I’ve had a few flurries of questions around two specific topics:
– What training plan do I use
– Any general nutrition advice and tips
Let me be crystal before I offer anything: what works for me may not be right at all for you. I’m 5’4″ with (how should I put this) a small but firm/athleticy frame? I love curves, and I own up that I won’t be a rail and I would rather look at an athlete’s body over a model. You’re liar if you say you don’t notice a difference. Anyways, the book I picked up on vacation Chris Carmichael’s Food for Fitness: Eat Right to Train Right stands by the simple promise of feed your body for fuel. Food should be looked at for nutrition, and also be enjoyed. Chris’ goes on: “… a person’s best performance starts with the fuel they put in their bodies. Whether your goal is weight loss or an Olympic-caliber performance…eat right to train right.”
Hang with me, it’s a science and one that I still try to grasp. Fortunately our Nutritioneer is trying to help me keep my sugar, blood sugar, etc. somewhat stable. Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong.com MyPlate tool is actually working to teach us what our body’s preferences are and show us how our food is broken down to its nutritional components — beyond just calories, to include carbohydrates, fats, proteins and sodium. It’s important to keep a healthy ratio. Even for a beginner athlete, it’s important to see what nutrients you’re getting.
And word to the wise: If you’re not eating enough calories, your body will go into survival mode, hang onto fat for survival and slow your metabolism.
A few thoughts to chew on:
– You can look and no touch? It’s OK looking at calories in foods, but your eyes should definitely wonder to the fat, sugar and carbs. All calories are not created equal.
– Look for foods that are natural and organic. (Not just a package with a organic sticker.) Eating natural foods changes how you cook, thus changing how you eat. Seriously, start cooking dinner or packing breakfast or lunch. Some of those nom sites I list on my homepage are filled with easy recipes. Trust me, variety is the flavor of life. I get geeked at prepping a good breakfast the night before.
– Rome wasn’t built in a day. Pick something small you want to change. Nutritioneer challenge to me, no gum. It’s a long, soft-tooth, bad genes, story. Let’s see if I can make it to next Tuesday- OK? And oddly I find that chewing gum makes me more hungry.
Get on the Train “Train”
As for training – this is the fun, easier part for me. Women tend to be good with plans, whereas men go with the flow and I think men even tend to listen to their body better.
Training manuals are everywhere online and in stores. My first training manual was free courtesy of me signing up for a race. There are bookoos of free ones online and some magazines or books will have programs in them as well. Purchasing a good mag or book with a training plan inside is a double-bang for your buck. I wish there was an exact science here, but I will say that Runner’s World and Active Network are my personal picks for finding advice and manuals.
Training Tips & Tricks
– Be sure whatever you choose matches your experience and comfort level. Training is tailored to gender, age and weight. Obvi the more customized to you, the better. It can be grueling to stick to a plan week after week, so focus on what works for you and make sure it aligns with your goal. The plans are specific for a reason, they aren’t arbitrary. Compliance will be your biggest influential factor.
– Aim for one long run a week. This is where you are watching the clock, not so much the exact mileage. If you are a beginner, over 30 min is a good start, but more intermediate runners should shoot for 45+ min. The purpose of a long run is to test how your body and mind get to know each other during a more challenging distance. It can be good to let the mind go, but tune in every few minutes and check your posture, breathing and stride.
The more you focus on listening to your body, you’ll have a better chance of winning that mental war on whatever you’re working on.
Anybody getting ready for an event or race? Would love to hear your training mantras!