Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Early to Rise...

This morning I woke up and met my friends for an early morning track workout. I never ran track in highschool.... oh wait, I went to a small school that DID NOT HAVE A TRACK.... so the concept of "800's" is foreign to me. However, four smart ladies and four smart Garmins later, we had our attack planned.

If you ever read a running magazine and you feel intimidated by the verbiage surrounding the track, do not even try to figure it out by just reading. My experience is, you have to get out there and RUN it in order to actually understand it. If you cannot make it to a track, try finding a treadmill at the gym that has a track loop on it (you know, the little lights that take forever to move if you are running and staring at them....).

We did a warm up 2 miles (which equals 8 laps) at a 8:30-9:00 minute/mile pace. Here is what the rest looked like:

- 4 X 800 FAST followed by a walk/jog 400

ENGLISH: 1/2 mile fast, 1/4 mile slow ---- do that four times.

Finally, we did a cool down mile. I had to leave to head to class, but the rest of them stayed and actually ran more cool down miles. No, this picture is not this morning, but check out that cheesy grin and all that food. THAT my friends, is the best way to finish running!

I used to be a morning person until these last two semesters in grad school. I think work is more involved now AND my classes are more intense so my body just needs more sleep. I used to only get 4-6 hours of sleep a night. Now, if I only get 6, I am horrible to be around and I cannot function. Contrary to what some people might think, sleep is not passive. Your body is not JUST resting. Your body is repairing and rebuilding. YOU NEED SLEEP. Apparently, someone made it a rule that in order to be fit and be super human, you should just decrease sleep. Proponents of ORGANIC or CLEAN diets will drink excessive caffeine and then push themselves for weeks with only 4 hours of sleep a night.

 Now, understand that I know we all operate on a 24 hour day. You may be wondering how you would actually get a workout in if you had to get 8 hours of sleep, go to work, cook dinner, etc..... Here is the thing, I am talking about optimal health. What you do MOST of the time is more important than the little fluctuations that may occur in your schedule. For instance, if you read this blog, that was 5-10 minutes that you could have been walking or working out. Get off the computer! =) But seriously, I do not think that the occasional 4 hours of sleep will injure someone; it is the lack of sleep AND the addition of stress to the body for long periods of time DESPITE having signs and symptoms of fatigue. Listen to your body. Do not just drink more caffeine. Learn to rest.

Some people may say that they do not need as much sleep. Well, good for you super human! But just because you cannot stay asleep for 6 hours does not mean that you do not need it. We are seeing an increase in a "new" diagnosis called ADRENAL FATIGUE that encompasses fatigue, muscle aches, sleep and digestion disturbances and a few other things. Unfortunately, this is another one of those diagnoses that will get abused and people who want to have an ailment will be diagnosed and treated for this disorder. However, it is still something to be aware of and prevent getting to that extreme. On a personal note, my doctor diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue 7 months ago. I feel so much better now that I have made certain changes and tried to improve my sleep consistency and my sleep routine (apparently, coffee at 5pm keeps you up???? WHAT?) The theory behind adrenal fatigue is that individuals are continually in "fight or flight" mode and their bodies experience continual stress. A few of my fitness/runner friends have recently been diagnosed and I believe this is because of continual, consistent exercise, busy work schedules, and lack of sleep. Running, even though I love it, is a stress on my body. If I do not set aside time to rest, stretch, ice, and recover, I WILL HURT MYSELF. We can only do so much. I am certainly not saying to quit your workout routine or your job. I am just saying that if you start to feel more overwhelmed than usual or if you start feeling "off" set aside time, cancel plans, and make sure you catch some ZZZZZZs.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Time

Good Morning!
Over the weekend I decided that I was going to start blogging again because I like to get my thoughts out and share what I am learning with others. This semester I have class on Tuesdays, so my goal is to just blog on Tuesdays.

Is anyone out for summer? I am always jealous of everyone getting out of school this time of year. Those were the good 'ole days. Now, my semesters are shorter, my weekends are busier, and guess what, I still have a job that I am responsible for, dishes and clothes to be washed, and a house that seems to get dirtier as it gets hotter.

It is important that if you have goals (school, health, relationships...etc) that you make sure you plan around those goals this time of year. We tend to says YES to every opportunity to socialize and spend time with friends or family but unlike our childhood years, responsibilities do not stop once June comes around.

Here are some tips that someone shared with me and I will be implementing in my life as I balance two classes and a full time job this summer:
- Get a planner (weather on your phone, computer, or in a notebook, GET ONE)
- Write out the tasks you need to do to accomplish your goals (study? precook food? walk? go to the gym?)
- Write out the essentials (kids? laundry? dishes?)
- PENCIL is key. Now pencil in some things that you might want to do but you know it just might not happen.

Now, somewhere in your planner (I write mine in the side bar) write out your priorities in order of importance. There may be seasons that your schooling or health come before your friends.... THAT IS OK. People who mind do not matter and people who matter do not mind..... SERIOUSLY. Every decision should be made based on that priority list. 

- Does that party get your closer to your goals of graduating?
- Does that pot luck get you closer to decreasing your blood pressure and organizing your house?
- Should you take your kids to the park or should you volunteer at that community event?
- Do you need to spend time praying before your day starts instead of going to the gym?

Ask yourself these questions. Be black and white about it. This system was shared with me a few weeks ago and it has really helped me with my schedule and responsibilities. 

Have a great Tuesday!!!!!