Okay runners, I need some advice. All of my life I’ve been a casual runner. I suppose you can say I’ve increased my speed in a bit in recent years but I’m still pretty slow. And I don’t go too terribly far when I do run – the most I’ve ever run is a 5-mile loop I used to do regularly when I lived in San Francisco and it took me an hour to run it each time.

Since having kids, I run a 10:30 pace and I’m usually around 3 miles most of the time. It’s pretty scary how exact my time is – I use Nike+GPS and I’m always within 10:20-10:30 for my pace. I rarely have a pace that’s different than that 10 second window. But like any aspiring runner, I want to go farther and I want to go faster.

Last weekend I ran a 5k. I really wanted to try and just push it and get it to 30 minutes. The run was hillier than I thought and I finished at 32:13 with a pace of 10:22 per mile.

So yesterday I went out on my own and decided I’d map 5k and I’d try and push myself. At mile one, Nike+ chimed in to say I was running a 9:20 mile. Mile 2 chimed in that I was at 9:40. I was dying – I had a stitch and I needed to walk. I walked a bit – not long – and I finished in 30:40. Faster than my 5k the weekend before yet I totally did not have a sense of accomplishment.

I felt like I had failed. I had walked. I went faster but I walked so the whole thing was not a “run” to me but a walk.

So runners, what do you say? Is that right? What’s more important to you? Running it all but running slowly or going faster even if it means you have to walk?


  1. This is a great question!!! I am almost in the SAME exact position as you!!! I am curious as to what other runners say. It is important to me to be “running” but if you walk for little and then kick up the speed…I am just not sure? I know that intervals are great for fitness purposes so it might be even better for you but it may not be viewed as such by other runners. Can’t wait to see what other people say.

  2. I used to run with a running group that swore by the “10-and-1” running method; run 10 minutes then walk 1 minute. It’s a very personal preference, and many who use it for races really appreciate the “recharge” that walk gives. I don’t do the run-walk anymore but 8 years ago I ran my fastest marathon time doing a run-walk (25 & 1).

    • Rae, I’ve been wondering if I should try that. 10 & 1. I don’t know that I’d want to stop after 10 minutes and the other thing is that once I’m in a bit, would I not want to start up again after the minute?

      I may try it out one of these days and see how I do with it. Again, I get fixated on the walking thing but I think I need to get over it.

  3. I’m a slow runner, but I have been doing for for 8 years now. I have 2 marathons, several halfs and lots of 5 and 10Ks to add to my list of great races. I say if you are happy, then run with it! You are still faster than me, I am usually an 11 – 12min gal myself. I just did the Rock n Roll half marathon in DC and my husband ran it with me to push me for a faster time. Came in 2 hours 41 min. And please, don’t ever say you feel you have failed, the fact you are out running and doing it it great.!! xo

  4. Geeze Louise- agree with Maria- you certainly have not failed! au contraire:what an accomplishiment -that you are out and exercising at all- and in a run- that , in my book, is a great feat- I walk to the mailbox and get tired-LOL, with that said, nothing is ever wrong about wanting to improve( a bit at a time). . . I say a bit because this is where the ‘common sense’ rule applies.
    yes, the euphoric feeling when you shave a minute or even seconds off is very important certainly and who doesn’t want to feel that sense of accomplishment? it’s good for you, the whole packlage: mind, body and soul. BUT BUT ‘everything in moderation’ adage applies here like everywhere, just about.
    bottom line: kudos to you for being out there. work hard at it but work SMART at it. Enjoy it and be healthy.. . . . . So, when’s the ironlady? LOL!

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