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When cheaper may not necessarily be better….

A little posting primer- http://www2.tbo.com/lifestyles/health-4-you/2012/jun/19/7/report-la-fitness-to-purchase-lifestyle-family-fit-ar-417832/

Im kind of torn. I recently found out  that my gym Lifestyle Family Fitness was purchased by the Megagym La Fitness. I love my gym and my workouts there are a big part of the reason that my running has improved, that many PR’s have fallen, and that I am a stronger, fitter, runner than I was when I started my running journey last year.

At first I found this move to be surprising simply because I had never in and of itself considered LFF a “smaller gym”. The club I train/exercise in is located in Lutz (Fla) and is fairly new  with state of the art facilities. They have a lot of other locations of varying qualities throughout the area.  On a local level LFF is a big name and although I kind of new they were not huge nationally (non-existent practically) I figured they were just a big money regional chain. Long story short, I admit to not realizing that LA Fitness is a monster compared to it.  A ginormous national chain.

I enjoy my current gym and it the programs it offers, do I really want to change that?

My next reaction was to go with the mood of the many talented fitness instructors who currently work at my gym. They hate the switch, are scared by it, and many are directly opposed to it. With good reason too. LFF uses Les Mills Style Fitness Classes (Rpm or Spin, Body Pump, CX Worx) which they are trained on, and have really absorbed and developed into a solid fitness system. LA Fitness refuses to use Les Mills programs. This worries me, because I am a big fan of these programs for a list of reasons

Less Mills programs are consistent and effective. I would not have become a strong runner without them.

1) Consistency– No matter what time or what club location you take your RPM or Pump class it is basically the same. The guideline of the workout is set and you determine your level of involvement. You know an rpm class is going to be 45 minutes of hard work featuring 3 incredibly difficult heavy working tracks. You know its going to be a great interval workout. It doesnt matter if you take the class at 6 pm in Brandon or at 5:45 am in Lutz. It is the same workout guideline. Same goes for any class. Body Pump is going to be a full body, muscle group by muscle group workout. A body pump instructor cant just decide to leave out muscle groups. That isnt how the class works. Everyone is on the same page, everyone knows the rules. The workout level is on you.

2) Continuity- Les Mills classes work in conunction with each other. Body Pump/Spin are a popular pairing at my gym as as Body Pump/Body Combat. I enjoy RPM +, Pump, and CX Worx as a mega cross training workout on Saturdays. It hits my whole body, gets my corss training in, and Im done in 2:30. Guaranteed every saturday. Also, the same basic premise meets all the classes. A warmup, several tracks of varying intensity/purpose and a cool down. You can try something new and basically come in with a understanding of what will be going on.

3) Results- Stick with the classes consistently, and increase the intensity of your workouts within the guideliens and you will see results. RPM was big in the final weight loss that put in my running shape. Pump and Cx Worx have most certainly helped me lean out and make me a stronger runner.  I know people their who have gotten great results from the intense cardio workout of Bodycombat. It pays off.

4) Development- While these classes seem formulaic, the opportunity to progress is there. On your own, you can find ways to increase the intensity of all your workouts. Within the program they are constantly tinkering with new moves, new arrangements, new music, and other ways to keep you fit.

5) Instructors- I have been fortunate. I have passionate, engaging, and talented instructors. They have taken the Less Mills Formats and run with it, and inspired me to great results.

LA Fitnesses offers their own program for sure, but will they match the approach seen here? Seems like it will be hit or miss. Get a great instructor one day and you will have a great class, get a an unispired one and you will have an “eh” workout. Im usually a person who likes individuality and variety in all things. In this case, I prefer the consistency of the LES Mills approach. In this case the one size fits all kind of does it to me. Im regimented about my workouts and I dont want them to be wasted by poor class structure, inconsistent  teacher performance, or junk classes.  In short -to me- loss of Les Mills classes represents a huge loss.

LA is a huge uber gym that would doubtless have all the equipment I need, but can that make up for what I will lose?

