Every time I chat with someone about running, I add the disclaimer, “but I’m slow.” A colleague of mine called me out on this behavior a few months ago. “Do me a favor. Please stop referring to yourself as slow. You’re faster than the person who doesn’t get out there.” While her words made an impact, it wasn’t until this weekend that I made a commitment to reframe this negative self talk.
I coordinate a group of runners associated with my workplace. We choose a half marathon to complete as a team, raising money for our organization. Last year we did the Saint Jude Half Marathon in Memphis. This year we are looking for an event closer to home, thinking that more people will join our team if travel and lodging weren’t an issue. We want a Fall race and so far I have found two possible events. The one closest to home has a required finish time of 3.5 hours. The standard required finish time for a half marathon is four hours. I’ve been stressing about the 3.5-hour finish for two reasons. First, I am aware of someone who wants to join our team as a walker. I am almost certain that even with training, this person will require at least four hours to finish. Second, I’ve completed two half marathons and both took me 3:40 to complete. Currently, I would not be able to make the cut off and that scares me.
Yesterday my training plan called for six miles, which feels very easy to me. Several running coaches I admire (Jeff Galloway/John Bingham) have written that the weekly long run can’t be slow ENOUGH. But six miles no longer feels like a long run to me, so I decided to take a couple of the miles faster than normal. A funny thing happened. I ran at an uncomfortable pace the entire time. When I got home and checked my training log, I discovered I had beaten my previous six-mile time by eight minutes! I was spent, but boy was I proud.
Yesterday’s run taught me a few things:
I can push myself harder than I thought I could.
I’m not too old to improve.
If I want to be faster, I must do some speed work.
And most important…
I must banish negative self-talk.