It’s nothing personal


I was up and out running this morning before anyone really noticed. I returned 13 miles later and nobody particularly cared.


My children don’t really know about the time before I ran: miserable, overweight, unfit, hopeless. I’m pleased that running has become something so unexceptional that they see it as normal. Perhaps, one day, they too will run because it’s the normal thing to do. It never bothers me that they hardly notice that I’ve been out. It’s nothing personal.

And yet, of course, running is entirely personal. We have our own reasons and our own motivations. Or at least we should have our own reasons; rarely have I met a runner who is doing it solely for someone else. Marathon training seems to be an exercise in continuing to focus on these reasons. I coach and mentor a lot of people (not in running, alas) and the reasons why people want to achieve a particular goal are always interesting – at least they are once they’ve finally been revealed. It can take a while to finally enable people to articulate why they want to do something. The more coherent the ‘why’, the more definitive the ‘why’, the greater chance of them being successful because they have a solid mental framework within which to locate their efforts. Success is always personal and it’s always an inside job.

All of this I’ve thinking about at various points this week. I’ve run 53 miles. Most of these have been really easy, some of them have been steady, a couple have been a bit quicker. It’s still very much the foundation stage of training which really does allow us time to think and ponder why we’re doing it. My ‘why’ is simple: I want to improve over the distance. There’s a ‘why behind the why’ (there always is!): I want to prove to myself that at 46 I can continue to step away from the wreckage that was once my mental and physical health. There are other ‘whys’ there too, but I’ll save those for another blog if you don’t mind. It’s nothing personal.

Lots of easy running…lots of time to think about why

Next week it’s more of the same. The long run will be about 14 miles and the session will be 5 x 2 minutes. It’s nothing too hard, nothing too taxing at this stage. The mini-session I did this week was 3 x 2 minutes and it hurt towards the end. I could get frustrated that this was the sort of thing that I could do in my sleep at the start of the year; but that’s life and injury, that’s lockdown and illness.

Besides, it’s nothing personal!

Week three: 53 miles

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