When I started to run I didn’t really worry about times that much. I mean I tracked it in an app, but that was more for the calories burned and as a point of reference for progress down the track too. Which was really quite smart, because now I can look back on it and say wow. The first time I ran 15 kilometres it took me two and a half hours. Now it takes me less than one and a half. And if you are doing the math you’ve just worked out that I was running slower than some people walk.

I always assumed that if I put in the kilometres that my pace would naturally improve as my fitness did. And to a certain extent that was true. I did improve. But I noticed that I didn’t improve as much as other people who started at the same time as me. Occasionally I wondered at how some people were just naturally faster than me. But then, it only looked natural to me. I had no real idea about their training.

It actually wasn’t until the end of last year that I developed anything resembling a training plan. I mean I had a training plan for my half marathon efforts but that was mostly about building up my long distances, there was no real structured interval, speed or hill sessions. So around December¬†I actually sat down and figured out a 12 week training plan for improving my speed, particularly over 5-10k distances. To be honest, I didn’t think it would be overly effective. I was just naturally slow, right?! Not built for speed.

Well I was wrong.





What is that cheesy saying? Don’t be disappointed with the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do. Well it’s true. I could have sat around wondering why I was so much slower, or I could put in the work to get myself from point A to point B.

Really, I have little interest in speed for speeds sake. I have an interest in long distance. But for me to run the furthest I could go, I have to run faster. Running faster is going to make those really long distances achievable.

It does require a little bit of faith though. You have to commit to your training. You have to invest in it. You have to show up when you don’t want to. And you have to believe in it, even when your progress is minimal to non-existent. And if you do all of that, who knows where you might end up? You might end up somewhere that you’d like to be.


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Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. I think this is what I need to do. You were training HARD and often. I need to do this. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. It has been an absolute privilege to watch your running journey. I don't know anyone who works as hard at it as you and you deserve all these amazing results. I'm so inspired x

  3. I know that head space well! Got to the point where I felt like the work wasn't paying off in the time zone. BUT stronger and fitter. Nice to know I wasn't the only one who was thinking that way. I start heart rate training soon and am really looking forward to improving with a real, scientific approach! You rock x

  4. Second that. It's inspirational. I loved my outdoor beginning runners group today, with a trainer I met ocean swimming. We did warm ups, 7 x 2 mins with one min in between each job, lots of stretches, and core work. An hour of pleasure int he sunshine, and the slow runs were fab. Got to start (slowly) somewhere!

  5. Thanks for the motivation. I'm a slow coach, perhaps I won't always be! Ha.