Wake Up Running
Ordinary advice to help ordinary people "run" better lives

Getting Started

Starting something new is difficult sometimes.  Most are called to action out of requirement, “I have to do this”, or desire, “I want to do this.”   What about the tweeners?  “I should do this, but.”  For many, healthy living is a tweener.  We all know we should "live better", but nobody is making us do it and we believe the myth that “living the good life” means splurging on everything that isn’t good for you.

Healthy living, we contest, often goes unlived because people simply don’t know how to do it. Or they think it’s too hard.  Or that it’s not fun.  Think about the tasks around the house or at work that you know you should do, but haven’t started.  Often times those tasks are tasks you are not exactly sure how to do. Or you don’t know where to start. Or you think they will be hard so you put them off.  The things you know how to do and perceive as easy, they’re already done right?

We’ve been in your shoes, figuratively.  That’s where Wake Up Running comes in.  We’re not doctors or nutritionists or athletic trainers or condescending “sales associates” from technical gear stores.  We’re ordinary people, who at one time or another neglected to do the “right” thing because we just didn’t know where or how to start.  Once we figured it out, it was pretty easy to do with benefits that far offset any excuses, real or perceived, that kept us from starting in the first place.  The good news for you, we’re sharing what we learned the hard way (and continue to learn) with you as our journey to Wake-Up-Running continues day after day.

Start Today
. If you've never run before, or if you simply need to re-establish a basic fitness level, you are eight short weeks from being able to run 2 miles without stopping.  I challenge you.  I DARE you to start today.  Here is a great plan to get you going from Running Planet.

  • Print out the plan and schedule your workouts each week.  Remember, knowing what you are going to do and how you are going to it is half the battle.
  • Focus on weekly progress.  To use an appropriate analogy, a healthy lifestyle change is "a marathon, not a sprint."  If you try to get "there" too fast, you run a higher risk of pain, burnout and frustration.  Results will come, easily, if you just take your time getting there.
  • Tell people you have begun a running program.  It helps to be accountable to more than just yourself.  When our best friend or a co-worker or our mom knows we're working toward a goal, the chances are greater that we'll work to complete the goal.
  • Stay with it.  "They" say it takes 28 days to establish a habit, good, bad or indifferent.  28 days and you'll have made "running" a better life a habit, not a chore.
  • Make excuses.  Chances are good that your knees, heart, body, etc. CAN not only withstand running, they can benefit from it to.  Start slowly and stay with it. 
  • Go overboard.  If you are not a runner, and you go out and run a mile tomorrow, you will be sore.  Really sore.  So sore that you quit.  It's not like that.  Start slowly and build up your running mileage.  If you are hurting the next day, back off a little.
  • Worry about speed.  In 2007, Ed Eyestone published a great article in Runner's World about stride rate and speed.  Increase Your Stride Rate preaches a focus on 180 strides per minute.  Speed will take care of itself.  A couple times a run, I count my left foot strikes for 30 seconds.  45 of them and I'm in good shape.
  • Put pressure on yourself.  Running is a good thing and should not be a cause for worry or stress.  All runners (even Olympic elites) have days where going for a run just doesn't sound like fun.  It's okay.  Keep it fun.  Change it up for a day.  Skip a day.  But keep at it.
  • Give up.  "They" say it takes 28 days to establish a habit, good, bad or indifferent.  28 days and you'll have made "running" a better life a habit, not a chore.

Food is fuel. Whether you exercise or not.  If you have any sort of "food challenge", let's agree to look at food as fuel from here on out.  It helps to ask yourself "Will what I'm about to eat provide good energy stores?  Good muscle replenishment?  The necessary nutrients for good, healthy development?" 

Now we've already established that we're not doctors or nutritionists, but we're not recommending any crazy stuff here.  Just some basics on what your body needs to function each day, whether or not your running and physical activity increase.

Everyday your body needs certain elements of your diet to be fulfilled everyday.  Namely energy (to make you go) and building blocks (to build you back up). Eating healthy is not hard and it doesn't taste bad.  You can essentially eat anything you want (and you should from time to time), but understanding what your body needs will help to make the changes meaningful.
  • Carbohydrates are the body's source of energy. Breads, pastas, beans and potatoes are excellent sources of carbohydrates, which require less water to digest than proteins or fats.  Make sure that you provide your body with these energy stores prior to a big run.  It's also good to replenish the body with some form of carbohydrates after a run.
  • Proteins are the body's building blocks.  Fish, white mean, lean red meats, beans, nuts, milk, eggs, cheese are all good sources.  Most American consume way too much protein a day, about 50% more than recommended.  With that in mind, total consumption isn't too much of a concern, but getting protein through healthy choices is.  A post run protein helps to start rebuilding muscles right way. Our favorite is almonds, or a slice of whole wheat toast with almond butter.
  • Fiber aids digestion and "fills" you up.  It helps our bodies to eliminate unusable fuel too.  Good sources include vegetables, fruits and whole grains.  Shoot for 20 grams a day.  Our favorites include Go Lean Crunch cereal by Kashi (great protein too) and FiberOne bars.  If you are not used to fiber, go easy in the beginning.
  • Hydration is required by all living organisms or they die.  Recent studies suggest that water may not be the only healthy choice, but that our bodies simply require hydration of any kind.  Regardless of your take on that finding, try to get 60 oz. of liquids a day.
  • A good multi-vitamin provides the body with nutrients that we don't get every day through our regular diets. Making healthier choices regarding carbs, proteins and fiber, will dramatically increase your intake of vitamins, minerals and calcium, but a daily supplement is still a good idea for many.

Beautiful Eating is an sensible eating concept developed by Dr. Denton D. Weiss, M.D. and his wife.  Beautiful Eating is 100% common sense and while not always practical, or let's face it, "fun", it's a great way to approach 80% of our dietary habits.  Check it out here >>> Beautiful Eating.

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