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Maintaining the Strength

Friday, December 07, 2012

I've blogged before about the fitness maintenance puzzle: How much is enough? As with maintaining weight, there is no easy answer of what to do. There probably is no single answer that will work all the time.

I think I've entered a new phase of rehabbing my bad foot. I'm less focused on how the foot feels day to day, and more focused on doing things to promote general fitness and reduce the chance of future injury. Today's agenda was, get in a long walk (because it's a non-running day) and lift weights. I got that done, but perhaps not in the optimal way.

Right after breakfast I went for a 5.2 mile walk. The idea was just to walk, not to push it. As is typical, I started out slow then got faster as I warmed to the task. Ended up taking 76 minutes to walk 5.2 miles, for a typical to slightly slow average pace. Ideally, I should have been slower; but it appears that I'll get away with this one.

Then I took a nap. I was tired, and I don't know whether it was because I woke up too early (half hour before the alarm, and decided not to roll over and go back to sleep), or didn't eat enough carbs early to support that long walk. Whatever. After the walk, a nap, and a shower, it was pushing noon. Half the afternoon went away to running errands. Eating healthy has me making a lot more trips to the grocery store than I used to.

Just before dinner, I got my act together to lift weights. The idea was to just do three major lifts. For the legs, I did deadlifts. For the push exercise, I did standing dumbbell shoulder presses. And for the pull, I did weighted neutral grip pullups. That's it. Three sets of each, with a little bit of play around the edges. I worked hard enough that I should feel the DOMS tomorrow, but I didn't work up a sweat.

Time was, when I deadlifted a challenging weight for 3 sets of 8 reps, I'd be dripping in sweat. Yeah, it was in a gym that was warmer than my basement is right now; but most of the issue was that I was overweight and not a runner. There have been more changes to my body in the past year and a half than just shrinking the waist and butt to fit into the same size jeans I wore in high school.

And that's a bit of an attitude issue. Since I became a runner, I can do 3 sets of 8 deadlifts at a challenging weight without working up a sweat. I can feel in my legs and arms that this is all I can lift, but my cardiovascular system isn't terribly worried by it. Because I'm not working up a sweat, it doesn't feel like I was doing anything.

Intellectually, I know this isn't true. I deadlifted almost 25% more than my body weight, for 3 sets of 8 reps. Then I threw on 20 more pounds and deadlifted 136% of my body weight for 3 reps. The shoulder presses weren't as impressive in terms of weight lifted, but they were challenging enough that I could only do 9 reps instead of the desired 10, 2 out of three sets. And adding a 10 pound plate to a dip belt kept me from getting to 10 neutral grip pullups for the second or third set. I was working hard enough for this to be real strength training.

But it doesn't feel like I did anything, because it didn't challenge my cardiovascular system. Half the point of this blog is to remind myself that I did enough, even though I feel like I didn't do that much.

The good part about this is, it makes weight lifting more time efficient. Lift, stretch, hydrate, done. Total elapsed time, less than an hour. Got the important lifts done. Tomorrow I won't lift heavy, but I need to be sure to get some kettlebell work in to keep my core strength up.

There are a gazillion weight lifting training plans out there, and I'm not following any of them. I'm kind of winging it, doing lifts I already know how to do, trying to get to the weights 3 times a week and do enough to keep the muscle I have. If I develop a bit more strength, that's good; but it's not the ultimate goal. Maintenance is the goal. That, and avoiding running injuries.

But maintenance is not steady state. I think I'll be living with strength gains and strength losses for the long haul. If I can keep the losses small, I'll be content with small gains that just get back the territory lost.

And that might not be the final answer on how to maintain muscular strength; but it's the answer I have today. And it's good enough for me today, this week, this month. I'll worry about finding a different answer when this one stops being good enough to get me to maintain my strength.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NWFL59 12/8/2012 3:23AM

    So what strengthening exercises do you do specifically for your foot? emoticon

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GREENGENES 12/7/2012 11:31PM

    Weight lifting is still a mystery to me. I'll work up a good sweat warming up on the treadmill or elliptical and then even though I feel like I am using maximum effort with the weights it still feels like I am cooling down.

