Pacing myself: A hard look at the “big picture.”

Splits

See that data above this text?

That’s the impetus for this post.

Those are my splits for my long-ish run a few days ago…and I was REALLY proud of them.

I still am to an extent but after stepping back and reviewing the whole picture, I’m disappointed in myself at the same time.

Confused?

Let me explain.

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I got up and out to do this run because I had a good feeling overall. My nutrition was (relatively) dialed in,  I had gotten good rest the night before and my legs felt like they had some spring to them after a day off from running. Everything appeared to be aligned for me to go out and get some solid miles in.

I even set out to do this run with a specific purpose in mind! (Yup. Surprised me too.)

As I mentioned a few posts ago, one of my ongoing issues has been with my inability to effectively pace myself during practice runs and races. Various people who have taken me under wing, all the literature that I have read and vlogs that stay in constant replay on my computer have all extolled the necessity of proper pacing. During training runs and races, I kept coming up short because I would sacrifice better finishing times for the quick rush of running really fast for short bursts, inevitably running out of energy way before the finish.

All the advice and science was the same: I repeatedly failed because I was going fast when I should have been going slow.

With this in mind and my plan in focus, I set out to NOT have this run amount to nothing more than junk miles.

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The actual run ended up coming together PERFECTLY. The weather cooperated, (cool, somewhat overcast initially) and I ran a different route than my usual which made the run way more interesting. Breathing came easily and rhythmically. To my surprise, fatigue just never set in. When I looked back at my watch after the run was over, I checked my splits on my GarminConnect app and saw that they had come out pretty evenly without much effort on my part at all. The key to my success was in the fact that despite my desire at certain points to pick up the pace and run faster, I held back. Even on the downhills  – I held back…because I realized that the key to my overall success was to conserve my energy and trust the process. By trusting the process in the short-term, I ended up reaping big-time rewards when it was all said and done.

It had taken me over two years to “get it,” but I had “gotten it” and I (of course) took to social media to tell people about my supposed “eureka” moment.

People congratulated me on my “breakthrough” on all of the running sites I belong to. I felt good. I felt like I now was on the other side of some sort of understanding that not every runner was privy to.

Then…I got this text via FB:

“Are you following the plan or just running? I’m confused about your run today.”

It was from my running coach – and I knew what was coming next was going to be far from congratulatory. He had come across my post as we belong to a number of the same FB running clubs.

He wasn’t at all pleased at my run or my “breakthrough,” because the plan he has laid out for me to get my best time at the Chicago Marathon this upcoming October didn’t call for me to run that day; it called for cross training.

BUT…instead of me resting my legs for the more difficult training and more hardcore, prolonged speedwork that comes later on in the plan…instead of seeing the big picture…instead of trusting the process, I risked potential future gains for short-term success.

It was the same old “short burst – early burnout” scenario as the past two years. I had just been too blinded by perceived success and outside re-affirmation  to see it:

I was still going fast when I should have been going slow.

So, turns out I STILL have a lot to learn.

 

Trust the process.

 

Next up: AirBnB Brooklyn Half-Marathon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Pacing myself: A hard look at the “big picture.”

  1. Congrats on your run even if it was not in the plan. I to struggle with speed and structure. I am always learning and trying to better my running. I think that is why I like my treadmil so much because I can pace myself better. Sounds like you are getting there. I enjoyed reading your post 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know sometimes it’s tough to hold back in the beginning when everybody (and I mean everybody) is passing you….but it’s so, so worth it in the end when you’re flying past them to that finish line because their legs are cashed but you’re still feeling good.

    As always- a great read! It’s nice to get a peek into the mind of other runners and see the way they really analyze every run. I don’t think a lot of people realize there is an intent and purpose behind each run or the way we train, so it’s fun to see the goals other people set and how they break those down. Keep it up and thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and having a look, Ashley! I’m REALLY trying to run for (my personal version of) quality’s sake as opposed to quantity, so I realize that for that to happen there has to be some forethought put into it. Waiting on your next training post!

      Like

  3. I am the worst at pushing myself for a faster over all time. I am not a patient individual. Results now! However, I see the logic in following a plan and sticking to it. My most current hurdle is actually getting myself out the door these days. Keep up the great work! I love reading about your experiences, the honesty and open quality of your posts is admirable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As always, thanks for your time, Erin. I will never take that for granted. That being said, I’m really just waiting to see you get back out there.

      Like

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