Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It worked for me

My running page is getting more views and comments than my food posts, so I decided to devote some time to helping new runners(or anyone who needs a little motivational help to get started on an exercise plan).
Spring is finally here in New Jersey, so those of you who don't like to walk/run outside in winter have no more excuses. Speaking of excuses, I am often asked how I have been able to keep up with  my running year round, and the simple answer is that I get rid of all of the "excuses".
(Please note: you should consult your doctor before starting any exercise program)

1. VERY IMPORTANT! You must have a very comfortable, flattering exercise outfit.

Why flattering you might ask? Because if you don't look good, you won't feel good, and you have to convince yourself to put the outfit on and head out the door. Sounds crazy,but it is true.

2. Winter running: You must have seasonally appropriate gear. I run in 33 degrees and higher. I wear a headband to keep my ears warm and gloves because your hands get cold. I wear winter leggings and a base layer breathable long sleeve top and a running sweatshirt. I rarely use a jacket, but I own one, and have used it when it is very windy or raining. I also use a neck gator that doubles as face mask to warm up the cold air I breathe in.

3. Summer running: Less is more, just light shorts and t-shirt. I don't carry water. Just hydrate well before, but not too much or you will have to stop to pee. Carrying water weighs you down.

4. You need to be a little bit selfish. You have to schedule your exercise like a doctor appointment and put it on the calendar. Everyone in your family will get used to seeing this and they will know you are not available during those times. Or enlist your family to join you and make it a family affair.

5. Enlist a friend to exercise with. When you are not in the mood, she/he will be and that will get you out the door. This really works, so many times I would think of blowing off my run, but then a friend calls and I want to support their efforts so I reluctantly go with them. I am always glad I did.

6. Use music and change your  playlist on your ipod/phone every now and then. Or try to run/walk listening to an audio book. It is a great distraction and time goes by much faster. In the beginning the music really inspired me to keep going, especially the Rocky theme songs.

7. Mindful eating goes hand in hand with any exercise program. Keep a simple food journal. This has helped me to lose weight, I just jot down everything I eat and figure out the calories. It keeps me honest. It may seem tedious at first, but we are creatures of habit and tend to eat the same foods, so you will get a feel for the portion sizes quickly. This way you can plan to eat the foods you love by making better choices throughout the day. You will notice your bad eating habits and where you can improve. I noticed that if I skipped my snacks between meals, I was so hungry come meal time, that I over ate. I also noticed that I was drinking hundreds of calories in milk every day in my tea. By occasionally having my tea black and  limiting the amount of milk in my tea, I was able to save 200 calories per day. This might not seem like much but,a 200 calories per day reduction equals to approximately a 20 pound loss of weight over one year. One pound every 17.5 days. These are the changes that result in permanent weight loss, lifestyle changes that are really simple to make.

8. Lay out your exercise clothes the night before. You will feel guilty seeing them lying there.
Better yet, put them on, even if you have to run errands first. Having the clothes on will increase the likelihood of you exercising.

9. Immediately wash your exercise clothes so they are always available. Or better yet, have several sets of exercise clothing. Don't ever use fabric softener on your exercise clothing, use white vinegar instead. The fabric softener gets clogged in the fibers of the fabric and will not allow sweat to pass through. I use 1/4 cup of vinegar and baking soda in my wash and another 1/4 cup of vinegar in place of fabric softener. And no, your clothes will not smell like vinegar, I promise. For really smelly gear, you can soak them in hot water and a cup of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda, then wash. Works great for my son's soccer gear.

10. If you are not in the mood to walk/run, go out anyway and commit to a short walk/run. Getting out the door is half the battle.

11. Print out a training plan. Go on the internet and find a plan that works for you. I used the couch to 5 k training plan, but you might prefer a walking plan or a yoga training plan, just print it out and post in on your fridge. Cross off each day as you complete it. Again, passing this list every time you are in the kitchen will be a helpful reminder that is hard to avoid.

12. Put your goal in writing. There is something about writing it down that makes it official. I put my goal in my food journal.  It is like a promise to yourself. Everyone needs a goal, when you reach your goal make a new one, repeat.

13. Pick an exercise you enjoy, chances are if you enjoy it, you will stick with it. If running is not for you, try biking or a zumba class or a pilates dvd. If you just don't like to exercise, think of exercise as a job or medicine. It is something you just have to do for your health. Get it over with as soon as you can in the day so you are not fretting about it all day. Commit to 30 minutes 3 times per week to start. Everyone can spare that. You can even break it up to 3 ten minute sessions per day instead of one 30 minute session. Again, remove the excuses. They really are excuses.

14. Fix all of your equipment failure. My good friend and running partner will be laughing when she reads this. When she started running with me she always had equipment failure that was getting in the way of her workouts. Running is very hard, you need all the help you can get, so having the distraction of  your pants falling down, your earbuds not fitting right etc. will definitely derail you before you get very far. A good sports bra is a must (for ladies I mean). Spend some time and money on one really perfect workout outfit,down to your underwear and I promise, it will pay off in keeping you on track.

15. You will be sore and you will have setbacks, these are normal. Don't be discouraged. Don't forget to stretch well after every exercise session and always warm up for 5 minutes before you exercise. These two tips really help to prevent injury. For running, increase your distance gradually. My injuries usually resulted from running too far too soon. The experts at Runner's World suggest you increase your distance no more than 10% per week to prevent overuse injuries. Your body does not always cooperate with your enthusiasm, so even if you feel great, I recommend sticking to the gradual 10% increase weekly.

16. It doesn't matter how fast you run, it just matters that you are out there trying your best, slowly improving, and you will improve. Remember, no matter how slow you run, you are still lapping everyone on the couch:)
Remove the excuses, have a goal, get out the door, have fun.
Happy training.

1 comment:

Maureen Fiorellini said...

Just testing the comments form.