I think they can.
When I got home from work yesterday, I was tired. I suppose the late night on Monday didn’t help, and the wind and rain made me feel like staying inside and having cups of tea, and then because it looked like it might rain later, I was tempted to go out for a short one on my own. But the nature of having a club means that I feel obliged to go, when I can. Anyway, I went, and I am so glad I did (as always). I wore my yellow t shirt for the first time as it was too cold for a vest:
When I got there, every other person had their yellow t-shirts on too! That has not happened before (one girl borrowed a jacket), but then a new person came- we did all assure her that usually we are not all so coordinated! Anyway, it was a new route, we set off, and almost right away there was a big hill! There are not many of those around here. Sometimes on the runs we manage to stay together, but sometimes we spread out a bit, and Wednesday was one of those occasions. I could spot the yellow t-shirts up ahead, and I tried hard to keep them in sight (partly because I didn’t want to get lost!). I was running with another girl for a bit, but I ended up being a little ahead of her. Anyway, whenever I glanced at my watch I could see that my pace was under 10 min miles. That is fast for me. On my own now I sometimes manage one mile under that, and I am pleased if I get close to ten minutes for the other miles (on shorter runs). I kept going up the hill, and tried to focus on my posture, as I know I have a tendency to slump forwards on hills, especially when I am tired.
After the hill was a nice long downhill bit, and I tried to concentrate again on keeping the speed consistent. I did get confused at one point as I crossed a road, only to find there was no pavement, just a big fence! But aside from that I didn’t really stop (except for once at traffic lights). Anyway, the route was about 3.2miles, and I was amazed that I was back at the shop in 31 mins! The super speedy ones were already there, stretching and chatting, and we only had to wait another minute or so for the last people to come in.
I kept my watch going, and timed my run home (often it goes into power saving mode so I don’t time the run there or back)- but adding on the run home took it to over 4 miles, (4.04 miles) in 39 mins! I managed to keep the sub ten minute mile pace for 4 miles! OK so there was a little rest between the third and final mile, but still, I was very pleased.
I was trying to look through my Garmin stats on the computer, but I am not that great with it. But I know that my Sweatshop runs are my fastest runs of the week. Even if I do 3 miles on my own, I am a little slower (Tuesday I did 3 miles- it was super windy and felt slow, and actually was pretty good, but not as fast as this).
I am sure that having other people around helps to motivate me, and also helps to push me a little harder than I push myself. I know that when I do body pump I manage a lot more than when I do the 30 day shred video- it is so tempting to put the weights down! So I am sure some of that effect will translate into running with a group too. Although I have found that runs with Andy are worse for me, as he goes too fast, I try to keep up and end up gasping for breath and struggling. I suppose with these runs, I set my pace within the pace of a group which must work out better as there is a range. Plus seeing the people further on is like seeing the carrot dangling on a stick.
Anyway, I really enjoy them anyway even just as a social thing- a few people asked about the Great North Run, and another person (the barefoot girl) had done an all terrain triathlon (including swimming in a lake!) and it is so lovely to have a little chat about these sorts of things.
I can totally see the benefits of a running club, although for me that sounds very “serious”, and I like the fact that this is a bit more relaxed than I perceive other clubs to be.
A while ago I was trying to get my 10K down to under an hour- the closest I managed was 61 mins, and although I am slower than that at the moment (as a 10k is 6.2 miles, so it has to be sub 10 min miles for the whole time), I can see that regularly having these faster runs in the week will hopefully help me to get to that goal. Although I don’t have any 10K races booked- the two local ones that I like at this time of year clash with the Oxford half (well one does, the other is the week before when I want to be running longer). So I will keep my eye out.
Anything exciting planned for the weekend?
What goals are you working towards at the moment?
Do you notice the effect from other people when working out etc?