September 26, 2014. Four or five times each week, for forty years, I’ve been running 3 miles. Because it makes me feel good. Including a few minutes to warm up and a few more to cool down at the end, it’s a wonderful 30-minute Way to start my day. A totally refreshing Way to do and feel something that’s completely different from the day’s other 23.5 hours.
For the first 30 years, I ran in Central Park. For the last 10, I’ve been doing it on a treadmill most of the time. In the comfort and privacy of my home. Now I’m going public, and I’d love it if you’d join me.
I’m Training for the Runner’s World Half. Actually, for the 10K (6.25 miles), about half the Half Marathon that’s the marquee event. Yeah, 10K’s only half the big race. But it’s twice my usual 5K. So I’ll find out if I can still take it up at a notch at age 65. Whatever my time is, it’ll be my personal best.
I’m not worried, because it’s not a double or nothing bet. This Runner’s World event-for-everybody includes a 5K, my fallback.
My training’s been going well. I’m running my usual treadmill 5K a few times each week. On Saturdays, I’ve been adding mileage. Gradually. Last Saturday, I did my first treadmill 10K. A lot of sweat, but no exhaustion. No aches. No pains.
To make the transition from my cushy NordicTrack treadmill to real-world asphalt, I’m going to set my treadmill’s incline to 3 per cent for tomorrow’s run. To make myself generate a little more thrust per step. To have a stronger “toe off”, in the language of serious runners. Because running on solid, stationary ground makes you do more of that than a motorized treadmill does. If I get through that, I’ll be back on 10 kilometers of Central Park’s paved roadways a week later.
If you do this sort of thing – and if you’d like to do it with me on Saturday, October 18 in historic Bethlehem, PA – register online at Runner’s World. Get a 10% discount off the already low registration fees when you use one of these discount codes:
5 & Dime: blogbettercheaperslower5&10
Hat Trick: blogbettercheaperslowerHat
Some explanation: “5 & Dime” means you run the 5K and the 10K. “Hat Trick” means you’ll run those two races on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday. If you’ll be running on Sunday, you’re on your own, pal. But I promise to cheer you on.
Hey, not so fast
A more important explanation: this is for fun. You can run faster or slower. Or you can walk. I’m hoping for a beautiful Fall day. So my running time will be a beautiful time, whatever it is. I plan to run at a moderate pace: 6 mph, maybe a little faster. Turns out that’s a very healthy approach.
The most recent report from the ongoing, long-term Copenhagen City Heart Study has this great headline: “Regular jogging shows dramatic increase in life expectancy.” How dramatic? Six years of extra life. 6.2 more for men who jog; 5.6 more for women who jog. Compared to men and women who don’t jog. How regular? 30 minutes, 2 – 5 times a week. C’mon!
How fast? Slower, actually. The participants who reported their pace to be “slow” or “moderate” show the greatest increase in longevity. The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Peter Schnohr, says this about jogging Slower: “Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise … You should aim to feel a little breathless, but not very breathless”. You can read more about this here.
My happy feet run and walk in these back-to-the-future shoes from Altra. They’re shaped like feet and they have flat heels. Non-elevated heels that keep me on my toes and prevent me from landing on my heels – and sending shockwave up my legs to my spine. These are my no-aches-and-pains shoes.
More important, they have a very wide “toe box”. That’s the front of the shoe. It’s actually foot-shaped: designed to let your toes spread out, naturally and comfortably. So they actually work like toes. Ten little stabilizers that are amazingly good at keeping you balanced. And comfortable. They make you feel like you could go for miles. Well, at least 6.25.
“Although previous studies have found enhanced mood for up to an hour after exercise, this study found benefits for up to 12 hours following activity, compared to the resting group…Test subjects performed exercise at 60 percent of aerobic capacity, indicating that moderate-intensity exercise – like walking or light cycling – is enough to boost mood.” American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
The ACSM recently revised its recommendations for good, safe running shoes to specify minimum heel-to-toe “drop” and “wide toe box”. Sounds exactly like my Altras, huh? No more pointy high heels!
Every Thing Is Everything
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius