Remember 8 years ago how you finally made that decision to lose weight? Remember how you looked like this:
In the past 8 years you’ve done a lot — you lost 40 pounds, you have run dozens of races including three marathons, you even like salads.
You know, though, that you’ve been saying for a while you want to lose those “final” 10 pounds. In reality, those “final” 10 pounds consist of several pounds that have been gained or lost over this 8-year span, nagging at you when your jeans get a little tighter.
Remember that drive and determination from the beginning of 2004? The running, the lifting weights, the drastically changed diet — it was truly a new lifestyle. You have done a fairly good job at keeping a lot of those things going, but there are times you let that slip.
But as the calendar changes to another year, there’s no better time than now to recommit, get back to eating much better all of the time, cross train consistently and to make 2012 an even better year than 2011.
Yes, you, it’s time …
I haven’t done a “Making the commitment” post in a while. The idea of having the theme throughout the year seemed to fizzle once I got things back on track. While I have failed to blog with the title as much as I had hoped, the theme lives on. Everything I have done has been about making a commitment to getting back to full health when it comes to running.
A couple of months ago I talked about how this training session for the Baltimore Marathon was going to be different. Now that I’m halfway through training I thought it would be a good time to do a check-up.
I’ve been able to get in a solid core workout once a week at work and have done a relatively good job at getting a second workout in at home. We shifted things up at work and I’m actually working out with our personal trainer on Mondays. In the past couple of weeks he’s added some weight training with the core work.
I know I should do more, but something is better than nothing, and what I’ve done this summer is far and away a lot more than I was doing a year ago. I can tell a difference when I run; I can’t pin-point exactly what it is, but I can tell that I’m more balanced and stronger.
I’ve posted many more maps of my runs, which really helps give me a quick reference to look at what I’ve done. I look at my runs on Garmin Connect a lot more too. I like to see where I slow down or how hard I hit a hill.
I’ve kept up with my spreadsheet regularly. My “non-plan plan” actually got a little more solid after a couple of weeks as I set goals for my long runs and weekly mileage for the rest of training. I set the bar high, but have adjusted the mileage a couple of times to better fit what I’m doing.
I’ve also added a column in the spreadsheet for notes when I’ve made adjustments and I added a column with last year’s mileage from the same time frame. It’s definitely too wide to post on here for it to make any sense.
Training through 8+ weeks has been amazing. Aside from feeling a bit under the weather a couple of weeks ago, I’ve remained as consistent as ever and feel stronger each week. I really look forward to the long runs each weekend.
I don’t like to compare things from last year too much, but I had a great training session then until the very end. I don’t want to take away from last year, but the lessons learned in the last 4 weeks are what set the tone for this summer.
Adding the core work, more progressive runs and what I feel is an overall better attitude is making this a great summer for running.
I think most runners are guilty of being way too addicted to their times/paces and their Garmins/watches/other GPS-related devices. So I, and quite a few others, are here to stop it for at least one day a week.
Late last week, a few of us on Twitter started a conversation about running without a watch to kick off the week. Several tweets and a few emails later between me, @AHealthyDad, @262milejourney, and @suzistorm here’s what we’ve come up with — #watchlessmonday.
Here’s what you do: for the first run of your week, don’t wear a watch. It’s that simple. While I’d really like to make this a completely unplugged commitment, I’ll forgive you for now if you have to have music to listen to. I hope, eventually, you’d give that up for at least a day. If you don’t run on Mondays or your change your weekly plans, don’t let that be an excuse. Whether your first run is Monday, Tuesday or whenever, make that first one watchless.
When you’re done with your run, come back and let everyone know you did it on Twitter with the #watchlessmonday tag (if it’s later in the week, still use #watchlessmonday so we can easily keep track).
Why are we doing this? Simply put, to get rid of the addiction. Is your pace or time important? Sure. But do you need to know what it is every single time you go out. Absolutely not. This is about running for the fun of running. That’s what I’m adding this to my #2011commitments posts (I know, I know, I’m behind on my weigh-in posts).
Be on the lookout for more posts about #watchlessmonday from the above tweeters. Suzi’s site can be found here, and she’s actually discussing #watchlessmonday over on the Geeks in Running Shoes show tonight. You can find Brandon here. (You’ll see him on my blog in a Q&A later this week!) And 262milejourney can be found here.
