Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Walking Dilemma

When I go for a run, I don't walk during it - even when I suspect walking for 30 seconds would result in a faster overall time. For example, I don't walk up hills, even when they're really hard. (During races, I will walk through water stops because otherwise, they're useless to me. I cannot run and drink water.)

But I wonder why I am this way. I have my theories: I'm afraid one walking break will lead to another. I'm afraid of huring my endurance. I'm afraid of not getting enough experience running in tough conditions.

Confession: When people ask me, "You run the entire time?" I like saying, "Yes." Responding with an "I walked about minute in there" just isn't the same. (But, but, but. Those people asking such questions aren't walking or running anyhow, so really, I should be all "Shut the F up. What are YOU doing?!" I've never had a runner say to me, "Do you really run for 2 hours?" Never.)

A couple of weeks ago, during our group run, one of the girls walked a few times because of a hurt knee. I didn't walk at all. She completed the run before I did. Normally, she and I are similarly paced - or I'm faster. This was the first (and only, so far) time she finished before me. It makes me wonder about how she was so speedy between the walking breaks. I didn't have a particularly bad run that day either. Makes me wonder about those walking breaks...

I read a lot of blogs, and most are pro-walking when you need to. One even has walking breaks still built in even though she's running super-long distances now (and I'm sure she doesn't *need* to walk every 10 minutes). But the blog that sticks out is the girl who is fast, but was walking up hills. Then she started running with a new group and found that she was doing herself a disservice by walking up those hills - she wasn't getting used to it.

How do you know when you *need* to walk versus when you're just feeling lazy or tired and *want* to walk? I don't want to want to walk.

So I don't walk. I run so damn slow sometimes, but I don't walk. To work on speed and consistency, I'm trying to use my watch more. (I've actually been praised for my consistency, but I fear it's often laziness - it's hard to push yourself.) On shorter runs, I don't want to see 11-minute miles at all, and for the longer ones, it's 12 I'm avoiding. I used to be afraid to look at my watch because I thought it would be de-motivating, but now I know, if I'm going to get better, I have to push myself more.

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