The tortoise and the hare, and other training lessons

I’m all about the tortoise. Especially when it comes to running.  I have never been a fast runner. I’m just not built for that.  I don’t run to win – I run for health and fitness, and because it’s cheaper than therapy.  I prefer the ‘slow and steady’ race strategy (although I’m under no illusions about winning anything more than compliments for my efforts).  My approach to training will be much the same. Put another way, move nice and slow, and nobody gets hurt.

I didn’t always think that way. Although I’m no Speedy Gonzalez, I used to be a little obsessive (!) about tracking my mileage and analyzing my average minutes-per-kilometre to make sure I was still on target to make my ‘race pace’.  I wanted each race I ran to be a personal best.  After a few years and a few half marathons, that became – well, boring.  The run became more about how long it took, and less about enjoying the scenery.  Going for a run became a chore.  As life got crazier, I started running less, which is the opposite of what I should have been doing, because I still couldn’t afford a therapist.  So finally, I decided to slow down.  To a ridiculously slow pace. I still tracked my mileage, but I set an alarm on my Garmin to make sure I didn’t go too fast.  There were people out there who walked faster than I was running.  And I loved it.  Less stress, less injuries, more fun.  Slow was the new fast.

I still run that way, but my love affair with running has still had its ups and downs. My last half marathon was over a year ago, and was a narrowly averted disaster (a story for another day).  I took a break for a while, and now I’m ready to get moving again.  My decision to take on the Joints in Motion challenge will help bring some focus to why I am running, and will help keep me motivated.  I have given myself plenty of time to build up my base mileage again before kicking it up a notch, which will help keep my injury-free.  But even when race day comes, I’ll be in no big hurry to cross the finish. This race really is all about the journey.

So although I won’t be taking any naps along the way, I won’t be going all out crazy as I get myself ready for Lausanne. I will be cruising the neighbourhood at leisurely pace, letting the dogs sniff the fire hydrants, and maybe stopping to smell a flower or two myself. I hope you’ll follow along.

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