Running Advice for Myself

A poem in which I lecture myself in terza rima form. Doesn’t everybody?

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.
Always stay behind.
It’s really 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 your hips, legs and back.
And your joints, the experts explain,

are constantly under attack.
So much pressure with every stride!
But slowing down, in fact,

when properly applied,
is 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
and make your runs even slower.
The slower, the better! Sounds strange,

but it might make your finish time lower
if your running form stays efficient and neat
and you mix in a few tempo runs or

intervals. Maybe some mile repeats?
But only every once in a while.
Speed work is something you treat

as one small part of your week’s miles.
Slow, easy runs should be the majority
of your training percentiles.

So Sara, listen to me:
Make slowing down your priority.

*PB = personal best/your fastest time recorded.