Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Running is hard - for everyone

First, let me say, speed just like everything else in life is relative. Walkers, joggers, racers, runners get the same credibility in my book. Seriously.

I’ve come a long way with my running. I started out, like so many others, trying to look good naked to lose weight and get my blood pressure under control. Mission accomplished on all three two fronts. I’ve went from a long run pace of 10:00/pace to 8:00/pace and a marathon pace of 9:15/pace to 7:40/pace. After nearly 4 years of running, I’ve become much faster. Faster than I ever could have imagined.



But, with all of my new found speed, one thing has always held true. Running is HARD, no matter how fast you are.
Every so often, someone who either doesn’t run or who just started running will come to me and say something to the effect of: Wow! You look good naked!Wow! Running must be a piece of cake for you now! Gosh, I always feel like death when I am running. ” Two weeks ago while I was running my best 13 mile run in ages, I got to thinking about how that isn’t really true…..at all. Sort of. Maybe.

It occurred to me that even though running at a 10:00 pace DOES become easier than it did 4 years ago I am always striving to be faster than I was before. That is, as soon as running becomes “easy”, I speed up so it is hard again. My tempo runs always feel like I am going to die and my track work always leave me gasping for air.

This weekend, as I was circling through the layers of hell like yesterday’s Mexican food in the toilet, I got to thinking about how there is one thing that IS easier with being faster. Time on your feet. A 20 mile run takes me around 2:40. Not that long ago that would have taken 3:30 or more. That extra hour gives runners of ALL speeds super credibility in my book. My legs have become so lazy that a 6 hour run would destroy me…but (relatively) slower runners have no trouble staying on their feet for that duration and longer!

The moral of this post? I’m not running so I gotta post about something! No matter HOW fast you are, if it is hard, you’re probably doing it right. And that, my friends, is what she said.

41 comments:

Paul Rhodes said...

did you know my toilet bowl water spins in the opposite direction to your (downunder), Love your blog matey, very funny, my favourite favourite

Adrienne said...

"That what she said...ahahaha!" --pervert :)

I concur, running is always hard. My husband says the same is true in business (sales). If your comfortable than you can do more. Always have to push the line...

Ian said...

Greg Lemond once said that It never gets easier.. you just get quicker.. how very true!! :)

Courtney @ I CAN DO THIS said...

Hmm, definitely an interesting way of looking at it.

I tend to think: if it's hard, it's not fun. And I started running because it's fun.

Yet, at the same time, I want to see my times improve and get frustrated when they don't.
Guess I've got to throw a little hard in there every now and then.

Thanks for the post!

Jamoosh said...

On the flip side, I don't think it has to be hard. I enjoy nothing more than running through a new city at sightseeing pace.

mommaof3ontherun said...

Hard, but worth it. I am slow...much slower than you, but it is hard and I am always striving for more. Thanks for the support for all of us!

abbi said...

Nice perspective...I always love seeing how far others have come so thanks for posting!

kilax said...

Adam, this is a great post. And why I love your blog. You aren't a stuck-up a$$hole. Ha. I am trying to be funny, but seriously, I think the same way. If you are out there working hard, that is what matters. :)

And I still live my fast runner life vicariously through you! :)

Laura said...

thank you for this...I am the one at the back of the pack BUT have come a long way in my 2 yrs of running. So I am proud of that...even if I will never BQ, place in my age group or not feel like I am dying on a tempo run.

C2Iowa said...

Circling like yesterday's mexican food? So that is what that smell is when we slow runners are back in the pack.

Good post.

Christina said...

Agreed! It's all relative and its the amount of effort. And if running were easy everyone would be awesome like us.

The Sean said...

Adam- you need to run an ultra. (period. again.).

Emily said...

You are hilarious. Have I said that before? My college swim team's motto during dryland was "think about how good we'll look naked!"

Emz said...

It's hard but hard is good.
good has to be hard to be good.
Hard is nice later.

confused yet?

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Possibly the finest conclusion to a blog post ever. Nice build-up.

K said...

A agree... now I must go graph my race times!!

Pam said...

Well put!!!

And a very well-placed TWSS.

Kudos.

Momma Iz said...

Thanks for posting this. Makes me feel so much better about my ultra-slow pace. Impressive times too... hopefully one day i'll get there.

Chad said...

"No matter HOW fast you are, if it is hard, you’re probably doing it right. And that, my friends, is what she said."


Well done, sir. Well done.

So what does your off season training look like? Triathletes tend to do a run-focused off season. Do runners do a cross-training off season?

Runners Fuel said...

I learn more when something is difficult (at least it seems like it).

Angie Bee said...

I concur.

Razz said...

"I was circling through the layers of hell like yesterday’s Mexican food in the toilet"

Nauseatingly awesome writing!

JessiePants said...

As a slow runner, I truly appreciate this and agree. So thanks!

Jill said...

Not EVERY run is run hard, though...and sometimes that's hard to accept. :)

BrianFlash said...

Amen brother!

Zaneta said...

haha... completely agree... although i've only cut a couple minutes off of my 5k time... i still feel like death in the last mile ;) (and im nowhere near as speedy as you)...

track coach and adorable wife said...

Thanks for that!

Luke said...

Thank you for this post. I truly mean that. I read posts from all the runners everyday anout going for thier 50 mile easy runs at a 4 minute mile pace (you know what I mean). I it is nice to see someone write about the work it took to get there. It is nice to have someone acknowledge that it didn't too come easy. It really gies me hope that I am not doomed to be stuck at 10 minute miles. Thank you!!

RunningLaur said...

Still can't imagine what it'd be like to be done with 20 miles in 3 hours. What do you do with all of your time?!?!?

Anne said...

You kind of burst my bubble there, I was hoping it would get easier soon. Great post...thanks!

Running Through Phoenix said...

" I speed up so it is hard again." this is the TWSS ultimate post!!!

Johann said...

Nice post! Agree with you on everything. I'm slow, but I train extremely hard and reach my goals with hard work and hard running just like any fast runner.

Tim Wilson said...

Great post, and I agree. But I also agree that every run doesn't have to be hard. I like those leasurly runs with friends, or a nice trail run at an easy pace.

Glenn Jones said...

Nice post Adam. And nice humility from one of the speedy crew. Thanks!

tahoegirl said...

Oh! You are supposed to get faster as you become a more experienced runner. Huh. Over the years I have gotten slower. Damn it. I had it backwards.

My New Year's Goal: become a FASTER runner. There I said it.

BTW: I'm a new follower and you are freaking hilarious.

Carina said...

I wish I knew where I read it or who said it (Runner's World?), but one of my fave quotes, which I can only paraphrase, was something like this.

Interviewer asked racer what it feels like to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Racer asked interviewer what his fastest mile time is. Interviewer said 5:20 or something. Racer said to me, running a 3:56 feels exactly the same as you feel running a 5:15.

I'm guessing at the actual numbers, but I loved the point, 100% effort is 100% effort no matter who is doing it or what the final result is!

Nitmos said...

That's right...it's a never-ending limbo contest.*

*I trademarked that so you can't use it now.

Jen said...

Love this post and glad that I found your blog -- I'm slowish though challenging myself to get faster (and look better na.. napping). I must admit that probably a good part of my motivation in increasing speed is the small voice in the back of my head saying on long run days, "the quicker you run, the quicker you're done."

Kelley said...

I now know I need to train at a faster pace. I am not working hard enough - thanks for sharing how you got faster.

destinationathlete said...

Thank you for this post. :) I needed it today!

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

When I do take the time to slow down, a 10 minute pace run usually leaves me feeling like KING OF THE ROAD!