Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Best Way To Eventually Run A Marathon And/Or Have Your Pants Fit The Way You Want Them To (Easy Good Things: Fitness)

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Tip: Start Small, Finish Big.

I know whereof I speak when I talk about getting in shape. Despite my present, somewhat blobular appearance, I am a pretty healthy guy. My current physique owes a lot to (a) being 40 and (b) having spent a lot of time with my Babies! the last few years and even (c) advances in candy bar technology.

But things were not always so: Once upon a time, I was a workout guru. I lost 100 pounds in six months when I was 25 -- going from 272 to 172 (and eventually down to 162), and while it wasn't, over time, easy -- because running isn't-- the program was easy to start and easy to move up.

I was always a heavy guy, and as time went on, I got heavier. And heavier. And heavier. One day, something clicked in me. It might have been that I could no longer buy my pants off the rack at a regular store. It might have been that girls kept saying I was "just a friend." It might have been that I wheezed when vacuuming.

Whatever it was, I woke up one day and decided to get into shape, and I began, that day. I started running, right that day.

That's like a bonus Easy Good Thing, right there -- before I get to the actual Easy Good Thing, that's a bonus one: Begin now! Don't wait until New Year's Day, or your birthday, or next Friday, to start or quit something. Today is as good as any other day and if you're serious, you'll start right now.

Right. Now!

Like I did, when I began to get in shape. That very day, I went running. At 272 pounds (and a smoker) I didn't run very far, but that wasn't the point: I ran.

I made it all of 1/4 mile that day -- 3 laps around the track, at the time. But, undaunted, I kept with it. The first day, I ran 1/4 mile and then walked for the rest of the alloted workout time of 30 minutes.

The next day, I tried to run just a little further. I went about 3 and 1/2 laps, and walked the rest. Then the next day, I made it to five laps.

I kept it up, increasing my running time a little each day and then a little more each day, until eventually I was running a whole mile. Then 1 1/2 miles (the first time I'd done that since 5th grade!), then more. And more and more.

Eventually, I was able to run for hours on end -- the farthest I ever did in one continuous run was 17 1/2 miles, a run I did with no real training to lead up to it. I just set out running one day, carrying my Walkman and 35 cents to call my brother from a payphone when I got too tired to go on, and have him come pick me up.

In the course of doing that, I dropped weight, and did it rapidly -- so rapidly that my extended family didn't recognize me at Christmas when I came into my uncle's house. I went from a 44-inch waist to a 34 inch waist, in six months. (I did that in conjunction with a strict diet, but that's for another day.)

I kept that weight off a long time, too -- I've never put it all back on, even after I slowed down and even after back surgery and twin boys and a sedentary job, and I still put that thinking into practice. When I decided to get back into shape again this year, I started running 20 minutes on a treadmill. Then, each month, I upped that five minutes, so now I'm at 35 minutes.

Each day, too, I do situps or light weight lifting. I started doing situps by doing 10, many months ago. Each month I increase it by one; this month, it's 26.

And my pants are fitting better again than they have, I have t-shirts that I haven't worn in two years that I can wear now, and I even think I'm looking less blobular.

That's your tip: If you want to get in shape, start now and start small. Wherever you are, fitness-wise, start there and push it further and further, a little at a time. It'll work, and it'll work because in getting in shape, and in everything, it doesn't matter how far you go at first -- it matters how far you go at last.

Still 3 days left in the contest: Comment on this post! You could win a book or magazine subscription (details here) and you'll be making me happy (details on that here.)

1 comment:

stanleygoodspeed said...

I think that's really inspiring, in a non-Oprah, non-cheesey way. Just good old fashioned commitment to exercising a bit more every time. Nice one, and congrats on the weight loss, you must be delighted!