Ah Ha!

Last weekend, I emailed Kevin, one of the Toronto Olympic Club coaches, who is trying to help me chase my dreams. “Without a doubt,” I told him, “I have had the worst week of running that I’ve had in a long time.”

This prompted me to really reflect on how I’ve been running for the past few months. In my eyes, it’s been terrible. My pacing has been off, my weekly mileage is lower than I’d like it to be right now and, of course, I never seem to have enough time.

I wondered whether I just needed more time to get back on track after being off in the summer. No, that didn’t make sense; it’s been almost six months.

I thought that my two main running buddies’ injuries which have kept them out of the running scene for several months might have been a factor. Possibly, but unlikely.

And I thought about my times. Ah Ha! That was it! It’s been about time.

In my quest to run faster, I’ve lost perspective of what it takes to do just that. Somehow, I’ve been going out “hard” at the start of many, many runs and finished them feeling awful. I’ve started using my iPod for all of my long runs (over 10 miles) but, being a music person, my feet are picking up the beat and that is also messing up my pacing. So, I’ve made two little changes:

1. Get rid of the ipod. For my next long run, I’m going back to running without the tunes. Admittedly, I’m a bit worried about being with just my own thoughts again but, since I’ve only used my ipod for only 9 runs, it should be easy enough go old-school again.

2. Dump the watch. For every run this week, I haven’t looked at my watch. I completely ignored the time I left the house, the time I got home, how fast my miles were….Instead, I ran by feel. Even on Wednesday’s tempo and pick-ups, I didn’t time myself (but I was really, really tempted to). And do you know what? I felt good – all week long.

In his reply, Kevin reminded me that I need my long run and my intervals. The runs in between should be easier. I hate easy.

But, like everything else in life, it all comes back to the pendulum. The ball swings from the easy side to the hard and back to the easy. Eventually, it will rest in the middle – exactly where it should be.

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2 comments

  1. I'm an old man and certainly not a great runner by any means. I started running in June of 2010 and ran my first marathon in October of that year. My time was 4:16….I ran 6 marathons since(in 2011)I improved my time in every race and my PR so far is 3:21. I run with no music(like i said, I'm old and “old school”!…lol) so I think it's good that you're losing the “tunes”…I still use my watch but I think if it works for you not to look at it so much then that's what you should do. I have wanted to get faster so I got the book “Run Faster” by Brad Hudson perhaps you have read this. I have incorporated many aspects of his training into mine the past several months. I believe this has helped me tremendously. My last half marathon on Jan 1st was a PR by over 2 minutes (1:28:52)…anyway, pick up the book if you haven't read it. I'm sure it isn't for everyone but it has sure helped this old geezer!

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