Scared to be Fast

17 Jul

Last Sunday I ran a 5k that was spawned from wanting to support a friend that was doing her first.

The weather was great, my friend finished proudly, and overall it was a really good time.

Here’s the thing though. I obviously had not “trained” specifically for the race, but it felt so.damn.hard.

It felt hard, just like the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill 5k did.

During both 5ks my lungs burned, and my legs were screaming the entire time. I struggled during both races to hit the pace I did (39:36 for Runner’s World, 38:08 for last week).

I am faster than this. I know that. My 5k PR is 33:01 from *cough* four years ago.

Since doing the Goofy Challenge in January 2013 I have blamed my lack of speed on training for long distances. I have done a bunch of half marathons since then and am now training for my 2nd full marathon.

However, after I got home Sunday, I got really sad. Don’t get me wrong, I am THRILLED for my friends that ran, thrilled to share the experience, thrilled the weather was wonderful, etc, etc. But, I got sad because I know I can do much better, and I know it is my own fault these shorter races feel so difficult.

But here’s what it comes down to.

I am scared.

I am scared to go fast.

Why? I’m not totally sure. Fear of bonking, fear of being uncomfortable or in pain, fear of the unknown. These things all play into it. It’s not physical limitations, it’s mental, that I am sure.

When I was talking to my husband about this on Sunday he said something that really resonated with me:

“You have these walls up that affect your performance. You’re never going to overcome them if you don’t smash through them”

So true. so undeniably true.

So, because I am who I am, I took to the internet to do some research and found some really great articles with a few things that sounded like me.

Five Mental Barries, Smashed (Runner’s World)

The first point in this article is me in a nutshell.

THE OBSTACLE: Working out hurts!

GET OVER IT: …“As you get more experienced and your body adapts to training, you can tune in more to what your body is experiencing.” And remember, it’s unpleasant for everyone in the beginning. “Every step you take hurts at first,” says coach Jeff Gaudette, founder of RunnersConnect, an online training service. “But you’ve just got to trust that you will feel better.”

How to Think Like an Elite Runner (Runner’s World)

Push On: Mental toughness is built by doing something that is hard over and over again, especially when you don’t feel like doing it. Our society has conditioned us to believe that there should be no discomfort, to stop when we are uncomfortable. But the discomfort we feel when we’re doing a challenging workout is an important part of the strengthening process. 

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little bit you know that I like plans. I set goals and make plans to achieve them, that’s just how I roll.

So, on Monday I went to the track and did 1600 meter repeats. Holy shit was it painful and uncomfortable. but I plan to go back next Monday. and hopefully continue throughout marathon training.

The only way to get past these walls is to smash through them.


8 Responses to “Scared to be Fast”

  1. djdig July 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    I swear I have a similar fear but it’s of running a 5K without any walking breaks.

    My 5K PR is 40 minutes and I’ve been running at least 1 a month since December (and most months more than 1).

    I know I’ll get through it but your post made me smile and realize we all have our fears/walls to bust through and overcome.

    • Becca July 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

      I totally understand that too!! I think walk breaks are a great thing but it can be scary to push yourself not to use them. Good luck and I hope you achieve your goal soon! 🙂

  2. Movinitwithmichelle July 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    Amen!!! Smash those walls!!

  3. specialkkluthe July 17, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    I understand this. I personally know what it takes to get faster but I don’t want to go through all that work and pain – I enjoy pushing myself on distance instead of speed. One speed workout a week should be very doable during marathon training.

    • Becca July 21, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      Working through pain is so tough!

  4. mizunogirl July 18, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    Why did you choose 1600 m repeats? I do understand the scared to push feeling. I do a speed workout once a week and I sometimes dread it, since I know I will not enjoy it. I will feel nauseous, want to throw up, lay down, but it is all worth it in the end, and the feeling when one hits the target for that is priceless!!! I personally would have gone with 400 or 800’s that or the Jack Daniels 2 mile repeats which I loathe. Loathe with a bit of a loathing passion. Now that I’ve mentioned them, OMG I will probably have to do them soon. UGH. Wishing you the best on your 12 miler!

    • Becca July 21, 2014 at 9:42 am #

      I chose 1600m because I started looking into the Run Less Run Faster methodology and thought I’d try it out last week. I’m planning a blog post about it this week once I have some more experience with it under my belt. 🙂 It’s good to know I’m not alone in my fear of speedwork. 😉


  1. Change of (Training) Plans | Diary of a slow runner - July 24, 2014

    […] when I wrote about being scared to be fast? (It’s perfectly acceptable to think “uh… no” haha) At the end of that […]

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