Why? Because you, or rather your body, is simply not up to it... yet.Your circulatory
system first has to adapt to the unaccustomed load. You can't simply take it to a mechanic
and say, "Give the heart a quick tune up, check the valves, put a new air filter in the lungs
- oh, and don't forget the cholesterol metabolism." No, science hasn't reached that stage
yet. Your body will just have to adapt on its own, slowlyand step by step, from one jog to
the next. The tools to make your organism function better - and wonderful tools they are,
with billions of parts - are your legs. And you're holding the operator's guide tothem in your
hands right now.
What's your performance capacity? Taking stock.
The best way of finding out your exact performance capacity is to ask your doctor when he
or she gives you a physical. But no matter how important a medical examination might be,
I can't resist giving you a simple scale with which you can check your present physical
condition.You can be content with your level of performance if, on the very first day, you
can run ten minutes without stopping and without strain. Ifyou can, you have no reason
to be dissatisfied; in fact, you will be one of the exceptions, especially if you are already
middle-aged. If you can't - if you could only manage the first ten minutes with a lot of
huffing and puffing - then you can already look forward to the free gift you will be receiving
within the next few weeks: the return of your lost physical condition. After the six months
we will be spending together, you'll come to know what the word "fitness" really means.
Until then, I won't lose sight of you and will always be there at your side when you go for
To begin with I'll be leading you in small steps up to the 30 minute mark. Your
boundless enthusiasm will no doubt make this an easy goal to reach, but be
prepared to wipe a bit of sweat from your brow. The rewards are worth the effort.
There's something special about that first half hour - only thirty minutes on the clock,
but a peak moment in your life. By then you'll be able to run two to three miles at a
stretch. Gradually you'll leave the novice stage, and within a couple of weeks thirty minutes
of running will seem like kid's stuff. Why is this bound to happen? The answer is simple:
in those few weeks your body will adjust itself to accommodate a thirty-minute workload
of running. It is the ability of your heart and circulatory system to adapt to these first efforts
that, in no time at all, makes running so simple. As the jogging veteran would put it, your
body becomes "trained."
And your future prospects are rosy,for the ten minutes you run today will soon be
no more than a warming-up exercise.
Again a bit later, after a few more weeks of running, you'll vary between thirty and forty-five
minutes, just as you see fit. You can either go full out or, just as important, relax at a slower
pace. At the end you'll even be doing your first five-mile run, for the distance you'll cover will
be about five to six miles. And when you stand on the peak and look back, you'll realize how
simple it was to jump over difficulties with your passionate conviction and reach the finish line
without a detour. Deep in your soul you'll feel your self-confidence grow with each new victory.
And your growing self-confidence in your untapped potential will fuel your passion for future
goals. But even if many things about you change during these weeks - and change in a big way
- one thing will, and must, always remain the same: controlled breathing.