I’ve had a little bit of a love/hate relationship with running over the last few months. I loved getting my 50th parkrun milestone done at last, but I hated how painful some of the runs felt on the way. I have been bored running around where I live, I’ve lacked the motivation to get faster, but at the same time, I’ve missed running faster. There’s no pleasing me sometimes.
I think a large part of it has come from the fact that I was focussing much more on covering distance, rather than covering shorter distances quickly. And the longer the distance you have to cover, the more likely it is that those evil demons come to sit on your shoulder going “ner ner, what are you doing? You can’t do this!” Even with four marathons to my name, they STILL come out to play at anything further than 10 miles. And because of the distances I’ve been trying to work up to do, I have been working on a walk/run technique. There is nothing wrong with this at all, in fact, had it not been for my sudden dislike of food and a sore hip, I’m pretty confident that my chosen technique of running for 10 minutes and walking for 2 minutes would have got me through the Fowlmead 50. But it does mean now that when I line up for a 5k run, I’ve got walk/run ingrained in my head and the idea of running hard for a bit suddenly seems alien. What do you mean, I don’t get a walk break?!
I was looking through some old Runkeeper workouts out yesterday and felt a bit sad when I looked back at 2011, when I was running 5ks in 27 minutes comfortably. That sounds impossible right now. But then I considered that things are different now and actually, it proved that I could do it.
I’ve also spent time trying to enjoy my runs and accept that I can’t have huge distances AND speed. It’s one or the other. Once I realised it’s speed OR distance, there was no need to feel down on myself anymore. I’ve chosen distance.
Another way I’ve learned to love running again is to pay attention to my surroundings. Just because I’ve run the route before, doesn’t mean that there is nothing to see. Maybe the sky is particularly pretty. Look out for the details. I’m currently at Bluestone in Wales and took myself out for a run on the trails yesterday and was delighted to see a rabbit!
I also realise that I’m lucky to be able to run. To stretch my legs and run outdoors is something we take for granted. Running is freedom from the daily grind. Don’t think about the pain, think about how good it is to move.
So yes, I may be “slow” at the moment, but speed is relative. I’m out, I’m moving, I’m enjoying myself and THAT is what really matters. Forget the times. I’ve learned to enjoy it again and now the love is back.