Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scared Of Speed?

I'm not a fast runner, and I'm not motivated by speed or PRs or a BQ. That doesn't motivate me or make me want to run.

For some time, though, I'm thinking that maybe I should be more motivated by speed. By running fast. By shaving minutes off of my PRs in the marathon, half marathon, 10K and possibly even the 5K.

I can run one mile in 6:47. That's my mile PR.

My 5K PR is under 22 minutes. My 10K PR is under 50 minutes. My half marathon PR... well, it's 1:48 and change but that was an all downhill course. I've run three half marathons in 1:55:03, 1:56:20 and 1:56:58. That's a bit more accurate I think.

My marathon PR is 4:23:38.

The paces don't work out. If I'm able to run half marathons in under two hours, I should be able to run a full in close to four, if not under. Right?

Perhaps. I know someday I am going to go for a sub-four marathon. I am actually proving now that I can handle a rigorous training schedule as I've already run 112 miles in October, and it's not even Oct. 20 yet. On Wednesday, I ran eight miles in 1:11:58, three minutes faster than it took me to run the same distance on Tuesday. My legs are getting stronger and stronger, and my times are beginning to reflect that.

So should I be more obsessed, or at least more driven, by speed? By running a full in under four hours? By running a half in 1:45 or something like that?

Maybe I should. Maybe the evolution of runners includes the desire to run fast and to test yourself. I don't know, but I think it's a test every time I step out to run. I view runs the same way, whether they're four miles or 14 miles. I enjoy (or try to enjoy) every run. I definitely focus on every run (the most important run of my life is the next run I will go on). And after every run I feel like I truly accomplished something.

Is it time to feel like I truly accomplished runs only if I meet my time goals? Right now, honestly, my answer to that is a resounding no. I would hate to feel like I let myself down just because I ran my 10-miler in 1:32:33 instead of 1:29:48.

Am I not fulfilling my potential? Should I strive for the best, the best being sub-fours and BQs and PRs?

Honestly, that's not for me. I respect the hell out of runners who meet such goals and can run at a sub-7 or sub-6 clip. That blows my mind away, to think of runners who can keep those blistering paces up for 26.2 miles. And I truly do respect runners who work hard to meet time goals, whether it's a sub-4 or sub-3 or a BQ. I really do.

But that works for them. And while maybe it would work for me too, I'm just enjoying my runs. I'm not quite sure yet if I'm ready to let speed drive me.

I guess all I'm trying to do is to find that happy medium. Yeah, I like speed and I want to run fast but I like finishing runs and that sense of accomplishment more. Somewhere in between there's the right balance for me. I suppose I'm just trying to find that balance.


Kerrie T. said...

Great post, LB! In my opinion, speed doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing kind of thing. I think it's okay to sometimes be "obsessed" with speed and then back off and just enjoy running for the sake of running. Of course, I'm saying this because this is what I'm doing...LOL! But I think I may want to get back into speed training later or maybe sooner or who knows? That's sort of the cool thing about an individual sport like running. You can decide what the next steps will be, and even what your next run will be: fast, slow, scenic, with buddies or solo, etc. I'm rambling...

Amanda said...

My motivation is changing constantly. Somestimes it's the need for speed and sometimes I want a course challenge, somewhere or some race I've never run before. It is great we can choose to change it up in so many ways or just kick back and enjoy the run.

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

I don't like speed work either and rarely do it. I do think just running more helps with the speed regardless of how fast you do the training runs. My PR for the half is 1:39 yet I just barely made a 4 hour marathon. You would think that I could get that to 3:50 with the same training. I just can't handle the longer(over 22) miles and slow down. Running more would probably help my time but frankly, unless I can BQ, I'm not sure I care anymore what the time shows.

Jacqi said...

Hey LB! I am constantly trying to get faster and I like to PR, but I am not obsessed with time at all. My best runs happen when I just listen to my body, try to push myself, and do my best. I still never wear a watch or time myself unless it is on the treadmill or during a race. I usually feel worst about my runs that are on the treadmill. I'm sure not being outdoors has something to do with it, but I also think not being able to just run my best, whatever that may be, and not pay attention to time or pace also has a lot to do with it. Every run is an accomplishment. Keep up the good work!

Glenn Jones said...

" If I'm able to run half marathons in under two hours, I should be able to run a full in close to four, if not under. Right?" Wrong.

This is classic thought process. But - you need to be in tip top aerobic shape to negatively split here. I used to hang with elite (Olympic) rowers. They spent about 80% of their training time doing low rate aerobic conditioning. If you haven't done so, you should see if you can find a copy of "Advanced Marathoning" by Pete Pfitzinger. Pfitz also has a website out there with some great training articles that will help.