What If People Looked At Their Health Like A Competition? With Cash Rewards..

Everywhere you look another report comes out stating that as a society the United States is one of the fattest (most obese) countries in the world.  In each report it doesn’t say that the United States is making strides in the right direction however, it mentions that we are getting fatter and fatter.  If you want a guess as to why this is the case, take a look at grocery carts of others next time you are at the grocery store or maybe take a bike ride around restaurants during dinner time and see that there is a wait even on a weekday.

As consumers we are more worried about how long dinner is gong to take us to prepare than what is actually on the plates we serve to our family.  We are willing to sacrifice a nutritious meal for our children if it saves us 20 minutes as our days already don’t have enough time in them.  Rather than giving our kids fruits and vegetables for a snack, we listen to their pleas for fruit snacks with their favorite cartoon character on the box.  There as been talk of company’s raising their health premiums for people who’s health levels are not up to par.  This could include whether a person is a smoker or not or maybe if there body fat percentage is an unhealthy range.

I would like to see the government do the same and take it a step further. (I am not an advocate for the government to get involved in many things for the record.)  What if every year you got an annual physical where they checked your body fat percentage, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels and gave you a tax credit if you met the healthy level standards.  This would encourage people to get yearly physicals and hopefully help diagnose health risks or problems for people before they become a serious condition and also give a reward for being healthy or making strides in the right direction.

I am not sure how much of a tax credit would be appropriate as I have to think more through on the possible health care reductions as a healthier society ages vs. a increasingly obese society.  However by encouraging healthier lifestyles and rewarding individuals for doing so, healthcare costs should decrease, especially amongst the middle to later aged demographic.  Stay tuned for future updates to this plan…change doesn’t happen by stagnant activity, but by acts driven by a purpose.

Marathon Training Update: Knee Injury, New Shoes and Speed Workouts

The last month has seen some of my training highs and lows since I started running again in early 2013.  After running a “slow” 6 miler on Friday, I woke up Saturday (7/20) with a swollen knee. My knee felt like a rubber band that someone was stretching to it’s max and all it wanted to do was snap.  I had a 18 mile long run planned on Saturday and rather than further injuring myself I took to the ice and advil plan.  I know how much it helps to get the long runs in during training for a marathon, but knew I still had plenty of time to recover, get some long 20 mile runs in, and still be in great shape come race if I just was smart about this swollen knee.

After five days of resting my knee, it was feeling great so I ventured out for a 2 mile run with no pain during, after or the following day.  I slowly was ramping my mileage back up and have been very careful since ensuring I listen to my body and treat it like a delicate tool.  Although there is no high like crossing the finish line on race day like I did in May at the Fargo Half-Marathon and plan to do in Sioux Falls in just a few short weeks, great training runs are a close second.  The marathon plan that I have modified is to run a sub 3:30. My goal has been the entire time to run a 3:04:59, the qualifying standard for my age group, so for all the speed workouts I’ve increased the speed at which they were to be done.

The speed workouts have reminded me very much of my high school cross-country training days besides not having the large group of people to push you through the  800 or mile repeat.  Although they many times can be tougher than a long run, the pain from them is temporary and once it is over, the feeling of what you just accomplished can leave one speechless.  Every time I have one of these speed workouts I can’t wait to run that day and almost get jittery at work with excitement.  As I write this blog post I’ve already been looking ahead to when I have 800 repeats again.

Lastly, I made a change in the footwear department.  I will write a more extensive blog post about my reasoning on why I decided to make the change, but I am enjoying my new New Balance 890v2’s.  Through five runs now I continue to like the feel of them more each time and am looking for a pair of race flats for New Balance for future marathons.  For the Sioux Falls marathon I have decided to use the New Balance 890’s that I have been wearing for my training as they will be broken in but should still be very comfortable over the 26.2 miles.  Please check back for my extensive post about why I made the switch the New Balance as I feel very passionate about this decision and encourage others to do the same.

I hope everyone has many happy miles in their training and upcoming races! I already am giddy about the Sioux Falls Marathon on September 8th when I will look to crush my PR of 4:13…by hopefully over an hour 🙂