Just have a little... patience
I have always been notoriously bad for having no patience. Wanting to do things as soon as I decide to do them, and not being able to wait once something is on my mind. An excellent example of this is shown by my internet shopping addiction. As soon as I see a pair of tights, or a sports bra I like, that’s it, my mind is occupied by it and I have to buy it. No chance of me pondering over it for a few days, I have to do it there and then. This is also something that used to be translated into my running.
Once I had decided I was going for a run, that was it, I was going there and then. My impatience was mostly highlighted by my inability to warm up for easy runs. I never entered a tough track session without at least half an hour warm up, but an easy run was a different story. I would walk out of the house, consider spending 10 minutes warming up, give in to my impatience and start running immediately. Looking back on it, this definitely isn’t the right way forward.
Having a little bit of patience and taking your time is no bad thing. Yes, it may take a bit longer, but it is always worth it. I will definitely admit when it comes to my personality I am still a very impatient person, but in terms of my running, it is something I feel I am developing more of every day.
When you are thrown in the deep end and forced to be patient for at least 6 months, in order to allow your bones to heal and your body to recover, you really have no choice. Either you quickly learn to be patient, forget your future running career, or find the time ahead extremely difficult.
I did not think I would have developed the patience and acceptance I have learnt to have. Reflecting on my journey, there is no other way to have dealt with it. You have to take every day as it comes and learn to be patient over everything. Of course, I have moments of irrationality and breakdown over how far I still have to go, but this form of impatience is only natural. If I didn’t get upset I would worry whether I actually cared for the sport I love.
The patience I lacked previously before an easy run has completely disappeared. Having had to drive to the pool, get changed, Aqua jog (with a warm up included), shower, and drive home. There is no room for impatience. I have to abide to swim timetables and ensure I can get there. There is no way of simply walking out of the house and doing your necessary training when and where you so desire. I have had to learn to be patient and take my time.
In addition to this, rehabilitation exercises are sooooo important! I can’t stress how vital it is you do these if you are faced with an injury. These definitely cannot be rushed. If you rush these, you only risk making your injury worse; not a good idea! Having to go to the gym 3 times a day for less than 10 minutes at the start of my rehabilitation process definitely tested my patience, but when you care about something, the only choice you have is to get on with it. So, I did. Yes, it was very tedious, but I knew it was only temporary, and I would benefit in the future from doing it properly now!
15 weeks down the line of my rehab journey I have finally given the green light to run. You’re thinking, finally, she can get back to normal training, just start slow and you’ll be fine. Sadly, it is not this simple. My first run consisted of 3 sets of 1-minute jog, 1-minute walk, with a 5-minute walk warm up and cool down. However, now this does not test my patience and I don’t feel it to be tedious. What I have to do now, I have to do. Any second running is better than not running, so I will cherish every moment.
Although presently, 8 weeks seems a long time away until I can run for 30 minutes continuously. I am going to enjoy the journey, continue to be patient, and know that time is on my side and there is NO RUSH.
If you ever find yourself caving in to your impatience, think again, is it really worth rushing? Relax and take your time, it will be worth it in the end
Are we 'obsessed?
Obsessed. This has to be one of the most common things I am called as a dedicated runner. Am I? Maybe I am. Surely you have to have some remnants of obsession in order to be religiously committed to something? I believe the word obsession refers to something negative, being uncontrollably addicted to something, this is definitely not what I view myself to be over my running.
Is running addictive? Yes. There is no greater, or more addictive feeling than the elation felt after a tough training session or successful race. But now I know when to stop and abstain from running, therefore surely this can’t be an obsession?
Running does preoccupy my mind, as I’m sure it does many other athletes, but obsession suggests this has a troubling effect on an individual. I am sure I used to be obsessed, as I was unable to stop myself when necessary, but over the last few years, this has not been the case. Running occupies my mind 24:7, but because of my love for it, because of the joy it brings me.
A quote that perfectly sums up an athlete being called obsessed comes from the lid of a Inov8 shoe box.
‘Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to call the dedicated’
Not completely true as I don’t believe a lot of those who say it to be lazy. But I do believe they don’t understand what it takes if you want to train to be the best you can be. The more I think about it, the more I reach the conclusion maybe I am obsessed, but is there anything wrong with that? Obsessed to me expresses commitment, motivation and dedication to something. If I wasn’t slightly obsessed, would I even stand a chance of getting anywhere in the sport?
If you want something you have to work hard for it, no matter what your discipline. Somebody training to be a doctor has to be obsessed by their subject or they will never have enough ambition to succeed. An artist determined to sell their paintings for millions, also has to be obsessed in order to get their name out there. Therefore, a runner is no different from the rest. If you want to succeed within the competitive environment, you have to be obsessed by what you are doing. You have to be preoccupied by your sport, and dedicate your entire self to that sport. Of course, it does not have to overtake your life, but if it is something you feel passionate about. Pursue it, ‘obsess’ over it.
As competitive athletes, we are constantly working towards a goal. Some of our goals may be big, whilst others may be small, and achievable simply within training. It is these goals that keep us motivated to always go one step further.
A ‘goal’ is the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. Goals are something we persistently work towards with the hope of achieving them. We set ourselves goals that we believe to be realistic, otherwise our motivation to strive for them would not be at its highest.
All my life, my goal has been to be the best runner I can be. I still don’t know what ‘the best runner I can be’ is, but this is my overarching goal. I am willing to work my hardest, be as committed as I can, and see what the best I can be is. Although this is my main goal, there are many other goals that have to come before this.
Initially my goal was position orientated. At school, I was always driven to win the races I entered. At this time, I was entering low-key races, competing against individuals of all ages and partaking in school races. My goal was to increase my race experience and come at the top of my age category. Once I had achieved this and worked my way up from local, to regional, to county level races, I realised my goals would have to change.