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RG_DFW 12/7/2012 10:19PM

    It seems to go along with changing up the workouts. I'll do certain lifts for a while, then change up things.
WooHoo

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BLITZEN40 12/7/2012 10:14PM

    I can't stand walking slow either.. it drives me crazy and just feels unnatural. Great pace on your walk! With ST, if you feel your muscles working, you're succeeding. It's not about raising heart rate, breathing and sweating like cardio is. The challenge is to feel the burn in the muscles you are targeting. And it sounds like you are doing that well with your routine. Good luck with maintenance!

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Dusk Run

Thursday, December 06, 2012

After thinking things through yesterday, I coped pretty well with an odd work day today. I was up before the alarm, and got a longer pre-work walk than I usually do on work at home days. Grabbed lunch in a hurry at 11:30 to make the mandatory webinar from noon to 1. There were audio problems, so after stringing us along to 12:30, the Powers That Be admitted it wouldn't come off and would have to be rescheduled.

The good news is that I got a short walk in before 1. The bad news is that there will be a reprise date for this webinar, which will no doubt be conveniently scheduled to take my lunch time instead of normal work time. It was a beautiful day for a walk, withe the temperature at 39F (4C) and sunshine. It was great running weather, but the time wasn't there for stretching afterward.

So, plan B. Run after work. Now that we're deep into Daylight Wasting Time, it gets dark early. And the temperature drops a bit from the high at noon; it was 35F (2C) and dusk when I hit the road.

The nice thing about being in my second year of running is, I don't have to think very hard about how to handle the changing weather. I just open my closet and pull out a solution that I found a year ago. In this case, it was a heavier weight, white compression shirt to go over a lighter short sleeved compression shirt instead of a quarter zip jacket. White, for visibility in the dusk. But by the time I got dressed for running, it was apparent that it would be full dark before I finished.

So, open the closet and pull out the reflective harness, headlight, and tail light. Batteries are still good. Check. This was actually my first evening run with the visibility gear for darkness; last year I was running in the pre-dawn dark and seeing it get lighter as I went. Today I ran in the dusk and saw it get darker.

Early evening can be expected to have more traffic than early morning. And this is Christmas shopping season, which means there will be drivers who don't know where they are going. In recognition of the season, I kept the run to the residential neighborhood, where there shouldn't be the shopping traffic. I only have to worry about commuters coming home, some of whom may be tired and not paying much attention.

I'm pretty sure the lights helped a couple of drivers see me. Twice I ran into the gutter as cars came around curves on the residential streets. I would have been okay on the side of the road, but better safe than sorry. Until today, I didn't realize how much I relied on looking at the drivers' faces to see whether they were aware of me.

The traffic was more than in the morning, but really not unliveable. It was interesting to see the beam from my headlight become more useful in seeing where I'm going, as opposed to the way it fades out as dark turns to dawn. When I got to the end of my run, I left the lights on for my walking cooldown. I remember last year, I was turning them off so as not to annoy drivers with the blinking tail light after it was light out.

The last surprise was that I went inside to stretch. Normally, I prefer to stretch outside unless it's too cold or too wet. This evening it wasn't too cold or too wet; just too dark. I could have stretched in my driveway anyway, seeing my watch (to time the stretches) by my headlight. But I found I preferred to come in where I have more light. That's odd. The dark didn't bother me running, and it's never bothered me walking; but I wanted light for stretching. That's kind of odd, but there's no harm in stretching inside.

RunKeeper reported 4.29 miles in 31:31, for an average pace of 7:21 per mile. That average was actually a pretty steady pace, as I was trying to run a sustainable pace and not hurry. Good enough for a 4 or 5 mile run, but I'll need to learn to run slower if I want to stretch the distance. Running about a half hour fits the bill for today. The bad foot isn't 100%, but isn't complaining much about abuse. I'll see how it feels Saturday, then decide what I'm doing in the way of running then.

If it turns out that I'm up early on Saturday and the foot is feeling good, maybe I'll go for a dawn run. Just have to see how I feel and what the weather is like.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PLMITCH 12/7/2012 9:10AM

    emoticon

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MEXGAL1 12/7/2012 9:06AM

    Glad you got your run in today....keep on keeping on!

