• Pushing It

    I tried an experiment today.  I decided to run harder than I thought I could.  And I did!


    Many months ago, when I was just starting to run, I discovered that pushing too hard was hurting me, and causing me to have to walk more, rather than eating up more distance running.  I had to experiment pretty carefully to figure out where my best balance for effort was, but once I’d found it, I got a big boost.  I learned how to feel when my body was working at a sustainable pace, and keep my effort level there.


    That was before I’d even progressed far enough to take my entire course without walking, which I achieved a month or two later.  Now, several months further on, considering the idea that runners are supposed to adopt different paces for different distances and terrains, it occurred to me that perhaps that feeling isn’t a constant, but that my “tolerance” to exertion might also increase over time.


    So when I went out this morning, I set a pace that made me a little scared.  Starting about a quarter mile in, I felt like there was just the remotest chance I was going to be sick, but I kept at it.  My last big hill was an act solely of willpower.  Even with the asthma inhaler, my chest felt like it was going to burst.  When I got to my last 50 yards, which I always sprint, I had *nothing* left for the sprint.  I tried as hard as I could, but my body just wouldn’t get there.  It was like I was running in water.


    I was quite certain that my experiment was a failure.  I was obviously moving even *slower* than usual on the back half of my run, and my sprint was basically just another chunk at my usual pace.  My legs felt like lead, I was nauseated, and I was pretty sure that if I’d tried to go any farther, I would have felt faint.


    Then I checked my watch, and discovered that I actually took thirty seconds off my best time!


    I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t do this every run, as it was literally hours until I felt recovered, but it definitely looks like I’ve built up some kind of a reserve for runs beyond my normal endurance.  I’m going to have to experiment more, and see if there’s a middle pace where I can push harder than I was accustomed to, with out going all the way to where I hit today.  If I can dial it in, I bet I’ll start making progress a lot faster!


    I’m kinda pumped!



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