Zero to Hero: A Plan for Getting There

Last month I told you that I finally managed to pull myself together enough to get in a sweaty workout – hurray!  And then I mentioned that I have a few goals now that pregnancy is behind me, Peanut is thriving and I’m over the worst of the C-section recovery.  Here’s my plan for getting to each of my goals.

Short Term: Run the GW Parkway Classic, April 2013

When I trained for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler and the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, I roughly used Hal Higdon’s novice half marathon training plan, but I wasn’t great about sticking to it.  It’s pretty much the perfect plan, though, so I’m going to use it again and try to be better about following the directions this time.  But it’s a 12 week plan and the race isn’t until April, so I have two months to fill before I even start officially “training.”  So here’s how I intend to get there:

  • November: Build up cardio endurance again with circuit training 3x/week, running 2-3x/week, and one “off” day or active recovery (yoga).  Try not to eat too much pie.
  • December: Continue November routine, but increase intensity.  Try not to eat too many Christmas cookies.
  • January: Continue December workouts, end with Hal Higdon week 1.
  • February: Hal Higdon weeks 2-5.
  • March: Hal Higdon weeks 6-9.
  • April: Hal Higdon weeks 10-12, then RACE DAY!

Medium Term: Lose the Baby Weight

  • I like to journal everything, and I’ve always found that I have the most success when I’m keeping track of my meals, snacks and workouts.  I love SparkPeople for this, but I stopped using it when I was pregnant.  I’m going to get back into daily food and exercise journaling on the site.  It keeps me honest, and I like how I get points for entering my meals and workouts and those points add up to little virtual trophies.  Plus, I get a “congratulations!” email with a picture when I win a trophy, and I’m seven years old inside.
  • Food is key – unfortunately.  I wish that we could just eat whatever we wanted and then pay for it in workouts.  I’d much rather enjoy any food I wanted, whenever I wanted it, and then burn it off with a furious tennis game, but sadly life doesn’t work that way.  I’ve noticed that I look and feel my best when I eat a whole foods diet, sticking with foods that are as little altered from their natural state as possible.  My way of eating, when I’m at my best, looks a lot like the Mediterranean Diet – lots of fresh veg and fruits, lots of fish, and healthy fats from nuts and oils, with a bit of wine and cheese tossed in there for good measure.  But that’s just where I naturally fall.  When I’m trying to eat well, those are the foods to which I gravitate.  The thing to remember is, the less processed, the better.
  • I was a strict vegetarian for a year, and a pescetarian (veg + fish) for a year after that.  I had some serious ethical concerns with eating meat.  However, since about midway through my pregnancy I have been thinking about eating poultry again in small quantities.  (I probably would have done it sooner, but I mentioned the possibility to meat-eaters on a couple of occasions, and they were just too happy about it, so I delayed.  I’m cantankerous that way.)  I had reasons for stopping eating poultry, and they still apply.  But now I have other reasons for being open to it again: mainly, I’m not currently up to the extreme amount of work it takes for me to get all the nutrients I need from a vegetarian diet, especially since Peanut’s food is still partially sourced from Mama.  In the event I do eat poultry, I’ll be very choosy about the way that it was raised and treated.  But it’s something I’m open to, in the name of better health.
  • No diet is sustainable if it doesn’t leave room for occasional treats.  For me, that would be dark chocolate and wine.  They’re not an everyday occurrence, but I have no intention of depriving myself completely.  Everything in moderation!
  • Although food is key, activity is important too.  I plan to get in at least 30 minutes of movement most days – less if it’s particularly strenuous or if I’m especially busy and can only fit in a shorter workout (although I’ll do my best to make it count).  My favorite activities are yoga, running, circuit training, cycling and hiking, so that’s how I’ll get most of my sweat in.  I’ll take at least one rest day each week to snuggle with Peanut and recover.  But I like the way I feel when I’m consistently exercising, I missed it when I was pregnant and recovering from my C-section, and I’m excited that I can finally get back into an exercise habit.

Long Term: Be a Healthy Mom

I don’t know that I have a specific plan for this.  Bottom line, I just want to live a healthy lifestyle in ways that include Peanut and teach her that eating well and being active can be fun.  In my hazy view of Peanut’s childhood, that looks something like this:

  • Continue to set and pursue my own active goals, whether that means more running races, getting into triathlons, a regular yoga practice, the 100 pushup challenge, or something else.  Talk to Peanut about goal-setting and how good it feels to pick a goal, work for it and achieve it (or at least, to try your very best).  Include her in the races I run (many of them have kids’ fun runs) when she’s a bit older.
  • Teach Peanut to cook and include her in meal preparations.  Before I got pregnant – even before I was at the point where I felt at all ready to have a baby – I loved looking at the kids’ cooking tools and child-sized aprons at Williams-Sonoma, and used to imagine my kid someday using that stuff to have fun in the kitchen.  It’s a well-known fact that it’s healthier (and cheaper, and usually tastier!) to cook for yourself rather than to rely on takeout or restaurant meals.  I’d like Peanut to have the skills to cook for herself – to know what to choose and how to prepare it – and for her to know that the kitchen can be a place for us to have fun together.
  • Encourage Peanut to participate in sports – whatever she wants (except for volleyball; I’m afraid of the ball).  There’s a sport for every kid.  When I was a little girl, I danced and it was never my cup of tea.  I was terrible at remembering the routines and I always felt like I was the worst one in the class.  Later I tried soccer before finally settling on tennis, and tennis ended up being my sweet spot; I played varsity for two years.  Peanut will have the chance to experiment with different sports and find the ways that she likes to be active.  And whether that’s track and field, softball, soccer, you name it, I’ll be at her games (matches, meets…) to cheer her on.
  • Keep finding ways to be active as a family, and include Peanut.  Hubby and I love to hike and before I got pregnant we would hike most weekends.  (We hiked a few times when I was pregnant but between first trimester fatigue and later activity restrictions, I wasn’t up for very much.)  I’m really looking forward to getting back out on the trails, this time with a baby.  Hubby and I also love to kayak and sail, and someday when Peanut is an older preschooler or young school-age kid, I’ll start getting her out on the water too.  I grew up in a family that made outdoor activity a way of life, whether that was sailing in the summer, skiing in the winter, or hiking in the fall and spring, and I want Peanut to enjoy lots of outdoor family fun and activity.

That’s my plan!  I’ll be sharing regular updates on here, especially as I prepare for the Parkway Classic, so check back!

One thought on “Zero to Hero: A Plan for Getting There

  1. Pingback: Zero to Hero: Short-Term Goal Revisions « Covered In Flour

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