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RG_DFW 12/7/2012 8:31AM

    Sounds like you're doing pretty good...

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PMRUNNER 12/7/2012 5:40AM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I ran at dusk and in the cold last night too. I think I should look at lights if I want to continue to do it. My vest is safety yellow with reflective bits, but not quite enough.

Nice pace too! I ended up at a 7:40 for just over 6 miles.

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HEALTHIERKEN 12/7/2012 1:03AM

    "Until today, I didn't realize how much I relied on looking at the drivers' faces to see whether they were aware of me. "

Interesting point, and one I would never have thought of as I always run in the daylight and absolutely take it for granted that I can make eye contact with drivers coming toward me.

Glad to know you're back to running but still managing the sore foot carefully.
emoticon

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_LINDA 12/6/2012 10:12PM

    Sounds fantastic! Great time! So glad the foot held up! I wondered about those headlamps, how much light they really throw. I would have thought the beam too narrow and it would blind you to the edges of your vision.
I almost missed the first day of sunshine in 8 days. But I did get out in the -13F (-25 C) temps for a 50 min breath of fresh air and made it back before something froze in the wind :P
I time my stretches the old fashioned way, slow count to 30 for each hold. I am such a dinosaur.. Nice to know you always make sure to make time for them.
Hope your weekend is a good one!

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RUN4FOOD 12/6/2012 10:04PM

    Glad you got your run in today. Hope your foot feels good enough for a run on Saturday.
We're still warm, 59 in the morning, but expected to be 33 on Tuesday morning. It doesn't get much colder than that here.

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ARUSHING2 12/6/2012 9:00PM

  Great blog.
Sounds like you adjust to changes each day like you adjust to the weather and outdoor conditions! That's great.
Take care.

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Contemplating a work crunch

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Pausing a few minutes between work and choir practice on Wednesday, I need to think about the rest of the week.

I won't get my run in on Thursday lunch, because I have a mandatory conference call scheduled from noon to 1. That, and enough real work that I can't afford to take an hour off some other time. Maybe, if the weather cooperates, I might get a run in on Thursday evening.

I'll have to think about how to be reasonably active tomorrow, in spite of the work load. My sister talks about her line in the sand; I need to figure out where my line in the sand is for work at home days when there's more project to work on than time available.

If I get a run in on Thursday, that shoves weight lifting to Friday. Friday is a nominal day off, but I really need to do some work at home stuff. The last two Fridays I took the time mostly off, but deadlines loom. And the deadlines will cut into the time I'd like to spend on my own priorities, including exercise. Gotta think about time management. This is not something I've been historically very good at.

But for right now, the priority is an hour to unwind, choir practice, then home to bed. Tomorrow I need to hit the work projects hard, which means I need to have firmly in mind exactly what breaks I'll take to get steps in. As I think about this, a run in the evening sounds like the best choice for getting the 10K steps tomorrow; that means I need to be aware of how the changed schedule affects my eating patterns. There's another danger point.

With luck, thinking about this in advance will prepare me and I won't be back tomorrow evening with a blog about how badly I fell off the wagon.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TALVARADO6 12/6/2012 3:28PM

    Hope you are able to get your run in today! I'm sure thinking/planning a head helps!

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MEXGAL1 12/6/2012 11:08AM

    good to plan ahead. Good job!
Have a terrific day.
Sallie

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SWEDE_SU 12/6/2012 5:08AM

    it's hard to fit everything in and you are doing a great job of planning!

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WATERMELLEN 12/5/2012 8:56PM

    Good planning: you know what the danger points are that might derail you. Anticipation is key to prevent ambush!!

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GREENGENES 12/5/2012 8:16PM

    Isn't it amazing how simply "talking" through a situation for a bit makes things so much clearer?

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RUN4FOOD 12/5/2012 8:16PM

    Sounds like you have things pretty well figured out. Be prepared for a surprise. As I get busier I usually have something unexpected pop up. I usually try to plan a what if.
emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/5/2012 7:06PM

    Planning ahead has always been a strength for you... go with what works, and you'll do fine! But you *do* have to do that step of thinking ahead... and looks like you have!



