I’ve been running for over four years now. When I look at my timings over the popular distances, I’m still as bad as I ever was. Why is that?
While training for my local half marathon, I was struggling to equal my personal best.
And my previous personal best would have most runners laughing their heads off. They’d have finished, collected their medals, had a cup of tea and be on the way home before I finished.
It got me to thinking about what could be wrong.
Lack of talent
The first, most obvious one is that I’m not cut out to be a runner.
I stand at 6’ 2” tall and weight a bit more than a baby elephant. I’m also well into my fifties. All those factors go towards restricting how good I can be.
Too many miles at the same pace
I have definitely been guilty of this one. I realised about four months ago that I tended to be a single pace runner.
So, I started to run a lot more farlek and interval sessions to try and fix that.
I did see some progress for a while. And I did equal my previous personal best after adding that kind of training.
But it dried up again. I didn’t progress very much more. And then, after taking a forced break for a few days, I was right back to where I started - or so it felt.
Trying to hard
I sometimes think that you can train a little too hard.
It’s a vicious circle. You push hard in training to achieve more. That makes you tired and your performance dips. So you push harder again to fix that. That makes you more tired...
I also think there are times when you should kick back and enjoy the running. Leave your monitors, watches and other gadgets at home and just run.
Not trying hard enough
It’s easy to think: “I’m feeling quite tired so I won’t run an interval session today...”
The trouble is, if you do that on a repeated basis, you are back to running at one pace.
Likewise with planning rest days. There are times where momentum is more important than rest.
Running a tough interval or repeats session one day is not enough reason to take a rest day the next day. The gains you can make from repeated tough sessions are huge. You have to mind that you don’t injure yourself.
Talking of which...
Too injury prone
Being a big heavy fella,l I found it easy to get injuries. Some were more debilitating than others. Some had me battling for weeks to get back to a proper schedule.
Some runners hardly ever get injured. Others (like me) are always injured. The point is: not being able to run at your best because of injury certainly inhibits progress.
The bottom line...
Running is hard. Progress is hard to come by if you are not built like a runner. It might be better to accept that you can run how you run - never mind what anyone else can do.