It can be strange. A couple of years ago I was speaking to a friend who hadn’t run in months. I couldn’t understand how someone who has run some pretty extreme ultras could just stop. It made no sense. And then it happened to me.
October 3rd 2021 will always go down as one of the greatest days of my life. I had wanted to run the London Marathon since I was a kid and here I was. It had been a long slog though. As my many marathon training blog posts show, by the time I lined up on that start line it had been almost 2yrs of on/off training. What with the added stresses we all had through the pandemic, training had been a massive part of my life.
The race itself was amazing. I still smile to myself thinking of the wall of noise at Cutty Sark, the feeling of crossing Tower Bridge or just crossing the line on the Mall. However, once you have completed your goal, what next? I have read of Olympians really struggling with the come down after winning gold. What happened next is akin to that, albeit on a smaller scale.
In the immediate aftermath I did keep my training relatively high as I had a secondary target of getting under 1:40 for a half marathon which I duly managed at my home race, St Neots Half Marathon.
At this stage though I no longer had a target. Finding the inspiration to gonfor a run when it is cold, dark and wet is much tougher. I also wanted to be able to commit more of my time to my family as they had had to put up with 2yrs of me disappearing off for hours.
A look at my monthly mileage sees how after peaking for London, it was just a steady downward trend. Perhaps unsurprisingly the frequency of posting here dropped at the same rate! I had hoped that Great North Run training would re-energise me but that training started badly with me catching Covid and never recovered. The race itself was a bit of a disaster as a result.
Running then stopped. It started as a couple of weeks to recover from GNR. That then became a month, then two. How had I dropped off so far? At the end of November I was in Egypt for a few days with work and as several colleagues run, I finally laced up again for the three days we were there. But, when I got back to the UK the malaise hit again.
Finally as 2023 began, enough became enough. Running has been my release over recent years and helped me keep my mental health and resilience balanced. I’d also started to suffer more with bugs than before and was getting a permanent pain in my bum from sitting at work and never getting out. I needed to change.
The problem is now it is hard. The first run I did of 2023 was a simple 5km and I struggled at a pace in the past I would have almost felt like I was walking. How far have I fallen? The next couple of runs were slightly less bad but I am still stuck with a lack of mojo. My kids lead very active lives which is great, it does however leave me only really free to run in the early hours when it is still cold, dark and wet, and my bed is warm and dry! With no race to target and a struggle each time to keep moving, I can see this being a long uphill challenge!
I have thought about entering a race to give me that target. The issue here is I don’t want to become obsessive with my training yet at the same time I can’t imagine being happy to plod round without reminding some of the speed and endurance that was plentiful just 18mths ago!
Working on this blog is another way I’m trying to remind that mojo. I’m hoping that reading my previous blog posts and writing posts like this one will reignite that passion (although given the traffic this site receives will be a bit like that proverb of “does a tree falling in a forest make any noise if there is no-one there to hear it?”).
Hopefully in the next few weeks and months I’ll clear this funk and be running and loving it again. If nothing else it will soon be sunny!