Monday, 6 February 2012

A state of mind

During the last week, I had a simple conversation with a colleague, but then spent a great deal of time mulling over my responses. As ever, my friend asked how my heel was feeling and how the running was going. Simple enough questions. It was later in the day, as I was training, I realised that my stock responses to those frequent questions reveal a great deal about my current state of mind. I always say things like "I'm slowly getting there", "Good days and bad" and "It's going to be a while yet". The thought in my head as I ran along was when would I change this attitude? At some point I have to draw a line and describe myself as an ultrarunner again. That is easy to do in black and white, within these blog pages, as soon as I complete a run longer than 26.2 miles, hopefully in about 10 or 11 days when I plan to have an outing on the WHW. In reality, it's a bit more complex than that.

Attitudes, once formed, are enduring and work at a sub-conscious level. In order to re-shape the attitude that has formed over the last six months, I need to break one element of that cycle that makes the attitude so dominant. I feel that breaking the 26.2 mile barrier will be a significant part of this process but I need more. I'm going to try a different response to general enquiries. Phrases like "Training is going well", "I can feel myself getting fitter" and "Had another solid week of training". These statements are all true, but I never use them at present; at some point I have to stop hiding behind the recovery from the operation, when standing on the start line there is no special category for me, nowhere to hide, no special asterisk next to your name on the results, you are only assessed on the result of the race.

So, to start the ball rolling, I had a really good, solid week of training. Completing a normal easy week, exactly as planned, though I definitely coped better with the sessions than the previous easy weeks. The recovery week I slotted in has made a real difference and I'm going to make sure I repeat that at times when I feel sluggish, tired or even just a bit demotivated. I found that I had to hold myself back at times during the week, looking down at the GPS and seeing that I was faster than 8 minutes/mile. The first two months of the training programme, whether recovering after a lay-off or not, are kept at a comfortable pace and I force myself to keep to the rule (8 min/mile max pace).

This next week is classified as a medium week, where I intend to run 5 sessions, with a total of about 45 miles, which I hope will set me up for the following week, where I'm going to attempt to run from Balmaha to Tyndrum and call myself an ultra distance runner again. I'm really looking forward to this run as it is the exact route that got me hooked on the WHW after I ran with a friend who was training for the race in 2009.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are recovered physically, but not yet quite fully got your head round the fact you have recovered.

There's probably some kind of Biblical parable that you should be reading about, along the lines of "Cast off thy rod and staff....", or some such.

Murdo tM

John Kynaston said...

Good to read about your change of attitude!!

Just make sure you're an ultra runner by the time we have our first recce run on the Lakeland course on Sun 4th Mar!!