Run Every Day
Since December 30th 2016 I’ve been for a run every day. On average, I’ve run about 5k each time, and never less than 2 miles (except when I fell over so badly in March during a fast run that I couldn’t actually get up again at all for a bit! Just 1.32 miles on that day—the 1.32 mile marker being that bit of the pavement I tripped on).
Daily running has been a breath of fresh air in every sense: no more time wasted fussing about whether it’s convenient, or should I have a rest day, or do I have time to run… I’ve run on deadline days, tired days, Red Letter days, busy days, dull days, sad days, holidays, hot days, wet days and cold days. Because I absolutely love it.
In fact, the only downer is that I keep having to buy new shoes.
When I first started running, I signed up with massive enthusiasm for the Great Birmingham Run in September 2015. I’d been running for about a year and a half, and completed one 10k race, and loads of 10k runs of my own—but something about starting the training for the Half sent me a bit bonkers, and I wound up with an overuse injury in my right knee that got reasonably serious and put me on the couch for a few months. Since then, I’ve had this nemesis thing about half marathons which has been hard to shake.
It’s taken about another eighteen months since fully recovering from that injury for me to stare down the half marathon fear. Running daily has helped me build confidence in my ability to sustain mileage without fear of damage, and so this August, I finally screwed my courage to the sticking place, and entered the Shakespeare Autumn Half.*
Training (which began at the start of September) is going well—even though I was running a lot before, I’m surprised at the increase to my weekly mileage, due to the fact that most training plans factor in several rest days, and I’m still doing a couple of slow miles on those days. And speaking of slow, I am rubbish at maintaining an easy pace. So there’s still a lot to learn for me. I know I could run a half marathon in terms of distance; I guess I want to actually enjoy getting the whole way around—but I may dial it down a little, having reviewed the first few weeks.
Well, I guess I have to see how I fare with training for the Half, but oh! I would love to run a full marathon some day. There are a few events next year I have my eye on, which could help me build my distance capacity, including the Big Bear Challenge in February (where you decide on the distance you can cover, and the course is open for six hours), and the Longest Day Challenge in June, where there’s the potential to run 30 miles.
Another awesome looking event is the Race to the Tower Ultra in the Cotswolds, where you can either do both legs of the route, or just one day, which is a marathon. It looks stunningly beautiful, and my theory is that as the single marathon is on the second day, there may be some super tired ultra runners around to keep me company!
Running With Friends
Another excellent and unexpected byproduct of daily running is that I’m less precious about it than I used to be. The head space and solitude I so relish when I run now abounds. I have time to listen to lengthy podcasts and radio plays on long runs, catch up with one or two Archers episodes on easy 4 milers, and have complete peace and quiet to think and pray on all of my ‘rest day’ slow 2-3 mile jogs.
This abundance of running time has coincided with my own internal growth and maturity—I have less to prove to myself any more, and the chorus of critics who used to assess my every moment (you know—the ones in your head who are imaginary, and therefore impossible to please) have faded out.
Consequently, I can enjoy running with friends much more. It genuinely doesn’t matter how fast or slow I go, whether we walk for a bit, whether we stop for a bit, or whether I have to beg them to pause because they’re like Mo Farah to my wobbly granny.
I’ve entered races this year simply to encourage friends to run more, and kept pace with them. I’ve pushed myself too, to enter things which feel fairly comprehensively outside of my expertise (like the Wolf Run in June, which used bits of my upper body I would have confidently assured you I didn’t actually possess, prior to discovering I needed them to get out of the mud). Times and pace have stopped being particularly important. Sharing the love of running has become even stronger.
*Macbeth pun intended. My bad.