In my post about the 2017 Ealing Half marathon, I explained a little about the challenges of running. Even though I had the physical side covered, the mental side got to me.
Whenever I have struggles, be it running, cycling or BMF (especially BMF) I think of the phrase –
“It doesn’t get easier, you just get faster”
The guy who was leading the Ealing Half (heading in the opposite direction) who started 30 seconds before me but finished 35 minutes ahead (he was at mile 9, and I was at mile 6) looked like he was finding it challenging. If we flip places when I was at mile 9, the runners going the other way looked to be having their own battles, but also lots of fun.
Running can be humbling. You have to have some humility to do it. Someday it’s going to bite you in the ass, and it’s going to make you reconsider a few things. You can think you’ve got all the answers and you really have this running malarkey sorted! But guess what. You don’t.
For all the wittering about my last race. It was not an unmitigated disaster, I was about a minute off my PB, it was a beautiful day for a run and I went in healthy and uninjured and I’m still healthy and uninjured.
A review of any event (sporting or not) is always good to do. What went well, what went not so well? Take some of the lessons, implement them and come back stronger.
You are not as good as your last run
Just because you have a few good runs and everything is flowing, it doesn’t mean you’re going to smash your race. Also, if you have put the time and training in, a couple of ropey runs don’t mean disaster. I think this is going to be my last half marathon for a while. Yes, I recently got a PB, but I’m not sure the base is there, which is why I’m fading in the latter miles.
Preparation (my favorite word!)
I try to not take running too seriously, but I seem to end up going the other way. I go about my day as normal, as if there’s no race tomorrow. The race is actually quite important to me, but unless it’s maybe a marathon, I’m not going to sit around with my feet up being brought drinks all day. I went DIY shopping (hours on my feet) and then to a dinner party. Had a couple of small beers and didn’t get home too late. I think there is a balance to keeping your day normal but not forgetting what you have to do the next day, but maybe I err towards normal day too much.
We don’t need to go into this again. We all know what we should be doing.
As I’ve focused more on my running, BMF has been pushed to the side. But all the planks, burpees and squats that work on core and leg strength have also been lost. I hit BMF again this week and I was good to be back. 10 bastardos and I struggled to peel myself off the ground. It’s quiet incredible how strong it makes you if you go regularly. Hills in training and races are pretty much unavoidable, but we do our best to avoid them at all costs. It’s good to focus on your weaknesses and the only way to get stronger is to hit the hills and make them a specific part of your training.
Running is a fairly solitary affair. Stepping out the front door and going for a run on your own, you can sometimes get the view that your training and pace is spot on and you’re really making progress. There’s nothing to compare it to. That is until you run with others and a little bit of reality hits. I’m not as strong as I think. Hmmm, my pace is not where I thought it was. I posted about the benefits of running clubs here. Let’s get down to the track!
Come back stronger
It’s easy to berate yourself for a disappointing performance against the goal you set. This can send you into a bit of a downward spiral. You take a week’s rest. One week becomes two and before you know it, it’s Christmas. You probably have a pretty good idea what it was you did or didn’t do. Don’t over analyse it. Figure it out and puts some plans in place to get it sorted next time and come back stronger.
This coming weekend I have the Adidas City Runs 10km in Shoreditch. It will probably be my last race of the year. Maybe I’ll do a couple of smaller local ones, but I’m kind of raced out. I need to get my base fitness sorted. A possible Spring marathon still looms large in my mind and its London Marathon ballot results this week. Here’s hoping! Best of luck to everyone looking to get a place.