Going Long

I have three marathons coming up in the next seven months and I’m a little scared. I have no one to blame for this but myself (apart from the internet maybe, for giving me ideas and making booking everything so easy and fast –  damn you!) so I’m not really entitled to moan about it, but I’m going to.

johnlparker

I love running and spend an inordinate amount of time doing it, preparing for it, thinking and reading about it etc. I also have a compulsion to get better, which means I should spend even more time on it (perhaps actually running instead of sitting on the sofa watching it on telly…). Running is fairly fair, in that the more time you spend doing it the better you will get. Not everyone starts at the same place and some people are just better at running than others, but in general the more you run (and train in other relevant ‘area’ [I can be technical when I need to be]) the better you will be. You can over train and injure yourself so you have to be careful, but on the whole the longer you spend running the better you will get.

But that isn’t always straight forward. I like running, but I also like watching telly with Claire, drinking beer and sitting round in my pants playing with the vroom-vrooms on my Playstation. (Oh and they make me go to work 5 days out of 7, apparently the note I have from Father Christmas can’t get me out of it…). So I have to compromise a bit and I don’t run as much as I want, or should, to get better. That’s fine though, everyone has to make these choices. Some weeks are better than others but in general I still do a fair amount of running without having to miss out on time with loved ones, sleep and TV box sets.

But this marathon lark is a bit different – I’ve run one before and my training was pretty good (I think). But I need to ensure I have plenty of long runs in my legs to be ready and hopefully not have the imageproblems I had towards the end of last time, where Mr Crampy came and said hello and I thought my legs were going to snap off. Hydrating better and taking on electrolytes will help (yep I was a moron) but I also need the miles, and the only way to get those properly is more runs and longer ‘long runs’ ((Trumpet noises – and possibly an oboe)).

I remember when my long run was the odd 10k every few weeks, and I was very proud of that distance. I still get a glow when I run that far now, but as I’ve got more into running so I’ve found the need to put in more to get better. Now my long run is over 30-odd kilometres and I feel even prouder when I pour myself through the front door after, but at my modest pace that means around three hours out on the streets and trails of Medway. That’s three hours I could spend wrapped up in bed with a book, walking round a boot fair with a bacon roll or sitting on the sofa seeing what hijinks Michael Scott will get into.

I feel guilty sometimes when I leave for a long run and disappear for three hours on my own, and then spend the next few hours lulling about, eating lots of cake and staring at Strava. But I also feel guilty if I don’t do the mileage I’ve set in my head for the week or hit the right amount of miles for my long run. This can be confusing, especially with my limited intelligence. It’s even more so whilst trying to make decisions at silly o’clock on a Sunday morning with rain hitting the windows in deep mid-winter.

Apart from the odd occasion I manage to force myself out of bed and once I’m out the door I’m fine and enjoy it. The thought of fitting in all these long runs and extra mileage over the next few months is a little daunting though. It’s a bit intimidating trying to get better consistently and hit the times I want. Which is a bit dim, as the pressure is from me, no-one else is bothered! I need to get both sides of my head to talk to each other and sort it out maybe. Or unplug my brain and let my feet do the thinking (recent tests confirm they contain as many brain cells as my head).

So the new plan is to train as hard as I can without worrying too much, remembering that I run because I enjoy it rather than anything important being at stake. Partly I run for the challenge, but also I run for enjoyment of the run itself from a 2 mile recovery jog to a marathon race. So I’m looking at one run at a time now and not letting myself think too hard or far ahead. I need to remember this is a hobby, not life or death (I have these grandiose ideas you see; I blame TV). It’s hard to change my mind set, but I’m working at it. My brain appears to be thanking me and my feet seem ok too, so I might be on to something we shall see.

Thanks for listening! Cheers

PS. On a completely different note I had my work Away Day this week; I got to see some otters, both real and made of Lego. It was a good day 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Going Long

  1. Sounds like you have really good perspective on this training season! I’m about to start training for an April marathon (my first!) and I’m weirdly REALLY excited about training. I don’t know how long this will last! However it’s just begun to really hit me how much I’m gonna have to either sacrifice in terms of seeing the people in my life, or how hard I;m gonna have to work to keep things even a little bit balanced! I’m lucky that I’m self-employed so have a larger degree of flexibility, but I need to be careful training doesn’t become overwhelming!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck with the training Pippa – keep that enthusiasm alive, it will definitely help! I think I was finding it all a bit stressful because of the pressure I was creating, until I remembered it was all supposed to be for fun… Being flexible and then having a few different goals helps, so that you have a few targets to aim for and don’t get obsessed with hitting one (probably difficult) figure so you can keep a balance. All the best with it, and keep enjoying 🙂

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