Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Learning to Run Slow

"Slow" is relative. I'm a slower runner than 90% (or more) of the bloggers I follow. So when I hear from the experts that you should be making sure to run "slow" regularly, I tend to roll my eyes. My "normal" is slow. When I talk about "running slow" in this post, I mean "slower than my usual pace"; there's nothing wrong with whatever pace you're at.

Case in point, I hover at 10-minute miles when I'm running, and in the mid and low 9's when I'm racing shorter distances. Maybe someday I'll be faster, but for now, that's where I am and I'm happy with it.

The women on my Ragnar team fall on all points of the speed spectrum, making me "faster" than a handful of them. Lately, we've been running together on Monday nights, and I find I'm usually at the head of the pack. At first I was torn between running my own pace and sticking with the group, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I've really missed the social side of running.
Monday's run...I forgot how painless a run can be when you're just taking it easy!
 It's so nice to have a group of women to run with!

This Monday, I held back and made sure to really run with my teammates. It was one of the best runs I've had in a long, long time. If running slow is good for me and it allows me to spend time with these awesome women, then I'm going to run slow at least once a week. If nothing else, it can be my recovery day after weekend races or long runs.

In other news, the professional race pictures came back from the Turkey Trot. They aren't half bad!
Up the bridge, the photographer didn't catch me until after I'd waved, and Matt was cut out completely.
Coming down the bridge, I actually look like I'm enjoying myself!
What's your take on running slow? Do you find it difficult to do? 
How much attention do you pay to pace anyway? As someone who rarely races with a goal time in mind, I just like to run how my body and legs are feeling! Does that make me a bad runner?

ABK

25 comments:

  1. Running slow is SO hard for me. I have to run with someone who is slower than me to actually force myself to slow down. and even then I often pull ahead (ie- with my boyfriend). It's something I really, really need to work on.

    Great race pictures!!!

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    1. It definitely helps to have some slower companions to keep me on pace.

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  2. You look so great in the race photos! The second one should be blown up to poster size and hung up in your classroom because it's so awesome! :)

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    1. I kind of agree...I really like the second one!

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  3. Your slow is my fast! But I do understand that it is harder to run "slower" than what you are used to. Great race photos!!! I especially love the one where it is just you...you look graceful and tough at the same time.

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    1. Ooh I like that, graceful and tough! I think that's the look I'll try to channel from now on!

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  4. Great race photo!

    I have a hard time running slow myself, especially on shorter runs. And on longer ones I'll start off slow and then go progressively faster. Just because, you know? But I know I'm doing myself a disservice by not doing more of my running slow.

    My church is starting a running group and the group runs are planned to be at a 12 min. pace (based on surveys we filled out) - about a minute per mile slower than my usual "easy" pace. It will be a challenge for me I know, but a good one.

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    1. Having a group will hopefully force you to stay in your slow range! Sometimes it's more painful to go slowly in the beginning of a long run because it's like my muscles are working anaerobically!

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  5. I think it is perfectly fine to just run the pace that makes your body feel good. When I run in the morning, I don't "try" for a certain pace, but it normally ranges within 20 seconds without me trying to do anything. I guess that's my "happy" pace. :) I do not like running slower than what comes naturally.

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    1. I'm the same way...I'm very consistent in my pace during a run, maybe because I just run how I feel and ignore everything else!

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  6. Great race shots!
    I find running 'slow' mentally more exhausting than anything. I'm fighting the urge to push it. Something I'm working on for sure during my long runs. :)

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    1. Oh yes, it's definitely a mental battle!

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  7. I run the same paces you do. I don't mind running slow at all. I love running for the social aspect of it so if that means slowing down then so be it. I also like to be able to talk to the person I am running with the whole time. I used to think I was slow and I would say so to others but after speaking with people that are faster than me and they would say they were slow and people slower than me saying I was fast I started to realize we really shouldn't compare each other. We are all runners no matter the pace we get out there and run and some days we feel fast and some days we feel slow but at the end of the day we run and that is what makes us the same

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    1. I completely agree with you. I stopped calling myself "slow" after I took stock of how much faster I am now than I used to be, and because I still consider runners with slower paces to be real runners. That's why I wanted to really clarify in the beginning of the post that "slow" just means "slower than my usual pace". I've tried to strike "fast" and "slow" from my usual vocabulary when it comes to running!

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  9. When i'm not feeling up to it I say i'm gonna go for a slow run, but I agree, it is tough to run slower than you are use to. I think it puts more strain on my legs when I slow down. P.S, my normal pace is not super fast either!

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    1. I always laugh at myself when I think I'll go slow because I'm not feeling up to a hard run, and then by the end of mile 1 I'm pushing the pace because running slow is too frustrating. I agree that it seems to strain my legs more, too.

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  11. It is ridiculously tough for me to run slow- I've gotten better at it but I always just go by how I feel so it is really a conscious effort.

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    1. That definitely seems to be the pattern...and after coming back from time off, when you're just ready to go and so excited to run, it's even more difficult!

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  12. I don't like when people compare themselves to other runners.
    We are all in this together!
    I run around 10-11minute miles! I would love to get to 9 min/miles but I am happy about my pace and I think that is all that matters!
    We would be great running buddies :)

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    1. Agreed! No matter how "fast" or "slow" someone is, it's the mentality and the lifestyle that makes us runners!

      It would be so awesome to have the chance to run with my fellow bloggers...hopefully someday!

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  13. I already feel so slow that it's hard for me to think about slowing down even though I know it's a really good training technique. It doesn't help that I've got in the back of my mind how long a certain distance will take me at a certain pace. I mean, who really wants to run for two hours what others can do in 1:30 or less. I'm learning to accept it, though.

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    1. It find that's especially difficult when looking at long runs. Experts say that training beyond 3 hours is pointless, but I know an 18 miler would take me over 3 hours to run, so for marathon training, what do you do? So there's the question...run for time or distance?

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  14. I'm the same as you, my normal is slow! When I Was marathon training following Hansons Marathon Method, they had you running 1-2 minutes slower than average on easy days after hard runs...so my runs were like 11:30-12 min miles! But you're right, it's nice going slow and feeling awesome, like you could go on forever. Though I hate going slow on a treadmill because I just want it to be over!

    In terms of your above question, you should check out Hansons Marathon Method! Iloved it and got a 33 min PR at NYC Marathon this past November. They advice not to run over 3 hours either, but I ended up doing one 18 miler anyway, which took me about 3:10, so not too much over. Their longest run is only 16 miles, but I did an 18 miler for the mental side of it. People thought I was crazy for not running 20+ miles in training but it really is unnecessary!

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