Saturday, 2 April 2011

30-seconds... a tantalising amount of time.

Arguably the time it takes to test your smoke alarm, dust the TV screen or change the hand towels in the kitchen. It's not long is it? There's not a huge amount you can achieve, not a great deal with any real purpose, and yet from a runner's perspective 30-seconds is an age, an aeon even. Or it is to me.

Why? Why, when you are running does 30-seconds make such a difference, when in most every other aspect of my life it's seemly a fleeting moment in which you can't even pick your nose successfully (perhaps that's too much information).

Perhaps it's just me, but 30-seconds one way or another over the course of a mile makes the world of difference. Be it faster or slower than the norm, the differences are actually quite extreme.

Is it just me or is this the same for everyone, be you a 5, 10 or 15-minute mailer? Judging by a recent conversation at a party, I know there's at least one other sad-sack out there. And yes, when the highlight of a party is chatting to the only other person not drinking about the impact of running 30-seconds faster or slower you know you've sold your sold to running and got an eansie weansie bit of a problem - just be glad you missed the bit where the conversation moved onto discussing compression clothing and preferred gels (party was naff, but we both had a great time!)

But, it has really struck me over the past couple of weeks what a difference 30-seconds can make, particularly as my training schedule comes to and end. My pace has markedly quickened over this year of running, but I'm assuming this is a universal feeling and the 30-second vagary was the same when I started this journey, in my case working from my recent half-marathon I can hold 8:20 in a race, so let's call 8:30 my normal pace, which I think is right there or thereabouts at the moment.

I'm "comfortable" running/racing at that pace up to a certain distance..if I push to go faster 8mins is eye-poppingly quick, the old ticker is pounding in my ears and stamina rapidly drains away, but go the other way and drag the time out to 9min and I feel pretty good (most days) and content enough to do some pretty long runs. I recently did a 20-mile run at 9:30min pace and that was hellish - not the distance, but the affect of slowing down further, it seemed to take significantly more effort to run at that pace then at a swifter 9min - and yet I remember when I dreamed of holding 9:30.  Only time will tell whether I have the endurance and stamina to hold 9-mins for a marathon, but that's not the point...not that I'm entirely sure what the point is.

What I spent way way too much time deliberating over the last week or so, is just what a difference 30-seconds can make in a mile. Be it fast or slow, and irrespective of what your "normal time" may be, that fleeting amount of time can totally change how you feel, how far you can go and how much you enjoy yourself. Maybe it's just me, and maybe I'm waffling, again!, but I can't help but think how much difference the time it takes to toss out today's junk mail has on each mile of my race.

Maybe I should find another hobby, but I'm sure I'd find something banal about that to dwell on as well, as the wife often laments..."you think too much".

One thing I do know is that only another runner is going to be daft enough to understand this drivel, most people have "far better" things to dwell on.

Gonna train "properly" for the next one and get down with some serious speed, interval, tempo training and proper MP pace, slow-run thinks, that degree of training is going to be a "real" shock to the system...but god, I can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. I agree! They say a diamond is forever, but I think 30 seconds is more like it.

    Maybe it'd be good to just run at whatever feels best? I'm a total novice on distances longer than 10mi, but maybe the whole comfortability you have with the speed may be a good thing...

    Have fun on the speed workouts you have planned, theyre probably the funnest workouts in a runner's arsenal (Aside from hillsprints which I personally love haha)