Over the past year my dad transformed himself from a overweight and sedentary person into a healthy and disciplined exerciser, and most exciting to me is that he seems to have found a passion for the outdoors through his process. My family and I are proud of him, and so it’s particularly exciting for us that Sessions interviewed him for their blog.
For seven years, Andy and his wife served soup to runners at the end of a three loop 50k race in their town.
Year after year, Andy would find himself thinking “Next year, I’m going to run that first loop.”
On December 29th, before he and his wife served soup, Andy finally ran the first 10 miles of the race.
What motivated you to start being active?
There wasn’t really one thing that motivated me to start being active, but instead lots of different things coming together at once. Last year, my two older brothers both started having heart problems. Even though I haven’t had any major health scares, seeing the heart disease in my family put my own health in perspective. With all of my children grown up, I now have more time to devote to my own health.
How did you start building more activity into your life?
My first few weeks were filled with lots of small victories. I began by layering walking and biking into my daily life. I had a bike that my children bought me for Christmas that had been sitting in the garage for years. I started biking to and from work every day. I also started tracking my food on My Fitness Pal and my exercise on Map My Run. In the past three months, I’ve ran and rode my bike over 220 miles. This is probably more than I’ve done in the past 28 years combined.
How did you train for the first loop of the 50k race?
Running has been on my list of goals for years, so I committed to running the first loop of the 50k race on December 29th. I talked with some of my friends about running and printed out a half marathon training plan. On that first day I had stretched, was wearing all my new running clothes, and was feeling ready for my 2 mile run. I had gone about .2 miles when I had to stop to let traffic pass. I remember thinking “What did I get myself into?” I pushed through the 2 miles and when I got home printed a 10k schedule to follow instead. When I went out for my second run I didn’t have any of the problems I’d had during the first run. By the end of that first week I’d throw out the 10k plan and was thinking “I can do this.”
What were some of your biggest obstacles?
I’m the type of person who likes to quietly and discreetly work towards my goals. For a long time I had a fear of sharing my exercise goals with other people. It took a while, but I finally got to the point where I was able to seek out the advice and guidance of others. I learned to remind myself that my goal is to complete, not compete.
A lot of my failures in the past were because I always thought exercise was something that had to be done in a gym. Once I realized I could get in all my exercise outside, I began to really enjoy and appreciate the experience of being active.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about become more active?
Set goals that are reasonable, measurable, and attainable. Break things down into small targets and just keep plugging away at those. That way, you’ll have a natural momentum that will eventually become a habit.