Take care of yourself

I had an absolutely horrendous run yesterday.

And I mean awful – I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t a particularly difficult run, apart from the standard swan-dodging – I run round Roath Lake all the time. It wasn’t particularly far; I’ve definitely run further. I’d had dinner the night before, and breakfast, I wasn’t especially tired… It just wasn’t happening.

What made it worse was it wasn’t just my legs not having it – it was the most mentally demoralising run I’ve done yet. Again, I don’t know what happened! I’ve hit a bit of a wall before and turned to the ipod, put the best banging tune I can find on, and told myself come on, you’ll feel awesome when you get there.

But this time I just couldn’t do it – couldn’t get to that place where you almost forget you’re running, where you become really aware of and appreciative of your body working, but as a kind of observer. Yesterday my legs were alternately lead and jelly, I felt light-headed, and no matter how much I tried to psyche myself up again and tell myself how far round I’d already got, I just couldn’t shake myself out of it. I just kept thinking, if I can’t do this, how am I going to do the real thing?

I just wanted to cry! I felt really flat and rubbish and wobbly all day. Maybe that’s what ‘hitting a wall’ is really like, and I only thought I had before. I know it’s meant to be hard, but this was scary. It left me honestly questioning whether I can do this. And then panicking – people have sponsored me, I have to do this.

Maybe it was because I’d been doing so well up to now. I was loving it! I did a longer run last weekend, my favourite run, along the beach at home. And I absolutely smashed that, and felt on top of the world all weekend.

Rob had some good advice yesterday. While this was the first time it had really not gone to plan for me, I guess it does happen. Everyone has crap training days. You can’t smash it every time. It’s how you react to it that matters. I can’t let this put me off. I have to just take a deep breath, take a step back, and – calmly – try again next time.

He also made another good point (he’s good at that). While I was always exercising, this is a lot of exercise, a lot more regularly. For me, anyway. Maybe it’s because I know other people do a lot more I don’t tend to think of what I’m doing as that big a deal. But I have run a lot in the past 4 weeks, with only 1 or 2 days off in between. My body isn’t used to that. That was a bit of a wake up call.

I’ve always tended to put a lot of pressure on myself – when I start doing something, I want to be amazing at it from the word go. Repeat after me: you are a beginner. And that’s OK! I don’t have to be amazing straight away. I don’t have to run this 10K in under an hour, without stopping – it’s my first one! If I have to walk a bit, it’s not failing. I need to take care of myself – let myself rest properly, eat the right things, and above all stop beating myself up about it. I’ve still got three weeks to go. I’ll get there.

And when all else fails… šŸ˜‰

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