is for Everyone! (Intro)
on July 3rd, 2023
Martinus Evans was told by his doctor nearly 11 years
ago that he had two options: lose weight or die. It was on that day that he
decided that he was going to run a marathon. He walked out of the doctor's
office, bought a pair of running shoes, and stepped onto a treadmill that very
day beginning his running journey. To be clear, though sparked by the grim prognosis
of his doctor, Evans has stated that this is not a weight loss journey—since
that fateful appointment he has run more the 8 marathons and over 100 races at
varying distances in his 300lb+ body—rather, it is a journey toward the
achievement of goals through running and the enjoyment of the many physical,
mental, and social benefits that come with it…benefits he hopes to help make
more accessible to everyone.
I chose Slow AF
Run Club by Martinus Evans for the 17th installment of Runners
Who Read because I love his message that running is for everyone and further
believe that his story is incredibly relatable. Often times we've read this
message from elite athletes and other people who fit the traditional archetype
of a runner. Written by someone who doesn't fit that mold, this practical
handbook contains specialized advice for everyone to make getting started less
intimidating, covering everything from gear and nutrition to training
schedules, recovery tips, races, and finding a running group. This book is
designed for anyone who wants to run simply for the joy of it and explore the
many benefits of running. If you are someone, or know someone, who wants to run
but doesn't know where to start, this is the book for you! As someone who is
always advocating for the joy of running, it is certainly the book for me too.
did your running journey begin?
are you looking forward to about reading this book?
for Getting Started (mini-blog #1)
on July 13th, 2023
In running, as in many things in life, sometimes half
the battle is just taking that first stride. Throughout the first few chapters
of Slow AF Run Club by Martinus
Evans, he lays out step-by-step what it takes to get there.
Believe. You are a runner (say it
again if you have to)! No matter whether you feel like a runner, believe you
look like a runner, use mechanical assistance, or hold any other beliefs about
being a runner, the moment you go faster than a walk (per the Meriam-Webster Dictionary),
you are a runner. However, changing the perceptions that hold people back can
be difficult. If fear is the roadblock, rather than wait for it to subside, do
it afraid and show yourself that it is truly False Evidence Appearing Real
(pg#16). Fight feelings of imposter syndrome with the facts of your reality.
Lastly, constantly check your self-talk. Replacing the negative comments you
may make to yourself with neutral self-talk or positive affirmations can go a
long way in getting your mental game right.
2: Get the right equipment. Shoes, clothing, and sunscreen are
the bare minimum essentials. The right shoes won't necessarily make you faster,
but the wrong ones can derail the running journey before it starts. Be sure to
get a gait analysis (usually free at run specialty stores) to guide you and never
buy a pair that is even slightly uncomfortable, no matter how fashionable it
may be. Wearing technical fibers boasts the similar advantage of comfort while
running in any conditions and compression wear specifically helps beat the
chafe monster on longer runs (pg#42). Sunscreen is always a must when going
out, but it is especially relevant on runs which can involve spending over an
hour in direct sunlight. Protect your skin!
3: Plan to start slow. It is always better to go far than
fast to start. One way to do this could be through interval work (run 20
seconds, walk 20 seconds). A run doesn't always need to be continuous. Another
way is to commit to running at conversational pace, otherwise known as "sexy
pace" or "the pace you'd go if you were running in slow motion on a beach, Baywatch style." (pg#29) Both of these
tactics can help a new runner pace themselves through a run.
Whether you are just starting out as a kid or an adult
getting ready to run for that first time, this advice applies to all who are
looking to take that first step.
you are a seasoned runner, what advice would you add for someone who is just
do you prepare for a run?
3. What is your "sexy pace"?
Prepare Like a Pro (mini-blog #2)
on July 20th, 2023
Believe it or not, many of the ways that Martinus
Evans describes preparing for his road races throughout the middle chapters of Slow AF Run Club involve the same
elements that are used by professional runners as well. From training to
recovery, mental preparation, and the management of race day jitters, many of
the facets of race preparation are similar amongst runners. As a professional
runner myself, it's interesting to notice the points of comparison.
To begin with, I was surprised to see that Evans' weekly
training follows the same general pattern as mine: 1 long run, 2 workouts, 3
active recovery/easy days, and a day off. While our workouts are vastly
different, it seems that this weekly flow is common. When it comes to recovery,
stretching, foam rolling, using a massage gun, and cross training (for active
recovery) are staples in both of our routines. Lastly, we both experience race
day nerves and have mental mantras that we fall back on to help center us and
put us in the headspace to run our best through it.
Now, if you'll let me wax poetic for just a moment.
Reading through these chapters and seeing the similarities reminded me of my
favorite quote from a book I read last winter: "Love and laughter and fear and
pain are universal currencies," (The
Midnight Library by Matt Haig, pg#277). A lot of people may see professional
running as something that is so special and different from recreational running
and it is in the sense that pros are operating at the highest levels of human
fitness in running. However, it is not so different in the experience we all
have doing it. The nerves, lactic, runner's high, and joy are all things we can
experience through running no matter our goals or our pace.
Perhaps running is such a relatable sport to so many
because whether you're a novice, professional, or anything in between, there's
a solidarity when seeing a fellow runner in knowing that we're all sharing in a
mantras do you tell yourself to deal with race day nerves?
does your weekly running schedule look like at this time?
Your Community (mini-blog #3)
Chapters 8-10, Afterword
on July 27th, 2023
you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run together." -
If you had told me 5 years ago that I would not only
enjoy running 10+ miles for a long run, but be able to do so at what was my
current 4-mile run pace and hold a
conversation the whole time, I would have laughed in your face. As someone who
had grown up through high school and college as a low-mileage, speed-based 800m
runner, the idea of running so far and having it feel like anything but a chore
was outrageous to me. Fast forward to present day and Monday morning long run
conversations with my teammates are a highlight of every week. Finding the
right community completely shifted my perspective on running far and has pushed
me to new levels of endurance in training and joy in doing so. It can do the
same for you, whatever your running goals may be, you just have to find the
right group. Fortunately, in the last chapter of Slow AF Run Club by Martinus Evans, he breaks down how we can find
the right group.
begin with, reach out to friend, family member, or co-worker.
Running is so common that chances are, we all know someone who runs or is
looking to start and it is always easier to get out of the door with people you
already know rather than a group of strangers. Even in the event that you have
different goals or are at different ability levels, this friend may be able to
recommend a group or training buddy who is more compatible with your needs.
around in run specialty spaces. Next time you go to get
a pair of shoes from the local run specialty store, ask about local running
clubs. Most local running stores have their own run clubs or have run clubs
meeting there (pg#207).
a virtual run club. These online clubs provide the social
support of a run club from home. A bonus perk is that many virtual groups have
members in many different locations. If you travel for a race, you could meet
others in the group who are attending that same event.
your own running group. If all else fails, why not start
your own club? If you've searched your community and still can't find a group
that meets your needs, maybe there is a gap in your community and this is your
sign to start a group that fills it!
The running community is a special place that welcomes
all and has a niche for everyone and when we find the place that suits us, we
can all reach for our goals and experience the many joys that come with
pursuing running together.
running-related groups (outside of Runners Who Read of course) are you a part of
and how did you find them? Feel free to tag a group or running buddy in the
comments below if you'd like!