Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Taking a break

I know it's not orthodox - but then I am beginning to understand that when it comes to marathons there is no such thing as an orthodoxy - but this week, exactly a month out from my first marathon I am taking a break from running.

Some would condemn this as foolhardy, others would praise me for letting my body have a much needed rest. To be honest I don't really care what the conflicting experts have to say, I just know that for my long term love of running I have to get away from it for a few days.

When I first entered the marathon I had no clue how tough the training would be. I loved running, was up for a challenge and thought that would be enough to get me through. Well perhaps for some it would have been, but for me it fell woefully short of the mark.

In a year of pre-marathon running I was entirely injury free. I never even had a twinge. Since I started training I have injured my calf and my hip sufficiently to keep me off my feet for weeks. I also adored my runs. They were stress relievers and made me feel good about myself and the world around me. During training my runs have become something I dread and that bore the pants off me.

This is not good. I do love running and I fully intend to keep it up for as long as my body will allow me to, which is why I feel the need to step away from the pavement for a while and just forget about what lies ahead.

My husband is always ready with an 'I told you so' when I begin on a marathon moan, having always said it was a bad idea. I am not sure that he is entirely right. I had a marathon itch that had to be scratched, and I am full of hope that I will be ecstatic once it is over!

But the training has been hell. Time-consuming, boring, painful and all-encompassing. It has eaten away my free time, wreaked havoc with a body that probably wasn't ready, if it ever could be, to run such a huge distance and generally left me feeling exhausted and disheartened. I have put on weight and the careful diet I have stuck to for the past 18 months has been rocked by aching hunger pangs I just couldn't ignore.

All in all I am no poster girl for marathon running. But I am not too downhearted as despite my current bad patch I am still looking forward to the races I have lined up after the marathon, their chief attraction being that they are NOT marathons. I am dying to get back into the gym properly and have learned to appreciate how much I need a varied training programme - this woman cannot live on running alone.

So this week I have been to a class at the gym, which I throughly enjoyed and a swim, which made me realise that while I might be a bit off running right now, I like it a whole lot more than swimming. I am planning a relaxed trot for Friday - my usual long run day - and then next week I will be back with the programme, which thankfully segues neatly into a taper period the week after.

Perhaps this approach will mean that I crash and burn on the day, but I just needed a reset and to get out of my hamster on a wheel mindset. I want to love my running again and if that means I don't make it round the marathon as fast as I might have hoped, so be it. I am not going to fall out of love with running over one race.

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