Do you remember your New Year’s resolution to exercise? I live in Wisconsin, and it’s hard to keep that resolution when it’s below zero. It’s not below zero anymore, and now is the time to rededicate yourself.
Don’t get too enthusiastic when you start. There is no advantage to suffering, and sore muscles are discouraging. You want to make this new habit last a lifetime. The idea is to make slow progress, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly for a while. Take it easy. Start slow.
Walking is the best way to start. For the first week or so, try to walk at a relaxed pace for about 30 minutes as many times as you can, but not less than 3 times a week. Gradually try walking a little bit faster. If you get tired, just slow down. When you feel rested try picking up the pace again. Note your progress. You might even try logging how you felt or how long you were able to walk at the more brisk pace. (Yes, I know we don’t like log books, but this is different.)
One of the coolest thing about exercising is progress. On most Saturdays I run with a group of people training for the Green Bay Marathon. More experienced marathoners encourage those training for their first marathon. About six weeks ago I passed one of these new runners about four miles into an eight-mile run. I ran and talked with him for awhile. He was excited because he had never run more than seven miles at once before, and today we were running eight. I told him that in a month or so he would go past the 8 mile marker like it was nothing and remember how he once struggled to run eight miles. Last week, I caught this same young man 12 miles into a 16 mile run. He told me that running past the eight-mile mark on his way to 16 was just the greatest thing.
I realize most of you have too much sanity to run 26.2 miles. It is just as encouraging being able to walk at a brisk pace for 30 minutes and remember when you couldn’t walk that pace for more than 5 minutes.