The Balance Between Running For Fun and Running For Time

Big news people, turns out I can run faster than I thought. Tuesday night is both my favorite and most dreaded workout of the week because I run with Chloe Lasseron's Lululemon Brooklyn run. Chloe focuses her weekly run on speed, tempo or hill work, the three workouts I notoriously ignore. Yesterday's run consisted of a .5 mile warm up to the Lululemon store, a 1.5 mile run to the track, a 3 mile progression at the track and then a 1.5 mile run back to the store.

What's a 3 mile progression? I'm so glad you asked because I didn't have a clue either -

1 mile at half marathon pace.

Recovery (Say as many F words as you can in 90 seconds).

1 mile at 10K pace.

Recovery (Direct as many F words directly at the person who's idea a 3 mile progression was for 90 seconds.)

1 mile at 5K pace.

I don't know my half marathon pace, 10K or 5K paces are so my plan of attack was to just push myself as hard as I could that first mile and go from there. (I'll admit I 100% expected myself to play the "I have a marathon in 3 weeks and can't get hurt card" and run easy after the first mile.) Here's how it went --

Mile 1 at 7:19/minute mile.

Then I spent 90 seconds dropping F bombs like they were going out of style.

Mile 2 at 7:20/minute mile.

Track Workout

My fancy watch is set to alert me whenever I run faster than a 7:50 minute mile so the entire time it was vibrating maliciously and screaming "PACE TO FAST!" After I finished mile 2, I turned to Chloe and said, "That's the fastest I've run since elementary school." Then I threw a bunch of F words her way.

I almost didn't go for mile 3. I was tired. I didn't think I could do it. I had already done 2 miles at what were miracle paces and I was telling myself, "This is to hard. No one is making you do this just run one last easy mile. A mile is a mile is a mile." But Chloe, who I now suspect is a mind reader, says "Just go for it and see what happens."

Then I did Mile 3 in 7:29/minute mile.

I know, I'm still amazed. I had no clue I was capable of running not only 1 mile at 7:19 but three miles around that same pace. Last week during a 6 mile run I clocked myself running an 8 minute mile and even then I was huffing and puffing like I'd never huffed and puffed before. So I assumed that was the fastest I could go.

THAT BEING SAID, I do not like running fast. I don't care who you are, anyone who says that running fast is fun is a damn liar. The reason I have so much fun when I run half marathons is because I run at a comfortable pace and I dance around like no one's watching. That's what works for me, I run because I simply love to run. Now don't get me wrong, I think it's impossible not to want to see just how fast or far you can run and push yourself.

This is the very first workout I ever logged with Runkeeper.

I've come a long way in the two and a half years since I started running and getting faster, stronger and ultimately more comfortable with my pace has all been apart of the process. I rarely set out to see how fast I can run. I'll always choose a leisurely run over hill repeats or speed work. Is that bad? No, it's just my personal preference. I think it's really admirable whenever I see runners posting their splits and how hard they attack their workouts. I find their drive really inspiring. I'm just not that runner. I'd rather take a break to dance or make myself laugh while I run.

We all run for different reasons and they do in fact change over time. This year I have set some intimidating goals. I am running two marathons (which for me is a really terrifying undertaking) and I want to break 4 hours at the New York City Marathon. That means in order for me to run a comfortable NYC Marathon under 4 hours I have to do more of the stuff I hate.

Here's what I've learned about pushing through the pain and discomfort, you have to run the moment you're in. Yesterday when I was on the track, each mile felt impossible. Had I sat there thinking to myself, "I still have an entire mile left" I would have just given up. Instead I focused on the straightaway or curve I was in. My inner monologue was a hot mess and got progressively angrier and foggier with each mile. Nothing terrible would have happened had I chosen to stop two laps into my final mile like I wanted to. I'm just really, really glad I didn't. It's an amazing feeling to be able to say, "Holy sh*t I cannot believe I just did that."

Yesterday I surprised myself. I didn't quit when I wanted to (and expected myself to) and I ran the fastest I've run since I was in the 5th grade. It wasn't fun. Yesterday was anything but fun! But sometimes I guess you do have to find the balance between having fun and doing the hard work.

I'm just really proud that I didn't quit when I wanted to. (I still can't believe I didn't quit.)

[Have I mentioned how amazed I am that I didn't quit?]

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

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Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.