I’m in a running rut. This has happened to me before but this time round I’m beginning to panic as I’m signed up to do the Hackney Half Marathon in less than 4 weeks time (and I really don’t want to pull out of my second race of the year….hashtag-sadface).
I blame New York. It’s all New York’s fault. Although we walked our asses off (28,000 steps on one day alone you know!) and I was very happy to take a break from my weekly running regime, I’ve struggled to put my trainers on and my heart into it since we got back. And ordinarily it really wouldn’t matter much as I could ease back into regular running in the same way as I’ve had to ease back into my regular post-holiday routine. But with the Hackney Half hanging over me, and with a handful of my super-fit runner friends preparing for the run themselves, I can’t escape this (largely self-inflicted) pressure to get race-ready.
As a result, I’ve started philosophising why I run in the first place. I first started regularly ‘jogging’ (as the word ‘running’ is actually a generous and slightly misleading word when it comes to describing my pavement pounding, heavy panting technique) just after baby number 2 was born in 2007. My friend Anya coerced me into entering a 5K with the objective to run the entire race without stopping. We did it, and in addition to the flushed selfies we took afterwards, I have happy memories of that day. Thereafter I aimed a bit higher and entered a 10k the following year and then a half marathon a year or two after that.
Running helped me to shift the baby bulge. Running gave me the opportunity to listen to interesting audio books or my much neglected collection of trance albums instead of Charlie & Lola stories or the Hokey Kokey. And running afforded me a little bit of status; “Oh, you’re a runner? I like to run too. Signed up to Royal Parks yet? I did that one last year…” Running was always supposed to be fun, and for the large part, it always has been.
So why can’t I snap out of this ‘reluctant-runner’ mindset? This week I’ve started to think up new ways to trick or kick myself into feeling motivated to go running.
These have included:
- Eating an entire Cadbury’s Easter egg in one evening – I hoped the guilt will force me into Lycra the next day. But it just made me feel sick!
- Buying a new sports bra – the temptation to try out my new kit did prove irresistible, for one run. Thereafter the novelty was lost.
- Tracking my runs in miles instead of kilometres – going for a 5 mile jog somehow sounded less exhausting than going for an 8k run (it wasn’t!)
- Finding an audio book to become obsessed with – I’ve been listening to Serial, a 12 part true crime story, in the hopes that my impatience to find out what happens next would motivate me to head out for some headphone-alone-time. But then I started cheating by listening to it on my commute to work and whilst dog walking too. Fail.
Every time I think about the Hackney Half I feel slightly depressed. The last few miles last year were miles I would love to forget about – slow and painful. Hope your running mojo returns though. Love the tricks you’ve already tried (especially the Cadbury’s cream egg one) but really your best bet is to try to run with some others who are the same standard as you (maybe join a local running club).