I've been writing on this blog for seven months now and today is the first time I've dedicated a post to weight loss. I think that's pretty rare for a health/lifestyle blog (or however you'd categorize this)! But today I'm going to talk about it because weight does play a factor in our running, and we should know how it changes our performance.
But first let's pause for a painful lacrosse ball rolling session.
Followed by alternating 10 minutes on/off of heat and ice on this hamstring (thanks for the tip, reader Joan!). I have an appointment with my family doctor tomorrow to diagnose whatever this is that's been bugging me so I can start a treatment plan. I'm doing everything with hesitation right now because I don't want to do any more damage.
It's killin' me not to be outside running in this gorgeous San Francisco weather. I am feeling that tingling in my feet and I just want to get out and put some miles under me but I know that isn't smart. I'm registered for a trail race this Saturday and I've decided I'll only run it if my doc says it won't hurt anything. I haven't felt this much excitement over wanting to get fit and healthy and back out running miles since before the marathon.
I'm pretty sure whatever my doc has in store for me, strengthening my hamstring and surrounding muscles will be a part of the recovery process. I found this great, short video with 12 Hamstring Strain exercises you can do while rehabbing (I'm not a doctor, so don't take my advice as if I were! :) There's so much you can do to work strength into your routine without ever owning a single weight or rack.
I stumbled across this set of tools on runbundle and two of them caught my eye. One is a Stillman weight calculator which I had never heard of before but apparently it's used by some running coaches to determine a person's ideal weight based on their gender and height. It'll show you a table with the ideal weight for you if you were a non-runner, sprinter, long distance runner, etc. Here's an example for a 5'4" woman weighing 115 pounds.
The other cool tool that caught my eye was the Weight vs. Pace calculator. You plug in your height, weight, and race time. Then the tool shows you - on average - how your pace could fluctuate depending on weight gain/loss. In this example you see that if a woman weighing 115 pounds runs a half marathon with a time of 1:45:00, the prediction is she could shave almost 10 minutes off her finish time if her weight was 103 pounds.
As a 42-year-old noncompetitive runner with a slow metabolism and a fondness for late night pastries, I have to say these proposed weights seem awfully low to me :)
So here's the thing: I'm not going to talk about how I'm on a quest to lose weight. Nope, not going to happen.
The scale does not rule my life, though it certainly did at some points along the way. I've worked very hard as part of my recovery from drinking to stop letting weight dictate my happiness, but I definitely slip up sometimes. I work with, on average, some very young people. Very fit young people who wear hip clothes and dedicate lots of time to working out. I try not to compare myself, however it takes a lot of reminding.
At home, we position our scale underneath our bed so you have to physically reach under it and drag it out (and wipe off dust bunnies) if you want to see your lb's. It's sort of purposeful because I don't want those digits to become an obsession for me. I can't imagine what parents to young girls must go through with the constant images of too-thin women surrounding those young, impressionable minds. It's tough. Striking that balance between good health and letting yourself splurge sometimes is one of the hardest lifestyle habits to teach your kiddos in my opinion.
My weight has fluctuated spanning 25-35 pounds my whole life although since quitting drinking it's plateaued a bit to a comfortable weight. But with this hamstring injury I have been a lot more sedentary than usual, and it showed on the scale this morning when I got on after a 3-month weigh-in hiatus. I glanced at the number and then let it register... and then let it move out of my brain. I didn't dwell on it. Whereas ten years ago if I'd gained that much weight in such a short time, I would have started spiraling. Those days are behind me. I think my job helps me look at things like my weight so much differently now. Data surrounds me all day long - analysts and data scientists showing me how to look at customer data in all kinds of interesting ways - and I like to let that translate into my fitness goals too.
For example, in my job I often look at the performance of email marketing campaigns. If I see metrics I like, then maybe I don't do anything to the campaign the next time I want to send it. If I see metrics I don't like, then I think about all the data points I have the ability to control to influence the performance (e.g., the subject line, the time of day we send it, the appeal of the design, etc).
My weight isn't my only data point to happiness and good health. There is so much more that goes into being healthy... eating well (and often!), exercising, getting fresh air, spending time with my family, setting stimulating goals at work. All of those things holistically affect how good I feel and how well my body will perform in running. Don't you wish you had a quarter for every time you've ever heard a nutritionist or talk show host or fitness guru talk about "finding a balance?" We've overused that phrase so much that it's lost meaning but it really is true. I don't ever want to give up an entire group of foods like carbs or sugar or caffeine. I will never ever ever be that person who swears this crust I'm eating is made of white flour and not riced cauliflower. I am the person who gets upset when people say things like, "this spaghetti squash can easily replace regular pasta." Nope, it won't. Ever.
But.... I need to get back to some balance. In my food, in my time indoors vs outdoors. I'm looking at all my data points and seeing that the things within my control are making sure I eat four small meals a day and getting outside on weeknights and saying "okay yes" when a kid wants me to watch them do something. I know the things I can influence that will make me an overall happier and healthier human being!
Tell me the things you do in life that bring you the most happiness and good health.
How do you set your fitness goals?
(Almost) daily blogger. Sober runner. Mental sh*t stirrer. Pro gender equality in tech. Family first.