At the Start Line

Starting LineI’ve been a runner all my life, it is one of the ways I would describe myself.

That is not to say I have been running all my life, I haven’t. In fact I’ve sometimes gone long spells without running – years in some cases – but I always come back to it. I think it has simply been a case of not having enough time for it in my life at certain periods.

I can kind of trace it all back to my childhood, where we were always running around, playing football and were basically outside most of the time.
At school I was pretty reasonable – generally top 3 or 4 for my class or year. I remember one instance where I had forgot my trainers for PE, so the PE teacher just sent me out in my shorts, top and school shoes (brogues) – that would probably be classed as abuse these days.

Towards the end of school I kinda gave up for a bit until a year or so later I joined the army, where I basically ran at least 2 or 3 times every week most of the 11 years I was in.

Since I left in ’96 I have run on and off for a year or two at a time, competed a few races at 10K, 10 mile, Half Marathon and a really nice 16 mile XC that I’ve done 3 times now (Coombe Gibbet to Overton). I’ve done the Reading Half Marathon, the Aberfeldy Half Marathon (which is like a bloody roller coaster) and the Great North Run. In the end each running spell would end with me skipping a few sessions to finish or focus on something else for a bit and then 2 weeks would become 2 months and trying to find time to get started again would be too hard.

Things were a bit easier before the kids, when I had a lot more time on my hands – but I have now a good solid strategy in place, so sticking with it should be much easier…

About a year ago, reflecting on why I kept stopping for large periods, I identified time as the key factor. Unless I consciously allocated time for it then it typically ended up with me having to put something else on hold (family time, work, other personal projects), and that meant it just wasn’t sustainable long term.
This time around I looked at what I could realistically give up to make time for running. The fact is there was nothing really, other than sleep…

So, I know that to make time for running, I have to give up on a little bit of sleep (i.e. get up earlier and do steady/tempo/recovery work), and also make better use of my other idle time – like when I’m waiting for the kids at their swimming lessons (30 minute speed sessions) and at French lessons (recovery).
I find the getting up at 5am for a 2 hour run before work worth the sacrifice, same with foregoing my weekend lay-in so I can get a 2-3 hour long run in.

.. and that is how I got here .. to my start line .. the first day of the rest of my running career.

It is working well – I’ve been going about a year or so this time around, upped my mileage and am looking to do my first marathon and my first ultra this year. Will it work – I don’t know – why not follow this blog and find out.


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