Last month I took the day off work to run 30 miles for my 30th birthday. One of the outcomes of this run was that a colleague and friend of mine ran of part of it with me. He ran about 6km, this was the furthest he had run since being a kid, and has since decided to enter and train for a local 10km.
When explaining to people what I had done to celebrate entering my 4th decade they would ask one of two questions.
Or, how fast did you run it in?
The second question became pretty irritating, why did my speed matter? I ran 30 miles on my birthday for goodness sake?! Plus I got a couple of friends out running with me too who would not have otherwise. I try not to run for times (other than cut-offs), I just like to run and run to how I feel. I do run with a GPS watch, but it is because I like looking at my Strava log and getting confidence from seeing my training as I go into a race. I like the miles, not the miles per min.
I have also found that it is speed, or a perceived lack of, that prevents some people from starting running. One colleague wants to attend her first park run, but was unsure of going alone. I said I would go with her, but she said I would be too fast for her. I explained I can always run slower!
Why is slow running so feared, especially amongst the non- runners who want to start? It should not be about race times, but race finishes. Running is what ever you want from it. For some it is winning and PB’s, for others, it about starting and not stopping.