I Want To Run Faster

So from what I gathered yesterday, we’re all a bunch of crazies. I’m glad it’s not just me.

Here is a photo in which I look a little excited (because I'm grating cheese) and crazy. Maybe it's because of my hot outfit.

Your comments on yesterday’s post about being nasty and stressed instead of fun and carefree were hilarious and I loved them. Oh. Were they not supposed to be funny? Well I thought they were good. Now let’s all vow to take one massive chill pill, shall we?

Guess what I did last night?

I relaxed.

I didn’t freak out about stuff.

I even got into bed around 10 pm.

Who am I?! Oh, that’s right. I’m cool, Weekend Ali, making my weekday debut. No big deal.

I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN! And yes, I'm still not done posting photos from this weekend. They're so colorful.

I was equal parts productive and calm last night. I went to the gym for a Chisel class and lifted heavy things and did many squats. I did a little grocery shopping, had a long phone conversation with my best friend Becky and then had another long phone chat with my Dad.

Brian came over and I “cooked us dinner.” I’m so good at reheating leftovers, you have no idea.

Trust me, I recognize the cheesiness of this photo. Emily made us do it.

I did some dishes, watched some TV and even did a little extra ab work, because that makes the commercial breaks go by faster.

I woke up this morning ready to run!

I wanted to cover seven miles, but my stomach had other plans. It was like, “Ali, you think seven miles is a good idea, but I think we should stop at that Starbucks over there so you can wait in line for the bathroom for 10 minutes and waste a ton of time.”

So I ran low on time and did six miles instead.

I’m not on a training plan right now, so I just sort of run whatever I feel like running. Today I felt like running at a pace similar to what I ran with Lauren on Sunday: quick but comfortable.

Here we are jogging — yes, jogging — backwards up a hill during a race. This is not the pace to which I am referring.

I also wanted to check in with my pace regularly but not obsess over my watch. I didn’t want to look down at it too much or rely on it too heavily. I wanted to feel fast but not too fast, and also not too slow. I’m like the Goldilocks of running, only without the braids or the porridge. Or those bears she hung out with, or whatever they were.

My stomach went into overdrive a few times, and I got bored of the park, so I ventured toward the East River and ran around there for a while. During one of my “I’m keeled over in pain and I can’t run right this second” moments, I took two photos.

Ooooooooh! Cars!!!!

I was hoping for a killer sunrise, but this morning’s was pretty blah.

I swear it looks prettier in this photo than it did in person. In person I was bored.

I was happy with my splits, though!

Here they are. One day I would like to run several miles at the EXACT same pace. Consistency is a virtue. Is that a saying? It should be.

Something seems off with that “warm-up” mile, but I will not complain. Overall I feel good about this morning’s run. I held onto that pace just fine — when my stomach wasn’t being rude, at least — and never felt too out of breath or overworked. I felt like I was working hard, but it was sustainable.

Lauren and Emily spent a decent amount of time and energy this weekend convincing me that I can run faster than I think. We all know this by now, right? My mental problems hold me back. I see a 7:30 on my watch and immediately panic and force myself to slow down, even if I feel great and strong.

Why is that?

What am I afraid of?

Oh right. I’m afraid of feeling great for that first mile, trying to maintain the pace and then watching my legs rip off from my body when they can’t keep up with my crazy brain.

Something like that.


So my goal right now, whether or not it brings me to a spring marathon, is to get over my fear of pushing it. I can run faster. I can be a stronger runner. I just need to go for it. Lauren encouraged me to add structured speedwork back into my weekly training, and if she wants to coach me I’m fine with that. She’s going for a 3:10 marathon, after all, so I think she knows what she’s doing.

Note to self: Running isn’t supposed to be easy. If you want to hold on to a 7-minute mile, it’s not necessarily going to feel good. Push yourself. Work hard. Enjoy the rewards and PRs.

The end.



40 Responses

  1. I think running faster is a very mental thinking…BELIEVING you can run faster is a huge part of the battle! I magically got much faster my senior year of high school, and part of it was just mentally knowing I wanted to go for it. It makes the hard workouts easier. SPEEED.

  2. Awesome paces girl! When I pray to the running gods, those paces are on the list. Until then, I will enjoy the 8’s range. Best outfits ever, BTW. Sparkle, leg warmers and pink – couldn’t be better! My coach always reminds me that speed work sort of sucks but the payoff will be PRs!

