So I’m an accountant by trade. The end of this month sees the self assessment deadline, and a lot of money going into the taxman’s coffers. After Tuesday’s impromptu but enjoyable rep session it got me thinking. Self assessment. What can I do in my running to shake things up, and who does it affect? Maybe it’s time for all of us to take stock and have a wee look at ourselves. Sometimes you have to strip it right back and realise, as cruel as it sounds, that no-one really cares how you do when you are at my level. How I run affects no-one, unless I am part of a relay squad which is maybe 3 races a year? . I’m never going to be an important cog in a team medal, I’m never going to be an individual challenger at race level, or even club level unless I happen to have an inspired handicap run. So it got me thinking and my conclusion is easy. I’m in my comfort zone and I am no longer progressing. Why? Because I allow my watch to tell me my pace and mentally if I deviate from that pace in a positive way and am running faster, then I start to slow down because I start to tell myself that I couldn’t possibly continue at that pace. Garmin etc didn’t exist 25 years ago when I was a good runner. Back then I raced. I don’t race anymore and that is my running resolution from my self assessment. Concentrate more on people around me instead of the numbers. Get out my comfort zone. If I end up blowing up, who cares except me? Practice will make it better. I gave it it’s first go on Thursday night. Was just a club training run but I was running with Nick and Brian, both of whom are minutes ahead of me even at 5k. I had made up my mind before the run started that I was going to try and hang onto them for as far as possible, be that 50 metres or 5 k, and ignore my head telling me that I couldn’t keep with them. I know I’m not that fit just now, so that would make it more of a challenge. The run is about 8.5k with the first 3k uphill, then 2 k flat and the last 3 downhill. The first 3k was just an easy pace up the big hill, but when we got to the top Brian and Nick started to up the tempo. I threw my fishing rod onto Nick’s shorts and hung on. The pace was upped and upped, the flat fast enough but then we started going down Airbles hill. I am not suggesting for a second that these guys were even breaking a sweat but I was out my comfort zone. Where I would normally have hung back and ran hard but not taxing myself I hung on for dear life. You know for someone who hasn’t run much recently, despite the games going on in my head (and I was protesting) I kept with it and completed the run. And I know the last 3k was downhill but I ran the last 5k in 20 mins flat, this is my second fastest since I started back. This gave me a huge boost. I was buzzing for ages after it. Had I blown up who would have cared? No one. I kept going who cares? No one. It’s about me. I’m not suggesting I, or we run naked (Garmin wise) but I will try and let it stop dictating me and try and let myself flourish. My next few races I could get it disastrously wrong but the world will continue to turn. But one time I could get it right and could achieve one of my targets. It has to be worth a shout. Give your own wee weaknesses a thought. Could make things a wee bit more fun.
Another wee change is my acknowledgement that I can’t run as much as I want so I have bought a decent exercise bike for the loft. I had a few goes this week, fairly worked up sweat and on today’s Sunday morning MAC run I actually felt that going up the hills on the notorious “roller coaster” trail run that my legs felt stronger. Maybe it’s mental but these wee changes have my mojo back and that’s a good thing. Today’s run had myself, Nick, Clare and Ross doing a steady pace over the “rollercoaster” while having chat about aims for the year. Really enjoyed it, not everything has to be 100 miles an hour. I did warn Nick and Clare that all conversations could be repeated on the internet, especially when they insulted my esteemed mentor John by saying he was over the hill and finished, and that Tommy has a drink problem, but I was only joking, I would never do that…..
Yesterday Elaine and I went to the Emirates and the indoor international. A cracking day, granted, but the highlight for me was watching the commitment of the under 17 club runners battling in the club relays. THAT was what it was all about. I left inspired. And I got my exercises this week too. It’s been a good week all in. See you on that racing course soon 🙂