Today was no exception. This was the fourth consecutive day that I have run and quite a leap from my two-runs-a-week routine during the summer. My legs felt tired from the outset and I could feel a muscle in my left leg calf complaining a little. By the time I had reached the second hill I was really aware of the nagging muscle and I suspected I knew which it was (having previously had it complain through over-use in the past).
And then, as if by magic, any feelings of discomfort simply melted away and I was running much better. That remained the same for the rest of the run which lasted 1 hour, 10 minutes; I even sprinted the last 100 metres to our house and then jogged for a minute or two, just to 'cool down'. It felt good.
I remembered I often have those thoughts and those temptations to cut a run short. After all, why shouldn't I if it's tough going? Nobody will think any the less of me if my run in the cold rain is only for 30 minutes instead of one hour. And yet I would feel bad myself, probably giving myself a hard time and feeling I'd let myself down. Even worse will have failed.
In actual fact, I cannot remember any time when I have turned back really early. Sure there are times when I have taken a short-cut for some rational reason, but I have never turned back prematurely. It's always a barrier that can be overcome and perhaps this is where self belief comes in, ushering away those strong traits of a Type A personality (although I would say I am "Type a" and not "Type A"). Just to go a step further, often the best runs are often the ones where there was a strong temptation to make it shorter than planned.
Must there be a link between the overall toughness of the run and the level of satisfaction at the end. When I say "satisfaction" I really mean the euphroic sensation that comes from all those endorphins buzzing around inside my head - in other words the "Runner's High".
- Do you ever struggle in the first mile or two?
- Turn back early?
- Do you have a Type A personality?