1/2 Marathon Training

So a few weeks ago I decided to train for a 1/2 marathon that was 6 weeks out from then, I know I know it goes against all the things I have said...chronic cardio bad, running miles on end bad...however this half marathon seemed like a good idea to check off the bucket list as it takes place at Edwards AFB and we will be running on the dry lake bed which is pretty awesome, and if you know anything about this place you know that there is a lot of history out here so why not do a run that has some sort of awesome attached to it?  While I don't advocate running marathons consistently because I think as humans we are not really designed to be running such mileage often, however this is a lifelong goal of mine and I am doing it... I can tell you right now I don't plan on doing this often or running a full marathon ever.  I prefer to be strong and as I have learned you simply can not serve two masters when it comes right down to it...I can not call my self a runner and a lifter simultaneously, however I do still squeeze in my strength training, just not as intense as before.

So as far as my diet goes, I simply can not be low carb and support the training I am doing right now, that is unfeasible, running requires quick access to glycogen stores, therefore I must eat a higher amount of carbohydrates in order to fuel my body more properly.  So eating a lot of sweet potatoes, apples, squash etc have been essential to power me through.  This is great though I am not restricting myself, so when I crave carbs I am not worried about gaining weight, because I know that my 9 mile runs will erase any damage I could have possibly done.  This is my favorite part of running.  I know ridiculous, but thinking about a big piece of zucchini bread or a loaded sweet potato is enough to get me through a tough run.  Obsessed with food....yup.  I am not ashamed of this.  This training has left me on the pursuit of yummy recipes that I can hopefully share on here soon!

My fellow half-marathon veterans please please divulge any information, tips etc...that can help my husband and I, mostly husband is the type of guy that can just jump into an event like this and not train whatsoever...not me I have to train mentally and physically.  However we have been doing the weekly long runs together and I am insanely thankful he is willing to slow down for me as we have been averaging 10-10:30 min/mil for our 8 miles...if I can hold this pace for the last 5 in the race I will be ecstatic.  Honestly my only goal for this race is to run the entire thing and not walk at any point....  No time goals at this point.  Just finish!  At any rate any tips are appreciated!

So in the meantime I will eat my extra carbs, drink my wine, take my epsom salt baths and  enjoy the path to pursuing a goal.  Yummy recipes filled with carbs soon to come!

Lift Heavy

Ladies, weight training is not just for men, however tonight as I worked out at in the weight room I noticed immediately that I was the only female present and there were over 20 guys in there at least.  It is evident to me that women, well at least women in my community have not gotten the memo on the health benefits of weight training.  I don't mean 5 pound dumbbells doing 20 reps of bicep curls, I mean heavy lifting, bench pressing, dead-lifts, back-squats, lunges etc... I am disappointed that my fellow female friends are hiding in the cardio cave.  Maybe I just need to change that? 

 The most common misconception about weight training for women is that you will get big and bulky.  Well unless you are popping supplements like crazy, this is impossible.  Women do not produce enough testosterone to physically be able to get big and bulky.  Female bodybuilders take tons of supplements and many use anabolic steroids in order to get that way.  And quite honestly whether or not a female bodybuilder "grosses" you out, the amount of dedication and work ethic it takes to build a body like that is really quite amazing.  Basic weight training will NOT get you there. 

In a nut shell the benefits of weight training are:  Increased metabolic rate, by having more muscle mass your body burns more calories per day, which inevitably helps you burn off the unwanted body fat.  Increasing and restoring bone density:  strength training increases your bone density as well as keeping it strong into old age, avoid Osteoporosis later on in life by lifting heavy!  Increased Muscle Mass:  More muscle mass means more calorie burn throughout the day.  Aesthetics:  strength training builds a body that is lean and mean, less body fat more lean muscle, less cellulite, etc.  The benefits outweigh the negatives especially since I can't come up with a single negative aspect of weight training. 

I listened to a phenomenal podcast this morning while cleaning and I just feel like I need to share it with all of you.  I listen to the Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness podcast in itunes and this one had super special guests Jim Laird and Molly Galbraith from J & M Strength and Conditioning in Lexington KY.  These two are an example of what great trainers are supposed to be like.  Anyways in the episode they talked about one of the women that they train and it is something I think will blow your mind. The girl in this article can deadlift 365 pounds...Look at how petite she is and that is proof right there that heavy lifting does NOT make you big and bulky...365 pounds...gosh darn it I am still working on getting mine over my own body weight.  Something to work towards I suppose.

The article above is also a great one in showing what the difference is for someone stuck in the "chronic cardio" mindset, which admittedly I struggle with, but am working on daily.  Mentally it is hard to wrap our minds around the fact that less is more... So I will leave you with this happy thought.  Train Smarter, not longer. 

Oh here is the wonderful podcast I listened to earlier I really hope that you take some time to listen to it, honestly I am probably going to listen to it a couple times a month to remind myself to stop running so darn much and to focus on my weight training instead.

Lift Heavy

training in my garage

The Cardio Conundrum

So most if not all of us have been taught that we need to do cardio, like everyday, in order to lose weight and get in shape right?  Distance running, elliptical machines, spinning classes, kickboxing, workout videos, at some point or another you have probably done these things, or do them regularly.  Conventional wisdom says these things are good for us and that we need to do them every single day.  However if you look at what our bodies were designed for and how we lived thousands of years ago, you would see that this is contradictory. 

