Running column: It's unrealistic to think you're going to enjoy every run, says Mark Armstrong
Run Anglia editor Mark Armstrong talks good runs and bad runs as he gently starts building his training up ahead of 2019
My long run last Saturday got me thinking.
I was down to run 12 miles and it was clear from the moment I peeked through the curtains in the morning that this was going to be one of those runs that you just needed to get done.
I had an almost nervous excitement a couple of days before as I try to increase to the kind of training mileage that I haven’t got anywhere near for a few months.
But as I choked down some porridge and watched the wind batter the trees outside there was a little voice on my shoulder that said… ‘don’t bother – you’ve got loads of time before Manchester…just bunker down on the sofa and watch Home Alone (what a film BTW)’
So as I pondered whether to watch Macaulay Culkin’s high jinks for what would have been at least the 30th time in my life, I just about managed to get a grip of myself.
I knew that I wasn’t going to enjoy it though.
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That sounds negative and if you go into something with a certain mindset then the chances are that isn’t going to alter much once you’ve done it.
But you really have got to be a sandwich short of a picnic to enjoy running in those conditions on Sunday. I enjoy the struggle at times but that wind…
Despite some protestations from my wife, Alison, I managed to convince her to keep me company although I thought I might regret as much by how much she moaned for the first mile…
It was purely about getting it done and, by hook or by crook, 12 miles were banked.
It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly wasn’t fast, but they were fairly consistent and it was the sort of run that built another small psychological building block that I’m going to need when the going gets really tough when I run in the Greater Manchester Marathon next April.
The last couple of miles were pretty horrible; the kind where you feel that for some reason the wind has taken a personal dislike to you.
I felt like the weather was mocking me the following day when it was glorious sunshine and the kind of conditions that would have been a pleasure to run in. They looked wonderful from where I was sat at work anyway…
I was bemoaning the conditions I had to run in to Neil Featherby over the phone a couple of days later when he replied with a comment that wasn’t exactly dripping with sympathy… ‘yes, but would you really have wanted it any different?’
I knew what he meant. I got far more out of a very tough 12 miles in difficult circumstances than I would have if I had just cruised round in the temperate conditions on the Sunday.
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When I go through the 18 mile marker at Manchester, the point at which I have traditionally started to lose control in marathons, it will be a run that I can look back and say with confidence that when push comes to shove I can get the job done.
Running isn’t coming as easy as it has done at the moment and I can’t say I’ve enjoyed many of my training runs recently. It almost feels like I am doing them more out of a sense of duty than enjoyment.
It’s probably because I feel so far away from where I was at the start of 2018 but wistfully looking back on my experiences from earlier this year isn’t going to get the results I want in 2019.
The only way is to try and get the miles in, particularly when I don’t really feel like it.
The more quality training I can get in then the more confidence in my ability I’ll start to have… hopefully the enjoyment factor will then re-emerge.
That’s the hope and this week I can certainly say that the one thing you can’t accuse me of is being a fair weather runner…