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NWFL59 12/5/2012 5:42PM

    I have confidence in your ability to manage your time and eating to meet your desires and needs. emoticon emoticon

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Running Aspirations

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

My sister is contemplating training for the Lincoln Marathon, which will be run (I think) the first week of May. She has a week or so to make up her mind before registration opens, and then she needs to act. Registration is expected to fill up fast.

That gives rise to a little bit of sibling rivalry. I run faster than my sister does, but she runs farther than I do. If she's training for a marathon, that puts the dream of a half marathon into my head. Specifically, the Flower City Challenge half marathon, which was run a week before the Lincoln Marathon in 2012. It's scheduled for April 28, 2013.

I had registered for the 2012 version. Then I hurt my foot. It got better, but I wasn't training when I needed to. So I swapped down to the 5K on the same day, so as to salvage something from my entry fee. I got a nice tech shirt, and I learned after the fact that I came in first in my age group in the 5K. Note that this wasn't a great accomplishment; the leader of my age group in the half came in at about the same pace per mile for 13.1 miles as I did for 5K. Guess which race the real runners entered?

I got too ambitious after that, and re-injured the bad foot. Right now, I'm almost back to running regularly. True, I ran 4.31 miles in 30 minutes today, for an average pace of 6:58 per mile; but I won't count the running as regular until I can consistently run 3 days a week. I'm close, but I haven't demonstrated that I'm there yet.

But sibling rivalry and Mr. Testosterone have me thinking about a half. I looked at some training plans. There are a couple of things to think about in the plans I looked at. First, they all want me to run 4 days a week. I like that concept, but I don't think my foot is ready for that. Maybe, if I'm lucky, the foot will be ready in a month. That would be incredibly good timing for starting a 16 week program aimed at running a half at the end of April.

Second, they all want me to run slow. That is a challenge for me. At a couple of early points in my run this noon, I deliberately tried to back off the pace a bit. I think I did back off, just a little, from where I started; but I warmed to the effort later and finished at a fairly quick training pace.

I'm not dumb enough to think that all the experts telling me to run slow are wrong. I just haven't figured out how to do it. I also suspect that "slow" for me may not be as slow as the suggested pace in the training programs; an 8 minute mile would be slow for me, assuming I can learn to do it.

Third, the training programs I looked at tend to be structured for runs on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. That's a good schedule for me, as I currently work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and can run on my lunch break. But the mileage gets piled up later on in the schedule. I ran 4+ miles today. I don't think I have time to run 6 miles on a lunch break. I'll have to adapt the training to fit my schedule, somehow.

Then there's injury prevention. It appears that weight lifting is important for preventing running injuries. If I put 4 days a week into running, finding the time to lift weights will be a challenge. I think I have part of that puzzle solved, as it's more time efficient to lift at home than it was to lift at a gym; but it remains to be seen whether I'll crash and burn if I try to structure a week with 4 runs and 3 lifting sessions. Probably there will be one or two days a week with both a run and lifting weights. Have to think about how to not overdo things on days like that.

The Flower City Challenge has some noticeable hill work. That was a concern of mine a year ago, but I think I figured that part out. I found some hills near home to train on. If I can train at all, those hills are still there. I'd like to run some of them even if I don't end up running a half in April.

That's where my aspirations are right now. Then I come back to reality, and realize I'm still rehabbing a bad foot. Backing off enough to not aggravate the foot trumps building the cardio ability to keep running for 90 minutes. When I get back to where my reality is right now, a half doesn't look practical.

But I don't have to register for the Flower City Challenge right now. It won't sell out, and cheap registration lasts till January 19. Maybe by then it will look more possible. Or maybe it will be definitely ruled out without shelling out the entry fee.

. . . and let's not think about the Rochester Marathon until after I demonstrate that I can run a half. I've got another requirement for long races that I hadn't thought about a year ago. I require that training for and running the race doesn't keep me from regular non-competitive running after the race.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 12/5/2012 5:36PM

    Wow, man, I would really focus on that foot. But, aspirations never hurt to have. I'm happy you shared them, makes me list my aspirations, too! That keeps us getting forward!

