Running – Speed v. Stamina

January 3, 2012

I ran alone today for the first time in a long time.  I’d been running with a partner since May, and when she was out of commission with a foot injury, I did NOT get off my butt as early as would have been required for me to run before work.  We’re back at it now, but we only run when the other does – we both end up lazy when on our own and stay in our houses.

When we first started running together, I was overwhelmed by her faster pace.  I believe that my trying to dive in and keep up led to my back pain (first time ever, and hasn’t repeated since).  Since then, when we run together, I take walking breaks – at least 2 times during our 1 mile loop. I’ve tried – in vain – to get rid of those breaks.  It’s very frustrating for me, because I want to build up to a 5K.  (I do know about Couch to 5K, but that’s hard to do with a partner, and getting up early to run before work is hard (impossible) to do without a partner . . . so no Couch to 5k for me.)

Today – I went alone.  Since I’m in “transition” at my firm, I really don’t have anything to do, and do not really need to be there.  My partner wasn’t going to run today, because today is a yoga day for her, and so I was going to go alone, after the kids left for school.

But then, last night – I ended up staring at the ceiling until 3 a.m., and woke up at 7 to feed the kids* feeling like utter and complete shit.  So when they left, I crawled back into bed.

I woke back up at an embarrassingly late hour, and thought I’d have to skip the run for the sake of a trip into the office to send out resumes and otherwise work on the employment pursuit.

Instead, I skipped the trip to the office (since the internet is, in fact, everywhere), and went for the run.  I didn’t want to ruin my mini-goal on the first week – and tomorrow is supposed to be prohibitively cold (under 10 degrees – 18 degrees is my threshold).

I went for the run, and . . . I jogged the entire loop without a walking break.

I know I was slower than I am with my partner.  But . . . I jogged the entire loop.

I follow a few other bloggers who have started running, and have had considerable success.  Kim and Jen have been my biggest inspirations (read those posts to see why).  And I know that they both started off slow and THEN worked on speed.

So now I have to decide – do I ask my partner to let me set the pace?  Or do I have to break from the partnered runs?  Or do I just keep the walking breaks in?  I don’t want to do that, really, because I can’t build up as long as I’m doing the breaks.  If I can get to a place where I’m jogging the loop entirely, then I can either (a) work on speed, or, more preferable to me, (b) start increasing my distance.

I also wish I’d timed myself today.  Because I say I was slower, but I was home in considerably less time than I usually am, and I took a longer walk home.  So maybe I wasn’t even that much slower?


*usually, they take care of their own breakfast, but I’d promised “first day back to school” eggs.



  1. YAY! I’m so proud of you. It took me a LONG time to get to the point that I could run 5K without any walking breaks. And even now, almost two years since I started running, I’m still really, really slow. I know for a fact how slow I am because 1) I have a Garmin GPS on my wrist when I run and 2) when I get home, I log my progress on Map My Run, which then tells me my average pace. So I know, for example that today I ran 3 miles at a little over 12 minutes per mile, but that on Sunday I ran 8 miles at an average of 14:30 per mile. Compared to most runners, I’m still very slow, but I’m not going to sweat it. I’ll keep working on my pace and eventually, I might, just might consistently run 12 minutes or better. And it would blow my mind if I started running 10 minutes or better.

    As for you, what you decide to do with your partner is up to you. My suggestion would be to mix things up — have run a week on your own at your own pace, another run with your partner where you try to keep up (and add walking breaks as necessary), and so forth.

  2. Wow! If it makes you feel better, my threshold for exercising (which is just walking, not even running) is in the 30s. I bow down to you!

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