I love food. Through out my life I have gone back and forth between what I would consider a healthy relationship and an unhealthy relationship with food. Running helped me to find peace, consistency, and strength where I had always felt like I was on a roller coaster.
What even is a healthy food relationship ? How do we define that? While I can’t tell you what that means for you… I can only share my experiences with you.
I enjoy working out, most of my life I have. I like the adrenaline rush and I really like the results. There have been times in my life that I now believe I liked the results a little too much. This is where the unhealthy relationship begins. I was looking at the scale constantly wondering how I could drop a few more pounds. I was scared to miss a work out. I would think I had to go work off the bad meal I just ate. I often missed time with friends and family because I had a number I wanted to weigh. Does that even make sense? A NUMBER I wanted to weigh? Why? Who even cares?
After starting to run for a couple months – just easy training runs. I ran my first 5k in 2013, the Walk Ahead 5k, and placed in the top 25 females, I was happy. It wasn’t a very big race and it wasn’t very well organized (It was more for charity than the race). I still felt pretty dang good about earning this medal. I kept up with my running and later decided to run my first half marathon in 2014, the Queen Bee Half. After completing the half in October 2014, I still loved running. Then ran the 2nd annual Walk Ahead 5k about a month later, again placing in the top 25 females. The race still wasn’t very well organized chip timing was off so I honestly am not even sure of my official time but that isn’t the point. I was achieving something.
I kept setting new goals. I wanted to PR. I was looking for something other than a number on the scale. While running I was working on cross training and yoga – things to make me stronger. I am a person who thrives on setting and achieving personal expectations. When I was working out I picked an expectation – weight – which was no good for me mentally. When I began running I set goals for time and improved form, which drove me with out the magnifying glass on the scale.
Personally, I felt there was a huge difference in the health of my approach.
In no way is there anything wrong with whatever way of exercise you choose. Lifting, yoga, cross fit, running, swimming, or any work out method are all great. I strongly believe whatever you love to do, is healthy, and you can commit to is what is right for you. For me, I am a goal setter and setting positive realistic goals in running has helped to keep me on track both physically and mentally. Health is so important, notice I said health not weight loss. If you want to achieve a certain body type – more power to you. Do I think there is anything wrong with that? No, as long as you are doing it in a healthy way and for the right reasons. Right reasons meaning YOU want to. I also am a believer that being healthy doesn’t mean eating “healthy” 100% of the time! You know, for my mental health. I am team burgers and pasta all day.
I have recently fell in love with two cookbooks that provide healthy well balanced recipes. Check them out!
http://www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com – Provides delicious healthier desserts that are not over complicated. I mean if I can make it I am sure you can… I am no Betty Crocker that is for sure. A personal favorite is the black bean brownies. Don’t knock it until you’ve rocked it! They are unlike any black bean brownies that you have ever had, and no they don’t taste like beans.
http://www.runfasteatslow.com – provides easy to make quick recipes for athletes (or anyone who wants to eat something healthy and is han-gry). My favorite is the Turkey Trot Meatballs. I mean… parmasean and garlic in meatballs, yum. The recipes are generally fairly easy and have alternative ingredients listed if you want to take the recipe gluten or dairy free.
All that being said here are 3 goals I have for the next year.
- Run at least 5 10K / 5k races
I don’t leverage the shorter distances as much as I should. There are huge benefits to racing the 3-6 mile races. This will give me the ability to race more often and see where my fitness is. Also, it will allow me to test some of my new strategies before a bigger race.
2. Strength train more during the running season
In the off season I will typically run my easy runs and work out. During my training cycles I am really bad about finding time for my cross training. In order to meet my goals both are important, running and strength. This is a proven way to decrease race times and reduce the risk for injury.
3. Break 1:40 Half Marathon
This right here is my ultimate goal for 2019. I truly believe the two outlined above will help bridge the gap between 1:51 (current PR) and 1:40.
What are your goals for the upcoming year?! I would love to hear. Let me know in the comments.