I look up to a lot of people I know. What they’ve done in various aspects of their lives, be it in business, their travels, accomplishments, their families and generally the way they lead their lives often puts my own path through life in the shade.
Most of them I know are intelligent, make the right decisions and are pretty sorted. However [here we go], I’ve also seen that when some decide to be a MAWA [middle-aged wannabe athlete], this intelligence and careful approach simply goes out of the window and they believe they are 19 again, jumping around, trying to run for hours on end on the first go….God help me!
I think it’s fantastic to pick up or find something energetic that you love, re-discover its appeal, maybe ignite an ambition as you go along. Nothing better. But here’s how a couple of acquaintances started:
Case study 1: someone I used to work with, 41 years old, bought a mountain bike recently. Hadn’t cycled since childhood. Decided to do a first cycle of 25 miles off-road to a friend’s house one day, sore as anything the next day but still cycled 25 miles back.
Case study 2: a good friend, now holding on to a lot of ‘ballast’, decides to do something about it and start running again [used to do marathons when he was lighter/younger]. First ‘run’? An hour long. Almost needed a wheelchair the next day.
And there’s many more examples of this…’I’ve just bought a bike, going to cycle to work…’, cycled the 15 MILES commute in, got the train back and never did it again.
What am I getting at? None have managed to make it a habit, because the pain and memories from doing it equals something that they don’t want to do again, therefore all of that sport is consigned to history for a while. And this seems to be particularly if you’re a bloke. And as a bloke, you don’t want to be seen asking for advice… ‘I used to be cross-country champion at school’…aaargh!
All I can say, because I’m no expert, but from my own experience, is that the real enjoyment comes from starting at a level that would probably be thought of as ‘too easy’ and building slowly from there, seeing the progress come over the weeks and months, be it getting fitter, faster, lighter or whatever.
So start off really easy, enjoy it, feel the buzz afterwards and look forward to the next time.