About 10 years ago I was ill and managed to end up with scarred lungs. The easiest way to explain this is if you imagine a big barrel with a tap half way up it. The barrel can hold 100 litres of water, but because the tap is halfway up, only 50 litres of that water can be used.
I have a large lung capacity, but I can’t use all the air they hold, so I get out of breath quite quickly. The thing is, once I’ve run out of breath and had a minute or so’s break, I’m ready to go again. If I get a jogging pace just right, then I can keep going, as I can take in enough fresh air….but if I up the pace just a little I end up gasping in seconds as I can’t pull the O2 in fast enough.
It is crazy – I can load up a back pack with several kilo’s of load, bung on some old boots and walk mile after mile after mile. If I take off the back pack, put on some trainers and try to run 50 metres, I collapse! On top of the lung issue I have Carpal Tunnel issues, so I had to change jobs from very physical work to more office based and light engineering duties.
All of this has lead to me adding on a bit of padding….which hasn’t really helped with the breathlessness!!!! Something needs to be done!
So…. (If you’re still with me) I decided to do something about it…. Change my diet (I don’t need to eat like I used too, being in a less physical role), so I am cutting down on all the junk I used to be able to burn off. That deals with one side of the issue.
I have also embarked on the “Couch to 5K” (C25K) running programme. I’ve always liked running, but since the lung issue I haven’t been able to, so I just let it go. I don’t want to be this out of breath Dad who can’t enjoy his son, so I am training myself up.
I did try just going out and running a few months ago, but after less than 20 metres I was fit to pass out. My pace was too much for what O2 my lungs could drag out…. It really knocked me back. At a slower pace I lasted longer, but I couldn’t keep a slow pace…. and even a medium pace knocked me out after a few minutes…… I gave up, obviously running wasn’t for me….
I then discovered a running programme for the totally unfit or those recovering from injury…. The “Couch to 5K programme”.
The C25K takes someone who can’t run 50 metres without feeling like they are about to die (me) and over 9 weeks has them running 5 kilometres.
It’s a gradual build up, based on going out for a certain amount of time/distance and walking for so many seconds, then jogging for so many seconds.
Week one is meant to be spilt into 3 days at 20 minutes a time. After a warm up (brisk 5 minute walk), you spend 60 seconds jogging, then 90 seconds walking….and so on.
I didn’t embark on this straight away due to my health – and also the route I had in mind was more than 20 minutes. I adjusted the C25K by adding another week to the start. 30 seconds jog and 90 seconds walk…. over 3 miles.
I did my first stint of this last night and actually found it easier than I thought. I think I could go straight into the 60 second run / 90 second walk – but I’ll do two more of my reduced journeys before I go that far – It’s all about routine, and if I push myself too hard to soon I’ll end up not enjoying it and giving up (probably). As it was, the first stint was very enjoyable, and a nice gentle start.
I’m off to go and get some green tea now – It boosts energy in a gentler way than caffeine and has actually been proven to better for you than just water. It also shifts up your metabolism so you burn more fat. In fact by just swapping out coffee for green tea research showed a 10lb weight loss could be achieved over a year – not a great amount really…but this is just from drinking the tea with no added exercise.
Coffee is actually bad for weight loss, as it puts the body into a “flight or fight” set up. Because of this, the body holds onto the fat reserves ready for this fight or flight action. Lifehacker Green Tea link.
All of this so I can enjoy my life and family for longer, for better.