I recently decided to get a customized training plan from a coach, Andy over at Silver Fox Athletics. In anticipation of getting the 12-week plan leading up to a half-marathon on April 28th, Andy sent me a heads-up about pacing. And I was stunned.
I figured there would be some speed work, hills, tempo runs, and some other types of torture we grudgingly complete as runners. What I didn’t expect were paces that are close to walking pace. How can that be as I’ve spent so much time trying to get faster? How will slowing down that much help?
I’m not sure I fully understand but I will listen to the coach. He clearly knows more than me on how these plans work. Even though I’ve run off and on for over a decade, I’ve never been into it like I am now, and I feel like a rookie learning on the fly.
As I think about this more, it DOES make sense. Slowing down to speed up will allow for recovery. It will also help me understand pace and how to get through tough runs. Maybe slowing down will even help me enjoy the process more, or at least appreciate how wonderful it can be compared to a set of hellacious hill repeats.
So, I started to practice. I slowed down on the treadmill and I practiced slowing down outside. My run yesterday was great and I noticed my heart rate stayed lower and I was never really out of breath. And today, my legs feel literally no effects of the run. Not that I’d feel much these days after a 3-miler because of where I’m at in building my base but nothing is pretty darn good.
Then I started to think about how this can apply to life. Over the last few months, I’ve felt like I was going at full-speed the vast majority of the time. Last Thursday, we had our first “no tech night” and spent the time together doing things. It was relaxing and rejuvenating. We played on the floor with our daughter and she was so excited. After the toddler went to bed, Gretchen and I read, literally not saying a word to each other. Maybe we really do only talk on the podcast?
The point is I was more refreshed and productive the next day. Slowing down and forcing a time-out helped. There may be something to this slowing down to speed up. I can’t wait to see how it all works leading up to April 28th for running. I also need to find other places in life to slow down to make big improvements. That would be the type of #upgrade I’m looking for in 2018, and beyond.