Haven’t trained for or entered any races, or even taken any walks greater than 5 miles in almost 2 years now. However,come rain or shine, crappy breathing or not, I still get out and walk 3 to 4 miles almost every single day.
My main motivation for doing so nowadays, is mostly to preserve what little endurance I still have left and also to break up the monotony of the day. I take further advantage of that time by listening and/or studying a piece of music that I’m trying to learn, and sometimes I use my “walking time” just to free up my mind and get some fresh air. Being a slightly hyperactive person by nature, I get claustrophobic if I’m cooped up indoors for too long.
Because I’m no longer training for races, advance planning of where I’ll be doing the actual walk is not an issue for me anymore. I rarely travel into the city anymore to do those longer walks. Mostly I just walk around the small town I live in. I’m a lot more casual and less regimented now with my walking and how I dress for it. And because I’m no longer racewalking, the type of shoes I wear is less important, though I do try to wear distance appropriate footwear.
Currently Im doing one short walk in the early morning and another one in the afternoon. Each one is appx 1.5 to 2 miles and takes appx 40 minutes to complete, so on a daily basis were talking an hour and 20 minutes of walking. This is about 60% less walking than I was doing just 2 years ago, but still a lot more than even healthy people do.
Pre-medicating, usually with a double dose of nebulized albuterol even when I’m not tight, has become more important than ever now and seems to make a huge difference. Not only because my lungs get tighter much faster now, but also because the neighborhood route where I walk has a pretty steep grade to it. The first 1/4 mile of it is mostly downhill or flat. The next 3/4 miles however are totally uphill, ascending 150 feet during the first half mile of that section and the last 1/4 mile is both up AND down. Even though I’m walking much slower than than I used to ( 17 min/mile pace), the uphill portions of my current route tend to induce a lot more air -trapping in my lungs. Getting my lung maximally dilated prior to the walk, helps reduce the air- trapping and chest tightness significantly. Upon returning home I do another neb treatment.
So there you have it. I guess after doing this for more than 9 years and covering more than 7,000 miles, It’s a hard habit to break. And though Ive declared that I wont be doing anymore marathons, I have been toying with the idea of perhaps doing an easy half marathon somewhere down the road.