I’ve been thinking a lot over the past year about how to improve as a runner. 6 months of e-coaching with Jeff Galloway taught me the importance of consistency. If you don’t do your assigned runs, you aren’t going to get faster. But, as I struggled with some injuries while training for the Goofy and I’ve noticed that my rate limiting step is not my cardiovascular fitness but my leg strength, I have come to accept the reality that I need to get stronger.
I have definitely perfected the art of the “legitimate” excuse. After all many people who look at my life think that I must already be Super Woman. I have 3 young child (although they are rapidly aging!) and a super demanding career. And I’ve added running to the mix (which, in my opinion, has been the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself). My life is a constant juggling act. So when the opportunity to join Boot Camp #13 via the No Excuses Workout System, I really had to think about the time commitment before signing up.
What is Boot Camp and what is the No Excuses Workout System? So this really cool guy named Jonathan Roche developed a system to help people improve their health and fitness. His system really focuses on the positive. Even if you only work out 10 minutes a day, it’s better than doing nothing. He encourages 3 interval sessions a week and 3 no excuses workouts (which is – essentially – strength training). The reason they are called no excuses workouts is that you can spend as little as 10 minutes or as long as an hour doing these sessions. His argument is that if you have time to spend on Facebook or watching tv, you have time for the no excuses workouts (which can easily be done WHILE watching tv). The Boot Camp has a lot more hand-holding and guidance than the regular system and includes written assignments to think about the barriers and negative voices that prevent us from succeeding. It helps to focus positive energy on small changes to work towards a healthier lifestyle.
Some of the written assignments so far have focused on why I want to do Boot Camp. The answer for me is two-fold: 1. I need to lose the last 10-15 lbs to be at my ideal weight and I’m struggling with the weight loss. 2. I want to get stronger so I can run faster and more injury free. I think my biggest barriers are TIME – or, more importantly, my perception of having no time – and just needing the direction and guidance to get me there. Today’s assignment was to write about the negative voices I hear and to replace the negatives with some positives. I wrote a lot about how I feel discouraged that I’m not a faster runner when I should be proud of how far I’ve come in 3 years. I also wrote about the inner struggle I have over whether I should want to be faster or if it’s all just vanity and I should just enjoy running races. I think the whole runDisney mentality that a Disney race is for fun and not speed messes with me a little bit. That’s just not who I am and I still love runDisney but I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who wants to do my best when I’m there. (And, due to scheduling conflicts, I don’t honestly know when my next runDisney event will be anyway which makes me a little sad!) Is there something wrong with being competitive with yourself? Does that in some way make me a bad person? Should I just be satisfied with where am I and who I am?
In addition to the written assignments, I’ve done complete body measurements. Biceps, chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves, etc. Plus weekly weigh-ins (I weighed more than usual on Monday morning so it’ll look like I lost more weight!). Today as part of our strength training routine, we did a fitness test. How many push-ups and crunches? How many jumping jacks in 30 seconds? How long can you hold a plank? And then we did more strength training after the fitness test. We repeat measurements and fitness test throughout the 8 week boot camp. We are also supposed to drink tons of water and eat healthy snacks throughout the day. I have already been trying to do this but it’s helpful to have the reminders.
I did email Jonathan about replacing his intervals with my run/walk intervals as I’m actively training for a race in a month. Much to my surprise he called me on my cell phone right away. He was thrilled that I use run/walk intervals to begin with and we talked about how the boot camp can help me. He’s running his 16th Boston Marathon this spring so I feel confident that he can help my running. He has his own training plans for races but I think I’ll stick with my Galloway training for the running and Jonathan’s stuff for the strength training.
There is a private Yammer account for Boot Camp participants. I’m having trouble connecting to people at this point because I haven’t really found my group yet. I know there are other people who are doing Boot Camp who already have a fitness background and aren’t starting from the beginning. At the same time a lot of the stuff is meant to help people at ALL fitness levels (beginners on up) feel good about themselves.
Although today is only day 2 of an 8 week Boot Camp, I can already say that I’m glad that I signed up. I hope I continue to be able to keep up with all the assignments for the next 8 weeks. It’ll be really interesting to see if my half marathon in April is affected by my new Boot Camp training.