Lastly, a lot of people on Twitter have already said, “I’m in.” Some of those people are: @wordsbykara, @SuprHero, @cheekysu, @hotbirdrunning, @Blanda_Amania, @sarahtbland, @teamoptimus, @therunningwench, @welcometoboston, @CocosFight2BFit, @corriemaeowen, @tryn2bfit and @laidbackchick. If I’ve missed you, please let me know in the comments section below (please include your Twitter handle) or on Twitter and I’ll continue to update this list. If you’re not on Twitter, but want to make this commitment, leave a comment below. Being on Twitter is not a requirement to join in on this.
In the rush of things last week, I let core work slip by, except for a few push-ups on the Bosu ball early in the week. Working out — besides a few runs — was the last thing on my mind. In the course of a week, though, I almost lost focus. I really didn’t want to do anything tonight. But then I remembered that goal I set at the end of February to get to a 2-minute plank.
I hit that goal tonight and then tacked on another 7 seconds, nearly a minute improvement since my initial test just a little more than 4 weeks ago. It felt great and I’m looking forward to continue working on my core. Now I need to set a non-running goal for April.
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Since this is a “Making the Commitment” post I wanted to mention my weight, which I haven’t mentioned in a while. Two weeks ago I was 186.4; I didn’t weigh myself last week. Since weight loss still isn’t a primary goal, I’m not overly worried about these numbers. I feel good; my core is stronger; and my summer shorts fit just fine after this winter.
I knew last summer that I needed to do something else to compliment my running, but I failed miserably at that. Lesson learned. Let’s move on.
Last week for the first time in a long time, I looked forward to do some of the other things that have slowly crept into my workouts in the past few months. In addition to having a good running week — 16 miles complete with speed work and hills — I had a good “other” week.
All told, I did 60 jumping jacks, 50 squats, 72 crunches, 2:40 of plank and 107 push-ups. It was a nice mix of “regular” exercises and doing some of them on the Bosu ball. My max plank was 1:40, which is just 20 seconds away from my goal for this month.
I know I need to do more and I know I can do more, but this is a drastic improvement from what I’m used to. My change in actually looking forward to it is also a major step in the right direction.
As for my other “commitment” post, I weighed in at 187 last week. With weight loss not being a top goal right now, I’m just looking to stay consistent. I am ready to kick soft drinks to the curb again. Since the marathon I fell off the wagon. It hasn’t been all that bad, but it stops today. No more soft drinks until I feel like I’ve done something good enough to reward myself.
In seven-plus years of running, plus on and off running in high school 15-plus years ago, one thing that’s never really come up is my running form. Through various training groups and through my own research dealing with injuries, I’ve rarely been concerned about the way I run and never been told to do anything too different. This time around though, it’s different.
As I was running through my ITB injury back in October, I started to think about what had gone wrong. My mileage build-up was fine and I didn’t do anything drastically different in the few weeks leading up to when the problem started. So through various conversations with much more experienced runners, many Google searches and reading excerpts in books, it’s come down to this — my form.
Brandon over at A Healthy Dad wrote about this subject the other day. After I read his post I was reassured that some work I’ve been doing recently was the right thing. I’m not sure why I’ve kind of kept this to myself, but since I got back to running more than a mile at a time, I’ve been working on my cadence. Simply put, to be more effective with running, shorter strides are better. More foot strikes actually leads to less impact with the ground. Sounds weird, right?
Of course I’ve heard this over the years, but I didn’t need to change my form, right? I’ve gradually gotten faster over time and bought shoes people told me to buy, so there was never a need to worry about it. But I think I’ve been wrong about it for a long time and my ITB issue this time around was a big enough wake-up call to change the way I run.
I’m not there yet. I feel far from it. On today’s pretty good 5.1-mile run, I counted my foot strikes twice with one foot — 80 and 82. I have no idea if for my height (5 foot, 10 inches) and weight (186.8 this week, no need for a post on it) if this is good or if I need to continue to work on it. This was for my normal, everyday pace run around 9 minutes a mile. Since I run on so many hills, I need to check my foot strikes on hills, on faster runs, etc.
I do feel like I’m working those uphills the best I have in a while. They feel better than what they did before my injury. Downhills are still iffy, but I think it’s a mental thing. I was going down a nice big hill in October when the pain first hit.
After every injury I’ve had, I feel like I come back stronger and a little bit smarter. This time around, I’m even more confident that I’ll come back stronger and smarter than ever before. It’s just a constant work in progress.