Update: I lost -1.5 lbs last week. 13.5 lbs since the beginning of April. I've kept up with running even though my lower back is still in a bit of pain from last week's strain. It really only hurts when I'm in a sitting or bending position so I've avoided most weightlifting exercises. I think I'll be alright by next week.
Today's Fit Friday post is mostly for non-runners who have been wanting to try running.
As a former trainer/current gym rat, I know running is a bit controversial. A lot of fitness models and bodybuilders discourage running because it can actually burn a little too much muscle along with the fat. But my addiction to running prevents me from possessing any amount of ration when it comes to that subject. (Well, actually a little bit of ration because I have no interest in marathon running, or any long-distance running, really.)
I've mentioned my addiction to running plenty of times on this blog. I run 5-6 days a week. I ran throughout my pregnancy right up to labor. But I've never explained how I got here. I used to hate running. When I was in high school I dreaded the days when we had to run at P.E.. I was in Track, but only because I loved pole vaulting and long jump. I hated the running part. After graduating, I had absolutely no desire (or reason) to run. I still exercised (surfing, lifting, elliptical), but I never ran. One day, after practicing vegetarianism for a little over a year, I realized that I had gained about 20lbs and I decided that I needed to get back to running (and protein). I never looked back. To be honest, there are many days when I still hate running. But I just do it.
Just Do It. No, this post is not sponsored by Nike, but I couldn't say it better. It was SO hard for me to start. I would come up with excuses for why I couldn't run that day. Or I'd start running and get tired easily and stop. Then all of a sudden I realized there are a lot of things in life I'd rather not do. I don't want to go get the clothes out of the dryer and fold them and put them away. I don't want to do the dishes. But I just do them. I applied that philosophy to running. I told myself that I was going to run for 3 miles, no matter how long it took me. And I forced myself to do it. One thing some people suggest is that you do walk/run intervals. This ended up being more difficult for me (which makes sense because your heart has to work harder to slow down and speed up like that). What worked from me was forcing myself to run at a manageable pace for three miles. Every damn day. (Now I do intervals & sprinting and stuff, which helped me improve my speed a lot, but I didn't start off doing that.)
Schedule it. Running is not an option for me. It's like brushing my teeth. It's not an "Oh I have a dentist appointment tomorrow so I won't be able to run" type of thing. Running is part of my daily schedule. I will always wake up earlier or put something else off before I skip a run. Personally, I have to run when I first wake up in the morning. That's when I have the most energy and motivation. If I wait til later, things will pile up and it won't get done. Plus, if I don't run in the morning my whole day feels "off." Some people are afternoon people. Pick a time that works for you, and stick to it.
Make a Playlist. I have to have music blasting in my ears to run. I'm very particular about it, too. It almost always has to be 90's/00's punk. The faster & more motivating, the better. In my opinion, Pennywise is the best running music ever. I also listen to a lot of the Unseen, Guttermouth, Lars Frederickson, Bad Religion, etc. When I'm running I like to turn it up really loud and get lost in it. Sometimes it feels like the music entering my ears is directly powering the muscles in my body, and I'm just like a marionette or something. Put the music that motivates you onto a playlist and blast it during your runs.
Try a Treadmill. I have to run on a treadmill. Being outside is awesome, and I love running at the beach or on a trail, but I can't run on concrete or asphalt. I get shin splints every time. If this happens to you, try a treadmill (if you have access to one). If this doesn't happen to you, I'm slightly jealous. Another thing I like about running on a treadmill is that it forces me to keep the pace I want. It's easier for me to measure my progress and force myself to run faster. There are a lot of great apps that will track your speed and stuff if you run outside, too, but they never work as well as a treadmill for me when I can't slow down unless I push the buttons in front of me.
I know that running isn't necessary to lose weight or get in shape, but after forcing myself to do it everyday, I somehow grew to love it and I don't think I can stop anytime soon. I don't want to stop. That's why I ran throughout my pregnancy. I was scared that if I stopped I wouldn't be able to start again. I need to run. There's nothing else that makes my heart pound as fast or makes me feel more accomplished (physically). Running is my ME time. It's the only thing I do that doesn't involve anyone else but me. No conversations, no sharing, just me & my running shoes. It's the one time a day I can completely forget about all my worries as I get into a rhythm and get lost in the music.
My approach to running won't work for everyone. People obviously approach fitness in different ways, have different goals, and different motivations. Here's another great post with running tips by someone who approaches running in a slightly different way.