Running to slow down

I ran this morning, and this post started to take shape while I was out, particularly as I had to take a break to walk in the middle. I've started it a few times in the last couple of weeks (generally after a run!!) but can never quite articulate what it is that's on my mind. I think the crux of it is there's a really valuable lesson for me in running, and in allowing myself to slow down and take a break if I need to. I tend to push myself, hard, and be extremely self critical, particularly when I perceive that I'm taking a backwards step in progress, or not trying hard enough. When I'm running, it's so easy for that negative voice to pop up, and remind me of all the many and varying reasons why the run isn't going to work out - I'm tired, I have a stitch, there's a pain in my foot, I'm bored, I'm too hot, I'm too cold, I look ridiculous etc etc etc. The list is endless. If I listen to this, I cannot run. So I have to try and tune it out. I've started trying to break it down into little sections when I feel tired - just run to the next lamp post - ok, I've made it to the lamp post, now lets see if I can get to the wall - and so on. I also have to tell myself that I can do it, which is very much an alien concept to me. But, what's been absolutely wonderful the last few times I've gone out, is that I actually have been able to tell myself that I can do it. I've been able to gently encourage myself to get to the next section of wall, or bend or whatever it is I'm aiming for. I'm acknowledging that while I want to believe I'm tired and need to walk, what I actually might be is a little bored of running, so I need to stop thinking about it and look around me for a few minutes instead.

I'm lucky in that I live in such an incredibly beautiful place. I can run by the river, through the bog, and look at the hills in the distance.

Part of my route this morning
I have plenty to distract me from Bitchface if I feel that way inclined. Increasingly the last few days, it's been getting easier to shut out that negative voice. I mentioned earliert that I had to walk for a couple of minutes, and was tempted to be disappointed about it. That would have been such a triumph for Bitchface! Another failure to add to the list. But do you know what? I'm not disappointed. I'm just starting out, and I cannot expect to be consistently better every time I go out. I've started running regularly, and I'm also back practising yoga, which means my legs are a little tired. And that's ok!!

This morning was significant for me on two levels. From a purely fitness point of view, I covered the distance that I set out to cover, despite tiredness, so even though I walked, it's still an achievement and better than had I stayed in bed. But more importantly, there was a mental win. Three weeks ago, I would have been raging at myself for walking. I would have come home frustrated, angry, disappointed, and probably given up on the whole idea of running. But today? Today I can see that allowing myself to take a break when I needed it was a good thing. Instead of berating myself for stopping, I walked, then got myself going again, and managed to keep going till I got home. I came back into the house happy, and feeling like I had already achieved something with my day. I looked after myself, physically and emotionally. If I can apply this to running, then maybe, just maybe, it will start to spill over into other areas of my life. That is very, very much worth the effort.

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