  3. Ali! I’ve missed your blog so much….I need to catch up before my classes start again.
    I’m going to jump on the Lauren&Emily Bandwagon and say that you totally can run faster. I was reading one of my favorite running books the other day and came across a sentence that really stuck with me: “most people make the mistake of training medium-hard all the time.” And I think I can really easily fall into that pattern too. It’s easy to go at that kind of “comfortable hard” pace all the time and never really go beyond it. If you want to run faster, all you need to do is give yourself a chance to have those really tough workouts and be okay with the pain/discomfort. Having the hard days also means you have to be okay with the easy/rest days, which I know isn’t always easy for you 🙂
    Anyway, I’m pretty sure I told you in August that you could be faster, and I still believe that!
    Happy New Year and I hope I can see you in the near-ish future!! (Did anyone convince you to come spectate Boston yet?! I’m willing to try 🙂 ).

  4. Your splits are speedy! I can for sure relate to this. I’m so comfortable with my pace that I never try and push it but I know I can go faster I just have to put in some effort!

  5. hey you can run 6 miles at a 8-minute pace im not judging. I haven’t been able to do that since NOVEMBER(!!!!!!) and that pneumonia is NOT helping my “spring” training start…

  6. I wrote a post titled “I want to run faster” not too long ago. We can both do this! I have gotten faster since writing that post and I hope to only get to where you are someday. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

    When I was a swimmer my mom would always say that swimming is 90% mental and 10% physical. The same applies to running!

  7. WORD to this post. Yes, WORD.

    Granted I’ve never run a 7:30 mile in my life, but the whole “slowing myself down because I’m afraid of going fast” thing resonates with me (even if my “fast” is a 9:10 mile. To each her own, right?) I’m going to take your advice on my run tomorrow and just freaking go for it.

  8. If running was easy, then everyone would be doing it! Just going out for a run at all it is hard work whether or not you consider it an ‘easy run’. Runs are never easy and you still manage to get out there all the time!

    I totally think that you could run faster! (not like I have ever run with you or anything)… but never underestimate the power of positive thinking 🙂

  9. I did speedwork for about 6 months, about two years ago. I got faster. Then i stopped. And now I’m slower. I should probably take that as a hint that speedwork works, and I should do it again. Hmmmm…

  10. Oh consistency…I was really good at it during NYCM training and then completely bonked on Race Day. I’m going to try to start slow and see if it’s possible to negative split the second half of the Houston Marathon this weekend. (I ran the same hills in my last half-marathon…they’re baby hills!) We’ll see how that goes, as I’m a really talented positive-splitter…

  11. Ahh, I wrote about similar struggles this morning. Wanting to BE faster is one thing; we all want to be faster. But knowing how to get there-both mentally and physically-is a whole other story!

    When I need to build speed, I 6-8×800 on the track once a week. It is seriously SO painful. But it will make you faster. And then when you’re racing and it starts to hurt, you’ll be able to think, “this is not NEARLY as painful as those 800s!” True story.

  12. I’m so jealous you see the sun on runs! I see it on weekend runs, but during the week I get to run under the moon light and the sun’s just rising when I get on the train at 7:20. I am horrible about stressing out, and when I start to stress about one thing it turns into an avalanche and I freak about everything. I’m trying to be 1/2 productive and 1/2 chill in the evenings to help with this, otherwise I don’t wind down properly and I’m up all night. And being tired AND crazy doesnt’ help things 😉

  13. Yes, you are so right! Fast running isn’t supposed to feel good or easy. We just need to learn how to push ourselves. For the record, I think you’re fast and getting faster! And I want to get faster with you – let’s make a pact or something, ok? I am going to make myself do some mile repeats around the rez tomorrow if you’re interested…

    I didn’t get to comment on yesterday’s post, but why is learning to manage stress so hard? Also, I feel like type A people liks us almost feel weird if we’re not stressed, you know? Oh, balance.

  14. Great splits! When I was consistently doing speed work I was surprised at how fast a 7:30 mile bean to feel easy. Could I have held onto it forever? Maybe not but it was getting to the point where it was becoming easier and easier and I probably could have pushed myself more if I didn’t decide that I’d rather train for this whole marathon thing. But you’ve got one of those under your belt, so time to push yourself in a different way!

  15. I need to remind myself of that as well. Running is not supposed to be comfortable, and when I see certain numbers on my watch I panic and slow down because I fear my legs falling apart but they don’t and they won’t and I need to learn to PUSH!

