I am beginning my third month of irregular exercise. It is irregular because I get going pretty good and then I over do it. Then I have to take extra days off to heal. My brain will not cooperate – it thinks my body is young and healthy and strong. The memories of two-hour racquetball sessions, five mile runs in the mornings, and hot steam baths pervade any sense of present day reality.
Today was my best day yet. I made it three miles in 43 minutes. When I started two months ago I could barely walk two miles, and then I could not walk around my house the next day. It took me two days to recover. I kept at it and eventually, like maybe in three or four weeks, was able to increase the distance to three miles.
I walked three miles every other day – and the walk took just over 55 minutes. I set a goal of three miles in 45 minutes. A couple of weeks ago I tried three miles three consecutive days and was so sore and tired that I had to take four days off to recover. I am slowly figuring this out – or should I say adapting to my age.
I cut the grass and worked in the yard yesterday – so I did not walk my route. I am lifting weights for upper body strength every other day. I am now able to walk every day – but I walk two miles on my ‘off’ days. I have achieved my goal of less than 45 minutes for three miles.
Now for new goals. I am going to try to walk three miles in 45 minutes six days a week. This is what I do, I risk causing problems – but it seems necessary to test my limits. If I don’t push myself then I fear that I will lapse back in to evening ice cream.
I am presently using a 200 and 100 rule. I walk 200 yards, then I jog 100 yards. Walk fast, run slow. My heart rate is my guide. The formula I use is simple, subtract my age from 220. Multiply the result by .75 – that is my target heart rate. So I want my heart rate in a range from about 112 to 120 beats per minute. I use a ten second count so I am looking at about 17-20 beats. Anything over 20 and I slow down.
I feel good. I am chasing the old runner’s high that my brain thinks is readily available – and my body has long forgotten. My body is being reprogrammed with exercise. I can feel the capillaries beginning to open, the lungs expanding, my heart pounding with a steady rhythm.
One day I will traverse the three miles in 30 minutes – when I can do that I will map out a five mile course. Oh no, there is the pride of my brain sneaking in again.