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Tied To The Treadmill No More

January 14, 2009
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Alarm…hit snooze…Alarm…OK, OK, I’m up.  Bathroom, running clothes, chug water, hit the pavement.  This was my morning routine for probably about 5 years.  If it was below 20 degrees or raining outside, the I would hit up the Y for a good treadmill run.  3 days a week, I would do strength training videos after running.  I did the same workout everyday, 5 days a week with no variation.  I ran the same routes and worked the same muscles over and over.

I used to envy those girls who spent 10 minutes on one machine, 10 minutes on another, maybe lifted some weights and then finished their workout on yet another machine.  Not me – I HAD to RUN everyday for at least 60 minutes.  If I did a 45 minute trail run with a friend, then I would do an additional 15 minutes on my own…I remember one bitterly cold day in particular.  After 45 minutes on the trails, I actually drove to the gym to fit in another 15 on the treadmill.  Sounds silly now, but a few years ago, a workout was not a workout unless I hit that 60 minute mark.  When I was training for my 50K, I would run for 4 or more hours on the trails.  Crazy!

I don’t know what changed things for me.  Maybe it was the career shift and a change in my routine?  I no longer work 8 – 5.  Sometimes, my workday day doesn’t even begin until 5 PM now, and I no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to fit in my daily exercise.  I still like to workout early in the day, but sometimes it’s 10 or 11 AM before I hit the gym.  Maybe it was the fact that I became a wife, a homeowner, and a mom to 2 puppies all in the same year?  I no longer had time for extended periods of exercise.  Maybe it was the fact that I kept seeing clients with the same running induced injuries over and over…or maybe it was when I started taking a yoga sculpt class at the Y last year that totally kicked my butt…Wow, maybe this whole yoga thing is a good way to strength train!  Maybe it was when I bruised my sacrum and had to cut out all cardio for 8 weeks?  Maybe it was when I read this?  Looking back, do you think someone was trying to tell me something? 🙂  Well, whatever the reason, something finally clicked.  30 – 60 minutes of exercise is plenty, and it’s much more fun to do a variety of activities.  My body feels so much stronger than it did during my high mileage days, and it’s easier for me to maintain my weight as I don’t require as many carbs now.

I no longer plan my workouts weeks in advance.  I usually look at the Y’s class schedule…maybe pick out a yoga class for the week.  I try to fit in 2-3 strength training sessions  and several days of cardio intervals.  I take one day of complete rest, usually Sundays.  My schedule for this week is as follows:

Monday: 10 minutes on the Stepmill at Level 10 followed by 2 minutes at Level 12 to warm up.

Legs (3 sets, 15 reps each): Leg press (140 pounds), walking lunges (30 lbs), calf raises (30 lbs), straight leg dead-lifts (30 lbs), Plie squats (25 lbs).

Abs: Held plank position for 2 minutes followed by 10 seconds hard bicycle crunches, 10 seconds easy for a total of 1 minute.

10 minutes on the treadmill.  4.0 mph at a 8% incline for 8 minutes.  5.0 mph at 8% incline for 2 minutes.


I took the Power Latte class at a local yoga studio here in town: This early morning transformative flowing class is designed to cleanse the body of tension and leave you feeling energized and alive; all without that morning ‘cup of joe’.  This tough class started at 6 AM, and we got down to serious business right away with a series of Sun Salutations.  I definitely felt energized and alive…but I still had my morning cup of joe. 

Wednesday: Ugh, so sore from yesterday’s yoga…love that!  I decided on an easy cardio mix at the gym.

5 minute warm-up on the Arc Trainer.

20 minutes on the treadmill.   4.0 mph at a 9% incline.

20 minutes of intervals on the Arc Trainer.  1 minute fast at level 40 followed by 1 minute recovery at level 60.

5 minute cool down on the Stepmill at level 10.

Thursday: Yoga?  Upper body strength circuit?  Tabata Intervals on the stationary bike?  Love those!

Friday: Whatever I didn’t cover on Thursday.  Maybe a trail run or yoga DVD?

