The Rhythm of Running Slow…and Looking Good!

Nearly all of us dash into it hoping for and expecting results which are quite unwarranted. Nature is unable to make a really first-class job of anything if she is hustled. To enhance our best, we need only, and should only, enhance our average. That is the basis we ought to work on, for it succeeds every time when the other fails. So, in running, it is essential to take to it kindly.

Arthur Newton

It’s not easy to run slow. I used to believe it took about 28 days to form a habit but recent studies show that if a new routine is going to ever become a habit, it will take about 66 days to reach a plateau in automaticity. In other words it has become as much of a habit as it will ever be. Thank goodness I have some time to make slow running an automaticity of my life.habit_graph2

I spent the last weekend in Atlanta and decided the rolling hills that make Atlanta such a beautiful city is also what makes it a miserable city for runners. So one day I found the nearest high school and ran on the beautiful track I found there, beginning my 5th day of slow base building.

Watching others is such a great part of the learning process and my mind conjures up memories of runners that look good running slow. I’ve mentioned how I watched all of the Rocky movies at the time they were popular and in one scene Rocky is running incredibly slow in the mountains, maybe in the snow – this great music playing in the background. I wasn’t even a runner then but I remember thinking how in control he looked, how strong. A girl passed me one day on the Chicago lakefront path wearing one of those cute little running skirts – she was running so relaxed, so slow but she still looked good like she knew exactly how one was supposed to run.

So, I think I’ve got it….I’ll run really slow, but I’ll look good doing this.

Is it just me or do your legs actually feel heavy when you run slow? I feel awkward, uncoördinated, like everything is moving in sloooooow motion. If I have to go any slower, I might as well just walk.  I think I’ve found hell, it’s right here in my feet.

The coaches say it’s good to have different gears as a runner but I never did like first gear and would take every chance to skip 2nd and 4th, push that engine hard in 3rd and move right into overdrive. All around that track, I’m practicing running slow, trying to look strong, find I’m going too fast, throw up my hands, slow down, check my watch, start all over again. Six miles of this frustration –  it is excruciating.

I suppose I will eventually find the rhythm of running slow – it will take a great deal of practice…. and patience.

And, as we find ourselves still immersed in the horrid depths of this week’s events, I hope we will all send a sweet thought of inspiration to the runners that will some day find themselves moving differently, slowly; learning to move again altogether.

I hope for each one of them that they will find their running legs….and they will be looking good to me.

Below-the-knee amputee Fields runs for berth i...