Knowing and Listening to the Difference Between What the Body and Mind Tells You.

With over 20 years of running under my belt I like to think this qualifies me as an experienced runner, but this doesn’t mean racing decisions are easier for me to make.

It’s so easy to plan your race calendar, enter races and start a training schedule, especially in the New Year when your bubbling with enthusiasm for an exciting season of racing. New challenges, new goals, this is what gives us motivation and focus.

The longer the run up to races the increased likelihood of experiencing setbacks, testing your strength and commitment. These often include niggles, injuries, holidays, increased work pressures, illness etc. It turns out I’m not super human (which I’m most gutted about 😉) and I’ve been beaten down by a nasty case of gastroenteritis. I’m pretty sure this came from a kids swimming pool I plunged into after a long run so blaming the kids entirely! Sickness never comes at a good time, but a week before race day and 6 weeks before the London Marathon it certainly doesn’t put a smile on my face.

A few days of illness and forced rest I accept and can cope with but now, 7 days in, I’m fed up, over analysing my B.R.A.T (Banana, Rice, Apple, Toast) food choices, I’m irritable and weak. Today the stairs in the house are causing a nasty lactic burn in my legs. I panic…I’m losing my fitness, those weeks of training are under attack, I’m being melodramatic, but I don’t care. It’s hard not to be discouraged, self-doubt creeps in and your mind starts to mess with your head. Now is not a time for negative thoughts, it’s wasted energy and let’s face it I don’t have any going spare.

Each day comes with fresh hope, only for it to be thrown back in my face. So, again I plan by day forward planning, knowing exactly where the public toilets are located. Showing little signs of improvement, it’s time to give my first big race of season some serious thought. DO I….

A – Go do it? Get to the start, soak up the atmosphere along with 15,000 other runners, plod around and treat it as a training run, if I can manage that. Maybe without my GPS, now where’s a thought. However, fully aware of my delated glycogen stores with a week of toast and little else not really a wise move.

B – Go and support? Can one still get an adrenaline rush encouraging others?! Maybe bedrest would be more beneficial right now? Am I overthinking this…YES?

C – Start listening and trusting my body, it’s time to REST. Terrible runs are never fun, but they do happen. They should not be used to judge your worth as a person or as a runner. Learn from them and move on.

It’s C, a DNS (did not start). In my opinion better than trying, failing and getting a DNF (did not finish). Your body is only ever truthful, it’s our minds that lead us astray. Obviously, I’m disappointed but thankfully I still have my A race to focus on. London awaits….