When I first started running, I used the interval method. For those that aren’t familiar, interval running consists of a set period of time running, followed by a set period walking. For example, my first few runs consisted of 30 seconds of running, followed by 1 minute of walking. I think this was really helpful for me just starting out because it seemed so attainable. I’d think “I can run for 30 seconds!!”. I used an app on my phone to keep time and make it easy. This really helped me stick with it the first few weeks. As I continued training, my “run” interval increased in time, to a peak of 3.5 minutes during half marathon training, however, I was still taking 1 minute walk breaks. I ran the Atlanta Half Marathon in November with intervals of 2/1. My pace was around 11:30 minutes.
My goal for 2014 was to ease myself into “regular” running–no intervals. My initial thought was that I’d gradually increase my run time and decrease my walk time. I planned to start this in January.
However, I mentioned in my last post that I had to run in Mexico with no phone–which meant no interval app. I just decided that I’d run until I felt tired. When I looked down at my watch when I got tired, I found that I’d been running for nearly 10 minutes, which was really surprising!
So, when I got back in Atlanta, I needed to do a 5 mile run as my first training run for the Publix Georgia Half Marathon. I decided to do it without my app again, and just run by feeling. My goal was to run at a slower pace than I normally do.
So, I started out…
And kept on running….
And before I knew it, I’d gone 2 miles without a walk break, and at that point, I knew I could do it. I finished the 5 mile run with 2 short walk breaks (less than 30 seconds) at the top of hills. What’s better is that I ran my best time yet – 10:39/mile pace! I felt AMAZING after this run.
That feeling is one of the things I really love about running. I love constantly discovering that you’re stronger than you think you are, that you can push your body past limits you didn’t even know you had…and the possibilities that run through your mind when you do are addicting!
If you’re currently running intervals–good!! I can honestly say that I’m not sure I would have stuck with running had I not started this way. If you’re thinking about moving on, just try it! I probably was ready to do non-interval running a couple of months ago, but so much of this is mental. Once I convinced myself, it was easy.
Since then, I’ve done two more runs. On Wednesday I ran 3 miles with a 10:10 pace–by far my fastest time yet! Tonight, I joined a group run at Big Peach Running Company, something I’ve been wanting to do since I started running. I found 2 other women that were my same pace. It was a great run because I was with new people, and got to explore a new route. I’ll definitely be back to do mid-week runs there.
I have two big running goals this year–run a sub 2:00:00 half marathon, and get out and be more active the Atlanta running community. I didn’t feel like I could tackle either of these until I stopped running intervals . Well, now I can, and I’m so excited!