This post will (hopefully) help me to break out of the lardy non-running freefall I’ve found myself in. I just chose the title because I thought that if I gave this project a cool name I’d be more likely to stick to it.
To cut a long (and largely cheese-based) story short, the last few months have seen me in a massive fitness slump. The mojo is still intact; I’m still head over heels in love with running, but I just can’t seem to get back into anything that resembles a routine and now I’m starting to suffer the consequences. A few other factors have joined the party, and the end result is that I’m currently feeling unfit, lethargic and generally fuzzy. Also, my trousers are feeling tighter by the day, to the point where I’m considering just going to work without wearing any.
I’ve identified three main issues, or “barriers to runningness”, and then tried to come up with a plan to kick them all up their collective bottoms.
1. Nutrition / Hydration
A couple of years ago I realised that, despite having switching a sofa-based lifestyle for one that had me running all over the place like I was being chased by sexually aggressive baboons, I was still a bit of a chubster. So I started looking at what I ate, and made a few tweaks that, before long, had resulted in me shedding the weight at a quick (but sustainable) rate. I lost about 15kg in total and felt amazing. The fact that I’d adopted a sensible approach (rather than choosing one of those crash diets where you can only eat carbs that don’t have any vowels in them, or where breakfast has to consist of a £400 beetroot capsule and a hot kelp enema) meant that nutrition didn’t feel like a punishment, and I found it relatively easy to keep the weight off.
But this year I’ve somehow slipped into old habits. Habits that include late-night cheesathons, a couple of large glasses of wine most evenings, and a “this entire pack of wagon wheels only contains calories if I eat them with my eyes open” attitude to snacking. These habits crept back into my life, and now I’m paying the price. In my current state, convenience beats nutrition every time and I seem to have forgotten how to say no to every craving. Trips to the coffee shop used to be just for coffee, but these days there’s always “…and cake” tacked onto the end. The upshot of this is that my jumper is once again starting to look like I’ve got a big teddy bear shoved up the front of it. I haven’t, by the way, although that would be adorable.
When I started eating healthier before, a lot of my success was due to a food tracking app called “My Fitness Pal”. I already knew (or at least thought I knew) which foods were healthy (a tomato) and which should be avoided (crate of toblerones), but the app helped to teach me a bit about portion control and highlight the fact that tiny harmless little snacks can still add up if you eat enough of them. I stopped using the app after a couple of months, after it had done a great job of teaching me to eat sensibly. Clearly, those lessons have somehow been forgotten now and so it’s time to start using the app again. The other thing I need to work on is hydration. I currently drink about a litre of water a day, and sometimes half that, and as a result my wee often resembles golden syrup. This probably isn’t helped by the fact that I’m probably drinking more coffee than water these days.
So the solution to this first barrier is all about changing habits. Let’s have some bullet points…
- Start using MyFitnessPal to re-educate me about how those harmless snacks mount up.
- Try to eat clean wherever possible.
- Ease up on the vino, and the late night snacks should follow.
- Substitute “coffee and cake” with “coffee”
- Substitute “coffee” with “water”
- I’m really not sure about that last one. I’m not an animal.
I’ve waffled quite a bit there, and there are two more “barriers to runningness” still to go. I think I’ll pause there and post the rest later, just to give you a chance to stretch your legs and go to the toilet.