The Race to Better Fitness

My beard is almost all gray now. What the heck?

I’ve said many times on this blog that there is no race to get healthy, lose weight, or get fit. Not only can you not rush the process, but trying to do so is dangerous and can result in injury which slows your progress. The best plan is to take things slowly.

When I began my weight loss journey, I had no expectation of a rate of weight loss. When I began my fitness journey, I had no expectation of rate of improvement in my level of fitness. I embarked upon both journeys with the goal of steady improvement over time. I knew and expected setbacks, plateaus, and difficulty, but I endeavored to persevere and conquer. I also adopted the mindset of this being a never-ending journey with no end. This was a lifestyle, not a temporary cycle.

When I hurt my Achilles heel last year, it took me out of running for 5 solid months. Two months after hurting my heel, I hurt my shoulder which took me out of weightlifting, leading me to no fitness for three months. I only started running again in February, and my weightlifting has not started yet (but is due to start next week again… finally). I have had to take things very slowly with my running to get back into it safely, and while I still have stiffness in my ankles, it’s actually not the injury that hurts; it’s stiffness from not running for five months. I’ve started stretching exercises during the day to help loosen things up, and it’s finally starting to help.

It’s taken almost three months, but I can finally run 3 miles without pain and after the run, not have spaghetti legs. It never took me this long to get back into running, but I’ve also never been almost 53 years old coming off a serious sports injury. Things take longer to heal when we’re older, and to avoid further injury, I’ve taken things slower than I have in the past. The result is being able to run and actually enjoy it. I still have a hard time starting a run, but once I’m out there, I work hard and make the best of it. The Bluetooth headphones help a lot for that.

I’m also back to doing 50+ push ups before my runs. I used to do over 100. In February, I could only do 25. I’m working my way back up to 100+, but I’m not pushing things. My shoulder doesn’t need to be reinjured. I have a military school tentatively scheduled for June/July, so I need to make sure I’m in good physical condition as the school I will attend is very demanding physically.

Take your time. Be safe. Adopt the 80% exertion rule for fitness: only expend 80% full capacity when exercising. This keeps you from being completely worn out after a workout, and also allows your body to heal properly and quickly. I have taken things slowly and have been very happy with the results. With the exception of the two military and sports-related injuries I sustained late last year, I’ve been injury-free for four years of running. It’s like the turtle and the hare. Being a turtle has its benefits.

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