Every so often my boyfriend James and I will have a conversation about what it would be like to run in each other’s bodies. For instance, if I was placed in his body while running a 30 minute 10k, would I be thinking it feels amazingly awesome and flawless? Or would I be begging for it to slow down? And if he were to be placed in my body while it runs a 45 minute 10k, would he be thinking that it feels painful, like that’s as fast as I will ever be able to run? Or would he be thinking, God, this is so easy how can you not go faster? Sadly, we probably won’t ever know. But I can assume that most likely, if I ever ran even one 4:49 mile, that it would feel amazingly awesome and flawless, as if I were flying.
Within the last couple of months, I had three track workouts where I felt out of my own body. Those sensations only lasted a mere 100 meters but gave me a glipse of what it might be like to run fast. As I approached the backstretch, all self doubt and temptation to give up escaped my mind. Naturally my stride opened, and as my knees lifted up, it felt as if I hopped into a flying vehicle of sorts on cruise control, where it was a smooth ride to the finish. My form actually did change as James’s coach complimented me on the fact that I wasn’t bouncing. “You need to run that way all the time, even when going slow,” he said. Sadly, when I came down from my high and began the cool down, I forgot what this fast felt like.
My thought process has been that running fast is this magical place that I just haven’t been to yet. The next workout, I wasn’t able to get to that place like I had the week before. I didn’t chalk it up to failure though. I just thought that some days you’ll be on, and others, off. But even if you feel off, you can still hit your times. In that workout, I averaged about 93 seconds for eight 400 meter repeats. This was a huge improvement from last year, where I was only able to average about 1:41 for eight 400 repeats. I had just assumed that once you run faster though, it will feel easier. All the time.
Whether you are someone who runs a 25 minute 5k or someone who runs a 20 minute 5k, if you are giving it all you got, those efforts will probably feel the same, right? However, with speed, comes fitness. Prior to my little achilles mishap, I was just starting to feel stronger, a feeling I never had in my running. I believe this is why I was just starting to experience those little moments on the backstretch where I felt weightless and free, what I like to call the next level. At the moment, my training feels like a video game. I let Super Mario fall off the bricks that he was walking on and I have to start the new level I just reached all over again.
What about you? Does running faster feel different? If so, what’s it feel like?