intended). However, I have noticed that I seem to run better when the temperature drops, and that I do not fatigue so easily. Whereas in the summer I have to constantly drink water, and I will still feel dehydrated. I usually can run more miles during the winter than any other time of year. Even when the temp is near 0 and there is snow and ice all over. I just had to prepare myself the right way. There are amazing clothes out there that may seem expensive or some might seem odd to wear (such as running tights) but once you run in the cold with them, you may change your mind! They are worth the price and embarrassment (but be assured that you will have the last laugh come spring time). Of course, if you are like me and cannot bring yourself to spend more than 30 -40 dollars (and that is being generous), look for the sales, they are out there. Just remember that you are investing in your health and can you really put a price on that?
I wish that there were more running events in these extreme months of winter. Why does January and February seem so dead? Of course if you live in northern Utah, the smog is a big factor. But why are there so many that don’t even give cold weather running a chance? It’s wonderful to not sweat buckets of water when you run in the middle of the day. It is also nice to greet spring when you are fit. I can understand being hesitant at first, but try it out! If you ran all summer to only give up on your goals because of the temperature change, at least test it out. See what you are made of. Please don’t say that you will start after new years either!

Dec 1, 2010

I have been a Good Boy!

I have been a good boy this year. At least I hope I have, my waist line has told me that I have been. With Christmas and the New Year approaching I cannot help but reflect on what this year has done to me, and some previous years as well.
For many years I have been an on, off, and on again runner/exerciser. Back in 2004 and 2005 I had lost over 50 pounds by simply running 3 miles 5 days a week, and eating healthy. I felt great and vowed to never go back to what I used to be. Unfortunately life happened and I started pushing these healthy habits aside. Over the course of the next few years I would exercise in random spurts and attempt to eat healthy. All of the while wondering why I was not seeing much improvement. “I have bad genetics”, “people need to just accept who I am”, “I am big boned”, and much more were the frequent sayings in my day. It wasn’t until later in life that I learned that everyone has bad genetics in their life. It was not other people who needed to accept me and it was I who looked down on me. As for the big boned thing, that was just ridiculous. Whoever started that saying as an excuse for having a weight problem (being fat!) should be run out of town.
Over the years I gained all of the weight back, and than some. It was hideous looking. At times I would tell myself that I was just in my cocoon phase and that “some day” I will emerge as a handsome person.
It was not until summer of 2009 that I started to shape up and be consistent with my running. At first, I set out to just re enact my usual 3 miles 5 days a week, and eat healthier. For years I had a blockade in my head that I was not meant to run long distances. When I decided to confront this by attempting to run 5 miles, I was shocked. Sure the 5 miles killed me off for the day, but something happened in my head. I then knew that I was very capable of going further than I thought I could. Soon the miles started to add up, 7, than 8, 9 and 10 miles in a single run. How could this have happened?  Sure my ego was growing with each additional mile, but so were my personal expectations of myself. 
Life was good. Running was a part of my life again. Than believe it or not on all days, Friday the 13th of November 2009, sprained my ankle. It was bad! My world crumbled. I started to not see myself as a runner, and was very limited to what else I could do for exercise. It wasn’t until a cold January day that I tried to go for a run. It took time to build back up, but not having the mental blockade in my mind that I used to have made this time different.
When spring arrived, I was back in the saddle again! Running had proved again to be enjoyable, and I was being consistent. The only thing missing was that my diet was not good. I saw little change in my body from the weight I had gained during the sprained ankle takedown.  Good eating is only as easy as you want it to be. Tell yourself that you will be miserable and hungry all the time, and you probably will. Tell yourself that it is no big deal and that you will eat again soon and things will go better. Keeping yourself occupied is a big help as well. I had to learn that the body shouldn’t be starved in order to lose weight properly.
 If you feel depressed, unhappy, or frustrated in the midst of your current exercising and eating regimen, you could be doing it WRONG. Usually the first thing people think of when they hear the word diet is a celery stick, and going hungry. This is not accurate. It is true that you have to change things around, and that it is uncomfortable for a time. However it is like changing your wardrobe. At first some things feel odd, and you don’t think they are your type of style. Over time, as you receive compliments, or start to like the wardrobe, you get comfortable with it. One thing to note is to not completely change your whole wardrobe at once. Do a little here, and a little there.
With the year drawing to an end, I have to say that I have met my goals for running. My goals didn’t just unroll the way I wanted them too, I had to work hard. I have noticed a huge mental change because of the stress relief from exercising, and healthier eating habits. In regards to the weight loss, well let’s just say that this is just an added bonus to feeling good! To be exact I have lost around 35 pounds (incase you just have to know or I just needed to brag about it!).