Marathon Running
Residual Fitness
By Blue Benadum
Aug 8, 2009 - 9:23:33 AM

MALIBU—“But the walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours- as the swinging of dumbbells or chairs; but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day,” said Henry David Thoreau in “Walking.”


Health and fitness, diet and exercise, calories in and calories out.  Mirrors and pictures, a smaller pair of jeans, the fabulous physique on another magazine.  Welcome to adulthood, children, and isn’t it all you thought it would be?  Along with the responsibilities we have, self inflicted or not, comes a whole world of hurt that we never knew as children.  This is the world of having to try to be fit and healthy.  So now that we have begun to identify the problem, let us see some solutions.  Let us try to bring it back before it all got away from us and see if we can channel some of the wisdom of the younger population.  Let’s go back to the days when fitness was a residual effect of the lifestyle we lived.

Scenario 1.  Coming down the homestretch of a 10 mile tempo run I pick up the pace and stride out the last mile at 90 percent effort, gauging my speed, distance and time on my handy GPS wrist watch.  This nifty new device lets me see my speed in live time with no post run math and maps to deal with.  It’s the obvious choice of any runner trying to better their personal record or be competitive at distance running.  But slowly as we settle into the numbers and measurements of our performance enhancing techniques and gadgets, it becomes all too easy to forget why we are running down this road in the first place. 

Scenario 2. Looking in the mirror as I lift a dumbbell with the sounds of a soap opera booming from one of the monitors mounted on the gym wall, I wonder how I got here.  So I do another 10 reps of curls to make my biceps look bigger as I try to reinvent new reasons to justify the monotony of my weight training, and I ask myself “Is it natural to be in a room full of people staring at themselves in the mirror for an hour?”

So here are the tips of the week.  For a change from the competitive training and to keep a balanced mind, body and soul, you need simply to leave the watch at home some days.  Just try running to explore the world around you and take in the smells, sights and sounds of it all as it is. 

And instead of finding your way to your regular gym tomorrow, look up your local Crossfit affiliate and go do a class.  You’ll lift your share, and likely more, of weights, but there will be no mirrors and the tasks at hand will far outweigh your self-image as the group training mentality pushes you towards the day’s goal. 

These are a couple adjustments to help get you started back on the path of residual fitness. So when you catch your reflection in the mirror one day on your way out to play, you may catch yourself saying “Hmm, not bad”¦. Well, gotta go, burning daylight here!” 



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