High as a Kite

Moses-Mosop-training-3-foto-losse-veterHappiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. –Nathaniel Hawthorne

I’m not exactly sure what that means, but you know when you go out for a run and everything just clicks and after a while you notice that you can’t even feel the ground and your arms, legs, heart and lungs are so synchronized that you feel just…high.  It just kinda happens.  That’s kinda what it means I think.  Seriously, like in your brain it’s the same thing.  You see, when endorphins and, um, well the hypothalamus and then, you know, endogenous opiates and, uh, you know what I mean.  I’m not really sure what butterflies have to do with the hypothalamus, so, um, yeah.

I can distinctly remember the last few times that has happened on my run, and kindasorta remember the few times before that, because that was back in the day when there were more, you know, brain foggies.  Now, with more clarity, the feeling is even more memorable.  And repeatable.  Invariably, each run started and finished in the same way, so I’m pretty sure that I can replicate it almost at will now.  To varying degrees, anyway.

You want that?  I know!  Me too.  Here’s what you do:

Take off your watch.  Or your GPS.  Seriously.  Take it off.  Leave it on the counter, or in your car.  Whatever.  Leave it.  You won’t die and you don’t have to tell anyone.  Your usual six mile loop?  The one that you can do in your sleep and you know exactly how far you’ve gone at each corner or tree or whatever.  That one.  Do that one.  Because it’s one less thing to think about.  Dude!  Seriously.  Take off the watch!  Seriously.  Here, I’ll hold it for you.

Ok, good.  Now, real quick, and real easy, do a couple lunge stretches on each side.  You now, stretch out your psoas a little bit.  Do a little twist so you really get in there.  But nothing too much.

Now, go out the door.  Start, like, real slow.  Jogging, like to maybe halfway.  I don’t know, somewhere around there.  Maybe more, maybe less.  Jog.  Like, real jogging.  Barely moving, glacially slow jogging.  Maybe as fast as you would go if you were walking, except you’re, you know, jogging.  Ok, maybe a bit faster than that.  Not plodding, though.  Jogging.  How long?  I don’t know, you’re not wearing a watch.  To halfway.  Or almost halfway, I don’t know.  So what if someone sees you?  So what?

You’re going so easy you could probably keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose.  Yeah, that slow.  Super easy.  That’s what I mean by jogging.  And stand up really tall.  Head up, so you can stay tall.  Eyes up, so you can see all the wonderful, I don’t know, car dealerships or shopping centers or whatever you run past.  Tall.  Head up, eyes up.

When you get to halfway, just let off the brake.  That’s all.  Don’t step on the gas, just let off the brake.  Real easy like.  Maybe by now you’re back to being a mouth breather, but you never really noticed the change.  And you’re still really tall.  Just let off the brakes and then kinda slow ride.  Just go.  But no pushing.  If you catch yourself trying to push, or forcing things or whatever, check yourself and slow down a bit.  One thing you can do to make it easier on yourself is to imagine that you’re running with someone who’s a few steps behind you and who’s a bit slower than you are and you don’t want to drop them.  So, you’re running, but you’re waiting at the same time.  I don’t know how long, you’re not wearing a watch.  But you’ll know.  And stay tall.  You know where you are on the loop, so you know how close you are to home, but still, don’t push.  At least, not until you get to the middle school down the street or whatever.  Close, but not super close.

And then tap on the gas.  Just a bit.  Just a bit, like you’d do when you’re driving to work and the light turns yellow the second before you hit the intersection and you want to get through without it turning red.  Just a bit.  Just for a few seconds and then let off.  Maybe every other block or so, step on the gas just a bit, just for a few seconds.  Maybe fifty meters, I don’t know.  Almost like you’re testing the waters.  Or priming the pump or something.  Do that a few times, maybe three or four times and then run for home, run to the barn.  You know, like horses do.  Stay as tall as you can and just float.  You’ll fly without even really pushing.  It will be glorious.  It will LIT’rally be the best run you ever had.  LIT’rally.

And if it isn’t, do it again the next day.  But don’t do anything different.  Leave the watch at home.  Jog.  For longer than you want to.  Let off the brake.  Run for a bit.  Find the rhythm.  Tap on the gas a few times.  And then run home.

After you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to interpret your body’s feedback much better, and have a better understanding of when it is ok to push and when it isn’t.  Your body is an infinitely more accurate gauge of pace, of where your threshold is, than any external marker, or test or device.  It just is.  You just don’t know how to read the messages yet.  Because of all the magazines and training manuals and programs online, the talk about race pace and VO2 and the various thresholds, I think we tend to look at running and training and such as some sort of formula.  Yeah, there’s that, but before there were all the formulas and all the charts and such, there was just running.  Sometimes slow, sometimes fast.  It was just running.  And I think if you reintroduce that, reintroduce the simplicity of it all to your running and to your training, you’ll enjoy it more, you’ll run faster, you’ll have fewer injuries.  LIT’rally.

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