21st Feb 2016
I’m sat here at Johns’ house up in the lake district feeling sorry for myself as this is Day 14 since my last run, since the last time I was outside, since the last time I was wet, muddy and wind swept. I’m fed up!!
For those that don’t run you are probably thinking:
‘get a grip woman’
and I would probably tell myself the same thing but unfortunately I have this rather large other bit of my brain that is completely irrational, crazy and a maybe ever so slightly bonkers. It’s probably the same bit of my brain that makes me go outside and do some crazy runs and in those circumstances this part of my brain is pretty awesome. However at times like this all it does is drive me and everyone around me a tiny bit crazy!! For those that don’t run, think about something you are madly passionate about…it could be sewing, it could be eating chocolate, it could be visiting tropical destinations, what ever it is think about not being able to do it and then watching everyone around you do it….how would it make you feel? For example, you love chocolate but for whatever reason you can’t have it…you know you’ll be able to soon but right now you can’t and all you think about is everyone in the world drinking it, eating it, licking smooth, melted chocolate off a wooden spoon post baking and then the warm, comforting, velvety smell of it in the oven…..how does it make you feel? A little crazy for chocolate?? Well that is almost how I feel about running and ‘needing’ that fresh air and endorphin release….I guess it is probably a bit like an addiction!
At the start of my blog I explained I would describe and work through the ups and downs of training for a big event and most of the time I have a lot of ups….right now though i’m probably/hoping i’m on the end of a downer. The reason being, I’ve been ill and therefore have been unable to get out running for two weeks. I write this and realise how ridiculous this sounds, its literally only been two weeks and when I talk to my mum who isn’t a runner I know she must be thinking I’ve totally lost it. I also realise that there are people out there dealing with much harder times than this and those who are injured and who are out of training for months, not just weeks, but I feel the psychology must be the same whether its weeks or months its just how your brain adjusts to those time frames. For example, if I knew I was out for months then everything I have planned for the next year would need to be changed, where as when it is just a few weeks I am thinking those events are still possible, I just need to adjust my training and see what I can realistically fit in to get my fitness back up to speed. I also realise that this is just part of the life of a runner. BUT still knowing all this doesn’t help.
Key Thoughts over the last 2 weeks:
- I’ll have lost all fitness and will have to start again
- I’ve wasted all that great training I’ve already done
- What if I have forgotten how to run?
- What if I go out and run again too soon and end up out for longer…then what will I do?
- I don’t want to let people down
- I don’t care its stormy/ there are blizzards/ its windy etc…I still want to run
- How come no one else gets ill?
- OMG i’m going to be so slow when I start again
- I only have x number of days left to train
(You don’t need to tell me how stupid this all sounds…I know, but this is what happens in my brain and I am pretty certain I am not alone in this!)
This is just the start of it and these kind of thoughts are constantly swirling round my brain. To make things even worse I then start to fixate on everything to do with running…I’ll browse Instagram and twitter for hours looking at what great times others are having all over the world running in these amazing places, I sat and watched the indoor athletics championships in Glasgow yesterday thinking how amazing these elite runners are, and then, I come up to the lakes in hope i’ll feel 100% better to get out in the hills with friends to have to stay behind and watch them all leave to have fun….it really doesn’t matter the weather is awful…I want to be out there in it too!
I then start to get frustrated and blame everything for why I can’t run and it is usually work that gets the brunt of it.
‘If I didn’t work I’m sure i’d recover quicker and then be back at it sooner’,
Working On call…
‘great, lets go and get among the bugs because that will make me better…not!’.
Don’t get me wrong I do love my job and I do it as I enjoy helping others get better and being on call, well there is nothing more grounding than working on critical care to get some perspective. Sometimes I need these little reminders of why I started running more and more and working yesterday and tonight has helped me ‘get a grip’ and start looking at things a little more positively. So I’ve made a plan….tomorrow I will run a few miles near home and see what the consequences are. If i’m doing well and I feel good then the next night I might do a bit more with the goal of trying to do some hill training later on in the week. Then low and behold I should hopefully be right back where I was a few weeks back ready to get some serious training done. If you are in a similar predicament to me I would say that this is the best way of getting out of that negative head space…make a plan and use all your energy towards reigniting that motivation when you get back to training. Your body clearly needed the rest.
Life isn’t easy and these things are made to test us. We all live hectic lives whether that’s like me, working full time plus extra at weekends and evenings and this in itself can put extra stress on your body. Throw in some big training sessions and you soon realise why it is so important to rest appropriately and to ensure you are eating a diet full of nutritious food that will help your body along. If you hadn’t noticed, I don’t do not running very well at all, but you will be amazed to hear that this is better than I used to be and, with experience you slowly start to manage these thoughts a little better. The thoughts are always still there its just how you deal with them that improves.
So if you no one someone in a similar situation who has been out of training for a little while why not send them a message to let them know that it will all be ok, yes it may be slightly harder coming back but it will soon come back and that no, you wont have lost everything you have previously done. It doesn’t matter how good a runner they are, everyone needs a little motivation/confidence boost when they are not well or injured as it can help them that people are trying to understand and offer their support.
You are not alone…