Saturday: Too far away to think about. 

Before, I would have every  minute of every workout mapped out, but now I just want to have fun and stay in shape.  Although I still struggle with overdoing the cardio at times, I really try keep my workouts under an hour.  What used to be a task on my to-do list is now a gift to enjoy, and I never dread going to the gym anymore.  I encourage all of you to examine your own exercise routines.  Do you look forward to your workouts?  Do you ever go to the gym with no plans?  Give it a try, you might enjoy yourself!

Dinner tonight inspired by Sammie.  Love Sammie’s bowls of oat bran!

Apple Cranberry Oat Bran

Apple Cranberry Oat Bran

I brewed 1/3 cup of Celestial Seasonings apple cranberry tea and mixed it 1/3 cup oat bran.  I let it thicken and then added 1 cup Greek yogurt and some cereal.  To top it all off I added a drizzle of Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter and some Barney Butter.  So creamy and delicious!

Not only did I have a strict workout schedule in the past, but I was the same with my meals.  Dinner was eaten at a certain time whether I was hungry or not, and it always had to include a protein and a vegetable.  Some type of healthy dessert followed, even if I felt full as it was part of my daily allowance. Well, now I’m breaking all the rules by honoring my hunger and listening to my body.  I had a big lunch right after my cardio session this morning, and I didn’t feel like a large dinner and dessert.  I just wanted one big bowl of messy goodness…so that is what I ate.  Heather finally rebels.  It’s been a long time coming y’all!

Check out the most exciting news I read all day over at Hangry Pants.  I’ll give you a hint…it involves my favorite almond butter!

33 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2009 8:41 pm

    The only exercises that I engage in now are strength-training (4 times per week with my trainer) and yoga (daily). My body thanks me SOOOO much for it!! It works for me – cardio is too rough on my joints.

  2. January 14, 2009 8:53 pm

    haha. i am like a cardio machine, and the only cardio i do is run! i do like to strength train and work my core a few times a week to keep everything toned and strong. i’m just a runner i guess…

    i love that you are mixing things up though. after i finish this marathon in april, i plan on taking some time off of hardcore running and just doing a few runs per week. i think i want to start biking and swimming and possibly prepare for a triathalon? who knows! i’ll always be a runner though!

  3. Alicia permalink
    January 14, 2009 8:59 pm

    Thanks for the reminder Heather, to listen to our bodies instead of doing the same old thing everyday. But I can be rigid about meals.

    I don’t do the same thing everyday as I alternate between gym, running and yoga but can be rigid about fitting in my exercise for the day. I’m alot more flexible this year about food and exercise so hopefully it can remain this way.

    It’s quite ridiculous because I try to get my gym sessions finished early enough so that I can have my favourite post-workout meal. If I eat it too close to dinner time, which is 7pm for my household, then I won’t feel hungry for dinner and I like feeling hungry. 🙂 But yesterday, I only had chocolate milk post-workout since I was about to have dinner in an hour.

  4. January 14, 2009 9:02 pm

    I definitely look forward to my running… but I’m betting that if I did it every day, it would become a chore. As much as I miss it on the days I don’t run, it makes it all the more fun on the days I do. It’s like Christmas, ya know? If every day were Christmas, it wouldn’t feel so special any more!

  5. January 14, 2009 9:07 pm

    Heather, What a great story. Really. I am the most boring exerciser ever and I need to stop! I don’t know why I insist on doing the same things for the same amount of time! Maybe I’m scared? Anyway, thanks for reminding me I do not need to run for an hour everyday to be healthy. 😀


    P.S. Thanks for the link love. I hope you ordered your BB today! 😀

  6. January 14, 2009 9:30 pm

    You are so awesome. I was just telling my husband tonight that I feel LAZY if I do any less than 4o minutes at the gym and I always tell myself I should go to an hour. Thanks for putting it into perpective for me. Now that I have started running though, I do feel a brand new love for working out!

