Okay, so I hold my hands up.. I have slacked majorly with my weekly training updates. I have no real excuse apart from the fact that life got in the way, work was busy, I have other stuff I have been trying to deal with and to be honest it has felt so up & down there have just been times I haven’t really wanted to write about it. BUT, I want this blog to be open and honest, I don’t just want to share the good stuff, so here goes.. a little over view of the last 5 weeks.
Looking back as a whole, you could say that the last 5 weeks has been a success. I raced the St Valentines 30k back in February, got a huge course PB and finished 1st Female. I raced well in two tough Cross Country races, and then last week I ran The Big Half and although I didn’t get my original goal, I did get a PB (81.31) in tough conditions and off the back of a tough week (more mentally, rather than physically) So I get it, what have I got to moan about? It’s hard to explain, and although I have raced well, everything in between has just felt a bit crap. I have struggled in multiple sessions, missed runs and then just this weekend came down with a cold, which is always a sign I have overdone it.
If I am being completely honest with myself, and with you guys. I think I need a break.
2018 was a HUGE year for me. I ran 3 marathons, and consecutively got a PB at each one. I also raced a lot in between, and didn’t really give myself any down time. And on top of that I set up my own business & moved to London. And I think its finally all catching up with me.
I have also recently shared my diagnosis and journey to getting my periods back and being told I have RED-S which I think has had a bigger effect on me that I first realised.
For the first time, in a very long time, running is feeling like an effort. And I am finding myself slipping back into old self destructing habits. Social media can be amazing at times, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities it has given me and the people it has bought into my life. But recently I have found myself almost actively looking for things that I know are going to make me feel bad (stupid right?!) Comparing myself to those that are faster than me, leaner than me, obsessing over what mileage other people are doing and then getting angry that I am unable to run as far or as quick without completely breaking myself. And then on top of that, I then feel guilty. As I know that people probably look at what I am doing and feel the same. And then it just becomes a vicious circle of anger, guilt and sadness.
Marathon training is hard work. And anyone that says any different is lying. Don’t get me wrong, I love having a plan and structure to my week, and I love the feeling of working hard to achieve my goals. But this is my 4th consecutive year of marathon training, and it has been by far the most emotionally and mentally draining. London Marathon is still my goal, and I have 6 weeks left to work hard and give it my all on race day. But after that… I have already decided I am giving myself some time off, and not just the first few days after the race. I need a proper break. Not working towards anything, not racing for PBs, just pressure free running before the training for New York Marathon begins later in the Summer.
Thankfully, this week I am getting a break away in the sun as I head out to Cyprus on Thursday to pace the Limassol Half Marathon – and I cannot bloody wait! I am going to use it as my reset – lots of beach runs, lots of relaxing & just getting some sunshine. And the cherry on the cake will be hopefully helping lots of people get their PBs on Sunday! I am hoping it will be just what I need, and I will come back refreshed and ready to tackle the last few weeks of marathon training.
If you are currently training for a marathon, and finding it tough, please remember that you are not alone! Running should be something we do because we enjoy it & love it, and it certainly shouldn’t be something that causes us to feel stressed & unhappy (which is something I am having to tell myself a lot at the moment!) And if you are feeling like this, it may be that you need a break too. Are you booking race after race? Constantly training with no down time in between? If so just remember that not only is this a massive physical strain on your body, but just as much mentally. You may not notice it straight away, but trust me.. it will catch up with you if you don’t look after yourself and give yourself a chance to recover.
There we have it – from the outside it may look like its all PBs and smiles, but remember you don’t always know the full story behind the little squares we see on Instagram. So as always, be kind, and if you think someone is struggling, reach out, as they may just need someone to ask if they are okay.