Marathon Diaries – 7
Probably the biggest question I get asked at the moment is how I keep up my motivation to get outside in the rain, wind, cold, misery and well the traditional English weather we all love put up with.
Although we live on an island, this is and never will be a Caribbean paradise! If you’ve recently moved to the British Isles expecting this, then I’m pretty sure you can get a refund.
This week in training I clocked up 26 miles, and let’s just say there wasn’t a single day that I didn’t have to contend with the elements. I was also working long hours over the Christmas period, so my energy levels were low. Was I feeling it, no! But did I do it? Yes.
So the easy answer as to why and how I keep getting myself out the front door and in to this messy messy weather… Is that I just have to, else I’d probably never get to run!
I’m not a treadmill runner, and I never will be. It’s not my thing, I love being outside. Running outside (in my eyes) cannot be beaten. If you are a treadmill runner then that’s wonderful and you don’t have to worry about this pesky weather (however the motivation might still be useful)! For the rest of us though, how do we drag ourselves out the door when we really don’t want to move? Well here is what works for me:
- The 5 minute rule
My golden and go to rule is this, I only ever have to run for 5 minutes, that’s it! I have a chat with myself before those tough runs I just don’t want to do. I let myself know that if I go out and run for 5 minutes and am that miserable, then you know what I can come home, no judgments! After 5 minutes I almost always feel great, my mindset has shifted from what I thought would be a really tough run, to the reality; that actually it’s just an hour or two out of my life and it’s time that I really enjoy! If at that 5 minute mark though I’m totally not feeling it well then that brings me to point 2…
- Be Flexible
Not bendy, although that might help! What I mean is that if I’m really not feeling it and it’s not my day then I can turn around and go home, NO JUDGMENTS! There will be days where it is no good, and forcing yourself through that might not be the best option. You don’t want your last run memory to be that of you crying and cursing at your body, turning back up at your front door ready to burn your shoes…
I’ve been following my official marathon training plan for 3 weeks now and this was the first week I actually got all my miles in on the days and times I said I would. Am I worried? No. Life gets in the way at times, especially Christmas, and that’s ok. As long as you are getting out and are committed then switching a day or postponing the odd run isn’t going to kill your dreams!
Now if you convince yourself you are going to have a bad run every time you leave the house you probably will, and you might never make it past that 5 minute mark. If it’s raining, hailing and everything else and you think about all the horribleness that is about to ensue, then yeah it’s probably going to be horrible!
The mind is so powerful and tweaking it just slightly can change your whole outlook. My go to brain tricks are:
- Thoughts about how exhilarating it will be at the end, the warm bath waiting for me, and the pride in making it through another tough run in tough conditions.
- The feeling that at that moment I might be the only person mad enough to be out, and if I happen to bump into another nutter, well then that knowing look of instant comradery.
If that’s not working then I switch to marathon day and ask myself this one simple question…
- If it’s raining on marathon day am I not going to go? Am I going to write on facebook and my blog “oh sorry guys, thanks for all your donations and support, but you know what it’s raining so I’m out”..? No I would never even dream of it! So what’s any different about today?
- Running friends
For the majority of my running life I have been a solo runner, I love being out on the road on my own, with my favourite tunes or book, getting completely lost. However this year I started running with people and it is a total game changer!
I run with a run club and friends and the motivation I get from them is incredible. Knowing there is someone waiting for you is an incredible motivator. I’m pushed in different ways every time I run out with people; plus you can get all sorts of tips and tricks, or even help a new runner find their feet. Lastly these people are going through all the same emotions as you are, they feel your pain and they share in your triumphs.
I still run on my own at least once a week and wouldn’t give that up either, but running with people is a truly great experience I’m glad I get to be part of weekly!
- Kit up
Now running is a free sport for the most part, and you can wear basic gym kit and be fine. If however you are planning to run regularly in this weather then get the right sort of kit. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but the right shoes and sweat wicking fabric that keeps you warm and dry (for the most part) will make a huge difference to how you feel when you’re out. New kit also gives you a massive boost. Heading out the door, looking all shiny and new in all your gear!
Whatever tricks you need to use to get you out the door then use them, I’ve never regretted a single run and I don’t think I ever will.