I work with numbers every day. I like to think I am a numbers person. I studied math and stats in college, so hopefully I am! Anyway, I am the first one to tell you my Garmin is both the best and worst thing for my running.
Let me explain. When I first got my Garmin I became obsessed with paces. I thought in order to get better I had to either sustain a better pace over longer periods of time or get faster in those shorter distances. Let me tell you, that does not work if it’s every run that you do this to yourself. Which is what I did, every run. When I toed the line at Sugarloaf the one thing I lacked, any sort of energy. I was overtired and overstrained. My body was done. It took me the whole summer to recover from that race and that training cycle. I had to fall in love with running again, which takes time, but that is a story for another day!
Although I was tired and exhausted I still BQ’d at Sugarloaf. I owe that largely to the fact that I ran to raise money for a cause close to my heart, Lewy Body Dimentia. Thinking about the people I was running for, thinking about things bigger than myself that’s what got me over the line in 3:33.
After coming so close to a Boston number, I reached out to a coach. When I saw her prescribed easy paces, it hit me, I was running way too fast before! I would try to hit 8 minute pace for every run, which is close to my easy pace but not close enough. I decided right there that I would run all my easy paces solely based on feel, regardless of the pace, it had to feel relaxed for me. From the start I trusted the process. Even when I saw instagram posts or other runners paces, I stayed focused on myself and my goals.
Now all my easy runs I wear my watch but I don’t look at it until I am done running. The sole purpose is to determine how far I went. Let me tell you, it’s freeing. I believe I owe these easy runs for why I still enjoy and love running. I go out to enjoy myself and clear my head and that’s my only goal. If I run 8:30, awesome, 9:30 awesome, 10:00 great! Whatever my easy pace is for the day. That’s the other thing, how easy a certain pace feels depends on a lot of things and that is why I solely base my easy runs on feel. Some days a 9:30 pace can feel impossible, even if in races you run 7:0x pace. We all have those days and the point of an easy run is not to push yourself. It’s to get the miles in and the benefits while preparing yourself for the hard days!
Three things that have helped me overcome the numbers associated with running are:
- Running watchless or without looking at my watch
- Girls on the run. Running and walking with the girls, super easy but fun and no tracking whatsoever
- Running with my dogs, just enjoying the company. Sometimes in the morning I do a walk jog with my pup, mainly for her, but I really enjoy it as well