“Slow” is a relative term
I’ve been reflecting on what I wrote the other day:
“As I go longer, I (necessarily) get slower — and that messes with my head.”
I wonder whether I’ve got that backwards.
Is it really necessary (inevitable?) to slow down SO much merely because I’m going long? Am I messing with my own head before I even take the first steps of my long runs?
Whenever I set out to run longer than ten miles, I tell myself at the start to slow down and focus on maintaining a steady pace. For me right now, that translates to about 10:15 per mile. Yet as I approach that 10 mile mark, I find myself getting tired. I don’t seem to be able to maintain that pace beyond ten miles, although in the recent past I’ve run several half marathons at faster than a 10:15 average pace.
So today I decided to find out whether I’m still able to run any faster than this snail’s pace I’ve settled into lately.
Actually, I set out with the intention to simply run 6 miles and enjoy it, but I felt so strong at the start that I decided to push just a little bit and see what might happen.
Well, I can’t call it “official” because I stopped twice — once to give directions to a lost cyclist and once to chat with a friend that I met along the way. But I ran 6.2 miles in 59:19. Woohoo! Another formerly-impossible sub-60 minute 10K! Not only that, but I ran mile 6 in 8:56 — my first sub-9 minute mile ever! I was still picking up speed on that last two/tenths of a mile.
I finished feeling a bit tired (it was warm out there) but very strong. I could have run much further today, although I’m not sure I could have sustained that pace much longer today.
In any case, I feel like I’ve hit the reset button and recalibrated everything. “Slow” is a relative term. I haven’t actually lost any speed — in fact I’ve gotten faster, when speed is the primary objective.
I’ve learned that I need to stop telling myself to run slowly!
Obviously I still need to do the long runs. But I can shift my perspective on those long runs. I can just run them and enjoy them. That seems like a far more positive approach than starting out already thinking, “OMG I’m going XX miles today and I’ve never run that far before!”
One step at a time. One foot in front of the other.
I know how to do this, so I’m going to go out there and do it!