>Running 101>Everybody now: run easy!
I thought I'd share my story today, because it was a bit of a revelation for me:
I've been running very on an off for maybe 6 years now. VERY on and off. Before winter, I had done C25K for the 3rd or 4th time and spent the winter months doing 30 minute slow runs around an indoor track or on a treadmill.
Then the weather changed, I got an iPhone, and I downloaded RunKeeper. The thing about this great app is that it chirps your distance and average time every 5 minutes. I am SLOW. And I am hard on myself about it. A speed walker passed me this winter and I flipped out inside. So that 5 minute notice started my brain going, and I started running every run like a race: I tried to beat my times, my distances. I could hear RA in the back of my head, telling me to run easy, at a conversational pace, but I was huffing and puffing and hurting because I SHOULD run faster, even though I know better.
Well, I finally bonked. I've been running 30 minutes, doing the beginning weeks of OHR, and I went out "fast" and bonked at 25 minutes. I felt like a loser. How could I bonk going at a pace that is still glacial for a lot of people? Why couldn't I push through it?
Thankfully, everything I've learned from RA hit me. Run easy. Runners run. Build time on your feet to become a runner. Don't race your training runs. Conversational pace. Listen to your body and don't create injuries. Running easy, your pace will quicken and you will actually race races faster than if you race training runs.
So today I laced up my shoes and ditched the iPhone for my trusty Garmin. And I ran easy. It turned out conversational pace is almost 2 minutes slower for me right now than I had been running. And hey--I cruised through my 30 minutes with energy to spare, but I still sweat and felt like I got a workout. When negative thoughts came into my head as I plodded, I reminded myself that I was out in the sunshine moving my body. I'm way ahead of most Americans. I'm taking care of myself.
Go ahead, speed walkers. Pass me. I'm busy becoming a runner.
Call me Ray (not Ishmael)
Don't worry about your speed, we're all slow compared to somebody and fast compared to someone else.
The key is to enjoy yourself and above all, stay with it. You will improve, probably to levels you never thought possible if you give it time and consistent effort.
For what it's worth, here's my take on easy runs: http://fullstriderunning.com/2011/10/how-easy-is-easy/
Full Stride Running
No more marathons
Slow and fast are relative terms. We're all slower than someone (even Usain Bold occasionally loses a race) and all runners are faster than the person still on the couch. Measure your relative pace against only yourself - look for improvements when they come, but no need to force them.
MTA: Oops - didn't see Dan's reply - great minds think alike?
That's a great attitude. It is a lesson I had to learn myself. I kept running my easy runs too fast and spent much of the last two years injured. Usually because I was doing something stupid. For instance I'd run a quality day the day after a race. Or I'd only run 20-25 MPW but 10-13 of those miles would be a hard weekly long run with friends that were running much more miles during the week.
I still have those temptations to run, but I've really tried to make a point to run easier more often. I think the other key for me at least is being honest with myself about what is an easy run.
Fall 2013 Goals: Doable sub 22:00 5k; Challenging Sub 21:00 5k; Unlikely Sub 20:00 5k.
I have never considered myself competitive, but I think we ALL have a bit of that in us. I HATE how slow I run and can't even call it running, to be honest. I still have to walk/run combo most of the time. I am 39, overweight and have been running since January. I did a 5K race and walked it pretty much and really don't know why. I tell myself that I am doing more than I ever have in my life. I never played sports or have pushed myself to do anything physical. One of my good friends decides to run and is always immediately running faster and better than me, but she never sticks with it. I figure she is just pushing to be faster and better instead of building up her endurance. I am not sure how long it will take for me to get better at running, and I am not even losing weight at this point. I do feel better than I ever have and it is so nice to be able to walk up lots of stairs in a building and not be out of breath. So, I just will keep running to feel better and to be in better shape than I was 6 months ago.
Anyway, good job and keep it up!
Good job to you, Meg! I'm not a natural runner/athlete, either, but oh well. Let's both of us stick with it!
I wish I could make my wife understand this concept. She has recently tried getting back into running after doing a walk to run program last year with the local running club. She goes out every day for her 1.2 mile loop and finishes it completely wiped out and out of breath.
I've told her that each week she should just add another block and eventually that 1.2 miles might feel easy but she says she cant because she is too spent after just 1.2 miles. So I tell her she needs to run slower, and she goes off on me and tells me that she can walk faster than she is running right now.
I know if she just slowed down to an actual easy pace for her, that she would finish the 1.2 slower, but feeling better about herself and the run, but she just wont do it.
Obiebyke, I did 3 miles of a walk/run this morning, slowly but surely, we will just keep on keepin on! I had to take off for 3 days due to some aches and pains, probably needing new shoes, but too poor to buy them right now, lol.
jeffdonahue, It is really hard to be patient enough to run slow and I am sure if I were any younger, I would not have the patience!