slow down to speed up

slow down to speed up

Trust the training, value the process

Last summer I had a run goal to race a 5K in 24:00 minutes. It’s decently aggressive for a newish runner like myself, in her early 40s. I tried several times, but the closest I came was 24:19. That race felt like absolute trash and I almost passed out afterwards (but was revived by blueberry pancakes). I closed the summer running season with my last chance race being a DNF (Did Not Finish), dropping out just 1/2 mile from the end with a side stitch more severe than I had ever experienced.

That race also kicked off a series of injuries, leading to a several month break from running, thousands of dollars spent on PT and new knowledge about my body that blew my mind. Armed with new understanding about how my particular body functions, where it is weak, what its default is, and how to mitigate those tendencies set me on track to seriously look at my running and why I kept missing my goals.

It was never that I couldn’t achieve them, but that I hadn’t found the proper path to get there.


I got coaching.

I’ve been running seriously a little over 2 years, but I don’t want to waste time trying to reinvent the wheel. It was time to call in people who know exactly how to get me where I want to be.

Step one, run slower….

Wait. Run SLOWER??

What the? How the? Why?

There’s a mantra in running training called “easy days easy, hard days hard.” I didn’t understand how it would work, but I did trust the people who knew more than me, so I followed the plan.

I ran another 5k, the same race I DNF’d last year.

I ran a 23:57.

Starting a new thing as an adult can be really hard, and it’s easy to give up when things take awhile to materialize. For me, having a beginner’s mind throughout this journey is what’s kept me getting better and better. Never having played any sport in my life, even the IDEA of sport was something new to consider. Beginner’s mind X beginner’s mind.

Neuro or brain plasticity is real and believing that science can go a long way in learning and mastering new things. But the very definition includes the word “experience.”

The brain can rewire, change, and adapt to the input you choose - but not without repeated experience.

If you can believe it before you can see it, find the right people to teach you, and trust that hard work will illuminate the goal, you can snatch it.

Now for a 23:30.

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