I was beginning to believe running was something I could do well in, and test my limits in. As my race level got higher, time became the next focus, and still is. I would have to take every stage as it came and regularly set goals to help me achieve what I wanted.
In the later stages of school my goals took a dramatic turn for the worst, they were no longer solely about my running, but about my body image, something I believed would benefit my running. After multiple years of struggling to achieve a self-destructive goal, something in my mind switched, my goals changed. I realised who I had become was not who I wanted to be, and the goals I had set were not going to help me in my future running career, I was trying to achieve something that would destroy me.
My focus then turned to health and strength. My aims were to develop a healthier way of thinking, learn to be positive, become a stronger athlete, and most importantly control my mental strength conductively.
I channelled what had become negative determination, into a positive goal. I was back on track and willing to turn my body into that of a strong athlete, a stronger athlete than I had ever been.
As I strengthened, my next goal was to race again. I wanted to get back on the start line and regain my race confidence, I had to revert to the basic goals. This didn’t take long. After a few races as a stronger athlete, I knew I could push it.
I then achieved a goal bigger than I had ever thought possible, especially at that time. I became 2nd U20 in the UK for 10k and achieved elite status. Something I never ever thought would be achievable. This only goes to show, that if you put your mind on something and set your goals smartly, it is amazing what you could achieve.
Whilst currently my goals are focused on recovery, my overarching goal remains the same, I am willing to take my recovery and rehab as seriously as possible in order to become the best runner I can be. It won’t be long, and I know my goals are getting ever higher and ever more achievable. I have so much more I want to achieve, I’m just waiting for my time.
Although, I didn’t, and still don’t know what my potential is, this is something I am willing to work towards, whilst succeeding at all the little goals I set along the way.
What do you want to achieve? What are your goals?
To watch or not to watch?
Most runners, including myself are slightly addicted to their watch. Whether it is the gadgets they have on it, the statistics they can see, or their heart rate monitor, we are suckers to them. It’s amazing how something as simple as a watch can take over your life. Yes, we are governed by our watches everyday as we live life according to time, but since when has a GPS watch ruled us? I will admit to going on an easy run, catching a glimpse of my pace and choosing to pick it up a bit, just because the watch says so! I probably would’ve been better off not doing that, but you find yourself competing with the watch.
It was almost a year ago today I got my first Garmin watch. Up until then I had spent nearly 18-years running naked (watchless not clothesless) or at most with a stopwatch. Did this hinder my performance? No. Did it mean I enjoyed my runs more? Yes. So why do I insist on wearing my watch 24/7? It’s not just for the statistics, as to be honest I only understand the pace, distance and time, and that is all I analyse. But do I really need to do that? Probably not. Since being off injured I have worn my watch every day, for two reasons. One, I need to time my aqua jog sessions, rehab exercises, etc. and two, because it reassures me and tells others I am a runner. It’s a sense of belonging in a shallow way.
Should I ditch the watch all together? Where it occasionally, what should I do? That is another decision I have made since being off running. I have decided, once back to running, on my easy runs not to be governed by speed. I am going to simply resort back to my old method of running with a stopwatch. Yes, I will still use my Garmin most of the time and I will keep track of my mileage, but easy pace is a pace that should be enjoyed and relished, not forced and monitored.
Looking back on my injury, although it was not the cause, pushing my easy runs too hard may well have been a contributing factor. Because the watch showed me a pace I wasn’t happy with, I chose to speed up, running too fast all the time, and subsequently making me more prone to injury. An easy run has no pace governing it, it’s all about recovery and enjoyment.
So, next time you go for a run, try ditching the watch, and let me know how you find it.
Why do you run?
It’s the same question everyone asks. How did you get into running? As soon as I say I’ve been running most of my life, their reply is… ‘I wish my parents forced me into a sport when I was young’. This is NOT the case. My parents never pushed me into taking up running. They weren’t those typical pushy parents who wanted their children to excel at everything. If anything, they were always encouraging me to rest rather than train. Something that continues to annoy me to the day. I think it’s the starting young that makes the repetitive nature of training seem like everyday life.
For as long as I can remember, training has been part of my everyday life. It has to be done. It doesn’t matter what you have to do in the day, or where you are going, it has to be fitted in. This isn’t and doesn’t have to be the case for every runner though. Not everyone had the opportunities when they were young to get into the sport. Whether you take it up at the age of 6 or at the age of 30, there is one thing all runners have in common, and that is the love of the sport.
You have to love it to be able to get up at 6AM on a cold wintery day, layer on your clothes, lace up your trainers, and head out for a run. Its these tough days, that make the easy ones all the more enjoyable. You have to go through the dark, mentally tough downs, in order to appreciate the easy ups. It’s the reasons you run that make you push through these times, and value what you are doing.
No matter how long you have been running for, if you love what you do and are willing to put in the hard work, you deserve the good results you get. All runners respect other runners, for they are committed and dedicated to their sport. You don’t have to be dedicated to training every day, every runner has a different goal and this determines what you put in.
Some people just want to run on sunny days to enjoy the scenery, others want to lose weight or stay fit, and others, like me, have ambitions to achieve as high level as they can within their field. It is all these different motives that make running such a versatile and interesting sport. Any runner you speak to has an interesting story to tell as to why they started and what they want to achieve. Some want to tick running a marathon off their bucket list, and once this has been done, they have no burning desire to return to a strict training regime. And if this is what they choose, then that’s absolutely fine!
Personally, for me, running is in my daily schedule for all the foreseeable future. Until the day I can no longer physically run, I will continue to train as hard as I can to achieve what I can. Since the day I started, I was in it for the ‘long run’.
So, what makes you want to run?
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!