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Monday, 9 September 2013

Learning to run faster - running my own race

I'm really loving running at the moment. My resolve to step up my pace in training and improve my strength and stamina has done me well these past few weeks - last week I bagged myself a shiny new 5k PB (26:16) when running along the seafront, and ran a respectable 07:33 Magic Mile at Hove Park on Saturday after a consistently speedy Parkrun (26:29, only a few seconds off my new PB).

That means since my first Parkrun in May I've shaved over two and a half minutes off my 5k time, so I'm definitely getting better, although I'm still a fair way off my sub 25 minute goal. This is how my Saturday morning looked this week:

Preston Park Parkrun and Hove Park Magic Mile
It's getting better, man... 


Sweatshop Running Community 


I'm loving seeing improvements in my running and I reckon it's all down to getting out on group runs. I always push myself harder when running in a group - if I'm on my own I have a tendency to plod along comfortably for most of the time (apart from my seafront PB, I ran so hard I had sweaty eyes).

Sweatshop Running Community
I've joined my local Sweatshop Run Community, which I'm really enjoying. FYI Brighton peeps, we run every Monday (5k) and Wednesday (7-10k hills or intervals) evening from about 6ish leaving from the Queens Road store.

I was really nervous the first time I went along, I worried that everyone would laugh at me for being so slow compared to everyone else, but everyone was really friendly and welcoming, and at no point was anyone judgemental or smug about being better or faster than anyone else.

Running with a group is lots of fun and it's great to share experiences and training tips with like-minded people. There's only so many people I can bore in the office or on Facebook with my tales of speedy 5ks and questions about foam rollers and new trainers.

Hove Park Magic Mile
Hove Park Magic Mile 

Run your own race


In the past I've always looked at running as a solitary thing, Me Time, something to work at and do on my own. Although I do still love the freedom and space that comes with pounding the streets with nothing but my iPod for company, I've got a new found love for group runs, and I'm revelling in the improvements in my pace and strength.

Even though I'm always at the back of the pack, I've come to a bit of a realisation these past few weeks that everyone's running their own race anyway, training for their own goals, following their own plans. My 5k PB is a slow jog for some of the people I run with, but that doesn't matter, it's still a PB for me. I was one of the last ones in on my Magic Mile, but it was the fastest I'd ever ran, so I'm pretty chuffed with that.


So, boys and girls, today's moral of the story is: Look after yourself and worry about your own training rather than keep comparing yourself to others. There will always be people lapping you. Unless your name's Usain Bolt, of course, in which case, fair play to you.

What's that really cheesy saying? You're only competition is yourself? Never a truer word spoken, I reckon.


What are your training goals at the moment? Are you trying to run faster like me, or going for distance? Have you done a Magic Mile yet? 

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6 comments:

  1. I think I really need to join a running club, I've been looking for a local one since I've moved house and esp as the nights are going to get darker I would welcome the company.
    I would love to run faster but I'm a strange one...Over the last couple of months I could stay in the (late) 9min mile zone happily for 7/8miles and then when I go to run shorter/fast these days I just burn out&end up at the same darn pace...So I'm trying to rebuild up again and carefully look at how I train and work out what I really want (speed or distance)..Huge congrats on your PB - That's a super time and esp running a 7min mile after, that's double amaze! x

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    1. You should deffo join a club, it's done wonders for my training. I'm nowhere near perfect or where I want to be right now, just getting there slowly but surely. Thanks for the congrats on the PB - may have shot myself in the foot a bit for the London Duathlon though as it HURT to get that 26:16 5k! x

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  2. Running with a running club has really helped me improve with my speed. I definitely run faster in a group environment.
    At the moment my runs are based on time not distance. The furthest I've run in a half marathon and I don't see myself running a full any time soon.
    I do have a tough mudder coming up next year, so will start training for that soonish.

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    1. Yeah me too Matilda. I've been concentrating on running faster for shorter distances. I did start to increase the miles quickly when I found out I'd won a place to Run to the Beat, but climbing Ben Nevis put a swift stop to my training and I had to pull out. So now, gonna build up the miles slowly alongside the faster runs and hills and hopefully become a stronger runner.

      Tough Mudder?? Mental! I'm doing the Warrior Run next month, but it's only 6k!

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  3. Love this post!

    I still count myself as SUCH a beginner and have found myself getting a little bit intimidated by everyone's PBs. I feel like mine is laughably slower than everyone else's, but I keep reminding myself that a year ago I would have NO WAY have been able to do what I can do now and hopefully I'm going to continue with that progress!

    Sarah x

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    1. Thanks Sarah! I'm definitely still a beginner when it comes to running. I'm getting better, but still have so much to learn/progress with. Don't worry about being slower than everyone else, all that matters is that you're better than YOU were before. YOU'VE made progress - give yourself a pat on the back! x

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