As a runner, how often do you hear this piece of advice given?
I'm a new runner. But both races I've done, I started out fast. Too fast for my level of running. I was passing people, a lot, and it felt good. I was running based on how many people I could dart past.
Sure, it was fun. Until mile 1.5, when I wanted to walk the rest of the way and every step was stupid and awful.
I've been wondering why my long runs feel so much EASIER to me than my shorter runs. That doesn't really make sense, does it?
When I do my mid-week runs, I'm constantly trying to one-up myself. I always try to go faster than last time. I always start off at a reasonable pace (for my fitness level), and then I see that timer ticking higher, and higher. And I can't let it go. I HAVE TO BE FASTER. That is how I end up running my last quarter mile of every treadmill run at a ridiculous pace that I have NO business touching yet. My "Miracle Mile" pace is 8:48. That puts my SPEEDWORK at 10:11-10:32. I finished my quarter mile at a 7:32 pace.
And why? Because I saw the time creeping up past what I thought was "acceptable".
Never mind that I have virtually skipped 4 weeks of training. Never mind that I have NEVER run that pace, ever. Never mind that I'm supposed to be doing an EASY run at 10:46.
I wanted to beat myself.
And every time I do this (which is, every time I'm on the treadmill), I hate it. I want to puke. It's hot. I never want to run again. And this time, in addition to the near-puking, I jacked up my leg. And had to miss ANOTHER bunch of runs.
All because I was impatient. I made myself compete, against myself.
How silly does that sound? It's TRAINING, for a FUN RUN.
Don't get me wrong. I totally believe competitiveness is a virtue - it definitely has it's own time and place. But this wasn't it.
And the crazy thing is, I'm a HUGE advocate of applying this principle across my life. I don't compare leukemia stories. I don't compare my work to other people in my office. I do what I need to do, and keep it moving. No fuss, no worrying about other folks. I run my own race.
Monday night, I went for a run. Outside, with the H. I blogged (briefly) about my first attempt at running with H here... but let me sum it up for you: Terrible.
He's fast - he comfortably runs a 7:30 mile (I think?). Last time, I felt compelled to keep up. I was chasing him. And I lasted less than a mile before my first walk break.
Monday night, I focused on running my own race. I ran slow, but I ran steady, and I didn't worry about where he was. He would dart off, and loop back and jog with me for awhile. And we finished our 3.2 mies, slowly (I think he ended just shy of 4?).
But, and this is how I know I did something right... I LOVED EVERY SECOND. I felt GREAT. I never felt impatient, or rushed, or antsy. And at the end, I felt good enough to sprint the last .2 faster than him. Because he darted all about and was dead by the end of our loop.