The real return to running finally feels like it has begun. My coach has started reintroducing running sessions into my plan. I have now had 4 sessions back and with every one, my body is slowly remembering what it is doing and starting to move a bit more naturally. That being said, the first session really did feel VERY hard and VERY weird. In order to ease back in gently, I started with a simple, but effective, 2x8 minutes @tempo pace with 2 minutes recovery. Since then my coach has introduced some shorter 1-4 minute reps whilst also building my tempo base up.
How did I approach the first session?
I knew it was going to feel hard, of course it was going to be, I hadn’t run fast in over 5 months, so I knew I needed to approach try session slightly differently. I had no expectations. I didn’t set myself any specific paces to hit, the plan was just to ‘run’ and go by feel. This way I took any pressure off the session and I couldn’t be deflated by my current fitness as I had no expectation for where I should be. I just wanted to enjoy being back sessioning, and that I did.
How did the first session feel?
It was a shock. I’ve been staying fit and doing sessions on the bike and in the pool, but nothing compares to running. There is nothing that quite gets me working like a run session does. I felt strong and my breathing was all ok, I just felt extremely rusty. The first 8 min tempo felt a lot harder than expected, but what showed me that it wasn’t a lack of fitness, just a lack of running conditioning, was that the second rep actually felt better. I have found with all of my sessions since then that I’ve felt better the further I get into the session.
Was I surprised by how it went?
As I said earlier, I didn’t set myself any expectations or paces for the introductory sessions, I simply went by feel/effort. If it felt like tempo, regardless of pace, I was doing it right. I didn’t look at the paces during the session, but I did afterwards, and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t necessarily focus on the pace I ran but more the consistency, and this was there. It didn’t feel as easy as I would’ve liked, but no pace on the first session was going to feel comfortable. However, I was able to maintain a consistent pace for both reps and feel more comfortable at this pace as the session went on. I didn’t pick the pace up, but I adjusted more to the pace as I went on and felt increasingly more comfortable.
How did you feel after?
In all honesty, I expected to feel quite tired and achey the days following the first session back. However, as we eased into it gradually, I actually didn’t. With all the cross training and strengthening I have been doing, my body was more prepared than I anticipated. My coach has increased the volume and intensity of the running very gradually, so nothing has been a huge shock to the system.
From here on, the progression will continue to be very gradual but we are making developments week on week. Each week introduces a little bit more volume or intensity, so we are able to take consistent steps forward. There is a long road ahead, but I am excited for what is to come and the progress I can make.
Do you always feel like you are on the way to somewhere else? Never content in the moment? If so, keep reading. This blog is not about what you can do to be where you want to be, but instead what you don’t need to do because you are right where you should to be.
A lot of the time a lot of us are constantly striving forward. We are always looking for the next thing we can do or focus on. I for one am guilty of this, even on my blog. I regularly write about what we can do to become better athletes, recover better, worry less. This always involves doing something and making a conscious change to your behaviour, but frequently, the best thing is we can do is nothing. Just be where you are.
Whilst ambition is good, and gives us purpose, it can also cause us to feel unsettled and like we are never happy with what we have.
However, have you ever stopped and looked at where you are currently, and realised that you are exactly where you need to be right now. There is nothing else you need to be doing. Whatever you are or aren’t doing right now, in any amount or form, is completely enough. There is nowhere else you NEED to be, except here, in the now. Every emotion you feel, or action you take, is exactly as it should be at this time and place. It is all part of your journey, whether you realise it or not.
As complicated, or uncomplicated, as it sounds, what does being where you need to be look like?
As humans, we frequently experience the need to find solutions and meanings to all of our feelings/emotions. When we feel a certain way, we quickly label it as something such as sadness, anxiety, excitement, or apprehension, giving it preconceived connotations, then go about finding the best way to deal with this emotion.
What if we didn’t do this? What if we just let ourselves be?
Feelings are a part of every human, and we all interpret them differently. What I classify as feelings of anxiety, might be what someone else understands as excitement. Therefore, don’t label your feelings. Recognise them when the arise, but let them pass in their own time. Don’t judge them, or yourself for feeling them, and don’t rush to label them. Accept them as they are and watch them pass like a cloud.
