This past weekend I ran my eight half marathon. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my running and performance.
Last year’s Run for L’Arche was my fourth half marathon, yet the first one that I actually tried to race. I finished in 2:13:24. Since then I have run four other half marathons. I have only beat that time once in Phoenix at a time of 2:11:02.
Reflecting on that I realize my running hasn’t improved very much in the past year. When I think about why, I realize two very obvious problems with my training:
1. I don’t follow training plans
Sure I make a training plan every training cycle but I’m not great at following them. Sometimes I skip runs or I don’t do the prescribed run. I’ll do 7 miles but I don’t do a tempo run. I skip my interval training and do just a 4 mile run instead.
I run the miles required to get me to the finish line but I don’t focus my training enough to improve speed.
2. I don’t like being uncomfortable
At my current speed, running is comfortable. I realize that if I truly want to get faster and race, it means getting uncomfortable. It means being in pain and pushing through. Running truly is more mental than physical and I just don’t know if my mental game is strong enough to push myself through the pain.
After this reflection I realize I know exactly what I need to do to get faster. But then I think, do I want that? Am I okay with finishing at a reasonable middle of the pack time or do I want more?
I’ve never really had that competitive bone in my body, well not for sports anyways. When it came to academics I absoloutely did. I had to & wanted to be the best at everything. But for sports, meh. I always had the attitude of just being out there for fun.
But is that attitude still okay for running? It seems when everyone else is talking about beating their PRs and pushing for Boston I find myself wondering, what’s wrong with me? Why don’t I care about that?
I’m proud of myself each and every time I cross a finish line and I don’t want to feel disappointment in myself because I didn’t do it faster than last time. When I run races I have fun. I like the crowds, I like giving high fives and I like meeting other runners. That’s the reason I run, not for a PR.
I’m not saying I’m not going to try and get faster but I’m not going to beat myself up either if a year from now I’m still running a 2:15 half-marathon because you know what, I’m running a half-marathon and that’s all that really matters!
Are you a competitive person? Is every run to you a race or do you run for fun?