My First Love

During these past few years I’ve been dabbling with a variety of sports, through injury from running and through sheer fear of not being able to complete a swim event, I put my running on the back burner for a while.

Road cycling has hit my radar recently, after a spell of injury from running, I took to the bike to keep my body ticking over, to keep the endorphins high. I enjoyed it, felt strong and saw some improvements in technique and strength. It became a social event with others joining me and the weather we experienced throughout the late spring and early summer made it a thing of beauty. I have entered into the Ride London ballot and will hear whether I am in the event in February 2016.

Sea pool swim training started in earnest in June this year as myself and two friends were entered into the Bude Sea Pool Channel Challenge. We took to the water twice weekly to train for the mile we would be swimming in October. Considering I am not a “natural” swimmer, again I saw improvements in my technique and started to see my times improve accordingly. I’m very pleased to say we completed the challenge on 10th October 2015 and it seems we may be in the team for next year already!

Seapool

Variety is the spice of life but I have to admit that I always go back to my first love. Running has everything encapsulated in one sport for me. I find the social element a real highlight. Nothing quite gives me an endorphin high like it does. The calmness and focus that follows keeps me energised for days. It really should be prescribed on the NHS for all the positive elements it gives to its users.

Cross training will play a part in my workouts but there will always only be one true love for me.

No ordinary Tuesday

Running for the last two years has been ad hoc, fun and event free. Apart from an injury in spring this year, there was really nothing to write home about with regards to my running. Hence the blog silence.

No problem there then, well you’d think. But, I’m not one to plateau, I like the feeling of achieving more than I thought I could, improving technique or pace, generally bettering myself. I run regularly, weekly,with a group of like minded people through some stunning locations and have maintained a level of fitness. I think right there I have the answer to my running rut – the word maintained. I’ve definitely hit a crossroads in my running. Do I stay on the usual path or take myself on the road less travelled? Today has been the light bulb moment that I’ve been expecting for some time. Why today, who knows?

My love of running came from the initial challenges I set myself. From a post baby body where a mile was a hard slog, to my first 5K with two friends within my village, right through to my marathon and some awesome trail challenges that I’ve been on. All of these segments within my run history have been significant in that they challenged me. I had a training plan, I had a goal, I had a reason to get out there.

Today’s run was hard, I felt unfit and kept thinking “where did my fitness go”. My answer lies in the challenges I haven’t set myself, the events I haven’t trained for and the mundane maintenance I’ve let my body get used to. A very unexpected turn of events for what started out as a normal Tuesday!

I’m off now to get myself challenged…

Crossroads

When does running get easier?

Oh, that old chestnut!! How do you equate easier when it comes to running?

The result of “easy” changes as your running improves. While it gets easier, the more you tend to accomplish, your running will improve and you will start to make it harder for yourself!! When you write it like that, it seems we are a crazy bunch doesn’t it?!

What used to defeat me (that dreaded hill) now challenges me. I make it, I recover and then keep challenging myself. When I look back to those days when a run round the block tested me, I know it has got easier.

In answer to the initial question, running got easier once I got my mind set on a certain challenge, race or result. The mental challenge is a constant source of focus for me. It’s very much a head game at this point in my running. If I head out with the initial expectation of having a hard run, I tend to have already talked myself into walking that hill before I’ve given my body a chance to prove itself.

This is where running with others helps me achieve bigger & better things. Just being around others who are challenging themselves on their run, others who are encouraging you up that section of coast path or simply because I want to show myself I can do it, enables my brain to switch tactics and push itself when, if I was running solo, I may well have given up or given myself the opportunity to give up.

The mental game is a cunning one and, so far, the number of years running has not stopped this from playing it’s wicked games with my head. One day I’m feeling great after accomplishing a run, the next it beats you down with an “I told you so.” There are 3 words which our run leader keeps reiterating on our speedwork sessions. Don’t Cheat Yourself. This helps me. If I’m taking time out to improve my running, why then would I want to cheat myself of the results I want to see by just saying “Nah, ok, I’m hurting a little now, I’ll stop.” I’m not going to do that. This is where a consistent routine can help in order to avoid that, one week on it like a super sonic rocket kinda running ninja, followed by a ahhh I can’t be arsed to go out this week, I just don’t feel like it kinda sofa lover. Consistency, routine and patience play a big part in it all.

Consistency and routine makes running become part of what I do rather than what I feel I must do. If I run with others there is very often a specific time that suits us all, this becomes part of my day, which becomes part of my routine. That’s how I managed to incorporate running into family life and I’ve stuck with it.

What helps you achieve the challenges your running gives you? Any hints or tips would be greatly appreciated!

I’ve always loved this short film, it takes me on a journey that most runners will appreciate. It’s not always easy but wouldn’t life be boring if everything was easy? Happy running x

Trails and Tinsel

Tomorrow will see much excitement in my household, with presents spilling open and Christmas cheer flowing. With my two boys being at an age where Christmas is still so magical, I am looking forward to capturing their faces as they see the “snowy” footprints on the floor around their sacks, spending time with family and friends over a prolonged meal and having a day when I very much overindulge.

After the day has drawn to a close, I will be going into a deep, alcohol induced sleep that night looking forward to a run the next morning to refresh my body & hopefully release that fuzzy head. Through the reading of my twitter timeline it seems I will not be the only one. With marathon training plans starting, I am looking forward to hearing how you all spend the festive season whether on trails, roads or otherwise.

It just leaves me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Lara xx

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