Hey Merf, Slow Down!

Today, I went to the gym during lunch for day 3 of week 3 of Couch to 5k. As I got ready to leave the house, I noticed something different… Mentally, I felt strong. My mind was saying…

I’m ready to do this. I can do it. I’m going to finish week 3 with a BANG!

On the way to the gym, I listened to my updated playlist. (It rocks!) Walking through the gym towards the treadmills, I still felt that unusual feeling…

Today’s workout is going to be great! I am strong and confident.

And guess what? My workout was amazing. I felt great. Never for a second did I think I wouldn’t make it. So, let me ask you, was my workout amazing because of my positivity? Or did I have such positive mental energy because I truly felt stronger for some reason?

I don’t know! Here’s what I do know. I took the advice of a friend and slowed my pace, and w-o-w, running slower is so much easier than running fast. Um, duh? See, here’s the deal. The couch to 5k program is designed to train you to run a 5k – 3.1 miles – in 30 minutes. To accomplish this, you’d need to run at just over 6 mph. So, I was running at 6.1 mph. Makes sense, right?

Actually, no. Last month, when I was in Orlando, I went out for a jog, and ran into my friend Mike. Mike used to be my slavedriver boss, and now he’s my competitor friend. In addition to being a great friend, Mike is an avid runner. And he is FAST. Like Speedy Gonzales fast. We may or may not have replaced the name on his door at work with Speedy Gonzalez (hint: we did). His fastest marathon to date is 3:13. He ran the National Half last weekend in 1:32:21. Here, meet Mike:

Running on pavement is too easy for Mike. Running marathons is too easy for Mike. He ran a fifty mile race a couple of years ago and hopes to train for a 100 miler next year. FIFTY MILES! Actually, that reminds me of my favorite Mike story. So, he is running this fifty mile race. I think it was in 2009. It was cold, nineteen degrees at the start of the race. Around mile 30, Mike noticed that his vision was getting fuzzy. He thought sweat was freezing his eyelids, but he couldn’t wipe it away. It got worse and worse, and when he was at 40-ish miles, he could only make out shapes and light. He wanted to stop at a medical tent but was afraid they wouldn’t let him finish the race, so he just kept going. A few hours after the race was over, his vision returned. He found out later that his corneas were freezing.Β And you know what he says?

“If I really thought I would go blind I probably would have stopped.”

Probably would have stopped. Probably. Have I convinced you yet that Mike is crazy? Good.

So anyway, he slowed down to jog with me for a few minutes in Orlando, and I told him how hard c25k was for me, and how I was training at a 6.1 mph pace in order to be able to run the 5k in 30 minutes. At this point, Mike gave me some great advice.

Slow down.

Wait, what? Roadrunner is telling me to slow down? Well, yeah. Turns out, I don’t have to run fast every time I get on the treadmill. The most important thing is to get to the point that I can run the distance, then work on speed.

What a concept!

So today, instead of walking at 3.5 and running at 5.5-6.1, I decided to walk at 3.3 and run at 4.4. And lo and behold, it felt great. I can’t believe how much easier it is to run when you just slow down a bit! I also can’t believe that someone had to actually point this out to me, but hey, I have always been a bit of an overachiever.

Here’s my stats from today’s workout:

  • Total time: 28:05 (previously 30:02)
  • Distance: 1.77 miles (previously 2.01)
  • kcal: 162 (previously 195)
  • Average heart rate: 153 (previously 158)
  • Average speed: 3.8 (previously 4.0)
  • Average minutes/mile: 15:47 (down from 15:00)

Have you ever had to slow down in order to reach a goal?

Do you believe mental energy and positive thinking can make you physically stronger?

This entry was posted in c25k, fitness, laugh. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Hey Merf, Slow Down!

  1. I think runs like this are crucial! They teach patience, and it gives you a different kind of workout!

  2. I had to slow down during a race this weekend!!! I thought I might cramp up and fail if I didn’t and I managed to finish AND catch up at the end!!! You’re so super motivated girl! keep it up! you’re unstoppable =)

  3. Great advice- that has worked for me, too!

  4. Cindy says:

    Have I ever had to slow down to reach a running goal? That would mean I would actually have to go running, right? No way. I hate running. Did you know that my Dad is a marathon runner whose best time is like 2:42? This is probably my problem…there was no way to slowly work your way up to a fast rate or longer distance when you have Colonel Uber-Competitor as a father. As a result, I tend to barrel through life at top speed, and since I can’t hit top speed when running, I avoid it at all costs.

    I do however agree that positive thinking can help you achieve anything. Glad you had a great work out. We must get together for a playdate soon…

  5. Kristina says:

    Yay-love when those things happen! Glad you rocked the run!

  6. Hannah says:

    I think positive thinking is incredibly, incredibly important for getting through life. Well done to you (and mike) for harnessing this power!

  7. Awesome run! I went for a 4 miler this morning and wanted to keep a 9 minute mile pace, but I was so tired I had to majorly slow down. It’s hard, but I finished strong!

  8. I definitely agree with Mike- slow down and get the distance. Once you hit it, that’s when you can start getting speedy! πŸ™‚ Glad the advice seems to be working for you! πŸ™‚

  9. The story about Mike is crazy!!

    Sometimes I push myself too hard and start getting fatigued very easily…then I take a day off and feel so good the next day!

  10. That is an intense story!! The advice is so true though – just go at your own pace. You can totally do it! πŸ™‚

  11. Priyanka says:

    That is a great advice, I have noticed I can complete my distance without dying, since I now focus on reasonable speed.

    Freezing cornea and still running, that is some determination.

  12. Oh my gosh, Mike is a tough bone! πŸ˜€ I very much like to slow down, though – and it’s also something I almost never do on my own, because I tend to push too much. But a slow pace has helped me to finally get into running *and* enjoy it. I’ve also found it very important with piano playing: if I want to play too fast too soon, I play awfully. So, I’ve come to practice for accuracy, not speed. And – surprise surprise! πŸ˜€ – if you achieve accuracy, speed automatically comes with it. Why? I think it’s because you’ve practiced very well which movements to preform and where and how to put your hands next, so you don’t have to think about it anymore. If you practice on speed, you don’t get this security with the movements, and there’ll remain some uncertainty and necessity to think about what to do or if you’re doing it the right way, and this takes time and makes your playing more prone to errors, and all these things slow you down. Frustrating, and not beneficial at all! So better practice at a slower speed right away!

  13. Pingback: Goodbye Couch to 5k, Hello Merf to 5k! | Merf In Progress

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