I’ve heard time and time again the refrain , “I’m not a fast runner.” or even “I’m not really a runner at all.” Some runners talk about being “fast” as if it was the hair color you were born with, some absolute predetermined disposition that will only sway slightly But being fast, in shape, strong, healthy, fit, etc. takes work and time. Work that anyone can put in, work that can make anyone “fast.”
There are limits to this of course. With all the speed work and miles in the world, I’ll never be Eliud Kipchoge, ready to break the world marathon record, but I often wonder, how close could I get to that level with time, hard work, and the right training? Anyone can ask that question. Who really knows the answer, but the truth most likely is much further than most entertain. Yes, some runners are inarguable “fast.” Watching Olympians battle it out for a medal, or the elites running at unfathomable speeds during major marathons makes it obvious that some may have a bit of genetic edge. But, where is the cut off for “being fast?” For the marathon, is it qualifying for Boston?…is it winning the race?…is it a 3:30 or 4 hour finish? Fast is a label, and it is objective. So, my recommendation is to drop it.
Below is a picture of my brother.
Yup., those are all of my neices and nephews, the entire army of them. My brother pretty much succeeds at anything he puts his mind to. He dabbled off and on with running the past several years. Looking at his “easy” runs from a year ago, he’d go out at a 9:30 to 10 minute pace. To some this is already “fast.” To start off 2019 he set some lofty goals for the Philadelphia marathon, which is coming up in November. Tha was 11 months away at the time. No 6 minute abs mentality, but 11 months ahead of slowly chipping away at getting faster, fitter, and stronger. Then he got to work. 5am pre rise of the army of kids runs. Double stroller runs. Single strollers. All types of stroller runs. He usually is able to always get 4 days of running in, sometimes 5. He does some easy yoga and a bit of strength training on non running days. His typical week involves around 6 hours of training altogether. This is less than an hour a day, nothing staggering. But, he doesn’t let the easy excuses get in the way. And he is patient. I’ve been coaching him this past year, and with the right trianing, his easy runs are now at 7:45 to 8 minute miles, and he just completed a 1:27 half marathon. Is that “fast”? Who the hell knows and who the hell cares, but it sure is impressive and something to be proud of.
So, drop labeling other runners and leave them off a pedestal. Focus on your own growth. Be patient. Embrace the process. The only point of reference should be who you were a week, a month, a year ago. With that mentality, everyone can be fast.
~Get Out and Get After It. Happy Running Ya’ll~