So You Want to Run: Exercise, Nutrition, and My Advice

I'm back today for Part 3 of the So You Want to Run series.  We'll talk about my thoughts on other exercise, nutrition, and my advice today.  If you're just joining, you might want to check out Part 1 (So You Want to Run) and Part 2 (Favorite Gear).

Other Exercise
Running is great.  I love it (obviously), but I also do more than just run.  I want my muscles, bones, and core to be and stay strong.  While running does provide you with a great cardiovascular workout and directly or indirectly works all of your muscles, it's important to exercise your muscles through more than just running.

I aim to go to the gym to use weights 2-3 times per week.  I always go twice, but I am trying to go three times a week.  As I've said before, it's important for me to run and get my weight training in each week, but I don't sacrifice family time or fun time to do it.  This might mean I go to the gym early before work for a quick weight training session and I run at night instead of sitting down after work.  I'm not saying this is how you have to do it, it's just what works for me.  I feel better and am better when I've exercised and I'd rather do it when I'm not sacrificing what matters most to me.  With that said, I think it's extremely important and necessary to take care of your body.

I'm not a group exercise person.  I know there are many people who love group classes and I have friends who take them, but that's not for me.  I much prefer doing my own thing and being done.  If you aren't in a regular exercise routine and need that extra motivation and push with others around you (much like staying with someone during a race), group classes may be what you want to do.

My gym has the Fitlinxx system which tracks my workouts.  A trainer worked with me to determine what machines I needed to do, the settings, and the weight.  I'll list the machines, weight, reps, and sets below.  These are all Fitlinxx machines, but you'll know what they're working by the names.

As you've noticed, I don't always do the first three exercises especially if I've done a long run.  I usually have an allotted time to work out that gives me time to focus on a run (normally 3.1 if I'm on the treadmill) and my upper body, abs, and glutes.  When I'm not on a schedule, I do the leg machines.

Here is a breakdown of my May workouts from the Fitlinxx website (I just discovered this function!).  I've included the chart showing the machine and the muscle group.  This does not include running and other ab exercises.


Muscle Group

In addition to these machines, I also do ab work.  

About a month ago, I got this crazy idea to do 500 sit ups/crunches/ab exercises each day.  500 is a lot. A whole lot.  I did really well for like a week.  While I don't do 500 every day, I want to get back up to it.  It only takes about 10 minutes.  

At the gym, I do the ab machine I talked about earlier and then some other ab exercises.  We have this thing you essentially hang on.  I do what I call twist on these.  I pull my knees up to my chest in the middle, then I pull them up twisting to the right side and finish by pulling them up twisting to the left.  I do 25 of these at a time.

I also use the incline bench to do sit ups.  If I'm at the gym, I use an 8 lb. ball.  I do 25-50 of these at a time.  I do some straight sit ups and then others where I twist.  I alternate these and the hanging thing.

I use another bench we have to do what I call side sit ups.  I use either a 10 or 18 lb. kettle ball with these.  I lean over each side and bend up.  I do 25 reps/2 sets on each side and sometimes another 25 reps/2 sets on the middle.

KT bought an incline bench for us and I use a 10 lb. weight on it when I'm not at the gym.

Another great thing is the kettle ball.  I bought a 10 lb. one at Target maybe two years ago and only recently started using it.  I do 100 lunges each day with it.  

Now that I've exhausted the other exercise topic, let's talk food.


I think it's important to think about what you put into your body.  I know I make good and bad choices everyday.  The things I'm sharing are not for losing weight, but if you want my completely uneducated-non-nutritionist opinion on that, it's eat what you like in moderation.  

Food is fuel for the body.  I don't have a set way I eat or a set type of food (organic for instance) that I eat.  I eat what I like and try to enjoy those not so healthy things like chocolate and chips in moderation.

Fruit is so important.  I try to eat a few servings of fruit each day.  Apples, bananas, mangoes, strawberries, plums, and pears are my favorite.  We eat a lot of fruit and the boys love it, too.  

I also try to incorporate vegetables into my meals whether it be a salad at lunch or as a side dish with supper.  I'm not big on vegetable casseroles.  In the south, most of us probably grew up eating broccoli, squash, and green bean casseroles.  They're good, but they're not good for us.  I'd rather eat steamed broccoli and have some chocolate than waste those calories on some cheese, butter, and crackers in the casserole.  

We eat lots of chicken and steak.  I know that fish is good for you and it's important to eat, but I can't it it, so that's not an option for me.  KT and I make some form of grilled chicken or steak 3-4 nights a week.  

When it comes to other good things like Lays Original Chips (my favorite) or pre-packaged chocolate chip cookies (preschool snacks are good!), I try to enjoy them in moderation.  I keep these things in the pantry, but I don't indulge every day.  When we go out on the boat or fishing on the weekends, I like to snack, but as a general rule of thumb, I don't eat between meals.

It's important to make sure that you eat breakfast, too.  Breakfast starts the day off right.  

For me, I think about how I feel after I eat certain things.  At the time, it might taste good, but am I going to feel more or less energized thirty minutes later?  

My Advice

While all of this has been my advice and what I think, I realize that it doesn't work for everyone.  Many of the things I read in magazines like Self don't work for me, but the general concept does.  I hope you've learned something.  Writing these posts has certainly given me a perspective on my habits.  I'd like to close with some advice that I am learning and give to myself. 

Tomorrow we'll focus on race day and I'll share with you what I'm doing to break some of my bad habits!