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I like your word 'Gradualism'.
That should be my middle name.
I have the rest of my life to improve and it will likely take me that long to accomplish it.
I am a great believer in gradualism, both in weight loss and in building fitness.
When I started running 25 years ago my first run/walk was 30 seconds run/4:30 walk. After a week of that I added 15 seconds to the run and reduced the walk accordingly. It took 6 months to run my first 5K (30:51) As they say, you never forget your first "time".
I better you never met anyone more gradual than me. Fortunately, I'm very patient.
The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.
rules of success*
2. Start slow . . . build gradually
Coaches say the best way to avoid injury is to follow the 10-percent rule: Increase your weekly mileage and the length of your long run by no more than 10 percent each week. Your muscles and joints need time to adapt to the workload.
*Amby Burfoot (from Runnerís World) suggests following these bedrock principles to achieve your goals
leader: Master Runners-40 and over