I am looking for an energy transfusion. If you are like me, you are interested in keeping your energy up. We have seen our parents get old and it is not a pretty picture. All things considered, for the Baby Boomer, young is better than old.
The Baby Boomer who wants higher resilience, more zest for life, is told to take drugs. Especially if you are male, you are haunted by “Is it Low T?” Big Pharma looks at us baby boomers and sees dollar signs. I think I am onto something that doesn’t require testosterone patches and blue pills. It is something a lot of us did thirty years ago, running.
Were you a fast runner? I wasn’t. My running motto was “I don’t go too fast, but I go pretty far.” LSD was the rage, long slow distance, so I ran an eight minute mile, and I’d run four miles one day and eight another. Maybe ten or so on Saturday, resting on Sunday. I tried to do a little weight lifting, just enough to keep my right shoulder from dislocating.
As the years went by, I got slower, and my knees became arthritic. I switched from running to walking, and the knees continued to deteriorate. Massive doses of glucosamine sulfate didn’t help much. I had some relief fifteen years ago, but after the 9-11 disaster, I could see the knees weren’t going to last.
Two years ago now, I had two total knee replacements. Last week I was able to run three miles, actually, 3.35 miles. The first time I ran it in 47’30” and three days later I ran it in 45’20”. Yesterday I ran it in 44:28. You may not be very impressed, since that is in the neighborhood of 14 or 13 minutes a mile.
I am impressed. I have found that small victories are the best, and I think that being able to run three miles is a victory. I can now go out and embarrass my family by plodding through a 5-k race. Another victory, making my kids roll their eyes in disgust and dismay.
So it is clear that the interval training I have been doing is useful. I am even sure I could run four miles, since I wasn’t completely exhausted. In the LSD days, it was considered a good sign if you could end a day’s run with something left in the basement.
I do recommend the interval training, a method I talked of earlier in my post about whether baby boomers should take LSD. Yet I am dissatisfied. I’d like to be able to run significantly faster, perhaps a ten minute mile. At my age, that’d be a good pace. I think I will stay with interval training twice a week, either on the stationary bike or running a trail behind my house. I will run a couple of three to four mile runs a week for a base of greater endurance, adding perhaps ten percent a week to the distance. I will keep doing my weight lifting, focusing on upper body, once or twice a week.
The longer runs are giving me significantly more daily energy. They give me a buzz that I don’t get from the shorter interval runs. The buzz lasts all day. A good thing.
My fellow Boomer, my brother or my sister, if you haven’t done any of these things, if you haven’t started on a physical activity program, try this. Rate how you feel right now on a 0 – 10 scale, with zero meaning you feel right next to dead, and ten meaning the best you have ever felt. Now predict how you’ll feel if you walk briskly for twenty minutes.
Congratulations! You have made a prediction. Now try it out. Do the walk and rate yourself after. I find I am more energetic the rest of the day. Instead of feeling tired because of the exercise, I feel an energy transfusion. Don’t take my word for it. Try it and see.