Getting Fit After Giving Birth – one program at a time

Posts tagged ‘Running’

Having the right equipment

If you don’t have the right equipment, your work-out could be torturous, and even worse, result in no gain.  You have to have the right equipment.  By right, it needs to fit your specific body, it needs to offer the right kind of support for the activity, and it has to look super chic right?  😛

  1. For running: Shoes.  I started off running with my cheap worn out tenis shoes, and it was murderous on my knees.  They couldn’t handle the stress.  And on the few occasions that my knees could handle it, I walked off the pavement with shin splints that continued to plague me for MONTHS afterwards.  Not a very efficient way to keep up a decent excerpting regiment.
  2. Women need proper undergarments.  ESPECIALLY if you are rather busty (or breastfeeding, or in my case, both).  Seriously, there is nothing more uncomfortable and awkward than having your ladies doing more moving than you are.  Some women prefer to bind those beauties with tight fitting sports-brands.  If your breastfeeding, that may lead to other issues, so just make sure that you get something that will keep those ladies in check.
  3. Men may need proper undergarments as well, but I’m obviously not a man and can therefore not speak from personal experience…
  4. Proper attire.  Rock climbers don’t need baggy clothing…In fact, most exercising programs don’t benefit from baggy clothing.  You can get chaffing and irritation that just makes the working out tedious and loathsome.  However, you also need something that is comfortable for you.  Some people enjoy the skin tight apparel (Personally, I find them a bit immodest, but I realize that’s a personal opinion, and am not judging you at all!).  There are so many options out there these days for program specific work-out clothes, and many of them come in several different colors and styles! Do you want blue biking shorts, or maybe you are looking for a pink running shirt?  Functionality does NOT replace aesthetics in today’s world!
  5. Water.  I strongly believe that God gave us water for the primary purpose to hydrate us (and everything else), and nothing that man makes can ever be better for our bodies than water.  My husband on the other hand, likes to argue that Gatorade is better because it replaces electrolytes that water doesn’t have.  In any case, I include water as equipment because sometimes you might carry it along with you during your work0out.
  6. Yes, the dog needs proper equipment as well!  This may include leash/harness, some more aggressive dogs may need a muzzle (at least while they are training), and if you are running hardcore with your dog (think marathon or more), shoes may be a good investment.
  7. Childcare.  When I started working out, I already had all three of my kids and working out WITH them wasn’t an option for me.  I took advantage of timing (leaving kids home with my husband), or the childcare services that my gym provided.  However, for lots of little Mamma’s out there, exercising without their little ones isn’t an option.  In this case, it is important to have a stroller, or other carrying device, that you can work with.  I will admit that I tried running with our stroller once.  It was a cheap yardsale find, I squeezed the two younger kids in it, and attempted to deal with the wobbly wheels and glitchy lock levers for a whole mile before I came home frustrated and fed up!

Especially if you are just getting started, there are lots of little roadblocks and speed bumps that you will encounter, why would you want to add improper work-out equipment to the list?  With this being such a simple roadblock to fix, it shouldn’t ever be an issue in the first place!

 

5 ways to make your run harder

I have just finished up the third week of the C25K running program.  First of all, I highly recommend it to any beginning runner: if you are already fit through other methods (in my case, aerobics and some weight lifting), or if you are truly a couch potato (or sit and work at a computer all day), it definitely works!  Secondly, I have already discovered a few things that you can do to make your running even harder than it already is, so pay close attention, and try to avoid these things 😉

