Friday, October 09, 2009

The dilemmas of speeding up.

I couldn't decide what to blog about today. I don't have any fun pictures to show you of my food... I had the same thing for dinner last night as I had for lunch and I'd already told you about that, so that was pretty boring. Lunch today I went out for my bosses' birthday with my work group and it was pretty boring too. And I have no idea what I'm having for dinner. So clearly, food was out of the question.

Then I thought about telling you about how I'm avoiding eating the birthday cookies right now. But that was a pretty short topic. See? we're done.

And so my mind started wandering (as it often does) and landed on a beautiful and wonderful topic - running! I knew today we needed to talk about some running, especially given how bad my last run was and how I need to make today's much better!

Since finishing my 5K, my goal was to speed up my runs. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm slow! One of my goals for October is to actually run a mile in sub 11:30 but I haven't yet. I have a hard time keeping track of my lap times since I don't have anything on me but my watch and my ipod when I run. I could just run one mile, but that's not fun. I won't burn any calories and I'll just want to go for longer. My first mile is never my fastest mile.

This is a really funny story and it's totally related to this topic - I promise. About 2 years ago I really wanted some knee high length boots to wear during the fall. I have very big calves, so clearly - it's really hard and embarrassing to try on boots that you can't zip up over your calves. I found some that were Jessica Simpson brand that were scrunchy, so even though I couldn't get them all the way up over my calve, it didn't matter because they were made to look scrunchy and didn't look that bad! As I was trying to jam my leg in the boot at the store, the sales woman was looking at me a little strange. I was mortified and I just blurted out the first excuse I could that wasn't, "Lady, I'm fat." I told this woman that I was a runner and that's why I had huge calves. She seemed very impressed and pleased with this answer (wow, she was stupid - as was I) and asked if I ran long or short distances. Well, I wasn't expecting this question and I blurted out, "Oh both.. I mix it up."

I've never felt more stupid in my life than that moment and clearly it's because I was TOTALLY wrong! First of all, runners have lean and long calves. Running tones your calves baby! Also, I've yet to hear anyone that both a short distance runner and long distance runner. Sure, long distance runners run shorter distances while training - but talk to anyone's who has ran a marathon and they will tell you they don't enjoy sprinting their heart out in the 400m.

(or at least, I assume. But I'm generally right so we'll leave it at that.) (kidding!)

So, the point of the story is that now I know I'm a distance runner. I love long distance running and even though running that first mile is like the hardest thing I've ever done, I LOVE those later miles. I am able to run slow, I can look at things around me and I can be all over my head for as long as I want. I'm not out of breath, I'm not hurting - I'm comfortable and SO happy with my life. Running long distance is my high and I can't wait until I can run more than 4 miles (soon - ish?)

The idea of running fast does not appeal to me whatsoever. Even now, when I tell myself to run as fast as I can for 1/4 a mile, I want to die after every time. I can run for 30 minutes doing HIIT and only burn half of what I burn in a long run. And I worked harder! That's not right people, it's just not right. Not to mention walking now is SO boring. Even when I'm warming up, I can't wait for it to be over so I can run.  So I have a dilemma, clearly. I'm slow. I don't want to train for a 10K or work on improving my distance until I've improved my speed. But I HATE the speed workouts. Hate them. And lately, when the option of a speed run or no run comes up, I've been choosing no run. But given the choice or speed run or long run, I always choose long run. Same with long run/no run. Long run please!

I love running distance. It's my thing. I've been told as I run more and more I'll speed up, and I have some. The first mile I've ever ran was at close to a 14 minute pace and I'm down to about 12:30 right now, just from increasing distance. But at what point do I need to stop improving my distance and working on my speed? At the pace I'm at now, it would take me 1.5 hours to run a 10K and that sounds like it sucks. I just can't make myself do these speed workouts for the life of me! I have considered maybe taking parts of my long runs and runner faster then at a slower pace. Almost like HIIT with jogging intervals. But, doing that for 3 miles straight sounds like it sucks. And I don't have the capability (or mental math ability) to know my pace on my own. It sounds like asking for a Garmin forerunner for Christmas is a must at this point if I want to get faster.

I don't know the answers to these questions. I don't know if any of you do? What I do know is that I love to run and I love to run distance. So maybe that's what I'll keep doing, for now? I have another 5K coming up one month from yesterday! I'll just work on running the 3.1 mile distance as fast as I can outside and get ready for that race? I'm not sure.. I feel guilty for not doing speed, but I also will never make myself do something I don't like doing. We all know what it leads to and I can't afford to keep missing runs.


1 comment:

  1. just my two cents, but i really think you're putting too much emphasis on speed. when i was training for my 10K, and didn't even THINK about speed. i just thought about getting through that 4 miles, 4.5 miles, 5 miles, etc. the speed comes with adding distance - i've NEVER done a speed workout, and when i ran my last 5K, i ran under 12 minute miles. in the 4 months between my 2nd 5K and my third, i cut OVER 5 MINUTES off my time! and this is purely based on just running and completing my distances, and running longer distances.

    also, i ran the 10K in 1 hour and 16 minutes, give or take. did it suck? hell yes it did! that last mile or so was a KILLA. but i just kept going. at that point, i didn't care AT ALL about my speed...i just wanted to finish!

    my advice to you is to cut out speed for right now. your runs should be enjoyable! and it sounds like you DO NOT enjoy HIIT. so cut it out. just concentrate on running outside, and perhaps upping your distance a bit before your next 5K...then, when you run the 5K, you'll be like, "holy shit! that was easy...and i ran so FAST!"

    don't get discouraged. you're amazing, you're fantastic, you're an inspiration. you can do this, and i know this as a FACT!