Taming the urge, candles with wigs?

It’s been a little while since my last entry.  Plenty of training has happened in that time with much to reflect on.  However, most interesting has been the switch over from “I must get these training sessions done” to “I really WANT to get these training sessions done”.

This switch kind of overtook me and came unexpectedly.  I’ve not really got a clear handle on why it has happened, yet, but it has radically altered my outlook on my training.  I’ve entered the halcyon period when all I want to do is get out running.  Long runs particularly.  Every day.

It has coincided with a period where I’ve found managing the longer runs easier.  I’ve felt less tired at its end and my recovery in the immediate sweaty aftermath has been that much quicker and I’ve had ‘more in the tank’ for those last few kms as we approach the end.

It’s definitely been the shifting of the minor niggles and last vestiges of that ridiculous cold I had.  These had made each run a real chore and it made me realise that anyone running with recovering injuries is a completely different runner, even a different person, from someone who isn’t carrying those worries along with all the other ‘head’ stuff we’re normally dealing with.  Completing a regular programme of running is also the clear difference too.

This has created a pattern in my training dominated by runs I have enjoyed, rather than endured, and this all helps to create a new ‘context’ for my training runs.  One which is marked by revelling in endorphins, rather than the savage reminders issued by recovering muscles “that a while ago we were hurt and YOU want to carry on this ridiculous charade which will only damage us again.  So we’ll try our damnedest to remind you just what that pain felt like.  That’ll teach you”.

This got me thinking because this is something that everyone goes through.  For those recovering from injury it is particularly ‘loud’ because it is so fresh in your mind that you had to reduce or even stop your training because of the injury that is signalled to you by the pain and discomfort in those terribly familiar areas.  It also applies to those coming back to running from a time away.  This is because the pain and discomfort is really counter intuitive.  “Why should something that supposedly is so good for me be so damn uncomfortable, painful, difficult, draining…..oh add your own description in here….?”

And even “I’m doing something virtuous here why is it so difficult to motivate myself, get out there regularly, get up that hill, or complete a whole run without stopping.  I found it so much easier/more enjoyable before.”

And in my mind there are certain times that it applies to even the most regular of runner that until training ‘clicks’ there’s the chance that it remains a bind.

I think there are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it is hard and it’s also about some kind of persuasion – as some of my earlier blog entries have shown – to cajole your bodily form, and particularly your mind, into accepting that this is what you want to do.  Without regular runs your body and mind seem to assume “that you didn’t really mean it and that less runs are your way for now”.  Dropping the mind stuff and just becoming a running entity makes it all so much easier.  Leave the suitcase behind it only slows you down!

However, there is a danger following the ‘click’ that you run away with it all.  Over-training is a very easy thing to do, especially when you’re just responding to that urge to revel in the training runs and quaff deeply from the training cup.  This is particularly the case when coming back from injury, you want to compensate for what you’ve missed, fallen behind on, dropped back on.

The urge needs tempering, taming, to benefit you in the best way possible to get the most from your positivity around training.  Stick with the simple rules of thumb here, don’t increase your longest run, or your weekly cumulative distance total, by more than 10% in any one week.  Remember rest between runs is as important as the runs themselves.  Do some great stretching and rolling instead.

These realisations struck me as I completed the long run on Sunday.  It had been an interval run 10mins at marathon race pace and 10 mins off (please excuse running blog blarney).

Back to Sunday…

Early on the 10 mins at faster pace had seemed so much longer than the 10 minutes of ‘rest’ – explain that one Einstein.  However, what came through for me was this was the first week I had felt comfortable at keeping up with the required pace for each of the intervals I was required to do.  Previously this had been manageable early on, but an ever greater struggle as the distance increased.  Not today.

Along the Marylebone Road we observed the vast queue for Madam Tussauds.  So many people using their Sunday to view a premier tourist attraction which is effectively a large building stuffed full of….candles with wigs.  We were doing differently turning round on the final section of our completion of yet another training run.  Very satisfying.  It also gave me the sign that the ‘urge’ I’d remembered from before had returned and was now going to provide me with real satisfaction and a great load of endorphins to boot.

Where ever you are with your training, however hard it seems at the moment, how it seems that that niggle, injury won’t shift (get it assessed and have a repair/recovery programme identified for you) with the right advice, stretching, warm up, support and coaching the urge will return and you can get back to understanding why it is we do this crazy thing we do.

To end, here’s a short story.  Saturday’s are usually the day for me to accompany my daughters to Gymnastics.  A few weeks ago the trip to get coffee takes me past Synergy to the café nearby.  About 100m from there I see my wife and coach returning from that morning’s run.  Too far to shout out, I’d thought I’d wave at the window as I passed, only to be distracted by an elderly bearded chap in a raincoat walking back past Synergy.

Someone interested in running perhaps, I thought.

Hmmm” he pipes up “there’s some lovely ladies in there” nodding his head towards the window.

Yes mate, and one of them’s my wife” I said.

You can tame that urge I thought.


About Simon Tanner

Nine time marathon runner, having run Brighton x6, London x2, and Manchester x1, finally got a London ballot place after 7 consecutive attempts. I try to write about things I'm going through / have gone through in training to help others attain their running goals, whatever the distance.
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3 Responses to Taming the urge, candles with wigs?

  1. nicole carmichael says:

    Great stuff Simon. I’ve just come back from a 5k run which I really loved – just as I was flagging I seemed to get a second wind and could have gone on and on, but work to do and all that… I’m starting to train Jonathan and keep telling him that the pain will stop and it will just ‘click’ and he’ll start enjoying it. I’ll get him to read your blog, you’re an inspiration! Nicole x

  2. Denise says:

    I haven’t commented on your blog posts but really appreciate them thanks Simon. See you tomorrow.

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