As I said in my previous post How life changes – looking back and going forward, I have decided that in 2013, having mastered walking, I am now going to learn to run. I thought I would share the tools I have used to get me started – as having the right tools for the job definitely makes things easier.
I have a Galaxy S2 smartphone – and I use it for EVERYTHING, so it was the first place I turned to when I was looking for help with my challenge. I already used the sports tracking app Endomondo to track all of my walks and other exercise last year. Endomondo has great challenges you can join, and that was how I logged my 100 miles every month – no messy spreadsheets to manage – just turn on your GPS – set Endomondo running – and the app does the rest.
So I searched for an app which provides an easy-to-follow programme to get you running, and I settled on Runkeeper. I was able to set my target as being able to run a 5k in early March – and then the app gave me a programme of walks and runs to follow leading up to this goal. It suggests one workout every other day , which as I used to try and walk every day, seemed quite manageable.
However, Runkeeper did suggest I did short runs from quite early on, before I was really ready to – so I used it alongside my Endomondo, where I set up an interval training programme which would beep every minute or so, and I used this to do my burst of exercise with alternating walking and running segments. This has really helped me to keep focused and spurred me on to run a little more than I would have done without these apps to tell me what to do.
For my birthday I was given a Zephyr heart monitor. If you are exercising to lose weight, using a heart monitor makes the calorie burn estimates in Endomondo much more accurate – and you can see your fitness levels improving too by seeing how quickly your heart rate comes down after exercise. This monitor attaches to a strap you wear round your chest, and links via Bluetooth to the Endomondo app on my phone. I was very interested to see how my heart rate fluctuates during a Zumba class – we do a very high impact routine to a Rhianna song and that gives me my peak reading!
I take several supplements which help keep my energy levels up. For a start, I take Bee Pollen tablets each morning which helps with energy and stamina, I take Arctic Sea for the fish oils and Omega 3 and 6 which has really helped control my inherited high Cholesterol levels and also I take a vitamin C supplement called Absorbant C which helps maintain healthy connective tissues, skin joints and respiratory functions.
The new supplement I have been trying is a drink you make up from powder called ARGI + which maintains healthy blood pressure and cardiovascular health. ARGI+ contains L-Argenine and vitamins and I take the drink just before I go out running – and I have noticed that I can catch my breath more easily when I remember to take it just before my run. I have seen some excellent testimonials from Iron Man competitors about the Forever Living supplements I am taking and how they have helped others – I am not quite up to their activity levels, but every little helps! You can learn more about these products on my website – clicking on the Order Forever Nutri-Lean button at the bottom right to get access to the web shop.
Progress So Far
So how am I doing with my challenge? Well, on Sunday 27th January I took part in my first Just Racing 5k Cross country race. I managed a time of 38:28 and although I walked up some of the hills, I am very proud of my achievement. Weather and work have now meant I have missed out on a couple of weeks of running – but you may see me at a Park Run in Northamptonshire soon trying to improve my time!