June 20, 2013 8:48 pm

Slothlike

I understand that listening to other people talk about their workouts is possibly the most boring thing ever, but I can’t help myself.

Saturday, I went for a run at my parents’ house. I’m still doing C25K, and have been repeating days from weeks 6, 7, and 8 for the last few weeks. I can run 25 minutes at a time pretty well (used to be my former personal best!), and have run for 28 minutes a couple of times now. Saturday’s run was for 28 minutes, and I felt FANTASTIC at the end. I felt like I could have run for longer!

Running at my parents' house is way prettier than where I usually run.

Monday, I read this article on Medium, in which the author decides to take up running. Here is an excerpt:

My first run was just two miles at 12 minutes per mile. That’s pretty slow. However, for a non-athlete I felt fairly good about it.

I read that.

I stopped.

I went back and read it again.

My Saturday run? The one in which I felt amazing? My Nike+ app said I ran 2.32 miles, and that I averaged 16:43 per mile. This is after running three times a week for nearly SIX MONTHS.

I know all people are different, but it is still immensely frustrating to read something like that, where somebody blithely picks up a hobby you’ve toiled at for weeks and blows right by you while chattering about how badly they suck at what they’re doing.

I ran my first 5k on Halloween, nearly five months after I had taken up running as a hobby. […] I finished in 28 minutes and was super happy.

Oh hai! I finished my first 5K in FORTY-NINE MINUTES.

I then sunk deeper into despair and self-pity and googled “16 minute mile.” Lo, a wild mistake appears! I couldn’t tell if I should laugh or cry at some of the answers on this Yahoo Answers post:

“A 17 minute mile is dreadfully slow, that is like a slow walking pace. Either you are quite out of shape (and you should know when you are) or the tredmil is off (probably not) My slowest mile was 13 minutes when I was a fat 6th grader, but now I run a 8 minute average mile. Down to 6 hopefully soon. Good luck.”

DREADFULLY SLOW. 13 MINUTE MILE AS A FAT SIXTH-GRADER.

“I know this might sound cruel but my team and I had this bet that at the end of the season we would try to run a 17min. mile. Over half of us said it couldn’t be done, you just proved us wrong!!!”

THIS MIGHT SOUND CRUEL. A 17-MIN MILE COULDN’T BE DONE.

“I am almost positive that treadmill is broken
17 minute mile is like walking
or if the treadmill isn’t broken, then you are a bit out of shape”

ALMOST POSITIVE THE TREADMILL IS BROKEN.

Could they shame this poor question-asker any more? Seriously. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. There was ONE supportive commenter who encouraged the person to keep it up and possibly take up C25K as a training method, but nearly every other comment was super incredulous and/or outright shaming of the question-asker.

A while ago, I tweeted this:

…and got several responses that said I should go for it.

That’s how to support someone who is a slow runner!

——

I have my second 5K coming up on Saturday. I know I won’t finish in 28 minutes like our post author above, but that’s okay. I’m only concerned with my goal, which is to run for a bit longer than halfway, and/or improve my time a bit.

Not everybody can run eight, six, or five minute miles. Some of us take two or three times that, but least we’re still out there running.

I’m a slow runner, and that’s okay.

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10 Comments

  • Melissa says:

    Oooomg. I can’t believe the “13min as a fat 6th grader” thing because that’s just 3 minutes shy of the 10min MAXIMUM time required for a SOLDIER (female) in the UNITED STATES MILITARY to pass their physical training test!!! In order to pass your PT you have to run 2mi in 20min. And everyone struggles with it. (I know this from growing up with all military people AND trying out ROTC twice in college). SO EFF ALL THOSE PEOPLE, SERIOUSLY.

    Every single one of the super nice & positive instructors that I’ve met in my Bikram yoga classes (new obsession) always say that you should only ever do what your body allows – plus a little bit more every time for a challenge. They also say that even if you can only do the first part of the posture (or the first level of effort in your workout) you’re still receiving 100% of the benefit to your body. You don’t have to go “full expression”, as they say, to get good things in return.

    So I think your time is EXCELLENT and WHO CARES what other people say. If you feel great and you’re happy with your workouts then that is what counts!!! :D Have a blast at your 5k!!! :D

  • Melissa says:

    Don’t compare yourself to anybody but yourself. Set goals for you because that’s all that matters! I definitely envy you in the running department! I wish I could run, but it’s just too hot to do so so I never get practice. After all my biking and working out and whatnot, I tried running around my neighborhood with the kids in the stroller thinking it’d be a breeze and I could barely make it around my block without getting winded! I’d love to be able to run, but I don’t think that’ll be happening until the temps drop at least 50 degrees!

    Good luck on the upcoming 5K! I think even finishing, however you do so, is an accomplishment!

    • Meggan says:

      Oh man, I haven’t even tried running with a stroller. Both of ours would be horrible for different reasons – I don’t have a jogging stroller.

      Now that it’s warming up, I keep having to run at later and later times so it’s not too hot. And it’s only in the 70s! I am just really heat-sensitive. Wouldn’t last a minute in the South, haha.

  • Amanda says:

    I think you’re doing excellent, and that those unsupportive people are just being arrogant. Who cares what the actual time is, at least you’re out there doing something. I have no idea how fast/slow my mile would be because I can’t “run” for more than 2-3 minutes at a time without feeling like dying. I tried c25k and couldn’t make it past day 1. So as someone who’s clearly not a runner, I admire your ability to run for any time of mile.

  • B. says:

    Maybe you’re a distance runner? ;) If you want to get stronger run fast, if you want to lose weight run slow. Simple as that.
    Besides, correct me if I’m wrong, but you only start burning fat after 40mins of workout.

    • Audrey says:

      That number is a very vague guess at best. Your body can run on your fat reserves all the time if you are following a ketogenic diet and in ketosis. Your body first uses carbohydrates in your bloodstream (eaten recently) for energy and then uses stored energy sources. This could be glycogen in your liver (stored carbs) or fat from your stored fat. Here’s a brief overview on keto: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aiHSPoto_YqsNTDvL-g60nytMnyH-CJcCbiAx1IEUYM/edit

      The 40 minutes guess is not valid for even a majority of people because it varies by what and when you last ate. It also would vary based on how many calories you’re burning, because that is how energy is used. I could go on and on.

  • Audrey says:

    YOU ROCK!

    I’ve done C25K and I know it is tough. The only difference between running and walking is the way you step. Speed it not a defining characteristic of running; anyone that disagrees with that is pompous and wrong. Running and jogging are the same; anyone that disagrees with that is also wrong.

    A 17 minute mile is faster than someone sitting on the couch watching another Netflix episode! Great job, and keep going. (:

    • Rose says:

      A 17 minute mile is faster than someone sitting on the couch watching another Netflix episode

      haha, TOTALLY. I always tell myself this whenever I feel bad about doing a lazy workout or a half-assed run.