Several of you had asked if I’d bring this series back, so I figured I’d give it another shot! To be perfectly honest, getting a Sunday post up is a little hard. But I enjoy writing this column (and it helps to keep me motivated), so I figured… why not try doing it on a monthly basis!? Or maybe I will find a way to incorporate a bit more wellness content into my weekly content… (if that’s something you’d like to hear more about?) Keep in mind I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, am no expert in fitness… these are just my musings and what works for me!
A lot of you have asked me about my journey with running, and to talk about that a little bit here. I have been a runner (off and on) for the better part of my life. In high school, I ran three seasons (cross-country, indoor track, outdoor track). I dabbled with running in college, and then got really into it for a while… I even ran three marathons (the Nike Womens in SF, Boston, and Chicago)! The problem was that somewhere along the lines, the road races + marathons really sucked the joy out of it. It stopped being something I loved, and became a chore… something I dreaded. I ran my last marathon in 2007 and didn’t really run for a while. (A while meaning nine years, ha ha) I picked it back up this December when I was feeling a little stressed out. It just seemed like a good idea.
It took me a really long time to get back into it and build up endurance. At first, I would run for five minutes, then walk three… repeating that four times. Even that felt really hard at first. I remember when I finally ran for thirty minutes without stopping. It felt amazing. I remembered what the runners’ high felt like, and got hooked again.
Let’s be really clear. I am not a competitive runner. I have no desire to run a race, ever again. Never say never… but I run for two reasons. First, my sanity and second, my vanity. I run so that I will look good in my white jeans this Spring. I run so that I can eat the cheese plate rather than staring longingly at it. I think it’s looked down upon a little bit for women to admit that we have to work hard at looking good. I always find it refreshing when celebrities admit how hard they have to work to stay in shape… but in our society, it’s so much more attractive to pretend you eat cheeseburgers and donuts and just do “light pilates” every now and again. Some people can actually do that and I’m jealous, but it is not the case for this girl. The sad truth (especially post turning 30) is that my body is built for comfort. It wants that extra piece of cheese, and it wants to hang onto every carb I eat. If I don’t exercise five days a week or really watch what I eat, I will always be just a little bit chubby. I am a big foodie and incapable of eating perfectly, so running is my favorite multi-tasker. It keeps me from gaining weight, it keeps me sane, and you can do it anywhere. I’m just a bit protective of it, as I want it to always be something I look forward to. That’s why I don’t set any crazy distance goals (I ran 10k the other day and that is probably the longest I will do), why I don’t do races, and why I do a lot of stretching and foam rolling (as I write this, my knees are killing me which means I need to spend some time with the foam roller tonight). I live for Spotify Running. It’s amazing how they can suggest music you’ll like AND match your pace. Seriously the coolest.
My workout routine: I think I’ve found a good balance this month. In an ideal world, I take two barre classes a week, one or two yoga classes, and go for four runs. I try to make one of my runs a longer one (5 or 6 miles) but the others are usually just 3-4 milers. I realize this is a lot (and if I stick to my schedule I don’t work out on weekends) so on barre class day I will usually do a 3-4 mile run, and then do my longer run on the day that I don’t take any classes. I personally find this to be the perfect combination. Running to burn fat (and relieve stress!), barre class to get stronger (without bulking up), and yoga to stretch it all out. At first I was just running and going to barre and I noticed I’d gotten really tight and had a lot of lower back pain. Since being more diligent about getting to yoga my runs have gotten easier and the back pain has subsided.
Staying accountable. Having a buddy makes things so much better. Running is my me-time… I never dread it. And yoga is something my body just needs… but I HATE barre class. Alas, barre is the most effective workout I’ve ever done when I want to look (and feel) long and lean, so I do it. As I hate (but love) it so much, this is the class I like to meet a girlfriend for. My friend Kat and I have been doing early Monday morning barre classes at Fly Barre which I find to be a great way to start the week. We’ll grab a latte or a manicure after so that there’s a little treat to look forward to afterward.
Tracking. I log all my workouts using Map my Run. This has been helpful (I realized I run a lot faster than I thought), and you can manually log your non-running workouts. Every week they send me a little progress report which helps me stay on track… (and it feels pretty good to be able to say, “Oh wow – I ran fifty miles this month!”)
Diet. Honestly, I try to be the person who works out so much that it’s okay to eat what I want (within reason). I crave healthy foods and greens, so that’s nothing terrible… but if I’m traveling or out with friends and want to eat something delicious, I’m going to do it. I think that the 80/20 rule comes into play here. In my everyday life, I’ve pretty much completely cut out dairy and gluten… but if I eat those things at dinner, I don’t beat myself up about it. I’ve also started keeping healthy snacks on hand (Nourish snacks are great and I love munching on celery stalks and hummus) so that I’m not tempted to eat candy. Right now I’m pretty focused on eating well as I’d like to lose a few more pounds before summer…
Weight Loss. I’ve said this before but I don’t keep a scale in my apartment. I literally have no idea how much I weigh. I use my favorite pair of Rag & Bone jeans as a barometer for how I’m doing. If they fit, I’m doing fine… if not, it’s time to lay off the bread basket. It’s been easier since leaving my 9-5 job as I cook most of my meals and keep my fridge stocked with healthy snacks (no more bagel Mondays!!) I still have work to do… and I ordered a new bikini as motivation this week. Wanting to lose weight is another sensitive subject/funny thing to admit. I would just like to be a bit more toned and feel more confident.
Healthy Links I loved this month:
- In NYC or Brooklyn? This company makes the most delicious nut milks… and they deliver! The $10 delivery is a little expensive so I would recommend doing the pick-up or placing an order with a friend and splitting the fee.
- I have a longer post planned about this (along with Gwyneth Paltrow’s morning smoothie recipe!) but thanks to a recent event I am super into Moon Juice. I was gifted their beauty dust (I like to add a teaspoon of it to my smoothies or to my afternoon coffee along with a bit of almond milk) but I ordered a few more powders, which I will report back on.
- Oh crap, Splenda is bad for you.
- This salad looks delicious. I am going to try making it this week.
- Cate Blanchett’s healthy habits. (I adore her).