Tag Archives: Fitness

Day 30: Eyes on the Prize

25 Jun

Only yesterday I was reminiscing and feeling pretty proud of myself. I’ve come a long way in thirty days. Recently a frazzled, fledgling mum, this challenge has helped me feel so much more confident and in control (relatively). I’ve worked hard to be disciplined and I’ve set up solid measures of accountability to make sure I keep at it. I’ve been consistent with my runs to the point that I can run 5.7 Km without stopping and I would go as far as to say that I’m feeling pretty fit these days. I have to admit that, although running is not my first (or even second) exercise love, I am really enjoying the training. I started thinking that maybe this is good enough; do I really need to run in a race…do I really have anything left to prove?

I’ve always thought there was a lot of wisdom in the idea that life is more about the journey than the destination. After all, it is along the journey that we face adventures, experience trials and develop character. But, as I tried to justify this notion in my slightly overactive mind, cracks started to appear. The whole point of a journey is not to wander around in circles it is to travel towards somewhere in particular, to have an end target. For me, in this challenge, it is the 5.7Km race in the Gold Coast Marathon.

I woke up this morning, reinvigorated, eyes on the prize. I’m going to race. Not just to finish, but to finish in a way that displays the heart of this challenge – with discipline, accountability and just a touch of good old-fashioned competitive spirit. Wish me luck!

The destination is pretty important too

On reading this back, it sounds like a good theory for a race but maybe even more so for life…hmmm

Day 25: Stinkin’ .7

20 Jun

I have been haunted by the desire to blog every night for the past week but I just haven’t been able to get to it before incoherency seeps in and sleep is the only option. Life has been getting in the way of my blogging! There is a certain irony in my dilemma because it needs to happen for me to have something to blog about…it would just be a lot more convenient if it happened between 9 and 5!

So anyway I’m back, and despite plenty of opportunity, I haven’t used my online absence as an excuse to become undisciplined on the running front. The weather has been pretty un-cooperative recently but I’m still steadily moving towards my goal of running the 5.7 Km in the Gold Coast Marathon in less than 2 weeks.

One thing I’ve taken up to spite the weather is cross training. Hill sprints, skipping and circuit training have now found a home in my weekly routine. My stroller group coach claims that runners can never do enough squats or lunges so I’ve been adding a fair few of those in as well.

I also came to the reluctant realisation that my standard run-for-time style of training was not really preparing me for this race. ‘Map My Run’ now has me sorted and I have a couple of routes planned out that are exactly 5.7 Km. Yesterday I tested it out and I can tell you that the last .7km was a killer – both physically and mentally! It doesn’t sound like a lot but I’ve decided it is like marketing something at $5.99 instead of $6. We all fall for that deceptive five in front. The extra squats had my legs protesting from the very beginning and gazing wistfully as I continued past my old turn-around point did nothing to keep my head in the game. I am realising how much mental preparation goes in to this running business. On the positive, I guess I am glad that I am facing this now rather than on race day. Maybe if I throw in a few 6K runs I’ll go back to falling for the five in front again.

Day 13: Variables Investigated

7 Jun

So in my last blog I was pondering the deep, world-changing topic of running variables that affected my increasing speed. Well, I have done some research and the verdict is in…there are too many variables to determine a cause and effect relationship. On the plus side, one of the consistent explanations was that I’m getting fitter, I’ll take that! Not wanting my findings to go to waste, I have shared some of them below. Check it out:

Joey and I heading out for a late afternoon jog

Variable 1: Running with a stroller vs running without

Pros for running with a stroller:

  • Burns more calories
  • Run is perceived to be smoother.
  • You can still run even when you are home alone with your baby.
  • Gives you an upper-body workout through the resistance of pushing the stroller.
  • You have a place to carry your water, cell phone and store your sweatshirt when it gets too hot.

Cons:

  • It is heavy, especially going up hills, and gets even heavier as your baby grows.
  • Slows down your running time by 10-30 seconds per kilometer
  • You have a child with you so any number of things could slow you down from a dropped toy, to boredom, to the desperate need for a drink or snack right NOW
  • It is annoying and zaps the awesome ‘free’ feeling running gives you.

Advice for running with a stroller:

  • Push with one hand at a time and switch every 500m or so. Also, if you have adjustable handles, make them so your arm can be at a right angle when you are pushing.
  • Give yourself time to get used to it. You may feel awkward for a while but it will become normal soon
  • If you have a lockable wheel put it in lock mode for a safer and smoother ride
  • Give your baby time to get used to it. They love routine and will come to love or at least tolerate the ride. Probably best to not go when your baby is due to eat. I have found that late afternoon works for us at the moment because bub is tired and I either get a bonus nap or he is content to watch the world go by.

Variable 2: Running with music vs listening to the world go by

Pros to running with music:

  • Helps get you in a rhythm
  • A good distraction from listening to your breathing and the negative self-talk or over-thinking…or is that just me?
  • It can be inspiring and motivating and help get you in your running space

Cons:

  • If you have your music too loud you may be a safety hazard – running out in front of traffic, taking up the whole sidewalk…I’m being a bit facetious because I am a granny when it come to listening to music through headphones but I have heard that these problems exist. On a more serious note you do need to be aware of your surroundings, especially in  quieter areas
  • You may get out of touch with your breathing and footfall so you aren’t familiar with your symptoms when you are tiring – good to krace for a race.
  • I don’t know about you but running is a great time to clear your head of the clutter, listen to the rhythmic (if not laboured) breathing and footfall and let your mind wander.

