Injury free, just about, ran 6.4km two days ago so I'm just about ready for the hard graft of marathon running. My 16 week training plan starts on Tuesday.
But training prep hasn't gone completely to plan. The injury in my last post has kept me out of action for the remainder of the football season, and I have gain at least half the weight I lost in the first place through lack of training. This is where the discipline will really need to kick in.
Luckily for me, I am used to loosing weight I have gained and the quicker it goes on, the quicker it can come off. I can still run for over 40 mins, so the fitness is about still there and I don't have to start again completely from scratch.
Starting to run is hard. Your body isn't used to it, and it is harder cardiovascular than almost any other form of exercise. But I know I need to keep at it, keep running when my body says no, but still listen to it when I am pushing it too much. Running is just as much a mental battle and it is a physical one. That's what happened when I tried to come back from injury too fast.
I was running with a friend who is a little competitive, and I was running at my full pace when 3km in... Rip. My calf tore again, slightly different place. In one way it was good, the original injury was healing nicely, but I had a new one. More rest. More ice. More rehab. Less running. Less exercise. Less progress.
The mental battle is about remembering that you are human, and that running is not a competition against anyone else apart from yourself. You win when you reach a distance, a time, a pace. You lose when you choose to not run when you can. Just getting out there and running the distance you want makes you a winner. (Being injured, or I'll doesn't count as being a loser, I'll let you off that one).
If you need to walk to catch your breath for a couple of minutes do it. If you need to stop and stretch out your back or sore calf, do it. Making progress is about doing a little better than your previous run.
The worst thing you can do as a runner though is to compare yourself to another runner. Comparison is general is just evil. You either feel good about yourself to a degree of cockiness, or you feel bad about yourself to a point of eventually saying, 'what's the point?' That's when you let yourself lose.
So keep it up, run for the reason you want to run, to keep fit, to get fit, to reach a personal goal, to keep a healthy heart, to get some fresh air. I don't enjoy every single run I do, sometimes it's torture, but more times than not, I enjoy it. It clears my head, I find perspective again, and life feels a lot better. The next few months won't be most fun, but I'm looking forward to it.