Sunday, September 12, 2010

Running

One year ago I started running - running to lose the baby weight after the birth of my fourth child. I was tired of wearing my maternity clothes post-partum, there is something horribly depressing about that. With no "in-between" clothes to wear and no money to buy anything new (or used) I had to get my body moving to shed those pesky pounds around my middle (and everywhere else).

So I started running. The last time I had really run was in high school, 9 years earlier. I was on the track team doing sprints as more of a social activity and a time to hang out with my boyfriend (now my husband).

So I stepped out the door of our home and slowly, very slowly started jogging. I was hot, uncomfortable, and wanted to stop but I kept going and ran 1.5 miles at a very slow pace of 15 minutes a mile.  I've never been one to consistently exercise, let alone actually run a considerable distance so accomplishing this was monumental for me. I have several friends who are avid runners and exercises and I always thought that what they were doing was great, but something I could never get excited about and actually do.

However, after several more days and weeks of running my lungs didn't ache when I ran, I had more energy and was just feeling generally happier. I signed myself up for a race to motivate me to keeping running and within time the weight started slipping off. I saw my legs become more defined, I could actually get my jeans buttoned and my shirts didn't hug my waist so tight.  My hard work was paying off and I couldn't be happier about it - physically, mentally and emotionally! I finally understood why my friends loved running and exercising so much! It makes you feel good and happy!

Just three months after my baby was born (2 months after I started running) I ran my first race since high school, an 8K (4.96 miles). I loved every minute of that race. I felt happy and proud that I worked hard, trained, and accomplished a goal that I had set. I had never run that many miles before and was no longer running a 15 minute mile, instead I averaged a 9:21 mile and was very excited about that!

A few months later I ran in a 10K and in November will be running another 8K. I've felt the "runner's high" and how amazing it is to cross the finish line after each race.  I hope to be running many many more races in my life!

Do you want to lose some weight, slip into your old jeans, and have more energy? Here are a few things I did to get myself motivated, off the couch and to start seeing results.

*I have absolutely no professional training in exercise or nutrition. I am simply sharing from my own personal experiences. Always check with your doctor before beginning a exercise program (that's what the exercise video's always say, right?)*


1. Set a Goal. This goal could be to lose a certain amount of weight, to run a certain distance, to exercise a certain number of days a week etc. . . Remember to set a reasonable goal, one that provides a good challenge, yet is attainable.

I hate setting goals. I'm not even sure of the real reason why, but failure seems to always be at the top of the list of why people don't set goals. When I paid my money to run the 8K I felt excited, but nervous and even obligated to have a good personal performance. I set a goal and committed to not back out.

2. Determine Your Motivation. I wrote above that I started running to lose the baby weight and while that is true as I got closer to the race day I realized that perhaps my best motivation was in simply accomplishing something I had never done before and being proud of myself for finishing the race. Every time I went running to train and I just wanted to just walk I would repeat in my mind over and over and over again my motivations - "finish the race, be proud and lose some weight."

Maybe your motivation will be to have more energy to play with your kids, lose some weight before the holidays, or simply to accomplish something you've never done before too!

3. Find a Friend or a Gym. With four small children at home and a busy husband I knew I wasn't going to be able to accomplish my goal without joining a gym. I couldn't run in the mornings as that as when my husband was working out or leaving early for school and I like to have my evenings with my family. I knew I needed to join a gym that had child care so I could take my kids with me and get my exercise done during the day.

I joined our local YMCA and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience there. They have a great facility, great child care and I get a 1 hour break from my kids several days a week while I exercise! Sounds great huh?! I've tried to workout at home with DVDs and weights and such but I feel very little motivation at home.  At the gym I've got the young and old exercising all around me, people of all shapes and sizes, and nothing motivates me more than being on a treadmill next to a 60 year old woman. If she is running I should be running, right?!  I also really like the option to take some exercise classes and lift weights too.

I know the gym can sound and be expensive, but ask about scholarships for reduced prices or special deals or packages they might have. Call around, price check, and try out the FREE passes to several gyms to make sure find the one you like and fits your best.

Don't want to spend money or join a gym? Finding a friend to exercise with is a great motivator. Running with a friend will get you out the door, give you something to distract your mind as you talk and run and you can help encourage each other and share your goals. I have a group of friends here who all signed up for the upcoming 8K so they run together on Saturday mornings to prepare for the race.

4. Eat a Balanced Diet and Cut Out Sugar.  I'm not the healthiest gal on the planet, but when I do want to shed some pounds cutting out ALL sugar for 2 weeks gets my body jump started. If you just can't bear the thought of going without sweets try just cutting them out during the week and save the goodies for the weekend. That is bound to cut out a chunk of your calories each week.

Drinking lots of water, eating smaller portions and eating more fruits and veggies gives me more energy and I'm thinking it will so the same for you.

I know that the tips above aren't some fabulous diet and exercise program, but often that isn't needed. Get moving and eat better and you're bound to see some results whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally!

2 comments:

  1. I restarted running to lose the baby weight too. (: I agree with having a goal in mind. If you don't, chances are you'll quit. I need to get my running shoes back out...

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