Running with a new group is always, shall we say. . . interesting. And, the first two weeks of marathon training have been no exception.
For the first week, I was coaching solo, trying to corral 28 people to run the same pace – preferably safely – all while getting to know them and passing on at least a few words of wisdom. Lesson learned? Starting my day by getting up at a time that begins with a 4 and then spending an hour yelling at people to slow down is not fun for anyone involved. Let’s just say that it didn’t really help my running blues.
Fortunately, this week has been better. My co-coach is back, so we were able to split into two groups. This helped reign in the pace a little bit, but it’s clear that getting people to maintain a reasonable pace is going to be a HUGE challenge. Even after letting our rabbits get lost at least five times, they kept sprinting back up to the front to push the pace.
There are more reasons that running a reasonable easy pace is critical than I can detail in one – or even one hundred – posts. The best reason? You must run slower to get faster.
The problem is that no one believes me. I can tell story after story about runners who beat their personal best marathon times by 10+ minutes by training at a pace 1 minute per mile slower than they had the year before. Or, how the record-breaking Kenyans train at an easy pace nearly 3 minutes slower than their race pace. Still, there will be a handful of people who insist on running way too fast on every training run. I have no doubt that these same people will end up disappointed on race day — if they even make it to race day. It breaks my heart to watch it season after season!
Reflecting on the runs, I was struck by the irony that I am telling other people to slow down.
As the quintessential example of someone who is always going way too fast in every aspect of life (except for running!), I’m not sure that I’m qualified to deliver this message.
Then, I began to wonder: What would life be like if I applied this “must go slower to get better” mantra to life?
– Maybe I wouldn’t have to constantly repeat myself because I talk too fast. It doesn’t matter how great your story is if no one can understand you when you tell it.
– Maybe I wouldn’t leave out words when I write. This is a terrible habit. And, I’m talking about important words that completely change the meaning of a sentence. Words like “not”.
– Maybe I would really listen to what people are saying. Not just hear them talk while I think about what to say next, but really, truly, genuinely listen.
– Maybe I would suddenly find myself being present in my own life. Not just struggling to keep up, but savoring every last drop.
So, it’s official: I am taking a dose of my own medicine. And, I will S L O W T H E H E C K D O W N!