2 weeks ago, as you know I ran the Loch Ness marathon and towards the end I was asking these questions. The day after, when I was struggling to walk on any surface that had a downward gradient, I was asking these same questions. Am I really a marathon runner?
In some ways I'm not built to run long distances, I'm small and quick in short bursts. My fast twitch muscles work better than my slow twitch ones. So why after 8 years of running did I end up here on my third marathon?
The "Why I run" question is a tricky one, and one I always search to find the ultimate answer. It certainly keeps anxiety in order but ultimately it gives me a purpose. I'm a runner it's what I do, when I'm serious about it, it changes the way I eat and sleep for the better and changes my life.
I've got a family I love, I work for my family, my boys are my pride and joy, but I run for me!
Running takes me away from the stresses and strains of life, I have to focus 100% on me and that's where the challenge of the marathon comes in. 26.2 miles is a long way to keep your body running, you have to intently focus on yourself, physically and phycologically you have to keep going beyond your limits and work with yourself to get to the end.
26.2 miles to me is the ultimate distance to accomplish, I couldn't go further, phycologically it would ruin me, the marathon distance is my boundary. I've learnt that, and I'm happy with that. Beyond that I have no intentions. Ultra running is definitely the latest running fad. Once an underground sport that only few endured is now becoming as mainstream as marathon running. But I've experienced running to my limits, and I know where they are.
I loved my weekend in Inverness, but I hated the training for this marathon. That's because I tried to cram it into 7 weeks after 5 months of nothing due to injury.
So after 2 weeks of reflection, I've now concluded:
I'm going to run one marathon every year, other races will consist of half marathons, a distance I enjoy to run. Did you know my run to work, which I run once a week is exactly 13.1 miles; the half marathon distance. Perfect!
I'm going to concentrate on getting some speed back into my running which seems to have deserted me since the injury, so that means getting back to Parkruns on a Saturday morning and using my lunchtime runs as well for this.
Some hilly miles over the ranges once a week will also make me a better runner.
I'm also really liking running with my new heart rate monitor. This tells me exactly how and when I should be training. We're all individual, what one persons doing is not necessary the blueprint for you to follow, but using your own heart rate as the guide is definitely what I'm going to be doing.
I'll stick to my long runs to be around the 13 - 16 mile mark for now because this keeps my base training perfect to ramp up to marathon training at any given time.
The last thing I need to master is my eating habits, I'm usually really keen on my nutrition within reason but lately the bad food temptations have been hard to resist.