I finished this book by Alexandra Heminsley on Sunday morning. I bought it for myself on Friday – it seems I might have a book buying problem , but that's probably one I can live with.
I bought the book to try and motivate my running self, the one who struggles to throw back the covers every morning I have a run scheduled, who dilly dallys while I should be tying up my trainers and has to check twitter just once more before I launch the running app.
It's been a struggle friends, it really has. Embracing running has been hard this season, I'm just not feeling it at all. Of the 400plus miles I've run in the last 18 months the last 50 have been tedious, painful and have lacked of any sense of achievement.
I signed up for a 10k a few months ago to give me some motivation to train, something to aim for. And while I haven't been following a strict training plan (first mistake) I have been putting in three runs a week consistently to get ready. Only I don't feel ready, at all, I feel less ready than I did when I was stuffing my face with Celebrations in January.
Training for a shorter distance means shorter training runs which seemed beneficial until I realised that it takes me at least two miles to warm up – and by warm up I mean mentally bypass the urge to JUST STOP every ten paces, so on a three mile run I'm home without ever hitting my stride and feeling like a failure.
I really needed to incorporate some speed training, I know I do but I just don't know if I can do it myself. Without someone, preferably with a shouty voice to put some fire in my belly, barking orders at me. I just can't be bothered to race between lamposts, not to mention I feel self conscious enough without looking like I'm in an imaginary 100m dash against 4 year olds (my average pace matches Brodie's, I'm quite sure)
Back to Sunday morning, while the lovely husband took the kids to the supermarket, I nipped back under the covers to finish the last couple of pages of the book. It's a great book it made me laugh and had tears swelling in my eyes several times and prompted me to add San Francisco marathon to my bucket list but it didn't propel me out of the door damn it. It didn't make those 5 miles any easier. My legs felt heavy and swollen, my tummy jiggly and the constant tension in my shoulders remained.
Running for an hour takes a lot of energy, mental energy. The longer it takes you to cover the distance the longer you have to keep the mental game going, to override the urge to stop, to allow your body to settle into a rhythm. I kind of blame this book, physiologically I know I'm capable of running for a long time – we all are – but what I really want to do is run faster. Both for prideful reasons and because the faster I can cover the distance the less time I have to battle my brain.
I can work on my fitness, do some fartlek, training but in reality the only way I can move much faster is to have less of me to move. I am acutely aware as I pound the pavements (literally) that the extra weight I'm carrying (about a Brodie's worth) is the reason it's so, so hard.
And running three times a week isn't enough to melt fat away. I'm a scientist at heart, I know calorie restriction is the only way to get the result I want. But it seems insurmountable. Combining, kids, house, garden, work, box sets, running and dieting is too much. One step too much.
I lost weight last year easily, running and breastfeeding meant I didn't have to try very hard at all. But now I do, I just need to re frame my thinking, get in the right frame of mind and actually pay attention to the energy value of what I'm eating. Urrgh it's just so boringly obvious. What goes in has to be less than what goes out.
So as I look forward to the next Great Scottish Run (sign up, come with me, please!) I want to make sure that I give myself a fighting chance. Shed the monkey on my back and look forward. For the first time in my life I want to lose weight so I can run faster, how bizarre. Not to look good in clothes, although that would be nice, not least for the people who I regularly pass on runs while dressed in Lycra, but for practical reasons. Reality sucks. I feel so sorry for Frank Lampard – and he's not even fat.