I take running too seriously. I know that.
I am not a professional runner, nor am I anywhere close to being a professional runner, and what I do, I do entirely for fun. I love running. I love this new world of multi-sport training I have found myself in. I love the people I have met through running and I really like the gutsy person running has made me.
I am an obsessive, ambitious and very driven person and although this is often great for training, it sucks too. I want to be the best at everything (not the actual best. Up to the age of about 9 I did want to the actual best at EVERYTHING, but luckily I’ve moved on from that…). I want to be the best I can be and I like to aim high. Every time I get a new PB I am shooting for the next one. Every time I do a training session I am sure I could have and should have pushed harder. This very obsessive side to my personality works well when things are going well for me. I can usually achieve what I set out to achieve, because I am so bloody-minded. But when it goes wrong, I get incredibly disheartened and think I must have failed at everything ever.
I recently wrote about the way I am training for a triathlon, and only as I finished writing out my schedule did I realise there are no rest days. Most people, like my incredibly sensible boyfriend Mark – also training for the half-iron distance tri, are able to listen to their bodies and understand when they need to go easy, when it might be a good idea to scale back a session, or have day off to recover. I am shit at this. I think I should be able to push on and push on and push on. And so I do, until I break.
I pretty much broke this week, and it was a bit of a wake-up call. I’d run a 10K PB on Sunday, and run bloody hard to do it, and cycled 36 miles that day too. The next morning, I headed into the gym and lifted as heavy as I could. That evening I did 4x1200m at 6.36 m/m pace (fast for me!). The Tuesday I swum 2.7K and then did a hard bike session that evening. On Wednesday, I swam a 1.9K time trial to see where I was at with the swim. That evening, I tried to run 8 miles at tempo, as the plan told me to, and I just couldn’t. I had legs of lead. So I stopped, shook myself I did the 8 easy miles I had scheduled for Friday instead, promising myself I’d do them on Friday morning. Thursday I had a hard bike session, and then Friday morning came. At 6am on Friday morning, I laced up my trainers and told my legs they were ready to smash up some miles. But I just couldn’t. I struggled through 3 miles, battling the strong headwind but then when I felt no benefit with it behind me, just stopped. I stopped, sat on the beach and cried. There was no one around and it was a beautiful morning and I just cried and felt like a dick. A dick for thinking I was so invincible that I could just go and go and go and not stop. I do know what to do, and I do know how to train. I felt like a right idiot.
I’ve learnt my lesson. I had today off, washed my hair and put some makeup on, saw one of my favourite friends and forgot about triathlons.
Mo Farah isn’t racing this weekend as he’s still too tired from the marathon. I need to be more Mo and just say NO, when I’m not feeling right. I am now going to go through my training plan, and every 10th day have a rest day that I must take. If it’s good enough for Chrissie…