Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You've Got To Walk Before You Run

Dec. 11, 2012

It's always important to remember to walk before you can run.

OK, so maybe it's the advice you'd give a 5-year-old, but when you're nursing a cold that rasps with a snap, crackle and pop on every exhale, just the act of walking should be exercise enough.

After nearly a week off of running -- or any exercise for that matter -- today seemed like the day to get back out and get moving. You have to figure if you're well enough to feel guilty and bored, you must be just about well enough to get back out on the road.

I, like so many others, am guilty of using cold medicines and other medications to mask my symptoms in the name of getting back on the bike or lacing up my running shoes. Back in high school, the coaches would always tell you a good sweat would make a cold move through you faster.

While that might have worked when you're 16, some 30 or 40 years later that isn't always the case. Sometimes fatigue and body aches are nature's way of telling us it's time to take a day off and rest. 

But then there's that little voice that sneaks up inside of you and says it's time -- time to get off of the computer and put on the old running shoes.

Well, I listened to the voice, but I heeded my own warning -- walk before you run.

I decided after a few errands that a little cool air and brisk walk might not be so bad, plus it might help me sleep better. Besides, the sun was shining and the road was calling my name.

I climbed my familiar first hill with little trouble. My breathing was labored but not all that much by any standard. And my lungs weren't wheezing, so I continued on down the path. 

The sun shone brightly as I rolled down the hill and made the turn. It felt good to be out in the fresh air. It felt good to get my legs into an uninterrupted rhythm and feel my heart pounding its familiar exercise cadence. I could even feel a bit of sweat start to drip on my back and down my chest.

When I turned the corner for home I felt good about climbing one last hill. It was good to breathe deeply and engage my climbing muscles -- even if it was just a walk and not a run.

Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully a new walk -- maybe even a little run. It's tough taking time off for a cold or an injury, but I'm just going to remember to walk before I run.

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