The Groove


It’s SPRING! Time to get motivated again.

I don’t bounce back after a long race. Something in my psyche tells me I deserve a break, time to recover, relax and generally not do any exercise. So, three weeks after the last big event, it really should not be a surprise that I’m flagging after 5K and can’t find the motivation to get back into the groove. But I am surprised. I’m outraged and pissed off and generally berating myself for not being able to run 15km at the drop of a hat.

And therein lies the rub. The first thing I am learning, (and it is all new to me as I was the antithesis of sporty at school) is that its all about consistency for me. Fitness is a fickle beast, you have to catch her and she’ll elude you. Turn your back for a few weeks and she’s out of sight, having a bit of a laugh as you huff and puff up a pathetically small hill. The training has to be consistent.

This became really clear for me on my run this evening with Stella in tow. She’s not been out as much as I would like due to the fact she’s approaching 7 and the dog gurus suggest you start winding down the mileage as they approach ‘middle age’.  She’s usually very well trained on the lead when we run. But, given a few weeks off the lead, she’s not having any of it. Wrapping herself (and me) around lampposts, tugging at the lead – it look a good 4km to get her back into that groove. She remembers, it just takes a good bit of discipline and metaphorical kick up the ass to jolt back in.

The second thing that struck me today around 5km is, that voice, that one that says, ‘stay on the sofa, you’re really tired and you have had a long day’ is not your friend. Its the same voice that says things like, ‘have another piece of cake’ when you’ve had three. I remember this voice well when I was trying to quit smoking. ‘Stop tomorrow, you’re really stressed at the moment’ or ‘one cigarette won’t kill you, you’ve really cut down recently, you deserve another lung full of tar’. Not. Your. Friend.

Quite the opposite. That voice wants you sluggish, tired, depressed and alone on your sofa watching reruns of QVC. Don’t get me wrong, we all have our nasty habits, after all vices are just virtues taken to the extreme.We all need a good dose of a vice like anger to tell us when we’ve had a boundary crossed. Otherwise we’d be doormats. Its when it turns to Rage that its dangerous. Or the occasional over indulgence, keeps us from being too smug or self righteous. Abusing it is a different story. And equally a bit of lazing around on rest days IS good for you. Its getting the balance that’s tricky.

To do that, the other voice has to get louder. You know the one. The one that says, in the case of my battle with the smoking, ‘enough is enough’. The one that says, ‘I can do one more mile’ and the one that says ‘I’m going to go out in my lycra and rock this route’ . It doesn’t listen to the paranoid self deprecating nitpicking telling you your ass is maybe a bit too large for those shorts. So it is. So what. Take that. I’m going anyway.

My guess is that listening to that other voice, no matter how much you want the extra hour lie in, that extra piece of cheesecake, or the opportunity to just spend three hours on Twitter (guilty!) and then consistently acting on it, some how starts to balance out the negative one. And something magic happens, it stops being so hard. You look forward to those few hours a week when its just you and the pavement, rather than a chore, you start upping the anti, you achieve a few goals, you complete a few races. And you’re hooked. But this habit is building you up, not breaking you down.

And the dog gets a good work out too. Even if her owner is a new-age zen hippy. Winners all round.

Coach Stella Post Run AKA my own personal feet heater

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