Saturday, August 23, 2003
posted by Julie |
You've no doubt read that during an aerobic workout -- walking, running, using gym machines, swimming, biking -- we should work out at an intensity that allows us to be able to speak, to hold up one end of a conversation between our huffing and our puffing. Right? Sure, we all know that.
Well, I went jogging with my training buddies yesterday. We have a prescribed training schedule to prepare for our half marathon in Toronto at the end of September. This is the first time I've run with these two women. Typically, I run alone, and so I haven't realized that I've been running badly. That is, running at a too-high intensity for me. Because though I talk to myself most of the day, for some reason I don't when I jog.
I found I couldn't talk. In fact, I lost my breath a few times. Several times. I don't know how many times.
I mentioned breathing difficulties to my coach last week, and he asked me the question: "Could you have asthma?"
Just as a few weeks ago my Pilates instructor, in the middle of whipping my carcass through an hour-long routine, asked me, "Do you have asthma?"
I try to ignore them, but after yesterday's run, really, I can't. I've been busted.
I have real breathing difficulties, actually, but I keep trying to ignore them so they will go away. And though I am much better off than before, breathing much better for much longer, I still can't ignore my lungs entirely. Yesterday I couldn't. So, this morning I started using inhalers again. And today I'm going to focus on slowing down. Again.
Here's the point. There is a point in here: Though our bodies feel like going faster as they become stronger, we must attend to our whole bodies. Our entire systems. And my whole system is encouraging me to find a slower pace to complete these miles.
Does this feel like defeat? Well, no, not really. I've been mildly interested in completing faster miles, but I'm more interested in putting in the time at my own personal best/safest effort. That is, I'm more interested in burning calories and getting fitter over the long run than I am in competing. I'm clear about my goal: I am in this for fitness.
And I can't get more fit if I hurt myself. And I'm more likely to stop working out if it just hurts too much. So, I'll slow down.
My ego is fight this idea even as I write this. But I can't "play through" asthma. I can't do anything but slow down, stop, or fall over.
I've had to slow down several times over the course of the past few years. I was forced to slow down while learning to swim again, slow down when I returned to dance classes, slow down my weight loss, lower my expectations, look for long low advancements. Slow, steady, performance increases.
It's hard for me to do that. I have the patience of a two-year-old. I like to imagine that I've unearthed an athlete from beneath the ruins of a tired, flabby middle-aged woman, but that's pretty far from the truth.
Though I have made great strides in making my body more fit, I can't undo 20 years of inertia quite that quickly. I can't undo my history of pneumonia and bronchitis. I can't unsmoke all those cigarettes in my past or erase the car accident that banged up my right knee. There is no way to eliminate the long-term effects of my excess weight on my hips and knees and ankles.
We are the products of our entire histories. This isn't a whole new me. This is the old me with a lot less weight and greater fitness. The same woman, the same life, the same medical history.
So, with my friends, who can and do run a lot faster than I do, I will run this half-marathon at a really slow pace. With any luck at all, chatting the whole way.
And you? Are you pushing things a little too far, a little too quickly? There are so many reasons not to. Injury of course, exhaustion of course, but perhaps the worst possibility is that you'll begin to dislike or fear your workouts.
Slow it down to make your new fitness habits stick,
Learn More about Asthma from AAAAI.Org
About Exercise Induced Asthma
Judging Your Workout Intensity
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