Sunday, 25 October 2015

Getting Ready To Make Big Changes For A Healthier Lifestyle

This month has seen me plodding away with my running, but next month I want to make a few big changes. Changes that will not only help my running, but make a huge difference in my health and well being.

But rather than wait until I make my running goals for November, I'm going to have to start preparing for them now. These are big changes, and will be a big challenge to make them happen. The sooner I start to make preparations, the easier it should be.

Random picture taken out on one of this month's runs. 

There a few bad habits that are affecting my running, energy levels, weight, quality of sleep, recovery, finances and general health. They are:

Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Eating Too Much Chocolate, Sweets (candy) and Processed Food

These are two addictions and one bad habit that I need to get rid of. Stopping them all at once will be incredibly hard, but with some preparation now and willpower, I might just be able to ditch them. For the duration of a month anyway.

Giving Up Smoking

This is going to be the hardest one to do, but I really do not want to be a smoker anymore. They cost me money just to have the pleasure of damaging my health, increasing my chance of death and most importantly, making it harder to run fast. Well, maybe that's not the most important reason, but it's a filthy, smelly habit, and I don't want to do it anymore. 

I am still reading Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking (click for the Amazon UK link..), and if I can finish it in the next week, I should be a non smoker by the start of next month. It might sound strange reading a book to stop smoking, but it does work. I am ready to get them out of my life, and am looking forward to being a non smoker. It's just a shame I'm a slow reader..

Giving Up Alcohol For 1 Month

This is more of a habit than an addiction, but it's still something I worry about. I will have a few beers most nights of the week, and it is effecting a lot of aspects in my life, health and running. It also costs a fair amount of money when you add all the beers of all the nights up.

I don't really need to drink in the evening, so I'm going to try and abstain for a full month. Like I say, it's more about breaking the habit, rather than me getting the shakes from an alcohol addiction. 

The main challenge will be the long dark nights, especially now that I am living on my own. So to prepare, I'll buy as many different fruit juices and soft drinks that I can fit in the fridge. That way, thirst or taste won't be a factor.

I'll also stop napping during the day, so I won't be staying up too late. I'll tell everyone I know about it, so they won't ask me out for drinks for a month. It'll be tough, but it should save me a lot of money and lose some weight. 

Eating No Chocolate, Sweets Or Processed Foods

I haven't been too bad with my chocolate binges lately, but they still happen once a week. However, I've found myself buying chocolate after eating lunch, buying fast food, and filling the freezer and cupboards with pizzas, chips and convenience meals. It's not doing my weight any good, and I really don't know how I've still managed to avoid getting diabetes. 

So in preparation for cutting all this out, I'll make sure my house contains none of these unhealthy foods. I'll bring fruit to work to help satisfy my sweet tooth and I'll cook and freeze healthy meals so that they will always be on hand. 

I'm not going to go on any mad diets, I'm just going to cut out food that isn't really food.

This Month's Running

Most of my running this month has been with my dog Sheldon. During weekdays, we get up at 5am for a 2 mile walk/run, so that he has a bit of exercise and fresh air before I go to work. It also gives me a bit of exercise before breakfast.

Our morning run

Most evenings we'll go out for a long walk/ run, normally about 5 miles, at different speeds. I've used these walks to work on running form drills, do Fartlek speed intervals and do a couple of fast miles. They haven't been very focused training sessions, but they are a great way of clocking up miles.

This month I've ran two 5K Parkrun races, where my times haven't been great. Yesterday I ran 5K nearly 2.5 minutes slower that my personal best in 22 minutes 31 seconds, mainly due to having quite a hangover. And still being a smoker. And eating too much bad food.

Parkrun with my dog
Sheldon and Scarlett after running 5K. Scarlett may have been buggy assisted though. 

The week before I brought Sheldon to his first Parkrun. He loved it, and he got quite a bit of praise from all the other runners when we finished. A lot of them seemed amazed a three legged dog could run at all. We finished 50th out of nearly 200 runners. 

So for the next month I'm just going to continue with this way of training, with a few Parkruns and races at the weekends. All of my efforts will be going into stopping my bad habits, so I'll not set any running goals this month.

It will be interesting to see if my running improves with making these changes though. I hope you'll be able to read about my success next month..


What changes would you make to help improve your running? Am I the only person who both smokes and runs?


  1. I wish you the best of luck in quitting those 3 addictions. It'll be so worth it once you succeed so don't give up!

    1. Thank you.. Yes, I'm really hoping I can do it this time. Positive thoughts.. Positive thoughts... :)

  2. First let me say congrats for making the decision to stop smoking. That is an amazing step! I too need to give up processed food and all the excess sugar I consume. It notice the different in running and also in my energy levels. This sounds like a great challenge. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, I'm looking forward to reaping the rewards, I just know next month will be really tough, especially at the start.. Yeah, it is so easy to eat processed and sugary food, and it can really mess with your energy levels. Good luck with cutting them out :)


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