Pace vs. Effort
What is most often misunderstood about those of
us who are struggling to reach the front of the back of the pack
is that we really are trying. We really are, at whatever our pace,
doing the best we can. Some runners, and even some well-meaning
non-runners, interpret our position in the back of the pack as a
measure of our lack of effort. Nothing could be further from the
We-the few, the proud, the plodding-very often train
as much or more than faster runners. At a blistering twelve (or
even ten) minute pace, a fifteen mile week represents a major time
commitment. In order to prepare for a race, I do speed work and
tempo runs and I do long slow runs ' I just do them very slowly!
It's not a matter of trying harder. And it's not
a matter of training longer. It's not a matter of lack of motivation,
either, it's just a matter of speed. A friend of mine-a fast runner-put
it succinctly when I asked him what he thought the limiting factor
in my running future was. His answer was as insightful as it was
concise. "Maybe you're just slow!"
Slow I may be. If you are new to running, you may
be, too. But by accepting the challenges presented to you by your
choices and your genetics, you can work at becoming the best runner
you know how to be. Every day gives you an opportunity to improve.
With every run, you can try to be better. Not just a better runner,
but a better person.
Now is the time to give in to your
running instinct. Today is the day to let go of all the unrealistic
expectations and uncover the primal joy in running. It may be that,
like me, the more you run, the more connected you will feel to your
Before you know it, there will be
times when you will imagine yourself running free across the plains
or silently through the forest. You'll be able to imagine yourself
being chosen to deliver the news of some important victory to a
distant people. You will see yourself running strong and well.
As true as it is that the journey
of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so, too, does the
journey to a new life as a runner. Every day that you run, you are
one step closer to wherever you're headed.