On being slow

Yesterday, Julie aka Mawil asked me a couple of interesting questions on a post from January. It made me reflect the following during my 80 minute run today: “How would I feel if I found out/find out that I will not get faster” and “Am I getting faster”?

The second one is easy to answer, yet I don’t have a fully qualified response. The easy answer is: Yes – I am getting faster and here is the “proof”:

Similar runs on the beach – the one from today – and ~ 1 month apart similar run, same area, same sand/surface, same average heartrate.

2016-04-25 9:59 min/km 144 bpm
2016-05-19 9:31 min/km 144 bpm

I also feel faster/fitter. I can run for 2 hours consistently without walking breaks, I run now between 6 and 7 hours per week. Over the past year I had 3 breaks: One due to a none-running related injury, one flu and one stiff neck. For all 3 I had to stop running and the cool thing is, that afterwards I didn’t succumb to the sloth and got back into it. After each run I feel good, relaxed and have tons of energy to get my work done.

But then it isn’t as simple and that is where the interesting questions start to come up. Questions I’ve had in the past and they are quite similar to questions I have in my business:

  • What are the long-term and short-term goals (6 months, 3-5 years …)
  • How do I measure performance?
  • How can I make sure I enjoy it and it has a future?

So … what has the questions “am I getting faster” to do with all this? Speed is a performance metric, but it is just one of them! There are a lot of others and this is what I am interested in right now. What are the others? Speed is only relevant in relation to duration. Everyone that does a bit of running knows that it is a whole different thing to run for 20 seconds vs 10 km. So next to the pace I can run at for a defined heartrate, we also have to take into consideration how long I run it for and how it changes during the course of the run. We also have to include hills/beach/trail etc surface and wind into the equation. Oh and let’s not forget fatigue and form … It is a whole different situation if I take a rest day in the middle of the week and then run fully rested. I will be faster then.

Confused? So was I and still am … however I love to read and been digging through a lot of research/books on the topic and think I will be soon able to try an “analysis” of all the data I have collected over the past year. I also hope to achieve one “simple” thing. Create KPIs (Key performance indicators) for my running that are updated automatically, so I don’t have to obsess all the time, but still am in full control and able to learn more about me and my running.

Oh … and to answer the first question: “How would I feel if I found out/find out that I will not get faster?”

I still would feel amazing and proud of what I have achieved. I’ve not only lost tons of fat (17kg since I started last May to be exact), I also went from couch potato to running 6 times a week. My resting heartrate decreased, my blood pressure went into the normal range. I am now fully plant-powered and learned to cook the most delicious things from scratch on the way. Oh and not to forget I made the most amazing memories and can’t wait to continue doing so – even if I don’t get faster, the sun will still rise each morning:



22 Replies to “On being slow”

  1. Youve been doing a fantastic job and whats awesome is that you’re clearly loving every minute of it! It’s also great to see others being inspired by what you do too. As i’m starting to realise speed isn’t necessarily a huge factor. Wish I’d listened long ago πŸ˜‰ Keep on going, keep on doing what you do, its great

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As long as you love it and keep doing do does so what ever… Thank you for sharing and helping me embark on a new journey too… For me it’s def not for a speedy result… For me it’s to enable me to keep running and staying healthy till the end cxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lots of interesting thoughts in your post. I do like the idea of getting better…but I’ve changed up my goals/plans this year. My whole goal is to have fun and make myself happy. My running plan is simple…i just do whatever i FEEL like doing. Most of the time now, I don’t even run with a watch…let alone a Garmin. So far I’m very pleased with this plan. All the other stuff had gotten to feel too much like work.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yours is a really interesting story and very inspiring! It sounds like you have made an amazing difference to your health and lifestyle. My concern for me, regarding the heart rate thing, is that I might never graduate from walking to running if I stick at the same heartrate? So my concern about ‘speed’ is the difference between an 18 minute Mile and a 12 minute mile – I have not yet managed to do a Mile in under 11 minutes ! So what if the answer is no, I will never run at my aerobic threshold? Well then I have to decide whether to run an -aerobically or just stick to aerobic walking for health. My primary aim is health and judging by your example I will be on track for that ( already losing a few pounds). I’ve already committed to giving it a 3 month trial, so I will find the answers to my questions soon enough!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know the answer. Right now my aerobic on the beach run pace is 15:19 in miles. I am now very curious to actually find out how slow I can run … I’ve read a lot about slow running, or how to build your endurance base etc. It is not just Maffetone. There are plenty of examples online of people who did just that and improved. Everyone is different, so we’ll know how it will work for you soon. I personally think your approach is by far better and less stressful on the system. Start with walking and move up. I ran at a too high of a heartrate for quite long … then just stayed at the same slow pace while my heartrate went down on average. I am curious if you ever tried to run super super slow and checked what your heartrate was after warming up?


      1. Ok I confess, I’m not a big fan of the ‘warm up’. Always thinking ‘if I just start slow that will be a warm up’ . Looking at previous results my best ‘steady’ heartrate and pace has been doing laps in the park, which is flat It’s about a mile away so I could do a brisk walk there as a warm up then do my HR laps, which would be similar to you walking to the beach. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow that’s amazing! Interesting to read that runnjng slower is making you faster. I think slow rubs are what he majority if us runners are scared of.

    The fat burn is incredible! Really could do with some of that lol

    Keep the blogs conjng jn really interested to hear what your data analysis brings

    Oh and how’s the new watch?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Love the watch – it does not disrupt me at all and I feel free this way. I configured it so it vibrates when I go too fast and setup my training plan. Really pleased and so happy I did not get the new model. I could not stand having notifications disrupt me on my arm!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah nothing worst! I did a run the other day and the Mile markers were slightly out with my watch and I was obsessing over the time difference between the two….. Says more about my frame of mind than anything else lol x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is always a fight with technology and how much it influences one. Your story reminds me of my first bike computer and how I ended up with a broken nose because I looked at the speed and not the parked car …


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