Tune in, but never drop out.

Last night’s run eventually took place at around 10:30 pm. In the end, I only did three miles (to my shame), and they were much slower than my usual clockwork-like training pace. I’m going to blame the food, rather than the Playstation though.

Mentally, I struggled to get into the right frame of mind – There were delays in getting out of the house (long story), the weather had turned a little windy, and I rushed my stretches because I was impatient to leave and get going.

My new Brooks trainers still rubbed the horrendous blister on the underside of my foot – even though I was wearing two pairs of socks.

A couple of weeks back, I would have turned around and gone back home, but I persevered last night, and ran the three miles non stop, in a little over 20 minutes. It was clear from the first mile that I was going slower, and I tried my hardest to forget pace, and just run. The scheduled four miles seemed so far at that time of night, when I was already tired and could feel my dinner (another excellent vegetarian curry by Kasia) churning in my insides with every step.

I decided to use the run to examine my thought processes; to run a marathon you’ve got to be mentally prepared as well as physically.

For the rest of the first mile, I tried tuning into my body. I listened to the rhythm of my breathing, adjusting it so that my diaphragm expanded with every breath, and exhaling on every other left foot strike. I don’t use a heart rate monitor, but didn’t feel under any undue exertion at that point. All in all, I figured I was fine, and decided that focusing like this was a waste of time.

So I tuned out instead. During the second mile, I focused on my surroundings, taking note of the pedestrians I was passing, the shops that were now closed for the night, the people on the buses as they went past.

But then they bored me too. So, for the third and final mile, I focused on time and distance. I know my split times on this regular route, and realised I was running a full minute slower than usual. I tried to not let this bother me, as I subconsciously speeded up and lengthened my pace.

I finished strong, and while out of breath as I came crashing through my front door, my recovery time was incredibly short, and I was back in the kitchen laughing with Kasia as she made vegan banana muffins at gone 11 pm at night.

So, although in some respects, the run was not a great one, in others it’s led me to a new understand of how having the right mentality to run is just as important as being physically able to do it.

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