It hit me yesterday as I was struggling to do 400's - I suck at running. At least I feel like I suck at running. After taking off a few months from running to have a baby and move from Florida to Alaska I've started running regularly again. Over the Winter I did the best I could to keep getting miles in on my treadmill at home but I figured once the weather warmed up I'd be pounding the pavement and seeing my old pace times. Well, that isn't happening.
I was talking with my Dad about it and told him how frustrated I was getting thinking about how I've been running for 4 years now and still struggle to maintain a 10:30 'easy' pace. When I first started running my easy pace was probably 11 something. So, 4 years later and I don't feel like I've improved much.
As I start to meet more people locally and get more involved in the local running scene I'm always excited when I meet another woman who loves to run. Until we start talking about pace times and I find out her 'easy' pace is my 'ugly run sprint while dying' pace.
So, I got pretty down on myself this week. Until I started thinking about the huge things I have accomplished since becoming a runner.
I've run three marathons! They may have been slow (4:44-5:15 each) but I freaking ran three marathons.
I've placed in my age group at a 5k! Granted, not a single fast person in my age group showed up that day which is the only reason why I placed (I think my finish time was almost 28 minutes) but I still placed.
I've even been close to running a sub 25 minute 5k (my PR is 25:28.) Yet - I go through times in my running, like now, where I feel like a POS with legs filled with led.
Thankfully, since I've been a decent runner in the past, I know exactly how to stop sucking at running now.
Stop comparing myself to other runners.
It doesn't do any good. It doesn't make me faster. While it can be motivating at times to see other runners killing it in their training, it can also lead to a spiral of self-doubt when I feel like I'm working just as hard and not seeing results.
Plus, there are other runners out there who'd love to have my pace times so it's all relative.
Decide on a run goal and train for it.
When I was training for a marathon I ran a lot. Slow, easy, long runs. When I was training to try to sub a 25 min 5k I ran a lot. Quick, interval, fast runs. It's hard to train for both at once (faster time and farther pace) so I think I'll focus on speed for a few weeks and evaluate in June what type of distance races I'd like to do later in the year.
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Run with others.
As much as I hate being the slowest runner in a group one of the best ways to run faster is to run with people who are faster than you. It might not be easy finding a running partner who wouldn't mind slowing down a little, or running with someone who can't talk much because they are trying not to vomit, but I'm sure I can coerce someone into running with me on occasion. I can also check out some of the local group runs put on by the sports shops.
After throwing myself a little pity party yesterday I feel much more optimistic now that I've looked at things rationally and see that I've been a pretty good runner in the past, and can get there again if I stay consistent and train for it.
What are your current run goals?