More often than not, this allows us to be more accepting of the emotions we do feel, and realise that they have arisen at this moment because they are meant to. Therefore, we don’t need to do anything to force them past.
Don’t force it.
Understanding that I am exactly where I need to be has allowed me to try and go with the flow of my mind and body. It has allowed me to embark on the journey of learning to live in the now. Whether this be an emotion I am feeling, or a physical state, I have always been driven to force it to be where I think it need to be.
For example, if I go into a session tired, rather than accepting this and adjusting to my current physical state, I would force myself to be as fast as I thought I should be. Consequently, I would frequently suffer as a result the following week when I still felt tired. I should have accepted that my body felt the way it did because it is meant to.
It was simply adjusting to the hard work I asked of it in previous days and weeks, and telling me that a slightly easier day was needed in order for me to progress as I wished. I shouldn’t punish myself for not being on top form, but instead praise my body for telling me what it needed.
This similarly applies to your mental state. If your mind is screaming at you for a chilled day without any social interaction, don’t force yourself out of the house. This is likely only going to prolong the feelings you are experiencing. Instead, allow yourself the time to recuperate and feel as you need. Do whatever you do or don’t want to do, nothing more. It is likely you will come around quicker than if you had thought. If you don’t, that is also ok. Just remind yourself, that this is what you need right now. You are exactly where you should be.
As I said at the start, this blog is not about what you can do to be where you want to be, but instead what you don’t need to do, because you are right where you should to be.
One of the main things I have prioritised over the past few years as a runner, is becoming as strong, and injury-resistant as possible. Sadly, this did not quite work out as well as I hoped, as I ended up with a stress fracture in my foot at the Commonwealth Games. However, as with any life difficulty, this injury offered me with an opportunity. An opportunity to learn and become an even more robust athlete! More robust than I previously thought I could be. As a result, here are some of the changes I have implemented into my plan.
Recovery is key.
It is not rocket sign that in order to reap the benefits of hard work, we need to give our bodies the time to recover and rebuild. However, sometimes it can be easy to dismiss the importance of recovery. I have therefore focused on prioritising recovery. For example, ensuring I don’t spend the whole day on my feet, or that I am getting plenty of rest in between sessions. It may be that every now and then you cannot help it, but if I spend the majority of the day on my feet regularly, it is going to hinder my recovery, thus affecting my next run session.
I have also never been a fan of rest days, I don’t think many athletes are. However, I am working hard to change my mindset towards them. They are quite simply, one of the easiest ways to boost performance. Rest days allow your body to recover from all the hard work you have put it through, and repair your muscles so they can become stronger. On occasion, I have been guilty of pushing my rest days longer and longer, but this has changed. I am now being strict with incorporating rest into my training schedule, whether I feel I need it or not, because rest is my friend and secret weapon.
Vary cross training.
I have always loved the cross trainer (or elliptical as some call it). When lockdown struck and the gyms were shut, I resorted to doing all my cross training on it and neglecting other forms of cross training. Whilst it was not as demanding on my body as running, it still put a lot of weight through my feet. Therefore, I have made the conscious decision to mix up my cross training and utilise the bike and the pool a lot more. This allows me to still work my body, but in a non-weight bearing manner, allowing my body to recover better in between running sessions.
Before about 3 months ago, my S&C programme consisted of the exact same programme, 3 days a week, every week, for the past 5 years. Ultimately, it was doing nothing, because there has been no change to it. My body became wise to the exercises and no longer got any benefit or recovery prevention from it. I have since joined with a qualified S&C coach in order to become stronger and more robust. I can honestly say that I have worked areas of my body that have never been strengthened before. This excites me, because if I can become stronger, I can become faster, and a lot more injury-resistant.
Get it checked!
