If at first you don’t succeed, try a new approach

marathonI feel like a broken record. Remember the first time I vowed to get in shape? What about last January when I joined a gym?

Well, the good news is my gym membership really has paid off — sort of. I’ve been pretty faithfully working out at least 3-4 time a week since January when I signed up. I’m in the best aerobic shape of my life. The bad news is I’ve gained weight since last January. Bummer, right? I’m exercising more than I ever have, but I can’t seem to get back down to my wedding weight.

Clearly, what I’m doing isn’t working. So I’ve decided to try something new. Focusing on weight loss is frustrating when you’re not losing weight. While weight loss remains my ultimate goal, I decided to change things up to keep myself motivated and give myself a new focus. Instead of swearing to lose weight, I’ve decided to run a half marathon.

The training process will turn the intensity of my work outs up a notch, and the new goal has really improved my motivation. To avoid doing too much too soon, I’m setting smaller goals along the way. My first goal is a 5K in March. That gives me about 14 weeks to prepare myself for the 3-mile run.

The good news is, I’m not starting at zero. After a year of daily cardio, my endurance is pretty good. However, I’ve never been a fan of the treadmill, so I need to condition my body to long-distance running. I’m following this 5K training guide, which will gradually increase my running endurance over the course of 8 weeks. Once I’m able to run 3 miles straight, I’ll work on improving my time and increasing my distance.

As part of my plan, I’m committing myself to healthier eating again. Tony and I already eat pretty healthy, but I struggle with portion sizes. I’m using The Daily Plate to track my calorie consumption and help keep me on track. Since my ultimate goal is weight loss, I’m tracking my progress in my side bar. The progress bar on the right represents the percentage of pounds I’ve lost in relation to my goal.

I’m tentatively planning on running my half marathon in November 2010, which means I have almost a year to work my way up to 13-mile runs. My hope is that by getting started on my New Year’s resolution a little early, I’ll be able to stay on track through the holiday season. Fortunately, we’re staying home for the holidays this year, so we’ll have control over what we eat and how much at Christmas.

Do you know what your New Year’s resolution is? Why not get a head start?

Photo by cdm

12 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed, try a new approach

  1. Nicole at Breaking Even

    I think this is a good goal. I think what you really want is to be happy and healthy (weight loss is sort of a side effect of that) so I think setting a goal you can accomplish like a half marathon is a more positive way to frame it. :^) Good luck!

  2. brittany

    Woohoo! Congrats, Karen & good luck with the training regiment. Running can be very difficult, but when you get to that finish line there’s nothing more rewarding! (Now one of these days I just need to make it to a full marathon!) I did the same as you — started w/ a 5K, gradually upped it. You should try to throw a 10K in over the summer if you can find one near you.

    Another thing you might consider. I bought this Nike wristband thing that keeps track of how much you run. (It uses the Nike+ software that are also available with certain iPod Nano lines and the new iPhone 3GS). It was a bit expensive, I think $60?, but it really has been a great motivation for me. You run, then you plug a piece from the band into your USB, and it automatically uploads all your run data (how far, how fast, how long, pace, calories, etc) onto the Nikeplus website. It really helps to motivate me because I know if I don’t run, my weekly data will reflect it and look bad. There’s something about seeing it all in graph-format… They also have challenges on the website, training regiments for 5/10K/half/full marathons. So anyway, just something you might look into. And actually, I’m sure there are lots of similar websites you could keep track of on your own for free without the Nike gear, that just makes it a little more simple.

    Best of luck with your training! I know you can do it!! :) xoxo

  3. Amy

    Good luck on your training!! Let me just say I hate, no, I despise running. But, it got me in the best shape I had ever been in. Even when I had no life and spent literally 3 hours a day at the gym. Running got me in better shape than the step class, spin class, and dance class I was taking. I started out slow like you plan to do…and I was amazed at how quickly I was able to run further and further. Eventually I could run forever but then I suffered from bordom on the treadmill. You will be able to run the distance in no time…but make sure you have something to occupy your mind while you run or it will seem to drag on and on. I find it was easiest to just zone out and before I knew it I’d reached my distance for the day.

    Good Luck!

  4. Jennifer

    Good luck! I have been running successfully since May – a record for me for sure. My goal was a 10K in October, but I couldn’t find one. So I ran a 4 mile race instead and it was awesome. Then I promptly got major shin splints and have been limping along at 1-2 miles ever since. My goal right now is to just keeping running at least something through a long Ohio winter. Then next year, I am contemplating trying for a marathon, but I might like your idea of a half instead. I just struggle so much with self motivation, especially once I start running. Oh, and I gained 4 pounds when I started running, but once I upped my mileage some, the weight fell off pretty quickly. good luck!

  5. Tia

    This is my first time at your blog. I enjoyed your post. I commend you for being dedicated to self improvement. For the end of this year, I have been committed to catching up on bills and making sure none of my bills or debts were past due or over the limit. I paid the last thing current today. Hooray!
    I like the idea of getting a “running” start on new goals before January. I might join you with running. My son just started running every other day to condition for soccer. Maybe I will go with him, but I do not enjoy running enough to go in the cold.

  6. Ken

    I feel compelled chime in with some advice, since I’m a running coach and very involved in teaching health and fitness. If you want to avoid a lot of frustration trying to losing weight do two things, first look into the paleolithic diet, and second focus on interval training, when running, rather than just trying to run further. I’ve seen some amazing results with these methods. Also, if you want to avoid injuries from running, spend some time learning how to run with good technique. Pose running technique or Chi running technique will save your knees, and allow you to run without expensive running shoes.

    Good Luck!

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