Monday is a great day to re-group and re-focus on the important things.
I’ve been thinking a lot about pace over the last week. The problem with having a very big goal is that you are always thinking about it. No matter what it is always there in the back of your mind. I know I need to get faster. I also know that I need to get faster the correct way.
I will never improve my speed and running without staying healthy.
I’ve realized however every run is not about pace.
Pace isn’t everything. Pace doesn’t make you a runner. Running makes you a runner.
It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go all that matters is that you are getting out there. It has taken me some time to come to this conclusion with myself.
In fact, yesterday I went out on my “long” run for the week. I didn’t increase the mileage from last week and I ran 7 miles.
Thankfully we had a beautiful day and I was able to run it outside. That in itself was a blessing. I started out and I knew I needed to take it slow. However, slow to me is relative. Some days slow can be a 9:00 min/pace and some days it can mean a 10:30 min/pace.
Today was one of those where the slower I went the better. I started to catch myself being way too hard on myself. I caught myself getting frustrated that I was running as slow as I was. I was frustrated that I wasn’t doing better.
After a couple stops and a little pep talk I came to the conclusion – who cares. I used to tell myself that if I went too slow then I wasn’t really a runner. Today was a day my body wanted to go slower. It didn’t mean I was any less of a runner. It just meant that I needed to take it easy.
Unless you are doing workouts (speed/tempo) the most important thing you can do is listen to your body. If you are running easy then run based on effort. If I have a good day and my “low effort” is an 8:30 – 9:00 min/pace – great! If I run easy a few days later and anything above 10:00 min/mile is too much then that’s great as well. The key is letting your body determine what it can handle.
I haven’t always been good at this and sometimes I still fall back into the trap of “I always need to go faster”. Easy days mean easy, no matter what that is. Easy days will keep you healthy.
Every time I want to complain or get frustrated with running, I remind myself that I am blessed to be able to run. Even if I go out there and run the slowest miles I’ve ever run – I am running. A few months ago I couldn’t have said that. We too often get caught up in the pace that we forget the joy and point of running.
Running to me isn’t about racing. Sure, I am planning on working my butt off to qualify for the Boston Marathon but it isn’t what running is to me. Running to me is a passion, a love and my own personal therapy. The moment it becomes about racing is the moment that I stop enjoying it. Even when I am training for a race, I still enjoy the runs. I enjoy pushing myself but more than that I enjoy what running brings to my life.
In conclusion if you are still with me after all my ramblings: run your own pace. Don’t let others determine your pace, don’t push too hard and remember to go easy on yourself. We are all in this together.
Do you have to remind yourself to go “easy” on the easy days?
What do you enjoy most about running?
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