  7. Kelly permalink
    January 14, 2009 9:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing your exercise story. I think many of us feel “tied” to the gym or a particular workout schedule. Myself, included. Unfortunately, I am generally fairly disgusted by my eating habits and therefore feel that I HAVE to workout as much as I do. I guess it works both ways?????

  8. January 14, 2009 9:31 pm

    Your posts always surprise me! You should write a book 🙂 I concur- its so easy to feel like you have to always do the same thing and it has to be so intense! I love reading about your adventures with yoga. I know I need to get into it…I just need to find a class I like! I found a new studio opening near my house and I want to try hot yoga…I feel like that could be my thing!

    The mess looks great- yayy for Sammie!

    I get jealous of how much Josh can eat too!

  9. FollowMyWeigh permalink
    January 14, 2009 9:44 pm

    lol i used to spend 10 min. on one machine, 10 minutes on the next – mainly because i got bored. thanks for sharing your workout history, it was intresteing to read! if i could workout anytime of day i think 10-11, midday, would be the best time too. i think i read somewhere that that was actually a very good time to workout. most energy??

  10. January 14, 2009 9:50 pm

    This is so awesome, sounds you like found your happy place 😀 I definitely overdid the cardio after I stopped doing my dance team thing in college, b/c we didn’t have practice anymore so I just still worked out for like an hour and half or two hours! I used to do the elliptical or treadmill before TKB, what the hell?? I’m so much happier to just sweat it out for an hour than get outta there. Awesome reminders.

  11. January 14, 2009 10:00 pm

    I’m glad that you are no longer tied to the treadmill 🙂 I am such a planner, I need to have things planned in advance, but I also change things up pretty often.

  12. January 14, 2009 11:31 pm

    I very rarely plan my workouts except for maybe a day in advance and even though I don’t fully decide the exact exercises, intervals or durations I’m going to do until basically just before I actually work out. Nor do I exercise at regular times, but rather at different times every day depending on when I have the chance as well as when I feel up to it. And this works out WELL for me. Maybe I would benefit from introducting a TAD more structure into my working out, but really, doing it this way keeps me interested and never makes working out a chore. I workout when I feel motivated to workout and it’s not too hard to get that motivation when I allow myself the freedom to do whatever workout I feel inclined to do whenever it happens strikes my fancy. That being said, I still do exercise on a nearly daily basis, but I like having the freedom of allowing the motivation to come to me and to WANT to work out rather than forcing it.

    I loved reading about how you’ve overcome the strict rigidity of the running addiction. GOOD for you. 🙂 Variety is a grand thing, isn’t it?

  13. January 15, 2009 12:13 am

    Fascinating! I used to have a certain number of calories the treadmill had to say that I burned. Ridiculous. Now I just try to stay active all day in a variety of ways. It has helped my mood so much! Thanks for sharing this, it was very enlightening.

  14. January 15, 2009 12:33 am

    I love this post!! I am pretty low key when it comes to exercise. Walking is my favorite. I do yoga every day (mostly power yoga and ashtanga) and while it’s an amazing workout it doesn’t tax my joints the way running did. Love love love it!

  15. January 15, 2009 6:04 am

    I like your thoughts here. I try to mix up my work out as much as I ca, even though I know I would rather be running 60 minutes everyday, but I feel so limited with out a gym membership and a set work schedule. I really wish I could take more classes and have access to a wide array of weights. I strive for your new balance of working out, maybe one day that can be me too. 🙂

  16. lissa10279 permalink
    January 15, 2009 7:52 am

    That was so me, too … HAVING to wake up for my workout at a certain time, HAVING to work out for X minutes or burn X calories … it was addicting. Over-exercising was one of my first disordered behaviors. So glad you aren’t tied to the TM any longer; I love working out now when it fits into my day. I know it always has “a place” and it doesn’t have to happen at X time. 🙂

  17. petitfoodie permalink
    January 15, 2009 8:28 am

    What a great post! I think you will be so much happier!! I was! 🙂

  18. January 15, 2009 11:03 am

    I just found your blog and am so happy that I did! I am adding you to my google reader and my blogroll!

