After 1 year, I’m addicted.

‘Hey you’ve lost weight!’

Recently, that’s the comment I hear from more than a handful of friends, old time and newly minted ones. The truth is? I wouldn’t know. Because I don’t have a weighing scale at home. However, I do feel a difference in my overall physique. Perhaps less flabby than before that gives the illusion of weight loss? Whatever the case, I know I am fitter and stronger than a year ago.

The only thing I changed in my diet? slightly less rice for dinners. Otherwise, I eat as per normal. However, there’s one major change with my new addiction- running.

Let me add a disclaimer- I said more than a handful of friends commented. You don’t have to agree. I however do notice a big difference in my physique when I got injured and with the recent haze started clouding us. I stopped my running regime for a good 6weeks restarted and then stopped again for the past few weeks. I observed I’ve certainly piled on just by not running!

It’s been 1 year from my first attempt to run spurred by my hubby’s wish. I wrote that post in Sept 2014. From last year’s goal, I have done a couple of runs. Now, I’ve progressed to 10km. I’ll be doing another 10km this year before I aim for half marathon next year.

In my recent incident of an injured Archilles, I had learnt a very painful lesson on running too much too sudden. I am determined to be (as much as possible) an injury free runner. I am excited to share what I’ve learnt from my recent readings. Applying the methods helped me not only recover, but also gave me the needed inspirational desire to lifelong running.

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Our Favourite Haunt: Sports Hub

In the recent months, we found that Sports Hub caters to all our family needs – To exercise as a family by jogging, cycling, play Frisbee and football thus expending our energy before having a hearty lunch at the foodcourt and satisfying our brain with the Sports library.

I discovered Jeff & Barbara Galloway’s Half-Marathon: A complete Guide for Women, from the Sports library. I was fully convinced by their practical and comprehensive guide for a newbie like me. It helped me understand the difference between the male and female’s physical capacity, the reasons for common injuries, how to recover and how to prevent/decrease future injuries. With a better understanding, I have stopped comparing my pace with others, especially my hubby’s. I am learning how to go at my own pace and resist the urge to follow other people’s pace. This has profoundly released me from my competitive streak (formed from youth sports) and helped me grow in my own running regime.

Now I know why I had my archilles injury.

‘ Primary causes are not having a good training schedule, increasing the duration or speed of training too quickly, running the long runs too fast or failing to use the conservative Run-Walk-Run strategy for the current level of conditioning.’  

The immediate practical takeaway from this book that I applied was their

  • Run-Walk-Run Method.

The key is to ‘ Walk before you get tired.’ They have a Run-Walk-Run ratio. I did a 7minutes run and 40secs walk ratio.

After my injury, I stopped running for 6weeks. Then restarted my engine by walking majorly for a week or more, walk-run-walk, then run-walk-run. In the past, since I had never joined long distance running, I only knew how to sprint. With youth, it’s not an issue. With age, it becomes the issue. I never believed in walking in a run that is er hum until now. I have learnt the hard way to not judge my running by my timing performance. Rather to focus on the enjoyment and benefits running brings. This book has changed my perception of how running should be enjoyed and not employed for an end goal (like my full marathon goal). What started out as a desire to fulfil my hubby’s wish, became a budding interest of mine. My mind-set shifted to running as a lifestyle, not just a means to an end.

Not only do I adopt the Run-Walk-Run method, I am excited to start a training program of running a day, rest a day, running, rest – alternate train/rest day (that was slightly before the crazy haze and new job!). Having feet low to the ground, striking a short stride length, not lifting up knees or kicking out too far in front of me, avoid long walking stride are just a few very useful tips that are explained in detail equipping me with the necessary knowledge for my personal training.

Another book that aided my recovery process was Running Injury-Free by Dr Joseph Ellis, DPM. This book is a dictionary for injuries! It inscribes how to prevent, treat and recover from runner’s knee, shin splints, sore feet and every other ache and pain. I love the quotes in this book! Other than being convinced of what I shouldn’t do, I was clear on what I can do. My favourite quote on how a sensible diet is the key to running well and how popular fad diets will not work.

‘ The main objective of these diets is to allow a quick weight loss for a limited period of time. Then, as the body gets used to the diet, the weight piles back on. While a small percentage of people stay on these diets, most eventually quit them and go back to their regular eating habits………

You might be doing your body a great disservice, even though the scale shows that you have lost weight. During this ‘diet’ time, your body may be deprived of important nutrients, which makes you much more susceptible to an injury or illness.

There is no magic pill that will make you run faster or farther. The same is true of your habits. Stick to a sensible diet along with your exercise, eat meals that are more frequent but smaller in portion size, and forget those easy fixes. Your goal is a lifetime of healthy choices, not a number on the scale.‘ Dr Joseph Ellis

He ends with a 7 step plan for running injury free

  1. Find a friendly Surface
  2. Warm up and cool down
  3. Stretch (Gently)- there are illustrations on how to do the exercises
  4. Keep your training schedule flexible
  5. Alternate “hard” and “Easy” Training
  6. Pace and space your races
  7. Keep records of your running

He gives each step a plain and practical explanation.

This started me thinking about my marathon goal. I no longer am contented to just aim for a marathon. I want to live a lifetime of healthy choices not only by eating healthily, I want to run together with my hubby by maintaining a running lifestyle. I have come to enjoy and experience the benefits of running and I want to own it and pursue it. It is no longer my hubby’s wish. Thanks to my beloved, the joy of running has blossomed in my heartbeat drawing me closer to understanding his marathon feats.

Below are some snapshots of our family’s active bonding time!

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E also learnt how to ride her 2 wheels bike outside the library and can enjoy the rides round the stadium with us. All my 3 kids learnt to ride without using any supporting wheels. We attribute that to the balancing bike that they used since young. They caught on very soon due to their trained ‘balance’. Hubs would do his rounds while I do my 4 to 5km. The kids will ride for minimum 3 rounds and boys will jog/walk 3rounds while my girl does her 1 round to conclude our workout session.

How I miss those times now. It’s a luxury to go to the playground now…. Meanwhile, we’ve got to creatively exercise indoors and be content with what we can do.

Do you exercise regularly? Running/Walking is an easy way to start. Do you have inspiring stories to share on running? Would love to hear!

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