It was cloudy and sprinkling lightly when I started my walk this morning. The forecast was for rain. I had a weak excuse to skip a day, but I put on my leather aviator's jacket and took my walk. The sign is for the Front Range Trail which is more a concept than a marked trail except in a few places.
No Pain, No Gain - Further explanation
This saying apparently comes from an old Jewish writing from the second century. The book is "The Ethics of our Fathers (Pirkei Avot)." The book contains many short paragraphs and sayings along the lines of "Poor Richard's Almanac." Many people have written commentaries on this book, and there is no perfect explanation.
The original saying is "The reward is according to the effort." The most common explanation is the spiritual reward is according to the effort. If it takes one person little effort to follow some commandment and it takes another person much effort, then the spiritual reward is greater for the person who has to make the most effort.
I don't like to compare one person to another as that's not my job. I prefer to compare myself to myself on different days. For walking, instead of spiritual reward I prefer to think of both intestinal fortitude and conditioning. Intestinal fortitude is the ability to go on when a person doesn't want to and conditioning is physical conditioning. For instance, today I was tempted to stay home, so I learned some intestinal fortitude by walking anyway. The physical conditioning was about the same as a day I was eager to walk.
The number of miles walked a day at first starts to condition the body. At some mileage, the number of miles walked starts to injure the body. A chart would look like some sort of bell curve. As a person gets conditioned, the bell curve slowly shifts to the right.
Eventually, a person reaches homeostasis, where they are walking the maximum number of miles they can given the time available. Without increasing the exercise time, they will never be able to increase their distance. However, if a person starts to decrease their distance, deconditioning will occur.
Building intestinal fortitude occurs anytime a person walks when they don't want to. This expansion never stops.
Are the last two paragraphs wrong?
What is true must be true in all situations, or else there must be a bigger truth that encompasses all situations. If I write for one hour a day for a year, I will write over a half-million words in a year given my writing speed. This is about 2,190 pages or 21 books 100 pages long. This is one book about every two and a half weeks. I'd have to add research time to this figure.
If constant writing effort produces a stack of 21 books in a year, then constant walking must produce some equivalent stack of benefits. My progress on the map in the heading is my stack of books for walking. But does this mean I'm in better condition?
Another Jewish Fable
The Jewish Aggadah is a book of stories designed to teach plain lessons and hidden lessons. It is similar to Aesop's fables. One of these lessons describes a race that is unlike worldly races. If two runners run a mile a day and one runner stops for a day they are two miles behind instead of one mile. This is because on they day they don't run, they are running backwards.
This fable applies more to studies than to walking, but to a certain extent this is true for walking. Any day off that isn't for the sake of repair or recovery is a day of walking backwards or deconditioning. In my opinion, any day a walker spends going backwards by not walking is a day they can lose motivation to walk. They are losing some of that intestinal fortitude. After a break of three days, it is difficult to overcome the "stopping inertia" to resume walking.
In any activity, there is a seen and unseen effect. This is the case in consistent daily walks. Even when the mileage isn't increasing, the body undergoes changes to make walking easier. There are also side benefits. In my case, it is the contemplation that leads to more ideas for my books.
Soon, I'll discuss alternatives to the classic meaning of "No pain, no gain" which get quicker results for physical conditioning.