- Run slower.
- If that doesn’t work, try harder. Give up worrying about your stride rate, and carry along sunscreen to reapply.
- Get a running buddy, and converse.
- Maybe rethink the idea of going for a long run with your former rugby teammate, who played in the wing position, scored a lot and ran 7:30’s the last time she did a marathon.
- Monitor your heart rate: for me, this means keeping it under 145 bpm. Let out a rebel yell, if you can get and keep it near 135.
- Breathe only through your nose. Then notice that your farmer blow has improved immensely.
- Listen to folk music during the run. Yes, Jack Johnson’s music is too fast. NO LCD Soundsystem, funk or disco! Science Friday podcasts may work, because Ira’s voice is so soft that you’ll have to soften your footsteps.
- Try a breathing tweak that sounds like it will be even harder than just breathing through your nose: 3:3 or 4:4 (where you take 4 steps for each inhale breath, and four for each exhale breath).
I haven’t tried #8, but I may resort to it soon. One of the interesting and surprising discoveries I’ve made while preparing for my first marathon: it’s difficult and necessary to go slower. Evidently I’m not alone; here’s one recent story about the apparently importance and benefit of dialing my effort back for a lot of my weekly mileage.
A friend recently gave me a tarot reading. A portion of our conversation drew my attention to balance. On that particular day, I was feeling slightly less balanced, in terms of where I’m putting my waking hours, along the jock (physical activities) – nerd (mental activity) continuum. I often think of the current status as more of a pendulum swing, rather than a position on a bar that can be moved in increments. Maybe that needs to change, not just in terms of life balance but also in terms of how this marathon is going to go for me. Sure, fine-tuning my running still qualifies as athletics, and I’m not entirely convinced that marathon running is the activity of a balanced person. And yet: maybe if I sweat less doing it, I’m more boho, and hence more balanced?
A summation of my efforts working in the right direction, thus far: Yesterday and today I’ve gone on fun, short bike rides with no intention at all of getting anywhere swiftly. The above photo I took this morning on the way to work: we see the river making a very slow and deliberate attempt to completely flood the metro area. On this commute I also stopped to photograph some lovely landscaping that has been done recently, in a yard along my route. Biking or running with a camera certainly helps me slow down, though it relies more on average pace than on consistency from minute to minute. I’m curious to know what kind of difference this subtlety makes.
Yesterday was a rest day on my running calendar, which meant I had another excuse to dial things down. I did a few hours of reading as well as some cooking. A raw brownie batch using this recipe from OhSheGlows.com turned out wonderfully! This may be the first thing I’ve put cocoa nibs into that I’ve liked.
If you have strategies for slowing your training pace down, or if you have an innovative and tasty brownie recipe, I’d love to hear it in the comments on this page. Have a great, slower day!