As runners, we frequently get niggles and tightnesses. I however, have always been very quick to dismiss them and pretend that everything is completely fine, even when it’s not. I have always looked on admitting to niggles as a sign of weakness, but this has got to stop, because they aren't. They are just part of sport. Therefore, I no longer want to look on niggles as a sign of weakness, but instead be smart and listen to my body. If something does not feel right, no matter how small it is, I need to trust myself, because ultimately, we know ourselves better than anybody else. When something is causing discomfort, this IS a sign of an existing physical weakness, but responding to it is a sign of strength. In order to be the strongest, most robust athlete I can be, I need to address them at every stage they occur, before they become serious.
It’s not a revolutionary statement to say that sleep is such an important part of our daily lives, especially if you are very active. However, I still think it is often neglected. I have always been very quick to get up an hour earlier just to ensure I can fit everything in, but this isn’t necessarily the best way forward. By doing this on a regular basis, I would skip out on one of the easiest ways to make gains in training. When we sleep, our bodies recover, therefore the better and more we sleep, the better they can recover, allowing us to improve. Waking up early, or going to bed late, can hinder this recovery process, leaving you tired going into the next session, and putting yourself more at risk of injury. Therefore, following my injury, I have vowed to put sleep first. Unless unavoidable, getting plenty of sleep is non-negotiable.
These are just a few changes I have made in order to become the strongest, fastest, most robust athlete I can be going forward.
For many, the new year brings a new lease of motivation. Whatever it is we want to achieve, we feel a stronger drive to get after it on the 1st of January than we did on the 31st of December. We have an overwhelming desire to seize the year and make the most of everyday. However, when we go out at 100%, it is near on impossible to maintain this level of enthusiasm day on day.
What can we do to ensure our new year motivation stays as high as possible and lasts the entire year?
Slow and steady.
This saying really does say it all. Pace yourself! Whether you are an Olympic athlete or a recreational jogger, it is impossible to feel completely motivated every hour of every single day. Therefore, it is important to commit to a level that you can maintain for the whole year. For example, if you have never run before, it may be better to commit to 2/3 runs a week throughout the year, rather than starting with 5/6 days and struggling to maintain it after a few weeks. This is the same for competitive athletes. If you have decided to incorporate strength and conditioning into your training, it is better to ease yourself in otherwise you may risk overdoing it and not only losing motivation, but ending up injured.
Even if you are a creature of habit, variety is always a good thing. If you keep it varied and interesting, your motivation is less likely to dwindle as your brain does not get wise to what you are doing. The variety keeps you excited to get up and train each day. Too much of the same thing makes up complacent, and without even realising, our brains have become lazy and we have taken the foot off the gas .
The best part about training with company is that it makes you accountable. On the days you wake up and don’t want to get out of bed, or the cold evenings when you curling up on the sofa seems very inviting, having someone waiting for you to train makes you a lot less likely to sack it in. Not only do you not want to let them down, but you also don’t want them to see you giving in. Once you are there, the company will also allow you to work harder, go for longer, and simply just enjoy it a bit more!
This point is very important. In order to prevent burning out and to remain feeling fresh, regular rest days are a must. Rest not only allows you to stay mentally motivated as it allows you to appreciate the days you get to run, it also allows your body to reap the benefits of the training you have been doing. Personally, when I start to get more physically fatigued, my motivation reduces slightly. This is usually because my body tired, but so is my mind. Regular rest prevents you from reaching those extended periods of fatigue that leave you feeling demotivated. Rest is also the precious time when the muscles you have broken down from training can repair, rebuild and allow you to become even stronger.
There are so many things you can employ in order to ensure your new year motivation doesn’t flounder. These are just a few of them and I hope they help you keep up the good work!
We are now just over a week away from the start of a new year. Whilst that doesn’t mean much more than the start of another month, it is an excellent opportunity to set new goals.
Goal setting provides direction and allows you to start the year with a clear sense of purpose, knowing exactly what it is you are aiming for. I for one love a goal.
What should you consider when setting your goals?
Purpose. I always ask myself, what is the purpose of my goal, aka, why do I want to achieve it. Knowing my why not only allows me to make more meaningful goals, but it also ensures I keep going when times get tough. When the goal doesn’t seem quite within reach, remembering why I want to achieve it keeps me motivated and focused.