  16. Your run today was a good indicator that you can totally go faster and set crazy PRs. I sometimes wonder if I would run faster if I ran my races without my watch.

  17. Dude. Way to be fast! Also, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” Don’t be afraid of running fast, you can do it! See you in that 7-minute corral 🙂

  18. I can totally relate… about the dying and legs being ripped off thing. On Sunday I went out for a fast paced 10 mile trail run. Took the first mile easy, then picked up the pace somehow thinking my 5 mile turnaround point meant I didn’t have to run the 5 miles back to my car. Of course at mile 5 I felt like hell, by mile 7 I was walking up all the uphills and proceeded to take a break after each mile until I was done. It hurt, I died, I went out too fast, but my death pace was not as slow as it felt… and THAT is cool! 🙂

  19. I totally do the same thing. I mean, with much slower times, of course, but at my PR 15k, I kept looking at my Garmin and thinking, “This is not sustainable, Lauren, this is not sustainable.” And then around mile 8, I was more like, “Holy @&^$ it IS sustainable.” Funny how the mind works.

  20. Are we the same person? Same name, we run about the same times and have the same stupid mental hangup about running. It is so frustrating. Its like, I am so worried about running out of gas at the finish line that I hold back, and at the end of each race, ik ow I could have gone faster.

  21. Ali! For real we are on the same mission with the same fears. I am trying to get faster but keep psyching myself out when my paces get around 7/7:30. If you ever want a running buddy … count me in!

  22. Ali! First of all you are awesome. Second of all, your brain is exactly like mine. A while ago, I introduced the former boyfriend to running. Within a month, he could kick my butt. He still can. We’d set off on a run, and I was constantly checking in with my watch and saying “Nope, can’t do this!” and was very discouraged. Then, I had my breakthrough on that after reading Emily’s “my pacing problem”. And I joined up with a team of very fast women.. and I was so terrified of falling off the back of the group and dying on a roadside, that I pushed myself to keep up. After a few runs with them I realized I wasn’t dying, and beyond that, I was actually getting comfortable with a new pace. (I’m sure it’s still a shuffle jog for some of them on our easier days). It was an awesome breakthrough. I started setting my speedwork goals at more unattainable paces… instead of “safety pace” where if it said 10k pace I said “Okay, anything under 8 minute pace is fine” instead of “my dream pace”. You are definitely on your way. Running with faster people and feeling inspired instead of discouraged is the best thing for it. You are awesome!!!

  23. I am glad you where able to relax last night.. I run 10 minute miles so 7:30 is so fast to me BUT I understand everyone is different and has different goals.. Random story, I say I run 10 minute miles because I do BUT one time I forgot my Garmin at the Al Gordan race last year and I ran 9:33 miles.. Interesting enough I think it’s all mental with me too ;-/

  24. If you find the secret to be able to run back to back miles at the same pace PLEASE share with me!!! I am so inconsistent it’s embarrassing haha. So nice to chat last night and can’t wait to see you!!

  25. I’ve never posted on your blog, but I read it most everyday. I’m always impressed by your ability to wake up early and by your spilts. I became even more so in awe of your energy when you wrote last week that you don’t drink coffee (you don’t drink coffee!?!). Anyways, I’m finally posting today to say that I throughly enjoy reading AliontheRun, please keep it up and to ask an all important question… who is that shirtless man to your left in the last photo??? Hi, Mister. Happy Tuesday!

    1. Thanks, Missy! Sometimes I wonder if I’d have even more energy with a coffee kick, but I’m terrified of getting addicted and going completely broke from the habit.

      As for the shirtless man, I didn’t catch his name or get his number — next time! Hehe. Thank you for reading!

  26. I’m the same way with Refine! I don’t push hard enough because I’m worried I won’t be able to handle it later on in case it gets harder. I’m trying to get better at this too. Also, I want to run faster. I’ll have to keep this in mind in a few months when the temps become Dori-friendly. Ab work during commercials? You make me feel so lazy. Probably because I am.

  27. Yes to all of this! You CAN run faster – as soon as you stop being your own worst enemy. Sometimes you might end up crashing and burning…other times you will surprise yourself and run faster than you expect. But you won’t know until you try.

    Don’t worry, I will help coach you. The only payment I require is lodging and dinner when I come visit NYC. Deal?

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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