Sunday, 12 August 2012

Making Great Strides

Today began another week of workouts, which meant another opportunity to step things up. 

This week I am essentially doubling the intensity of my elliptical workouts, by actually attempting to do the resistance instructed in my BeatBurn elliptical workouts.  Up to now, when the program told me to set the resistance at 80%, I was setting the resistance at '8', when it should have been at '16' (since my elliptical's resistance is on a scale from 1-20). 

Today was the first workout at the actual resistance, and boy do I feel it in my legs and arms!  I was barely able to move the pedals when at 80% resistance, and noticed that I was breathing very heavily and working quite hard.  I was using my arms much more on the handles, too, to assist me in pushing the pedals over.  For those of you who have seen the episode of The Simpsons where Bart is working or Mr. Burns and rides his bike at night with the generator on for the lamp - -  that is what I looked like/sounded like this morning on the elliptical machine.  But I tell you, suddenly 40% resistance flies after going at 80%, and my legs feel like feathers at 10% resistance - - they practically flew! 

I was a little concerned that my heart rate was pushing into the extreme zone for 7% of my workout, but it shows that doubling the intensity is requiring more effort. 
Photo courtesy mrtruebeliever, licensed CC-BY-NC-SA
The other new thing I will be starting this week is a walking program.  A colleague of mine heard about my 2.5 kilometer walk last weekend, and suggested I participate in a charity 5 k walk this fall.  I am not at all sure that I would like to do the charity walk (although I will donate money to the cause), but it did spark in me some interest in the idea of being able to walk 5 k. 

It takes the average person between 45 minutes and 60 minutes to walk 5 kilometers, so right now I could probably expect to do it in 60 - 75 minutes, at my present fitness level.  I only work out on the elliptical for 35 minutes at a stretch right now, so I would definitely need to train to be able to walk for an hour in a single stretch without discomfort.

Fortunately for me, there are numerous walking plans available online, not to mention dozens of couch-to-5k apps out there, so it will be easy to find some structure to guide my training.  The majority of these plans suggest walking with intent 3 - 5 days a week, starting off at 15 minutes and working up to 60 minute walks, at increasingly quick paces (from a saunter at the beginning of the training to a brisk walk at the end).  To be able to walk briskly for an hour would be beneficial for many reasons, not the least of which is to be able to keep up with family members when they take their habitual grim death marches around the neighborhood. 

I am once again very lucky to have such a supportive partner.  When I broached the idea of going on walks with the Nerd this morning, he was immediately enthusiastic, and volunteered to walk with me every day on the weekends each week.  He could be my training partner and guide, as I have a habit of getting lost.  He can also motivate me to actually get my butt out the door, because if there is one thing I am not in the habit of doing, it is going for long purposeful walks.  Long naps, yes, but long walks are just time taken away from napping in my mind. 

The good thing about adding periodic purposeful walks to my week is that they are a form of exercise, and a good way to get my heart going without the monotony of the elliptical.

So we'll see if I can implement this plan, and add the walks beginning this weekend.  I will be interested to see how my stamina improves over time. 

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