Aside from my ongoing sciatic twinges, I’m delighted with how my running has developed over the last 12 months. I’ve enjoyed regular running and have completed some cracking races. Running in recent years has been a fulfilling experience and along the way I’ve learnt a few lessons about what works for me.
Faster Is Possible
I’m never going to win a prize for my efforts but looking at Strava and my race times, I’ve got faster. About a whole minute per mile faster which feels like such an achievement. I mostly train alone, tailor my own sessions, and don’t run with a club. I rely on myself in terms of motivation and setting the pace, so I’m quite pleased with that.
I’ve learnt to make every run count rather than “just going out for a run.” I’m only able to run 3 times a week rather than the preferable 4, so I’ve had to really think about the purpose of each of these runs. Looking back, two things have made a difference: weekly speed sessions and running with a friend. I mostly train alone but every Friday in 2017, I ran with another parent from school. It was amazing, we had a brilliant time. As we ran on my recovery run days, we usually went further than I would on my own, and tackled difficult terrain (so not really a recovery run at all!). It meant I ran on tired legs and reaped the benefits. I also made a lovely friend.
Pain Doesn’t Equal Gain
I’d like to say I knew this already. I’m a great one for dishing out advice to others if they have niggles or pain but when it comes to acknowledging my own and stopping, I’m a bit of a naughty girl. Working up to the Eden marathon in October, my sciatica was driving me crazy. Yoga and stretching helped and I was able to complete it but it was touch and go. Mentally and physically I’d had enough and I needed to rest. It’s hard to make the decision not to race when so much effort has been put in and the race number has arrived in the post. Thankfully I’m ok and I’m running once more, but there are times when you have to listen to the rational side of your brain, and your body.
I’ve been enjoying trail running for a couple of years now and consider myself to be a trail runner. Despite spending a considerable amount of time running on Cleeve Hill in 2003 as part of my training for the London Marathon, I saw myself as a road runner. I now can’t wait to escape the roads, take in the spectacular views on offer, and be at one with nature. It’s just heaven, especially when there’s a sea view.
Trail running is good for endurance and strength too. There are hills and climbs aplenty, along with having to stay upright on muddy and uneven terrain. I may not be particularly quick but I feel I can go further. When I look back, I can’t believe I spent my 20s raving about road running.
Being A Veteran Rocks!
I always thought it was a little unfair to class the over 35s as veterans in the running world. Lets face it, it’s still rather young! Now I’m in my 40s, I have no complaints. All my results sound rather impressive because as you get older, the number of people in the age groups gets smaller (this depends on the event, of course). I like that I can now make the top 10 in my age category, sometimes higher. It’s such a confidence boost! It actually makes me feel like I’m really good at running.
So there you have it. The little things I’ve learnt from the past few years of running; I’m sure there’s more to come.
Have you had a good running year where you’ve seen changes in your running? It’s not just my running that’s come on, I think my approach has changed and my mindset has strengthened.
I’m excited about the running adventures that lie ahead. What lessons have you learnt about yourself in relation to running? Are there particular training routines or perspectives that work for you?