My name is Chelsea, and I was a runner-holic.
A mere month ago I would have described myself as a dedicated distance runner, but- despite some personal successes in the last year- I was beginning to think distance running wasn’t really for me. I was struggling with the huge swings in eating and energy levels that come with long training sessions and not seeing the results I longed for either in my race times or my body composition.
My first hard Wisconsin winter, a case of piriformis syndrome that just wouldn’t quit, and this post from Heather Eats Almond Butter pushed me over the edge. I realized I was in a more, more, more cycle where I ate too much and compensated by running too much, which caused me to get injured and feel like crap. Not good. I had to change the way I thought about running and eating and exercise in general.
So I decided to change my workout schedule from an hour plus of cardio 6 days a week to 3 days of running and 3 days of weight training. The days of running would be shorter- about 4 miles two of the days and 6 on the third, and I’d do some walking or biking to and from work and some yoga on my weight training days.
I still enjoy running and have no intention of quitting. I love getting outside and the sense of accomplishment you get from setting and accomplishing goals. And running is the most portable form of exercise. You can do it pretty much anywhere, and the only equipment required is a pair of shoes and some comfortable clothes. But I think my body would benefit from doing a lot more strength and flexibility training.
The other side of this equation was getting my diet in order. I was using my long runs as an excuse to go on weekly ice cream benders and was alowing myself to excuse poor eating habits because “I was running a lot.” This made me feel bad physically because I was eating crap and bad about myself because I was working out so much and so hard but allowing my eating habits to keep me from having an athletic body to match. I needed to establish eating habits that would allow me to feel comfortable taking an extra day off working out without fearing I’d balloon into Pizza The Hut.
This blog is about my journey toward balance- toward putting exercise in its proper place and eating to nourish my body. I’m not suggesting that anyone should copy what I’m doing. I don’t claim it’s the best way for everyone. There are people out there who thrive on distance running, and maybe I’ll even try my hand (foot?) at distance running again once I feel I’ve regainined control over my eating and exercise life.
This is a big change for me, and I’m curious to see where this new path leads.