The Sunday long run

IT seems that miracles can happen, because yesterday I had a good long run and enjoyed it too.

Usually I spend most of the week dreading my long run. I manage to drag myself out but it’s always hard work and seems to take forever. Yesterday was different. My legs felt fresh and full of running. I breezed out of the house and was amazed at how good I felt.

On a normal day, I get half a mile down the road, before my legs feel heavy and I start feeling tired, but yesterday that feeling never came. I floated past my usual fatigue spot, and on I went. I kept thinking that I’d not be able to sustain my pace, and I’d do what I could before I got too tired and then I’d crawl home. But not once did I feel tired.

My pace was around 7.40, which is a long-run record for me (it’s usually 8.30 a mile). I even got quicker, completing ten miles in one hour 18 minutes.

running feet unsplash

On any other Sunday, I’ll stagger home, open the door and tell Chris how awful I feel and how much I hate running. Yesterday when I got home, I just felt confused about why I’d run so well.

‘I can’t believe it,’ I said. ‘I’ve had a good run.’

‘Never?’ Chris said.

‘Really good! Not sure what happened. It’s a miracle.’

‘You were due a good one,’ Chris said.

I wondered why my run had gone so well. There were two changes to my normal routine. Firstly, we’d gone to church that morning to hear the reading of our wedding banns.

‘Maybe it’s divine intervention,’ I said, thinking that I might become a church regular if that’s what it does for my running.

The second change was in my work and study routine. I’ve been busy, but things have been slightly less hectic and stressful. I decided my good run was probably a combination of feeling less exhausted and feeling very happy about our wedding.

‘It’s because you’re not as tired,’ Chris said. ‘You’ve been doing too much.’

He has a point. March and April were the busiest couple of months I’ve had for a long time, quite possibly the most hectic I’ve ever had in my life. As well as working full-time, I raced five weekends in a row, wrote a 33,000 word assignment for my master’s degree, edited a literary anthology, planned a wedding and finished a literature degree. Thank goodness my dad took over the horse care, or I would have collapsed with exhaustion.

I’d like to say managing all this work has been a doodle, but actually it’s been really difficult and stressful and overwhelming, and I never want to get into this position ever again. At times, I felt like I was trapped in an endless cycle of work, work and more work. There were days when I thought I would never get to the end. Running helped. Rather than being another thing to fit into a busy schedule, it’s been great for relaxing and de-stressing.

I’ve had to reduce my weekly mileage and train less than I was, but I’m pleased that I’ve managed to keep going. Rather than training hard to get specific times, I’ve been training just to get fresh air and clear my head. My friend said there are times in life when running can’t be a priority. This has been one of those times.

Running and blogging about running suffered. There really aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. Thankfully the end is almost in sight. I have one more assignment to write, and after yesterday’s positive run, I’m starting to think about my running goals for the rest of the year.

Our wedding is in June and, after that, I will be stepping up to the half marathon distance again. The target race is the Great Eastern Run, where I am hoping to break the 1.34 personal best I set at last year’s Great North Run.

Having a positive long run was just what I needed. The sun was shining and I felt strong. I’m hoping it’s the start of a fantastic summer of running.


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