Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Need for Speed

I had a profound revelation a couple of weeks ago: I am slow.

To anybody who has been following along or has talked to me about my running, this may not seem like news. Let me explain: I was walking behind some people to the train station and I noticed them walking faster than me so I, for no good reason, decided to walk faster and keep up with them (nobody I knew). However, they still kept pulling away. That's when the lightbulb went on.

I didn't used to be a slow walker. Or a slow runner. Truth be told, I was actually pretty fast. Of course, some of the slowness is due to weight and even age. However, I do remember deciding a number years ago that I didn't need to walk so fast anymore. Sauntering would be a nice change of pace. So I sauntered. Nothing wrong with sauntering, it just isn't fast.

So the revelation is that I am slow because my body hasn't been asked to be fast in quite a while so it has forgotten how to be fast. If I want to go fast, I need to practice going fast. Long runs are nice but they just train me to go far, not fast. With that in mind, I did my first fast workout last week. It was just two miles at lunch but it was faster than usual. There is a nearly straight one-mile out that I can do without having to worry about cars, intersections, or stop signs. I get over there and just start running as fast as I can for a mile. When I get to the end I can rest a few minutes then do it again on the way back. My run was at a pace that is still slow for the rest of the world but it was over a minute/mile faster than my fastest 5k pace.

I am taking this week off after last weekend's tri but I should be back to working out next week. Swimming is going on a longer hiatus because of my shoulder, though.

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