Most of us rank getting healthy as one of our top goals every January and it’s not a bad goal to have. Personal health and improvement should always be our number one priority no matter what individual goals we set for ourselves. These could include drinking more water throughout the day, packing lunch instead of eating out, skipping the alcohol during the week, or even get to bed at a reasonable time. No matter what your goal looks like, it’s important to take that first step in acknowledging there needs to be a daily change and to take the next few steps to working towards completing that goal.
I remember the days after ringing in the new year and seeing a huge interest in fitness whether it be gym memberships, the optimism of beginning new cleanses and detoxes, or changing up grocery lists to include healthier options. I’m not one for crazy diets or insane, and might I mention unrealistic, fitness regimens – it’s just not my style of fitness, especially since becoming a mom. Rather I look for ways to make simple lifestyle changes that can easily become habit.
But let’s be real for a moment: I am always looking at myself in the mirror wanting to change this or that about my appearance. I’ve found I’ve done this much more recently considering I’m still criticizing at my postpartum body wondering when I’d be able to slip into those pair of jeans or if my tummy will ever be semi-flat again. I see photos from years ago pop up on my Facebook newsfeed, which serves as a little reminder of my thinner (ahem, pre-mom) days. Regardless, my husband is really fantastic about telling me how beautiful I am (and I love him even more for it), but it’s about damn time I start to feel that same way about myself…again.
Which brings me to the topic of my post today.
Fitness goals can look different for different people. For me, fitness needs to be more than just going for a walk (even though it starts there), changing up my meals, or trying to get to the gym throughout the week. Lifting weights is important for strength, but I’m looking for more than just that; something that fits with my new SAHM schedule and responsibilities. It’s important to me to fit in a whole body workout that’s easy to do everyday and cardio is a great way to do just that. Now, I don’t consider myself to be a runner nor do I find that runners high or release from running that those people seem to feel, which makes me a bit jealous. I wish I fell in love with running but it can be described more as a love-hate relationship and here’s why…
What I Love About Running:
- I can easily do it with my son in tow.
- It makes my whole body feel good. Even when I’m sore all over the next day it’s a reminder that my body is working hard.
- Training and then completing a running event makes me feel both challenged and accomplished.
- Running with my husband pushes me to keep going.
- The running community is so welcoming and nice to us non-runners.
- It teaches you to care for your body by stressing the importance of nutrition, stretching, and wearing the correct shoes.
- There’s a limitless amount of themed running events to keep you entertained and challenged at the same time.
- The workout clothes are cute. Yeah I said it.
What I Hate About Running:
- I hate that there’s a huge difference between running indoors at the gym versus outside.
- It’s so hard to get back into my running groove after a hiatus (um…having a baby and such).
- Quality running shoes can be super expensive.
- Time that’s needed and the dedication required for good runs.
- It’s easy to beat myself up for not trying enough or going the distance.
With all of that being said, here are a few tips that I’ve been using to get my non-runner butt excited about running. Okay, maybe excited isn’t the right word, but you know what I mean. Keep in mind that this guide is solely based on my own running experience and I don’t claim to have the best approach (who am I really to be giving advice here??) – but it’s something that works for me and I hope those who feel the same way about running as I do can find some inspiration. So here we go!
Set the right goal and expectations for yourself.
This seems to be pretty standard and self-explanatory. The first step to beginning anything new or something you’re not particularly good at is setting the right goal for yourself and understand that running is something you build your body up to. So, don’t expect to run 5 miles your first day and not feel like complete crap or end up hurting something. It’s worth it to begin slow and steady!
For me as a new mom it’s just about putting my sneakers on, throwing the baby in the stroller, and going outside once a day. No excuses.
Break up running and walking during your runs.
Don’t expect to run a full 5K and run the whole time. It’s not going to happen at first. Or maybe you did on that really good day…but that good day was weeks ago. One of my favorite apps to use when building up my endurance and stamina is C25K (Couch To 5K). It’s a weekly running plan that prompts you during your run for a warm up, when you should switch from your run/walk, and a cool down. Run time is about 30 minutes and is meant to get you out there 3x a week. Each week trains you so that your walking time is shorter and you’re running longer distances. I personally love this app because it keeps me motivated and challenges me to push myself, just slightly, to meet that week’s goal.
One aspect to running that makes it more enjoyable is doing it outside and only training indoors minimally. I’ve found that I have much better runs when I’m outdoors and I have a scenery to look at and not just that sweaty man on the treadmill in front of you (you all know what I mean!). Besides, if you are training for a running event it’s best to do so outdoors where the conditions will be similar to race day. I like running either first thing in the morning or just as the sun is going down because here by the water in Ventura it keeps it cooler and I prefer the colder air.
It should be noted that I also hate running outdoors simply because of the little bumps in elevation when going over a bridge or small hill, the wind factor, or the extra weight due to pushing my son in his stroller (thanks 21 extra pounds!). But nonetheless, I would rather run where I can see the ocean and get outside everyday because it makes me feel productive while staying home with Greyson and it simply fits in my schedule. Who really has time to go to the gym as a SAHM?
Sign up for a running event to keep you motivated.
One thing that works for me personally is staying motivated by having a running goal to work towards. This could mean a local 5K or 10K, a fun run in your community or local elementary schools, training to complete your first half or full marathon, or even challenge events such as the Spartan Race or Tough Mudder (like my husband). I love that we both shared in the experience of running a half-marathon together back in 2014 and it being his first! He definitely helped me pull through to the end and it was great crossing the finish line with him!
I loved that my first half-marathon was the Princess Half-Marathon at Disney World with a girlfriend of mine a number of years ago. It was so much fun and you can’t get better than running through the Magic Kingdom and have Mickey and Minnie greet you at the finish line. Another great run was the Cosmic Run, which is a fun take on the popular Color Run series, which was at night and ended with beer and a mini-concert. I’ve also completed a mud run with my husband and another girlfriend, which was my first into the themed running events. In the end just signing up for something whether it’s for fun or meant to be a real challenge has helped guide me and keep me accountable.
Tip: Check out your local running stores because they almost always have a community board full of local running events or clubs you can join in your area.
Sleep and nutrition matter more than you think. Oh and so does stretching!
Look, we all probably struggle with getting our full 8 hours of sleep each night but it’s so important to get a good nights rest so the quality of your runs improve over time. So that means turning off the tube and cutting back on foods and drinks with caffeine or sugars before bed. Nutrition also plays a major role in the quality of your runs so be sure to get on a nutrition plan that fits your dietary needs and what works for you and/or your family. Also, HYDRATE! But, you knew that.
Stretching afterwards is huge in your ability to recover. I’ve definitely learned that the hard way by skipping this step! One cool down/stretching plan that I did while trying the 15 Day Mommy-Fit Challenge was their cool down video for after each workout. Even though I’m no longer doing the challenge, this video is still helpful in getting a full body stretch in after my runs.
These are the things that I’ve found that work for me considering running is not something I find enjoyable in the way others do. However, it is possible to make it fun and not feel like a chore. My hope is that you find this beginners guide helpful and I would love to hear your tips to running and works for you!
Are you an avid runner? What advice do you have for me and other non-runners out there? What tips have you found to be helpful in getting back into a fitness regimen?
This post is also a part of a series called NaBloPoMo 2016 hosted by BlogHer. NaBloPoMo is short for National Blog Posting Month and it challenges writers and creatives to post on their blogs once a day (at least) for the month of November.
Feel free to join in and share your post either here or on my Facebook comment thread for each day’s post! I’d love to see my fellow blogger friends join in!