In the seemingly 11,488 days of Covid-19 lockdown we have been forcibly given time away from finish lines and finish time goals. Time perhaps to reflect, reassess and maybe even reset how you train and ultimately how you look at running.
For me it has been an opportunity to rediscover my ‘why’ when it comes to running but also a time to reflect on how and why I engage with the wider running world; like this blog, my social media consumption, the brands I work with and the community as a whole once this lockdown is finally unlocked.
With Snowdonia and now Berlin Marathon being cancelled I have made peace with the fact that I probably will not cross a finish line for the rest of 2020 and that might be a good thing. I am no longer being dragged forward in my running by simply training for that next race. Because of that my running right now is fuelled by exactly what fuelled it at the very start of my running adventure; the simple and pure enjoyment it brings to my life. I have typed thousands of words in tribute on this blog about the mental health benefits running has had for me and yet in the haze of overseas marathons, brand collaborations and constantly seeking out that next big adventure I lost that clarity; I lost my why.
But due to Covid-19 there is no perfection to pursue, no competition to beat and no podium to climb. There is only you, your own thoughts and the purity of running. It is within this void that I have rediscovered my love of running again and with it my why.
Why I run was always simple; to see where running can take me both physically and mentally, to push beyond the self-made limitations. It is why I got up out of that sofa at 20 stone on that dark, seemingly inescapable night to start this running adventure. It has taken me across the world and given me true mental stability for the first time in my life. During lockdown I obviously could no longer travel but the mental health benefits of running have been a painful reminder during this time. This period of stationary self-reflection has stripped back all the noise around running; all the hashtags, drama and porterloos to this silent beating core.
In this time of reflection I have also realised that I need to get better at telling the stories I want to tell on here. While I love Instagram and the ability to mico-blog on there, this blog is and always will be the beating heart of my story telling. So going forward I might not write about every race I do. My inability to write about every race, churning out pieces because I feel I have to, causes a huge creative block. It is something I didn’t realised but it is why it took me almost six months to write about Marathon des Sables. Not because I didn’t want to, the pieces I wrote about it are some of my proudest, but having such a huge task cast a shadow over my creativity and writers block ensued. I wrote about nothing else during that period because of the pressure I put upon myself to create. Perhaps that is why I am so much more creative during this period; no weekends to fill with running events, no excuses not to create and more time spent thinking rather than doing.
So while I long for that incomparable surge of emotions that comes from a start line, I am strangely glad of this time to breathe in the silence and check the route I wish to run forward.