When I first went for a run in February it had been 2 and half years since my only half marathon a lumbering 2:17 at the Royal Parks Half. I was fed up of feeling unfit it was a bright winters day and my trainers were calling me. I huffed and I puffed and I certainly wasn’t blowing any houses down. But I kept at it, I went for a few runs with my friend Lauren and then after about a month of slow running I started going to GoodGym and slowly but surely the running got easier. I was enjoying it.
Despite a injury hiccup which was a great learning experience thanks to some first class physio my progress as a runner has been swift. I have started racing and although my overall placings are amazing as of yet I am in the top 25% of runners in all my races so far.
My running journey has taught me a lot about myself a person, my body and how I can get the most from it. I truly believe switching from a vegetarian to a vegan diet has I believe been a key element in enabling me to ramp up my training, improve my pace and stay injury free.
So what has running taught me?
1) I like a little moan early into my runs: I am either too tired, I feel stiff, its the wind, I feel to cold, I got my layering wrong. There is always something bugging me, generally I start enjoying my runs at around mile 3. Which if it is a 5k means I enjoy roughly the last 200 metres.
2) I am still a competitive person: I used to play lots of football and cricket but in general life, work, business, status, I don’t consider myself competitive. But put me in a race and from the moment I get the starting line, I want to do the best I can possibly do and get as close to winning as possible.
3) Every run teaches you something: Whether you learn about your body or what is going on inside your head or your surroundings. It is the sport of natures voyeurs you always can spy something interesting happening in the nature around you.
4) I am a geek: I knew this but running has definitely reaffirmed this. I am growingly obsessed with split times and I have become very concerned with how training and my diet can squeeze extra %’s out of my running potential.
5) Running is social: I always thought of running as a solitary activity but being part of GoodGym, taking part in races and writing this blog has connected me with so many interesting people. I am making new running friends every week, their stories and training always inspires me.
6) Vegan for the win: Well the 17th place in my case currently. Anyway following a high carbohydrate low fat vegan diet has helped me lose a few extra pounds I was carrying and enabled me to recover remarkably well. I am continuing to stay injury free and improve my speed.
7) The staff in Sweatshop know nothing: If you want some decent running advice seek out ‘Runners Needs’, both the staff in the shops in Moorgate or Aldgate know their stuff.
8) A huge part of running is in the head: During a race I skip through so many scenarios from what happens if I can’t run up that hill, I panic about tripping people up, I doubt I can even get around the course. Then finally comes acceptance at around mile 3 that I am doing pretty well and this is great fun. I am still a nervy sports person, I always was when I was younger and I still take awhile to calm down.
9) I am rubbish at following training plans: I have looked at so many plans, different interval sessions, fartleks etc, I still haven’t managed to many focused sessions. My options generally are run fast or take it easy and keep things consistent. I know to progress I need to change this but for now I am happy listening to my body and just going with the flow.
10) Do what works for you: I am guilty of giving my point of view but what works for different people will be different. There is so much contradictory advice. So listen to people try things out but you can’t follow everyones advice. Just rock your own path is my advice.
As Scott Jurek wrote when I met him in October ‘You know the path follow it!”.
5k 21:04 Hackney Marsh ParkRun
10K 47:31 Greenwich Park 10k
Follow me on Twitter @damienclarkson