Measurable. I always ask myself, can my goals be measured? This is important as it allows me to see if I have achieved it or not. It also allows me to keep track of my progress on the journey. If you cannot measure your goal, you may become deflated. This is because there is no knowing if you are going in the right direction or getting any closer to achieving it.
Flexibility. Is there some room for your goals to adjust as the year progresses? Most of the time, life doesn’t quite go as you hope, therefore our goals may need to be adjusted. You may not need to consider this when setting the goal, but it is important to remember that the pathway to achieving your goal won’t be linear. I always try to remember this, and know that if I need to change the goal marginally, or take a different path towards accomplishing it, that is ok.
Ambition. Be ambitious. A goal is there for a reason, and should not be easy. If you set a goal you know you know you will achieve within a couple of weeks, reevaluate it. Ask yourself, does your goal push you, and does it make you feel slightly nervous? A truly ambitious goal should scare you. I have set myself many goals that I don’t ever know if I will achieve them, but more often than not I have, and it is incredible looking back and seeing the progress you have made along the way.
Realistic. Whilst ambition is good, don’t be too over the top. You want to set a goal that is actually feasible, otherwise it will only leave you feeling deflated. For example, if you detest running, maybe don’t set the goal to run everyday of the year, because realistically you aren’t going to get out the door every single day when it is pouring with rain. Perhaps set yourself the challenge of running 2-3 times a week. You can always move your goal post as the year goes on.
There are lots of things to consider when setting your goals for the new year, and these are just some of them. I hope they help you set off in the right direction.
I love a good podcast, and this week I listened to the High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes interviewing George Russell. I am not a major Formula One fan, but to be honest you don’t have to be to enjoy this podcast . I found the main message of this podcast really resonated with me. This was the importance of focusing on the journey over the destination, because essentially, when you get to the destination, the joy you experience is very short lived and not always what you expected it to be. Therefore, in order to find true happiness, as opposed to happiness in events or objects, we need to look within, and ensure we enjoy the journey. What can we do to ensure we make the most of the journey?
Set ‘mini destinations’
Setting mini destinations as opposed to one main one, means these little boosts can come more regularly. These can be weekly goals, monthly goals, or even daily ones, but what they do is allow you to check in with yourself on a regular basis. They allow us to feel like we are making progress and moving in the right direction on our own journey. They encourage you to focus on the more immediate picture, and enjoy every step on the way, instead of constantly waiting for what is to come.
Focus on you.
You may have the same ‘destination’ in mind as someone else, but your journey to achieving it is never the same. This is because no two people have the same journey. Whether its related to injury, rate of progress, daily life, personal life or anything else, your journey will never be compatible to another person. Therefore, there is no point focusing on someone else’s journey or what they are achieving, because it will have no effect on your journey. It may only make you enjoy yours less. Therefore, enjoy spectating other people’s journeys, but don’t compare yours to theirs, because there are absolutely no parallels between them.
Check in regularly.
Rather than always focusing on the physical destinations, it is important to mentally check in with yourself. Be conscious to evaluation how you are doing along the way. Ask yourself, am I enjoying the journey? If your answer is no, ask why/ What changes do you need to make in order to enjoy the journey more? Perhaps there are changes you need to make, or there is a mindset shift that you need to follow. Checking in with yourself regularly ensures you don’t get complacent and put your happiness above your achievements.
Comes from within.
We always think the grass will be so much greener when we achieve XYZ, but that isn’t the truth. That is because we always remain the same person, no matter what physical achievements we reach. Whether we feel happy with ourself and our life, can only be influenced by the way we think about ourselves, and not by our success. This is because happiness comes from within. It is not a destination. We must therefore focus on how we feel and the happiness we feel with ourselves, not what our achievements will add to us.
The feelings we imagine feeling when we reach our goals are feelings of complete joy, but we often hype these up to be greater than they actually are. As a result, once they are achieved, it often feels anti-climatic, or we realise that the joy is only temporary. We quickly move on and return to the person we have always been. This is why it is so important to find happiness within and on the journey, rather than always focusing on the destination.
