Things Runners Hate

Obviously, I love running. I love it as a sport and as a lifestyle. I enjoy the camaraderie and the health benefits. I love the thrill of a race and the friendships formed during training sessions. But, there are things that I hate about running too. Having been a serious runner for years, I hear complaints from fellow runners all the time. Here are just a few of them:
1. Injuries and limping. If I’m not running, I’m probably suffering some inflammation, soreness or a limp. Motrin, Aleve and Tylenol have been in my medicine cabinet for years and will probably continue to stay there.
2. Dogs off-leash. I personally have 2 dogs and love them to death but I don’t let them roam free in the front yard and on the street. Dogs chasing runners can cause injuries and debilitate one’s pace.
3. Bad weather. If it’s too cold or raining, I am inside with the sensible adults. I hate missing a run so I am forced to go to the gym and subject myself to the dreaded treadmill.

4. Dieting and hunger. Training burns a lot of calories and I try to add it back in with healthy options. I eat a light breakfast, very light lunch and end up starving for dinner.
5. Having to go to the bathroom during a run. This pretty much speaks for itself. I try to stick to routes where I know there are public restrooms or indiscreet locations to relieve myself.
6. Colds. This is similar to the category of injuries and limping but it’s a little different. Runners hate to catch colds because it hinders our training but people with colds are equally evil to training plans.
7. Foot traffic going the wrong way. I am not one for walking/running trails or tracks but people should use them correctly. Don’t be that person going the wrong way on a track or trail.

Am I Shopping With Nutrition in Mind?

Now you’re on the path for running fitness, it’s time to get your nutrition plan. This starts before you even go to the store. For the purposes of this blog, I will provide you a quick guide to the paleo diet. This diet consists of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood and healthy oils/fats. The paleo diet does not allow any rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, sodas, chips, crackers or desserts.

Before going to the store, I recommend scheduling out your meals for a week’s time. Here is a sample paleo meal plan. Next, clean out your pantry and refrigerator. You can’t eat healthy if you still have a supply of the bad stuff in your house. Once you’ve completed that, eat before you go to the grocery store. If you are hungry when you go, the chances are high that you will impulse shop for the bad, quick and easy stuff.

Grocery stores are a successful business because they engineer the store for you to buy certain things. But now that you’re a committed runner and nutrition aficionado, you won’t fall into their trap. Shopping paleo is quite simple, just stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. Most stores start out with the produce section, and that’s where you will spend the bulk of your time. Next, move on to the meat and seafood counter. Finally, finish up with the dairy section. Notice how I skipped all the aisles in the middle of the store? It’s full of processed, boxed foods. None of those foods exist within nature. You don’t need any of them to sufficiently fuel your body. There are some exceptions: almond butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, chicken/beef broth, dried herbs/spices and raw honey.

I realize that this is probably far from the way you used to shop, but it will be so worth it. If this is too much of a shock for you, try eliminating those bad foods one at a time. While you’re doing that, try introducing one new vegetable into your diet each week. Remember, we are in the business of continuous progress!

Is Running a Priority?

We all have priorities in life and keeping them in balance is what makes life easier. Where does running fit into your list of priorities? Is it too high? Is it too low? These are questions we will examine and ensure running is at the right place within your priorities.

First things first…let’s examine your priorities. For some of you, you might have never done this. Take a look at how you spend your time on a weekly basis. Set some time aside to rank or value how important each activity engaged in actually was to you. I challenge you to keep a journal of your activities throughout the week. Even go so far as to write down how often (and for how long) you spend watching television and participating in social media.

As for me, my priorities are quite clear. First comes my faith, then family, school and running. I love my wife more than anything else and enjoy the time spent with each other. I regard school as my full time job so it is also very important to me.

High up on my priorities list is running. I love getting in a good run. Having a running goal, staying in shape and having an area of my life in which I can improve are paramount for me. Running has so many benefits, it is hard to not have running on my priorities list.

Even though it is high on my priorities list, running is right where it should be. If I put running too high, my family and social life would suffer. If I put it too low, I may never get out to run because I would value going out every night more.

At the end of the day, your individual running habits will form from where running falls into your priorities. If you do not know where running fits in, take a look at how you spend your time. Once you’ve done this, it will be clear as to where running fits into your life.

Laying the Foundation

never-give-up

Running is fairly easy to get started, but it is also easy to give up. In order to have a consistent running program, you must have a solid plan and motivation to carry you through. I have compiled 7 effective tips to help you get started:

• The One-Minute Tip- It’s just that! Try running for one minute at a time and then walk a bit. If you feel good, run for another minute. We all have to start from somewhere and this is as good a place as any.
• Running Goals- I will provide you with detailed plans to prepare for your first race, mileage goal or losing weight. If you don’t have a goal, I suggest that you start here.
• Get Motivated- Motivation is the difference between those who give up and those that keep going. I suggest increasing your motivation by posting your goals and accomplishments, running with friends and reading inspirational quotes.
• Don’t Overdo It- You want running to be a healthy lifestyle for the long haul. Listen to your body. Only schedule 20 minute workouts three times a week at first.
• Warm-up and Have Great Running Technique- Before and after every run, it is important to stretch your leg muscles. When you begin a run, walk for a few minutes, have good posture and take appropriate strides.
• Running Shoes- Take the time and money to visit a shoe store that specializes in running apparel. Talk to the salesperson and listen to their recommendations. It will pay off in the end.
Next, we need to discuss the basics of nutrition for runners. Running is a sport and a form of exercise and has specific nutritional requirements. In order to get the best results, endurance and recovery, you will need to focus on what you eat and when you eat. Running extra miles requires fuel from food to keep your muscles going. You will be burning extra calories, so it’s important to keep them fueled with the right mix of food. Here’s a few suggestions to help get you started:

• Complex Carbohydrates- Foods such as whole grains, unrefined pastas, vegetables and potatoes provide your body with steady, reliable fuel to help keep you going.
• Proteins- As you run longer distances, your muscles will need to be repaired. Lean proteins such as eggs, fish and chicken are great. They are also great if you want to lose weight.
• Fats- Mono. fats such as canola oil, flax seed oil and avocado are the healthiest for runners. Stay away from lard and deep-frying anything.
• Balanced Meals- As a runner, your meal should be about 60 percent complex carbohydrates, 20 percent fats and 20 percent proteins. Get as much fresh vegetables as you can. Make your plate colorful!
• Water- Consumption is important for everyone but more so for the runner who is going to sweat a lot. You should consume no less than 64 ounces, evenly through the day. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine!

Welcome!

Running and nutrition go hand in hand. In fact, it’s time to stop thinking of food as a pleasurable entity and start thinking of it as fuel for your body. No matter what your eating habits are like now or what your physical fitness level is at this point, remember this—GROWTH CAN START FROM THIS POINT!
Over the course of the next few months, we will go on a journey of cardiovascular health (focusing in on running and core strength) and nutritional consciousness. We will use my experience, Hal Higdon’s Training Manual and the Paleo diet to improve ourselves. Improve ourselves how? Well, we will improve both our physical and mental health.
Welcome and enjoy the journey!