Emanuel Sprosec

Running without running


Getting old

Since a year or two, I have been feeling a bit exhausted and constantly thinking, "Take it easy, please." It's not surprising, considering I stopped being active, possibly due to the lockdowns, work-related stress and fatigue in the evenings, among other things. But to be honest, my idea of being active was merely walking a lot in the morning sun, waking up early and being a brisk walker. I wasn't into weightlifting or running long distances - just normal, light movement.

Another aspect related to this is my weight. As a child and during my youth, I was always very slim, perhaps too slim. However, nowadays I've gained some extra kilos. I've gone from 62 kilograms to 84 kilograms, which is still acceptable for my size (so I'm not overweight, just "normal"), but it's more than I weighed 10 years ago. But at 42 years old, I'm starting to feel the effects of these additional kilos, so I want to get rid of them.

I must admit, I don't eat very healthily. I consume too much sugar and indulge in chocolate and other similar treats, although I try to balance it out with "decent" food. Sometimes, however, I go overboard. But this is partly because I want to enjoy myself in the present and not constantly worry about the future (who knows what might happen... tomorrow you will get hit by the bus). Nevertheless, I understand the need to reduce the unhealthy stuff - without completely giving up the fun. Instead of having three pieces of chocolate, I'll settle for just one.


Recently, I also felt an inner urge to start running or jogging. Perhaps it's the arrival of summer that makes me want to be an early bird, running like a young horse through the grass. So, a few days ago, I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be a complete failure. I realized there's a vast difference between running to catch a bus or train and simply "going for a run." I was so embarrassed about stumbling around that I waited until the evening to go out. Around 9 p.m., I left the house in my jogging pants, a t-shirt and sports shoes, heading to a nearby street where there are usually fewer people. And then I started running... or at least attempted to. Five to ten minutes later, I was out of breath, my legs were aching, everything felt destroyed and I had barely covered a short distance. It was a massive failure.

Dejected, I returned home and reassessed my approach. I decided to try "fast walking" instead. So, two or three days later, I woke up at 6 a.m., left the house and started walking. Slowly at first, then picking up speed. I may look like I'm rushing to an appointment I'm late for, but I no longer care. I simply want to do it. I want to be active.

Breathe! You will be okay.

Today marks the third day of this morning routine and it already feels much better. My legs still hurt and my body is putting up a fight, but I'm covering around 5 kilometers in about 50 minutes, including some uphill and downhill stretches in this area. The initial burning sensation in my legs subsides after 15 minutes and my breathing becomes more natural. I'm sweating profusely, but I'm starting to enjoy it. It may take weeks before I can run or jog without feeling like I'll die, but that doesn't matter. The important thing is that I'm moving my body from point A to point B with some speed, breaking a sweat and working my muscles. It's not just okay - it's also great to see that nobody else pays attention to what I'm doing in the parks. I'm just one among many and everyone is focused on their own activities.

There's this elderly gentleman who goes "running" in the morning too. I believe he may have had a stroke because he can't move one side properly, but he's still out there jogging. It's at a very slow pace (snail speed), but the last time I saw him, he made it to the top of the hill. I have so much respect for him!

Tracking the Track

One of the wonderful aspects of this journey is that it allows me to explore and embrace technological advancements too, particularly open-source solutions again. Instead of relying on my old FitBit watch from Amazon, I've opted for a different approach again. I use OsmAnd, an offline app for OpenStreetMap, and OpenTracks on my Android smartphone to track my progress - and I absolutely love it. I've actually used this setup in the past, a few years ago, to customize and contribute new trails to the OpenStreetMap project and it has always worked flawlessly. And it's still the same today, great!

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Last update: 28.05.2023