My friends have noticed lately that my running has gone up a notch. A few of us had been training for a 10k which we ran last month: it was really good fun; good weather (if a little warm!) and we all enjoyed going together, regardless of PRs, pace or perfection.
Since then it’s got hotter and hotter, and now the school holidays are nearly upon us, when all bets are off and the kids are around, so for most of us running has taken up less of the available time / thought space. But for me, that 10k was a practice run for a half marathon later this year. I wanted to know I could cope with the mental and emotional pressure of a race, and as soon as I was done with that, I began a training plan for October. I’m underway, and currently racking up about 20 miles a week.
I’m enjoying the structure and the challenge of steadily increasing mileage and building a good pace. I love knowing I have allotted time for some really decent running every week. And I’m excited about the challenge. This evening I read NYC Running Mama’s latest encouraging blog post about chasing goals which are a little intimidating, in which she quotes the seemingly fearless and high achieving Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – famously exhorting young graduates with the guarantee: “if your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough”.
But I also know that burnout is a possibility. Slogging it out according to a program can feel mechanical, dry and a bit soulless. Inevitably there are “why am I doing this?” moments. And as in many things, simply letting my body (and my mind) follow a routine without igniting my spirit won’t achieve my ultimate goal.
I don’t want to become a RoboRunner
Some friends – runners and non-runners – have occasionally jokingly termed me ‘a machine’, because very, very little deflects me from lacing up, heading out and getting the run done. But the thing is: most of the time I come back elated, feeling better, stronger and more focused. Even if ten minutes beforehand I was flaked out on the sofa, thinking I probably couldn’t even make it upstairs to bed – when I’m running, somehow I shake it off, and when I’m back in the door again, I’m energised and sharp.
So although I’m following my program, I’m keeping my heart in the game, as well as my head. I remember why I love it. If some days ditching the allotted pace or preferred route feels like a good option, then let’s ditch away. Just do some running.
Thanks to Kaptain Kobold for the very cute mini figure RoboRunner photo