A few weeks in the mire…

Abbey Dash 2017 training blog weeks 1-3/20

Sometimes running is just great. The last time that I was properly training I was on the final run in to the Manchester marathon and the best performance of my career. Since then I have struggled with a lack of motivation – partly intentionally to mentally and physically recover – and then with an abortive attempt to rekindle a routine before the start proper of my training block through to the Abbey Dash 10K in Leeds in November.

Hoping to be towards the front of this race come November…

But sometimes also running is really pretty tough. Sometimes everything can just add up, both in your running life and without, to build the pressure on yourself. It’s fair to say that the first three weeks of my Abbey Dash haven’t been the greatest three weeks of running for me ever.

The first thing to start to get to me on my first week back was my form. It’s a common experience  for all runners – your last memory is being right on the top of your form, you have a few weeks or a couple of months off serious training, and then your next experience of proper training as you running a minute a mile slower, or finding certain paces a lot tougher than they used to be. The knock on effect is that I’ve been stressed about going along to running club night on a Tuesday. I hadn’t been to many sessions in the weeks between the marathon and starting training again, and it’s probably been a vicious cycle of being worried about being fast enough, and then not going, and then probably feeling slower, and so on. This worry was justified. In my first week back when I tried to run in ‘my’ group – eight, the top group – I was hanging off the back, going at maximum effort just to hold on rather than ripping the legs off the rest of the group.

On top of that we’ll had a few other things – I’ve been organising a club race which took place (very successfully!) during the second of these three weeks, work has been crazy in the run up to graduation week, and on top of that I’ve just started learning to drive again, having failed twice as a teenager and not having driven for ten years. That stress adds up pretty quickly. To fit in my running in those weeks I’ve had to be up and running early in the morning, and I’ve also had events in the evening meaning late nights. When you add to that lack of sleep other pressures, then you start to have poor sleep and rest when you get it, making your training and form worse, and then that vicious circle just starts going round and round again.

I always set myself pretty high standards, and this training block is all about the run through to hopefully a fast time at the Abbey Dash. So every day that I’ve been out for a run I’ve been worrying about how far away from that form that I am – and this all culminated at the end of the second week of the training block, with a really terrible, grim performance at the Eccup 10.

So what’s the answer? Most of the time I can dedicate a lot of my time and attention to my running, and as much as I really want to achieve the goal in November, at the moment I just can’t give running that focus. Secondly, I just need to be patient. To some extent I’m probably not on it, the stress probably isn’t making things better, but also I’m probably not quite as bad as I think I am and I just need to relax, get the sessions and the miles in, and watch the form build.

Philip Goose

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