  1. Bad music.  It isn’t very motivating to be half-way through a jogging segment of your run when Enya starts up.  Due to some technology changes, I had to do a run without any music, and while that was 5X harder than with music, I do believe that bad music would make the run even harder than that.  Don’t do it.  If you need help finding some good music, check out pinterest (just search for “running music playlist”), or I bet google would have some good ones as well.
  2. Improper equipment.  Time and time again I have attempted to run with poor shoes.  Oh man, do my knees hate that!  I’m only 25 years old, and in pretty good health, but if I run with worn-out shoes on my feet, my body is going to be screaming at me in ways that continue to affect me for months after.
  3. Lack of proper nutrition.  Always, always, always, eat SOMETHING 15-30 minutes before you go on your run.  Definitely not a huge meal (you might puke it up), but I have noticed that even with Pixie Dust the dog, if she doesn’t eat a few bites before we go running, she is sluggish and unfocused.  Multiply that for a human.  Also: Always, always, always eat SOMETHING as soon as you can after your run.  Don’t think about it like eating all of the calories that you just lost, think of it as replenishing the nutrition that you expended.
  4. Don’t hydrate.  Or even worse, drink carbonated beverages and sugared sports drinks.  I strongly believe that God created water and there is nothing man-made that can trump that for doing good to our bodies.  I respect that others will disagree with me here (my darling husband being among them).  However you roll the dice, you have to keep yourself hydrated before AND after AND in-between your runs.  Lately, I’ve taken to drinking an entire gallon of water throughout the day, but I’ve also found that ingesting at least one bottle-full before my run is beneficial.  It keeps the side stitches away, and the shin splints at bay.
  5. Forget to stretch.  I don’t believe that stretching before your run is necessary or beneficial in any way (feel free to disagree with me, though, I’d love to hear your arguments for this one!).  However, stretching *after* your run is definitely recommended in my book.  1: It limits your soreness because it gently works out the lactic acid, YAY! 2: Your muscles are already warmed and limber from the run so they are able to stretch a little bit further and this is where you are going to be able to slowly reset their functions for over-all flexibility.  and 3: It adds a little extra in the cool-down section of your work-out without really adding in extra work.

And as a bonus, here are a few things that may make your running even better/easier, and who doesn’t want that out of an already difficult work-out?

  • Cute work-out gear.  It isn’t a necessity, but it certainly helps when you feel like you look great while you are out there sweating.  PLUS, having well-fitted clothing will keep you from getting chapped where the over-sized t-shirts and worn-out shorts just weren’t up to the par.
  • Keep hair and cords secured and out of the way.  I run outside, in the early morning, where/when my music isn’t going to be bothering anyone, so I don’t use any earbuds.  In the past, however, when I have used earbuds, they always fall out of my ears, the cord bounces around, and it becomes more obnoxious and a hassle than I really want to deal with while I am huffing and puffing.  Same concept applies to your hair.  Pull it up (there are a myriad of cute ways to do this, whether you have short hair, longer hair, fluffy bangs…just search on pinterest), pin it back, get it out of your face and off your neck!
  • Add in some variety.  If you normally run at the park, try running on pavement, or if you normally run on one particular treadmill, try a different treadmill.  Sometimes we get bored, so change things up every once in a while.  If you normally run in the morning, try running in the evening (light is different, traffic will be different, weather will be different), if you go in a loop, try changing your direction.

Running is hard.  Don’t ever let anyone (or your own brain) try to fool you into thinking differently.  You have to condition your brain, your heart, your lungs, your muscles, and your mentality to be able to accomplish it.  Ok, ok, one can easily argue that running itself is not hard, after all, my 2, 3, and 4 year old children run constantly!  I am always telling them to stop running, so it can’t be *that* hard.  But, in our older ages, we get lazy.  I don’t know when it clicks, but we forget how to play with nothing, and we lose our flexibility, and we lose our ability to run.  So, it becomes hard.  Hopefully, with these little tidbits, you can work to make your running less difficult, even easier, and maybe more enjoyable.  Keep at it, little people!  You are doing amazing things for the body that God has given for your soul!!!!

Proper Running Etiquette

Do you know the polite manners for running on pavement?  I don’t.  I couldn’t even remember which side of the road I was suppose to be running on, or which side of me the dog should be running on, or if I needed to signal to passing vehicles, or what?  So, I looked it up.  I sure do love the internet, don’t you?

