I’ve been thinking a lot about running lately. Yes, I know. That’s sound a bit obvious. But I really mean the theory of running, not just putting on a pair of shoes and running out of the door for as long as you can.
There are some big questions out there – Are champions born or made? How far can we go? When I think back through my own running history, and think how, with the right coaching and development, it is entirely possible I could have been running at an elite level (my PB for a 10k is 29:52).
For the longest while, I rued the missed opportunities, questioned whether I would ever really have been good enough to run at that level and worry that I’ve wasted my talent.
But recently I realised something amazing; It’s not over yet. As I began training for a marathon after not running at all for eighteen months, I struggled to run even a mile without stopping for a little walk or two. In just a couple of weeks, with a couple of minor adjustments to my style and pace, I was running four miles without even thinking of stopping to catch my breath. Indeed, I wasn’t even out of breath. I’ll be approaching the half-marathon stage this weekend and next, and a month ago I wouldn’t have thought that was possible.
I’ve read about nutrition, training plans, sports psychology, injuries, kit, weather, high altitude training, meal plans, water intake. I’ve learned a great deal about all these things and adjusted my lifestyle to match: my infamous peanut habit is now under control (although I did indulge a little yesterday, on a rest day), and I’ve seen my weight plummet (currently hovering around the 85kg mark). Kasia certainly approves of that one. I’ve studied muscle structures, bone density, had my gait analysed (and admired). Next month, I am contenmplating a trip to The Running School for a more in depth gait analysis and posture study.
And for what? To shave a couple of minutes off a four hour run? To satisfy my already enormous ego? Or to do something better with?
I always took the fact I can run for granted. I had a desire to be faster and better than everyone who lined up along side me on the start line, and I had a psychological need to win. If I didn’t, I couldn’t handle it. And so when I stopped winning, I stopped racing.
Now, with the wisdom of years, and access to the internet’s wealth of information, I am a better runner than I ever was. I measure increases in performance daily, and know what I do right and wrong. I analyse every training run, know how to improve times or performance.
And I should be sharing that knowledge, and inspiring others too.
Something big is coming. Watch this space.