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MEXGAL1 12/5/2012 9:46AM

    yes, funny how siblings can motivate us.
Have a terrific day.

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CAROLCRC 12/5/2012 8:08AM

    I'd say in about 3 weeks add the 4th (short!) run per week and see how the foot feels. I've done half marathons and 3 run/week programs, and you can do fine. I only really went to 4 days when doing marathon training (most programs want 5-6 days/week), and I drop that 4th run when in recovery mode.

I'd do 2 ST sessions, and take one day completely off... you'd be amazed the difference that makes!

Good luck! Rehab and re-injury are preventable... just don't let your mind get ahead of your body. emoticon

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JOPAPGH 12/4/2012 8:38PM

    Try the Hal Higdon novice half plan below. If you cross train on Wednesdays it is three runs a week.

http://www.halhigdon.c
om/training/51131/Half-Marathon
-Novice-1-Training-Program

You do need to figure out how to slow down to build up distance. A half training plan typically involves a long run per week. If the long run is too fast, you don't recover enough from it and the risk of injury grows.

I went from my first 5K to my first half in 12 weeks. It can be done. Good luck!

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BLITZEN40 12/4/2012 8:28PM

    Sibling rivalry.. I know the feeling! I have a brother training for a triathalon and he calls me and says things like, "I rode 60 miles on my bike today". I don't bike or swim so a tri will never be a good fit for me, but I KNOW I could outrun him if I trained! As if that weren't bad enough, I have a lifelong friend who beat cancer and just finished chemo in July. I talked to her the other day and she will be completing not her first, but her FOURTH HM this month! Stuff like that really makes you want to get up and go. So it's not all bad. Great pace on your run today.. you CAN DO that half! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 12/4/2012 8:22PM

    It's amazing how persistent that sibling rivalry is! I catch myself "competing"in so many different situations . . .

Your planning sounds good, especially the ST to help prevent injuries . . . run walk run intervals also a great idea (which I'm using on the treadmill, trying to persuade myself that I "can" run again).

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RUN4FOOD 12/4/2012 7:21PM

    There used to be some 3 day a week running programs on Runner's World.
I have heard you should expect to run one minute slower per mile for each increased race distance. If you run a 5K at 6 minute per mile, a 10K goal pace would be 7 and a half marathon would be 8.
I have to agree that weight lifting really helps you avoid injury.
Give it a couple of weeks to decide if you really want to run a half. If so, then commit to the training. Then the half will be easy when it comes.
emoticon


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ONEKIDSMOM 12/4/2012 7:07PM

    I am truly laughing out loud, brother! That ol' sibling rivalry cuts both ways, you know!

Anyway, having succumbed to techno-envy and invested in the Smart phone, I downloaded the runkeeper app yesterday evening and tried it out on my break and noon walks today. It says I was running, haven't figured out how to tell it that was a walk!

Of course, it's dark by the time I get home so the true running during the week is treadmill, except for long runs that are on the weekends outdoors. I'm really thinking I'm going to register for the full and try to train for it. One feature of Lincoln is that having spent the extra $20 for the full (above the price for the half), I can drop back to the half if the training is going in such a way as to indicate that's appropriate.

And... by the way... my "magic mile" pace is 9 minute miles, and I don't really "run", I run-walk-run, per Jeff Galloway method. If you really want to attain a slower pace, interject the walking intervals, and that will bring your pace into line.

And prevent injury while you train for longer distances. On race day... intervals at first and when you KNOW you're going to make the distance (say about mile 9 in a half, mile 22 in the full) feel free to up the intervals of running!

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RG_DFW 12/4/2012 6:39PM

    Best of luck... here's to a non-eventful training season and race!!

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GREENGENES 12/4/2012 6:26PM

    Ahh. Sibling rivarly. Sounds like you've got a good, reasonable plan and you're on the right track back to your old self.

