“Funner is Faster”

This is the title of the cover story in this week’s Runner’s World magazine, about Keira D’Amato, who recently broke the American record in the marathon. She had a disappointing level of success in her early career as a pro and also ended up injured. So she stepped away from the sport for a few years and had two children, was enjoying life, and treating running as a recreational activity. But she found she was still fast. So she got back into serious racing, but now prioritizes family and enjoyment over results. But the results have turned out to be better than ever.

I tried this attitude out on a recent ride. In a recent post, I talked about a cruising time trial that I did in about two hours. On that ride, I carefully monitored my heart rate and tried to keep it at around 120, my personal target for my maximum aerobic pace. That wasn’t totally relaxing because I was concentrating so much on the heart rate. For me, when riding solo, it is the most fun when I go at a brisk but relaxing pace, which can lead to a feeling of “effortless power”. So that’s how I tried to do this time out. It felt great, and I was more than 6 minutes faster than the last time! I’m wondering if this is a touch of what it feels like when athletes are “in the zone”. In any case, the second ride was definitely a lot more enjoyable than the first, so I’ll keep trying to cultivate this feeling.

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