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.