Walk Myself Thin

Olympic pictogram Athletics

I’m standing in the exercise and fitness section of my local used book store, browsing the titles on running and anything else that might be of interest. I’m specifically looking for Born to Run, anything else on barefoot running, or anything else on distance running that isn’t marathon or triathlon focused. I’m not discounting training for a marathon one day, but I am not ready to read that book just yet.

Not finding anything between Running and Walking for Women Over 40, Run Your Butt Off (with a subtitle about losing weight), and Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, I pick up the marathon book. After all, I’m not over 40, and while I’m sure a lot of the advice isn’t age-specific, some might be. As for Run Your Butt Off, the last thing I want is a running book with a primary focus on making me smaller in the lower body. I use my butt — all of it, at its current size — for running, and I like it just fine, thanks. Of the three, the marathon book looks the most interesting: maybe it will have a chapter on building up via smaller distances.

I’m leafing through it, sort of squatting on the floor by the shelf, when he arrives. I don’t really pay attention at first, except to make sure I’m out of his way. When he starts looking through the running and walking shelf as well, I move a few feet back and continue skimming. A few minutes later, I’m deciding the book is not for me (too much marathon-specific advice for me right now) when another book plops to the floor in front of me. At first I think it must have fallen off the shelf, except that it doesn’t tumble in the way of an accidental fall but travels and lands flat as if someone is gently tossing it to me.

The book is Walk Yourself Thin, and the guy smirks. “You might want to start with this first,” he says and leaves, clearly not waiting to engage me in any kind of meaningful discussion about running, walking, fitness, or weight.

I consider chucking the book at the back of his head, but I have a longstanding moral policy against throwing books. Even if he deserves it, the book doesn’t. Besides, it’s bad karma to be an asshole, and right now, the cosmic balance is in my favor.

I glance at the cover then set the book back on the shelf without opening it. I don’t need to. I don’t want to walk myself thin any more than I want to run my butt off. I would like to safely and sustainably increase my running distance and maybe even figuring out how to shed the Vibrams and go barefoot, but I’m perfectly comfortable doing all that with this body at this size.

If, however, I am overcome with the urge to power walk wearing stoplight-color-coded shorts, I will totally give this book a second look.

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16 comments on “Walk Myself Thin
  1. Too bad no amount of walking in the world would help him shed his arrogance and attitude problem.

    • Tori says:

      Well, at least he continued walking away from me, which helped. Not that it’s made him a nicer person necessarily, but he no longer has to share his attitude with me.

  2. Siobhan says:

    I cannot believe anybody would be so rude as to do that to you. You would have been entirely justified if you’d brained him with that book.

    • Tori says:

      For any injury he sustained, I wholeheartedly agree. But the book was a paperback, and: 1) I did not want to damage it just because; 2) I did not want to be asked to pay for it on account of any damage it might have incurred. ;)

  3. ninjanurse says:

    someone will adjust his attitude sooner or later.

  4. What a jerkface! You displayed more self-restraint than I would have, I’m afraid.

  5. Teaspoon says:

    Wow, I’m sorry that jackass decided to pretend to cleverness at you. A guy like that deserves to have a rock in his shoe that he can’t find. Forever.

  6. Cathy S. says:

    Ah jerks. They seem to be everywhere. Since you’ve been looking at barefoot running, you’ve probably been here, but if not: http://www.invisibleshoe.com/ You might find the forum and the numerous links at the site helpful. I don’t run, but I’m working on “barefoot” walking and these sandals are kind of the bomb.

    • Tori says:

      Yup, I’ve seen them, and I’m interested. Right now, the making process — whether I send in a tracing to them or make the sandals myself — is a little more involved than I’m ready to get. I may have transitioned to minimalist running, but I’m still all about conventional shoe shopping! :D

  7. Meaghan says:

    popping out of lurker-dom to say:
    A- Sorry that happened to you
    B-Let me know if you need/want any running book recommendations. I have been running for several years and have read many of the better ones. I have no recommendations on the barefoot thing goes, but for general running training, I have some favorites. I don’t think any of them are weight-neutral, unfortunately, but none of my favorites have a focus on weight, or devote any large portion of the book to weight.

    • Tori says:

      I would like recommendations, thanks! I’m especially looking for books targeted toward distances between 5K and marathon right now.

      • Meaghan says:

        There aren’t really a lot of books targeting between the 5K- marathon distance because the training for races between those distances will be remarkably similar. Most of the best running books target all distances.
        That said, I can personally recommend:

        “Daniels’ Running Formula” by Jack Daniels
        -focuses on all distances 800m- marathon
        -Targets faster runners (I had to train for a long time just to get on his ‘VDOT’ chart, which tells you what paces to run your workouts at, though you can find an online version that goes lower than what’s in his book, which is what I used for about my first year running)
        -Walks you through the different types of workouts, what purpose they serve physiologically, etc.,
        -His ‘color’ plans (he has red, white, blue, gold plans for beginner, intermediate, advanced, and ‘elite’ runners) are good for general training/building mileage; they are quite flexible (the red plan has 3 ‘if you run today’ workouts that are optional, for example).
        -There are also distance-targeted plans — the 5K-15K plan might be of particular interest to you. I find these plans a little too intense unless you’ve already been running a number of years and have made the necessary bone/joint/muscle/etc. adaptations, but they’re possible to adapt– go by time, not by distance (IE if he recommends 6 1-mile repeats at tempo pace, that is for a person running about a 6-minute mile; if your tempo pace is a 10-minute mile, you should do maybe just 3 or 4 repeats, not 6; or do 6 half-mile repeats instead) and maybe only do one ‘quality’ workout per week rather than 2-3.

        “Run Faster: From the 5K tot he marathon: How to be your own best coach”
        by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald
        – Focus is on learning about the components of training enough to build your own training plan (though there are plans in the book)
        -Has 3 levels of plans for each distance, so you can choose which one fits you best (for the 10K, his level 1 plan builds to 29 miles per week; his level 3 plan builds to 62 miles per week)
        -Plans are tough, but I find them effective and race-focused– in each plan, you have a lot of miles at ‘race pace’ (one of the tougher 10K workouts is 4x 1-mile repeats at 10K pace– this is a very good race predictor workout and is a great confidence builder).
        -Like “Daniels Running Formula” I find there is a focus on faster runners and runners who run a lot of mileage; I do find it rather adaptable, though, and the different level plans help with that.

        “Healthy Intelligent Training” by Keith Livingstone has a lot of great information and a real focus on the physiology of best training your aerobic system with the goal of maximizing your running performance, but I’m not sure if it is a great fit for you at this moment; it might be one of those books that’s best read after some of the others.

        It is true that all these books are focused on faster, competitive runners who have a goal of improving their finish times, who are willing to run lots of miles to do it, and who can handle a lot of miles without injury. I don’t know how well that fits with where you are right now, in terms of your goals. I would say that of these books, “Daniels Running Formula” is probably the most adaptable to any level. It was the first running book I bought, and although I was at the time quite a bit slower than I am now, (back then I was at the back of the pack, now I’ve moved up to around the middle) I found the material incredibly helpful.

        Sorry for the extremely long comment!
        Hope some of this is useful to you.

  8. [...] if you have one.) For an example of someone trying to be complimentary, see here. Sometimes you can get comments just from trying to read about [...]

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