• Asymptotic Walking

    I’m noticing an unexpected glitch in my running.  I can’t seem to decrease my walking, no matter how much I’ve increased my distance or percentage of running!


    For reasons that seem a lot less logical in retrospect, my original number of walking steps (after a few days of fiddling to get something I could manage continuously) was 120.  I’d walk 120, run 360, rinse, and repeat, until I was home.  After assimilating my first increase in running steps, I decided to decrease my number of walking steps to 100.  It was a disaster.  Each time I started a running phase again, less than a quarter of the way in, my chest felt like it would burst, and I rarely fully completed the phase.  I switched back to 120 steps, and all was well.


    I increased running steps a couple more times before I tried again.  While my body quickly adapted to the longer running phases, as soon as I dropped my walking phase steps to 100, I stopped being able to complete my running phases.  Likewise, returning to 120 steps of walking put things right again.


    This week, I increased my running steps again.  I’m now at 500 running steps to 120 walking steps.  Rain course aside, I managed the increase as well as all the others.  Then, I tried to decrease my walking phase again.  Guess what?  My chest felt like it was going to burst on my third running phase, and I completed it by sheer force of will, and nearly fell down when it was over.  I switched back to 120 walking steps, and I completed all my subsequent running phases without incident.


    What the hell is going on here?  According to all the running plans I’ve researched, I should be approaching *no* walking at this point, but I still need the same walking duration as the day I started!  I’ve converted steps to time, since that’s what most modern plans use instead, and My original mix was approximately three minutes of running to one and a half minutes of walking.  Now I’m at more like four and a half minutes of running to one and a half minutes of walking.  Meanwhile, most programs would have me at seven minutes of running to one minute of walking at this point, and be planning to eliminate the walking in a week or two.


    Certainly, I can accept that my middle-aged body might take a bit longer than average to ramp up, but what could possibly explain this hard limit on my minimum walking time?  My percentage of walking may be decreasing, but right now, it looks like that curve is an asymptote.  Will I never actually reach zero?


    I am discouraged…



    3 comments to "Asymptotic Walking"

    • You may be doing what I realized has been plaguing my own efforts at increasing mileage and time running – unconsciously picking up the pace. There’s a reason that I couldn’t do 5+ miles, even though I was on my high school cross country team. (Currently, I run/walk 6 miles in about 70 minutes.) Keep at it!

    • Thanks, Lori, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for an accelerated pace!

    • Lori, you were absolutely right, and have hugely helped me! See my next post for details…

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