The Home of Daddy's Day Dare! ~ I am just trying to stay above water

The Answer To My Prayers

A little while back, OK it was 2 years ago, I posed the question “What am I doing wrong”, as evidenced by my ever tighter belt line. I was trying to get me back in running shape, but was not having any luck, as far as loosening that same belt notch.

The opinion I need to stop finishing the kids plates at our meals was the overwhelming idea that I needed to incorporate. Thanks to everyone that offered their great ideas!

There is a part of me that is in complete agreement with that thought, especially when the kids are in their “not hungry” mode and the dish is one of my favs. Another part of me, the realist, says this solution just ain’t possible; for two reasons.

First, I’m a pig! I like to eat. I love to taste things. This is why my perfect vacation begins and ends at an ‘all-inclusive’ resort. I get my and my wife’s moneys worth!

Second, I was raised by depression-era parents. We just didn’t throw any food away when we ate. Everything was eaten. Common end-of-meal conversations included: “Some more potatoes here, who wants them?

I’m full!

I had seconds already.

Split them with you?


So, short-story long, there’s got to be another way. As much as I want, I can’t turn away from free food. It takes too much will-power! So I have to come up something else.

I need something that pushes you, is measurable, has benchmarks built in, is flexible enough to go at your own pace yet versatile enough to allow you to push yourself as fast as you want.

And that’s why God created treadmills!

That’s right. God answered the prayers of mine, and every other food lover out there. It s the perfect solution. You can train, tone, and condition on treadmills. Inside! (have you felt how cold it is outside?)

I have used treadmills to train for everything from 5K runs to ½ marathons. With all the adjustments available, your conditioning can get fairly, uh, mechanical.

All sorts of adjustments plus the ‘luxury’ of running inside

Now I am the first to say running on a treadmill is not the same as running outside. I have trained hard on treadmills but end up floundering in races if I didn’t also pound some pavements. But using treadmills can be analytical way to improve your health, conditioning, and training.

There are two fitness tips to consider when using treadmills if you are a runner or want to lose weight. First, if you want to get closer to resembling the resistance that there is running outside, turn the ‘Incline’ feature to 1.0 degrees. Its not the same but it will make running a tad harder. If you get used to it and want to improve, do your cardio at 1.5 incline.

Second, when you run to condition and lose weight, the rule of thumb in burning fat is that for the first 20 minutes you burn carbohydrate calories in your system. After the first 20 minutes you start to burn fat calories. This will vary by an individual’s conditioning of course. But, if you are looking to lose weight, pick a pace on a treadmill that allows you to raise your heartbeat for a good 30 minutes; and then stick with it.

Want to be a treadmill track star?

Some other advantages I have used in my running training include:

•    Never be satisfied, always work to exhaustion: I start on a treadmill to first catch my rhythm and get my breathing right. At that point I will increase the ’Pace’ feature one or two clicks every two minutes, or every song if you are running with headphones. This way you are always working hard to improve your speed, breathing, or thinking about what is going to be left on your kid’s plates at dinner later that night.
•    Challenge yourself. Make it a game: I use the calorie counter when I train. Not for a vain attempt to look at my waist results, but as a measure of how hard I exercise. Think about it… (Time running x Pace = Calories burned).

So if you run for 20 minutes or 30 or 45, find the amount of calories you burn each time you run this time amount. Use that calorie number as a benchmark. Then each time you run try to beat your personal best in ‘calories burned’ by turning up the pace and beating that benchmark. Make sense?

•    Build your endurance by running 5 minutes longer: If you want to burn more calories or train for a long run, have the goal each week of running 5 minutes longer at your normal pace by the end of the week. I do this when I train for 1/2 marathons. This week I want to run for 45 minutes. Next week for 50 minutes and so on until you reach your goal.

•    Increase your speed by hiking up the incline: Lots of runners try to increase their speed by strengthening their legs. They do this by running hills, bridges and bleachers. You can do this by slowly raising the incline. Be realistic when you do this so you don’t injure yourself. Usually a 5% incline is the most you should run at. It burns!

