Preparation is key. Petroleum jelly in the right places, sunblock everywhere. A bandanna covers my forehead, for the sun as well as the sweat. My water bottles are filled and stowed away on my belt, and I strap my timer to it as well. Power gels or gummies are shoved into the front pocket. Everything ready, I stride out the door into the sun.
The first minute is always the hardest. Getting the stride back takes effort through no effort, much like thinking without thinking in Zen meditation. You don’t think too much about moving your feet; after a few minutes, your muscle memory will do the work for you.
I remember to time my breath. In two steps, out two steps, in two, out two. It comes naturally; I don’t break rhythm. If I feel winded or my legs ache, I shorten my stride.
On most days, running liberates me. But not last Saturday.