SSD: Short slow distance

So much of running involves training: intervals, tempo runs, hill work and other exercises that can make you a better runner. Doing these things will help make you run faster and be more competitive and the harder you work (within reason) the better level of fitness you will attain.

I appreciate all that and while my dedication to hard workouts falls short of many I will step it up for a race. In the meantime I’m discovering that recreational running is equally important in terms of self motivation. What’s the difference between recreational running and training? For one thing, when running for fun the only reason I check my Garmin is to monitor the time I’ve been out on the road. I purposely avoid toggling the controls to look at pace, distance or heart rate. In these cases it’s often a surprise at the end to see how far and how fast I ran. Most of the time I’ll see that I’d run slower than I thought. Still, it’s okay because I enjoyed the experience.

After about 10 months of dedicated running I am now able to run for fun. My starting struggles from months past have largely disappeared and I have enough stamina to go some miles before the suffering starts. This morning I awoke with a lot on my mind. I have some stress weighing on me right now. I have tremendous support from my family and that helps a lot. As I prepared to go outside for a run I thought about what I wanted to do in terms of distance and speed. I thought that by running hard I might clear my head of some stress. When I got outside and started to run I noted that my right leg was still hurting and I moderated my pace to minimize strain. I took it easy hoping that once I’d warmed up the pain would go away. The conditions outside were perfect, both cool and dry. My energy level was high and the neighborhood was quiet and peaceful. Although my leg felt better a few minutes into the run I decided to maintain a comfortable pace and just enjoy the ride.

When I got home I saw that I’d covered 2.1 miles at about a 9:40 pace. I’m sure my slow start contributed to that. But it didn’t matter at all. I felt great and was ready to face a tough day. Running short slow distance served me well today.

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