BACK STORY (Scroll down if you just want running tips!)
I got pregnant with Anniston at the very end of April 2016. I'd like to say I was in great shape/taking care of my body as we thought about getting pregnant, but I was actually the opposite. I had gone through a hard season emotionally in the fall of the previous year after losing my dad and lost way too much weight way too quickly as I tried to deal with everything I was feeling. I got back to a healthier weight around the new year, but then as we thought about getting pregnant I thought about the worst thing possible, "Well I'm going to put on weight anyways so why try and get fit now?" (okay maybe not the WORST thing, but you catch my drift). Instead of trying to take care of my body that would soon hopefully be carrying a child, I was not eating right and hardly working out.
Well fast forward to getting pregnant and feeling the immediate gut check of taking care of "me" means taking of my "baby" and I tried to get my butt in gear real fast. Wellllll that lasted all of about 3 weeks before I started feeling SO sick and basically sat on the couch eating crackers for the next three months. When I finally started feeling better in my second trimester I was so out of shape. I loved being pregnant and did as much as I could the remainder of the pregnancy to be healthy, but I also couldn't wait for the opportunity to really get back to it after delivery.
There are the obvious reasons to be healthy, feel better and look better. But I believe there is so much more to being physically healthy than just liking what you see in the mirror. I was listening to a podcast by Pastor Louie Giglio at Passion City Church in January or February of last year called "Don't Waste Your Health" (listen HERE!) and for the first time I felt really compelled to take care of my body for more than just vanity reasons. You may have been told your body is a temple from the Lord and that you should take care of it (and that is so true and you should!), but something he said really made sense to me for the first time. I don't remember how it was said exactly, but I remember Louie Giglio sharing how his doctor told him it was important that he take care of himself so that he can continue sharing the gospel with as many people as long as he can. (Side note - If you're looking for a church in Atlanta, GA then I strongly suggest you check out Passion City Church. They are truly sharing the gospel in a powerful way and so many people are coming to know Jesus through their church and through their conferences.)
Now I'm not leading a church or conference like Louie Giglio is, but I am standing by my husband as we share the gospel with our church, Auburn Community Church. I am dedicated to sharing the gospel with my daughter and all my future children. Thinking about it like that all of a sudden gave me such a bigger perspective on being healthy and taking care of the body the Lord gave me!
I think Paul says it best in Philippians 1:21-26:
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again."
Paul is talking about being torn between life and death because he could be with Jesus if he were to die, but he knows the importance of remaining in his flesh to share the gospel and equip others to do so. And THAT is why I want to be healthy. THAT is why I am dedicated to taking care of my body. THAT is why I am thinking twice about what I eat and am challenging myself physically. The better my health the more able I am to share the good news of Jesus Christ and THAT is what it is all about!
SO now that I have thrown a little side sermon at ya, how do you get started? Well I am going to share a running program with you that I did that I know you can do (granted you don't have any serious injuries preventing you from doing so)!
After having Anniston I waited the required 6 weeks before I got back to it. I had my 6 week check up on a Friday and I was out on the trails that Saturday determined to take care of myself. (February 25th to be exact! Can't believe it's almost been a year since I started this!) Now I told you how out of shape I was so I promise you if you're a beginner at running, you can do this. Yes I had been a "semi" runner before, but I was never very consistent and definitely hadn't done it in a LONG time.
First, make a plan or get an app. I cannot recommend the 10k runner app more (they have a 5k runner app too!). I run in the Peachtree Road Race every year on the 4th of July so I knew I wanted to be able to run a 10k by then! This app starts off so slow and builds gradually. The first couple days I knew I could push myself more and run longer, but I followed the app's pace and was completely surprised when I was running an hour straight in 4 months!
Which takes me to my second point, set a goal date! Look at your training program and pick out a date that you want to complete it by. Circle it on your calendar and get motivated! Now don't go crazy and pick something only a month away. If you're a beginner, your body needs time! My program was 14 weeks long and it took me 16 weeks to complete because I missed a couple days here and there (#momlife), but the point is I stuck with it! If you've read any of my other posts then you know I have a thing for checking things off a list and the endorphins it brings. This app is GREAT for that and helps you keep track of everything you have done!
Next, get yourself some tunes. I know a few people that don't like to run with music so that may be more your style, but honestly, I don't know how they do it. My runs are pretty 50/50 when it comes to getting a run by myself or running while pushing Anniston in the jogging stroller. When I'm by myself the music is ALL the way up. When I'm with Anniston, I leave one headphone out so I can hear her and be more aware of our surroundings. Even that is hard for me to do. I personally HATE hearing myself breathe and get bored really easily if I don't having something to listen to.
I have two playlists I choose from. My "fun" playlist and my "worship" playlist and I usually switch between the two throughout the week or choose what I'm feeling that day. A lot of people say they need fun, upbeat music to push themselves, but I'm telling you, give worship a try! You will be surprised how pumped up you get! There are times I have to stop myself from singing out and lifting my arms in praise because it is just that good! My current favorite while I'm running is "Unknown" by Mosaic MSC. Oh my goodness I get so excited listening to it and definitely run a little harder! A few other favorite groups are Hillsong, Bethel, Elevation Worship, Vertical Worship, and Housefires.
All you need after that is your gear! (Or maybe you need all of that first? But you get it.) Right now I am running in Brooks Ghost 10 and L-O-V-E them! I am a fan of Asics and Mizuno too, but I was starting to struggle with really bad arch pain so I did some research and tried these. They are seriously amazing and I will definitely be buying again!
I also can't run without a fitness watch. I mean, I can, but I love to be able to track everything so easily through it! I've had a Nike fuel band and Fitbit in the past, but I am in love with my Apple Watch. It tracks all of my workouts so well and notifies me if I haven't met my goals for the day. I have found that using it to workout does use a lot of the battery life so I try and put it on the charger every night so it's not dead when I'm ready to go workout.
Lastly, headphones. Pictured are my Wireless Beats which I really liked, but they randomly broke a couple of weeks ago. Miles has had two different sets of Beats break easily as well so I was ready to try something else. I really wanted Apple AirPods, but I have unusually small ears so I was nervous about them fitting because Apple's EarPods are AWFUL for my ears. So after a recommendation I landed on Jaybird RUN True Wireless headphones. There are NO wires which I love and they fit in my ears great!
So what are you waiting for? Get motivated, set a goal, and get out there! Find an accountability partner and encourage each other! My friend and I are currently training for a half marathon so we are constantly texting each other about it and it helps me stay focused when I hear she has already done her run for the day! Let me know if you have any other tips or any questions in the comments below! Good luck!