A mistake learned: run your own pace


Susan Stetson


Another lesson learned. Don’t tell me you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I know better. I’m not exactly your spring chicken (but I’m not older than dirt, either), and I find I’m learning something new every time I go running out on that trail. Don’t run anyone else’s pace, run your own.

Have you ever been running at a good pace, breathing hard, and the person next to you is just talking like they were sitting by the pool relaxing and taking in the rays? Doesn’t that just get you? It sure gets to me. How on earth can this person talk when I’m so out of breath? Well, it’s their pace. And what about the person who runs that steady, shuffling pace (the one that reminds me of that bunny that keeps on going) and you have to stop to walk for a while? Well, it’s their pace. What you have to do is find your own pace and stick with it no matter what other people are doing around you.

I learned that lesson the hard way. I tried to run my daughter’s pace and ended up with shin splints. I can’t run her pace. As it turns out, that is about the same pace my husband likes to run. I learned very quickly when I felt those shins tightening up again. I knew I had to run my own pace, and as soon as I did the shins felt better. Right now, my pace happens to be run for a while, walk for a while, run for a while, walk for a while. I am getting faster each time I run the trail and it takes less time for the burning to go away in my lungs. Those first few steps are getting easier every time I go out there, too.

And, now I am finding that there is more I have to learn about running as a sport. The muscles are there from tennis, biking, swimming and racquetball, but I have to learn to use them in a different way for this new sport. I guess “learning” to run is like learning to walk when we’re toddlers. We take it one step at a time and learn as we go.