I recently had a convo with J about how I’m a slow ass runner. (Yep, that’s a proper term, lol.) Having focused on pace, times and interval training during my previous two half marathons, I was convinced that this time around, my training would be different. I had been focusing on loving the movement itself and watching myself grow and progress as a runner. Week 1- 7 were perfect. I got in, got out, without a hitch. Running felt good and though I was hovering around 7:20/km, I was ok with that.
Then everything not only stalled, but they declined.
My legs started getting heavy. It felt like I was dragging 60lb logs across the gravel trails. I felt out of breath after a only couple kms. My pace reflected how I felt. It slowed down to 8:00/km. Even though I told myself that numbers didn’t matter, when I saw those, it did. Old feelings of anxiety flooded back telling me, “I simply cannot do this.” I’m a positive person. I am a realistic person but something wasn’t right. Something sure didn’t FEEL right. Maybe I had reached a plateau. I did a ‘pull back week’ at week 7, where I significantly cut back on mileage and the following week still didn’t feel any better. At one point, I had to start walking at kilometer 4 and didn’t recover back to running the rest of the session. I thought to myself, “how the hell am I to run 21.1km when I’m walking already during the 4th km?”
I was a little down. Naturally, I turned to J, who is a natural runner, for peace of mind. I expressed my troubles and he convinced me there are so many factors that could be affecting my numbers, including the recent heat wave in Vancouver. Then he said, “there is so much more to running than speed. Finishing a run is an achievement that no one can take away from you.”
And he’s right.
I scroll back on my Strava (run tracking app) and I look at each and every run that I have done since June. That’s a helluva lot of running.
And it felt so good.
If you are experiencing times of doubt – do let them in. But then be proud of what you have accomplished so far! Look at your mileage. Feel the sweat and sense of pride each time you finish a run. Remember how the sweat cools that only runners experience. Can you recall the feeling of toes clenching and your heart beating as you cross the finish line? Remember the knots and aches you get only as a runner. Own that.
You are a runner and no one can take that away from you.