It’s been a busy couple of months.
Since January, I’ve visited Israel, driven through and/or stayed in every state between Florida and New York – twice – spent five days in New Orleans and a weekend back in Gainesville. All that in between working, running and, oh yeah, trying to figure out what to do for the rest of my life and where to do it.
All this has left RunGainesville on the priority back-burner for a little while. And while I think it’s been beneficial to take a break from the blog and writing in general for a little while, I’m ready to get back into it.
So, here I am. Here we are. Cozy, isn’t it?
Fortunately, and quite purposely, I might add, my running routine has not suffered, my weightlifting has picked up a bit and I feel strong like bull.
I’ve been working on some running ideas lately and pondering/experimenting with some strength-building ideas I’d like to share with you.
Let’s first talk running. I’ve picked up some new ideas and good advice from well-known runner and friend of the blog (in my mind, anyway) Jeff Galloway and his book: Galloway’s Book on Running.
- Start runs slowly, don’t be afraid to walk frequently: Jeff’s perspective comes from a 60-something-year-old runner, but I think it’s a perspective that us 20-something-year-olds could benefit from. Be kind, gentle and patient with your body. Start runs slower than you think you need to, and for god’s sake, don’t be afraid to take walk breaks during your runs. Taking intermittent walk breaks will help you to…
- Aim for 30 minutes or more of cardiovascular activity: Before 30 minutes of cardio, your body is using carbohydrates as a majority of its fuel. At 30 minutes, the fuel is 50% carbs and 50% free fats, and after 30 minutes you’re using more fats than carbs for fuel. You’ve heard it before, but 30+ minutes of cardio 3+ times a week also strengthens your heart, lungs, circulatory systems, reduces the risk of relating cancers etc. etc. Of course this doesn’t have to be only running. Back in Gainesville I used to like to run around campus and when I got tired, I’d go to the gym and hop on the bike for another 15 or 20 minutes of easier cardio.
- Go for a long run once every other week or so: Mr. Galloway writes, “Long runs develop cardiovascular efficiency to its maximum. They are the single most important element in your program.” So there! Besides providing some solid bragging-right potential, long runs are a great way to mix up your running routine, explore new areas (my favorite element) and provide yourself with plenty of meditative “me-time.” Remember tip #1 for these long runs; start the run really slowly and walk throughout. You’ll thank yourself at mile 7, 8, 9 …
Now, Jeff isn’t really one for strength training, but I enjoy it and like the way it makes my body look. I’ve always been kind of a string bean, so weight training has given me a bit more bulk, strength and confidence, too. Here are a couple of things I’ve been toying with over the last few months:
- Lifting weights can be quick and dirty: You don’t need to be lifting for 45 minutes to see results, nor do you need to work 4 muscle groups each time you lift. Not unless you’re trying to bodybuild, which you and I as runners are most likely not. What you do need to do is warm up, use proper form and be focused on what you’re trying to accomplish for that day. On most lifting days, I like to hit 1 or 2 muscle groups, and I like to lift heavy. That means I’m usually doing no more than 10 reps of any exercise, and usually somewhere between 5 and 8 reps. Vary your exercised and your reps to “confuse” your muscles and promote growth. Google is a gem resource for exercises and lifting information.
- Push ups and pull ups are quick, convenient and as easy or taxing as you’d like them to be: Confession – I used to hate push ups and pull ups because they were/are hard, physically and mentally. One cool thing about them, though, is that they should get easier pretty quickly for you if you’re trying to improve. If you can’t do a regular push up, try doing it on your knees rather than your toes. If you can’t do a regular pull up, jump up and try to hang for 5, 10 seconds or as long as you can. Doing this a couple times a week will get you better at these exercises while making you stronger and more “cut.” Furthermore, there are an endless number of variations of push and pull ups that work different muscles. Variations keep you from getting bored and keep your muscles growing at a premium.
- Mix in some weights and/or strength-building exercises with your runs: This can be tough physically and mentally, but honestly, you’ll feel like a badass after this kind of a workout. You’d be surprised how easy running feels after a set of pull or push ups.
As promised, a few things that I’ve been working on the last couple of months. Keep running, keep lifting, keep eating well, and the world is yours.