As I was plodding along yesterday near the end of a 3 plus mile joggling run, I started thinking about my speed and wondered why I was going so slow. I finished in just under 25 minutes which meant my pace was 7:57 per mile. Not particularly slow, but not fast either. There was a time when my workouts were significantly faster. I wonder what happened.
So, I thought about my running and juggling life today and here are the primary things that have led to me being a slower runner. Then for good measure, some ways to solve those problems.
What makes you run slower
1. Tired – As a streak runner, I never take a break. Over months and years this is going to take its toll and that toll is slower speeds. If you have experienced a slow down, consider reducing your running volume. Skip a few days here and there. If you run every day like me, you can still get a rest by cutting down on your mileage.
Tired legs are slower legs
2. Not running fast – To run faster, you have to run faster. If you go out and run the same speed each day you are training your body to run that speed. It should not be any wonder that you get slower if you never do any speed running. The cure for this is to add a few sprints to your daily runs. It doesn’t even have to be that much. You could do three or four 100-yard dashes sprinkled in with a regular run. The key is to remind your body every day what it feels like to run fast.
3. Having no upcoming race – When you are not training for anything, it is easy to go for a casual, easy run that doesn’t stress your body too much. This is perfectly fine if you just want to stay healthy, but if you want to improve your speed or ensure that you don’t slow down, these casual runs are not going to cut it. Put a race on your calendar and get in a training mindset. This will automatically inspire you to make your runs go a little faster. It helps too, to have a speed finishing goal.
4. Extra weight – There is no doubt about it, heavier runners are slower runners. If you want to get faster, losing weight is an excellent remedy. Unfortunately, this is a bit easier said than done. There is no magic formula for losing weight except, eat less, exercise more.
5. No desire to get faster – Another thing that makes you slower is when you have no desire to get faster. This is perfectly fine of course, but when your race times don’t match up to the ones you had a few years ago, you’ll need to accept that these are your new reality. If you don’t want to get faster, you won’t get faster.
6. Don’t run enough – Of course, another thing that slows people down is that they just don’t run enough. Indeed you need to take some breaks every so often but if you stop running and exercising, you naturally get slower (and probably fatter). Fortunately, the solution to this one is easy. Just start running more often, farther and faster.
7. Getting older – You hit your peak running speed somewhere in your twenties or thirties. I personally set all my fastest times when I was 40 years old but that is more a reflection of my lack of training (I was a minimalist) than it was of my physique. Now that I’m 43, those speedy times from three years ago are just not as easy to achieve. There is not much you can do about getting older and it certainly beats the alternative! Because of aging, you will get slower. So don’t try to compare yourself to your younger self. Remember each year gives you a chance to set a PR in a new age bracket.
Running fast isn’t critical to being healthy but joggling is a lot more fun (for me anyway) when you can do it quickly. Recognize the things that slow you down and try to fix them or accept them and the fact that eventually everyone gets slower.