If you want change, you have to change
We set ourselves challenges because on the whole they are enjoyable. We set ourselves targets so we can achieve new things. We set ourselves comfort zones because we don’t want to push ourselves too much outside of them. We set ourselves to stay the same if we don’t want to change. We set ourselves up for disappointment if we don’t want to change but still have targets that we want to achieve.
After 18 half marathons, I don’t currently feel the draw to do any more halves at the moment. It’s the same feeling for me as with marathons, I started training for the third but it just wasn’t feeling as important to me like they were for the previous two.
I will probably do more halves, but whereas I was excited about running half marathons in the past, I don’t feel that so much now, and feel more drawn to shorter distances such as 10km. I’m aware that my current fitness levels are a big factor in that thought process, but I don’t feel the need to run that far on a regular basis. Regular in the sense of so many times within a year – I’ve done that in the past, the six times in 2014, and the nine times in 2015.
Never say never and all that, but if you don’t feel the need to do something, you shouldn’t feel the obligation from others to do anything either.
1 mile, 5 km, 5 miles, 10 kms, 10 miles, and then 13.1 miles, 20 miles, 26.2 miles – There are enough races and challenges in those first four or five distances without the need for weeks of long training runs.
General fitness, health, and peace of mind are more important than collecting more medals. After 69 races in the last three years, it’s now time to prioritise my efforts and to use my fitness levels better.
A wise friend said to me yesterday “Do what makes you feel good. Running should be about enjoyment as well as challenge.” He is right, we all need to make sure that we are doing things for ourselves and challenging ourselves in the most appropriate way for us at the time, and to ensure that we have ‘smiles through the miles’.
I read that fat burn is more effective in faster shorter runs rather than slower longer runs. I need to start doing runs that improve my physical state and not just clock up multiple mediocre times (i.e. relative to my own capabilities). One of the main reasons I started running was to lose the bulk, and whilst considerable progress has been made, now just my (sometimes) faster bulk tends to eats more to compensate for the extra running! It does appear to be a common warped runner logic that we exercise more but eat and drink more too rather than get a sense of perspective and balance between how much exercise is needed and how we control our intake. I need to move away from operating like that and find out a better way of balancing the energy in and energy out.
You don’t change by doing the same thing, you get the same.
I love achieving new Personal Bests (PBs), I love being able to see improvement and feel the development that is occurring. It is very hard to ‘specialise’ at so many different distances. By reducing the amount (not necessarily wiping out) of longer distances, then I can help focus that energy and enthusiasm for race day performances back again, but with the focus of getting healthy and stronger rather than just getting a very strong neck from all the bling earned from doing lots of mediocre performances in longer distance races.
I calculated the other day that prior to this weekend’s races, of the number of races I have entered (66), and excluding the races where I have been pacing someone else or not trying hard at all or was in fancy dress (17 of those races) – I had PB’d in 26 out of the remaining 49 races (53%). That is a phenomenal success rate considering the multiple distances involved in that 3 1/2 year timespan.
Change doesn’t have to be a hard thing, the prospects of not changing can be a driver and motivating factor for that change. Lifestyle changes are always going to take a lot of willpower and maybe even a few restarting points, but if you want something then you will work hard to achieve it. My challenges now aren’t necessarily distance running, but it is more around utilising the exercise better by controlling the energy in and energy out better in future.