Sometimes you’ve just got to take it on the chin. I hadn’t trained with any real regularity for six months. It’s only these last couple of weeks I have come back to it.
Why? Well, partly a sore Achilles, the simple business of work and family taking over time and mainly and truthfully procrastination. Yes, I’ve been putting it off when I could have just been cracking on.
The thing is the longer you leave it, the worse it is. I know that from previous experience. Those first few runs back are always the hardest. Your head is writing cheques your legs cannot cash. Plus as I get older, these ‘mini comebacks’ just seem to get harder and harder.
I made my first steps back at my local parkrun. Now, I know the weekly 5k runs are not the most competitive events in the world. But I like to make it into a race. I always try my best.
I try and finish as high as possible and as fast as possible. This time however, I was five minutes slower than my best – actually a personal worst.
Yet, it felt way tougher than when I ran my best time over 18 months ago. But, it’s a start. This week I helped myself to another slice of humble pie when I returned to my club training night for the first time in six months. In for a penny, in for a pound. I committed myself to the A group and a ten mile run.
A group that I ran comfortably with six months ago were now leaving me in their wake and they had to regularly jog back to help me re-join the pack. But, I did it and next time it will be easier. It isn’t always just a lack of training that keeps you in check.
Running has a habit of keeping you grounded. Between heavy breaths at my return to club training, I fell into conversation with a younger club mate. He had been taken up running around 18 months earlier and had quickly progressed.
But he was disappointed at his result in a five mile race at the weekend, where he had only beaten his time from the same race a year earlier by two seconds. There was no reason why he shouldn’t have done much better – his other results suggested he would.
That’s running. It has a real habit of keeping you humble.