This sounds obvious, but I think we, or at least I, certainly can get carried away with my thoughts at times about what ifs.
After a couple of months struggling to get back to form from injury, and a race looming, its easy to start thinking about what would have been possible if I hadn’t been injured, how fast I could have gone, what I might have been able to do if the last few months had panned out differently.
But I was injured. Probably for good reason too, so in that respect I can learn from it and change my training in future to stop the same problems from recurring. Training is all one big learning curve anyway, and each year I’ve learnt more and more about what I can and can’t do, how much load and pressure I can take and what I can’t, and the warning signs you’re starting to get carried away. Preparing your body for such a barrage of ridiculous stresses is not a walk in the park, but its easy to forget this and just assume its distinctly normal to run double marathons every few weeks.
So I guess there is point number 1: injury is not a failure, its an opportunity to learn.
With a distinct lack of what I’d like to class as ‘training’ in mind, approaching T60 with the same gusto is pretty difficult. I hoped to be running a fast marathon next weekend, but without any decent running behind me this would be a pretty dangerous move; instead, I’m opting to head out for a sportive to practice suffering for a while, trying to keep up drafting the better half. It’ll still be solid few hours of lungs and legs and a good opportunity to get my gut used to eating on the move again!
Running a fast(er) marathon (not particular fast for all you whippets out there….) is not a main aim of mine. I run because I love running. I love running on trails and over mountains, so the decision to drop the road marathon in view of a better chance to go for T60 was a relatively easy one.
After a sub-par attempt at T60 last year I was super excited about going back this year and smashing it, learning from the gut issues I had last year and turning up in great shape confident I could have a good crack at the course record. So this has changed somewhat, as I’ll be going into the race with far less running in the build up to it.
But should I dwell on this? Of course not, I need to go at the race with what I’ve got. Easier said than done, but its an important point. There is no benefit wasting energy thinking about the what ifs, let alone how it affects my mood. So instead, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be doing the strength work I need to do to pull out the other side of these injuries, do what running I can, then attack the race with what I’ve got.
It’ll be a good test to see where I am. The main goal of the season is October time, so it’ll be a great opportunity to test the legs to see where we are, what foundation we’re working from, and a nice leg stretch before the world champs.
Point number 2: do the best you can do, whether you are on fire, or feel like you’re ploughing through treacle, as long as you’ve done everything you can on that given day, you can walk away with your head held high.