So what do I get in return? Access to bigger LA Fitness clubs with courts and pools is certainly cool. However the biggest difference is price. My membership at LFF costs $50 a month with spin classes and all club access. I count it as a valuable fee every month. LA will be cheaper. From all the research I have done, and all the people I have talked to the LA membership is in fact- far cheaper. Like anywhere between S25-40 for the same services I get at LFF right now. No extra for group classes like I currently pay. That much cheaper a month is eye raising to me. Its money to put into my running or my waning social life. It is money I may need for a new pair of shoes or to cover my never ending variety of “Random annoying s***” that happens ” problems.

Is it worth it though? Lots to consider. Is it worth many of my fitness instructors departing? Is it worth the outside chance that one of the clubs I use being shut down? Is it worth dealing with the hassle of a big switch? On one hand I like my routine. I like the way my fitness is headed right now. I like that my gym is helping me become a much better runner/athlete. I enjoy the programs that LFF currently has thoroughly. I dont like messing with productive consistency. But, well, 15 bucks a month is 15 bucks a month? So- Is it worth it? I honestly dont know.  I love what I have now, but close minded negativity is stupidity. Especially when it comes to money. We will see

LA’s big advantage is that is cheaper, beyond that I will reman a healthy skeptic about what is going on.

According to most sources it will be thirty days or so before anything significant changes anyway. This gives me time to chew on it and focus on my July 4th race where I am aching to smash my 10k PR.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy  Your Workout. Enjoy Your Day :0

A Huge Runcheap Weekend Thank You To… My Cats

During my SLR of 15 miles, I crossed paths with yet another runner accompanied by a faithful dog and it made me think of this posting, and my 2 pals back at home. Namely, my 2 cats Denny and Morgan. So this weekend’s thank you goes out to my two Tabby buddies and all the ways they enhance my running and my life

Thank you cats!

Thank you Denny! Thank you Morgan!

Thank you for being there to be lazy with after my runs!

Thank you for helping me relax after a hard workout!

Everyone loves to think of the dog as the ideal pet for runners. They are athletic, faithful, love the outdoors land like a good amount of exercise in many cases. There are no shortage of articles out there on active and other sites about running with dogs and all the benefits for both parties. I love dogs, I really do. I just dont want to take care of one. Besides, the perfect running pet for me is the cat.

I rescued Morgan from underneath a portable near my school. I figured she would be a companion to my original cat. Happy and docile, she oddly likes to sleep on any workout clothing I might leave out

No, I dont strap a leash on my cat and take them out with me for my recovery runs or slow jogs. No I dont run stairs with them in my house. And no, I dont have some weird backpack that allows them to come with me on my running adventures. Lets just get all that out of the way first. Cats are the perfect running pet for me for other reasons.

When I run, I like to run alone or if possible with a really good friend. As much as I want to get other people into running, I dont want them messing with my workout. I also dont want to accept any responsibility for theirs or their condition. That may be rude or selfish but I get that way when I run. A dog would take all of those factors and multiply them times 20. Not to mention the host of other issues it creates. I dont need a pet for a companion on a run and I dont want one. I want a pet to chill with me when Im done. Nothing like a cat for that.

My original cat-Denny. Super friendly, shy around women like me, and complete pal to me during all times. I knew he was right for me the moment I held him at SPCA

Nothing like coming home from a 15+ mile run on Sunday, all sweaty and gross and crashing right on the couch (when you know you should be in the shower).  Then one cat climbs right on top of me and kneads into my side- a lovely massage- and then purrs contently while I doze. The other one sniffs around my face and then passes out right next to me. Running is hard work and when Im done I want to be lazy. Cats love to be lazy. They just want to sleep, eat and relax most of the day. Guess what? After a day of hard running and exercise- so do I.

Cats help my running out in other ways to. Need to pop out for an extra run? No worries, I dont have to take my animal for a walk. When Im up and at’em at 5 am in the morning for my pre dawn run, I see the glossed look of my neighbors taking their dogs out for a walk. I dont have that problem. My cats are contently asleep inside. They give me that freedom to run whenever I want. When you need to find the cheapest ways/times to get your run in,  this is very helpful.

