For the past few weeks I have not been looking at speed when I run. The obvious reason is that my ego always takes a huge hit when I see how slow my average pace is. Instead, I have been feeling my way through run workouts, figuring out how “comfortable, easy” pace feels and ramping up to “slightly uncomfortable” then recovering within the bounds of each session.
I’ve been enjoying my time running at easy pace because it burns enough calories to help me continue losing weight and I don’t feel wasted at the end of a run. Instead, it wakes my body and brain up, elevates my mood, and gives me enough energy to work efficiently through the rest of the day. Taking ego out of my workout sessions has definitely been a big plus in keeping me consistently exercising, because regardless of how fast or slow I went it’s still a check mark on the calendar.
This past week I got the opportunity to run outdoors again after a few weeks of this indoor treadmill work. I usually get to do this when I’m out of town, so the routes are not exactly familiar to me. So, I stay at easy pace to make sure that if I get lost, I will still have enough “gas” left to make my way back. Also, at easy pace I have enough time to whip out my GoPro and set up a photo or video to memorialize where I’m running!
The thing with running on a treadmill alongside other people: you don’t know how fast they’re going unless you peek at their dashboard. When you’re running on a road, however, you see the difference immediately. I can’t tell you how many times someone blew past me this week. Thankfully, when running at easy pace I can breathe with my mouth closed, so no eating dust for me LOL. I was tempted to try to keep up but then realized I was too far from home, all alone, and if I bonked during my run there would be no one to come to my rescue. (Yes, I forgot to bring emergency energy gels.)
I’m happy to report though that for the main body of my run when I wasn’t warming up or cooling down, I maintained a sub-6 minute pace on the flat roads without looking at my Garmin. It has become the speed I naturally run and can go at for a prolonged period of time. Now I just need to start extending that period of time as I keep building on my endurance.