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Saturday, 24 January 2015

EXERCISE FOR WRITERS: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Cue training montage.
   Not really.
   Cue draining training montage.
   Again, no, not really.


*

Last week I blogged about timing myself walking a mile. The goal was to walk that mile faster than a tortoise would crawl it.
   I managed this feat. With feet.
   Was I going to dawdle, and cover a mile in twenty minutes? No. The internet decided that pace was comfortable. But walking a mile in fifteen minutes is also comfortable.
   I walked a mile in just under twelve minutes. Comfortably. Easily. No hassle. The goal was to improve on the time, daily. See how I'd go.
   Improve? Drop from one minute to the next, each day. An eleven-minute stroll becomes a ten-minute journey a day later. Until I reach the end.
   I say journey. Hell, I say stroll...
   After a few days, the walk turned into a run. That was expected. The experience became less comfortable. That, too, was expected.


*

Covering a mile is all about pacing. Well, no. Determination is required. Once you actually go for it, though, it's about pacing. And losing the plot is annoying.
   How did I do?
   Saturday - 11:45. I completed the quest to walk a mile without crossing the tedious twenty-minute barrier. It's difficult to walk a mile in twelve minutes if you have a broken leg. This timed mile tells me I didn't have a broken leg on the day.
   Was the trip stressful? No. That was the comfortable mile.


*

Sunday - 10:35. I completed the basic task with ease. Covering a mile. The advanced task was to drop from eleven minutes (and something seconds) to ten. I managed that without breaking anything.
   These slower miles were covered while watching items on the YouTube. The faster you hit that treadmill, the louder you must set the sound. To hear a YouTube video while running a six-minute mile, you turn the volume to DREADFUL.


*

Monday - 8:11. Pacing went to hell. I thought I wasn't going to drop to a nine-minute mile, and ended up bypassing the whole point of the exercise.
   Do the job and gradually increase the pace. Well, I lost the plot and skipped a notch. Still, going faster than intended set me up for the next stage.


*

Tuesday - 7:07. I managed this. And I knew I'd make it. At times, I wondered if I'd slide off the treadmill and disappear into a pile of books. No slithering occurred.


*

Wednesday - 6:18. And thanks for stopping by. Going faster than that requires a level of dedication to pacing that borders on the lunatic.


*

Thursday - I'm not sure what happened. Did I crack the barrier or not? The time was slightly over six minutes, but not as slow as Wednesday's result.
   I'd set the electric gadget to scan.
   Every five seconds, the scan switches to a new statistic. Distance covered. Five seconds later, Time spent running. Another five seconds, and Speed comes up.
   I ran, covering 0.99 of a mile. The scan changed to time spent. I was coming up on six minutes. But I could no longer see the distance. The scan continued, and I was shown speed for a few seconds. I ignored time and speed results.
   When the distance came around again, I saw I'd covered 1.01. Somewhere in that scanned data, I passed a mile. Maybe I did it inside six minutes, or maybe just a few seconds outside.


*

I proved to myself what I'd suspected. Daily, I could increase running speed and pacing, and knock the time down close to six minutes...
   The closer to six minutes I went, the harder the task became. Not because I was shattered by the experience. Because pacing is bloody important.
   On the treadmill, losing the rhythm, you could slide off into a pile of books. (I moved books out of the way, to avoid problems.)
   The run was about setting a strong pace over the first quarter-mile, then ensuring a steady run for half a mile, with some puff in reserve for the final quarter-mile.
   Friday, I have the day off. Already, I am thinking of throwing in exercise biking to see how I'd handle that.


*

Yes, there's a coded message in all this. About writing. Having the determination to start. And that's all you need. The determination to start.
   That determination is the same determination required to continue, once you've started.
   Pacing is important. Writing a novel, start strong. Get on with it. Cover that first quarter. You are a long way from the finish. Slog on.
   Develop a sense of pace when writing. Oh, you can't force art. That's true. And you can take a day off - that's required. But, for fuck's sake, in amongst all that random stuff, create something.
   I'm going to look at the exercise bike. Biking, indoors. Zero rain. I like the sound of that. Staring out into the rainy gloom, I like that a lot.
   Also, I'll be sitting down.


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