Did you also know that not only is there basic running etiquette, but there are rules for running in a race, or running on roads, or running on side-walks, running at gyms, running on forrest trails, running on park trails, and even some unspoken rules?!  WOW, I was a little overwhelmed.  Anyways, for the type of running that I am doing (on roads, not sidewalks, with a dog), this is what I came up with:

  • Run towards oncoming traffic so that we can both see each other.
  • Keep a leash on Pixie Dust and clean up her messes
  • Pixie’s leash should be short enough to keep her close, but loose so that she can still run freely beside me.
  • Run on sidewalks where applicable
  • Always use cross-walks (don’t jay-walk!)
  • Be aware of the traffic

Then, for running with a dog, these are just some good things to keep in mind:

  • Keep a close eye on Pixie and watch for any injuries, especially to her paw pads (which are still fairly soft from pampered indoor living)
  • Don’t let Pixie drink from any puddles: could contain antifreeze, salts, harsh chemicals, unknown products
  • Train her to walk on one side of me, instead of the way that she often switches sides
  • Bring treats to reward good behavior

I’m sure that I’ve still got lots to learn about having a polite and well-trained pooch, but Pixie and I are already off to a great start!  She comes quickly when I call her, she’s mostly house-trained, she doesn’t pull on the leash, she is learning the basic “tricks” of sit, stay, roll over, shake, and lay down (obviously not in that order).  She  still chews on everything in sight, which is a slight problem with kids stuffed animals, but only a slight problem, because usually just telling her to quit is enough to get her to stop.  She also is GREAT with the kids, and lets them hug on her as much as they want.  Yeah, we got a good dog!

Is running with a dog something that you would like to do?  How do you run with your canine friend?

 

Running with a pooch

Ever since I first heard about labradoodles I wanted one.  Hypo-allergenic like poodles, but the amazing disposition of Labradors.  My perfect pet dog, right there!  So, when I saw that some friend of ours was going to be having golden doodle puppies I jumped at the opportunity.  Yes, I’ve lost my mind!  Wanting a *puppy* while I’m in the middle of potty training, terrible two’s, preparing for another year of homeschool preschool, managing a very energetic 3-yr-old and the super silly 4-yr-old, while I’m struggling with keeping up with the housework, and maintaining some sense of a social life.  Can’t you just imagine the chaos that runs in our house on a daily basis?  But, we got her anyways.

We finally settled on the name Pixie Dust, and she settled right into the dynamic of our family.  My youngest, who has always been a bit puppy-obsessed, immediately fell in love with this super sweet little dog, and I’ve got TONS of A.dor.a.ble pictures of the two of them.  Anyways, when we traveled across the country to spend the summer with my family (and to help prep for my sisters wedding!), I knew that I was going to have to do something to keep this little pooch, and myself moving.  See, back in the western part of TX, there is a much larger canine living in our backyard that had served as a wonderful energy expender for Ms. Pixie Dust, but this giant pooch simply could not make the trip with me and my children.  Also, for me, well, I just couldn’t justify spending the money on a guest membership to a gym for 6 weeks.  And so, me and the dog took up the c25k running program.

The first thing that we both needed was the proper equipment.

  • I splurged on some new work-out clothes (which were needed anyways)
  • Got some decent running shoes (my old ones were way too worn down)
  • Pixie got a new leash – a retractable one, which I know isn’t the best thing for running with, it’s bulky and heavy, but if I lock it in place, we manage just fine
  • I also did some research on if dogs need shoes as well.  And decided that while she doesn’t currently *need* any shoes, if I become a marathon runner, then it might be a good idea to get her some to protect those precious paws.

I downloaded the c25k running program on my phone, along with some new songs, found a great place, and perfect time, and we hit the pavement!

  • The first day I took things pretty slow because I didn’t know how well either one of us would do.  However I was pleasantly surprised by both of us.  I wasn’t dying at any point during the run, and she managed to keep up with minimal pulling, jerking, getting under foot, or other distractions.
  • The second day she did even better, and I knew that I had found a running partner.
  • By the third day (end of the first week), she was barking to wake me up, and jumping all around when I pulled out the leash, and I knew that she wouldn’t ever let me quit and I’d be making another purchase for some winter work-out clothes in another 4 months.

As far as fitting in my aerobics work-outs with the running…well…I may have to figure that one out when we travel back to dry west TX.  As for now, I am thoroughly enjoying running with my dog in rainy west TN.