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NWFL59 12/4/2012 6:18PM

    Let's hope you continue to heal and are fully recovered and able to meet all your running aspirations. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Awareness

Friday, November 30, 2012

One of my signature quotes is from David Campbell, "Discipline is remembering what you want." This has been an important concept for me in making the small day to day choices of what to eat and when to exercise. Sometimes that small decision that isn't worth very many calories is easier to make when I remember what I want. The cliche, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels," doesn't do anything for me because I don't particularly care whether I'm thin as long as I'm not fat.

I have to rephrase that cliche for what I want: Nothing tastes as good as being able to run a 7 minute mile feels. Nothing tastes as good as being able to do pullups feels. Both of these are accomplishments that didn't happen until after I hit goal weight.

But there's another piece of the weight loss and maintenance puzzle that is complementary to remembering what you want. That piece is, being aware of what you are doing. It's hard to make good choices when you aren't even aware that you're making choices at all.

Lack of awareness on the eating side is not a new concept to me. There's a book by Brian Wansink titled Mindless Eating: www.amazon.com/Mindless-Eating-More-
Than-Think/dp/0345526880/ref=sr_1_1?s=
books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354327481&sr=1-1&ke
ywords=mindless+eating


I bought that book and read about half of it some time before I found SparkPeople. Like many self-help books, it has one simple idea expanded by research and interesting examples. The idea is, people eat for a lot of different reasons than just being hungry, and they usually aren't aware of why they're eating. Many times they're not aware of how much they're eating, or even that they ARE eating. Wansink advocates a variety of strategies to be mindful of what you eat.

I tried some of Wansink's strategies, and they weren't sufficient for me. But his concepts were a good start, and helped me out when I started tracking my food on SparkPeople. The concept of being aware of what I'm eating is still very important in maintenance. So is the Nutrition Tracker.

For me, tracking my food is the key to awareness. There are the days when I see that I'm ahead of where I want to be, and get myself to slow down. There are days when I see that I'm ahead of where I want to be, and use that awareness to adjust what I eat later in the day. And there are days like today, when I got to dinner and found that I needed to eat 300 or so more calories to get to my minimum for the day. On either type of day, without tracking I would be unaware that I was eating too much or too little. Then when my weight moved up or down, I would not know what to change to correct it.

Another aspect of tracking as awareness is that the Nutrition Tracker works like a calorie budget. No food is forbidden, but some are so expensive that I don't eat them or don't eat them very often. The 150 calories for a one ounce package of Doritos just aren't worth it, even if I can stay in range for calories and all the macronutrients. But I wouldn't know that without awareness of what I'm eating, and I wouldn't have that awareness without tracking.

I've read several blogs over time where different Sparkers find that they don't have to track what they eat in maintenance, they can just eat reasonably. I'm sure that works for some people. Maybe some day it will work for me; but I kind of doubt it. Awareness is key to making good food choices, and being aware without tracking looks to be nowhere near where I am right now.

There's another side of awareness in maintenance, and that's awareness of activity. I say "activity" rather than "exercise" to be more inclusive. There's a lot of daily activity that burns calories but isn't formal exercise. I get quite a bit of this type of activity without being aware of it. And there's the rub. If I'm not aware of doing it, neither am I aware of when I stop doing it. And when I stop doing it, I burn fewer calories. Absent an adjustment of what I eat, I'll gain weight.

Lack of awareness of either eating or activity means that if my weight changes, I don't have a clue why. From the way a lot of people talk about weight gain, I'm sure that there are millions of people who are unaware of both eating and activity, and thus have no clue why they gain weight or how to change their situation.

A fortunate thing happened when I signed up for SparkPeople. My sister gave me a pedometer. I managed to break that pedometer, I think from dropping it enough times to create small cracks in the case then sweating enough moisture into it to kill it. But by the time that happened, I was hooked. I bought replacements. Yes, plural. When a pedometer dies or gets lost, I want to take its replacement out of a desk drawer instead of having to shop for a pedometer.

Why is a pedometer so important? Because it gives me a gross awareness of how much I move. Before I started wearing a pedometer I didn't know that I walk more on work days than on days at home. I didn't know that Sundays are very low activity days, absent a conscious effort to do something. I wouldn't know that I compensate for running by walking less afterwards. And I certainly wouldn't go out at 8 PM to walk around the block so as to defend a streak of 10K+ step days.

