Fitness Big Year: I’m fitter than ever. Why am I slower?

In 2016 I ran 1,700 kms in 10-kilometer sessions. I’m slow and my pace ranged between 6:10 and 6:40 minutes per kilometer. I got under 6:00 a handful of times.

2017? I’m still jogging 10 kilometers (also shorter distances) but all year I’ve struggled to get back to 2016’s speeds, slow as they were. My 10-km pace is now around 6:40. I can barely imagine 6:20 or faster!

I feel stronger, more robust, and “fitter.” Why not faster? I can think of physiological reasons. At my age, does a year older mean slower? Does cycling mean tired muscles? What role does diet play?

Maybe, maybe . . . but might it be the mind? I’ve always observed how much my thoughts affect my running, generally adversely. My brain forever invents reasons to not head out into the day. During runs, my mind chatters like a grumpy monkey. Adding in cycling over 2017 might constitute a factor, for riding a bike is nothing as invasive and painful as pounding the streets, and maybe my mind wants me to abandon running for riding. Perhaps my problem is mental not physical.

If it’s all in the mind, can I run faster in 2018? Dangerous territory . . .

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