A Nice Breakthrough in My Running

I’ve been struggling with my running for awhile and couldn’t figure out what was bugging me for the life of me. I mean, seriously, I could not sort it out. Today I think I have.

I keep thinking I’ve been running for forever, but NO, it’s just now 4 months. 4 months? Really? That explains so much. I’m still a real beginner and my mind has conveniently forgotten that fact. I’m not at that true beginner place and I’m not at a true intermediate place, I suppose I’m a beginning runner who is now improving.

Today I went for a run on the Orting Trail, one of my favorite places in the whole world. I used to run there when I was in my 40’s, oh so long ago, when we used to live in WA state, obviously. It was really a wonderful run because I changed things up big time today.

But I must digress for a moment. First, 3 members of our little Albuquerque Trail Runners group are going to do the 5K or 10K Chunky Monkey race in mid July and I’ve decided I’m going to do what I need to do to make sure I’m home for that race. I think I’ll do the 5K but am open to the possibility of the 10K. I have about 10 weeks to train for it. I love that I have 10 whole weeks to train for it.

When I went out to run this morning, it was with the thought in mind of running 5 minutes/walking 1. I think that’s where I think I’ve been not-having-fun lately. I’m capable of running 3 miles straight but I don’t. I’m not sure why, but after my first 5K race in February, I think because it was kind of pretty darned hard, I wanted to roll back mentally and not work so hard. In the meantime I’ve lost quite a bit of weight since that race and running with less poundage=easier running but I’ve frankly been a little afraid to try harder.

Today I pitched that issue out the window and decided to flat-out do a 5K distance with no walking at all and just see how it felt. It felt good. Pure-D-good. It was a flat course, yes, and that made it easier, but hey, I want easier right now. I was able to see that since I’ve lost a few more sizes it really is easier to run and I think that in not trying to step up my game a bit, I never got the chance to see that. To be honest, I think I was just afraid and I’m not quite sure what it was that I was afraid of. Failure maybe.

Through the whole run I kept up a pace of around 11:40-11:50 which is a very nice improvement in pace over what I was running a few months ago. I finished the 5K distance in 36:35, a tad more than 4 minutes faster than my 5K race in February. To that, I say a big, WOO HOO! Better than a faster time is that I never felt like I was going to die. Never.

My speedy New Mexico running partner, Jamie, encouraged me to stop looking at the treadmill as a demon and to embrace the fact that it could help me learn what it feels like to run at a faster pace. So the past 2 weeks, while I was in a hotel in Michigan, I utilized the treadmill to do just that. I despised it at first and would jump off after a mile and run outside, but I forced myself to hang in there and to do a program of hills and to practice running at a 5:50 and even a 6:00 pace, which surprisingly, didn’t kill me. And I think I secretly thought that it might, deep down there in my brain. When I was running today, I tried to remember how it felt to run that fast and I practiced a quick foot turnover and tried hard to be consistent with it. It worked!

I have a belief that I’m slow and it’s a huge mental block for me. I think that in constantly thinking and saying out loud, “I’m slow”, that I’ve given myself permission to not even try. I don’t want that out anymore. I want to push past that unreasonable fear so that I can rise to be MY best as a runner. Now that I have a little glimpse of how it works, I get it, or at least I’m starting to get it. My perception of having to kill myself to run fast is erroneous. I simply need to try little things like speed work, hill work and keep up with the weight loss and over time it will happen. I believe it will happen naturally, yes, but I also believe I’m going to have to work to see improvement. And I’m ready to do that now.


About Fit Living Daily

I love healthy living! I've been married for 35 years and have 2 grown children, one in Albuquerque, NM and one in Washington state. We are currently living in Washington for my husband's job---until he FINALLY retires, but our house is in Albuquerque.
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3 Responses to A Nice Breakthrough in My Running

  1. Renee says:

    Wow! I am so proud of you! I find a LOT of running is more mental than physical at times. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, “what if I just would run without stopping for xx Minutes?” As for speed, well, to me speed means nothing. Are you enjoying it? Does it make you feel good? Is it giving you a boost of confidence? If yes then it makes no difference to run a 5K in 30 or 40 or even 50 minutes. This is about YOU and no one else!

    • Renee,
      That’s so interesting. I either forgot that or didn’t even know it because today was the first time it occurred to me that for real, I think my head is holding me back big time. I agree completely with your thoughts on speed. I know for a fact that I’ll never again sign up for a race and have a goal of speed in mind because that was NOT fun last time. I felt like a total failure on almost every training run, trying hard to make sure I finished in my 45 minute goal time. What a waste. I’m thinking now, that as long as I feel GOOD and feel confident and am having FUN then that’s the good pace for me. I feel too old to get my panties in a twist about pace and time. I just want to be able to not be afraid of getting better and I think that maybe I’m starting to work through that at long last.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Wow! That’s really impressive! I recall how difficult it was for me to get comfortable with longer stints above any pace higher than about 4.0! (It still would be difficult, since I haven’t tried in such a long time, but I do know how certain numbers are like barriers in our mind.)

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