I nearly lost motivation early on when it came to running. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was getting out the door and making it only a mile and a half down the road before I was worn out.
It took a few times of me heading out the door like this until I realized that I was starting out too fast for myself. I was so concerned about making sure I had a decent pace that I was wearing myself out before I could complete a 5K. I wanted to hit an eight minute mile (which is a goal that I am still working towards) so much that I was killing myself. I didn’t know my own body and didn’t know how hard I could push it.
When I realized that I just needed to slow my pace about 30 seconds a mile, I started to notice a big difference in how I was feeling overall before, during, and after my runs. I noticed that just getting out the door was easier because I knew that I wasn’t going to be hurting after my run. I could smile and have fun while I was running because I was feeling better AND I started to notice that I was able to run further. In my post run recovery, my body felt great and I had a runners high every time. I wanted more, I wanted to test myself and see if I could make it one more mile.
It is a tough thing to learn when you are a new runner. Listening to your body is probably one of the most important things that you do starting out. There are going to be aches and pains but you have to understand what those mean. Are your muscles just sore or is there a twinge in your knee when you are running? There is a difference.
As I slowed down my pace, I started to notice something very strange happening. As my endurance increased, so was my pace. My 9:30 mile went down to 9:15 and quickly after that it was 9 minutes a mile. Not only that but I was able to keep up that faster pace during my long runs, which made me feel even better after.
Sometimes it isn’t about going out each run to set a PR. Sometimes, it is all about the training that you put yourself through so that you can set that PR.