Advice:

  • Research shows listening to music is most beneficial for low to moderate intensity runs so maybe use it on your easy running days
  • Find music with a beat that is slightly above your stride rate so you are motivated to ‘run to the beat’. It is especially helpful right at the start when you are trying to set your pace and towards the end when you are getting tired.

Check out these great websites for further information:

Day 9: How to knock 30 seconds off your PB PB

3 Jun

PB PB? No, it’s not a typo, it stands for post-baby personal best…and I would love to be able to share the secret, as soon as I figure it out (sorry to be a tease).

On Friday, I went for a run. It was late afternoon, the husband had just returned from 3 days away and I was able to leave the baby at home. I cranked up my ‘old-school motivation’ playlist on the iPod (who doesn’t find MJ’s ‘Beat It’ great to move to) and off I set on my usual route. I usually run for time rather than a particular distance and no one was more surprised than me to find that I had to run an extra 30 seconds when I got back to my starting spot.

I really need to start taking actual photos but you get the idea

I figured it was a fluke but felt pretty chuffed about it none-the-less. Today, I went for another run and this time it was a family affair. I pushed the stroller, hubby got pulled by the dog and then we swapped at the turn-around point. Not only did I keep the new pace, I went slightly faster.

I have no idea what happened but after reading what I have just written, there are a few variables that require further investigation:

a) running with a stroller vs just plain running

b) running with a partner vs running alone

c) listening to my iPod while running vs none.

So my task this week will be to uncover what (if anything) hinders and helps my running. Do you have any tips that help you get in your running groove or variables that affect it?

Day 4: What’s my motivation?

29 May

As I was filling out my entry form for the impending race yesterday, I came across a question that was a bit more abstract than the rest: “What is your reason for competing in this race?” While I responded quickly off the top of my head, I have been thinking about that question ever since. What is my reason/motivation/goal/purpose for competing in this race? Is it just to prove that I can be disciplined?

ImageLosing myself along the back streets of Blogland today, I stumbled across a link to lifehack.org, and more specifically, to an article about motivation by Royale Scuderi. He gave a working definition of motivation as:

the force that compels us to action. It drives us to work hard and pushes us to succeed. Motivation influences our behaviour and our ability to accomplish goals.”

Here is a summary of the six types of motivation that Scuderi outlined (and my responses in italics):

Image

1. Incentive: (Extrinsic motivator) how will I be rewarded for achieving a certain target or goal? Hopefully lose some of that bonus baby weight and seeing that chocolate after the race doesn’t really fit this whole discipline philosophy, maybe I’ll add some new shoes or training top as a wager.

2. Fear: (Extrinsic motivator) What consequences await me if I don’t do this? The can’t voice wins again.

3. Achievement: (Intrinsic motivator) How will I become competent by completing this? I’ll prove to myself that I can be disciplined and run that distance. (External motivator) What positive feedback will this lead to? “Wow, your still breastfeeding and your baby is only 5 months old, good for you!” 🙂

4.  Growth: (Intrinsic motivator) how will this propel me to change/grow/improve? I will be more confident in my ability to stick to my plans and not give up which in turn will motivated me to find my next goal and keep disciplined.

5. Power: (Extrinsic motivator) How will this lead to more control over myself or others? I guess it will justify the need for self-control but the connotations for power are a bit full-on and confronting in my mind.

6. Social: How will this help me to connect with others? An in with the stroller group for sure and cement some of my new acquaintances into real friendships through shared experiences.

So I guess none of this is rocket science but it helps clarify in my mind how I work and why I want to do this. I know you’re just dying to find out what my off-the-cuff response was in my entry form, aren’t you.

“I want to do something to help me find my identity outside my new all-consuming role as a stay-at-home mum”

Mmm, I could look really deeply into that as well but I’ll choose to believe that a little bit of each of the answers above are appropriate and relevant, depending on the day and mood. The point is that I’m motivated to stay disciplined and do this race and this proves that I have many reasons to make it happen.

Day 3: I love Mondays

28 May

A good day today, back on track! Monday’s are one of my favorite days of the week. It feels like a chance to start again and get back in routine. Two things that helped:

1. I had stroller group this morning and it was a great motivator. We did beach runs, kettle ball exercises and hill sprints – all with our babies barely contained in their strollers, propped with toys and snacks. There were five other girls there who are training for the same race so we compared notes and kept a competitive eye on each other.

Image

not actually us, but put a beach in the background and it might as well have been. Will have to get the camera out next week!

2. ‘My Fitness Pal’ is an iPad app that tracks calories eaten and exercise undertaken each day. After my revelation yesterday about eating, I decided to start using this app again. After only one day of records, I now have it in writing, I am a carb addict. Mmmm, will have to work on that one.

So this week is off to a bang. I officially registered for the race today and between the blog, stroller group, calorie tracker and money missing from my bank account, I definitely have the tools in place to keep me accountable, now do I have the real-life discipline?

Day 2

27 May

Either this is easy or I’m missing something. Yesterday’s run was pretty easy and I’m not sore today. I made up a bit of a training diary and figured I don’t need to run every day so today was a down day. Instead of running I lounged, I socialized and I ate then ate some more.

Have you ever found that exercise makes you more hungry than usual? It definitely does for me. This evening as I sat back and reflected on the day, I realized that I ate 2 pieces of cake, bacon and eggs, chips (the hot and the cold variety) and pie.

This challenge is no longer just about running. It is about eating as well. I have a feeling I won’t be saying it is easy in a couple of days time and I’m pretty darn sure I’ll be missing something too – my comfort food!

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