By trying to constantly improve my running performance, I realised I have been so focused on my running, my splits, my pace, my PBs, I’ve totally forgotten to enjoy it! In the last couple of months, the joy has vanished. I just can’t get motivated (and that’s not like me, I’m usually excited at every single run!).
My pace since the London marathon has been poor and I am struggling to match the speed I had a couple months back. First, let me get my excuses out of the way: micro tear in my calf, viral bug, post-marathon recovery, and huge and unusually excessive stress at work. But excuses is all they are. I now believe the key is for me to reconnect with running.
As per the advice of my brilliant coach Will, I ditched my watch this week. And I‘ve resisted the temptation to look at the stats and compare them to earlier runs. It’s hard, really hard for me….! Instead, I have tried to focus on the pure joy of running. The joy that motivates me to get out of bed early and run in the dark, the joy of the simplicity of the sport, and the freedom and escape it provides.
I am learning to enjoy running again, and it feels great!
In April I concentrated on road races in the lead up to London Marathon. I have now ditched the asphalt for trails, and it feels so pleasant to be soaking up nature again. Fortunate to have the New Forest National Park on my doorstep, I am back running on the trails in the middle of wild horses, cows, streams and mud.
In the last couple of months, I have learnt that no matter how bad you want something and how focused you can be, it’s also important not to take yourself too seriously. On this journey, I keep underestimating the time it takes my body to recover after a tough training block and a hard race. And even more so, I have underestimated the time my mind needs to recover too (something I hadn’t even thought about previously).
So now, time to have fun. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
Next objective: Complete the Ultimate Trail mountain race in the Lake District: 55km with 1,750m of elevation gain and have fun.
I just want to, enjoy it, complete (rather than compete) and not worry about my time. I also need to learn how to run in the mountains. Not something I am familiar with living in a very flat part of the world. I have so much to learn. I’m hoping this will be valuable preparation for the Echappee Belle race in the French Alps in August.