Slowing Down to Speed Up

I like to run.

This year I ran my first half marathon, marathon, and 50k in the first 10 months of the year. Essentially, I went from 0-ish running (3-5 miles once or twice a month) to running slightly more than marathon distance in a few months. I’ve learned a ton doing so, but I’m also realizing just how far I am from where I want to get to.

Excelling at running (like most things in life) takes a commitment of time, energy, and emotional investment. In the last 10 months, I’ve made small deposits and reaped massive lopsided returns as result. So, logically I should just keep going as I have been, right?

IMG_1553
“Running”…so slow. These views tho. 

Maybe not.

There is a method of training that focuses on keeping your heart rate in a certain zone to increase your overall fitness, makes you more efficient, and other scienc-ey  stuff. Here’s the thing. This method requires you to essentially start over and begin training again as if you’d never run before. The concept is to keep your heart rate from exceeding a certain number of beats per minute  so that over time your heart will become more efficient and allow you to run faster. In order to do this you have to slow down. I mean slow way down.

I’ve been practicing this for the past week or so, and let me tell you – it’s not going to be easy. I was running in Central Park on Wednesday as many young, old, fat, and nearly walking folks were passing me with looks of pity and confusion. Their faces were begging the question, “Why is that guy running SO slow?”(sidebar: this all may have been in my head…but…regardless). 

This bothered me the first day. And on the second day. Then on the third day I was running through Mid-town when I saw a guy who looked a lot like me (although he was running much faster).  He seemed decent at running, semi-quick, but ultimately not excellent at either speed, distance, or general fitness. This sealed it for me. Sure, it’s going to be a long process, but anything worth having takes a lot of time and work, right?

So, I’m back at it today. Tying the laces and strapping on this silly heart rate brassiere monitor. If you see me, come on over for a nice leisurely chat. It’s going to be a long road, but it will be worth it eventually. If the past 10 months are any indication, I’ll reap more than I sow and I’ll learn more about myself then I could’ve known otherwise.

6 thoughts on “Slowing Down to Speed Up

  1. Wow, you did what I want to do next year! Currently I am on a half marathon level… well let me rephrase that:
    I would keep on training, if I wasn’t ill (nasty cold).
    My goal is running ultra marathons! Scott Jurek inspires me a lot!
    #Going slow: When my husband runs with me, he get’s annoyed as I am running long distances a lot slower than he would do!

  2. I totally agree with you here. I think a lot of injuries are due to runners not taking easy runs slow enough. I usually run 1-sometimes up to 2 minutes slower per mile on my easy runs and think that this has helped me stay injury- free. Thanks for your post!

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