•    Race yourself if you have a limited amount of time: If time is not on your side in your busy day find a distance that works in your time frame and then race to see how fast you can get there. Or race to see how far you can go in your 15 or 20 minute lunch break. And then try to beat your record each time. You get a good workout and on your way as fast as possible.

These are just some of the ways you can use treadmills to accomplish your fitness goals. You might have some games of your own. Have fun and be fit.

I highly recommend always, always, always try to eat some protein within the first hour after you run, around 20 grams, if you want to run faster, longer, or burn more calories the next time you run. You just tore your muscles down, so build ‘em up with some protein.

One final trick I use to keep protein in my body and my metabolism up is eating a few protein or energy bars through the course of the day. There are a wide variety of these found at your local target. Check out their protein levels as well as their fat levels then chose the ones for you.

Good luck in your fitness quests for the new year!

What other running tips or games do you use?

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43 thoughts on “The Answer To My Prayers

  1. You got it Ms. Cyndi!. I signed up to do an 8K run next month to push me to do more work. And if I am running for the both of us maybe I will do that 1/2 marathon next month as well. I’ll do half if you do half? OK? I ope you are doing really well Cyndi and your new year started off great! Thanks for dropping by…always great to hear from you!

  2. Thanks Kristi for your nice words. You have plenty of time to get 10K worthy by June. Just stick at it. I loved a banana after a workout too. I would either throw it in a high protein yogurt or in a protein shake. Find a yummy shake and it can be a treat after a good run. If you are new to running work on some good form of trying to raise your knees high as you run. When you drop them they will go further out in front of you, making you faster and also that technique can work like doing crunches while you run.But you have to focus on the form at first. The best injury tip I can tell you is to stretch plenty both before and after a run. Your muscles just work better all loose, like when you were a kid. Check out http://www.runnersworld.com for lots of other great tips for both new and experienced runners. And in a world of good running blogs, here is my fav. I just found: http://runningonhealthy.com/ Thanks for dropping by Kristi! Keep us posted on your running successes!

  3. Thanks for the tips. Will definitely try to eat protein within 1 hour after running. I usually grab a banana but will go for protein. Will also be increasing my runs with 5 min. I’ve signed up for 10 K (in June) but I’m relatively beginner (I’ve only ran for 7 months)…any avoid injury tips? great post.

  4. Yea, I need an Ipod to get through for sure. But I find I can run harder on treadmill as if I run hard outside and get tired I may have to walk a great length to get home where on treadmill I can just mash Stop and step off. I enjoy running outside to open up my stride more. But whatever works, right? You may have to wait awhile till that snow melts. I saw that pic of your home. That looked like a bit of a workout too! Thanks for dropping by Nancy! Have a great weekend…

  5. Well I feel good about putting them out there then. I am the same and find myself really motivated right now to do some running. Christmas cookies have a lot to do with it too. Find something you like, and then challenge your self by making a game out of it. Then Celebrate your successes (and write about them too). Good luck Sarah. Thanks for dropping by!

  6. Good tips! I am forever in the cycle of running, not running, running, not. I am coming back around to running again- and some of these tips are new to me. Thanks for the motivation!

  7. Good luck with your new fitness quest. I must confess, I use treadmills only under duress. Even with good music on my ipod, I quickly lose interest in the workout. I feel like a rat on his exercise wheel. I much prefer to run/walk outside. Except these days in New England the highest temp we had was 10 degrees, so that treadmill is looking better and better.


  8. Just signed up for a 21-day yoga challenge starting tomorrow… thanks for motivating me 😉

  9. Get up and go to the gym girl! You will feel better after you do. You know this i think. ~Keep up your great work Ms. Pixie! Thanks for dropping by! Always nice to ehar from you….

  10. Wow, Andy! Look at you running on the treadmill! I could probably use a little more movement in my day, too, so maybe you could add a few minutes on my behalf. 😉 Happy New Year!

