Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Pace Yourself, it’s not a race…oh wait!

I’m not a fast runner by most definitions of the term. The beloved Boston Marathon is this weekend, and I’m excited to watch it. I’m realistic enough to know that the odds of me actually qualifying before I retire are pretty slim, and that’s ok with me. I love celebrating PRs with friends, and challenging myself much more subtly. In fact, I’m more drawn to endurance-related challenge than to speed. I love pushing myself a little bit harder to see just how far I can go, which is probably why I signed up for this 40-mile trail race next weekend. After several months of amazingly consistent training, the race is finally upon me. I’ve hit all of my training goals, and feel pretty confident. I’ve managed to avoid the injury gremlin for the most part, and I have the weekend all planned out. My only concern is one I never thought I would have- going TOO fast.

Over the past few months, I’ve run with a friends at a wide range of paces, and discovered that I’m a fairly adaptable runner. I can speed up or slow down within reason, depending on what others might need for that given run. However, this has resulted in me pushing my pace more often than I probably should have, and ending up gaining speed in my running overall. Now, in many ways, I’m not complaining in the least bit. It feels great to see my times decrease and still feel comfortable. However, if I’m going to run 40 miles, I’m going to need to be running at a considerably slower pace than I have been or risk running out of juice too soon. I’ve tried slowing down on my solo runs, and have had some success, but I’m still convinced that I’m going to fast.

Now, at this point, there is a good chance that you are rolling your eyes and giving the computer screen a “give me a break!” look. Please believe me when I say that I’m not sharing this in some passive-aggressive attempt at praise for my new found speed. On the contrary, this truly is a legitimate concern. I’m going to do my best to keep an eye on my Garmin and try and find someone during the race I can pace myself with, as well as remember to walk the hills and take in plenty of nutrition, but the biggest mantra in my head next Saturday, and the one that is going to get me to the finish line, is going to be SLOW DOWN!

Do you have tips for pacing your runs effectively? I’d love to hear them- please share!


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