Proper Equipement

Equipment

If you don’t have the right equipment, your work-out could be torturous, and even worse, result in no gain.  You have to have the right equipment.  By right, it needs to fit your specific body, it needs to offer the right kind of support for the activity, and it has to look super chic right?  😛

For running: Shoes.  I started off running with my cheap worn out tenis shoes, and it was murderous on my knees.  They couldn’t handle the stress.  Special shoes designed for running that will absorb the shock, and in my case, support weak arches due to having too many children (loose ligaments cause for stretched bones, etc.) can lighten the stress in your joints.

Women need proper undergarments.  ESPECIALLY if you are rather busty (or breastfeeding, or in my case, both).  Seriously, there is nothing more uncomfortable and awkward than having your ladies doing more moving than you are.  Some women prefer to bind those beauties with tight-fitting sports-brands.  If your breastfeeding, that may lead to other issues, so just make sure that you use something *VERY* supportive.

Cycling Bike at Night

Cycling Bike at Night (Photo credit: epSos.de)

For Cycling: a proper saddle.  I took a 20 minute ride the other day on the saddle that came with the bike…that was four days ago and I STILL have a sore tooshie from the experience.  I opted for a noseless saddle.  Again, I’ve had too many children too recently, my body will not put up with the stress.  It rebels, but it is not union so what choice does it really have?

You’ve gotta have the proper place to do your work-out.  Whether this is a gym, a track, the equipment, a road, your living room floor, wherever.  You can’t do ANY work-out with the place to do it.  At a gym, I would consider cleanliness to be a concern (I really don’t know, I’ve never worked out in a gym, unless you count middle school).  Any equipment that you use (elliptical, weights, treadmill) needs to be in proper working order.  The use of damaged or broken equipment can result in serious and long-lasting injuries.  If you do your working-out in your living room floor (core strengthening, weight training), there has to be room for you.  You don’t wanna be cramped, or have to be worrying about hitting your head or your foot on something.

Women: Something to control your hair is a must!  I have this issue with running upon occasion: Even when the bulk of my hair is in a pony tail, my side-swept bangs become UN-swept and then I can’t see where I am going.  It isn’t just about being comfortable and lessening your worries.  If your dealing with other equipment, your hair can become hazardous getting stuck or even causing scalping!!!  THAT would be pretty gruesome.

Various shoes for sale in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

Various shoes for sale in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you’re exercising or working out, you are focusing on your body.  Your attention is on what you are doing, how many reps you are doing, how long you are doing it, you really don’t want to be worrying about things that just don’t relate.  Although there may be some things that you just can’t control: Like, I cycle with my children in tow, that’s the only way that I can do it.  However, the older two are buckled in tight so I don’t have to worry about them climbing out (which they would totally do), and the youngest one is nestled nice and tight so she isn’t going anywhere either.  So, while I do have to be aware that they are there, I don’t really have to worry that anything is going to happen with them.

So, today’s stats on Cycling.  We actually decided to cycle over to the church’s building (my husband is an evangelist), just to see how long it would take.  It turned out to take less than 10 minutes one way, so we might be making the cycle on a regular basis as a means of transportation 😀

Distance: 2.1 Miles

Time: 18:51

Average Speed: 6.8 mph

Max Speed: 10.1 mph

New plan – Cycling AND Running??

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Cycling (road)....

Well, as I discussed a few days ago, it seems that my running ability is not on par with the C25K Beginner’s program.  My body is just so messed up.  In all truth, it really is my fault.  I was a HUGE couch potatoe throughout all of my pregnancies.  With my son, I had mild edema, pre-ecalmpsia, and high blood pressure, so I was *ordered* to take things easy.  With my oldest daughter, my hips were SO messed up that it was extremely painful to be active.  The more active I was, the worse my hips would be and the less my mobility became.  When you already have one child, you really cannot afford to lose your mobility.  Plus, I was so super sick during my pregnancy with her (lost 20 lbs. the first HALF).  Then, with my youngest daughter, I was just doing my best to survive.  I really was just living day by day, struggling to get my chores done, and taking every advantage of nap times.  Emotionally, I was a wreck, had no clue how I was going to deal with 3 children under two and a half years of age (another story for another blog).  Any type of exercising was out of the question.  I wouldn’t say that I was lazy during any of my pregnancies, if your a stay at home mother, you really are anything except lazy.  But, I wasn’t too terribly physically active…couldn’t handle it.

