What do you do when you find out you don’t get PB’s from just simply running anymore?
I started running in 2010; labouring through 10k’s and struggling through injuries all the way up to marathon distance by 2011. All the while however, if I was fit and uninjured, I would ALWAYS run a PB. That went without saying.
This is a great time for running, it all seems so easy. You’ve been at it long enough that you’ve now built your base; you don’t get injured nearly as often anymore, and running a 20-30 minute PB is not even that unusual over a long enough distance. I remember before the days of owning a Garmin watch or a smart phone, I would run for 10 milestones along the canal, then run back, just to know how far I was running. The first time I did this, I did it in a little over 3 hours; not bad. The second time I did this, I ran it in roughly 2 and a half hours. Standard procedure then; I’m sure this is probably just normal and will carry on forever.
Same with the longer distances; first my body would have to learn how to run that distance, then the next time I attempted it, I’d smash that time out of the water. As far as I know, this is still the case for the longer ultras I do. At the moment.
A shock came to me last month, when I entered my local half marathon (Macclesfield) for the 3rd year running (no pun inten…. Oh, who am I kidding? Pun very much on purpose – lol I’m so funny!). My times so far have been 1:29 on my first go; down to 1:24 the following year without really training for the distance properly. Well, I thought, obviously it was going to be a bit quicker at least; I’ve been running a year longer, duh!
So you can imagine my surprise then, when this year I ran it full pelt, at an Earth-shatteringly disappointing time of 1:27! What happened?
So it would seem then, that I no longer run PB’s without trying. Dammit! That’s a bit annoying isn’t it? Maybe I’m just getting older? I did turn 30 this year, and they do say you start to lose your speed in place of stamina at some point, but I’m having a hard time believing that I’m going to leave my best runs behind in my 20’s 🙁
My normal routine here, when I’m not happy with a conclusion I’ve reached, is to keep thinking about it. I’m glad I did because there are LOADS of possible reasons for me slowing down when I really thought about it.
Firstly, I’ve covered a LOT of miles since last year. 5 big ultras including my first 100 miler; plenty of marathons, long training runs, and not to mention that thing when I ran the length of the country in March. I think it’s only natural for the muscles to lose a bit of their power after all that; probably. I mean, I’m no scientist… Or remotely clever, but that does sound about right.
Also, I’m looking at my lifestyle for this latest month, in comparison to my lifestyle of that time last year and I noticed that I probably drank less and ate slightly more sensibly in the build up to last years event, even if I did massively over train on mileage.
So really on reflection, it begs the question ‘why on Earth would I expect a PB this year?’ Because you’ve been running a year longer? Because if you can run a hundred miles, running 13 will be easier? … Ah yeah, running doesn’t work like that, does it? (Although it’s hilarious how many people do think this way) No, if I want to get a PB at the shorter distances, I’m going to have train for the shorter distances.
So really I don’t look at this as a bad thing; I’ve just reached that next stage in running. I have established myself as a runner now, and am comfortable in completing any of the distances there are; nothing will over face me in terms of completion, but if I want to run a PB, I’m simply going to have to try harder than last time. Not just the training, but the diet, and everything else that goes with it.
Right, so with that in mind, I need to get myself back to the running track and get some real speed training going to get back some of my previous pace, then I need to ditch all the cheap frozen food meals I’ve slipped back into, and get the kitchen loaded with fruit and veg again. I’m certainly not having my best HM times left in my 20’s. I really want to knock that smug look off “past me’s” stupid face!