Sunday, March 1, 2009
I suppose it’s official, I’m a runner. It dawned on me when I was having a conversation about running with another runner in the locker room at work. I’m not ashamed of it. It’s just that I had sort of seen myself as a person trying to lose weight and the activities related to that didn’t really take on their own properties. But what can I do, I’m addicted to it. I ran Friday over my lunch break in the rain for goodness sake.
I don’t know about a runner’s high. But there is something going on. Once I’m about 20 or 30 minutes into it, I feel more compelled to keep going than to stop. In fact, reaching the destination or running out of time is kind of a bummer. But after that brief withdraw there is a fantastic sensation. I feel like a million bucks. I guess that qualifies as a runner’s high. Some endorphin related thing.
I especially like doing it in the middle of the day. There’s a nice, restart quality to it. If you’ve ever seen Burn After Reading, George Clooney’s character has a similar compulsion. There’s a lot to dislike about that character, but he is oddly endearing. I feel a kinship with his beardedness too.
Anyway, I went through a phase of interval running. (Changing pace on a rhythm) and a alternating between intense and moderate days using a heart monitor. Without a race to train for, I’m kind of just enjoying running at a nice pace. I’d call it a trot. Like the rate a horse would clip-clop along. Faster than a jog, not quite all out running. I’d rate paces something like...
There are a lot of useful things you can buy as a runner. You can get by without the heart rate monitor. If you don't plan on getting addicted or live in a warm climate, you might be able to get by without a good hat and gloves. You won't regret lined running shorts, but they're not necessary. The one thing you should definitely invest in is good shoes. For starters, get professionally fitted. If you can find a good runner's store, they will watch you run, make assessments and put you in shoes that will make a big difference.
I'm by no means an expert at this point, but I feel I can offer advice to the aspiring novice. Remember to stretch, stay hydrated and above all be patient. Don't expect to be able to cover 10 miles on the first day. Even if you have some running experience. Your heart and lungs, as well as all the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your body need to be eased into it. Start by going back and forth between walking and jogging. Work at a pace that you can do for 30 minutes to an hour. It's no good to hit the ground at full speed and pack it in after 5-8 minutes.