This morning, I ran on the road for the first time since, oh, April, maybe. And I had an absolutely great run. It wasn’t because I got to run in the rain (somehow, I totally missed the actual rain and had to settle for extreme humidity). My brand new Saucony road shoes might have had a small part to play (I got a sweet deal at Academy the other day — $50 bucks!). Maybe a small portion was that it was a short, flat run (I only did 4+ miles over around El Salido Parkway). I certainly got a huge kick out of seeing the Westwood soccer team out playing on the new fields (there’s my boy!).
The big reason the run was such a success was this book I’m reading, Slow Burn by Stu Mittleman. It has really captivated me. The subtitle is “Burn Fat Faster by Exercising Slower” but it’s really not a “lose weight” kind of book. It’s about rethinking your running so that you can run longer and easier. It’s a very positive, affirming book with many good lessons; I’m going to go back with the highlighter once I’ve gotten all the way through and make note of all the worthwhile quotations.
Anyway, he has some tips for rethinking your form as you run. I applied them today, and the miles flew by. Seriously. And the reason I’ve not been on the roads much lately is that I feel like it takes forever, I wind up walking, and I’m just a grouch. Today, I was happy the WHOLE time!
One of the big changes I made was thinking of the earth as moving under my feet. It’s as though I’m on a treadmill, and I’m simply moving my feet as the earth rolls by underneath me. Surprisingly, this mental image made a HUGE difference.
Mittleman’s whole premise is about working at an easier rate, which is where you burn fat. When you work at that easier rate, you are more in the moment, unlike being anaerobic, when you are out of the moment (and burning sugar).
So, while you may slow down quite a bit a first, eventually your pace will pick back up as the body shifts to burning the unlimited amount of fat stores at hand. I actually ran faster than I’ve been doing on my runs at Lady Bird Lake…and there was no walking. I think it was because I caught myself taking off too fast (Mittleman puts the focus on where the breath comes from; you want to breath from the belly, not the chest. Once I realized focused on my breath, everything just fell into place).
I’m going to try to do more road running as sharpening before Palo Duro.