The Art of Getting Dropped

I have written here before about how lucky I am to have such a great training group in Baltimore. Amidst the strip clubs, the panhandler children trying to clean your windshield and the murders, Baltimore City is a training ground for some of the fastest women in the region. It’s pretty neat.

But…it’s a double edged sword.

I’ll paint a picture for you: Sunday morning at the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. The tourists have just gotten down to the city and are walking around Rash Field, or getting in line at the Aquarium. All is fairly quiet. Suddenly from around the corner of the Baltimore World Trade Center building pops 3 girls, running very gracefully, albeit very quickly. Twenty-five seconds later, one more girl follows. She is about their age. She is focused intently on them. She appears to be part of their group, but is also looking much more labored and frantic than they were as they passed by. “Flailing” would be the word that comes to mind as she moves.

Is she their friend? Why are they running 50 meters ahead? How long has she been chasing them?

Ladies and gentleman, this is the picture of a situation called: I Got Dropped.

The best part of it all? I asked for it! I sent an e-mail to these girls asking them to run with me this past weekend, knowing full well that the average of their marathon PR’s is a 2:57. I knew full well that when the last 20 minutes of the run calls for “goal half marathon pace” that it meant 7’s for me, and 6:30’s for them. I KNEW I would be dropped. And I did it anyway.

Because it makes me faster.
Because it builds mental toughness.
Because it gives me something to blog about.

Whatever my motivation, I will continue to get dropped. In those 14 minutes after I let myself fall off their pace I had some time to think, and I came up with these….My top 5 suggestions for getting dropped:

1. Have a planned  route. If you know that going into a run it calls for a pace where you may not hold on, discuss with the others a route to run. This way when the tempo relaxes, they can back-track and will be able to easily find you.

2. Try to keep up for as long as you can, within reason. You don’t want to stretch your limits so far that you won’t finish the interval. But, there is nothing wrong with a challenge.

3. Make a signal. Carly and I have trained together for long enough, that when she looks back and I give a nod, she knows it means “I’m dying here and can’t keep up, I’ll be right behind, you go.” For others it could be a thumbs up. Or a cartwheel. (okay that’s not practical)

4. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to not want to be dropped on every single run. (And you NEED some relaxed easy days anyway.) Just be honest with yourself when you’re planning your runs and making plans with others. It is NOT okay to agree to run with someone and back out at the last moment because you don’t feel like it if they’re a little faster. Give them some more notice!

5. Drop someone. That sounds a little weird, but look around your training group. Is there someone else you can reach out to who keeps up “most” of the time, but maybe could be pushed a little more for some harder efforts? Share your run plans, and see if they’ll tag along. Teaching others that it’s not so bad will help everyone get faster!

Published by Alyssa Godesky

Alyssa is a professional triathlete who has logged over 8,000 miles in competition of swimming, biking and running across five continents. She came to triathlon from an ultrarunning background and over the last few years has found success back on the trails: in 2018 she set the female supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) on Vermont's 273 mile Long Trail in 5 days, 2 hours and 37 minutes. In 2020 she set the women's supported FKT for climbing the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks in 3 days, 16 hours and 16 minutes. She is a triathlon and running coach, and also enjoys spending time guiding hikers out on the trails. Alyssa is based in Charlottesville, VA with her dog Ramona.

0 comments on “The Art of Getting Dropped”

  1. Well done on the art. I need the same group mentality for swim training; I’m only as fast as the people who are around me. I need to be chasing somebody to push myself beyond my current limits. I can do it on the bike and run…just can’t do it swimming!

  2. I used to get dropped all the time by the roadie ‘men’ – I would just ask them to wait for me before they turn (so I would not get lost!) But you are right – two years later, I’m right there with them 🙂 You just have to get over that ‘fear’ and work at it – and you will get faster!

  3. I am with you on #4. I try to run and ride with people that are faster but I am also totally fine with saying no now. I was doing too many runs and rides where my self esteem was in the toilet b/c I could never keep up. Now I learned to have those rides/runs every once in awhile but not all the time. Sadly, this means I do a lot of my training solo…except in the pool where my friends ask me for advice =).

  4. This is every Sunday for me. The first 300 times I didn’t know the way home. I can now navigate every horse trail within 10 miles of cafe positano based entirely on homing instinct. It sort of dulls the fun once you run out of spaces to get lost in.

    Having a strip club bailout option definitely seems like it could be a distraction…

  5. In my opinion… getting dropped is the best way to get better… as long as you don’t give up and consider yourself a failure. 🙂 Great job out there!

  6. For a second I thought you were going to paint a picture of a Bmore murder scene… 3 girls running along, then a fourth get’s murdered… Or dropped, all the same. I hear you though, even when I don’t get dropped, I’m usually just “hanging-on”. Nice read.

  7. Well put on the importance of training with people faster than you and also returning that favor.

    Boom! I just noticed I made your list of “Blogs I Read.” We’re like cyber pen pals and I bet we’d train together if we lived in the same city. 🙂

    1. omg we would definitely train together! Until then we will have to continue being pen pals and living practically as far away as humanly possible while still in the United States…lol.

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