Let’s not kid ourselves here. Running is hard.
It’s difficult to build up enough stamina to run for long periods of time when you’re initially panting for breath, your limbs are aching and you’re soaked in sweat.
This happens to everyone. First timers, seasoned runners even ultra runners.
We all suffer through some of our training.
It’s hard to motivate yourself to go out onto the road when your family is settling down to watch the telly for the night and it’s lashing outside or to drag yourself out of bed in the morning for a pre-work run.
It’s a drag to curtail your weekend festivities down the local because you need to head out for a long run the next day.
Okay, that’s a lot of bad stuff!
But wait...here’s the moment all that melts away.
The moment when it doesn’t hurt anymore, when it’s not a chore, the moment you feel like you could keep on running forever, the moment you feel like you WANT to keep going until they close all the roads and force you to go home.
If your training has been going to plan that moment is coming for you, or you might even already be there.
It’s difficult to get your mind and your body to reach an agreement, a bit like Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in negotiations to form a Government!
However, when it does happen for you, the payoff is wonderful.
For me, the feeling came this week. Due to injury, I’m training for the half-marathon this year, not the full unfortunately.
I struggled for weeks to shake off a bad ankle sprain and ligament damage.
However, I decided to go for a seven-mile run around Blarney and Tower this week.
From the moment I hit the pavement I just felt everything click. All the days when I felt crap and my ankle was hurting suddenly made sense. I realised why I love running again and enjoyment returned.
There’s one problem with this, though. The danger of getting carried away.
My keyboard is worn out from my typing this sentence: Focus on the process, not the goal.
Stick to the work that has got you here and don’t risk throwing it all away by overdoing it and developing a nasty injury.
When it all falls into place for you, it means what you’re doing is working so there is no need to change.
You've found the right balance.
Now is not the time to risk fatigue injuries that could affect your race day performance, or even rule you out altogether, perish the thought.
You’re very nearly there now so don’t push it too hard. Give it your all on training days but take your rest days too.
An Irish Examiner Cork City Marathon medal will soon be around your neck.
As always. Happy running.
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