When Victoria and I started dating just under two years ago she knew she wanted to get into running and I was more than keen to have a running buddy as almost all of my runs have been on my lonesome. I had gained a lot of weight before the relationship and to today (don’t worry I have it under control now) but my running times and endurance levels have been affected. I was happy to go slower and get Victoria around a 5k for the first time without stopping. She has come on leaps and bounds since then, but I have noticed something annoying. I can’t get comfortable at all in a 5k run and that means ParkRun. I decided to sit down (actually worked it out when I was running, which is how that usually goes) and work out the reasons.
My brain isn’t used to it
With a 10km run or further I know I will have that awkward first couple of miles of my body not really wanting to go out for this run and that it will want to stop. Or that is what my brain is telling me. I feel fine when I am running physically and recently where I would usually have a bit of difficulty with the run and want to stop for a moment I now find myself actually stopping. Before I would ignore that annoying feeling, slow it down and keep going, but for the past year, I am now stopping for a few seconds and then going again. But I really don’t want to keep going for the rest of that run.
An example of this was a few weeks ago where I was running my usual lovely route that I have just returned like clockwork at the mile mark I wanted to stop. I then went running off again and within half a mile I stopped again, and so and so forth, which is insanely frustrating as someone who used to run so much further. This happens in the Parkrun that go to with Victoria, a little bit in I think I am struggling because maybe I am running a bit too fast, but I think it is because I want to slow down and stop.
What is the most frustrating aspect of it all is that by the end of the 5k run my head has synced with my brain and everything goes a little smoother. Very frustrating and knowing I only have say 2 miles left after the first mile is compounding that annoyance. I just have to keep going, but my head is saying no, whereas when I try for a longer distance I can go so much further. Do I just lie to my head and tell it that I am running a shorter distance? Ugh.
My body is used to running further
As I said, my legs get a little achy around a mile in, but not enough to stop and normally it wouldn’t, but in the shorter runs… I just can’t get it all to click. Usually, I need a mile or so to get into a good rhythm and to run smooth. Just last weekend Victoria and I were on a 4 mile run and for the first 2 miles I had to stop and start, but at that 2 miles halfway point, things went a bit smoother and surprisingly for me we started to go a little faster (not too much to be fair, but enough to get the heart going). Before I was stopping every half a kilometre, but on the way back I went for over 1km, my mind was clear and my calves and legs felt fine. I actually think if I had kept it around 20 seconds per km slower (the first pace) then I would have run the 2 miles back without stopping.
I am happy I didn’t though, for one reason and one reason only. I was able to show my head and my body that I can pick up that pace a little bit and that progress will be made. I would rather be able to run 1km faster and take a quick breath than all continuous at this point in my what I am calling rehab. I want to see that I can get back to the faster times, endurance will come on a different run, but for now, I am happy.
If you notice one thing there it is that it takes me a mile or two to get comfortable and with a 5km being just 3.1 miles, two-thirds of the run is finished by the time I am happy. I need to work out how to sort that as then maybe, just maybe, I can then bring that into my running when I go longer and faster.
I was pretty overweight the first time I learned to run and because I have been able to run so much and so far, going backwards was always going to be difficult. Knowing I can improve and did it before will keep me going. Figuring out how to get comfortable quicker is the real thing to sort. So if you have any tips send them my way! I will use them! Until next time.