I’m sick of being a 10:00/mile runner.

There’s nothing wrong with running a 10:00/mile pace.  I’m just tired of it.  At some point last year, I mentally decided that was my “comfortable” pace, and I never really deviated from it.  So I ended up in a pace rut.

When I started training again in January, I went straight back to that 10:00/mile pace.  It was what I knew, and what I felt comfortable with.  I could breathe easy, but still feel like I was putting in a decent amount of effort.

Now that I’ve gotten back into my running groove, I decided to start pushing myself and testing my limits.  I want to see what I’m really capable of.  So last week I started running my first mile at 10:00/mile as a warm up, and then consistently picking up the pace from there.

My short runs last week were: 4 miles @ 9:45/mile, 4 miles @ 9:45/mile, and 4 miles @ 9:42/mile.

When I got to my longer (but still fairly short) run on the weekend, I knew I was comfortable with 9:40s, so I picked it up again, and ran 6 miles at a 9:26/mile pace.  It was awesome!  I still felt comfortable, but was pushing myself significantly more than I used to.

For my run tonight, I upped it again.  I skipped the warmup mile at 10:00/mile and did 4 miles at 9:14/mile.  hooray!

I’m really proud of myself for going outside of my comfort zone and pushing myself.  It’s so easy to get stuck at some pace because you’re afraid of being uncomfortable.  But there’s a certain kind of satisfaction that you get by pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could do.

I’m looking forward to my runs this week and seeing what I can do – particularly for my 8 miler this weekend.  My 6 miler felt great at 9:26/mile, so I’m hoping for more improvement.

Next week I’ll start lifting again.  That should increase my speed as well.