Sunday, January 17, 2021

Weekly Sweats: The Slow Down


This week I did something that I've never really done before...I ran slow.  On purpose.  32.5 miles of running (outside yay!) and 3 three weight workouts to talk about.

I'm linking up with the Weekly Run Down, please head over to Kim and Deborah to check it out.  

Monday: weights and a chilly but dry 4.25 miles.

Tuesday: yikes, the temps were in the low 20's which is about as cold as I will run outside in.  I drove myself up to "Speedwork Park" (neighborhood park with a flat walking trail where I do speed work) and started my run just as the first glimmer of light was breaking.  The nice thing about the park is it's a dirt trail so there is less likelihood of slippery spots and I also don't have to worry about cars so I'm more comfortable starting my runs in semi-darkness (necessary on early morning meeting days).  I did a repeat of last week's ladder workout of 1.5 mile warmup, 1-2-3-2-1 fast/slow x 2 and cool down for 6.25 miles total.

Wednesday: weights, no running

Thursday: temps in the mid 30's was sheer luxury.  I went back to the park at early o'clock and ran my heart out.  Ladder of 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 fast/slow for 6.25 miles total.

Friday: weights and an experiment.  As you may recall, last year was the year that I finally got faster, moving up from 12ish minute miles to consistent 11ish minute miles.  Toward the end of the year I got burned out and cut my mileage, and around that time I also got slower and I've been scratching my head trying to figure it out.

The one thing that I've always been very reluctant to try is easy running.  I mean, when you're busting out 12 minute miles how much slower can you go?  I don't always push myself, but I never really take it easy either.  BUT I've been at a running stalemate so I needed to shake things up.  I decided to take this one run truly easy just to see what would happen.  I pushed the start button on my Garmin and tucked it out of sight and out of mind under my sleeve.  I set off toward town on a downhill just as chill and relaxed as I could be and zoned out.  Two miles and change out, two miles and change back.  After the 4 mile beep I kept on for what I judged to be an extra quarter mile and then flipped my sleeve back and of course I was at 4.24 miles exactly.  I jogged it up for the extra 0.01 and pressed stop.

So yes, I ran a 13:02 pace felt good!  And in an odd way...I have to say that I am proud of this run.

Saturday: long run day!  Weather wise "dry January" is over...I saw a lot of posts about Friday being Quitter's Day and it looks like the weather was taking notes because we had rain and snow that afternoon.  The pavement was wet but I took a chance that it wouldn't be slick and except for one close call my gamble paid off.  I didn't go as easy as the day before but I also didn't push myself (12:30 something for pace overall).  8.25 miles total with a lot of uphill and everything felt good.

Sunday: my "standard" Sunday's not standard for me to run at all on Sundays but lately it's been feeling good so I've been going with it.  The roads were definitely slick so I took it to the park.  One mile easy/one mile 0.1 miles fast/0.1 miles slow, cool down.  After two days of slow running I set off on what felt like another easy plod and....well you can see how that came out.  Apart from the 5 speed bursts in the middle mile I wasn't trying to be fast...that's just what my body did.

Soooo....this experiment will continue.  Although it may go on pause for a week or so until the roads dry up.  We had a big ol' sleet storm today so until the mess clears out I'll be on the treadmill.  The treadmill and the road are different animals so I'm not sure exactly what I'll be doing next week besides a lot of running.  And weights!

Speaking of the Weights...

Last month I started a strength program.  I'm pretty flaky with the weights and my archives have way too many "I tried the WangDang Strength workout and it was great!!!!" followed a week later by "yeah, the WangDang Strength workout is not for me".  That's how real life happens but it's not terribly useful and not fair to WangDang so that's why I sometimes keep things under wraps for a bit.  I said that if I was still using the book after I maxed out my library renewals and actually ponied up my own money for a copy that I would say what it was, and now it's time for the big reveal that "X" is The New Rules of Lifting for Women

If you're like "wait, I have heard about this somewhere", here's how it got on my radar, and google turned up two way back blog recaps here and here.

All that I really have to say at this point is that it's a very straightforward lifting program, and it will take me until July to complete the workouts.  So far the workouts have been perfect for me in that they aren't too hard, aren't too long, and they aren't so demanding that I can't run afterwards, but at the same time I feel like I am "doing" something and with heavier weights as time has gone on.  There's just enough of a mix of different workouts/different numbers of reps to hold my attention.


  1. That's great that you found a strength program that feels like a good fit. Strength-training, like all fitness, is so personal for everyone. We all have different goals and there are no once-size-fits-all programs. Great mileage this week!!!

  2. Well done on that super easy Friday run!
    It's hard to run at a slow pace. But it feels so good afterwards.

    And as you can see from your Sunday run, your body thanks you for the very easy runs!

  3. I read that book a few years ago, but I can't remember if I actually followed the program at all. (I remember reading about it on Meal and Miles). That's great that you are working on slowing down! It really is helpful for getting faster because you will be able to push yourself more on the harder workouts.

  4. I know what you mean about running slower. My easy runs are supposed to be at 12:50-13:00. It does feel good to run slower. Great mileage this week! Proud of you!

  5. I have a hard time running slow too, but I know it does pay off if you do it. That sounds like a interesting strength program. I really liked the Quick Strength for Runners book/program which is the only book I’ve ever followed.

  6. You know I am big proponent of strength training. The best strength program is the one that you actually do! Good luck looking forward to hearing about it

  7. I'm the opposite. My runs are ALL easy ones. I have zero mojo to try and run fast.

    Maybe once real races return.

    I do not do any ST. I don't own anything and the gyms are closed.

    I have started biking on non-running days though.

    It sounds like you are dong everything right and it will pay off.

  8. "they say" that easy and slow running is where it's at. I think we are probably around the same pace, give or take, and I am just fine with that advice. The few races I've done, I've been able to kick it up and feel great, and I think that's the whole point. Keep up the good work!

  9. I was very curious which strength training book you were talking about. I've not heard of that one - must have missed reading HRG that day! I'm glad you tried it and that it's working for you. Strength training is so important for helping runners stay healthy.

  10. I only run slow at the moment and I do admit it feels good. It used to bother me I couldn't get faster, or I could get faster but then felt like roadkill afterwards. Maybe once I start running more I will also try faster and slower workouts.

    The strength training program sounds interesting. I'm definitely interested in more structured strength workouts.

  11. Slow runs are just as important as faster runs! I am glad you were able to embrace that!

  12. Ha, a new take on Dry January :) Glad you are embracing the easy run! I love those runs, with no Garmin, just TRUE easy running.

  13. Awesome mileage this week!

    I'm so glad you found a strength training program. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it!

  14. I have a hard time slowing down too! I usually end up running my 'easy runs" too fast. But running slow can be really good for you!