When to run hard and when to run easy


I have a bet with myself that I can finish this blog post before Tony can finish his article for tomorrow’s paper.

Me: “What’s the story you’re writing, honey?”

Tony: blah blah blah Paris Norway town politics welfare blah blah

I’m so glad to have him back. He was in Arizona visiting his dad and brother for the past week and  I had the house and pugs and Melvin to myself. It was quiet. I read a lot of Game of Thrones. And I missed him. 🙂

I will not feel bad about running a slow(er) half marathon this weekend.  I will not qualify it. I learned something about myself by running it. I am learning to be a better runner. I am strong and capable. I can toe that start line. Not every race will be a PR.

(This was my way of clearing the air before I write about Sunday’s performance.)

I went to Track Club tonight again, the first time in … gosh, more the a month. I’m surprised they still remember me! 🙂 I really wanted to make a commitment to going this year but life has gotten in the way. I haven’t done a speed workout in weeks, and I think that has plenty to do with my lackluster performance on Sunday.

Tonight’s workout was HARD. My mile time is 7:19, and I was supposed to ladders — start at a short distance and work up to a longer distance and then back down — at 10K pace. That is roughly a 8:16/mile pace.

Omph. The first 200s were the worst. It got a bit easier after the first mile and a half. I do not feel capable of running a 7:19 mile today.

It started raining, softly, at the end. That felt real nice. And I remind myself: It’s not always about getting faster. Or running hard. It’s about being consistent. The temptation is strong to pour it on hard when you’re re-focused on your goals and that is just as much a recipe for disaster as giving up all together.

I remember reading this advice once, though I don’t remember where: When you’re really excited about a new diet or exercise plan, don’t use all your energy on cutting down as many calories (or burning as many calories) as possible: instead, use it to build practices and systems to keep you on track later when the enthusiasm runs out.

It’s tempting to come off a lackluster race and think, “I need to work harder.” And then do it. And then get injured or burned out. Instead, think, “I need to work smarter.” And pace yourself.


So in other news, I dyed my hair black on Sunday after the race. Can you tell? It’s OK, it’s subtle. Tony didn’t notice it at first, either. It’s been a fun experiment, but I don’t think I’d do it again.


Pattie Reaves

About Pattie Reaves

I'm a new mom and renegade fitness blogger at After the Couch. I live in Brewer with my husband, Tony, our daughter Felicity, and our two pugs, Georgia and Scoop.