I have previously mentioned in my posts about running how I am not the best runner or how I am wishing to fall in love with it and have not as yet. I see people running and they make it look effortless, as if they are gliding along and I think to myself yes I want to be like that. The main problem being that when I run I shuffle along, I am bright red, I sweat (like a beast), I can’t breathe and I probably look like I am escaping some form of escape.
I spent over a year trying to get quicker and ending up being slower than ever and really disliking running (don’t want to say hating but it is pretty close). I would check my watch the whole way round a run either speeding up if too slow or trying to slow down if too fast (that didn’t happen very often). I would load my activity post run and quickly check my average pace, all too often hoping to be quicker than I was.
A knee injury meant that I am following a sort of couch to 10k plan, along with other exercises, to rehab and strengthen the knee, and I am not hating it. I have not missed a single session including over the Christmas/New Year period. I am currently on week 11 and up to a 17 minute jog, 1 minute walk, repeated twice and finished with a further 17 minute jog. It is not quick and I have been advised (by the physio and also the husband) to slow it down and keep it at a pace I can respond to questions so I am. And I am not hating it.
The husband has mentioned that when you find this ‘sweet spot’ (sounds naughty doesn’t it) that you could probably just keep going. It is the pace that you think is probably a little too slow when in fact is probably right.
I, like many others I am sure, constantly say to people oh I am slow. I can’t run with you because I am too slow. You won’t want to run with me I will slow you down. Despite reassurances that they don’t mind. In fact last week I returned from work and was going to the gym but before that I had, as part of this rehab plan, a 47 minute run to complete. This was fine until my husband started getting changed. Why was he putting running clothes on? Where was he going? Surely not with me? Yes he was coming with me! Why did this put me in such a fluster? Going out to run with the man I have been with for over 20 years, who is my biggest supporter, should put a smile on my face but instead made me panic, snap at him and declare I was going on my own (we all have that inner 4 year old waiting to have a tantrum right?). He probably thought I was mental and was terribly confused and I blurted out all of the above about being slow etc and he said it’s just running, there is no rush, no time to beat, it is just time on your feet. We ran and did so again the following day and it was fab and he paced me the whole way telling me in fact to slow down! I finished not looking like a beetroot and being able to talk almost normally – what is this witchcraft?
Most of my runs range from a 10-11 minute mile pace. They used to be 9-10 minute mile pace. I used to hate running. Now not so much. So my lesson learned is that this is in fact my sweet spot pace and does it matter? Does the pace really matter? No! Without sounding cliche I am still covering the same distance as other people doing it at different speeds. There will be people out there who would love that pace and equally some that would hate it. Does it matter? Absolutely not, I am still doing it. And I am fine with that – finally!