Being injured is hard. There is no way around it. It tests your patience, your motivation, your mind, your dedication and even your sanity. Injuries usually comes with a whole lot of cross training. Even if you enjoy cross training, not being able to run at all tests this joy. What can you do to ensure you remain as motivated as possible when an injury arrives?
Establish a routine.
When not injured, training for most has a structure and routine to it. This gives you direction and ensure you go into every day and training session confident in what you are doing. Therefore, keep this structure when injured. Throughout my injury I have kept a very similar training programme to what I would follow if not injured. My session days have mostly stayed the same, I have easier days in between, and on a Sunday I do a cross training version of a ‘long run’. This helps keep me motivated as I don’t feel lost throughout the week and am clear on what I am doing each day.
Remember your why. (And remind yourself of it daily)
We all have a purpose to what we do exercise wise. Whether you run to stay fit or train to compete, every step you take has a purpose. When injured, this doesn’t change. Your why stays the same, you are just chasing after it in a different way. I find it helpful to keep this at the front of my mind at all times and remind myself of it every morning. Therefore no cross training session seems pointless. Whilst I might not be running, I am still training and working hard, and chasing my goals by doing so.
Something is always better than nothing.
Exercise is exercise. Fitness is fitness. No matter what activity you do, it will benefit you in many ways and also help your running in the future. Except at the early stages of your injury, and on regular rest days, I believe you will always benefit more from doing something as opposed to nothing. You will undoubtedly loose some running fitness, but though cross training you can keep your base fitness level pretty high. Therefore, on those days when you are really wondering why, remember that a trip to the gym will do you the world of good.
Just like with most forms of exercise, the time goes by a lot quicker when you have company for it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone else who is injured. Perhaps you have a running friend who also cross trains, or there is someone at the gym you have spotted who regularly uses the same piece of equipment as you. Whoever it is, get in touch and see if they’d like to join you. Chances are they would be very grateful for the company too.
Listen or watch.
Cross training can be incredibly boring. Therefore there is no need to make it even more torturous. I find it helpful to put on some cracking upbeat tunes, or find a captivating series to watch, as this definitely makes the time pass by a lot quicker.
Listen to yourself.
For me personally, if I am feeling unmotivated and sluggish, it is a sign. I am usually excited to go training and ready for it. Therefore, when my brain starts telling me it can’t be bothered or it really doesn’t want to go, I usually need to listen to it. This is because I am starting to feel tired and potentially run down. If I listen to my body when it says this, I know I will be able to tackle every other day motivated and feeling fresh.
If you are in the midst of injury, I hope this helps keep you going, because you have GOT THIS. Don’t give up.
It’s been 106 days since the Commonwealth Games, which means it has been 106 days without running. However, this week marked the end of the running hiatus as the red light switched to green, and I was told I can begin the return to running. It won’t be quick, and I definitely won’t be getting outside for a 20 min jog let alone a session, but the build can begin, which is VERY exciting.
What does this look like?
If you are someone that has never had a serious injury, or you are not a runner, you may be wondering what the return to running looks like? Well, it is very very gradual. The first few ‘runs’ will predominantly be walking with a few minutes of running. For example, I will be starting with 9 minutes walking followed by 1 minute running x4. The walking will then gradually reduce as the amount of running increases. The goal after 4 weeks is to be running 3 miles continuous. This will then slowly build before intervals are slowly reintroduced. It is a long process, but doing it cautiously is the most important thing. Mostly because, I do not want to end up with another injury because I did too much too soon.
This is the point where I have to control my determination and excitement. It is easy to get carried away as soon as the word running is mentioned, but I have to remain patient and remember that the process is a very gradual one.
Where will I be running?
When returning to running, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered. One of these is the surface I will run on. Sometimes soft ground is better, but most of the time this can be uneven and bring the risk of rolling your ankle. I will therefore do my build up on the treadmill. For now, the treadmill is the best place to run as I can control most variables and simply focus on running strong and stable. My Noble Pro treadmill will therefore be my safe haven for the next while.
