Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1st-Distance, 2nd-Speed

A while back, I was working with a newbie runner. She had never ran in her life, and she quite out of shape. She set her sights on a completing a half marathon within 6 months.

This is a goal that can easily be completed by sticking to a good training plan. And 6 months was more than enough time to train.

I worked with her for the first few miles, assessing her fitness levels. Working up from .25 mile runs, we were up to doing 3+ miles comfortably with a 12-14 min mile pace. A really good pace for a newbie and for her fitness level.

However, after the first few weeks, she got the idea stuck in her head that she needed to be faster.

Rookie mistake. I've been there. We've all been there. 

You tell someone, "Hey I'm training for a half marathon"
and they (non-runners) instantly ask, "how fast can you run a mile?"
and honestly NO matter WHAT number you tell them, it most likely wont impress them if its not Kenyan time. 
So I usually reply, "How fast can you run a mile?" and change the subject.

So she ditched our training plan, and said, she didn't want to run any more distance until she could run a mile in 7:30. Then at that point, she would run mile 2.

umm.. 7:30? that's a really good pace, that even experienced runners have trouble getting towards. To drop from a 14 to a 7 min pace in < 6 months, and then to add 12.1 miles to that.. is gonna be a little tough, (aka.. nearly impossible)

I kept urging her to just focus on doing the distance. Don't worry about the time. Once your body can handle the endurance, the speed will come. You will get faster.

In the end, she didn't get past mile 1, and she never made it to her race.

Remember to just focus on distance. Don't be embarrassed by whatever time you're coming in at.
You have the courage to start, which most people will never have.
Focus on finishing the race. That's all the counts.

Happy Racing!


  1. I can't imagine going at it like that, or even thinking that is a logical approach. Do the distances, and then drop the times.

  2. Hahahah. Today' they're playing an older episode of the office which totally fits this post.
    Toby: I finished the run
    Dwight: how fast was your mile time?
    Toby: about 7
    Dwight: psh, I could beat that on a skateboard!