Why Am I Getting Slower?

by Stephanie on September 21, 2011 · 2 comments

in Running

I’m in my second week of a three week taper, though it ‘s more like a 2 week taper because I didn’t run at all last week. 

The schedule called for 4 miles last night so that’s what I ran.  I didn’t want to run.  At all.  I forced myself to do it because I needed to and because there was no reason not to (other than the fact that I’d just eaten a bowl of delicious homemade guacamole the size of my face).  Maybe forcing myself to run was a mistake though.  I suffered through this run like it was a prison sentence.  There was no enthusiasm, no joy.  It felt hard and it was painfully slow.  It sucked.

The worst part was all of the negative thoughts that crept in.  “Why do I bother?”  “How is it possible that I suck so much at this?”  “Maybe I’m just not meant to be a runner.  I should just stop trying.”

I hate these thoughts but I have them all too often.  Why?  I’m getting slower!

When I started increasing my distances last winter and spring (from running for a few minutes to running many miles) I ran consistently at an 11:00 – 11:30 pace.  It didn’t matter if I ran 3 miles or 9 miles… the pace always fell right in that range.  Then I fell and hurt my leg, took 6 weeks off running, run/walked my first half marathon, and took another 3 weeks off of running before starting my Disney half marathon training plan.  One would think that maybe the injury and time off would cause a slight setup but that I’d get it back.  Well, here it is 10 weeks later and I am still significantly slower.  A good run is any pace that starts with an 11.  Most of my runs are in the 12’s and bad runs have an average pace starting with a 13. 


Seriously guys, how have I gotten slower in the last year?!  How can I not have gotten some of that “speed” back by now?  It’s SO frustrating.  13 is painfully slow.  I might as well be walking!  Now my goal was always distance and endurance, never speed.  I did not intend that goal to mean that I would get slower.  Just that I wouldn’t concentrate on getting faster!

So there you go.  I’ve avoided talking about pace much here but my frustration and need to vent overpowered that today.  Maybe the time I took off for the injury and after the first half marathon were enough to cause this slow-down.  Maybe it’s reasonable that I would drop 1-2 minutes per mile after that.  It doesn’t make it easier to swallow.

I know that after the half in 2 weeks I can start focusing on speed and try to get faster.  That’s what my training buddy says (though not nicely as he doesn’t respond to my negative meltdowns very well).  Maybe I will.  I probably will.  Let’s face it, I’ve never been a fast or particularly good runner but I keep coming back.  Hope springs eternal, I guess?

Have you experienced periods where your running got slower?  How did you come out of it?  Any advice to get through this slump?  Thanks!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Samantha September 21, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Oh yea, we all go through this, I think. Maybe you should try incorporating weights into your routine. (Not sure if you already do). But I find that helps for me. Speed training should as well. Oh and above all: Stop being so hard on yourself!


Stephanie September 22, 2011 at 3:59 PM

I know… people tell me I’m too hard on myself all the time 😛 I’m definitely going to incorporate speed work and weights this winter… that’s always been the plan (right now I’m very sporadic with the weights). Hopefully that helps!


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