We were at pizza joint with a group of my wife’s friends. They’re mostly her friends from yoga. Yoga folks are pretty cool and I enjoy hanging out with them. As a rule they are all fit and health conscious. It never fails that one or two of them quiz me on the subject of my less passionate view of yoga. I don’t do yoga, but I stretch every morning for about half an hour plus or minus a few minutes here and there.
Mixed in with the purest yoga students there are runners who practice yoga. While I never bring up the subject of running many of them know that I run or at least have completed many somewhat difficult runs. (Brenda told them) They are all younger and will at times ask for advice. (Often the advice relates to a medical concern. Brenda also told them of me medical background.)
Sooner to later, like the yoga inquiry, I get quizzed about my running, which is only about 2 miles a day. That’s enough for me for the moment.
When I mention 2 miles a day jaws may pop open as if I’ve uttered a severely unacceptable comment or committed some sacrilege. One fellow asked me if I missed it referring to running longer distances. I said no, plainly and simply I don’t miss running long solo miles. If I keep the mileage at three or less per run River, my nearly 9-year-old lab, is happy to run along with me. Beyond 3 miles and she gets bored. At two miles she’s happy and I have company while running.
Another inquisitor asked me if I missed triathlons. (Brenda, again) He’s training for a triathlon. He’s heard I have completed lots of them. As with running, “Nope,” I answered. When I said “Nope” the yoga runners and yoga triathletes looked at me with saddened eyes as if I had nothing to live for.
“Look,” I said to the small audience watching to see if I was going to die on the spot, “I do a lot of exercise.” I added, “ I stretch every morning, which is a lot like your yoga. A number of the stretches are actually yoga moves.” The audience appear unimpressed.
Then, I pointed out that indeed I run only 2 miles a day. I also ride a bike by time rather than distance or some combination of time and distance everyday for an hour to 90 minutes. So, I pointed out I get a lot of exercise. The additional cycling seemed to satisfy many that I was doing the correct amount of physical fitness training.
I was going to mention that those exercise intervals are warm-ups sessions only. That the 2 to 3 hours per day doing those workouts are, in fact, not my primary sport. Further I didn’t mention that I head to the gym once or twice per week. All of which are secondary activities to the 2 to 5 hours per day of archery practice. It seemed to me, that in the setting of the conversation, bringing to light the nearly 8-hour day of work to be a decent archer would have been wasted breath.
Everyone around Brenda and I eating pizza was a lot younger. The top end age, outside of Brenda and I, was probably upper 30s to at most 42 years old. The majority of those in attendance were younger than our children. They all workout several times per week at yoga and a few do train to run or work toward completing an international distance triathlon. Most of them have jobs, not all, so working out or training much more than they’re doing takes a certain frame of mind. The question becomes what it is you want and what are you willing to give up to get it.
What I learned is that what time most of them put toward exercise and fitness max’ed out at around 14 hours per week. That’s good and overall for most people a lot of exercise. None of them is working toward any specific sport goal beyond a completion of some target event.
“I’m training to do a triathlon,” or “I’m training to run a 5K,” are great goals and eventual achievements. There is, however, a difference when your goals include breaking records, winning titles and championships, or being ranked top in the world. This difference in the meaning for the exercise or training in no way implies one set of priorities is more important than the other. There’s just a difference.