Monday, August 24, 2009

Fitness Recovery Update - #4

Hey folks, it is good to be back. This morning I've been humming that old song "Back in the Saddle Again" as I ponder the kids going back to school and the approaching change of seasons. I want to take a few minutes and update you on my Fitness Recovery Program as I have just concluded week 8.

This morning I hit the pavement at 6:30. It was still dark outside and I was thankful for the streetlights as I ran through our neighborhood. If you will recall just seven short weeks ago (on July 4) I got off the couch after having not run in several months and got back into the running game. I ran/walked 3 miles that hot, hot day in 37:21. This morning I ran 4 miles in 39:23. Last week I ran 19 miles (2 - 4 mile runs, 1 - 6 miler, and 1 - 5 miler). I am well pleased with my progress as I have not experienced any Achilles Tendonitis issues or any other pains of note. So I'm on my way back as a runner and I'm thanking God totally for the ability He has given to me.

But what about the weight loss goal? As of Sunday morning I have lost 20.6 pounds. If you remember I was only planning on losing 30 total. Perhaps I will revise this and stay on the same eating regimen longer, we'll have to see about that. As of now, I am again well pleased and I look forward to the next 8 weeks and the progress I believe will come. God is good!

Several people have asked me about running and how they could get started enjoying the sport. Being totally honest, more have wondered why in the world I would ever want to go run 6 miles as in their eyes this must be a special form of insanity. Perhaps they are right. But for those of you who have the same insane tendencies as I and would like to go pound the pavement but are not quite sure how, I offer these thoughts. I do not profess to be an expert in this area, so what I share are simply my opinions and what I have found works for me.

1) Set a goal. What do you want to do with your running? Do you just want to build your endurance to where you can run 1 mile or do you want to run 3 miles or maybe 10 miles? Do you want to run for weight control purposes only or would you like to run with a goal of completing a 1/2 or whole marathon? Whatever the reason, setting a goal will help. Being specific and writing the goal down also makes a difference.

2) Go run. It is a proven fact that you cannot become a runner without running. If you are unwilling to log the time on the pavement or treadmill you will not become a runner. Usually this is the most difficult step in the running process but once you get off the couch and begin to feel the positive benefits your motivation to become a runner will increase.

By the way - I detest the title JOGGER. I mean, who wants to become a JOGGER? JOGGING conjures up all sorts of counterproductive images in my mind. You don't even have to train to JOG. There are no goals involved in JOGGING, much less any sweat. Besides, almost anyone can JOG but not everyone can be a runner. I am a runner. To misspeak and call a runner by the slanderous title of JOGGER is to level an almost unforgivable insult. But, I digress...

3) Persevere. If you are unable to run very far (notice I didn't say "JOG"), then start out running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes. Use this formula for 10 days to 2 weeks and you will begin to see improvement. When you do, you need to increase the stress level a little so why not reverse the times and run for 2 minutes and walk for 1. After 10 days to 2 weeks of this, slowly increase your time spent running and decrease your time spent walking. You will see results quickly, but be flexible. These rules are not rules carved in stone, they are only suggestions. Modify them to fit your life and ability.

4) I do not run for time, I run for distance. I don't go out to run for 4o minutes. If I want to run 40 minutes, I am going to run 4 miles. If you've not run in a long time, I recommend beginning the run/walk combination for 2 miles at first. When this becomes less difficult then simply increase the mileage slowly. As you will notice I said "slowly" increase the mileage.

5) Run long enough that you run beyond the pain. I remember being told that most people quit running before reaching a point where their body has adapted and there is little or no pain as they run. They give up because until you get into shape, running can be somewhat painful. Muscles hurting and lungs burning is not particularly pleasing and fun. However, if you are to become a runner, you have to be consistent enough with your training that you get into shape and can run for the desired length of time with little or no pain. When I run I'm not feeling pain. I do feel the effects of the run for a while afterwards but my muscles and lungs no longer burn during the run. The only time I notice anything other than the cadence of my feet on the pavement and my corresponding rhythmic breathing is when I push the pace enough to take me out of my comfort zone. This is a good occasionally as it improves fitness; however, running in pain is not fun. I've been there and done that enough and prefer to enjoy my running rather than it being something I loathe.

There you have it - a few helpful hints to those of you who have asked about my running. Believe me, there is nothing scientific about what I have shared above. If you are looking for something more advanced and "official" I recommend checking out the Runner's World website. And if you have not been physically active in quite some time, I also recommend checking out your doctor - or, better yet, letting your doctor check you out.

Have fun and thanks for reading!

Have a blast on the pavement; I know I am.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So Much To Do, So Little Time...

The title sums up my pastoral experience at this moment. I have done two funerals this week with another starting in less than 90 minutes. There seems to be so much to do and so little time right now.

But don't lose hope. I will be back shortly and will be sharing some more thoughts and ponderings from my heart as I blog later in the week.

As of now, please pray for the Ecuador mission team as they are doing VBS in this distant land even as I write. Please pray that they will boldly share Jesus with those they come in contact and that they will never be ashamed of the Gospel. Please pray for their safety and that God will pour out His blessings on their efforts in such a way that every member of the mission team will be changed in a real and tangible way.

God bless and I'll be back in touch soon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

FRP Update - #3

Last Saturday marked the completion of week four since I have been running again. I have come far since that very hot July 4th afternoon and am well pleased. I have run four times a week every week except last. I ran three times last week but two of those run were four miles each. When I began four weeks ago I ran/walked the three miles in excess of 37 minutes. That is so slow that I’m almost ashamed to put this in written form, but if I don’t, there is no point in updating my progress to you. I ran the same 3 mile route yesterday morning in 30:21 – over seven minutes faster than my initial run. I have long been amazed at the human body as a creation of God. When faced with regular physical challenges, the human body quickly responds. The heart is an amazing muscle and adapts extraordinarily when pushed pushed beyond normal limits. God is amazing! All that said, yes, I’m pleased with my running progress and look forward to extending my distances in the weeks ahead.

This past Sunday I visited with a friend named James at FBC-O about running as he is taking up the sport. Talk turned to shoes so I thought I would answer his question on-line. Every runner who has logged more than a few miles is very opinionated regarding the best shoe on the market. I am no different. Asics are my favorite shoes, hands down. More specifically, I run in Asics GT-2140’s with extra inserts for increased padding. This shoe/insert combination is wonderful and works well for me. I have switched to a different Asics model only once and had some ankle issues so I stick with what has worked for many miles and have no plans on changing again.

My 1700 calorie per day diet has been successful in spite of having wanted to lose weight at a more rapid pace. In the five weeks I have been following the eating program outlined in a previous blog, I have lost 14 pounds. It sounds better than it is because of the huge weight loss in week one; however, I have averaged 1 pound per week since so that's not too bad. I am contemplating reducing the calorie intake by 200 per day, but we’ll see on that. A better alternative would be to insert 3-4 days of weight training, but we’ll also see on that.

That’s my update for now. Thanks for reading.