Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Reasons to stop running?

Sometimes when I go for a run, it's tough starting off and tough for the first 20 minutes.  Occasionally I get tempted to cut my run short because I am too hot, cold, wet, miserable.....  That first 20 minutes is normally the toughest part of the run and I guess it goes to show we need to take time to get warmed up and for muscles to become loose and working well.

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?

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