Well, gosh. I rather gave up on running. My last run was on September 5th, 2014. I didn’t know I was giving up back then. It just sort of happened.
And so I took five years off. More than five, in fact, because I’m not running again. Yet.
I put on a lot of weight. I’ve also taken some back off, which is good, but I’m still rather heavier than “running weight”. One of the good things about the quantified self is that I normally have some stats look at, and this is no exception. I’m currently about eight kilos heavier than I was back at that last run. My body composition is also rather less good—40.3% fat mass as opposed to 36.5%.
(More of my muscle is in my arms, now, too, which doesn’t help much for jogging. But at least that’s because I’ve kept up a steady dumbbell workout regime for the last year or so.)
All in all, I feel rather too lardy to run. My knees are a bit creaky and I’m not sure I’m ready to put myself “out there” as a runner right now.
But perhaps I can get there in the next six months. I’m doing yoga and weights, but the most important thing, really, is to drop some more fat, so I’m going to start being rather more careful about what I eat and how much of it I eat over the next few months.
I may even blog a little about my progress, because it’s good to blog, and I haven’t been doing any writing anywhere for ages…
So, that’s me at the moment. Not sure how long it’ll take, or how often I’ll be blogging about it, but basically, I’m back, baby.
My employer has just agreed to match any donations I get from Bristol Half Marathon sponsorship, up to £250. So anything you can donate at my JustGiving Page counts double! All donations, big or small, gratefully received 🙂
Welcome to the 100th blog posting on Matt Gets Running 🙂 To mark the occasion, here’s a video of my (Good) Friday run, along the Avon Gorge towpath, up the hill into Leigh Woods, around a little detour—to reverse out of some of the worst of the mud I ran into!—and then back to the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Today I was planning on blogging about weight, and watching this video really underlines why it’s something I need to talk about. Because, fairly clearly, although I’ve been jogging for nine months, I’m still quite lardy.
In fact, I’ve not lost much weight at all. Since I started running, I’ve come from around 17 stone 7 lbs (245lbs, or 111kg) down to 16 stone 12.5 lbs. That’s a drop of 8.5lbs, or a smidge under 4kg.
That’s not to say that running hasn’t had a significant impact on my weight. Because before I took up running, I was slowly but steadily putting weight on, rather than taking it off. Goodness knows what weight I’d be by now if I hadn’t effectively reversed that trend, and all by getting out and running.
But I’ve come to realise recently that absolutely the best thing I could do to speed myself up, and to avoid injury, and reduce strain on my joints and muscles, especially my occasionally achey hip, is to lose more weight.
Now, I could run even more, which would certainly burn some more calories. But that’s unlikely to be too effective. A pound of weight equates to about 3,500 calories (kcal.) The longest run I’ve ever done was the 12K I did a few weekends ago. And, according to the RunKeeper log, that burned 1,437 calories.
Which is the equivalent of less than half a pound of fat. So even if I did two of those every week, on top of my normal runs, and changed nothing else at all, I’d lose less than a pound a week.
So, that doesn’t seem like the most efficient way of doing things. It may be time to mention the dreaded “D word”: diet.
Now, my normal diet is actually not too bad. I don’t eat too much unhealthy crap. I have a tendency towards eating cake after lunch at the weekends, but apart from that, my calories are generally coming from quite healthy food choices. I don’t eat junk, I don’t drink alcohol, I hardly ever eat chocolate bars. I’ve not eaten in a McDonald’s or a KFC since the 1990s. And even then it was probably under protest.
No. My problem is, quite simply, eating too much. My portions are too big.
I’ve been gradually chipping away at that a bit recently, using some simple methods — buying Kellogg’s Variety Packs for breakfast, for example, so there’s a pre-measured amount that’s easy to stick to. And cutting extras out of my lunchtime meal at work.
I’ve not really attacked my evening meal yet, or addressed my latte habit. And, most importantly, I’ve not actually deliberately tried to restrict my calorie intake to less than I need. I mean, my current eating habits appear to be sensible and sustainable, in that I’m still, very gradually, losing weight. So I’m clearly not eating more than I need to eat.
But if I want to make running a half marathon in September as easy as possible, the best thing I can do, apart from keeping up my training and gradually building up my distance, is to attack my weight through diet as well as through running.
I think a sensible goal would be to lose around a pound a week. Given that the half-marathon is on 5th September, around five months away, that would mean about 20 pounds. To give myself a nice “round” number — albeit in the antiquated avoirdupois scale I still cling to to measure my body weight — I’ll call my target weight 15-and-a-half stone, which is 217 pounds, or about 98 kilos.
So. That’s my target. Fifteen and a half stone by 5 September. And I’ll be blogging my progress with my weight along with my progress with the running. Who knows, possibly accompanied by pictures and video, you never know!
Have a happy Easter. Personally, in the greatest tradition of diets, I’m going to start mine after the holiday. In the meantime, where did I put that Cadbury’s Easter egg?