“You can’t be a creative thinker if you’re not stimulating your mind, just as you can’t be an Olympic athlete if you don’t train regularly.”
~ Ken Robinson
It is often said that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. But is it true? This past New Year I vowed to complete three 5K runs, and while attaining that goal, somewhere in the mix I signed up for my first half marathon. Although I am shivering in my pants and nervous about training, I am ready to rock the Disney Princess Half. Before I can envision myself crossing that finish line with the beautiful medal around my neck, there are a few things that I need to focus on, and things you, too, should pay attention to when training for a major physical event or fitness goal.
Being on a limited diet and living gluten free, you need to be sure, first and foremost, that you eat properly when involved in an intense training program. It is normal, when training for a fitness goal like a race or a long distance bike ride, that you carb up. Well, that’s not really an option when living with dietary restrictions that inhibit you from having bread, or pasta. So you must figure out alternatives to that. If you are eating gluten free pasta, or breads that are made gluten free, be sure to include some sort of protein. Add chicken to the pasta, or even broccoli which is loaded with protein. Put some peanut butter, or almond butter on the bread. Make a protein shake, like Shakeology, which will help your muscles recover and give you back the nutrients and energy you need. Making sure that you drink enough water before, during, and after a training session is essential. Often times, I include coconut water into my regimen. Coconut water is a natural recovery drink that helps replace electrolytes and rehydrates you at the same time. Try to stay away from sugary drinks, like Gatorade or Powerade. They only contribute to your dehydration, and will help your muscles atrophy…definitely something you do not want to happen. I have created a few breakfast meals that are now my go-to meals, and some snacks that I found help me gain energy mid run, and refuel me afterward. You may find these helpful for meals that you will enjoy when training for anything. Some of these are quick go-to snacks, and some need to be prepared. Look at the recipes on this blog for the recipes. Here is what I have been using:
- Luna protein bars: varied flavors, like chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chocolate, chocolate almond coconut, and chocolate peanut butter
- Quinoa with eggs, peppers, onions and avocado
- Chocolate Shakeology with gluten free oatmeal, half a banana, PB2, ice, water and cinnamon
- A just-perfectly-ripened banana with Earth’s Balance coconut peanut butter, made as a sandwich
- Egg white scramble with turkey bacon, avocado, onion, tomato and spinach sautéed in coconut oil, salt and pepper.
A training schedule is another essential piece of preparing for a fitness goal that you have set. There are so many virtual trainers and apps out there, like C25K (Couch 2 5K), as well as Run Keeper, MapMyRun, MapMyRide, and Nike, all that help get you through a training session by telling you your distance, calorie burn, time, and even connects to a GPS of some sort. I am training for this half marathon, and I know that running needs to be part of my weekly training schedule. However, running should not be the only thing I am doing to train. It’s important to cross train…which essentially means that I should be including other forms of cardio (I am doing Turbo Jam and Hip Hop Abs to mix it up, and strength training (push up, crunches, squats, and leg lifts, as well as weight work). Without these, your body wouldn’t function properly and will tire easily. When training, your game needs to be amped up throughout the process. Doing the same thing over and over will not prepare you the way you need. Muscles need to be in full shape. Your heart needs to be strong enough to handle the endurance and power that you will be putting it through for your fitness goal to happen. The only way that happens is to consistently shock the system.
The final thing that is key when training for a fitness goal is using the right equipment. A house cannot be built without the proper foundation, the same way that a run cannot happen without the right shoes. Once you make the commitment to run, bike, swim, or whatever it is that you plan to do, make sure that you have the right supplies. When I first started running, I went to a special running store to get fitted for the right sneakers after I decided to do the half marathon. I also bought running shorts, sports bras and tank tops. One piece of gear I am looking to get is some sort of hydration belt or hand-held water bottle. These are things that I couldn’t survive without while training. My husband, an avid cyclist, prepared for his rides with clip shoes, water bottles, a safety check for his bike, and a helmet that can withstand the distance and weather.
Do I believe that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything? Absolutely! Life is about figuring things out as we go. Sometimes we need to prepare in advance, but that’s not always the case. When told you must live a gluten free life, the choice is yours to make. You can go with it, plan accordingly and thrive. Or…you can continue to do what you do and struggle through. The same goes with training…in any area of fitness. As a runner, it’s important to know how to fuel up and recover, as well as know how to improve as time goes. What are you doing to improve your fitness life? Or your life as a gluten free person? Have you made the decision to do something? If not, why? And if you have, what steps have you taken to ensure that you follow through and succeed? Think about this…and as you move forward, decide how you will tell your tale of becoming a new version of you.
Featured image courtesy of m01229 licensed via Creative Commons.