You know how on some runs, everything just feels great? You are immediately loose and fast and OK, by the end you are pushing a bit, but it’s a great feeling? You enter a state of flow and it all just … well, flows?
Yesterday was not one of those runs.
In fact all I can say about it was that I was supposed to do 21 miles, and I did 21 miles. Given how utterly woeful I felt from four miles in, it was, I suppose, an achievement of sorts. Albeit a very very slow achievement. On Friday night I was reading Julian Goater’s book The Art of Running. There’s a chapter about the psychology of racing/running, and he talks about how dropping out or finishing early is a form of rehearsal for failure. The idea being if you do it once, you’ve practiced it, and it’s easier to do again. So all I kept thinking on this epic slog around the windy streets and towpaths of SW London, was “You are rehearsing pain, and battling through pain, and not giving up”.
Bit melodramatic, I admit, but it helped. That and, rather soppily, picturing my eldest daughter’s face as she waved me off on my longest run ever. She’s recently decided she likes running, and even did 100m reps at the track the other day. If you can describe a five-year-old shuttling up and down in shoes with flashing lights as a rep session … So at least I’m setting her a good example there, if in not the carb-heavy diet that sustains me.
So my theme today is, what keeps you going when everything just seems to be falling apart? Is it thoughts of the cake or chocolate treat that awaits you? A mantra you run around your head? One of my clubmates once told me that she recalls all the injustices and annoyances she’s ever suffered, and gets herself properly angry. I rather like that idea – but as ever, your own thoughts and experiences under the line, please.
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