I have mentioned in possibly every blog post. I am a slow runner, and I am unapologetic about it. I am not the slowest runner but I am slow. I have always said I might not beat you for time, but I will outlast just about anyone. I can say this with confidence because most thieves, muggers, even cheetahs can only all-out sprint for about a ½ mile.
Why do I bring this up, because as I begin the task of running again and doing so in the mornings? I have been doing a boot camp here in Texas called Camp Gladiator, we workout outside in school and church parking lots. Now before you roll your eyes and say, “I would never do this” like I used to do, let me remind you that if you are reading this blog you are probably a runner. Which means you go OUTSIDE, in the SUN, RAIN and sometimes even COLD and you pound along on the cement for 30 minutes to several hours. This is absolutely no different from what we do in our camps. Except we sometimes add weights, we can lie down on squishy mats to catch our breath and we mix in our share of running, sprinting, walking, and even skipping!
But I digress…. I get up early to get back into the habit and we start our workouts with a short warm-up jog – usually about 200-400 meters (or ½ to ½ mile). Sometimes we do what’s called the Murphy Mile as many camps are in Murphy TX, but we go out as a group and within about 3 car lengths I am in the back of the pack, not because I’m walking but because I run slow. Every morning for the past 3-1/2 weeks, I start with the group and then boom, I am at the back of the pack. I noticed this week that it started to bug me. “I need to pick up the pace”, I thought. “Am I really this out of shape?” Then I ask myself, “Is this why you’re running? Do you wake up before 5 am to workout because you care about a bunch of people running faster than you?” Of course not.
So why am I doing this? I’m doing this because I want to be healthy. I don’t like panting cause I can’t breathe after just walking up a flight of stairs. I hate that the clothes that used to fit me no longer do. I don’t like being irritated by things that used to just roll off my back. These are why I run. I want the clarity of thought that I can’t get from walking or skipping or swimming; for me, it only comes from running. So I write this to hopefully remind you, next time you go out to run with a group of friends, or strangers and you find yourself at the back of the pack. Don’t let that deter you.
Then WATCH and LISTEN.
As you also know I’ve been working with a running coach, and I have worked with coaches for years and the one thing they have taught me is to listen to the sound of your feet. Do you hear a pounding, a scratching or a shuffling, or is it a quiet sometime unperceivable tap, tap, tap? My feet are a slight tap, as I focus hard to land briefly on the ball of my foot then PULL my other foot back up. I try to play an imaginary game of hot potato… but it’s more like feet on lava. I concentrate on using my hamstrings to pull my foot up.
With the help of Valerie and a running book called, “The Running Revolution”, I am trying to work through drills and exercises to retrain my feet, hips, core, and lungs to work more efficiently and with less effort. My goal is to make running feel easy again. Yes, running isn’t hard. Breathing is hard. Pounding is hard. If you’d like to join me I’ll be sharing the exercises from this book starting next week in my Facebook Group and Amazon has it as a Kindle, Audible or Paperback version. I will use my blog to also share my Running Journal as it’s discussed in the book so that I can evaluate and analyze my progress.
One last thought that I want you to remember as you lace up your shoes; “Business in the front; Party in the back”