Blog: From acorns grow….a couch to 50 miles plan?
Blog: From acorns grow….a couch to 50 miles plan?

Safe to say I’ve fallen out of running, I knew it was happening but it still felt a surprise just how much I haven’t felt like running.

Those who know me will know how much I hate the term running mojo, especially as this has nothing to do with mojo. I haven’t lost my mojo. I’m not sure I even had any mojo to start. But I have stopped enjoying running, or feeling motivated to run. That said I haven’t let it worry me. I’ve had enough to worry about.

It’s amazing how people who are apparently “inspirations” to others can fail to inspire themselves. Even doing the simplest of things like a parkrun has been beyond me. Unless I was safely protected by the blue and white of the Run Director vest. Running sucks has become my new mantra. I even bought my wife a medal hanger for Christmas with those words emblazoned across it. But running doesn’t suck does it? I wouldn’t have run 9 marathons, an ultra and hundreds of training runs if it sucks? I mean that would be a complete waste of all our times and you reading this blog….wouldn’t it?

So I let the running slip without worrying. In December I had my first ever DNS – which was sad as it was the anniversary of my first ever race, just 5 miles but I decided to help at Park Wood junior parkrun instead (after the advice of quite a few others!)

Then I had my second, when I knew there was just no way I could run 10 miles on New Years Eve….not least because I was on the second weekend of a triple whammy of RD at Maidstone parkrun and supporting my wife be ED at juniors!

But I knew we had a new year just around the corner and more than that, I had already started making plans for this new year. My 10th marathon is to be a foreign affair – travelling to Cyprus for the Limassol marathon. My second ultra is to be in June, where I shall attempt to Race to the Tower without stopping – just 50 miles (see above reference to a couch to 50 mile plan!) and then an adventure to Scotland with my running buddy Jules, for the Loch Ness Marathon in September. These things will require me to run….so I gather!

Which means I’ve had to run. I’ve had to start again. Your fitness isn’t lost completely but your VO2 max does drop after 2 weeks of not running. My last run was the Ashford 666 (a great race by the way as how many races do you have to climb a hill using a rope?) and it was tough, mainly as it fell amongst my extended period of not running. After I completed Beachy Head marathon I had only run 50km (including the 666) until the end of 2017. That used to be nearly my weekly amount!

I’m not stupid, I know I’m starting almost from scratch – which meant I’m being kind to myself, re evaluating my training plan. Starting with a 3k route which was the identical route to the first one I ever ran outside. That time it took me over 40 minutes to complete so I should be happy with the 26 minutes I managed on Thursday. Today I went further, I ran just over 5 miles. My lungs have been burning, my legs – actually not too bad. I’m run/walking and I know I’ll go out for another run, and another, and another.

Yet it’s different, I don’t feel under pressure. I haven’t wanted to run alone or with people for months. But I did a few runs in that quiet period with the selfies and it wasn’t so bad. I’m pretty sure they’ll still be waiting for me when I get back! For this January I’m going to run alone. Then I’ll reach out for someone to run with. Or walk with. Or run/walk with. Or I won’t. I’ll take stock and see how I’m feeling, where I am.

I’ve changed a lot in these past few months. Not just because I haven’t been running, but because I’ve been learning about what I need to live my life. To be freer, fuller – overthrowing the tyranny of the shoulds and being myself. It’s fun – you should try it!