    I am going through a phase trying to convince myself that shorter workouts are OK. Reading this post is such inspiration for me.

  19. January 15, 2009 12:28 pm

    I just ordered Barney Butter thanks to your note about Hangry Pants! I have been dying to try it – so excited!

  20. January 15, 2009 12:53 pm

    great advice on switching things up. sometimes we get into these ruts where we are so comfortable iwht what we’re doing we forget to change our ways. Glad youre enjoying all of your new classes!

  21. January 15, 2009 1:21 pm

    gotta switch it up! great post!

    Kelly Turner

  22. January 15, 2009 2:58 pm

    Hey girl, Thanks for the shout out yet again. That bowl of yumminess looks delish. I used to be able to have a very flexible exercise schedule but then I became a mommy and now my days are no longer my own. There will come a day when D won’t need me anymore like he does now and that makes me sad. I try to enjoy every day that I have with him and just take the “me” where I see fit. So glad that you have a routine that makes you happy – that’s what it is all about.

  23. January 15, 2009 2:59 pm

    Like right now. I am enjoying a few moments of peace – for some reason he went into his bed and fell asleep. He must have had a busy day at work this morning.

  24. January 15, 2009 6:15 pm

    Good for you! I was never that bad with the gym, but I am addicted. I need to get my 3 times a week in for strength training but I’m more flexible about when I go. I used to be very strict in my eating habits as well, I had to eat every 3-4 hours whether or not I was hungry but that’s all changed for me too. I feel so much more free and flexible now, it’s a wonderful feeling! Hope you’re enjoying the same feeling =)

  25. January 15, 2009 6:36 pm

    I used to live in Nashville (Brentwood) …. oh how I miss the YMCAs there!! They were all amazing. Tear … I wish I were still there and able to go to some great classes.

  26. January 15, 2009 7:12 pm

    Hey Anne, I grew up in Brentwood. We do have great Y’s here for sure! I’m sorry you had to move away. 😦

  27. January 15, 2009 7:20 pm

    Dori, so excited for your Barney Butter purchasee! Did you get crunchy? Let me know how you like it 🙂

  28. January 15, 2009 7:21 pm

    Beadie, thanks for reading…and for adding me to your blogroll! Shorter workouts ARE OK…in fact, I honestly believe they are better for our bodies.

  29. January 15, 2009 10:48 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this post. You have a way with words, Heather! I am really glad to hear that you have found the right balance when it comes to working out. It definitely takes a while to get there and I think I’m still a work in progress, but it’s helpful to read posts like these!

    I totally thought about you when I ordered two jars of crunchy Barney Butter with free shipping yesterday 🙂

  30. January 15, 2009 10:57 pm

    Enjoy your week of yoga!

  31. January 16, 2009 11:59 am

    What a great story! I’ve always felt guilty for not running longer mileages, but its nice to gain perspective from someone who used to pile on the miles and is now feeling stronger and fitter with less running. I think when I’m done with my 10-mile race in April I’ll go back to my 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week, combined with yoga and weights. Its the combination I’m happiest with. Thanks for the inspiration!

    I just discovered your blog and can tell I’m really going to like it. 🙂

  32. January 16, 2009 1:55 pm

    Hi Andrea, thank you for your kind words and for reading my blog. Never feel guilty for any distance you run! 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week is much more than most people would ever dream of running. Do what makes you happy and good luck with your 10 miler. That is a fun distance for a race.

  33. January 17, 2009 9:00 pm

    Boy can I relate to this! I don’t know how I got to there but for a while I HAD to run at least 4 miles every. single. day. I would have close to a panic attack if I didn’t. I didn’t care what the weather was like, whether my joints were hurting or if I had to cancel plans with a friend, I had to run. Thankfully I have gotten a little more relaxed but I’d like to get to the point where I can go without cardio (i.e. do yoga or strength train) and still be content with my workout. Always a work in progress 🙂

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