Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

You Say You Want a Resolution: Change Your World in 2020

We all have places we get stuck, and January tends to be a time when we reassess what’s not working for us anymore. Mostly we are looking for ways to be better, healthier versions of ourselves. The trouble with trying to figure out how to get unstuck is that we limit our thinking. In fact, there are eight different areas that have been identified as contributors to overall wellness:

  • GettyImages-1166631072Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Intellectual
  • Physical
  • Environmental
  • Financial
  • Occupational
  • Social

There are countless possibilities for satisfying resolutions.

Look for Inspiration

In the past, I limited my resolutions to what I “should” be doing, such as weight loss and getting to the gym; or what I “shouldn’t” be doing, such as drinking wine during the week or eating bread and sweets. Last year I decided to take an entirely different approach. I took a look at where I was feeling poor—emotionally, spiritually, physically, and socially.

Then I began looking for inspiration. I thought back to conversations that lingered in my head, to social media posts that gave me pause, to pictures in magazines that I had saved, and to impromptu experiences that made me happy. I listened for the voice inside that said, “Isn’t that different? Isn’t that interesting? More of that, please.” I understood that this was where my body was asking me to resolve something; that my inner voice was letting me know that there was an opportunity to integrate something that would provide extraordinary satisfaction. It was time to think outside just the physical wellness box.

A Creative Way to Improve Well-being on Many Levels

I remembered reading a social media post about a man who set out to visit all of his Facebook “friends.” He decided that he wanted to put the personal aspect back into friendship. A little bell rang inside my head. I too was feeling disconnected emotionally from many of the people I was connected to on social media.

With a milestone birthday approaching, I was reminded of a person I used to train who decided to try something new every month for her 50th birthday year. I had become an empty nester and was feeling that my “almighty calendar” was empty. I liked the idea of a monthly goal—of looking forward to going somewhere each month.

During the December holiday celebrations, I wore a shawl that I had crocheted for myself from a simple pattern and inexpensive yarn. Almost every woman stopped to admire my work. This pattern that I had learned was satisfying and helped hone my (self-taught) crocheting skills.

Next, an idea formed inside my head. I decided to run a half-marathon every month with the following stipulation: I had to ask/find a friend to run with me (or simply cheer me on!). As a surprise thank you to any person who signed on, I presented them with a homemade shawl stitched together by my hands and filled with gratitude.

Guess what? I have never had a more satisfying year in my life. I added time with family and friends. I added adventures in new places. And I expressed gratitude. Sure, I was also able to check off the physical wellness goal too, but my year was about so much more.

Let me share an example of my March half-marathon experience. One race morphed into a weekend in Philadelphia with my nephew, his mother, sister, aunt, cousin, and stepmother, and my sister-in-law and husband. The weekend was filled with laughter, food, running, and love. It kept my hands busy; I made six shawls to show my appreciation for the connections we made.

Challenge Yourself to Look at All the Wellness Dimensions

So ask yourself, “Where am I hurting?”, “Where do I want to add more significance to my life?”, and “Where can I develop more of myself?” I challenge you to look at all the wellness dimensions and creatively piece together a New Year’s resolution that changes your world in a way that is deeply meaningful and satisfying. Here’s a cheat sheet on the dimensions of wellness that you can use to get started. 

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Topics: resolutions social wellness new Years resolution half marathon training well-being inspiration

Half Marathon Training and Nutrition Tips from a Beginner

NIFS | Half Marathon | Race TipsI was looking for fitness challenge. I had already been running 5k races and had either won or placed in every race (6) within my age group, so I felt like I was ready for more. My mother suggested I race a half-marathon. Truly, running 13.1 miles sounded awful and I had no desire to run that far for pure enjoyment. Suddenly, I found myself logging longer runs on the weekends just to test my endurance. When early registration came for the Indy Mini Marathon, I went out on a limb and signed up. I had no experience with longer distances, but I learned a lot along the way.  Below are some tips that helped me through the half-marathon training as well as some keys for a strong race.

Training suggestions

Give yourself enough time to prep for the event; remember, it’s a “marathon, not a sprint.” I recommend giving yourself 16-20 weeks of preparation for a half marathon, especially if it’s your first time running one. If you’re a seasoned runner you could likely get away with a 12 week plan.

Research or have a professional design a training program that increases mileage each week. Throughout your training, you want to slowly progress and build upon the miles to increase endurance. Every fourth or fifth week, mileage should be reduced for recovery purposes and increased the following week to continue your journey. During the week (Monday-Friday) I did some speed work and concentrated on shorter distances (5-8 miles), and then I used one day on the weekend for a slower-paced long run (8-15 miles) in length.

With two weeks remaining before your race, you want to slowly decrease the amount of weekly miles you're completing. The taper will give you the proper amount of time to recover so you're ready on race day.

Nutrition tips

You can’t put cheap gas in a high-performance vehicle and expect it to perform well; neither can you expect that with the human body. Not only does your training have to be focused, so does your nutrition. Well-planned nutrition and meal-timing is key with half-marathon training.

Pre- and post-run nutrition is important during training and on race day. Some foods may sit well with some people, but not so well with others, so you'll have to do some experimenting to find what works best for you. I would eat the same pre-training meal every day because I knew it settled well on my stomach, and I didn’t feel bloated or sluggish while running later in the day. My meals gave me great energy and gave me enough fuel to finish training sessions. Post-training hydration was a key in recovering as well. 

My Race Day Food Plan

(It's worth noting that the comments below are simply my experience; they probably wouldn't be highly endorsed by a registered dietitian, but these are foods that work for me.)

A couple days leading up to the race I would increase my carbohydrate intake. I did this to provide my body proper glycogen (energy) stores. I would continue to eat the same food sources, but only increase the amount of food and calories I was eating.

The day before the race I continued with the same nutrition protocol, but I switched from a complex carb source to a simpler carb source to eliminate the fiber found in most complex carbohydrates. I also increased my hydration as well. I would consume food sources such as pasta and white bread with jam or honey.

On race day, I would have a huge plate of pancakes from a “just add water” pancake mix and add a scoop of peanut butter 3-4 hours before. I wouldn’t count any of the calories in this meal. A lot of people think pancakes would not settle well but they actually do for me. They aren’t too heavy and I stick with a limited amount of sugar-free syrup.  I would eat till I was satisfied, but not too full.

About an hour before the race I would have a large Rice Krispie treat, and follow that up with 10-12 pieces of some sort of candy (Sour Patch Kids or Trolli Worms) 30 minutes before the gun was fired. Hydration was limited to 16 ounces of water from when I woke up to about 30 minutes before the race (I didn’t want to have to use the restroom during the race). I would just take small sips of water when I felt like I needed it. I would also keep about 10-12 pieces of candy in my pocket during the race for simple and fast fuel as the race went on, and hydrating only once or twice during the whole race at water stations.

Running 13.1 miles is a great accomplishment if you ever get the motivation or desire to run that far. I found it to be a great challenge for myself. Since the 2017 Mini, I've completed another half marathon and I plan on running many more. Each race I have found is a learning experience. Find what you enjoy. Commit. Be consistent. Eat. Train. And Run!

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Topics: nutrition running half marathon training running nutrition