Now that I’m trying to get up off my butt and doing something, my body is fighting back.  My lungs can handle it.  I can push my lungs, control my breathing.  However my legs are not liking the *abuse*.  My knees disagreed with my shoes, my tibias are arguing with my shins, and my glutes have strife with my pelvis.  Running 3X a week just isn’t going to work RIGHT NOW.

So, I’m going to start slower than beginner.  At first I was really frustrated at myself, I hated my body, I was angry that the wonderful gift of children came with such an unexpected burden.  But I have a plan now, and I’m ok with everything that’s gone on.  Allow me to share my plan, and maybe someone else who has similar issues may want to join in?

I go running twice a week.  I follow the idea of the Cool Runnings program, but what would take a normal person two weeks to complete will end up taking me three weeks.  And then, on days that I’m not running, I cycle, twice a day.  Running is something that I can do by myself without my children, and cycling is something that I can do with my whole family, and also help my husband get into shape.

Cycling

So there you have it.  A plan.  Having a plan is the first step to correcting a situation.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how this plan works, so far, I’m quite happy with it!

Today’s cycling stats (using Strava cycling app for iphone):

First time

  • 1.6 miles
  • 16:06 minutes
  • 6.0 mph average
  • 10.4 mph max speed

Second time

  • 1.6 miles
  • 19:04 minutes (had to stop to adjust the kids…silly)
  • 5.5 mph average
  • 9.6 mph max speed

Stuck on week 1 (of the C25K begginner’s running program)

Well, I guess I’ve done the first week of the Couch to 5K beginner’s running program about 4 times in the past year.  Why keep starting, why not just don’t quit?  Well, there are quite a few different reasons and I’m just so stinking frustrated about all of them!

It was last year, I guess right about this time – in May – I got through the third week, and discovered I was 7 weeks pregnant.  Overall, probably not something to be frustrated about, but as far as the running went…well…I had to stop.

About two months ago, I got through the first week and my knees gave out.  I’ve never had great knees anyways, but I was trying to run in cheap worn out tennis shoes…this just doesn’t work.  It was another four weeks or so before we could afford to get me some new, meant for running, shoes.  I was so stinking frustrated, I came home fuming and totally pigged out on M&M’s – I know, way to counteract those burned calories.

A month ago, I got through the first week and then my husband diagnosed me with shin splints (I wrote about that HERE).  My leg hurt so bad I didn’t know if I was going to be able to drive home.  Again, I was so angry that I came home and pigged out on ice cream – again counteracting the burned calories.

Once again, it seems that the shin splints have flaired up.  I was attempting the first day of the second week, it shouldn’t have been too hard.  The weather was absolutely perfect, and I was ready to really push myself and do it.  45 seconds into the first running segment, I noticed that my shoe was untied.  So, I stopped and tied it, and noticed a slight aching in my leg.  I thought, no big deal, it’s probably just that muscle getting worked a bit (I was very diligent tonight about warming up, stretching, and getting my legs ready to run).  I finished that run segment and felt great!  I was hardly out of breath, I could feel my blood pumping, and I thought “I can totally do this”.  However, as I continued with the walking segment, my leg just got worse and worse.  By the time my clock hit 2 minutes, I could hardly walk on it.  I limped the rest of the way around the track and somehow managed to drive home.  Talking to my husband about the situation, I just about cried all over him because I was very unhappy.  This time, I came home and pigged out on pizza.  For some reason the pigging out makes me feel better.

Well, we should be scheduling a doctor’s appointment soon, and maybe I’ll get some legitimate answers, figure things out, and start over AGAIN.  Yeah, this little Mamma is ready to get into shape :-\

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