What else will I do?
Now running is returning, it is the priority. Therefore it will be done on fresh legs before I do any other training. However, I also want to stay fit, and whilst the running is very low, cross training will help keep my fitness. My training will therefore continue to mostly be cross training so the fitness does not fade. The amount I do on the elliptical will however slowly increase so more training is fully weight bearing, but I will continue to do sessions on the bike or in the pool.
When can I race again?
This is still a very unknown question. It is too early to be able to put a race in the diary as we do not know how the build up will go, but it is also not a pressure that I need to put on myself yet. Racing is something that is at the back of my mind until I am at a stage where I’m running higher volumes/intensities. Once I’m at this stage, then we will be able to set a race goal.
This is just the start of a very gradual build up, but I’ll keep you updated along the way and take you on the journey with me. I’m very excited just to take a few steps to start with.
Whether you are injured or not, or training for yourself or to perform on the world stage, cross training can have many benefits to running. Gradually, more and more people are employing cross training as part of their standard running training schedule, but why is it so good? And what benefits can it have?
Less impact. As obvious as it is, running is a high impact sport. With every stride, a lot of impact and force goes through each leg. As a result, our body can take quite the battering on a regular basis. If you want to increase your mileage, but don't quite have the body to withstand higher mileage, cross training can be a life saver. It allows you to increase your training volume, whilst limiting the amount of extra impact on your body. Instead of adding an additional easy run, you could get in the pool for half an hour, or do an easy spin on the bike. This can have the same cardiovascular benefit, but without putting your body under too much extra stress, something that would come with adding more mileage.
Refresh legs. If training is starting to catch up with you and your legs are really feeling it, opting for a cross training day can be immensely beneficial. If you allow the strain of running to be taken off your legs by having a cross training day when you’re feeling tired, you won’t regret it the following day. Just giving yourself that little bit of extra time to actively recover can be the difference between having another sub par tired session, or feeling fresh and ready to get after it. I tend to solely cross train on a Saturday because after some big sessions during the week, it allows my body to refresh and recover ahead of my long run on a Sunday. I have had many a time where I have been so grateful for this, because it’s allowed me to feel strong going into my long run and help avoid injuring something from running on tired legs.
Works different muscles. Us runners love to run. If we always did what we wanted when it comes to training, we would run miles and miles. Consequently, our bodies get very good at using the same muscles. Of course this is great when it comes to improving our running, however, if we put some of our non running muscles to work, we may find we actually improve even more. For example, cycling uses different muscles to running, and working these too, can add benefits to our running that we didn't know we needed. It also allows those running muscles to recover, whilst using other muscles.
Mental variation. Whilst you may not think you need it, sometimes it is good to spice things up. Our brains are lazy, and once they figure out how to do something more easily, we can become complacent without even realising. Cross training allows us to work at intensities we aren’t used to, and therefore allows us to push ourselves more at times without realising . It therefore keeps our brains able to work our bodies hard without always knowing where our limits lie.
Whilst we LOVE to run, we all need a bit of a refresh from time to time. Adding a form of exercise that isn’t running gives you some time away from the sport, enabling you to enjoy those moment spent running even more. When you may start to feel tired, and your motivation may begin to slide a little bit, replacing running with cross training for a day or two reminds you how much you love it. You therefore approach your next run with increased motivation.
Other social circles. It sounds crazy, but not everyone likes to run. However, most people enjoy keeping active. Opting for a bit of cross training allows you to get some time in with friends who may not like running. I find having a bit of non-running chat also allows me to keep perspective whilst appreciating other forms of movement that people do outside of running.
Next time you're tempted to increase your mileage, but you don’t think your body would thank you, choose a form of cross training. Any movement is good movement, and all forms of cross training will benefit your running in some way, so get stuck in, and enjoy doing something a little bit different.
We all know what the physical side of injury looks like and how you deal with this. You find the problem, let it heal, strengthen it, make changes, and continue to look after it. However, the mental side needs similar treatment, but is often neglected, mostly because it is not visible. When you get injured, your mind does as well, because dealing with injury can be just as painful as the injury itself. I thought I would use this blog to explore what the emotions of injury look like, how they have changed, and how I have dealt with them.
