I have been thinking recently about how I feel now that Spring Marathons are in full swing and that I have pulled out of the Milton Keynes Marathon.
I am full of admiration for everyone who has made it through marathon training this winter. The weather has been foul and the cold has certainly contributed to some of my niggles. How anyone finished a 20(+) mile run in the sleet this March with the added wind chill is amazing. I didn’t even manage to get out for one lap of my 20 mile race let alone 5!
I am a little envious of everyone’s successes so far and that wonderful feeling of achievement that many friends will get when they complete their marathons over the next few weeks. It all takes hard work and putting the hours in on long runs. It was trying to fast forward and catch up my long run distance after injury that made me admit I was over doing it and postpone my marathon number 2.
I am tempted looking at other marathons later this year or for next and still hold ambitions of improving my marathon time but I think too much about the ‘whens’ and ‘ifs’ of the training and best timings with other commitments.
So my thoughts always come back to long runs and I have to admit that I just don’t like doing them. I can’t help but think that maybe if I liked them a little more I might not have been so quick to drop out of my marathon training. I am happy to run 8 or 10 miles (and race a half marathon) but over that and I get a bit of a mental block and dread them before I start. It was at the 12 mile point (or maybe it’s the magic 2 hour curfew) of a long run when I admitted to myself I was bored, cold and fed up and probably trying to push myself to hard too soon after injury (so got on a bus) and made my decision.
I then had a bit of a running slump week. I cross trained and went to BMF where the runs are short before picking myself up with thoughts of shorter races. I did manage to force myself out for a long run last weekend because the odd long run is still a necessary evil for half marathon training. However even with a pre planned 12 mile route my legs somehow brought me home after 10 miles! I dragged out another mile looping the block before I had enough muscle aches and pains to justify calling it a day.
Fortunately my recent saviour of my running mojo has been BMF run club. I’m lucky that BMF Hyde Park is one of the BMF parks that holds a run club for members. I’ve meant to go ever since I’ve been a member and after 6 or 7 years I finally ran out of excuses! (Dark won’t kill me and being home at 7pm for dinner and bed time for my sons, now 16 and 14, isn’t an issue anymore.) There I have really enjoyed running some fast intervals.
It’s hard to describe the buzz I get from it which I don’t get from long runs. I know it’s going to be hard work beforehand but don’t get that feeling of dread. It’s amazing how you can blast out a km or more at best effort, thinking you’re ‘all-in’ but after 90 seconds recovery bounce off to do it all over again, and again. Running in the dark doesn’t bother me and it’s great to be running at my pace but within a group. Fortunately both times I have found myself well placed mid-pack where there is the challenge to chase the front-runners and comfort of not being at the back.
The tired feeling after speed intervals is better too! I sleep so well afer a tough speed session and my muscles feel happily tired rather than being painful and stiff after long runs. Speed is giving me a spring in my step. It’s great to find some pace again and my legs are feeling lighter now that I am leaving the slow shuffling heavy legged long slow runs behind me.
Good luck and well done to everyone who has or is about to run a marathon in the next few weeks. If like me it’s not happening for you either this time, our time will/may come! Or maybe as with many things in life, each to their own, embrace our differences and maybe admit we are more suited to other distances.