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Endorphins Make You Happy



Though I wasn't wearing this shirt while working out today, I was definitely pretty high on those endorphins!  (You may recognize this quote from "Legally Blonde".)  Also, I wasn't before nor am I now in danger of shooting my husband (just thought I should clarify that).

Today I started week 4 of my 10 week training program, and I am in love!  Last week I felt pretty good about myself after the workouts.  For the most part I felt like I could keep going, but I want to stick to the schedule so that I don't over do it one day and have to put it on hold.  However, my Friday run (which actually happened on Saturday because my Friday was pretty busy) felt horrible.  And since my Friday runs are supposed to be the easiest, my body was obviously pretty tired from a hard week's workouts.  FYI: I run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with other workouts that I'm not quite ready to share about on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Rest days are Saturdays and Sundays.  So it's perfect that my "easy" runs are on Fridays since I don't think my body would be able to handle a hard run at the end of the week.

So, Saturday I was feeling pretty exhausted at the end of my run.  Like can't-run-another-step-without-tripping-and-falling-over exhausted.

But TODAY...

I felt amazing!  This morning was my first 3 mile run in this training program (and only the second in my life), and it felt so awesome that I was (and still am) just stunned.  I was pretty much full on sprinting at the end of it because I felt so great.  I could have kept running for hours (not really, but that's what it felt like when I was high on endorphins).  I'm still baffled that I did the 3 miles in 30:52 which averages out to just over 10 minutes per mile!

So in case you like to run or are thinking about trying it out, here are some specific things I'm loving:
  • Proper workout clothes.  I have a few workout shirts (the wicking kind) that I love to wear when I'm working out, but until today I had just been wearing 100% cotton Soffe shorts.  That's all I had so obviously that was my only choice.  But last night, my AMAZING hubby took me on a mini shopping spree, and I got some actual workout shorts.  They're pretty much biking shorts but there's no padding on the butt.  And they made a huge difference today on my run.  You really don't know how much cotton is killing you until you try something better.  But your workout clothes don't have to be expensive.  Stores like Kohl's and Target have no-name-brand pieces for pretty cheap.
  • Changing up speeds while running.  I've started doing intervals in my running, meaning that I'll run slow for about 2 minutes and then pick up the pace a bit for about 30 seconds, then just repeat continuously.  This is the basis for a lot of running programs, especially programs like couch to 5k.  I'm not timing myself on my intervals, I just continuously set goals for myself while running, for example: when I get to that tree, I'm going to run faster until I hit that darker spot in the pavement; or I'm going to pick up the pace for the whole chorus of this song; things like that.  And it has made a world of difference in my breathing during a run.  By running a bit faster at times, the slower paces feel like relaxation.  I've also read that this type of system burns more calories and fat.  I'm not sure if that's true or not, but it's worth a try!
  • Cross training.  I'm not doing a special program or any crazy new-age exercises, but the more I work out my body in ways other than running, the more my running flourishes.  Like I said earlier, I'm not quite ready to share the specifics of my non-running days yet, but I just have to tell you: do some other things too.  Lift weights, go swimming, do yoga, STRETCH, anything will help!
  • The RunKeeper App.  This is the app I use to log my workouts.  The GPS maps my runs if I'm running outside (which is almost always) but also allows you to log your runs manually if you run in the gym.  It gives you approximate calories burned, keeps track of your time and distance records and even has legitimate training programs you can use if you need a little help getting started.  I love that I can just set the app and start my run, and it gives my audio updates on my progress every 5 minutes so I know how long I've been running, how far, and my average pace.  And it doesn't just log runs; there are a whole slew of activities to choose from that you can log: walking, hiking, biking, swimming, and plenty others.  The best part: it's free!  And there are versions for both iPhone and Android.
  • Taking my headphones out during my cool down walk.  I've started to do this so that I have a little time to think and pray in the peace and quiet, and I really love it.  I'm usually feeling pretty good after my run, and it's a great time to talk to God about anything that's going on.  My prayers are usually punctuated with a lot of "Oh thank you for that breeze!  It feels amazing!" right in the middle of a sentence, but it's still some great quality time with God out in nature.
 So my Monday is so very lovely so far!  I hope yours is too!

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