I’ve been finding running a real struggle again recently. I had started to fall back in love with it, then I moved house. It was really chaotic and I wasn’t really running much. Then I did the North London Half Marathon and it really hurt and I felt awful afterward. I deserved to feel physically rough as I wasn’t in good shape for it, but I also felt mentally drained.
I had booked in to do a 50 mile ultra marathon on April 1st. I had a tactic in my head after the failed attempt from last year, but going into the North London Half, I knew deep down that I’d be calling the ultra off and that it would be ludicrous to even attempt it. I just didn’t want to accept it straight away. But after crossing the finishing line in Wembley, I knew what I had to do. Yes, from instagram, you may have thought that I was happy in my running, but social media doesn’t always tell the whole story.
So many people look at running almost as a punishment. They think they have to run however far it is, to burn off a slice of cake. They think they’re being “good” by going for a run. Running isn’t supposed to feel like a punishment or a chore. It’s supposed to be enjoyable. Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle and we should enjoy moving around and getting stronger. It’s part of taking care of ourselves. It’s supposed to make us feel good. For me, running has recently felt a bit like a chore. It’s felt hard. I’ve not wanted to go out because I know it’s going to feel hard, then I’ve felt bad about myself.
Then the head games start. I’ve talked before about falling in love with running again, and I had. But the love affair was short and now I need to find that love again. I’m my own worst enemy and despite knowing that I am not really running fit at the moment, I still compare myself to the Helen of 6 years ago, who was 6 years younger and a stone lighter and who had a load more sleep.
I still believe I can get back there, but I need to quit making excuses for myself. Every now and then, I come and blog about it, my good intentions, blah blah blah, but then nothing actually happens.
Recently, I’ve been enjoying yoga and that’s something I thought I’d never say. I’ve stepped back from battering myself running over long distances where I’ve paced myself badly at the start. I’m trying to take better care of myself. I’ve started using my kettlebells for exercise, instead of as a doorstop. Whilst I can’t see any physical changes to my body yet, changes are happening. I’ve never been able to touch my toes before. Ever. Last week after yoga, I managed to get my palms down on the floor.
In terms of running, I’ve stepped right back and gone to the beginning. I’m doing really short runs of a mile or so, to get comfortable with doing those at the pace I want to be back at. I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy, but I’m hoping long term that it’ll be beneficial to me. Once I’m comfortable doing these short runs at the pace I want, I will gradually increase the length, and then add in intervals.
So once again, it’s out there. I’m feeling a bit rubbish about my running, I’m not running well, and social feeds don’t tell the whole story. But it’s okay to feel a bit rubbish. It will pass.