So, the whole ‘going slow to go fast’ principle is an interesting one. Today my training plan called for a 4 mile slow run, with the aim of helping me to build mileage without crunching my joints too much with extra speed.
I get it, but it’s amazing how much that discipline pushes my buttons: “I’m losing ground! I’m not gaining quick enough! I can go harder than this!” circles in my head for the first ten minutes… I find the whole process of learning to run cooks up those identity / success/fail / internal comparison things in a pressure cooker, and you can’t keep them from bubbling to the surface.
And that’s partly why I do it. For a long time I thought I had the identity thing nailed. Knew just who I was, and had no worries about wanting to be anything or anyone else. Turns out, as soon as you hit some pressure, the temperature rises and all sorts of interesting things bob up and surprise you! I pushed away the whole idea of fitness and sport for over twenty years, because secretly, I thought I couldn’t do it. Which meant I was less of a person than someone who could. Which naturally meant that secretly I had to think sport was ridiculous, and that those who pursued it were compensating for some other lack. In fact: we’re designed for sport, for fitness, strength. To reach far, and hold on. Just as we’re designed for wild, beautiful ideas and glorious expression. Those disciplines aren’t mutually exclusive, and you don’t have to have a license to practise either. It’s part of your DNA.
Post script: A running friend flagged up a brief article on Runnersworld.com about why polarised training (being disciplined about sticking to the required pace on hard or easy runs) is useful. Helpful to remember for the next slow run…