When your running has gone to shit

It’s probably last minute panic training coupled with the realisation that my running fitness has dropped right off a cliff in the past couple of months but I feel like some running motivation is returning …

Running isn’t wired into me. For some people it’s part of their daily routine. They have breakfast, they brush their teeth, they go to work, they run (not necessarily in that order). It’s just part of their day. I do breakfast and the brushing of teeth (you’ll be pleased to know) … i go to work .. i also pick up kids up from nursery/school much like every other parent who runs …. the list goes on.

Its not that I don’t think about running on an evening .. i just don’t often get out and do it when i have the chance. Unless i pre-arrange with Alex to run after work and we’ve got a plan between us to sort the kids, the best option for me is to run during my lunch hour which i can squeeze a 4 or 5 mile run in. Problem is, that’s also now my best time to do some writing for this blog.

I get a lot from running and much like everybody else – I never regret a run but I do find it hard to motivate myself to run at times. Even knowing I have races coming up in March I’ve plodded on with my running since November without putting any serious effort or dedicated training in to get the results i really do want.

Last summer was the one and only time I’ve ran consistently. I had a marathon plan and I followed it pretty much to the T from June to October. After a couple of weeks, it just became the norm. Each day I knew what I was running and we (my wife and I) shuffled our lives around it to fit the runs in i needed to do. I seen my running improve ten fold. I PB’d in everything – Parkrun, 5k race, 10k race, half marathon and the marathon I was training for.

I came to the love the structure. I had hoped that after the marathon I’d continue. Not the same weekly mileage but at least some regular consistent running but I knew I’d find it a struggle .. and i did. I have continued to run but in a much lower capacity than I’d have liked and consequently I have lost the bulk of the fitness and stamina that I built up for the marathon. It’s kind of depressing to think about to be honest.

So, what have I done this week …well, only 22 miles actually so nothing to write home about but easily more than double what I have been doing for most weeks in January ( 3, 33, 11, 0 – yep zero!, 26). For a man who was aiming to knock 7 seconds off his HM PB and get the sub 90 it’s way off the mark.

The club session on Tuesday night was 2k reps. Not the worst speed session but not my favourite. I prefer the shorter reps on a Tuesday, especially when we’re on the track. I decided that I’d get more benefit from doing a run myself so I skipped the session and did an 8.3 mile loop (8:17/mi average) from my house. No concerns about pace … just get the miles in so I took my earphones with me and listened to the latest Running Commentary podcast. I really enjoyed this run. It was great to just bimble along and listen to the podcast. I used to love listening to it during marathon training .. it’d help pass an hour or two on my steady Sunday long runs. That’s probably good motivation to get a long run in once a week i guess.

I couldn’t quite make the Thursday club session so I charged my headtorch, left Alex in charge of putting the kids to bed and I headed out for a run in the local woods – Flatts Lane (Incidentally, home of one of the top ten most difficult UK Parkruns, according to Trail Running magazine). I’d hazard a guess that it belongs in that top 10. There’s a fairly nasty hill to ascend twice. It only draws around 50 runners each week on average and i don’t think many return regularly! It could also claim to be one of the nicest to run too given the location and scenery but i may be bias as i only live a mile away 🙂

I stopped for a little selfie (won’t happen often) on my way up Flatts Lane (I needed a breather after chasing a Strava segment – almost killed me!) before I got into the woods.

It can be a drag to get out on an evening in the darkness for an off-road run but ‘by eck’, its bloody lovely when you’re out.

On Friday a post apppeared on Facebook for a club run along Redcar beach so i decided to join that. Parkruns are very popular for the club on Saturday mornings so no surprise that only 3 of us turned up for the beach run but what a glorious morning it was. Bright sunshine and a beach full of dog walkers all enjoying the surprisingly mild weather. I left my phone in the car which was a mistake so no photographs i’m afraid. Amateur i know…

We ran up to the South Gare and as we made our way back we ran into a late arrival who had missed us setting off.  She was running with her dogs –  Bobby, Boris and Hugo who are very well-behaved and absolutely gorgeous so we turned around and ran back to the Gare again before making our way back along the beach to the cars. We covered 8.5 miles all told and had a good natter about the upcoming National XC event and the Hardmoors 50 and my lack of training for…

Redcar beach is a ten minute drive from my house so we went back on Saturday afternoon to give the dogs a run around. They even managed to stay still for a few photo’s … i did warn you there’d be Labs 🙂


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