I need the pedometer to be aware of how much gross movement of my body I do. I track steps on SparkPeople, but that's more for the stupid motivational trick aspect than for pure awareness. Watching the pedometer through the day is where the awareness comes in.

Without the pedometer, I might not realize that the NFL is hazardous to my activity level. It is, and I can limit how much I watch because of that; but the limit wouldn't be there if I didn't know I needed it, and I wouldn't know I needed it without the awareness.

As with mindless eating, before using a pedometer routinely and tracking exercises on SP, I wasn't really aware of the activity choices I was making. I'm sure I made some poor choices, and at times made some consistently poor choices, without being aware that I was making choices at all.

Today I'm babying a bad foot. Instead of running, I walked. Instead of walking briskly, I deliberately walked slower than usual. It was kind of hard to hold to a pace of over 16 minutes per mile. But I did it. I made that choice because getting that foot better enough to run is important to me. I was disciplined enough to make that choice because I remembered what I want.

But I wouldn't have been able to make that choice if I weren't aware of how the foot felt, and aware that walking vigorously has aggravated it in the past. There are two sides to discipline. I have to remember what I want. And I have to be aware of what choices I'm making, as well as being aware of how they affect what I want.

Nothing tastes as good as being able to run feels. And no NFL game is as important as maintaining my ability to run and to do pullups. But I need to be aware that choosing to eat too much is choosing to add fat, and I need to be aware that choosing to watch the NFL is choosing to be inactive for an extended period. Absent that awareness, I could make bad choices regardless of how well I remember what I want.

May we all remember what we want, be aware of what choices we make, and be aware of how those choices support getting or maintaining what we want.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOING-STRONG 12/2/2012 11:24PM

    I wore a pedometer for several years and got hooked on the daily feedback. I also went through several and always had a spare on hand. A few months ago I switched to a Nike FuelBand which you wear on your wrist. It is a pretty neat gadget. Not only does it track your steps but it gives you "Nike Fuel" for your other activity such as cycling... so now I have a daily activity goal instead of just a step goal. You can check it out by googling Nike Fuelband.

Best to you and Spark on!

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6BALLMAN 12/2/2012 8:39AM

    I used to listen to a fair amount of the rah-rah, self help type audios....and one of them said "Awareness is a skeleton key." TYVM for the renminder
I agree with your well thought out and put together blog. Keep writing, my man. You are an inspiration.

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MELLIE1030 12/1/2012 8:23PM

    emoticon

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MEXGAL1 12/1/2012 10:17AM

    I say, that we have to keep the focus on what is important and what we want.
I want to feel healthy. Most important of all things to me!
Have a terrific week end.
Sallie

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DEBRITA01 12/1/2012 7:03AM

    I liked this blog, too...It's a great reminder of the importance of knowing what we want and staying mindful each day to support those goals. emoticon

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GREENGENES 11/30/2012 11:55PM

    So true.

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BLITZEN40 11/30/2012 10:40PM

    Awareness definitely is key. It reminds me of the last time I went to buy a Cinnabon several years ago. Not sure if you have Cinnabon stores where you live but it's basically a chain that sells extremely sweet, high calorie freshly baked cinnamon rolls, warm out of the oven and covered with a days worth of calories just in glaze. Apparently a new law had come into play in my state mandating that food court restaurants list calorie counts next to each item on their menu because I walked in, saw those huge numbers, actually felt sick to my stomach, turned tail and walked out (and I wasn't even on a diet at the time, so that tells you how bad they were). Had they not made me aware of those numbers, lit up in bright lights right next to their delicious tasting rolls, I'd have happily smarfed one down and thought nothing of it! I've since wondered how much business they've lost since they've started listing calories.

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SWEDE_SU 11/30/2012 10:24PM

    you've got my vote too! a lot of truths herein that apply to many of us!

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/30/2012 10:01PM

    This one is vote-worthy, Kevin! It sums up a lot of truth... awareness is key to getting what you want, as much as knowing what you want is key to realizing you have arrived!

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