I devote this piece to all of you out there who apparently gave up on a challenge the first time they suffered failure. For me, it had come in the form of building my strength and will power to work towards a physical challenge I thought I would never overcome.
I have been walking, out of habit since the past 15 years from what started as a fitness gig. This has been interspersed, time and again with power training, yoga, dance, swimming and the kinds that didn’t last long enough to be part of my routine. Walking lasted for the sheer pleasure of how it felt much less strenuous, especially with a friend or two to keep your conversational explorations in tow. This had falsely acclaimed me a place at the higher end of the fitness spectrum, by friends and acquaintances.
This routine continued till about a year back when my friend who is a high octane workout buff invited me to have a 2-mile jog with her that I accepted with no second thoughts. I huffed, puffed and panted for what seemed like an endless stretch to keep in pace with a seemingly seasoned jogger, not to mention my ill-equipped lungs and shin splint that my middle-aged body stood witness to. It was a bitter-sweet experience that I took home with me that day, with mixed feelings of disappointment on one hand and motivation on the other.
As chance would have it, 2 months later I enrolled for a 10 K race along with some enthusiastic friends and I had made up my mind to stretch my limits a bit further on every jogging session still making sure I didn’t hurt myself to the point of hating it. I realized that in order to gain speed you need to build strength and endurance. It is effective to alternate the run with power training sessions. Keep yourself hydrated during and after the run. Warm-up diligently before and after the run.When your legs can’t take anymore give short breaks and save yourself any injury. The season ended not too bad with the realization that I could jog at least 1 mile at a stretch huffing, puffing, limping (and blaming age)inclusive, leaving room for more improvement.
In quite contrast, following summer saw a nose-dive in the progressive chart of my strength, endurance and speed. My inactivity had seen an all-time high with a few impromptu strolls in the neighborhood to answer my guilt call. To add to it was a barrage of high calorific food that made its way to the gut in the winter holidays. It wasn’t before I put on a few pounds that I swung back to the regular walking routine that often came after long days at work!
End of January saw the dawn of the next session of Cap 10 K practices for the race of 2015, that I envisioned as a nightmare for the fear of disappointing myself. Nevertheless, this was an opportunity to get back in shape, so I decided to join the band-wagon with much fan-fare. Enough precaution was taken to loosen up the muscles and increase heart rate through a set of dynamic stretching routine before the run and static stretches soon after, that seemed to have paid off well the first day, since I did come close to my target of continuous jog for more than 2 miles. I repeated the routine for the following week, with a steady pace of short strides, for a stretch of 3 miles causing no major discomfort to my legs! At this pace, there is anticipation of some improvement on speed and endurance in the coming weeks!
For more information on dynamic stretching, go to http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/a-dynamic-routine
It did come as a revelation never to give in to initial feelings of failures or negative thoughts that visited my doubting mind. If you try hard enough, you just might as well prove yourself wrong more than once!