Cats are so low maintenance, they give me the freedom to run whenever I want to without worrying

Or maybe I want to head out to a race and its an overnight or a long ways away? I dont need to get someone to watch my cat. I can be on my way, worry free and knowing that Denny and Morgan will be there waiting to unwind when I get home. Knowing that they can take care of themselves for a little bit. Knowing that while they enjoy being my pals, they dont seem to resent the time I spend away from home.

My cats are reliable. They are playful. They are loyal. They are easy. They are simple to take care of. They make my life fairly basic. They really arent that expensive. They are 2 wonderful creatures, who provide me with companionship and affection that are sorely lacking in my life. Yet, they dont prevent me from being an active runner. In fact they make me want to run harder so I can enjoy the lazy time with them even more.

I have a lot of post run favorites- a soothing hot shower, a good home cooked meal, a glass of cold milk, slipping on my pair of flip flops, etc. On the top of that list is sitting there watching dvred Jeopardy or whatever with either Denny or Morgan curled on my lap purring contentedly. I know that is a random thing, but I count it among the true pleasures of my running life. That warm feeling keeps me running strong all the time. So a big thank you to my 2 furry feline pals and all the ways they help my running and my life.

I love vegging out with the cats following a hard workout, it is such a contented feeling

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

Finding Value

I think an important part of my philosophy of trying to run as cheaply and as cost effective as possible, this idea of finding value in race/run experiences. These means 2 things. Firstly, carefully spend your money on your racing experiences so that have maximum value to you as a person and a runner. Secondly, look for that added value by being positive about your racing experience. I think I do a good job with the first,  but maybe not as good a job as a good with the second as I would like. This Friday was one of those times where I  started to see progress with that element of the run cheap experience.

I ran the Crazy Sombrero 5k  on Friday and it was not the most well organized and most well executed race. It was cheap ($15), and done wit a good spirit though so I found added value in it all over. I had a great racing time for little cost.

My little course correction meant I had to pass the same person twice

Here is where I found added value:

1. Personal Time– The race took place close to where I work, very close. It also went off at Friday at 7:15 at night. This meant a lot of time at work after school had ended,  all to myself. A school clears out of students and teachers quickly on Friday.  Quickly is actually an understatement. By 3:30 the building was desolate. It left me lots of quiet time to take care of some necessary emailing, clean out garbage from my car, listen to the radio, clear some school paperwork, and not be in a rush to get to my race. The added value was in the personal relaxing alone time, and the lack of rush. I got to sit there and enjoy my dinner in peace and quiet

2. Longleaf Gazebo– The race took place in a small New Port Richey Community of Longleaf. They have an open space  with a Gazebo, there that they use for Farmers Markets and other small events. It is very pleasant spot. I got my bib and packet by 5:20 or so, so these left 2 free hours until race time with nothing to do. I just relaxed in the Gazebo and people watched. The added value was in the mental space of the moment, and the ability to slow down my day even before I sped it up.

3. The Race– They had to have the most ridiculous system ever for this race. Firstly, the 5k course was a 4 loop x 1250m route. Seriously? Talk about neighborhood small. It was almost like a cross country type course as far as design. Secondly, in order for the race organizers to follow what lap you were on, runners had to grab a tiny sticker on their way past each loop and place it on their bib. The organizer promised us that it would not be difficult or slow down our times. It was both. I missed the sticker the first time entirely, causing me to go the wrong way on the turnaround and a few seconds of my time. The second time, I got the sticker, but they had failed to block off the back road connecting the turnaround and I almost got hit by a uhaul turning onto the street. Not joking, true story. The third time through, I grabbed the tiny sticker but got distracted and almost ran over a wheelchair/handicapped participant. Colliding with people nearly occurred a 100 times during the race. Faster runners and slower runners had to occupy the same space so constantly you were lapping and passing the same people. They were for the most part not listening to “on your lefts” or “space” calls. It was hectic. Several people who I passed whispered out loud angirly at me that “This was a fun run”.  Like I needed to feel badly for running fast or something. I finished 8th overall and with a good time. Despite everything I said before,  THIS RACE WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE. The added value comes from the small time hilarity of the race. That because it was legitimately crazy, you just have to laugh it off and do the best you can. You have to embrace the small time nature of the run, and just celebrate that you now have some interesting racing stories to tell. You just have to relax and take the experience for what is worth.

