Planning for pain

After my 10k at the weekend, I’ve regained some confidence. Post marathon, with no particular focus and no particular plan, I’ve struggled to stay motivated and get out there, and I think I’d underestimated just how tired my legs would be.  Happy to run, but not far…

Anyway, watching my wonderful son munch up the kilometres has set me to thinking.  Last year, in the days when I was still saying “No. I’m not interested in marathons!!” I had a very simple goal.  Be able to run 5km in less than 30 minutes, and 10km in under an hour.  Instead of which, I got the marathon bug and have spent the last few months learning how to run slowly….for a very long time.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy running slowly.  And I completely appreciate that it’s only me against me; there’s no pace police who are going to stop me running ever again, unless I hit particular performance metrics… Just as well, really, as I couldn’t even run away from them very efficiently (unless they gave me a 10 mile headstart!)  But I’d also really like to be able to tick those original boxes.  In fact, I have done 5km in under 30 minutes (29 minutes and 30 seconds, to be precise).  Once.  I’ve never *quite* repeated it.

And it’s occurred to me that I’m really at a plateau. I can do what I do, and I can do it comfortably.  It isn’t exactly pain free, but it’s something I can maintain for a good long time.  But if I want to change what I do – to run faster – I’m going to have to change my training.  More specifically, I’m going to have to be prepared to train in my pain zone.  And maintain that.  I’m going to have to work hard at it, consistently and over a long period of time!

So I have some thinking to do… How badly do I want to run what I think of as an impressive pace, and how badly do I just want to enjoy what I’m doing?