Monday, 29 August 2011

My Three "Get in the Best Shape of My Life" Commandments

Been away from the blogging world for a bit but happy to be back! Had a great week in California with my family (my 1 year old niece and 3 year old nephew were exhausting--don't know how you parents do it!) and it took a while to settle back into things once I got home. Plus one big change...I resigned from my job and my last day was on Friday! After being there for 6 years it was strange to go through all my junk and pack things up, but the timing was right and it feels almost like a fresh start. I'm lucky to be able to take a short career break but it still feels strange right now. What will I do without a Blackberry?!

I'm going to spend a little time coming up with a list of all the things I want to accomplish over the next few months but there is one thing I'm already sure about: I'm going to take this opportunity to try and get in the best shape of my life!!

Now, this is no easy feat for lots of reasons. One being that once upon a (long) time I was in really great shape as a member of my high school swimming team! My friends have pointed out that trying to be 18 years old again is impossible (don't ask me how long ago that was, because I won't tell!), but I'm going to do my best now that I have the time to put into it. I have no excuse not to try!

So I've come up with Three Commandments for me to start following NOW. Why three and not ten, you ask? I want to start with small, simple changes that I can continue with once I do re-enter the working world. All of these might be no-brainers, but the fact is that I haven't been doing any of these things. And I hope actually doing them will make a difference to my running and general fitness. So here goes:

1. Get 8 hours of sleep every night. I'm a night owl (and a procrastinator) so it's always easy for me to lose track of time, especially when I'm caught up in nothing. Will make sure I get to bed on time so I can wake up early enough to have breakfast before I run.

2. Drink 1 liter of water everyday. I always struggle with this one! I don't drink too much other than a few cups of tea or coffee, and whatever I have when I run or exercise. One liter doesn't sound like a lot, but according to this formula from Runner's World it's more than enough for me. This is on top of what I drink when I run.

3. Eat as healthily as I can. Another tough one. Eating is big thing for my family--it's usually the main theme when we all get together. And although I'm a foodie I don't like to cook, so with long hours at work we usually go for convenience over quality. I've enjoyed reading about the perfect runner's diet on Jason Fitzgerald's great website, Strength Running, but all that feels a little too complicated for me right now. So while I'm going to start heading in that direction, I'm going to just start with a few sub-commandments:

  • Watch my portions. Believe it or not it's hard to remember not to eat the same amount as my 5'11" husband. This is the biggest thing for me, making sure I eat enough to properly fuel my training but not enough for someone twice my size.
  • Don't eat too many sweets. I can easily eat a bag of sour gummy candies in one sitting. And on Friday I *did* go to the amazing Hummingbird Bakery to get some celebratory cupcakes (red velvet and black bottom, my favorites). I won't cut these things out completely but will save them for special treats only.
  • Make fruit and veg the largest part of my diet. I'm not a vegetarian but I'm generally pretty good about eating vegetables. Will just try not to eat too much meat. I don't think that I could ever cut out dairy but will try not to eat too much cheese!

So there they are, small changes I hope will start to make a real difference. These are outside of my fitness goals! Still working on them but here's what I'm thinking at the moment:

1. Continue to build my running base, eventually getting to about 50 miles a week.
2. Start strength training again. Gave this up after injury but I know it's important to do this if I want to stay injury-free.
3. Integrate yoga back into my training plan. The stretching used to make a big difference and was great on my rest days.

Of course, my most immediate goal is to run a sub-2:00 half in Dublin.....just 3 weeks left!

So whaddya think? I know all of this isn't going to be easy but I'll be excited to share my progress. Would also love to hear about any small changes you've made that have made a real difference to your health or training!

1 comment:

  1. How exciting to take a break and decide what you really want to do. And I love your goals - they sound realistic and achieveable. I've made a couple of those changes. With drinking water, I always make sure I have a refillable bottle with me and sip from it throughout the day. And food wise, I started to eat more fruit and veg when I got a box of organic food delivered each week. Planning out what you're going to have each day and making the most of your ingredients helps too.
    And although you can't be 18 again - you can certainly feel like it. I'm slimmer than I was when I got married 11 years ago (and I wasn't big then), plus all round stronger and fitter thanks to running and training. It's just a shame about the wrinkles!