I don’t know who said that but, for now, I’ll credit it to Dad French. Not long ago I came back from a 5 mile run (I say run, this most definitely fell into the ‘jog’ category) downhearted about both pace and distance. ‘When will I get faster again, it was so slow I may as well not bothered’ I moaned to my Dad. He simply turned around and said:
There aren’t many people that can just go out and run 5 miles, they say the biggest mistake of all is doing nothing because you can only do a little
And he was right. As I try and get myself out of a real running rut it’s time to hit the reset button and shake off the mindset that anything less than 10 miles isn’t worth getting out of bed for. Easier said than done though.
Instead of going out for shorter runs I found I was making excuses not to go out for 12 mile runs. My thought process went a bit like this
- What if I can’t run that far?
- What if someone I know sees me?
- What if I forget to switch my watch off before it uploads to Strava for the world to see how slow I am?
- What if I get attacked by a dog?
- What if I get attacked by the Beast of Wandsworth Common?
- What if I can’t actually run at all anymore?
- What if I fall over?
- Well, 12 miles is quite far isn’t it, maybe I should just go for a run round the block?
- No, that’s just stupid, what’s the point?
- Maybe I’ll just stay here and watch the next episode of Stranger Things then…
And so that’s how it went. Of course, eventually I ran out of excuses and finally managed to bribe myself into running 3 miles round the block with my favourite smashed avocado on sourdough. I even managed to face the Beast of Wandsworth Common. Don’t be fooled by those friendly eyes and little twitchy nose…
I think it’s all so easy to get swept up in marathon madness and forget that it’s actually OK to run shorter distances (even at the weekends, yes really) and it’s much better to run a little, not matter how slowly, than to not run at all.
A couple of weeks ago I ran the Cabbage Patch 10. That’s 10 whole miles. I was dead nervous. I woke up early on a Sunday morning to a miserable day pouring with rain and felt sick. Honestly, if I hadn’t of promised Graham a lift to the race there’s a 90% chance I wouldn’t have turned up.
But I did turn up, I ran, and I got the t-shirt. Plus, if you take out the pain of seeing my Garmin flash up embarrassingly slow miles, and the fear of coming last, I actually enjoyed running. I needed that race to kickstart my confidence again.
Sure, I’m slow. Sure, I’m scared of long distances right now. Sure, I can’t see myself improving. But I know I will as long as I keep going. Besides, I don’t really have much choice now I’ve signed up for the Brighton Marathon in April…