Monday, March 22, 2010

And so, it begins...learning to run again

Okay, so despite getting the nod from my doctor to start running again, I haven't, really.  Until Friday that is.  I can't explain what it is, but I'm kind of terrified to start up again after six months away.  Despite knowing that I was able to compete in a 10k last year and five 5ks, despite the fact that I learned to love running, despite that it made me feel good almost every time I did it, I just can't get motivated.

But I joined the gym.  And this past Friday was my first "fitness coaching" appointment.  The gym gives you these four free fitness coaching sessions, because they think that if they get you to talk to someone about your goals they can a) get you motivated to use the gym and not cancel your membership and b) maybe get you to sign up with one of the fitness coaches as your trainer.  Fair enough.

So we started with my goals - I want to be able to run again, and be able to run faster.  I want to be more toned and lose some weight.  I want to be able to do the Mud Run in July without keeling over. My fitness coach/trainer, Mike, was nice and seemed to know what he was doing.  He went through some strength training exercises that I could do to build lean muscle and we talked about what goals I should be hitting during the week, how often I should really be getting to the gym.  He weighed me, and although I'm not a fan of posting this anywhere publicly, my weight was 153lbs (I'm 5'9").  I should mention I was fully clothed with shoes on, and had eaten lunch around 2 that day (my appointment was at 3).  My weight that morning was 149.8lbs.  He also checked my body fat percentage, which was 24.7%.  That's within the acceptable range, but healthy is really about 22% and ideal is 19.7%.  So I've got to shoot for healthy at least.  Ugh.  It was all rather depressing, and of course, I immediately got into the mindset that these are insurmountable goals.

Then, after giving me the tour, he left me to my own devices, suggesting I do the 15-12-10 series of squats with a kettlebell that he showed me.  He said for me to build lean muscles, I need to do continuous reps (not resting between sets, but resting at the end of the group of three) and I should be tiring myself out from the number of reps I'm doing and not the weight.  He suggested doing 15 of each of a regular squat (holding the kettlebell with my arms down), then a row with the kettlebell and a squat, and then holding the kettlebell at about heart height, and as I come out of the squat, lifting it over my head.  Sounds okay, right?  Well, I did the three types of squats 15 times, rested for a minute or two, did the three types of squats 12 times, rested, and then 10 times.  So that works out to 111 squats with a 17-pound kettlebell, after not working out for 10 days and not being overly strong to begin with. 



So I tried to do some lunges after that, but my muscles just could not hold me up and I could feel my left thigh starting to spasm.  Instead of running right home like I wanted to, I decided to do some cardio.  Mike had suggested starting out on the elliptical for me, because there's less impact, so I can avoid shin splints (he also thinks I need to find somewhere softer to run than pavement, so I've got to figure out where the heck that would be that's convenient for me).  But I couldn't find the ellipticals - this gym is confusing! - and so I just headed to the treadmill.  (Of course, I saw the ellipticals across the way as soon as I got on the treadmill. Sigh.

I'm not even sure how much running I did - the longest interval was about 2 straight minutes, after which the machine was telling me my heart rate was at a solid 186 - but I did run/walk for 30 minutes with a short cool down.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to actually walk out the doors of the gym without collapsing, but I managed it and have spent the last couple of days hobbling around and taking Advil.

That's my M.O. - the old overdoing it, then suffering for a few days and maybe using that as an excuse to not continue to work hard.  I have been taking long walks with the dog the last couple of days, which helps, and then I did about four hours of yardwork yesterday which I can feel all over.  I so want to quit the gym and just hide out at home, but I do think it will be good for me in the long run.  I'm thinking of having Mike be my trainer for a little while - it will give me accountability for one.  Also, I'm one of those gym people who learns a circuit and just does it every time - not because I don't like to switch up my workouts, but because I'm always worried what people think about me (despite knowing that those people are likely just wondering what other people think of them!).  Mike pointed out that this isn't effective because your body gets used to whatever you're doing after two weeks. Plus, I learned that the weight machines aren't really all that effective either, because they take on some of the work of the exercise. So I've really got to push myself to actually achieve change, and if I have a trainer, I think I'll learn how to do that and get comfortable with the gym at the same time.  It still all makes me sick to my stomach though!

So anyway, I'm trying to motivate myself to go to tonight's yoga class.  I'm supposed to be hitting the gym three times a week, and any other workouts are just gravy (so I really do plan to revive the couch to 5k soon and be doing that as well).  I've also got an appointment on Friday afternoon with another fitness coach to talk about nutrition - of course, in my mind, I'm just waiting for the scolding that will come about all the sweets I eat.  Which means I bought six cupcakes on Friday and I'm eating them before I go.  We'll see how it goes - I reminded myself that as an adult, I can eat whatever I want, and I just have to remember that there are consequences to what I do eat. 

But I'm not giving up my Pepsi.


  1. Lindsay, you are on the right track, I applaud you!! The hardest part really is getting started. But you're there and on your way. One thing that helped me over the years was committing to ONE small goal. When I had kids, I knew that all I was going to be able to consistently commit to was a 30 min walk each day. So I did that. In time, I added a small 30 min floor routine, which included weights and core work. I just did this simple routine for the longest time, some days I walked longer and added new exercises or weight, and somedays it all fell apart!! But I managed to keep coming back to my little committment of walking for 30. If you can commit to one little thing that you know you can do each day, it will keep your foot in the door and you can always build on it. Keep up the great work and the great attitude. :)

  2. Thanks so much for this comment, Jannah. I get it in my head that it's all or nothing - like I have to be running 3 -4 miles every day immediately AND doing yoga AND doing resistance training. So I get immediately overwhelmed and nix the whole thing. But you're right, if I give myself manageable goals, break them down into small pieces and just add them in little by little, I can actually do them and not be scared of them. So I'll start doing that - committing to something and doing it. Now that I won't be traveling for a few months, I might be able to manage it too ;)

  3. Wow! Great to see you running/blogging again! I too recently hired a trainer and am clawing my way back to being a runner. Keep up the great work!

  4. Good for you! I'v been very lazy lately/still afraid of the running, but I'm sitting here in my running tights and sneakers hoping to find the motivation to get out there this afternoon again!

  5. hi Lindsay... you are BRAVE to post about all this :).... I am so excited to have lost weight and be more in shape that I almost WANT to post my stats... but i never would have wanted to before.

    Also, you and I are both tall... your weight is not a problem I'm sure, but it sounds like you want to get more lean muscle to get the % body fat down? I am curious what mine would be... but not so curious I am going to go pay someone to tell me :)... I do think a trainer is great for all your goals... I'm just feeling pretty good about my maintenance (and can't afford a trainer).

  6. Thanks Katya! I think it's awesome that you've really stuck with running, and that it's really paid off for you. For me, it just seemed that I could run longer, but otherwise, I didn't have any significant changes, so I'm hoping this year might be different. I think I keep my heart rate too high to lose weight - and I never understood the whole connection with that before, so I'm glad to be learning about it now. I haven't really been going to the gym at all, I must admit (they require you to do these four sessions when you join as part of membership -I guess they think it will get you to come and keep coming). I'm back there today and hopefully I will get more motivated to go. I did just get back from a walk/run, so I'm hoping to be finding my motivation soon!