I am a slow runner and that’s okay for now.

If you have read my blog before you will know my love of running, if you are new and also like running have a gander over at my running page in the bar above. Also, if you have been following my blog for a bit, you will also know I am trying to lose weight so I can get my health back on track. The main method of me doing this is via running (obviously diet too). I used to be able to run comfortably in the 7 minutes per mile region when I was at my fittest, which to me is pretty good! Especially as I still had a lot of body fat and loose skin to lose.

But life happened and I GAINED THE WEIGHT BACK. With gaining the weight back I also started to get slower and slower and slower. To the point where today (June 2019) I am happy just to sneak around 7 minutes a kilometre. A definite fall from form and for the entire time I have been frustrated and upset at this decline in speed and endurance.

But I tried to think about it on a run home from work the other day and the thoughts that came up on this slow, stop-start 40 odd minute 6-kilometre run was a few things. Firstly, I am living negatively in my head and I think for a little while I truly fell out of love for running because of it. I, of course, tried to tell myself that it was just the weight and as soon as that went I would get faster and happier, but I was also telling myself (that cursed devil on my other shoulder) that I used to be able to do this with such ease and now look at the state of me, look at the people feeling sorry for the big guy who has to stop and stretch his foot when he was going too slow, to begin with. I think as a runner I had become a little broken. I wanted to run, but it was if anytime I was dressed and ready for the run, a pop-up blocker entered my brain and said: “Nope, you are not doing that today, sit down and chill”. So I did, and then a week would go by and I had not run a minute. I had to stop the pop-up blocker for running from stopping me from running.

I also thought about how I had all of these grandiose plans to run so much this year and to get everything sorted. We have now sneaked into the third month of the year and I have not run nearly as far as I would have liked. I still seem to get a bit of a run during the weekend, but running mid-week has been a bit of a non-starter for me. I still want to try and achieve those targets or to get as close to them as possible, but I need to start now and I need to accept that it is daunting and get on with it in some form.

Thirdly I thought that I have to completely relearn how to run again. I shouldn’t be getting in my head so much 1 kilometre in and then stopping and walking for 10 seconds because it got the better of me. I need to run like I did when I first started this crazy journey of this activity that I loved so much. My old method was to go on late night runs down my nearby route and just running faster than “comfortable” and then taking that breathe to stop and going again, and again until a distance is achieved that I am happy with, to then return the next day (or day after) and try and beat it. Then when I was able to go the entire run without stopping, I would run a little further at that faster pace until I had to stop. Record that, say 5k distance time, then record how much further I went. The aim would be to beat that time and distance or to get as close as I could to it. Back then I knew that not all runs are the same and you aren’t going to run your best every run. But I want to try, I owe myself the chance to do so right?

Another thought that came in during this run was that maybe, just maybe I should really start thinking of joining a running club and run with others. I really enjoy running with Victoria as I think I run a bit further with her. But I think perhaps the community feel of being in a club will help me WANT to kick on faster and get fitter again. I had no confidence in running when I first started because I didn’t know what I could do. Now I know that I can go faster and maybe, just maybe, if I have assistance this time from a club, I could get there at a quicker speed and improve upon where I used to be.

My final thought was that I should be happy with where I am as I am not all the way back where I used to be, I have caught myself before that cliff edge. I may have been slow, but I ran that 6 kilometres home from work and I felt okay afterwards (as you can tell I get uncomfortable and in my head too much in shorter 5km distances). Thinking of the bigger picture is very much in order and to do that forgetting the times I USED to run and what my most recent run was, is the key to getting there.

I will get there, I know I will, and I love how much I let my brain figure things out when I was on that run, it is one of the reasons why I love running so much. I am a slow runner and the meantime, I embrace it for what it is as eventually, I will get faster, even if it is by a second.

As humans, we inferably in this modern world want to compare ourselves to others and on social media now more than ever I see all these brilliant times and I look at my time and I get embarrassed about posting it up or talking about it. I would just say I went for an okay run, which I know is runner code for not being happy with the time. But they are not me and they did not train the same way I did, so why should I compare myself to them. At least in races, I do not cheat, I may be slow, but I get there.

Running the Belfast Marathon last year was a nightmare for me as I had not trained and got hurt even though I was going slow anyway I had aimed for 5 hours. I was nowhere near it, it was a shocker, but I knew it would be. It felt like my first Belfast marathon and not in a good way. On that one, I held back tears of joy because I finished the race, something I shouldn’t have done. This time I held back tears of frustration. It was the realisation of where I was as a runner. A marathon (especially one done with little training) was not where I am running wise. I need to focus on getting that base back and I wish I had zoned in on my focus and intent in May as I have done so now. The summer and Autumn would have been so much easier for me. But for now, I have a whole load of times I have to beat for this year as I want to consider last year as the slowest I will go.

I think that is all from me for today, sorry if this became a ramble… I feel I had to get it out in some form! Until next time, see you out there!

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