Monday, July 25, 2011

Health & Wellness Challenge

Recently, I saw a strange, cryptic facebook update from one of my friends. It said something about completing day 3, week 1 of C25K.

Because I, like the cat, will probably be killed my own curiosity, I had to "google" it. Didn't take me long to find the origin of the abbreviation: Couch to 5K. I'd heard of it before...the concept of gradually working your way from not running at all to running 3 miles in 9 weeks.

So, I bit. I needed a new challenge after walking my first 1/2 marathon. Something to step up the pressure a little (thanks, Courtney).

I looked around, read a few forums, and found a link to a website call NHS Choices - C25K plan, which offers a free podcast to walk you through the challenge. It has music which changes pace as walking turns to running and back again and a voice-over to tell you when to gear up for changes. All you need is an MP3 player.

So, far, I've almost made it through the week one podcast twice (one more time to go). As you can see, I'm taking it REALLY slow. Last time, I think I went too far too fast and ended up feeling a lot of pain in my calves and knees before I'd even been running regularly for 3 months. It was disappointing, because I actually began to look forward to my runs. I moved on to speed-walking. Now, thanks to this program, I'm merging the two. Today, week one, day 5...I finally felt GOOD. No pain, left-over energy...So, I guess I'll be on target to move on to week two this Saturday.

In addition...I'm continuing with the yoga 2-3 times per week. I'd love to take a formal class, but until funds improve, I'm on my own...which isn't so bad. Quiet and concentration come easily when there's no one around to bother you (and the kids are napping). It might prove more difficult once I go back to work, but for at least another month, my fitness routine should remain just that - routine.

I'm not much of an exercise buff. In fact, it really is on the bottom of my favorites list. But, if I HAVE to do it, running/walking and yoga are my top choices. They are usually solitary, but can be done with friends, and they allow me to let go of the day and clear my mind. For me, that's what exercise needs to do; it needs to center me and rejuvenate me. Plus, the equipment is comparably cheaper than what you might need for other sports. Yoga requires a good mat and some initial training (via video, guide, or class), and taking up running just means some appropriate clothing and a good pair of shoes.

Unfortunately, I've found that not just any shoe will do...and to save money (and time), I totally suggest going to a REAL running equipment store where the staff knows what they are doing and can even test your stride to see what shoes might be best for you; I swear I went through several pairs before I did this and immediately found the perfect one - unnecessarily wasted money, for sure. Another problem is that I can't wear the same shoes for walking as I do for running...totally different activities - I prefer New Balance 101 trail runners for fast walking, since they are lower in the heel and force a heel-strike and a lot of flexibility. But, since there's little arch support, they are no good at all for running, at least for me. It's Saucony all the way when I run. Pro Guide 2 was what I started with, so now I'll be buying the latest generation to replace my worn out pair. Runner's World is a good place to find more information on running shoes (and the sport, itself, obviously).

In addition, more water, and less snacking. I do pretty well with keeping meals low-fat/low-sugar...making sure I get a balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Having a child did a lot for changing the way that I eat, myself.

Hey, I'm up for my yearly physical. It's time. Maybe someday, it'll stick.

I'll keep you updated in "Health and Wellness" block at the bottom of the page. I'll also list links to related posts and resources, as they become available.

Time to go walk the dogs. After all, if your dog is overweight, it's definitely time to increase your own activity...and my husky is fat (I love her anyway).

No comments: