Unfortunately for me, I woke up feeling like death this morning- fever, aching, the whole package. Because of this, I’ll have to skip my workout this evening and spend some extra time in bed. Instead of physically getting up and working out, I’ve been reminiscing about last spring when I went out to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to visit my brother, Tim, on Jane Wayne day. That was definitely a workout!
Jane Wayne day allows the Marines’ spouses and family members to get a little taste of what their Marine goes through. I did a modified version of their combat fitness test(CFT), learned a little bit of their MCMAP combat system, wore flak and Kevlar all day, shot an M-16 service rifle and SAW, and rode in the back of a 7-ton along with viewing several of their other vehicles. I knew what my brother did was tough, but I gained a whole new respect for him and the rest of the service men and women that day.
Experiencing first hand how hard those Marines work to stay in shape provided me with some extra fuel for my workouts that is still helping me a year later. There’s definitely a reason that Marines are the few and the proud!
Sometimes I find myself getting really bored when I run, especially when I’m running on a treadmill. To keep my mind occupied, I’ve found that listening to music is really helpful. Music can be a good motivator if you make an upbeat, energetic playlist to run to. The downside of that is sometimes it can mess up your pace if you unconsciously go a little faster when a song with a quicker beat comes on. However, that can actually be used to your advantage with a new app for iPhones called Cruise Control:Run. You just enter the pace you want to run and it helps control your pace by subtly increasing or decreasing the speed of the music. So by running with the beat it gives, you’ll meet your goal pace. I haven’t tried the app out for myself yet, but as soon as a fairly warm day makes an appearance I plan on going on a nice, long outdoor run and checking it out. Go see for yourself the difference a good playlist can make in your run.
Stretching is a lot more important than many people realize. Some see it as a hassle and just something they don’t want to waste their time with. (I use to be one of those people.) In reality, stretching is a great warm up and cool down and helps your body reach its full potential during an exercise. Don’t risk a muscle injury because you were too lazy to stretch for a few minutes before a run. Instead, do some stretches and enjoy the benefits you gain from it. How do you know what stretches to do? Well the world wide web is full of experts ready and willing to share their knowledge with you. There are tons of sites that share great running stretches, basic stretches, upper body stretches, and much more. Take the proactive approach and do what’s necessary to prevent injury. There’s no sense in losing your workout progress trying to heal an injury that could have been avoided by stretching.
Drink water. It’s simple and easy to do, yet many people struggle with drinking enough of it. They don’t realize how important water is to the human body. Water is vital on the small-scale and large-scale, from transporting nutrients to cells, to relieving headaches and even aiding in weight loss. If your body doesn’t get enough water, you won’t be able to perform as well in the gym, you’ll have headaches, fatigue, and many other complications. So how much is enough? The most general rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day. The amount your body truly needs is different for everyone depending on your amount of physical activity, age, weight, etc. As a runner, I typically find myself drinking more than the eight 8-ounce rule. I drink four to five 20 ounce bottles a day on average.
Before I started exercising regularly, I was one of the people who did not drink near enough water each day. Once I started making it a point to drink more, I noticed a lot of positive changes in my health and energy. Now it’s just second nature to pick up a bottle of water and carry it with me to class and work. I no longer have to think about it. I can’t stress enough how important drinking enough water is to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to keep healthy, so do it!
The weather has been cold and wintry lately so I haven’t been able to spend much time outside. Being cooped up has me itching for warmer weather to come and stay so I can start running outside and hiking again. However, until I actually get that, I’ll have to be satisfied with running on a treadmill and reminiscing about outdoor adventures last spring. Before Timothy was deployed last year, Joseph, Nathan, and I went hiking with him to a place called Lost Valley. It’s a gorgeous trail.
We veered off the path a few time to do some extra exploring in a couple of really neat caves. That’s what’s so great about hiking. It’s impossible to get bored because there are so many places to go and sites to see along the way.
Aside from being a fun past time, hiking is extremely beneficial to your health just like any exercise. The main difference is that on a hike, you’re too busy having fun and soaking in the beautiful scenery to realize that you’re actually giving your body a workout.
Friday- almost everybody’s favorite day of the week. As if you needed a reason to love it any more, it’s also a rest day on my favorite training program by Hal Higdon. Today, spending some extra time relaxing is not only allowed but encouraged. Without a day for your muscles to recover, you won’t be able to improve. Your muscles will actually build in strength as you rest. If you feel guilty about taking the day off, it might benefit you to learn about the recovery process and how vital it truly is to your overall performance. So go ahead and sleep in or watch a little TV or maybe take that nap that you usually have to postpone because of your workout. On a rest day, your body does all the work for you. All you have to do is relax.
Sometimes when I go for a run, I slack off instead of push myself. I’ve found that if I’m running with someone, I tend to slack a lot less. Having someone run or work out with you is great because you can help push one another to try harder. An accountability partner can keep you motivated and make your workouts more fun. Today I went running with my friend, Kaylee.
In high school she was always in great shape and loved running. She had a baby recently so now she’s working on getting back in shape. After running 1.3 miles without stopping, Kaylee admitted to me that she wouldn’t have been able to do that if I wasn’t with her. Running with me sparked her competitive spirit and made her push herself harder than she would have if she was alone. That’s the beauty of working out with a buddy. Lucky for me, my boyfriend, roommate, and friends like Kaylee are all working on getting in shape so I have several people to help keep me in line. If you’re not as fortunate to have several workout partner options, there are places online like Fit Link that can help you locate one near you. Through a workout buddy you can find encouragement, fun, motivation, and drive. The benefits are undeniable. Find a friend and keep each other on track.