How to run

Aug 7, 2012


a dachshund running in a field
a dachshund running in a field
a dachshund running in a field

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of people tweeting/commenting “I hate running.” Since I love running, maybe more than yoga, I wanted to share the love (the tips I’ve learned from actual runners, and from continuing to run).

  1. Lean forward as you go up hills, and shorten your stride. Lean back as you go down hills, and lengthen out. My sisters learned this in cross-country. Attack the hills, with quick little steps. Relax down the slopes, with smooth strides, like you’re skiing. Don’t bounce. Restore your energy when you can, so you have it when you need it. Paying attention to the angle of your body will also distract you through half the run.

  2. Run slower. I learned this in crew. We had to do 60-minute runs two or three times a week, to drop weight. You want to keep yourself where you can still talk; this is your aerobic threshold (where you’re burning fat, instead of building muscle, if you care about that). We called them “conversation runs.” I’d never run so slow, I was used to soccer practices, but I enjoyed running for the first time.

  3. Don’t run more than four miles. This is my personal rule. I think 26 miles is ridiculous. It’s not healthy for most bodies. I mean, I LOVED Born to Run, but seriously. I run the Moderates’ Running Club. Two miles is great. Four is the max. If you want to run more, increase your frequency. Run daily. Build the habit, not the tolerance to pain. Keep it at a length you can fit into any day. End your run looking forward to the next one.

  4. Associate. Dissociate. These are the two types of thinking you’ll switch between as you run. Associative thinking is tuning into your body: what hurts, what feels good. You’ll adjust your stride, deepen your breath, find some muscles that aren’t tired yet. You’ll fix your form: relax your shoulders, lift your knees, lead with the heart. Dissociative thinking takes you away from the pain. You’ll brainstorm new blog posts, think about your family, smile at old memories, or listen to music. It’s the dream state, the vacation til you need to readjust reality.

  5. Look for the good parts. Find all the ways in which you’re enjoying the run: being outside, seeing other characters, watching animals, feeling stronger. You won’t have time to fit in as much misery, and you’ll feel lighter. Some days you’ll feel like crap, and it will be “Yay, I’m doing the best I can!” as you old-lady shuffle. Other days you’ll feel awesome and you will fucking kill that hill. Because you can. The only thing you need in order to do something is a strong desire to do it. Figure out what gives you this desire, and think about that.

That’s it, I think. Oh, and tie your house keys in your shoelaces. Then they don’t jingle.

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