There’s a lot out there about running, and a lot to say about it. And I don’t just want to be one of those voices, so here’s what I have been reading this week in running and all that it encompasses:
1) At the suggestion of Sarah, a.k.a. “Run Far Girl,” I decided to download the book Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence. I’ve only gotten through Alex Rodriguez’s foreword, having highlighted the line, “Once the ball is thrown, or it’s hit, the outcome is out of your control.” The takeaway, as a runner, is that the only thing you can control is the lead-up to the race. Did you train as hard as your best? Did you overcome your weaknesses? Do you have confidence in yourself to accomplish your goals? In a sport that can be so results-oriented, taking the pressure of an outcome you can’t control off your shoulders is something any runner could use.
2) So, because training for Chicago 2014 starts the second week of June, I’m slowly starting to get back into running so I can…well…hit the ground running on Day One. I’ve been trying to find strategies to do that, and I found this article from Runner’s World a useful guide to easing myself back in. The hardest part, honestly, is determining how much time I have really taken off so I know where to start. Yes, my last half-marathon was 3 weeks ago this weekend and I have only run 2 miles total since then. But I am also “coming back” from an injury and I have been doing intermittent yoga and swimming since then. So, really, where do I start? I’m still trying to answer that question for myself.
3) In the spirit of coming back and preparing myself for success in what I want to be a
challenging training season, I have also been reading this article from Competitor on “The Best Core Exercise for Proper Running Form.” What sets this article aside from the scores of advice out there, besides the wacky handstands at the very beginning of the video, is the conversation in the first part about why core strength is so important for running in two words: the spine. No one likes to be told to do endless crunches when there seems to be sufficient doubt that ab crunches help with creating a six-pack or developing ab strength at all. But when you put it in context of the very thing that holds your body together and gives it structure, core strength becomes much more about alignment and balance and stability. Bonus: this exercise can be done while watching TV. Now there are no excuses!
4) Another article I read recently carries a lot of weight for me and I know is an issue that resonates with most if not all female runners: being cat-called during a run. The woman in this article had a pretty disgusting and nerve-wracking scare, and she’s not the first one to have it either. I can still remember one time when I was finishing up a run and I was stopped at a traffic light waiting to cross when a man in a truck rolled down his window and yelled, “HEY!” at the top of his lungs followed by a, “Laaaaady in piiiiink shorts!” to the tune of “Lady in Red.” I could hear him and his passenger cackling with the kind of pig-headed, chauvinistic laugh used in nitty-gritty bar movie bar scenes when two men have just put down the waitress. I’m going to let the author of that article keep her point, because I think the article is worth a read and I agree wholeheartedly. But I will reiterate her point and climb aboard the soapbox that I ascend when I can see the tie to a bigger picture: What I wear when I run….the fact that I am a woman….none of that excuses disgusting sexist and, frankly, harassing behavior for men who (and I am generalizing here) shift blame on the woman for having provoked his behavior by the simple virtue that I am a woman and he is a man. I repeat: My being a woman does not dictate a man’s behavior. So, keep it under control, guys. Don’t cat-call women. It never works, it makes us feel unsafe, and for the love of my run, it scares me which makes my heart rate go up which means you not only messed with my dignity and well-being, you screwed up what might have been a great run.
5) And, finally, because I know how hard it is to start a blog and get a good audience going (here’s a shout-out to my 7 followers who are not my mother– WOOT WOOT!!), I have to let you all know about my twin sister’s new blog– www.runner465.com. Go check it out! She’s already pretty much more creative than I am. 🙂