Last weekend my husband and I ran a 10k race (6.2 miles). It was the first race I’ve entered in about three years. With the race looming, I started “training” in February. So did my husband. His training schedule, however, looked far different than mine! He trained to win—to place in his division. He did, by the way!
I trained to finish.
He trained by running 6 miles several days a week with a long run of 8 – 12 miles every Saturday morning.
I trained by running 3 – 5 miles several days a week with one longish run of 6.2 miles only one time—the weekend before the 10k—just to reassure myself that I could, indeed, do it! Last summer and into early fall I spent more time paddle boarding than running. While paddle boarding is a full body workout and especially great for the core, it’s not so great in maintaining the kind of endurance needed to run a 10k or even a 5k for that matter.
My favorite places to run are in the park near my home and on the beach. Regardless of where I run, I’m always aware of how much running correlates with so many positive aspects of life:
And that’s by no means an exhaustive list! I was satisfied with my 10k performance last weekend and actually superseded one of my goals. My plan was to take a 30 second walk break at the halfway point – 3.1 miles. However both my legs and lungs were feeling good so I pressed on to the four mile marker before slowing to briefly walk. While I did better than I had anticipated, I still felt I could have run faster if I had trained for that.
There were two factors that contributed to my pace per mile. One, as I’ve already mentioned, was the time I spent on a board on the water rather than on the running path. The other was a nearly two month hiatus from running to deal with other pressing concerns.
Life. It happens.
Nevertheless, those two things affected my endurance as well as my lap pace. After the race I decided I could do one of two things: accept the fact that I’m getting older and I’ve never been “fast” anyway or try to improve on the ability I do have.
I’m a singer and I drew this comparison: You may have a great voice, a good voice or an okay voice but no matter where you fall on the spectrum, you can still improve on what you have. Voice lessons, learning technique, vocalizing and practice can all result in a better singing voice. Anyone can learn to sing better. You just have to train for it.
Your DNA determines whether you have fast twitch fibers or slow twitch fibers and you are either born fast or not so fast but if you can run at all, you can improve on your running. You can run faster. You can run longer. You just have to train for it. Train for what you want.
I decided I was not yet ready to pull the “age card” or cop out with the “not born fast card.” Instead, I determined I would push myself to go a little faster or go a little longer.
So earlier this week, I set out to do just that. I decided my first goal was to run faster. A few years ago when I first started entering races, I asked my fast husband, “How can I run faster?”
His advice was simple yet profound.
He said, “To run faster, you have to run faster.”
Ha! Really? That’s it?!
But you know what? He was right.
So with that sage advice in mind, last Monday I set off for a 3 mile run in the park. I gave myself a pep talk, used the bathroom (twice!), adjusted my laces, pulled down the brim of my visor, set my Garmin watch, cleared my throat and started running.
My first mile was my warm-up but when my watch beeped after mile one, I noticed I ran it faster than my usual first mile. When I finished 3 miles of pushing myself to just keep at it, I was happy to see I had run faster than usual!
And the next day on my 3 miler, I was even faster!
Then the third day came and I was slow again. I think my legs were fatigued from pushing hard the previous two days. But I was okay with that and instead of pushing for a fast 3 miles, I was content that day with a slower 4 miles. I wasn’t disappointed because I knew that I could still push my body and my mind (You know a lot of running is mental, right?) and I could improve. I didn’t have to settle into the, “I’m too old for this” mindset. Not just yet.
I’ve still got some good years…some grace filled years…to push myself to go further and faster than I think I can – in more than running, too! And so do you!
As I was writing this today, it occurred to me that as we “run our race with endurance”, we should not forget that sometimes LIFE JUST HAPPENS and the “run” won’t always go as expected. That’s when we need to remind ourselves that God gives us “G”race for the race. (Tweet this.)
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1,2).
Keep at it and run on, friends!
I’m thinking of doing a summer series on women of a “certain age” who run and/or work-out regularly in other ways: Zumba, Crossfit, strength trainging, biking, power walking, etc. My series would include topics such as weight management, affordable AND attractive work-out attire, and, hopefully, some guests post.
Are you a runner or an avid exerciser? Are you, like me, of a certain age? (I’m 50!)
Please “weigh in” (ha…ha!) and let me know what your main work-out is and whether or not you would be a regular reader of a summer series on “Women Working It Out!”
Linked today to Jill Conyer’s Fitness Friday Blog Hop ~Visit WebsitePin It