I’m not a great fan of jogging as a form of exercise. If you’ve read various articles on fitness you’ll know that it’s not the greatest sport if your objective is to cut down your body fat or build muscle. The human body is so efficient that you have to run an unrealistic amount in order to achieve the kind of calorie burn that will make a dent in a modern lifestyle.
Nevertheless, there are two advantages to running that I can’t find anywhere else. The first is that it takes almost zero equipment. I put on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, tie the laces on my trainers and walk towards the nearest large public place – in Paris that’s the Jardin des Tuileries – and ten minutes later my heart rate is up and my muscles are working.
The second advantage is that it’s incredibly progressive. I haven’t done much sport for a couple of months, and my muscles are tight, the soles of my feet too delicate to handle much punishment, and I never really know how long I’m going to be able to go. The circuit I’m running is a 1.4 kilometer circle (Paris is tiny). When my feet start to blister, I just stop running and walk back home.
There’s the real problem – my feet blister quickly, my shins are really tight, my achilles tendon threatens to bench me if I ask too much of it. Generally speaking, I’ve discovered that I’m not in great shape.
I ran three circuits four days ago, and two-and-a-half yesterday. I couldn’t run a 5k at the moment without doing myself some damage, and that’s quite depressing. But it’s important to accept the limitations by body is imposing on me here.
I can’t magically impose a high level of intensity on my body when it won’t take it, much as I’d like to jump right back into my old fitness regime and run 10k every time I put on my trainers. I have to take it slowly. Blisters will bench me for 2-3 days, but a pulled Achilles tendon will bench me for a week to a fortnight, and that would seriously derail not only my fitness goals, but my motivation too. I need to nurture and nourish my motivation.
So I’m taking it easy – one step at a time – and paying attention to my body. It will get tougher and fitter and I’ll be able to do more in time.