As you could probably tell by reading my last blog post, I have begun to panic about my lack of marathon preparation. It’s been causing sleepless nights and visions of those fatal three letters; DNF. The running I was doing was purely fuelled by those feelings and was as such joyless. Putting in the miles but not enjoying any of them.
I had begun to forget the very reasons I had started running two years ago; to escape the mundane, add joy back into my life and to simply enjoy the adventure. These were put back into focus on a short, simple three mile run in the rain.
I was up in North Wales visiting family on the way to Ireland and with a little extra time in the day I decided to head out for a run. The light rain that has greeted us as we approached the Snowdonia National Park had now reached downpour category as the wind ripped angrily through the trees. I headed out with no phone and no music as I find that in those sorts of conditions the connection with the area your running through is unbeatable. I wanted to simply be. Not clouded by the distraction of the next song or the next Instagram photo to be taken. I ran down the road, towards the lakeside and as soon as the tarmac ended I was greeted by a muddy track littered with glorious puddles. I felt a joyful jolt and immediately began running through, rather than around, the deep puddles that instantly coated my legs in thick Welsh mud.
As I reached the turning back point, which was a fallen tree that blocked the path, I noticed a little pebble beach and stopped running. For five minutes in the hammering rain I skimmed pebbles and tested to see how far I could throw stones. I was doing the same thing I had done so many times before in the shadows of these mountains. I was a kid again.
Don’t get me wrong training for a marathon is hugely important but when you lose sight of the reason you started running in the first place, stop. Without the joyful rewarding of running, it can cripple any motivation to keep on with it. Take yourself back to a place you’ve had a great run before or somewhere adventurous you’ve always imagined running. Crucially, head out for a run with no aim or pace. Remove the distractions of training plans and just enjoy that feeling of being so completely free. Remember why you used to love to run and you’ll begin to love it again.
Next Race: Leighton 10 Miler