Not that many people ran this race, but the course was hectic due to the loop system

4.  Small but growing– This race has the potential to be a great race. It is only the 2nd or 3rd time they have run it. They got a decent size of people for it, and the packet pickup was well organized and the race bag was fairly cool. They had tents, events, bounce house for kids, water slide, and a little dance party for children after. All excellent ideas. I dont believe in pulling the wings of flies. Meaning, I dont believe in carping on something which was done with good intentions. Cutting something off before it grows. In this case, I expect that a few years from now this will be a much more signficant race. For now, it was a cheap but clearly getting bigger. I wish this race well and find signficant added value in talking about it and contributing to a growing race. 

These guys made a good effort to run a great race, they need to change a couple of things here or there, but basically they did an okay job

5. Getting Cheered– I sometimes run or hangout with a running group based out of New Port Richey called the Suncaost Striders. The Striders run this route quiete frequently and one of them even lived along the race course. There was a whole crowd of them running and a bunch not running. The non-runners in their group cheer everybody on loudly. Those who knew me, even cheered for me. I have never really had that experience before. Seeing someone you know during a race and have them urge you on positively. I count that as a race highlight and all kinds of added value.

6. Party on The Porch– The Striders hosted a post race party following the race that I had the good fortune to be invited to. It was right along the race course, so I was thrilled to attend. The party exceeded my already positive expectations. I got to talk with other runners and joke/laugh about the ridiculousness of the race set up. I got to chat and hang out with my only close running friend, RD. I got to meet new people and talk about running and racing in general. I also got to grub down on some delicious home made goodies. Im no really sure what half of the food I consumed precisely was (most of it had a Mexican theme to it) but it was all yummy. To sum up, it was as good of a time as I have had at a party in a while, in every way imaginable.  Added value to the maximum

Added value is everywhere, you just have to be positive and look for the best in your experiences when you can. Thats true about running especially. Try to make the best out of a run. Try to make the best out of every race.

Enjoy your run. Enjoy Your day :0

Wish List Wursday… Commuting and Eating Out

This week’s Wish List Wednesday deals with 2 things that I probably will never see me in my lifetime. But heres hoping for something close.

My running wish is…..

I wish I could run commute….

Set up- A Soul Sucking Drive

Any regular reader of my blog will know that I despise my current commute for a number of reasons. Its 40 miles and 45 minutes long and 40 miles and 45 minutes of gas. It drains my bank account, my time and my energy. Even if I start the day feeling good, Im lethargic after my lengthy drive to work. Even if I end the end the day on a high, it wont last the soul sucking drive back home. The commute means the best time in the morning to run is 5 am, because I then need time to get ready and drive to work. 5 am running has its benefits, but by Friday it starts to take a toll. If my commute wasnt that long, I wouldnt need to do this. I might get that extra sleep I need as well. I was thinking though, wouldnt it be ideal if I could just run to and from work? Kill 2 birds with one stone? Get my morning run in and get to work? Save gas and help the environment, and all that stuff.

I hate my morning and afternoon commute. It zaps the life out of me.

The Ideal Wish- Morning Runs with Purpose

That I lived 4 miles away or so from where I worked with a route I could vary to 8 or more. That I could find a way to leave clothes/food at my job, get my various runs in on the way to work in the morning (fartlek, tempo, interval, speed), do my job, and then jog it out back home. That I could build my mileage during the work week by running to work. That I would not have to drive unless I truly needed a day off or due to weather. That I could save myself immense amount of gas and save my poor car. That I could enjoy my morning runs even more than normal by giving them a specific purpose beyond training.

I wish my morning runs not only had a specific running purpose but a specific life purpose.

The Reality- Not happening

40 miles and 45 minutes away. No run commuting, because Im not a Tamahumara or an ancient Asian marathon monk. Do I need to say more?

The Possible- A test run

My situation may change in a short time, and I may be run commuting to class if possible, so there is that. Or that could not happen at all, it depends on a lot to still be determined. What could I try for now? A test run commute to and from my parents who live 10 to 15 miles away (depending on route). I could take one early weekend before school ends, run to the parents house in the morning and jog back at night. My parents would be more than happy to feed and hydrate  during the downtime in between the runs. Best of all, no work in between. I think this would be a fun test to see how enjoyable this experience would be. Not to mention, save some gas and some wear and tear on my car

I would have to run commute to my parents off of Bruce B Downs BLVD in Tampa, it has a ton of construction on it which would add to the challenge

Now onto my nutrition wish….

