Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Am I really that fit and healthy?

Am I really that fit and healthy? 

That’s been the question on my mind quite a bit this week. I am currently training for a half marathon on 2nd March which is fast approaching. I am aiming to beat by PB of 1.46 and think I could even go as low as 1.41. I consider theses to be above average times but by no means special or anywhere near out of the ordinary for the average runner.

My training has gone pretty well but more than usual I have felt my training and fitness levels affected by work and social commitments and over indulging in alcohol and food on social occasions. 


You are what you eat....

My problem has always been my love of food, not just the bad stuff like chocolate and cake but my general eagerness to consume vast quantities of whatever food is on offer and always wanting to be eating something. Inevitably an increase in socialising in recent weeks has resulted in an increase in alcohol intake and the kind of foods consumed on evenings out such as burgers and pizzas.

I am becoming more and more conscious of how food affects my training and am becoming increasingly aware for the need to be more conscious of my food intake the older I get especially with my next birthday seeing me hit the 30 mark.

During the week I am have been trying to eat smaller amounts and stick to a wheat free diet with high volumes of fresh fruit and veg and I have found this to be very beneficial and have enjoyed some really good midweek runs where I have felt light and energised by what I have eaten during the day.

I guess it’s an on-going battle of trying to eat well and get enough training in around other commitments, no one wants to constantly decline nights out or meeting up with friends because 'I am running' although along with attending the gym it does almost seem to be a growing modern trend excuse to rival 'I am washing my hair'.

All in all eating junk food makes me realise I am not the super athlete I sometimes think I am just because I try and train at least once a day and my main hobby is entering running events. I think there are so many different levels of fitness and of 'eating well' and while I am definitely not near the bottom I realise more and more I am also nowhere near the top in terms of having the healthiest diet. I think it’s about trying to find a diet that you are happy with and that fits in with your schedule and lifestyle while contributing to your training as much as possible. 

Putting my fitness to the test…

The other thing that has made me question my fitness has been attending a boot camp with my friend recently. I always considered my fitness levels to be considerably above average especially when your ego is stoked by friends and colleagues being amazed at how I can go to the gym before work or run nonstop for 3 hours. However being taken out of my comfort zone of running on my own and being put through my paces in a boot camp I felt somewhat disheartened with where my fitness levels were as I didn’t seem to fare any better than the rest of the class who comprised of people who didn't exercise regularly and/or were forcing themselves to exercise for weight loss and/or fitness benefits rather than gaining any enjoyment from training which I really do.

The class was made up of the usual kind of exercises you would expect, star jumps, press ups, squats and burpees and really worked you hard; I was completely knackered after the first circuit.

Mixing up my training to do something completely different out of your comfort zone and away from my usual training regime was a real eye opener in terms of gauging my fitness and is something I would highly recommend to anyone as a great way of improving their own training.

I think all the clich├ęs and inspirational messages about not comparing yourself to others and how the race is against yourself and not against others is all very true. The more time you spend looking at yourself and seeing how you can improve instead of comparing yourself to others and worrying how you fit in with social norms the more positive you will be and the more energy you will be able to dedicate to achieving your goals.

Running off my weekend excesses…

So my training plans for the week ahead will be going out for a 10K when I get home tonight to help me recover from a cider filled weekend in Bristol. Then I am planning to do some speed work and interval training to work on my speed ahead of my upcoming half marathon before aiming for a rehearsal on the weekend to see how I have progressed and to give me an idea of what time I can achieve on the actual day. Then there will be boot camp midweek where I hope I will see some progress in my personal performance as I have hopefully improved over the last few weeks. And if I can get a few gym sessions in as well I will be pleased with my efforts, I am sure I am not the only one who wished they could fit their work in around their training instead of the other way round!