Most likely the last indoor run until next October, which is fine with me. I don’t really enjoy running inside. It’s dry, often crowded and repetitive. Before running at the track, I said goodbye to both of my kids who were leaving on school trips: the 11 year-old went 90 miles north for two days, the 14 year old went across the Atlantic to Budapest, Vienna and Prague for 10 days. It’s exciting, strange and a little scary. I also spent time crafting a poem in terza rima form (3 line stanzas with an aba, bcb, cdc, ded, etc rhyming scheme) about the single most important running advice I’ve tried to take, and have to repeatedly remind myself about: slow down!
Here’s a trick: at first, run slow.
Don’t start with too much speed.
Try to find a rhythm, a flow.
Let your shadow take the lead.
You should really stay behind
because that is what you need.
If you ignore this advice, you may find
that your pulse will become elevated.
This can put you in a terrible bind.
Too much lactic acid is created.
Muscles ache and you’re exhausted.
Hitting the wall, all energy has faded.
At this point, you’ve lost it.
You feel very sick.
But, you know what’s caused it.
You took it out too quick,
and forgot what I suggested:
go slow, that’s the trick!
Even if you’re invested
in training for a PB,*
this method has been tested.
Running slower, experts agree,
is good for preventing pain
and avoiding injury.
Running creates a strain
on various parts of the body,
like your joints, the experts explain,
and the tendons surrounding your knee.
So much pressure with every stride!
But slowing down could be,
when properly applied,
a way to reduce some of these tensions.
How slow? Here’s a guide
to a theory that gets lots of mentions:
Take your 5K per mile pace
and add at least 90 seconds.
So since you run 8 minute miles in a race,
your training runs should be in the range
of 9:30, or even 10, in case
you decide that you want to change
your pace and make it even slower.
The slower, the better! Sounds strange,
but it might make your finish time lower.
That is if your running form stays efficient and neat
and you mix in a few tempo runs or
intervals or maybe some mile repeats.
But only once in a while.
Speed work is something you treat
as a small portion of your weekly miles.
Slow, easy runs should be the biggest part
of what makes up your training percentiles.
Take this advice that I impart:
Sara, remember to go slow!
Or don’t. But you’ll be finished before you start.
*PB = personal best/your fastest time recorded.
Note: I have added an edited version of this poem to the my running stories section.