Pace and running is such a mental game.
I’ve run off and on since around 2003-ish. I would run outside randomly or join a gym and hit the treadmill. It wasn’t until 2012 that I started getting seriously into running. I’m kind of a newbie here. When I started way back when I was around 12-minute miles. I entered a bunch of 5ks and shorter races and just ran three or four days a week, trying to increase distance and speed a bit.
Then I got the bug.
I wanted to run farther. I wanted to conquer the half marathon because 13.1 miles seemed super long to me. I found several training plans, picked one and followed it the best I could. I finished my first half in 2:31:50. And I was quite proud of myself! My ultimate goal was to finish at 2:30 and I was quite close!
When I train and actually run, my races and pace reflect that and stay close to the 10-10:30 pace level. When I’m not training? I’m in the 12s. My worst half marathon, with virtually no training, was 12:24. I am also a bit slower in December, even with training. I blame the cold air. I also struggle with March races because I do a bunch of races in December/January then I tend to take time off and struggle to get back in so then my March races suffer.
Sorry, I was analyzing my races since 2012 this morning! I can be a numbers nerd.
I am getting off track… so I started racing in 2012 and then in December 2016 and January 2017 I got sick. I had been training for my first marathon and cruising right along. I did my longest run on Christmas Eve. I was feeling strong and ready to run 26.2 and then my sinuses rebelled. I went through an entire box of kleenex in about two days. I took about a week off and tried to hop back into my taper. And around 2 miles/20 minutes I’d get dizzy. I assumed it was related to being sick, maybe inner ear troubles. I couldn’t get more than two miles in and had to drop out of the marathon.
I waited a bit, tried running again. Same thing. Waited a few months. Same issue. I figured my running career was over.
So I did not run much at all in 2017. Toward the end of the year, I was itching to run, so I started again. I could go a bit further but I’d still get dizzy. I ran one race, a turkey trot, in 2017. It looks like I’m really fast because it’s listed as a 5k but in reality the course was short. I did some more races in 2018, I just took my time and walked a lot.
At some point, I decided to read 80/20 by Matt Fitzgerald on heart rate training. I switched to heart rate training thinking my pace issue might be a heart rate or blood pressure issue. I had to start out super slow to hit close to the heart rate zones. I started at about a 16:30 pace, which is slower than I can walk! I have been slowly working on increasing my speed and am now hitting paces in the 13:30-14 minute miles after two months of heart rate training. I am getting there! Slowly, mile by mile, working my way back down to my desired 10-10: 30-minute miles.
In case you were wondering, I do not have any heart rate or blood pressure issues. I have vocal chord dysfunction.
So, I know what I have and I take medicine and do exercises for it. I’ve been doing this for about a month and haven’t had any issues. *knocks on wood* *crosses fingers* I will be starting marathon training officially on July 9th and I plan to redo my threshold test because I think I need to adjust my heart rate zones after two months. I am also going to start pushing myself. I know I have more in me. I just need to reach down inside and pull it out.
I have the potential and I have the drive. I just need to do it, as Nike would say.
I think the hardest thing with my current pace is the knowledge that I can be faster. I have been there before and I want to be there again. I am trying to be patient and appreciate the gains I am getting. I know I will never win a race. I am not even an age group placer. I am ok with that. I don’t need to win. I just want to be my best self. I want to be a better runner. I want to make new PRs. I want to improve. When I was at my “peak” before I was working towards 9:30-10-minute miles. I want to be there again.
It’s a mind fuck. But I am willing to put in the work. I am willing to run more. To race more. To focus on my strength and working to fix my weaknesses. I want to finish a marathon. I will finish a marathon and I will finish in 4:45. I am putting it out there and I am chasing it. I will catch it. And once I do? I will find a new challenge and crush that too. I have crushed every running goal so far, so why stop now??
What tips do you have for building speed or increasing cadence? Or form tips? I need to work on that too. I like to keep my head down.
And if you didn’t know I’ve been adding videos to my youtube channel. Here is one I threw together real quick on pace!