I decided that trying to run out with others just was doing nothing for either my training or my confidence, so nothing for it but to be self sufficient.
I worked out that if I planned a run/walk strategy and practiced it well, it would come as second nature and I'd be on the way to dealing with the longer distances while still not being fully fit.
I have a Garmin 305 I ask to beep at me nicely every 2 minutes, every mile and when I drop below a certain pace. Armed with this my training runs have been fairly successful as I know when my next planned break is so can push myself until then.
Then disaster......... well actually no, success (see I am getting this positive vibe going eh?) I headed out for a planned 11k ish run, knowing it would be nice to be back by 10.30 (having set off at 9am) an achievable goal I thought. Until I got to the start of my run and found I had left my trusty Garmin at home. What to do?
Well, I thought.....let's just see how good my internal pacing clock is. So setting off on the planned course, I knew the pace I could comfortably travel at and I knew the time I wanted to be back by. Time to put this internal clock into practice.
Almost half way round I realised that I felt I was slower than I should be, so mentally revised my finish time to give me a range of 10 minutes rather than a set time. Look....I know I should have picked up my pace instead but that is another training plan entirely, I am still on the get me round principle.
So taking my walk breaks only when I really felt I needed them and goading myself into continuing on the running path otherwise, I started to settle into the run. I am certain I could have gone further, but will save that for another day. I arrived back around 7 minutes after my initial expected time to complete the run in 1hr 35. I felt good, I hadn't missed my watch and I had achieved my goal (sort of - but modified by the way i felt I was running not by looking at the watch to see)
The moral of the tale - ditch the watch every so often, go on a planned route and set yourself a time to be back. See how close you can get to that time and start to recognise your own feel for pacing. It gives you a different challenge for a run rather than always focussing on time or pace and does really make a difference to the way you feel.