Stafford Runner Store Manager, Tracey Spivey offers some insight into her journey from an initial 5km to the 'Race to the Stones' Virtual Ultra Marathon.
I’ve been running now for around 5 years and up until 12 months ago I was running a couple of times a week averaging 12 miles in total, arriving home looking like a beetroot and completely exhausted. This was huge for me and was very proud of myself as I didn’t find it easy.
In June 2020 I decided to challenge myself and signed up for Race to the Stones Virtual Ultra Marathon in which I had 7 days to run 100km. With the support of a couple of great running buddies and slowing down my running pace I actually completed the challenge in 4 days.
After this I researched the benefits to running slower, keeping the heart rate lower and being able to run for longer and decided I’d give it go and see if it makes a difference.
The first few weeks were really tough and I have to admit I really did not enjoy it, I felt like I was going nowhere fast and it was a lot harder running slower than I was used to (not that I was a particularly fast runner to start with).
I persevered and eventually found it easier, noticing that my heart rate was consistently lower and I didn’t feel like I was dying when I got home.
12 months on I’m now averaging 35-40 miles a week and feeling a lot stronger. I’ve knocked just over 2 minutes off my 5km PB and over 6 minutes off my 10km PB. This gave me the confidence to sign up to an official Ultra Marathon of 41 miles earlier this year, which I completed in 7hrs 5 minute. I stuck to a plan of running for 30 minutes and walking for 5 minutes the whole way round and it worked really well for me. The next day the legs felt good and was able to do a steady run.
I don’t fully understand the philosophy behind this method but it seems to be working well for me and has significantly improved my running.
As my running has progressed I’ve now set myself a new challenge of completing not 1 but 2 marathons which are 8 days apart in October. Crazy I know but what better way to celebrate turning 50 years old. I just started my training and in a couple of weeks I’ll check in and let you know how it’s going!
Here is an interesting article if you are thinking of trying to run slower to make you faster here.
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