Two years ago I needed information on how to ramp up to distance running with a maximum of fun and a minimum of pain. Some things friends told me, some things I read, and some things I learned only from achy experience. Here are a few suggestions that I now offer, in turn, from my limited and idiosyncratic perspective:
- Everybody is different. What works great for one person may be utterly wrong for another. Even what works great for you on one day may be counterproductive at another time. Ignore all advice (including this advice) that doesn't fit your situation.
- Everybody is the same. Learn from other people's experiences, especially when they tell you about disasters that have befallen them.
- One word: plastic. Avoid cotton, especially when temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (= 10 degrees Celsius). Wear soft, lightweight shorts and shirts made of nylon or other synthetic fibers that won't hold sweat against your body. And recycle --- you can save money by shopping for gear in thrift stores or by accepting clothes from others who have outgrown them or given up running.
- Buy big shoes. Your feet are your best friends. Take care of them, give them plenty of room, and protect them with thick padded socks.
- One more word: variety. Don't get in a rut. Follow different routes. Try a track once in a while. Get off the pavement and trek through the woods. Vary your speed from run to run, and within a run. Experiment and observe.
- Measure, but don't obsess. Time yourself over known distances. Keep a log of how far you've run, how long you've run, what you've seen, and how you've felt. Compare, especially with your own past performances. Analyze. Let your recordkeeping contribute to your sense of progress and satisfaction. Use a journal to build memories while training builds muscles.
- Yet another word: patience. If you get hurt, slow down, stop, rest, and heal. Take your time, during runs and even races. Enjoy.
And maybe most important:
- Listen to your body. And remember, even it is sometimes wrong, though usually it's pretty good about not sticking to a mistaken hypothesis. ("I feel great today; let's go really fast! ... Ouch! ... Uh, Boss, we have a problem ...")
(see also JogLogFog (9 Jun 2002), SlowerRunnersGuide (30 Oct 2002), LoseTrack (11 Nov 2002), ... )
TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - Datetag20031002
(correlates: KiloPixAndMegaWords, EmersonOnRace, DiffiCult, ...)