I wish I could healthy when I eat out…..

Set up-  Real Nutritious Food Please

I know there are healthier restaurants out there that cater specifically to people looking for a more nutritious bite. However most people dont eat at those places when they go out, and more specifically my friends and family dont. They eat at places like Fridays, Chilis, Ruby Tuesdays, or other popular chains and restaurants. So that is where I eat. It is nearly impossible to find a healthy, semi-low calorie meal at those places. Screw salads first of all. Im not sitting for an hour of meal and a conversation and having a salad.  I just want a plate of nutritious food that has some taste of it so I can sit with friends/family and enjoy, while they enjoy their pulled pork sandwich or burger or whatever. Im not above any of that stuff, I love a lot of it but honestly sometimes when I get invited out to eat Im not always in the mood for something “fat-tastic” or greasy. I dont want to portion control either. I have seen where people are advised to just take half of their helping and pack it away in a box for future consumption as a means of healthy eating out. I hate this for a variety of reasons. It seems rude to me, reheated food lacks quality, and it defeats the purpose of eating out. I just want to be able to sit at one of those restaurants and enjoy a terrific healthy bite. So why isnt it really offered? Why is only pseudo healthy food offered?

I enjoy a nice rack of ribs as much as the next guy. In fact those are making me hungry right now, but what about when I want to head out with friends and have something tasty thats not a calorie party?

The Ideal Wish- Eat out, eat happy, eat healthy

That I could could get that random invite from my friend “Hey lets head out to -insert chain or standard restaurant- here and have a bite” and I wouldnt cringe knowing that I will have to chose between 1300 to 1500 calorie plates in one meal. That I can say yes and go out and pick a nice plate of chicken/fish/turkey/vegetable centered food, eat it, feel satisfied from a taste/fullness point of view and not consume over 600 to 900 calories. That the healthiest item on the menu woulnt be a salad. That I could sit with friends and enjoy my low calorie plate of food while they chow down on whatever makes them happy. That I could be social, eat out when it comes up, and still eat healthy. That the culnary wizards who run these places-  who can devise delicious and amazing bites of food – could spend a little time, thinking of delicious and amazing bites of HEALTHY food for when you are not always looking to indulge.

It is hard to “eat smart” when you eat out. Choices are so limited, if you are not digging a salad

The Reality- A Calorie Fest

I sat with my Dad yesterday and we both attempted to order healthy plates of food for lunch at an American chain restaurant. He ordered the Turkey Club and I had the Flounder. My dish was a Parmesan Crusted Pan Seared Flounder with a vegetable medley on the side and a Jasmine rice pilaf. Doesnt that sound that bad right? Calorically it adds up to a whopping 1380/1390 calories. Im not that stingy about calories since I exercise a considerable amount but thats a lot for one sitting. My fathers turkey club came with bacon, and would have come with mayo had he not had it removed. All he wanted was a nice turkey sandwich. Eating out and eating healthy is impossibly hard. You have to do a ton of research beforehand and this precludes spur of the moment trips. Im all about planning ahead, but would it kill restaurants to offer one or two truly healthy meals on their menu? Instead of meals that are designed to appear healthy and arent even close. Applebees 550 calorie menu is touted, and I have had one of those meals and they are are sodium loaded and un-appetizing. Is it an admirable step or a way to half ass something to draw in some dieting customers? Im betting on #2. I dont want to eat salads when I eat out. I want to eat meals and it fairly pisses me off that a real nutritious option is near impossible to find.

