Okay, I'll just admit it to myself. I'm terrible at giving you guys recipes. Like, really really bad at it. Mostly because the hubby does the large majority of the cooking and makes it all up as he goes along. Extracting a recipe from him is harder than finding a good Olympic commentator on NBC. Oh yeah, I went there. Anyway, I had asked him to do the Friday recipe thing for me, but then I realized that he actually has negative free time as it is. So that leaves me to do regular, normal person blogging on Friday. Normal person blogging isn't what I want to do, though. I can do that Saturday-Tuesday already. So I'll try something new and just as cheesily named: Fitness Friday. Fitness Friday will be an exploration into different types of fitness, from forms of yoga to orienteering. Now, I'm not an expert on all of these things by any means, but I'll do my best to give some basic info for those of you who have been asking for beginning fitness tips. That way, you can decide for yourself if it is something that you want to try or is obviously not right for you.
So this first week, I'll start simple: Running. Running is what I do more than anything else, so why the heck not start there!? Now, we all know what running is. It's quite obvious that it's a faster, sweatier, hurtier form of walking. BUT running can be quite rewarding and even a bit addictive, just give it a chance! For beginners, I suggest doing the Couch to 5k. It is a program that can take a basic "couch potato" to running a 5k within 8 weeks! It sounds like it doesn't work, but it totally does. Also, C25k has an app on every type of device out there that simply plays over your music and tells you exactly when to walk and when to run. It takes all of the thought out of it completely, which is nice when you're huffing and sweating and the last thing you want is to stare at your watch.
So you've downloaded your app and you have your running music--what next? My suggestion to make absolutely sure that you'll finish the program is to find a race. Go to your local running club's website (every town has one, just Google it, people), see their list of upcoming events, and find something 8-10 weeks out from your start date. Look for something that strikes your fancy, whether it be for an awesome cause or it has a super fun afterparty. No matter what, you want it to be an event that you look forward to!! If it isn't, you won't push yourself. Once you sign up for the 5k, TELL PEOPLE. Now I'm not saying you have to announce it to the world and change your Facebook photo to the race page background, but at least let a few close friends/family know what your goal is. It not only gives you accountability, but it gives you much-needed support. Who doesn't want a cheerleading squad backing them??
You've signed up, you're ready to start your program, and now you need your gear. Obviously, the most important thing is your shoes. For 5k training, you don't have to go all-out with your shoes, just find some that fit well and feel good. Runner's World has a Shoe Advisor that will give you some idea of what you're looking for. My biggest suggestion, after you find the right type of shoe for your foot, is to go a half-size up. Feet swell when you run, and what fits well in a store may kill your toes once you start to puff up, especially if you're running in warmer weather. Also, buy some sweat-wicking socks. Trust me, your feet will thank you! Buy a few outfits you can interchange, and don't get the all-cotton stuff. Your sweat will be stuck against you and you'll feel like you just took a stink shower. Not cool. Target has sweat-wicking clothing for really good prices, and I've actually worn their stuff for 20+ mile runs with no complaints!
You have your clothes, your phone app, your race date, and you're set to go! Take it slow, aim for a "conversation" pace, which means that you're still able to speak without feeling like you'll die. Work on hydration and eating well before you run, and find what foods make your body feel the best. Then, and this is just my fun little personal suggestion, buy yourself something cute to wear for your big event. It will lift your spirits and put a pep in your step! Once race day comes, have a blast and feel wonderful about your accomplishment!!!
After your first 5k, you can do a multitude of things. If you keep doing one type of workout for too long (studies say 3+months), your body will get
used to it and the benefits will taper to nothing. So now it's time to step it up! You can aim for the next distance up (8k), you can work on speed, or you can add in more types of cardio/strength work. Also, this is the time to really start to focus on your form. That's a whole other post, so I'll skip it and send you to learn about proper form here. It's a lot of info to think about, so my suggestion is to conquer one at a time, and take your time doing it.
When I started running, I literally thought it was the worst thing ever. I only did it so that I wouldn't gain weight after moving back to the States and having a car again. It took me months of that nasty red-faced, overheated, hell-on-earth feeling to realize that I LOVED the way it made me feel emotionally. It cleared my head unlike anything else could. It also made me feel like I was doing something I was actually designed to do, what my ancestors did. And the red face and overheating went away! So give it a chance for a bit, do the C25k, and see if it's right for you. If you don't love it, at least you can get that nifty free race shirt, right?!