Oh good gosh


A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my new blueberry sneakers and my intended plan on stepping up my walking into something more productive (i.e., something that would reduce my roundness).

Welcome to week two of my personally designed interval walking plan. I say personally designed because, of course, I have no idea what I’m doing and, based on internet research, everyone else on the planet agrees with my assessment.

Basically, I used two bad decisions to create a potentially good one. I hesitate to say the world has stopped spinning because I have proved that two wrongs actually do make a right, but it’s darn close.

So. My two decisions were: not to research interval walking first and deciding to mix jogging and walking instead of walking and fast-walking.

My theory went like this: I understand the concept of interval pretty well (it is, after all, a fairly common sense idea). Periods of moderate or restful exercise interspersed with higher intensity exercise.

Since I already walk at a fairly high pace (4 mph), I figured anything measurably more “intense” would need to step up into jogging.

Of course, here’s where the danger lies. I’ve mentioned in the past that I do not know how to jog. I know how to run. I know how to sprint. I just don’t know how to jog.

So, there I was last week, breaking from walking into a series of short runs. Death blew through me in fast, rasping gasps. I increased my sprints in 30 second increments, (30, 60, 90 and 120), putting a cap at 2 minutes.

I knew my wind was down and I was out of shape. I didn’t know I was going to die if I tried to get in shape. My heart rate got up to 200. At least I think it did…I may have been a little too bleary at that point to measure it right.

Fortunately, I recovered reasonably well and set off to repeat the performance the next day, but was rained out. Apparently, this was for the best, as it seems this type of training is recommended more on alternate days for (ahem) older individuals.

Now, I don’t know if it would be better to just convert my whole walk into a jog or stick with interval. It seems prudent to just wait and see if I get my desired results (or have a heart attack) before upping the ante further.

I’ve kept the “walks” at 3 miles. This used to be 45 minutes, but I have not accounted for the sprint sections shortening the time. I plan on moving it to 4 miles when I am convinced I can successfully handle a constant dose of this type of exercise.

It is messing with my head, though. Literally. My walks have always provided me “quiet time” to think and often to “write” either blogs or books. By having to keep an internal clock on my sprint times (one one-thousand, two one-thousand…), I lose all ability to maintain a creative thought stream. Sure, I could get a watch or some gadget, but the nature remains. It’s another reason I might convert to jogging entirely.

On the plus side, this type of interval training is perfect practice for middle-aged tennis: a lot of standing around (slow walking) interspersed with short bursts of running (sprints). Maybe I’ll re-grip and re-string the old rackets just in case this stuff pays off.

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