Some people are naturally gifted at being fast runners. I am not one of those people.
When I started running about 8 years I ago I ran a consistent 9:30 minute mile. Over the years, and with a lot of effort and hard work I have taken about 90 seconds off of my average mile time.
With that being said, there are days where I average 7:30 minute miles all the way up to 8:45 minute miles. Why such a variation? I tend to slow down during the winter months. Running outside in sub-freezing weather, and dodging ice and snow definitely slows me down. I tend to speed up with it becomes warmer outside. Warmer weather makes me happy, and being happy makes me fast (at least I think).
Today I ran a 3.1 mile route. I am running a 5k next month with my family and I wanted to get an idea of where I am at speed wise. I ran a hilly route and into the wind (that was on accident). I chose to run hills not because they are fun, but because they help build endurance. My goal for the 5k next month is to be around 22-23 minutes.
Your running pace will also be determined by your training. If you run the same route on a daily basis and do not incorporate other forms of exercise or running into your training, your body eventually adapts to your exercise.
Add some speed work and hill work to your training and you will see improvements in speed and endurance.
I also run faster when I am running a race (which I think is quite common). A combination of the atmosphere and wanting to PR greatly affect my speed.
With all of that being said, you must also have patience and persistence. I did not get fast overnight. I had to work at it, and it took time. I am not a very patient person, so this part was hard. However, I do have persistence. According to Merriam-Webster, persistence is “the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.” It is not easy getting up early every day, or running when I want to be lazy. However, persistence is paying off.
Lastly, do not compare yourself to other runners. I say this like it is easy! I am constantly comparing myself to other runners and their time. It does nothing but get me down. You are the only one who can make you faster- not others.
So what if you are the last one to cross the finish line, at least you did. I’ll leave you with this quote, because it is so true.