Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Early Results From Working Out Consistently and Why I Love It.

I get asked ALL THE TIME why I love working out. People who workout would understand all of my reasons pretty easily, and would probably agree, that the best thing about working out is that when I workout, I get results. I don't ever track my weight or how much body fat I have or anything like that, but my results come from the progress I make in my running and the way I feel when I workout.  Some people get discouraged because they can't see results (they are focusing only on the main goal) and they decide it's not worth the work. But what they don't see is that their body actually is changing, from day one, when they workout.

After a workout, your body sends out hormones and chemicals. These give you more energy, better attention and focus, and a happier outlook or feeling. That last one is one of my favorite things about working out and one of the biggest reasons I (and a lot of others) do it.

Working out helps me stay healthy and strong and, to me, the work is definitely worth that. I have a history of muscular dystrophy in my family and while I don't know if I carry that gene (I hope and pray I don't) but if I do, keeping my body strong by working out is one of the best ways to make sure that I stay as healthy and strong as possible. After just a week of working out, your body starts to adapt.  Your cells that create energy (remember the Mighty Mitochondria) work with your blood cells to help move oxygen to your muscles. That helps you feel like the weight you're lifting or the number of reps you've been doing not feel as hard as it was when you started. Every movement becomes more efficient. You will probably also have a decrease in resting heart rate which means your heart is getting stronger too.

Another reason I love working out is that it boosts my energy (I've talked about this before). When you workout, you sleep better which will give you more energy for the next day. You will also find that you feel way more productive after a good workout and you'll start getting excited about your next workout.

Along with an energy boost, it also boosts your mood (I've also talked about this a lot).   Those endorphins that we talked about earlier are more noticeable the more you workout. Not only am I happier and more playful with my kids when I workout, but I'm also calmer in stressful situations. And I can tell you that my whole family is thankful for a momma who's been on a run.

If you're someone who wonders why people workout because every time you start a new program you don't ever see results, don't feel discouraged.  Look at the other results that you've seen and not just the physical ones. It's much more likely for you to keep at it when you see those other results first anyway.  Finding something that you like about working out is the key to keep at it long enough to see the physical changes that you're hoping for.

What are the first effects you feel from a new workout program?

What do you love most about working out?

Monday, March 18, 2019

What to Know Before You Start Your Next Training Cycle

So it's time again to start a new training cycle. If you're in the same boat, or if you're starting your first ever training cycle, this post is for you. I'm sharing today the things that I learn/remember every time I start a new training cycle.

All training cycles are different. They vary from the distance of the race, your goal, and each person who's running them.  There are literally thousands of training plans out there for every single race and almost none of them are one size fits all.  Find the one that seems to work best for you, do your research, make sure you're not paying someone who isn't a coach or trainer for a plan that worked for them a couple of years ago.  Find a plan from someone you trust and make any adjustments you feel like you need to make it work for you.

Training almost never goes exactly as planned. So instead of planning out every step of the way, be flexible when you need to.  Your plan may call for a long run on a day that you just know there is no way you will fit it in. It's ok to switch your days around as long as you're making sure to get the rest days you need.

Take your training seriously. If you want to do well in your race, you need to train like it.  You can't expect to get a PR, or meet your goal time if you only half trained for your race. So make sure that you're putting the right effort into your training. There are going to be days that you don't hit your paces, there might even be days you don't feel like running at all. Give yourself some grace on those days but don't let it turn into a way for your training.

Give yourself the right amount of time to train. I don't have time in my day to train for a full marathon right now, it's not my top priority and I can't fit it in with family life right now, so I don't train for the marathon. I train for half marathons, 10ks and 5ks because the time it takes daily is more doable for me. Along with that, you need to make sure you start training far enough in advance.  The amount of time will also depend on the length of the race, and the training cycle.  Start far enough ahead of the race that you'll have a little wiggle room but not too far so that you overtrained and end up injured.

Strength training/cross training days are a must. A lot of runners don't think that strength training is important to their running, but it is so important! Adding strength training to your cycle helps you build stronger muscles (obviously) that will help you stay injury free. Strength/cross training also gives your body a break from running and helps your body recover faster. Not to mention that having strong core muscles help with running form.

Have fun! You signed up for the race, it was a choice you had. You GET to run, you don't HAVE to. So enjoy it! Put some music on to run/jam out to.  Run with a friend.  Do whatever it is that you need to do to make it fun. There is nothing that says you have to look mad when you run, and there's science that says that when you smile while running you actually do better! So have fun.

Are you running your first race?

What is your favorite race to train for?

When is your next training cycle?