In a slump of only running very minimally for most of 2017 I felt like a fair weather runner. Some weeks would only be a 5k run or a 10k run. I realise that still counts as running. It still counts as being a runner. It might not be fast, it might be a once a week visit to Southville Running Club, a few laps around the park and a parkrun but it’s still running.
Runners get so used to seeing elites with high weekly mileage. Strava feeds full of Sunday long runs, breakfast runs, lunch sprints, distance challenges. It’s cool to be seen to be busy on the roads and trails. It can be inspirational at times. However, it can also feel a bit daunting. It can also be a tool to evaluate your own running.
Realistically when juggling family and careers or other hobbies there is only so much time the regular person without a sponsorship can put in to running. We still need sleep. We still need to eat. We still need to put our kids to bed. We still need to commit to other commitments and that to do list will still need to be done by the end of the week.
So, sure carve out that hour or two for your run. But also don’t feel bad or guilty or less like a runner if you haven’t got out the door this week. It’s never, ‘only a few miles,’ as a few miles is better than no miles.
When running a race training will only get you so far. If you’re stressed out from your life balance because you haven’t got that permission slip to the school yet or paid that phone bill on your to do list you may not finish strong. A race is part a mental battle. Marathon runners understand this. 26.2 is a long time to spend with yourself and if you’re not happy with things demons will crop up to make that stop at mile 18 really tempting. Prepare yourself by preparing your mind.
Mindfulness, yoga, priority mind mapping, bullet journal your to do list for extra colour. Carve out an hour a day just for you. Don’t let running take that time too. This is your creative time. Fill it with joy and make it worthwhile. During mine I like to write or cross stitch. I really notice it when I don’t have this hour. Remember you are your own first priority.