Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy

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Channeling my inner tortoise


Photo by matea2506

It is a classic tale, the tortoise and the hare, speed versus determination; however these two paradigms can be applied as approaches to running.  Being a typical man, when I started running I simply wanted to get faster and continuously pushed to turn in quicker times on my runs.  As I have mentioned before, I ended up over-training and having some knee issues.  Now that I am back training, I am approaching running from the other side.

Alex has never been concerned with how fast she was running, but chose instead to focus on how far she runs.  To date, she has never has any issues with over training or injuries (knocking on wood now).  We recently did a run together (our first run ever together) and it was ironically liberating to have to slow my pace so we could run together.

This experience put a spotlight on the issue of speed for me.  I continually try to push my pace (though I know I should be focusing on strengthening my legs and slowly inching up my mileage), so after that run I have committed to slowing down.

The marathon training plan that I am following has two runs a week for 30-45 minutes, but does not specify anything about distance you should run.  I am now using these runs to focus on my technic (breathing, foot placement, stature) and am recommitted to slowing down so that they are not as physically demanding.

This new strategy can be seen in the couch-to-5k and many marathon training plans that incorporate walking as part of the program.  Walking helps reduce the amount of stress on your body during a run, and can help people to increase their mileage more than running continuously can.  This all feeds into the idea of slow and steady build up.

I think I am like most guys, and when you tell us to slow down or take it easy, we just want to get out there and rip it up even more.  But what I have learned thus far is that the safest approach is one of slow determination.  With enough training you can eventually morph into the hair, but we all need to start out as a tortoise.

Run on!

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Dream Big

He said:

The gyms are busy, the streets are full, everyone is on the healthy bandwagon so it must be New Year’s resolution time.  Alex and I went to the gym last week and about halfway up the stairs we both dreaded the amount of people that would be there because of New Year resolutioners (however our fears weren’t warranted as it wasn’t anymore busy then normal).

Many of the articles I have read recently on New Year resolutions  mirror each other in trying to help people actually achieve their goals and not give up midway through February.  The best advice I have read is to set smaller goals to start out with, and keep the larger goal in mind for the future.

It can be daunting to say “This year I am going to loose 70 pounds” and for years I dreamed of loosing that much weight and always got frustrated and gave up before I reached it.  It is much easier to focus on loosing ten pounds, or five pounds, or two pounds and then once you have accomplished your first goal you can move on to the next one.

Alex and I both want to run a marathon this year.  After trying to train last year and injuring myself in the process, I figured that I had to take a new approach this year.  I start my six month training program tomorrow (I know six months really), but I realized that I was too focused on the time I wanted to run the marathon in and not on the whole experience.  This time I am going to go a week at a time and hopefully will fulfill my goal before the year is up.

Even though I know I have the marathon out there in the future (I told Alex we have to sign up for it by the end of the month) Alex and I are both going to sign up for a half marathon sometime in March or April, and some 10ks coming up soon to help give us something closer to focus on while seeing the dream of the marathon further on into the horizon.

Remember to dream big, but keep the goals reasonable.  If you can manage to do that you will wake up one day to find that your dreams have become your realty.