While I’ve run several half marathons, I’ve never really worked on running them at any particular speed. My goal has only been to finish. Well, this year with the three halves I am planning to do, I want to get faster. I’m tired of running everything at the same exact pace. Enter speed work.
On Tuesday I was slated to run 6 x 400 meters, each one at a faster pace than I normally run. Again, I took to the streets where five street blocks are the equivalent of about 400 meters. The first 400 was a little rough. The entire stretch was a mental battle between me and my heart (my legs were fine at this point). My heart kept saying it couldn’t be pushed longer while my mind argued that it could. Not only could it be longer, it could be pushed harder. The pace was pretty good (not great, but much faster than I normally run).
The next 400 was easier. It’s amazing how much easier it is to sense a grade in the road when running rather than walking or driving. The second 400 was downhill and a little easier. Still, I wanted to quit after that. I was tired and just wanted to go home. But then I thought, “Well, I’m here. I should at least do two more.” I did. And then contemplated quitting again. But then I looked at all of my different times and thought, “I bet I can beat all of these on my last 400.” And suddenly, a goal was born and I could sense that I was going to be able to do it. (I’m pretty determined.) And I did. I ran the fastest 400 I have run in a very long time. And it was hard. And I was breathless. But it was worth it.
The funny thing about running (specifically training for a long race) is how analogous it is to life. For instance, if I keep “training” for life the same way I always have, I’m going to keep running at the same pace. Take that a step further (albeit a creative one) I could apply this to dating. If I keep trying to date the same way I’ve always dated, I’m guessing I’m going to keep getting the same results. I might end up with someone, but is it going to be the best someone for me? (Just roll with this…I know it’s not perfect.)
So, this week I also decided to apply my “train better” approach to my personal life and when my friend at church suggested a triple date–a set-up triple date that is–while I normally would have said “hell no” I acquiesced. The main goal of this date was actually to set-up one of her friends from Arizona with one of my friends, but she thought it would be more fun if there were three couples rather than two, especially since they are married. I agreed, as long as she figured out who the third guy would be.
And guess what? When you train differently, you do get different results. I had a positive attitude about the whole thing and went into it very open minded and I ended up having a really good time. My goal for the next couple of weeks is to figure out where else I can use this “train differently” approach in my life. I’m guessing there will be lots of opportunities. LIke the speed dating thing I’m doing this next Saturday… And know that the process of training differently is going to be more painful than what I have been doing. But what I have been doing has not been getting me the results I want, so it makes sense that that needs to change, right?
It all sounds so easy posted on a blog at 3 am. This week is a tempo run rather than speed work which will involve a lot more discipline if I run it outside, which I’m determined to do. But I’m already looking forward to the sense of accomplishment I will feel after the run and the little improvement (be it ever so small) that I will feel while running.
ETA: And the song of the night on Tuesday (speed work night) was Katy Perry’s Firework.
I always feel the best after a run not when I've run the furthest at a slower pace but when I've pushed myself to run fast, consistantly over shorter distances. It's speed training that makes my entire day awesome versus long and time consuming runs. Also I've noticed that big people can run long distances, but they can't run fast- so in theory the faster I run, the thinner I'll be!