Reflecting More On My Pace Increase After A 8 Mile Morning Run With 4 Sub 9 Minute Miles In A Row.
Today was my first run after Sunday’s 16 mile long run and it went very well. My pace was a 9:13 min/mile with my last 4 miles all being at a sub 9 minute mile pace.
The 3rd sub 9 minute mile was the hardest one. By half way I’d given up on maintaining the pace any longer and slowed down just a little. Thankfully I got over this bad spell and finished strong.
I’ve been reflecting on my recent increase in fitness and I’ve come up with the following conclusions that will hopefully help you if you’re trying to go that little bit faster.
You can’t keep waiting to get faster – You will not become a faster runner by jogging at the same speed forever. You will just become excellent at running at that speed. I waited 18 months with no real noticeable improvement in pac until it dawned on me that I was waiting for a breakthrough to happen without leaving my comfort zone. To arrive where you want to be, you have to fucking leave. It won’t happen magically. You have to increase your speed occasionally to get better.
Never underestimate the power of momentum – I started fartlek intervals properly at the end of January. I noticed an improvement in my pace within a couple of weeks. These sessions didn’t seem like much at the time but seeing some improvement gave me the heart to try it for longer. The results were barely noticeable to begin with, but they’ve gained momentum in the past 1o days. If you think you’re shit at running now and can’t see how you’ll ever be any good at it, try just improving a little to start with and move on from there.
Weight loss helps you run faster especially if you’re overweight – I’ve lost 6 pounds since the summer and I think it makes a big difference. My body feels lighter during a session which gives me the confidence to up my pace.
Aiming for a 8 minute/mile makes running a 9 minute/mile seem easy – I still freak out if I’m struggling to keep my 9 minute mile pace. When I have the strength, I try to sprint at the start of a mile to get my current mile pace down to 8:30. This gives me some room to breathe.
I don’t think of ‘speed’ as work anymore. The word speed-work makes it sound shit, boring and painful. I focus instead on the thrill of moving at a faster pace like I did when I was a kid.
Running faster gives you more gears – When I first started running I had two gears, slow and stop. As I grew a little faster I realised I had another gear called “not so slow”. With the speed training I feel like I’ve got another gear somewhere in between “still slow, but not that slow” and “not so slow”. The more you push yourself the easier running at a slower pace feels. Without having another gear I wouldn’t have been able to finish the Brighton Half Marathon. I could easily fall back into a slower pace to make sure I finished.