One year running – my beginner journey

Has it really been a year? A full year?

Yes! Time to get out our party hats on and celebrate. But what? Well … let’s check!

The Beginning

I was never a runner, but I always tried to be. I was never good at it, but I will always try to be. I knew running was the key. The key to the door of a happier and healthier life. No one knows what is behind that that door, but if I ain’t got the key I won’t find out and I rather have the key … just in case … you know.

The Start

I tried becoming a runner a lot. First while me and my company where still in my home country … I had no clue, but over 110kg of weight to carry around. We moved to another country and I tried again. My biggest mistake then was approaching running like anything else in my business: Just do it! This extreme, workaholic like approach lead me quickly to becoming injured and then sick and always stopping me in becoming a runner. I didn’t have a clue! I just ran every day until I broke down … waited and repeated. After I had learned the lesson of burnout, I had to reset and rebuild my whole life and that is when I really started to think about becoming a runner – but for real!

The Running

I learned that I have to rest to build up my body, but it would take years to really get the hang of it. It was so incredibly hard for me to not go 100% and run one hour every day … but run one day and take a rest day the next. I didn’t have an issue with running everyday – till I broke down … but 1 day on, one day off?  It took moving to Ireland in 2012, resetting my whole life, and 3 more tries to get this right. The last time – end of April one year ago, I logged my first “walk”. It was the beginning of my very first running plan that I would complete and continue.

This is what I did exactly one year ago:

Since then I have experienced the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen in my life and I take a photo everyday I am out for a run, so I can make sure I don’t forget! (Most of the time I share them on here).

I also got much more clever about my training/running. Back then I only could dream of doing a running like motion and talking to someone … I mean check out my pace and heartrate – I can be lucky I survived walking lol!

Another aspect that changed is my food and what I eat. Check out some of the delicious yumminess I treat myself with on a regular basis (I post my staple foods in My Fuel Blog):

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Why mention food? For me switching my thinking to food = fuel was key to enable me to run every day (but one day a week) and feel fresh and have energy to get a full day of work done. I found switching to a plant-based lifestyle was key to enable me to get rid of processed food and rely mostly on my organic weekly deliveries of veg and fruit (no , can’t eat the chips aka crisps they contain milk). It brought the fun back to cooking and after over 6 months I still love it and it’s now second nature. Fuel was a critical aspect for me, because immediate work always trumped my long-term health needs and I had neglected that part long enough.

What is now? What is the new me? Let’s talk FAT!

I don’t even want to know what I lost since my highest weight … but last week I re-activated my MyFitnessPal account I had used 2012. Back then I had weighted 92 kg … I am now at 71. When I re-started last year I was at 88 kg with a body fat % of 34.2 % and 32.2 % muscle. I am now at 28.1 % fat, 33.9% muscle and 71.6 kg. For the first couple of months I just tracked and monitored what I consumed, then I adjusted it and came to the conclusion that I needed to switch to a plant-based diet to fit my goals of running 6 times a week and still performing 100% in life and business. Initially I had the goal to get to and stay between 70 and 75 kg. I am 175 cm, so that lands us right on the edge of healthy! I’ve now kept this for over a month or two and to be honest I struggle a bit with keeping the weight … I feel I have to eat a lot … more than I need to. If I don’t and just eat by feeling and what my body wants, I loose weight. This led my to my current dilemma: What is my ideal weight? Not the weight someone else thinks I should have, but what I feel best at? How to get there without becoming a crazy person? It made me think about how hard it is nowadays to think and talk about this topic without getting into the whole diet and body issue issues …

… when is enough enough? But it is actually easy … I struggled with this for a while I have to admit. While I struggled I just kept my target weight and ate a lot!!! Then I found a new way to think about it – thanks to Mawil and her review of Matt Fitzgerald’s book “Racing Weight”. What I am looking for isn’t a diet or an ideal weight it is my “racing weight”.

Ok you can stop laughing now … I won’t be racing anytime soon, but the point is that what I am looking for is my ideal weight where I can perform my best! This doesn’t necessarily mean “racing”, in my head this means life, business and all that’s to it (ok maybe it will include racing in some distant future). So let’s free myself of the kg  and focus on fat %!!! In the book Matt writes that someone like me can realistically achieve loosing up to 5 rows in his fat % table. No I won’t explain more – you got to buy the book I won’t spoil 😉

In the end for me this means I can relax! I have tons of fat I can easily still loose without being in danger of people wanting to feed me! According to my calculations (rofl) it would be realistic for me to achieve 23% of fat. So this is what I will do next!

What I will do next! *** Spoiler Alert ***

In the next year of running injury free (which is a goal in itself), I will work towards loosing more fat and gaining/keeping muscle. I’ll stick to my plan of slow running at a heartrate of 139-144 (although that will drop 1 point as age will catch up) for 80% of the time and do crazy stuff 20% if I feel like it. I will continue to love running and continue to increase the duration. I am now running 35 minutes on my easy days (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) and 70 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and at least 1 hour and 45 minutes on Saturdays. I plan to continue incorporating hills and the stairs of hell on my medium days and make the long days longer by including hills/hiking and other adventures.

What did I learn?

My biggest lesson is that running is like a business. Sometimes you work FOR your business and sometimes you work ON your business. You got to have a business plan and take time to define/review/adjust your numbers and metrics. Then you just got to do the work … day in day out … without question … no matter the circumstances. At certain times you review and adjust your plan. Maybe you need to change direction, maybe something isn’t working as intended. You have to learn from your mistakes, work on adjusting the plan and then rinse and repeat – because consistency trumps a lot. If you are lucky, you can keep doing this and have a blast and maybe just maybe you get to witness the most beautiful moments you have ever seen and you meet the most wonderful people on the road.

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Thanks to everyone who has been part of my journey so far – I might not know you in person, but you are important to me as you understand and get me!