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Running for fun?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I listened to a talk by Christopher Mc Dougall today and he raised the question about whether we are running for fun or to run a good time.
I have always been firmly in the camp of running for fun and my very slow times, showing my aversion to go through any significant discomfort in training, have been proof (although there were some health issues (dairy intolerance) why my speed did not improve much).
Having recently joined a very family-friendly track team, I have started adding a little speed work to my training. The aversion to dealing with discomfort is still there. I have done some 200 meter repeats but nothing longer which would have been more uncomfortable. In spite of this I have had some improvement already. My pulse stays lower when doing uphill walking on the treadmill.
Today I ran a 5 K by myself (on the track, which was boring but easy to measure) and my splits were 10:15 after the first mile, 21:30 after the second mile and total time at 3.1 miles of 33:50.
This is better than I did 2 years ago at the same time of year (last year I had surgery and could not run).
Still, to reach my goal of a 5 K in under 30 minutes by late August before I turn 50 I'll have to improve quite a bit. Today's run was not horrible but it was not exactly fun either.
So this is my question: How can I make this more fun? Doing sprint workouts with other runners is actually fun, but I don't want to do that more than once a week, since I'm also still planning to fit a trail half-marathon in in September if possible, meaning I have to fit in increasingly longer long runs.
I'm considering simply doing more trail running with my dogs while largely ignoring my speed and then just doing sprint repeats once a week. I'm sure there are better training plans that have more variety including tempo runs etc. but I'd hate to have to do them. If you are slow like me the fun is in the running because it sure won't be in the winning.
Chris Mc Dougall's point in his talk was: Enjoy the run and when you get fast you'll have had fun getting there and it won't matter any more how fast you are. Do you agree?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon Do what ever works for you. emoticon
    1741 days ago
  • BOPPY_
    It is MOST important to keep exercising, and to shape that exercise program to reach your goals.

    Any way you do that is GOLDEN!

    I love that you are finding new ways to do that.

    Note: if discomfort leads to either injury or disgust, avoid the discomfort.

    Keep pushin!

    1741 days ago
    I say keep it fun!

    Currently I am mainly walking because of a knee injury, but I find I enjoy my runs when I don't have to keep up with someone elses pace. I take a boot camp class and I find myself getting frustrated and feel bad because I cannot keep up with the rest of them. Our trainer for the class says not to worry about it but I feel like I am holding the rest of the class back.

    1742 days ago
  • PDQ1203
    Birgit - i say run for fun, but i find speed work to be lots of fun (typically, it is a short session and there are lots of breaks/recovery time). what's best - you do improve your speed.
    don't know if you've read jack daniels (a coach), but he's clear that if you want to run faster, need to do speed work. i think your goal is completely attainable! and great that you've got a group to run with to do your speed work
    1742 days ago
    do nit run but you know yourself best do what feel comfortable with
    1742 days ago
    Not a runner myself so can't give you a good answer. To me if it is hard work to turn up or get going it is not fun. My love is Zumba and even if I'm exhausted I still want to do more. I love it. It's not hard to start but I find it hard to stop :).

    I'm sure you will be able to answer if not now maybe in a few months as you consider your progress. emoticon
    1742 days ago
    Hi Birgit, I'm with you in running for fun.
    Reading other runner's blogs here on SP I have an impression that there are natural fast runners who just start running fast and improve to running even faster, like 7 or 8 min/mile.

    When I finished my 5K Your Way training my pace was around 13 min/mile.
    Within a half year I got that down to a 10:30 training pace and a 9:15 5K pace.
    One year later I'm still there and I don't think this will change, because I too have an aversion to discomfort. I want to enjoy every minute!
    The good side is that the only running injuries I ever had was a black toenail and a transient plantar discomfort.

    Enjoy your sprint training, I admire you for doing it!
    1742 days ago
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