01 November 2006

Run with Maryann: The beginning

18 months ago Maryann Shaw had stopped exercising. Then, motivated by the need to lose weight, she started walking. Start training with her for a 10-km fun run in December.

A mere 18 months ago Maryann Shaw, photo editor of Images24, had stopped exercising. Motivated by the need to lose weight, she started walking. The walking turned to running.

Now she's training for The Old Mutual Two Oceans half-marathon in April 2007, after losing 15 kg in 18 months by walking 5 - 6 km three times per week.

But let's start in smaller chunks. First, start training with her for a 10-km fun run in December (12 weeks from now). Follow the 12-week programme designed by the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) and set your goal to compete in a 10-km race in December. We will also provide you with a list of races from which to choose. Here is how it all started.

Maryann's story
Motivated initially by needing to lose weight, I oddly enough seem to have become a runner. If you are in a rut and have fallen out of the habit of exercise, read on. If I can do it, so can you.

18 months ago, sitting on my couch feeling sorry for myself, I could never have imagined this. I have been selected to be a Two Oceans Superstar! This means I will do a twelve-week Optifit programme with the Sports Science Institute, and get help and support (and a “virtual” coach) to ensure I am fit and ready to do the Old Mutual Two Oceans 21km half marathon on 7 April next year.

Back to the couch: I had picked up loads of weight (about 17kg) and had stopped exercising, and was in a bad space.

I managed to get myself to the Newlands branch of Run/Walk for Life (with the emphasis on walk), and slowly started doing 20-30 minutes of exercise, three times a week.

I found that walking with people and chatting most of the time, I barely noticed I was exercising, and for the first time ever, I was able to stick to the routine of being somewhere to exercise, three times a week. I would highly recommend this as a way of getting into exercising again, especially for those who have struggled to get into a gym routine.

Big weight loss
I am now 15kg lighter and have just switched to doing more running than walking. I never thought I would want to run, but it seems to be a natural progression as walking 5 - 6km three times a week was no longer a challenge.

A dietician has helped me with the weight loss. She is of the “don’t deprive yourself” school of thought , which I think is vital if your “diet” is to work. I don’t do dieting in the restrictive sense of not being allowed stuff, I just have learnt about what the better choices are. I eat a lot, regularly. Fuelling the body so it is always in “processing” mode. That is how I see it anyway.

If you don’t feed the body regularly, it grabs and stores what you do give it, as it has no idea when you might feed it again. My goal has been to lose 1kg a month, as losing that slowly means I have a greater chance of keeping it off, especially as there is not much deprivation involved to get that weight to shift.

Don’t let the scale rule you
So important to remember, especially if weight loss is done in conjunction with exercise build-up, measure yourself, rather than weighing in.

As you build up muscle and tone, your weight loss may slow down, but your body is changing shape for the better. Really discouraged one month by no weight loss, I was chuffed to see that I had actually lost a further 2cm off my waist. That brings it to over 10cm in total so far.

Your waist measurement is a key indicator of your health apparently, so it was very good to see that my overall health and fitness had improved, even though the scale was not reflecting it to such an extent.

Join me for 12 weeks as I do the Optifit programme, culminating in a 10-km race on December 16. I will share tips I can and we will have a forum to chat about our progress.

With a short break over the festive season (although I will be running then too), I will start another diary on Monday 22 January, which will track 11 weeks to get to the Two Oceans 21-km half-marathon.

Read more: Week two of training

Helpful running sites:
Two Oceans marathon
Runner's World.




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