Without the sauce, the Pan Seared Parmesan Flounder on the left is what made up of the core of my lunch yesterday, not totally unhealthy since it is fish but 940 calories is a lot nonetheless

The Possible- Not a lot of options

I hate portion sizing when Im out as much as I hate salads. When I read various columns about eating smart when I eat out, these are the 2 most common suggestions. If I am capable of providing nutritious healthy meals for myself with mild flavor then why cant restaurants? I have no utterly no hope of expecting them to change their menu in a way reflective of normal sized food with flavor and nutritional content. When I know Im going out, I can order my eating appropriately so that it is not huge problem. When it is spur of the moment? Just make the best choice you can really. I have a fairly good idea of what is healthy and what is not. I guess the other thing to do would be to suggest a more healthy friendly eating spot. None of these are great options to me for a variety of reasons, so the whole thing kind of aggravates me.

I dont even need it that fast. I just want a real healthy option when Im out, instead of fakes.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

Wish List Wednesday Moved to Thursday Again.. Due to… well.. Life

I love writing my blog, it is one of the favorite things in my life to do. It sucks to me when life gets in the way of writing it. This is just one of those days where that happened. I had an important meeting that was supposed to answer some difficult questions but instead what did I end the day with- ??????????? . And nothing but- ?????????. Decisions abound

Right now, I need to seriously think about it and then let me brain drift for a while. This doesnt leave much time for a column of the quality that I like. So once again we will have a “Wish List Wursday”. I have interesting topics to discuss- Run Commuting and Eating Out and Eating Healthy. See ya tomorrow. Hope things are cleared up.

Enjoy your run. Enjoy your day :0

Wish List Wednesday.. Night in and Night Out

This Wish List Wednesday focuses on things that should be taking place at night, first in general and then in my life.

My running wish….

I wish there were more nighttime races….

Set Up-  Nighttime Competition

If you have read any of my previous postings, you know Im in something of a race purgatory about a finding a distance longer than a 5k to run until July. It is really frustrating. I get why. Daytime in Florida is just too warm to even consider hosting a race. However, why not try a race at nighttime? One of the best races I have ever experienced is the July 4th Midnight Run and a lot of it was because of the experience of running at night. It was a cool gimmick, but in reality it worked out well for a host of reasons. A predictable Florida thunderstorm had cooled the night off, and although it was not cold, it certainly was not unbearably hot for  10k. So why dont more locations offer 5, 10, or 15ks at night in the Summer down here? I get that the incovneince and technical aspects to setting up a course is probably what precludes this from ever happening. Still, I think if a company were to put together a “Late Night Weekend Racing Series” over the summer in a few different locales, they would clean up and find a willing racing community

This is a great race they run at midnight every July 4th in Dunedin, Fl

The Ideal Wish- Moonlight Madness Racing Series

That there were 9 or 10 races over the summer that took place during the convenient hours of weekend nights. That instead of having to get up early, drag myself up with some caffeine (at cost) and drive drearily to my next race; I could go through the course of my day and be ready for my night time 10k. That I could pop over after work for a little night ttime 5k, 10 k on a Friday evening like I am doing for the Crazy Sombrero. That I could sign up for the newly created “Late Night Fun Run Series” or “Moonlight Madness Racing Series”, and get a reduced price to complete a set of after the sun comes down styled 10ks. That I could experience that unique buzz you get from completing a night time race and then head out for drinks or a movie or a chat with friends afterward

Running at night is a whole different kind of experience, and I mean that in a good way.

The Reality- Some, but not enough

The area is not completely devoid of night time races. The Oldsmar 5k which is famous locally for its connection to a local bar/microbrewery is run at night and trumpets the fact that it is. The Crazy Sombrero 5k in New Port Richey is also run at night, and I think that there is one more that doesnt come to mind at the moment. It is not enough for me. There should be a whole bunch. Nighttime races would probably present something of a logistical nightmare as far as working with townships, communities, and local businesses to set them up. Plus there are other factors like the social and drinking nature of people during the weekends. But their are also plenty of benefits to night time running. Due it in a smart location and runners will stay and frequent the location and spend money. Im willing to bet packet pickup would be more pleasant with everyone alert and more tolerably awake. Plus you might get a chance to involve the runner who cant make it for those morning runs in some competitive races.  Besides, as difficult as it may be, Im sure that “race-able” routes can be found.

