Now feels like a good time for an update on here for several reasons. Firstly, it’s been ages since I have. Secondly, it’s the end of the year and so a good time to look back on the last year of running and how I have or haven’t progressed. Thirdly and lastly, things at long last seem definitely back on the right track on the running front.
When I started this blog in March this year I set myself a couple of pretty specific running targets and a general target about engaging in social media. The running side of things was very familiar and I knew exactly what I was aiming for. The social media side of things much less so. I’ve never been a keen user of the medium and didn’t really know, and still don’t know, to what end I’m engaging in it for other than to just do something which feels unnatural and unfamiliar.
Looking back on the social media side of things I’ve comfortably got used to using it and engaging with Twitter. It’s easy to use, it’s a good source of information and inspiration, and an individual post doesn’t take much time and effort to complete. It’s fair to say whilst I’ve managed to tweet pretty regularly, I haven’t posted blog updates on here anywhere near as regularly as I wanted to for various reasons. The main one being the general lack of running I’ve done, which kind of makes updating a running blog difficult and pointless. I also signed up an instagram account but at the minute I really don’t get it. I don’t get why about 100 people have chosen to follow someone (me) with just a handful of posts. Other than beautiful scenery I pass whilst running, I struggle to find much in the way of running related images to share that would be of any interest to anyone else and I also have little interest in the posts of the people I follow. Perhaps once I’m actually running outside a bit more I might start to engage with it a bit more through posting and might start to take more interest in the posts of others too.
Looking back on the running side of things it’s fair to say the year has mostly been a failure but a constructive and useful failure. I set myself a target of running a 10K in less than 40 minutes, something I’ve not done for about 10 years. I managed a time of 41:57 in June at a point where I really thought I could hit sub 40 and it all went wrong from there. I’m not going to bore myself or anyone else with the details again so to cut a long story short I got hit by injury after injury after injury and have since never got anywhere near that time again.
I could lament my bad luck and I’m sure there is a small element of bad luck at play here, in the same way that good luck had kept me injury free in the first half of the year. However, doing that would ignore everything that I had been doing wrong for so long whilst still somehow managing to get half decent results. Up to this point my approach of just running lots and lots had worked pretty well and was seeing me slowly make improvements throughout the year. However, once the rails came off due to injury, they came off good and proper and brought home just how fragile my body was.
For the past two months I’ve spent as much time carrying out strength training as I have running. I’m gradually upping the running so there will probably be a point soon where the running takes up more time than the time spent in the gym. Hopefully I’ll start to run outside more too. For all of you outside running purists I’d point out that the treadmill is a great tool for having ultimate control over how fast and far you run without fear of pulling up with injury a couple of miles from home. I’d also point out that from a point of simply efficiently fitting in a run and significant strength work into one exercise session, the treadmill is an incredibly handy option to have.
On a final note, after running for over 10 years, I finally decided to join a running club this year. I’ve always enjoyed going out for a run on my own and couldn’t really understand why people joined running clubs. I joined my local club, Morley Running Club, and then couldn’t really understand why I hadn’t done so sooner. In my defence the club has only existed for a couple of years and so the option of joining a genuinely local club hasn’t been there until relatively recently. Of all the frustrations caused by my injuries, the impact on my attendance at club runs has been the greatest. It really has been great to join a club full of local, incredibly friendly people that just love running. Then to not be able to be a part of that for months and appear to have lost interest or be a “fair weather” runner, has been incredibly frustrating and something I can’t wait to put right as soon as my body will allow it.
Looking forward to next year, I’m hoping that the strength training reaps dividends and it helps me make my own luck on the injury front. I’m hoping I can be an active member of the running club like I briefly was in the summer. I’m hoping I can run a sub 20 minute 5K and possibly a sub 40 minute 10K. Finally, I’m hoping I can actually get running and racing regularly enough to feel fully engaged with running again and make maintaining and updating this blog an easy and enjoyable way to spend my time when I’m not running.