One of the beauties of us humans is the fact that there is always room for improvement. There is always determination. Human history is full of stories of men and women who have superseded every body's expectations and have over come great obstacles. Sadly, not every one is the same, but this post is not about those who won't go the extra mile, but about those who do but for some reason it's just not enough.
I started to work out back in Summer '08. It was an on and off kinda thing. My very first race was in Sept 08 at the college where I work. They host a 1 mile fun run every year now. My finishing time? 16 minutes.. ouch... I began to seriously run early last year and I have to say that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life besides marrying Joyce 10 years ago. ;-) (did I mention I love her?).. at first it was plain and simple "A bitch" to get on the treadmill and run/walk 15 minutes. Now I find it frustrating to only do 30-45 min runs.. funny how it works huh?. I have manage to improve my pace from 12 min/mile to a comfy 8:47-9:30 min/mile. This last pace depends on how well rested I am and if I don't have any injuries preventing me to keep it up.
Lately I have been taking it easy on my regular runs since I will be doing long runs in the weekends to prepare for that crazy marathon in May. And I figured that it is best to run at a comfortable pace while training than try to beat a time and get injured, putting the training on a halt.
I have notice something though.. My pace is not improving. I am not sure if its me not pushing hard enough or if my body already reached its limit. For the past 5 months, my pace has remain the same no matter how much speed work I do or how hard I push to run at a faster pace.
I am not discouraged by it. I mean, I have improved my pace by almost 4 minutes. 4 minutes may not seem like a lot, but 1 single minute makes a huge difference in a race, trust me, I know. I am sure I am not the only one with this problem, You push and push and keep pushing, but the results stay the same.. is it lack of determination? mmm I doubt it. If it was, I wouldn't keep trying to push it. Is it my body reaching the limit? Interesting theory; just yesterday afternoon I did a 13 mile run at what is yet my faster time for that distance. 2:02 hrs, But do I measure this under pace or endurance?
"According to my Macbook Dictionary, Endurance means: The fact or power to withstand an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. • The capacity of something to last or to withstand wear and tear." With that said, I guess you can pick your answer..
How long does it take for a person to improve that precious pace? I know part of the answer is "results may vary" lol. How long should one wait before giving in and say "Ok this is it. I am not going to get any faster" I myself find it extremely difficult to accept this.. my dad 56 (I think, lol) went from a 9:56 pace to a 7:50 and he can run at this pace for 10 miles, non stop.. crazy? well not really, I have seen older people with faster pace than this, but come on.. I am 30 yrs old and I can barely keep an 8:40 pace for 5 straight miles.
In the words of my favorite captain: "Never give up, never surrender..... Jason Nesmith"