  11. you’re very welcome!! one caution – the afterburn on these is INSANE. mt metabolism stays revved up for at least an hour. which is awesome in theory, but if you’re like me and shower and go back to work right after your workout…beware that you may find yourself sweating IN the shower…and while you’re getting dressed…because your body is still kickin’. afterburn is an awesome aspect of tabata, i just had to train myself to WAIT to do my makeup. : ) happy training!

  12. Thanks, Jenn, for the info below! This is really helpful. I work best in short sprints when it comes to intensity. And now they’re coming out with research that shows that the shorter segments of exercise yield greater long-term benefits. I like that it can be tailored to your needs, which is exactly what the kayakers were recommending – body-specific targets for maximum endurance and overall performance. This is perfect!

  13. God dammit. I think I need to finally sign up to that gym. Thanks a lot!
    No, seriously, thanks a lot.

  14. traditionally it’s a workout comprised of 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest. we used to have a 30-minute tabata class offered at our gym. it was a 5-minute warm-up, 20 minutes of tabata, and 5-minute cool-down. the exercise itself can be anything – jumping jacks, burpees, sprints or sled drags, light dumbbell work…it’s deceptively tough! i keep it super-simple for conditioning – i do tabata rowing for 3 minutes (20s hard, 10s recovery) and then something like tabata push-ups or DB snatches for 2 rounds/one minute, and then i’ll repeat that entire thing three times. it takes less than 20 minutes and i’m always toast afterwards!

  15. I saw those on tv and if I ever bought one for my home (Yea like I can afford one) that would be the one for me. I would love to run th ebeaches of the world. Let me know how your trips go running the scenic hills of the world. And yes,the waorkouts are what you make them. Good luck with your goals this year Jenn. I hope good health, happiness and limitless personal bests await for you in 2014. Thanks for looking in!

  16. I can’t beleive you do not do any cardio! Hard work and diet alone? That’s willpower! I hope you and your are all doing great and had the best Christmas! Good luck to you this year and your product lines! Make it best year yet…

  17. Maria, that has always been my motto but it just doesn’t come off like it used to. Add into the equation the unexpected life of kids and workouts just get pushed aside all the time it seems. I will try to burn enough for both of us. I need to! Go ahead, eat all you want..I got your back…

  18. I am th opposite. I run the treadmills so that I can mechanically push my self; to See I am pushing harder. But when I want me speed I know there is no substitute for running outside and really opening up your gate. Good luck to you this year Rachael and thanks for your support!

  19. Thanks D’Anna! With all my great friends support I know I will. Thanks! I hope you hit all your marks this year too. I enjoy watching your style! Thanks for stopping in 3D..

  20. What is it Jenn?

  21. i use tabata for conditioning and it’s awesome! i never get bored with it and always work up a killer sweat. : )

  22. we have the super-fancy ‘mills at our gym with screens for simulated outdoor runs, which is pretty neat. my favorite thing to beat the monotony though is to use one of the pre-set “hill” features. you pick your time and pace, and the level of difficulty, and then it’s hands off and just spin the legs! i like not knowing exactly what’s coming up next, so it keeps me from getting bored and also is an amazing workout!

  23. I know you love your running! I had my brief stint of sprinting last year until I pulled a butt muscle and then it was all over. It was a bummer because I was having so much fun with it. I have to admit that I haven’t done cardio in quite some time, and that’s fun too. However, I will now think of you after every workout when I weave past that army of machines on my way out of the gym 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  24. Awesome! Eat all you want and burn it off! My problem is I do the eating part but not the burning off. Oh well, looks like you will be burning enough for both of us. 🙂

  25. Some bloggy friends just recommended Tabata training to me for my running/kayaking goals this year – ever heard of it?

  26. Great post…May you reach all your goals this new year!

  27. Love this post! I run outside on my running days but do some treadmill work on my strength days (5min kms etc) and this has actually been really helpful!

  28. Thanks for this Race Ready. I am posting it again…since its so dang cold outside! I hope you are doing well with your racing!

