So, running again yesterday. It was hard. Much harder than last week, which lulled me into some false sense of security. Today, the wind was blowing a gale, all the frozen ground had turned into a good few inches of mud and it was really difficult. I had to stop and walk in places, because it was so slippery I couldn’t get a grip, and given that I’m only just recovering from one injury, I didn’t want to end up with another. So, I spent quite a bit of the time, walking, swearing and watching my much-fitter husband disappearing into the distance.
In the summer of 2010, I was the slimmest and fittest I’ve ever been, if you discount the year when I was 19 and working full time in a riding stables. I even fitted into a pair of size eight jeans. For about half an hour. Although I am fine about being bigger ( I don’t think I’m ever really destined to be a size 8 again) I am less happy about my level of fitness dropping so much and truthfully, I don’t want to let myself get any bigger than I am now. A combination of injury, greed and laziness has resulted in me putting on quite a bit of weight and losing muscle tone and although I’m still fitter than I was at my lowest point in 2006/7, I am still unhappy about it.
So, time for a plan. As well as the weekly outdoor run, I will make a better effort to get to the gym for two mixed cardio and weight sessions a week and also try to find something that will help my ever-decreasing flexibility. Although my body is far better suited to cycling than it is to running, the reality is that running gets me fitter, faster. I simply don’t have the time on a regular basis to put in the miles of cycling. So that will have to be for occasional fun, with completing Cycletta being the highlight of my cycling year.
The simple truth about losing weight and getting fitter is this: Energy In vs. Energy Out. That’s it. Although there are a million ways (all complete with a best-selling diet book) of doing it, they all rely on that one fact. Granted, there are better and worse ways of obtaining that energy, but I’m not a nutritionist, so I’m not going to try to describe them. Suffice to say, more of what you eat should be in the form of vegetables than Mars Bars. But that’s it. If you put more energy into your body in the form of calories, than you expend through living, breathing and exercising, that energy will be stored by your body. Use up more energy than you put in, and your body will use up those stores of energy. The bonus is that muscle uses up more energy than fat, even at rest, so you continue to benefit from the exercise even when you’re not actually in the middle of it.
Of course, what this doesn’t take into account is our emotional relationship with food. If I tell myself I’m not going to eat cake for a week, there is barely a second goes by without me thinking of cake. So, the deal I am making with myself is this – a bit less cake, a bit more exercise. Just enough to tip the Energy In vs. Energy Out balance. We’ll see how I get on.