Once more it is June. Again. And again I embark upon that epic effort of daily blogging, take three, wherein I call upon myself for a kind of rambling focus, picking from a list of daily topics, and with neither planning nor advance writing, strive to pepper this blog with the free-thought, free-writing wonder that is another one of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be:
June 12th // Something You Are Learning
You’ve gotta run slower if you wanna run fast.
Doesn’t make any sense, does it? Well, unless you’ve been running with me lately, maybe.
See, when you learn to run the goal tends to be this: I want to go faster. I want to go further. I want it to feel good.
And then you do, and it does, and… and you tend to hit a plateau.
One of the pieces we’ve been working on in our clinic is running at different speeds for different reasons. And not just at different speed, I should add, but rather breaking apart the whole process of running into isolated little bits and honing each of those bits in turn.
To build strength we do hill repeats, going up and down the same bit of slope a counted number of times until your quads burn and your calves ache and all you want to do is sit down and then stand right back up again because it hurts.
To build stamina we do tempo runs, kicking up our pace for an incrementally longer push against our comfortable pace, getting into a zone where the heart picks up and decides that something actually is going on down there in your legs.
To build our speed we do fartleks, borrowing the Swedish term for “speed play” as we leapfrog and sprint and change our stride and our pace and our cadence in quick succession to confuse our muscles and teach our bodies to fly down the trails.
And to build endurance we run slow, isolating the variable of time and stretching it out, elongating the moments we’re on the run, extending our clocks while keeping our kilometers in the range of impressive but run-able.
So, I’ve been learning to run slower. Our long slow runs have crossed into the territory of the mid-twenty kilometer distances, and we’ve been running them at a slow — an often angonizingly slow– pace, putting in those all important hours across a shorter distance than which we’d be otherwise capable.
It’s all part of the plan, but in many ways it’s like learning all over again.