In the past couple weeks my running has taken an interesting turn. After the close of my running series (that I ended up winning my category in and coming 8th female overall!) and my emotional upheaval last month, my running has been less about intensity and more about the experience. I’ve allowed myself to let loose, forget about time and the stress that comes with meeting a certain pace, and allow myself to just focus on the miles. I switched from a set, regimented playlist with planned tempos to playing my iPod on shuffle and taking the songs as they come. I’ve worried less about finishing in under a certain time and booked off entire mornings to complete my long run with Starbucks pitstops halfway through.
I know that by seeing my runs these past couple weeks as a success simply because I was able to get out the door and log the miles gave me the freedom to make it to the end of the kilometres. Yesterday my training plan had a big, fat 25km marked in the calendar. I know that in the situation I’m in of being still in the works of getting back on my feet and finding my inner strength, that if I placed a time goal on the run, I would have given up halfway. Instead, I gave myself the freedom to have a sense of play in my run. I was able to make it to that 25km mark (with a time on par with my other long runs) but without the stress of making pace. It was amazing to see how accustomed my body was to continue the training it has been through and to see what it could do without my mind holding me back.
I’m not sure where you are at in your fitness intensity. Whether you have set goals you strive towards, milestones you want to hit before a certain date, or just take it day by day. But, I do want to encourage you to allow yourself the ability to let some of the stress go. Our lives are filled with planning, schedules, and time restraints. We live in an incredibly fast world that sees success and quickness as synonyms. So who is forcing us to treat out fitness the same way? Why can’t we measure fitness success by the way we feel instead of by the time our Garmin says?
I have started a new running program in hopes to increase my 10 km time. I have embarked on a 6 week program that has me running speed repeats, hills, tempos, and now progression runs. Before I started this program, my running schedule consisted of your basic runs – allotted distances with the occasional tempo and weekly long, slow distance.
Today my plan called for a 6 km “progression” run that wanted me to start slow and increase my speed by 20 s/km every 1.5 km so that by the last 1.5 km I was running at my 5 km race pace. I figured that since this was my first attempt at a progression I would start at a 6:00 min/km then drop 20 seconds off that every 1.5 km so by the end I would be running around a 5:00 min/km. This is slightly slower than my optimal 5 km race pace but I thought it best to ensure I still had some gas in the tank by the end. Also, I was running on my lunch break at high noon so the sun was shining bright (I’m not complaining though!).
Since this was my first time doing a run like this, it had me constantly checking my Garmin to ensure I was on pace. The first km naturally felt very slow but I was able to maintain the 6:00 min/km pace without too much trouble. My issue occurred when I was supposed to be running at a 5:40 min/km pace. For some reason everytime I checked my Garmin I would be going too fast. Then I would adjust my speed but end up going too slow. This flip flopping endured for the duration of that 1.5 km section. The 5:20 min/km went by without much issue. A couple times I caught myself speeding up but held myself on pace for the majority of that section. By the time the last km came I was running around a 4:45 min/km and for the last 500m I ran as fast as I could mimicking a sprint and ended up getting my pace to a 3:30 min/km (although any longer and I could not keep that up).
All in all, I was so happy to be back to running outside on my lunch that the run went by relatively quickly. I enjoyed switching up the paces and think that if I keep this up it will definitely help me achieve negative splits come race day.
I’ll let you know how INSANITY goes later. I am planning on doing that after work later tonight around 7.