I’ve never been much of a speed demon. Though not the slowest in my bunch of friends, I’d come in the top quarter of mass start races and maybe even top 20 in some smaller races with 100 ish runners. This was obviously before I got an injured foot. Indeed my average pace would be 4:40min/km with my fastest 5k 18:06 and marathon 3:32:00. So not the slowest or the fastest either. Not to dwell on the injury but I was gunning for a 3:15 marathon at the time and I think I could have got there. Alas it was not meant to be and the marathon passed without me running allowing me to focus on getting better and aiming for the next race, the Ultra.
Tactics for this race were changed, no longer thinking about speed I had to focus on slow, steady, conservation of energy and getting around. This ultimately meant a slowing of pace. At first hard to do, difficult to keep it down but actually looking back it was the best thing for me.
I managed to up my distance fairly quickly from nothing to 30km in 6 weeks and all the time focusing on slowing it down and running without a wonky foot (this being a reason I may have got injurated).
My average pace was anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30. And this pleased me. The pressure of time went away and I was then able to enjoy the runs, walk when I wanted to, stop to take photos and take it easy. Maybe running is too strong, jogging probably suits it better.
So for the ultra, I managed a good average pace albeit after a fairly quick first 2 Km and ran the 56km with a couple of walking breaks, never longer than a minute and a few stops to refuel and chat at checkpoints. Keeping under the threshold and refuelling meant I was able to carry on. Shuffling and jogging and walking but moving forward and it has made me think of running longer ultras.
My belief is that running slower can also help prevent injuries and maybe should be adopted as a getting over injury strategy.
So the next time you over take a jogger, just think that they may be onto something 🙂