I’ve been thinking about the way that I run, and why it didn’t stick when I tried to reboot my running six months ago.
As I am an academic, I came at this problem by thinking ‘I need to read all the things‘, but perhaps it turns out I only needed to read one of the things. And that thing is Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 Running. Which I have been reading, obviously.
So, I’m trying to take Matt’s advice to begin (before I have even got to the juice of the programme, even) with a running detox. That is, to spend a bit of time running at an actual ‘easy’ pace to get yourself ready for a new kind of running (M likens it to a juice cleanse to get all the chocolate and sugar out of your diet – though here, that means the habit of your ‘regular easy’ pace). As per M’s advice, I decided to take my run by heart rate rather than pace.
Full disclosure – I’ve never done this before. I’m not a fast runner, and I probably never will be. But I learned today that what I think of as my ‘easy’ pace is a lot faster than my body’s ‘low intensity’ pace really is. Somewhere in the order of 1:30 to 2 minutes slower.
So I ran to heart rate, and I ran easy. I could have kept running, really – but the 1 hour and 4 minutes that it took me to cover 8 kilometres (!) was quite enough, and I was hungry.
I’m slightly sad to say that I already have an Intervals date with my partner booked in for tomorrow so I won’t be running slowly. But, I am going to keep at the 80/20 programme. While I love racing, what I love more is feeling like I am running the exact distance my body can handle on a given day. I’ve never cared much about the time, but I do care about the distance. Hopefully, with the 80/20 programme, I can get better at both.
So after all that – my run. It was amazing and frustrating. It was really frustrating to run so slowly, and I struggled to keep in my HR zone, but when I got into a rhythm is was wonderful, and being slow and purposeful meant I could really focus on my form, and how my body felt. From that perspective it was great.
I think it was also very encouraging to finish feeling like I had a lot more in me. Last time I ‘came back’ to running I really struggled with motivation, and I suspect it was because I just wasn’t giving myself time to fall back in love with running.
I am already getting to that point. Today I really did not want to go. I was tired and had been fighting off waves of panic throughout the day. But, I knew that I needed to run and, more than that, I really wanted to run. Of course, the run gave me some time to process what that making me feel anxious, to feel whole in my body, to punish myself in a normal way*, and to be at one with myself.
So, who cares that I was going slower than I’ve ever been. I also don’t remember the last time I ran 8 kilometres and had some juice left, so… that’s awesome.
I’m not sure my tune will be the same after tomorrow’s intervals… Stay tuned!
*This is something I am going to talk about in another post!