Thursday, September 29, 2011

Being a Model for Our Children - Exercising for Fun and Fitness

When my youngest child entered Grade 1, I had discovered that I had become an uncomfortable size 14 with poor eating habits not allowing myself to ever feel hungry – snacking whenever I wanted on whatever I wanted. I knew it was time for a change but I live 50 km from the nearest pool, gym or program and for my own peace of being, I still needed to be available to my children when they were home from school. I taught two days a week and decided to run on the three weekdays that I did not teach. I could barely breathe and could only run for short stints, when I heard about John Stanton a confirmed couch potato who started the chain of stores and programs called The Running Room. Although he has inspired many marathon runners, his goal has never been to create them but to assist in helping people get off of the sofa. What follows is my program, that was inspired by John, that I have followed for almost 8 years now, without injury or ever getting bored with running.

Week 1 – 1 minute run/1 minute walk x 10 - 3 days a week

Week 2 – 2 minute run/1 minute walk x 6 – 3 days a week

Week 3 – 3 minute run/1 minute walk x 5 – 3 days a week

Week 4 – 4 minute run/1 minute walk x 4 – 3 days a week

Week 5 – 5 minute run/1 minute walk x 3 – 3 days a week

At this point I discovered that I could and wanted to increase it to 4 days a week and I wanted to run in a 5km race and began to train for my first one.

Week 6 – 6 minute run/1 minute walk x 3 – 4 days a week

Week 7 – 8 minute run/1 minute walk x 2 – 4 days a week

Week 8 – 10 minute run/1 minute walk x 2 – 4 days a week

Week 9 – 20 minute non-stop run – 4 days a week

If this is too difficult a task to start with, one can start with an even better/slower program suited to them. If one needed to repeat a week – one could!

After 9 weeks, I was able to continue to add time and km and started to run 5 km in 25-30 minutes. The first race I ran was that spring - 5km in 25 minutes. My goal has always been to just treat my heart well and run for health. Although I have run up to 21 km in one run, it is not my preference to do so. It took me a couple of years to drop in size to an 8 and for four years am a size 6-8 depending on the cut of the clothes.

And yet I still must push myself to go out. As I sit here writing, I must actually schedule in my running because I may still look for an excuse on a full day or on a miserable weather day. I use inspirational sayings and photos to help me get off of this desk chair and go for a run.

Why is this?

I think it has to do what has been engrained in me early in life. My parents were healthy thin people who did not need to work at being so and I don’t remember seeing them exercise for fun or fitness. For the most part, children will become like their parents or main caregivers, which is mostly a good thing. Let’s remember to show them we care about ourselves and exercise for fun and fitness.