In researching my newer books RUNNING UNTIL YOU’RE 100 & A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO FAT BURNING, I found two simple ways to gain control over the holiday weight gain process--without spending more time running or in the gym.
1. Get a step counter. As the weather gets colder and the holiday activities overload your schedule, most runners tend to run fewer miles. There’s good research to show that inexpensive step counters incentive-ize people to walk more. Instead of sitting during the pockets of 5-10 minutes of “dead time” when you’re watching the kids, waiting for a meeting, etc., walk around. You can accumulate thousands of steps a day without increasing fatigue. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day and you’ll feel more energized.
2. Use a website/software program for calorie control. There are many sites or computer programs that allow you to log in what you eat. You’ll need to get a little notebook and record each snack or meal, with amounts eaten. This not only gives you a balance of calories in vs. calories burned. You’ll discover whether you’re low in calcium, iron, protein, B vitamins, etc. By learning portion control and the actual calorie content of foods, you can gain control over your eating.
Running can be one of the best ways to maintain a good attitude, erase stress, and enjoy sustained vitality throughout the day. When the pace and the walk breaks are balanced, I’ve not found an experience that bestows a wonderful sense of freedom and mental energy.
But many runners let themselves run too fast, increase mileage too rapidly or get too fixated on a time goal. These obsessions can reduce or eliminate the treasures bestowed by each run. Here are some ways of gaining control over every run that you do.
1. Start every run about 3-4 min/mi slower than you could run the same distance if you were really running fast. Slower is better, so you can go as easily as you wish. There should be no huffing and puffing!
2. Insert a 30-60 second walk break, after 1-2 minutes of running for the first 10 minutes of your run. Count this as part of your warmup and enjoy.
3. Continue to insert liberal walk breaks before you need them. You’ll find a ratio of running to walking, based upon pace, in my books YEAR ROUND PLAN, WOMAN’S GUIDE TO RUNNING, HALF MARATHON, 5k/10k, etc. See www.JeffGalloway.com for details.
4. If you start to breathe heavily or feel bad for any reason, back off the pace and take the walks more frequently.
5. If you’re accumulating leg fatigue, week-by-week, run every other day for a few weeks. You won’t lose any conditioning and your legs will “freshen up”
6. Have fun! Schedule scenic runs, social runs, and special running trips. You deserve it!