Disney has added a "scary" nighttime race, but I need something closer and cheaper

The Possible- Pub Run Saves Again

The Fitniche Pub Run on Thursday night again is my answer here. In the absence of a night time race, I can use this enjoyable experience for whatever I chose. It is the same route every week,  so I can treat it as a clocked race. Plus they frequently have racing deals or promotions going on the store that are fun to check out. Afterwards I can pop over and frequent the local bookstore or head out to Brass Tap for a good hard cider. Besides that, I want to try to do more nighttime running on my own. Right now I run solely in the early mornings, and afternoons. I know safe routes that are runnable late at night, and it would be a good change of a pace to just randomly run post 10 pm. Get that night time buzz on my own. And at no cost of course.

This Pub Run 5k is becoming useful to me

Now onto my nutrition wellness wish…

I wish.. I was a better sleeper

Set Up- Never get enough

My year of student teaching and college in general destroyed my sleeping habits. I never really addressed them until they blew up hugely and dangerously in my face during a trip to Greece several years ago. Back then the problem was the same but different. I wasnt getting enough sleep. Back then I wasnt getting enough sleep because I wasnt eating right, wasnt getting enough exercise and had a horrid anxiety problem. I simply could not fall asleep. That is not the problem anymore. I could put my head down on the desk and pass out right now. Nowadays I am not getting enough sleep because my days are packed the brim to keep me focused, I make poor choices late at night, and because I dont get refreshing sleep on weekends. Too much caffeine, and too long of a commute also contribute to my current sleep dificulties. It has not effected my running yet. I know it will though, the more competitive I get and the deeper I get into this more focused training thing. I need to get more sleep, so that Im not lethargic during my non running workouts, my drives, and at my job. I just cant seem to figure it out and it is costing me tons in caffeine

Yay for sleeping comfortably like a fat, lazy, cat

The Ideal Wish- Magnificent 7

7 hours of sleep is the ideal to me. Whenever I get a full 7 hours of sleep, I feel completely refreshed the following day for whatever I need to do- Running, spinning, driving, couching, working, etc. 8 is nice once in a while, but 7 seems to be that magic number. I wish I could get that magic number more often than once every 3 weeks. To get 7 hours of nice, restful, sleep would be heavenly. It would also save me tons of money on what would I not spend on caffeine products to get me awake and energetic

The Reality- Not so Fab 5

I average about 5 hours of sleep on weekdays and maybe 6 on weekends. When I base build on Sundays, the weekend number goes down down down. Why? The long commutte both ways means the only way for me to integrate a hard running workout in the schedule is do to it at 5 am in the morning. My busy day including weight training, multiple nights of capoeira a week, and other items I am working on-  have cluttered my week a ton. On many nights, its 9:30, 10 or 11 before I get a chance to relax at my place. Not wanting to deprive myself of some healthy relaxing personal “whatever” time, I stay up too late and maybe end up with 5 hours sleep before my next day begins. On Friday nights if I am not being social (most nights) I want to capitalize on my free evening time so I try to stay up and get a lot done around the house, when I should be headed to slumber land early. On Saturdays when I should be sleeping in and enjoying a slight rest day, I get so bored I go on a cross training tirade of 3 hours consecutively. This requires me to get up early to get started. So I lose sleep and buy more caffiene to get me going. Sunday is my huge workout so again sleep gets lost.

Why not nap to make up sleep? On weekdays this is an impossiblity. On the weekends I have tried more of  it of  late but it is difficult to sustain for some reason and the few hours of sleep I may get are not restful. Bottom line, is I am not logging enough hours of sleep.

8:13? Yeah right

The Possibility- Building it in

Much like tapering in running, or slow base building. I will try to bring more sleep into the equation in general. Aim for an hour more a week, and a hour more a weekend to start with. This will require an initial acumulation of my weekend sleep total and habits to get a firmer number. Then I can see where I can throw in the hour, whether it be slight change over the course of several days,  or just one night where dedicate myself to 10:30 lights out. I need to develop a sleep plan and execute it in the same way I do with a workout schedule. I also need to start taking more rest days. Both will help me feel refreshed naturally.

Once again the caveat to this is that my living situation may change drastically in the next few months, so everything might need to be reorganized. When I undergo that change, sleep will definitely be something I have an immediate plan for so I can hit the ground running the following year.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

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