Give the gift of health when making running a priority
In the spirit of the holidays, remember that it is better to give than receive. The one priceless gift I can recommend you give to others and yourself is “time.”
Yes, time is the perfect gift for we runners and walkers, plus no wrapping paper is required. Here are three ways time can be used as a gift that gives all year long.
COMMIT TO GET GOING
First, give your loved ones time, sprinkled in with some encouragement, to run or walk each day. The activity has been proven to rejuvenate the body and stimulate the mind. Getting out of the house during the darkest time of the year will definitely help combat “cabin fever.” You will love how your mood changes, or that of a loved one, after some exercise especially if it’s outdoors. A 20-minute walk after dinner helps the digestion – and, surprise – another mile is gone.
COMMIT TO CARE WHAT YOU EAT
Second, give time to improve your nutrition. Eat thoughtfully prepared, unrushed, healthful meals. Sound nutrition complements our fitness objectives. There is a measure of truth in the old saying “You are what you eat.”
With that in mind, be a fish, not a doughnut. Go for the freshest fruits and vegetables you can find. It’s a challenge during the winter. Alaska produce is already a few days old before it reaches your house having been shipped from the Lower 48.
Nutrition also means fluids. Excessive fancy coffees and alcohol add can add loads of useless calories and help dehydrate you. Enjoy the holidays in moderation, especially if a key workout is scheduled for the next day. Make a conscious decision to drink plenty of water. A glass of water before a meal also will help speed up the nice full feeling, hence less calories eaten.
So, take time to keep your fluid intake consistent throughout the year. Runners always monitor what enters and leaves their bodies, so with that in mind ample hydration will yield clear urine. Our goal is no yellow snow – that’s a sure sign of water intake being out of balance.
COMMIT TO COMMIT
Finally, give yourself time to plan and reflect for the your fitness goals in the months ahead. Make an honest assessment of where you presently are physically, and make a few reasonably challenging goals. Commit the goals to paper or computer, and track your progress. Over time, your stamina will improve, weight will be shed and you will be ready to face that goal – whether it’s a 5K, 10K, half marathon or beyond on the roads or trails.
It’s your plan your dream, your time. Go for it.
Marine Corps Marathon props
Congratulations to the Alaskans who ran the 38th Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 27th 2013, in Washington, D.C. There were perfect weather conditions for the 33,000 plus athletes who traversed the roads around our nation’s capital.
Keep Striding and Smiling, Coach Mike
Cool (OK, Brr!) winter running events
Jingle Bell Run/Walk: Anchorage. 5K; Saturday, Dec. 14, www.AnchorageJingleBellRun.com
Colony Christmas Triathlon: Palmer. 5K Run, 500 yard Swim, 10K Bike; Sunday, Dec. 15. email@example.com
26th annual George Bloom Memorial Mid Day Sun Run: Fairbanks. 6.5 miles hilly, held regardless of temperature; Saturday, Dec. 21. www.runningclubnorth.org
End Days Run: Anchorage. 5K and half marathon; Saturday, Dec. 21, AEclubUAA@mail.com
Winter Solstice Distance Festival: Willow. 5K, half marathon, and marathon distances; Saturday, Dec. 21, www.willowrunningcompany.com