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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