Whether you are someone that just loves to move your body, or a professional athlete, there is a sense of loss when you get injured. I was losing something that holds a massive place in my life. Having this taken away, left me with a feeling of sadness. Suddenly my mode of release/escapism was gone.
As a result, I had to look elsewhere. I had to uncover other hobbies that I perhaps don’t usually have time for. I also tried to do some form of training each day. Whether it was simply stretching, or as time went on, getting in the pool/on the bike, I made sure to enjoy other modes of movement to give me a sense of purpose.
I also found it helpful to fill my time with other positive things, such as seeing friends and spending time with my dogs. This helped to prevent me from dwelling by spending too much time on my own.
When my foot started to hurt, especially at the time that it did, I felt very confused. I would constantly ask myself, why me and not someone else? I did not understand why I had to be taken out with an injury whilst at the biggest race of my life so far. What did I do to deserve this? However, overtime, I have come to understand this.
I now see that every journey is different. Nobody is destined to follow the same path as somebody else. Whilst it may not have been the one that I would have chosen at the time, I truly feel that everything works out in the end and this is just part of my journey. Rather than forcing things, injury has shown me to appreciate every step and to go with the flow of my body, because you never know what is coming next for you. If you force anything in life, it is less likely to flow naturally.
Can’t put my finger on it.
Some days I just feel out of sorts. My brain feels up then rapidly down. I don’t feel sad, but I don’t feel happy. I want to cry then I feel fine. These sporadic and unexplained emotions have been difficult to deal with. I have felt confused by my own emotions because I don’t understand what I am actually feeling.
However, I have began to realise that it is ok to feel whatever I am feeling, even if it doesn’t make sense. We are allowed to feel whatever emotions strike us. Therefore, I chose to roll with my emotions, not beat myself up over how I feel, and know that every feeling will pass. It is only natural to go through the motions.
I find it easier to move through the emotions by talking about how I feel. Sometimes the feelings do not make sense inside my mind, but as soon as I put them all out in the open, however disjointed they may seem, they make a lot more sense.
When injury struck, one of the thoughts that flooded my mind was, ‘Am I wasting my life?’. I have chosen to give a lot of my life to running, which can be a gamble, because you never know when you could be taken out with injury. When running was suddenly taken away from, I began to question my decisions and whether I was doing the right thing. It can be risky giving so much to one thing.
However, these doubts that come with injury have only ever done one thing for me. They have always confirmed how much I love this sport and how much I want to chase after my dreams. I am not willing to give up on my dreams, and injury only confirms this. In the end, running brings me an immense amount of happiness, and if this is all it ever does, that is enough for me. No time is ever wasted spent happy, therefore no time spent focusing on running is a waste, regardless of the outcome.
I find that these heavier emotions, such as doubt, always tend to lead towards feelings of happiness. I have started to believe that injury is something to embrace. It is my opportunity to become a stronger and better athlete.
If someone came up to you and said, do you want to become a stronger, faster, and better athlete, both physically and mentally, you’d 100% say yes. Chances are, they would probably then throw an injury at you. If you can get through these difficult moments, you can overcome anything. Therefore, injury is opportunity disguised as upset.
As my injury has progressed, and the end has become in sight, I feel very determined. Don’t get me wrong, some days are still a lot harder than others, but I am SO ready to tackle whatever is thrown my way. I am ready to work hard and chase down my goals, but by enjoying every step of the journey, because as I said, you never know what is going to happen next.
When I feel determined, I know it is important to embrace those emotions, but also to remind myself that patience is key. The route to becoming a great athlete is not just through hard work, but also by being smart and sensible. This is something I have definitely come to learn more and more.
There are a whole host of other emotions that accompany injury, but I hope this blog shows you, that whatever stage of your journey you are at, whether you are going through an injury or not, it is ok to feel any emotion. They are all valid feelings, and they all have a positive to them however uncomfortable they may feel at the time.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!