Thoughts On “Slowing” Down
|June 6, 2012||Posted by Katy under Holidays, Inner Musings, Running|
Happy National Running Day!
Did you get out and run today? I………didn’t. I could have, but I am still in my self-imposed, week long break from running. I still got a great workout today, but it was spent in the pool and the weight room. I plan to celebrate on Sunday with a mid-distance run!
Last year on National Running Day I shared my running journey from my cross-country days in high school to the (then) present. Back when I wrote that post, I was in training for my first marathon and rebuilding my mileage and speed. However, due to injury, I never ran the Chicago Marathon and was forced to take a step back, recover, and then pick up running again, but with more careful attention.
Today I am writing a post that I have wanted to write for the past month or so. There is no hiding that my race times have gotten significantly slower these past eight months. I have not set a new PR (other than automatic ones due to new race distances) in well over a year and speed work has been pretty much nonexistent. I have cut my running frequency from four days a week to three and my weekly mileage is in the high teens/ low 20′s. I even started dabbling in the triathlon world to give my legs a break from all the running training for a long distance race can require.
The reason for all of this is because of pain around my interior tibia in both legs. The pain is localized, but is very close to where I had my two stress fractures last year (both left leg). This pain is nothing new; I have been feeling it since November, a few weeks after RnR Savannah. I won’t recap everything, but I have gone to doctors, had a full running gait analysis done, been in physical therapy for three months, encouraged to transition into new shoes, and change my running form.
I have been following my therapist and doctor’s orders since January/ February and have had little to no change with the leg pain. I hope that it goes away eventually, but is has proven to be a long process. It is frustrating (because I have many running goals that I would like to set out and achieve before the end of the year) but I am just thankful that I can run, no matter the speed I may be at currently.
Since my half-marathon on Saturday, I have been doing a lot of thinking of my running over the past few months. In short, I am not where I want to be. I should be getting better, faster, and stronger. Not slower. Not where I am questioning how I ever ran a sub-2 hour half-marathon and whether or not I will ever achieve that milestone again. I know deep down that I will eventually, but it won’t be for awhile. It is safe to say that 2012 is a rebuilding year.
In my race recap from this weekend, I stated that “I went in with a plan and executed it to the best of my abilities. I did the best I could given the circumstances and never once wanted to give up.” To me, right now, this is what I need to focus on. I am horrible at comparing myself to others because I want to be the best I can be, and it frustrates me that I can not at this time. Instead I need to focus on little things that are achievable for me with what I am currently able to do.
I need to not focus on what other runners and bloggers are doing. I need to stop mentally beating myself over the fact that others are running times that I want to (or should) be running. I need to stop getting jealous that others are signing up for fall Half-Ironman’s and winter marathons. I am still a young runner- I have only been running consistently for two years this month, and I need to be proud of what I have achieved in such a little amount of time. I have ran six half-marathons in a year and 5 months. That is six more half-marathons that I ever thought I would run.
I deviated from what I wanted this post to be originally about, which is what I have learned over the past eight months of being forced to “slow down.” Note that running “fast” and “slow” is all relative. I am by no means calling myself a slow runner, but I know that I can be much faster than I am currently running.
With the frustrations, I have learned valuable skills and lessons which will benefit me once I am given the green-light to start amping up my running intensity again.
- I now know the true definition of an “easy run”: An easy run means easy; slow down the pace; recover from a difficult workout. I know that my body can not physically run at a high intensity every single session. I used to push myself every.single.run which eventually lead me to injury.
- I have slowed down my long runs: This is still a work in progress, but I have slowed down my long runs significantly. For awhile I feared that slowing down my long runs= a slow race, which is not necessarily true. For example, in the 2.5 months leading up to the DC Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, my average long run pace was 9:20 but I ended up running an 8:59 average pace on race day. I am also recovering from long runs faster than I ever have in the past.
- I can pace myself better: Maybe this is because I am become a more mature runner, but my run splits are not all over the place as they used to be. During a usual run or race, my splits are fairly even (within 10-13 seconds of each other) and I am getting better at negative splitting. I could never do this when I was running faster and I hope to be able to continue doing this when I am cleared to start speed work again.
- I do not have to run an insane amount of miles to complete race distances: Of course adding some more quality miles into my training would benefit me, but for now, I am keeping my mileage on the lower side. Even with the lower mileage, I am still able to complete longer distances. I will NEVER be a 60+ mpw runner. I never see it happening because my body has its limits. I am truly a believer in quality over quantity.
So I guess I wrote this post to put it all in perspective. I feel that as of lately, my running and race recaps are nothing special to read. I have never thought of myself as “inspirational” or even a good runner, but in reading my recaps/ training these last eight months has been pretty lackluster. I promise to get back and running PR’s again, as soon as my body will allow it.
In the meantime, I will swallow my frustrations and just do the best I can with what my current situation is. I can’t focus on my past times and what I currently want to be achieving. I can only work with what hand I have been given.
Running (and competing in endurance events) is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, no matter what the clock says at the finish. Average paces, finish times, and total miles run do not define me as a runner. It is the triumphs, the struggles, and the memories created throughout the journey.
How did you celebrate National Running Day? Have you ever had a long rebuilding period or stall in training?