Over the past few days, since my ‘Dublin brain’ subsided, I’ve started to turn my thoughts towards what’s next for me running wise.
I’ve had a really busy, challenging year and, even moreso, an emotionally charged fortnight what with the climax of my #18in18 Half Marathon Challenge and then the Dublin Marathon itself.
Post-marathon blues isn’t exactly an unknown entity so I expected some sort of come down from the race. Mentally preparing for Dublin kept me going when the half marathons ended so I never really experienced it after my last one, the Royal Parks, but, now, I’ve got nothing and, I guess, it has hit me doubly hard as a result.
I have nothing left after a year of having plans, a next race and so on. I wouldn’t be as dramatic as to say I’m suffering a sense of loss but there is definitely an absence there.
It can be very rightly argued that I need a rest. I do, I know I do. Not from running as such but from races and ‘big’ miles. Yes, I could just run for the love of it, but, I also know my mind, and I know that I need something to keep me motivated and focused.
We are now into November and I know it’ll be far, far too easy when the weather turns not to go out for a run. One day missed will turn into two, two into three and so on, and pretty soon I’ll start to worry that everything I’ve worked hard to build up will be lost. Logically, I know it won’t but, as I said, I know my mind.
So, I’ve decided to give streaking a go. Now, steady on, I don’t mean ‘that’ kind of streaking (at least not in this weather, think of the shrinkage!!!). I’m talking about a run streak, trying to run every day.
I’m not putting any pressure on myself. There are no hard and fast rules regarding this, but I’m aiming to run at least a mile a day for November. I’ve often read about people running for hundreds or even thousands of days in a row but I have no such lofty ambitions. I’m limiting it to attempting a RED (Run Every Day) month, hence the modest target of just a mile a day.
There’ll be days I’ll run for longer – I still want to hit 100km for the month to keep up my collection of Virtual Runner monthly medals – but I reckon that by doing as little as a mile per day it’ll give me a good base to build on, and maintain my fitness without taking much out of me.
It might not happen. I might get bored with it. I might get ill. I’ve also got a foreign holiday in the middle of the month so will I even want to go running? I usually do when I’m away somewhere just to explore a new place, but you never know.
But I’ll give it a go. It can’t do any harm, and if it gets me over this current malaise I’m finding myself in then it’ll be more than worth it if it does just last a few days.
I also want to use it to catch up on a load of Audible books I’ve downloaded but haven’t listened to. I’m too easily distracted when I attempt to listen at home, but I find them great company when I’m out running.
So I started tonight.
This was my first attempt at a run since Dublin. Maybe too soon, but today was the first day my legs felt normal again and, since it was the 1st of the month, I decided to test the waters with a simple mile around my local area.
I wasn’t sure how it’d go but, much to my delight, it went very well. Admittedly I didn’t push the pace at all at the start but the further into the mile I went the looser my legs felt and the faster I went. I’ll be honest, it felt fantastic. A mixture of relief that my legs still worked, and the sheer joy of a pressure free, short run.
Book wise, I could think of nothing better than to start listening to Ben Smith’s “401: The Extraordinary Story of the Man Who Ran 401 Marathons in 401 Days and Changed His Life Forever”.
Ben has been something of an inspiration to me in my running. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the National Running Show earlier this year and he seems like a thoroughly decent bloke too.
I have a feeling his book is going be littered with meaningful, poignant and motivational quotes. Indeed, right from the start, this jumped out at me …
“Running is just putting one foot in front of the other – that’s the simple bit – the hard part is choosing to go running in the first place. But once you make that choice, you can start putting distance between your old life and closing in on a new one.”
Anyway, let’s see how I get on with this.