We were designed to do A LOT of walking around, virtually everywhere, there were no vehicles or bicycles to get us around.  We were designed to be able to run short distances at very high speeds, for a minimal amount of time, to escape predators and chase down our next meal.  We were designed to have a high muscle mass, lower body fat, but still have body fat to keep us warm and for women to be able to bear children and feed them.  We were designed to be able to lift heavy things and to do things with our bodies that are entirely different then what we have been doing the past couple hundred years.  Why have we been told them that getting on a "rat wheel" for an hour a day is supposed to counteract all sedentary things we do the rest of the day. Sadly as we can see by sheer statistics alone as well as just plain looking around, this conventional wisdom has gotten us to a place in our society in which 60% or more of the population is either overweight or obese.  Clearly this is not working, coupled with the bad nutritional advice that we have been listening to for many years this is not getting us healthier.  They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.  Why not try something different then? 

The negative side effects of chronic cardio are far reaching, but the main important one in my opinion is putting your body in a constant state of stress.  When you are running for over 30-40 minutes a day, your body is under stress, this stress is not something the body was designed to handle for long periods of time.  Sprinting (occasionally) yes, we were designed for that, however distance running (or other long-term cardio) was not something programmed into us for survival therefore putting your body under this constant state of stress day in and day out, coupled with conventional dieting (aka eating far too little and not the right foods), as well as lack of sleep, you end up with adrenal fatigue.  Adrenal fatigue is essentially over-stimulation of the adrenal glands from too much stress whether it be physical, emotional or mental stress.  The Adrenal glands regulate cortisol levels and when they get high, from prolonged stress such as constant dieting, chronic over-training, lack of sleep etc, the result is burn out from adrenal fatigue, not a happy place to be, I know because I have been there.  In short cortisol regulates the "fight or flight" response, when faced with a situation that requires immediate action a healthy cortisol level in the body helps you to respond quickly and efficiently. 

We have been told for so long that we must do this cardio thing daily for at least 60 minutes.  What we really should be doing instead is walking around throughout the day, being active in things we enjoy like cleaning the house(maybe that's just me?), gardening or playing with our kids, we should be lifting weights (heavy weights) a few times a week hitting major muscle groups with compound movements, we should be sprinting once a week, like 100 Meter or 400 meter sprint intervals for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.  Now occasionally if you do actually enjoy running or biking a couple times a week is not an issue, however its the chronic "I have to do it or I won't burn enough calories," when it becomes a problem.  We should be doing fun things that make us happy to be alive like hiking, going to the beach, surfing, ski diving, whatever anything we were made to play not just work. 

I will be completely honest chronic cardio is something I have struggled with for a very long time.  I would run about 16 miles a week and do two 1 hour long spin sessions a week.  There was even a time (not that long ago) when I did the Insanity program on top of all of that other stuff.  There were times when I would take my 2 year old to the park and be too tired to chase him, I was so confused.  Wasn't I supposed to have all this energy and be super fit to chase him around after all of that working out?  Instead I was soooo tired, exhausted from working out that I couldn't even play, that seems so counterproductive.  I will be even more honest even though I know what I know now, I struggle quite often to not hop on the treadmill and run for 4 miles everyday or hop on my spin bike more often.  It is still so ingrained in me to just go go go, to burn those calories in excess.  I would be lying if I said it is easy to get out of those habits and change your training styles/goals altogether.  In order to get our bodies back to health, we have to stop this constant stress of chronic cardio. 

Here is a homework assignment: If you go to a gym, next time you are there do a quick look around at the people that are working out.  Look at their bodies, what are they doing?  For me it was so obvious the women who had the bodies I admired were not huffing and puffing on the cardio machines for hours on end, but were in the weight room or sprinting, doing things that I wasn't.  I have learned to follow the example of those I admire or long to be more like.  Life is too short to try to figure everything out myself so if I want to be financially in shape I look up to those who are, if I want to be physically fit I look up to those who are.  If what you are doing isn't producing the results you want, it is time to start thinking outside the box! 

Weekend Play

We love to use the weekends as an excuse to get outdoors, especially with the weather we have had this weekend, living in the desert has its perks in the winter that is for sure.  Since I hadn't gotten my sprint workout in this past week, I thought Saturday was the perfect time to go on a family walk up to the track and do a 100 M sprint interval workout.  It was such a fun time, I think we will be making it into a regular Saturday thing, weather permitting that is. 
Pumpkin hanging out in the jogging stroller
So we just kind of came up with our own sprint workout based on how we felt this morning, but here is what we did.  The walk to the track from our house is a little under 2 miles one way, so that was basically a good warm-up, however we jogged one lap around the track to get the blood pumping a bit.  Then we walked around the "curve" of the track.  Once we got to the straight way 100 M starting mark we gave it 100%, meaning everything you have in you(picture being chased by a dinosaur or zombie whatever helps) you should be extremely out of breath after, then we walk the curve again to rest repeating the sprint again at the next straight way.  We did 8 100 M sprints with 100 M rest walking in-between, this rest walk could even be increased if necessary.  It is really interesting to me how 6 out of 8 of my sprints were dead on at 21 sec, my fastest two sprints were the ones in the middle at 19 sec being my fastest.  This was the first time we have ever really done timed sprints so it will be fun to compare next time.  
Gorgeous view

Meanwhile our kids played with pumpkin our sweet Malte/pom puppy, we are trying to teach him how to walk on a leash so that has been interesting and pretty darn funny.  After sprinting we played a game of old school "Red-light, green-light" and I managed to squeeze in some walking lunges and situps, while Pierre did some pull-ups.  We had a nice walk back home and the kids did amazing the whole time.  So there you have it, if you have a track nearby, use it! It is a fantastic way to get outdoors with the family and get some vitamin D and playtime all at once.
Pullup fun

 If you have a sprint workout you enjoy doing please share it!  I need some new ideas, my next sprint intervals will probably be 400M I am a bit nervous about pacing, I have never done this any suggestions?

No comments:

Post a Comment