If you follow my blog, you’ll probably have picked up that in running, as in the rest of my life, I battle with burnout often. Slow and steady is an alien concept for me (especially when you know someone else’s slow and steady is waaay faster than yours).
Instinctively, I’m a bull at a gate, quick fix, if-it-doesn’t-work-bash-it-with-a-hammer sort of a person. I like to give everything my everything, all the time. This can cause problems…
I haven’t been able to train properly for seven months, after developing an overuse injury in my knee that, at its worst, left me sometimes unable even to walk normally. I’ve had good advice, physio, and after about four months of sporadic attempts at running with lots of frustration and pain, I grudgingly accepted that I simply had to stop for a while.
Coming back from that has been almost scarier than the initial injury. A decade ago I started exercising because I wanted to be fit and strong – but lately fitness had started to look like ibuprofen, KT, ice packs and anxiety. So after three months of cold turkey since Christmas (boom boom), how do I go back to something I love with a fierce passion, but have lately struggled to hold in a healthy balance?
I’m thinking I need some architecture – elegant structures designed to bear weight and endure. So I’m putting some in place for my process back into regular running:
- Pace Setting a super gentle pace, and making myself keep to it
- Frequency Limiting my runs to twice a week for now
- Support Turning ‘shoulds’ into ‘musts’ – physio exercises, core strength work, proper stretching after a run
- Atmosphere Looking out for opportunities to run with friends – when you’re chatting, stopping for someone else to tie their shoelace, and knowing they’re deliberately matching your pace, you just can’t get that precious about how the run goes
- Enjoying the ride Focusing on the feel of the run, rather than the technicalities, and abandoning goal distances or speeds for a while
I’m hopeful that these structures should help me enter a new season of running, which doesn’t fixate on training, continual improvement or external goals. So far, I’m on track: Saturday morning’s run was glorious. Slow, steady, wonderful.
The Beijing Stadium picture courtesy of the Canadian Olympic Committee site