  29. Since I used to be your age a long time ago I can tell you how much Glucosamine can help your knees. It really can. I was taking it to help lubricate my shoulder one year. That spring I started training for our local bridge run by running area bridges and I found out my knees no longer hurt for this training, as well as my shoulder. I know how you hit the weights and I think starting it before an issue only helps your chances, as well as your knees, of doing this into your 90’s. You don’t notice the benefits at first only when you stop taking it. Keep up your great work!

  30. I USED to be a runner, but my knees are kinda shot. They’re a little sore after today’s new sprint workout. Guess we’ll see how they feel tomorrow. I would LOVE to run more, so I’ll take your advice and try some other moves on the TM. It’s funny because 4 months ago I would use it for walking at the highest incline possible, but at a pretty slow pace. Now I’m using NO incline, but running as fast as I can. Always struggling for balance! : )

  31. Thanks for the very informative info Andy. 🙂 I LOVE running too. The surge serotonin you get after running is addictive! On a seriouse note, I think more importantly after running is try to take a day off to rebuild the mucles. I had a friend who ran every single day for 3 months and ended up with a injured knee.

    Looking forward to reading more about your adventure on your blog. 🙂

  32. I love the treadmills for all those reasons too! I really think you can push yourself harder since you have some benchmarks to use. Thanks for stopping by!

  33. I find that running on a treadmill makes me run faster. The speedometer really keeps me in check! It makes me mentally compare my previous running speeds and I can’t stand running slower than I used to.

  34. Don’t give up….you’ll get there! Creating a new habit and sticking to it takes time. It sounds like you’ve realised the problem and have already found the solution!!! And if you feel like you’re metabolism is slowing down there are a couple of things you can do to kick it back into high gear….the first being protein!!!! It takes a lot more energy for your body to break down and makes you feel satisfied for longer than would a similar amount of carbs. And also pumping the weights….this is the ultimate metabolism boosting fat scorching activity. If you don’t have access to a gym I’m always able to give you a few ideas you could do at home to mix in with your running. Keep up the good work 🙂

  35. I see lots of people walking on treadmills. I just think when you notice this isn’t too challenging any more just pump up the pace a little and soon you will be in a light jog. Be sure to stretch before and after; take it from an old fart. I don’t mean to sound like I am hard on myself, I just hate not being able to do things I used to be able to do well. ~ growing older isn’t for me! Yes, whatever works! Thanks for looking in ‘with a smile’!

  36. I can’t run to save my life! But I exercise every day — treadmill sounds do-able though…great w/ kids in the house…whatever works is what we do! Good luck and don’t be too hard on yourself!

  37. I bet you ran on a long treadmill when you worked on your form, didn’t you? I know when I go slow it actually tires me out as it seems I have to cut short my stride, so I never hit my natural rhythm. So I know it is not ideal for true running. I still like to get to a speed where I can imaging I am running like I did when I was a kid, chasing other kids through backyards. Or being chased. To me, that is the fun in running.

  38. I felt tired just reading this post 😉 I’ve been running on the treadmill a lot more lately- training for a 10k in a couple of months so have to keep on it. I find it so mentally challenging though! have to change up the incline/speed every couple of minutes otherwise I want to strangle myself with the emergency cord haha.. good luck with your running and great tips!

  39. At some point the metabolism does slowly creep down, but we never know it until its too; at least that’s what seems to have happened to me. I know you are active. That is key I think.

  40. I know a lot of runners HATE treadmills, but some days I actually enjoyed them. I also found them helpful when I was working on my form and cadence.

  41. I haven’t run in years, but I used to enjoy it. Right now between youth ministry and chasing the kids, it seems I am getting adequate exercise. I enjoy food too, though, so maybe someday it will catch up to me. We will see.

  42. It was that bad, eh? Couldn’t stand to read anymore blogs? 😛 Congrats on such a huge goal! Thanks for stopping in and the encouragement! Come back anytime!

  43. You have inspired me to get off the couch and go ride up the hill and over th Golden Gate Bridge – I had planned to do this today anyway, but was quickly settling in to reading blogs . . . . Thanks!

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