Sorry Sir

No this is not about school or being told off. No, hang on it is about being told off. I have for over a year been seeing a physio and very good he is too. The exercises he’s given me I try to do but my job often gets in the way and being a runner then running over physio will come first.

If I do have a spare 30 minutes then running 4 miles is more important to me than spending time working on my core or doing the strengthening exercises he has shown me.  The trouble is over the past month I have been really busy. Not like the usual busy of not being bothered to get out of bed or leave the house but really non stop working busy. So busy in fact that I have had very little time for running and the time I have had I did not feel up to it.

The issue is that come Friday I have another appointment and I am as stiff as a plank of wood. He already complains about the long distances I do as apparently it is bad for you. Well if loosing over 3 stone in weight and feeling good and beating PB’s upon PB’s and having a good night sleep is bad for you then I have been reading the wrong information.

The trouble is my time is so short at the moment that I have not been doing any real cool downs and I am now paying the price. My legs, while they don’t ache are tight and I can feel this as I run and today I even tried to stretch some important bits but failed as I realised I would be spending a good fifteen minutes on each calve muscle just to levitate some of the tightness, I would have to spend a lot longer to really give it a good stretch.

So the end result is Dom is going to shake his head and tell me that this is what long distance running does. What really annoys me is that I started the year and have improved in my flexibility so much I have almost been able to touch my toes but judging my hamstring stretch today all that work has been run out of my legs so to speak.

So with the thought of Friday looming and the facing Dom and one of his lectures about why running is bad for you… I need to spend an evening with my stick and foam roller to iron out all those knots. I don’t know why I bother as I am only going to go to the gym tomorrow for some hill and speed work on the treadmill which will end up undoing all my good work.

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How Lonely is the Long Distance Runner?

Wow, that’s a question. I have yet to read the book or see the film that goes by the same title. Well goes by the title of ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ and while this is not going to be a rip off or even an interpretation of what Alan Sillitoe wrote it is going to be an examination into the world and mind-set of runners.

Everyone knows were a funny lot. People come in from the cold wrapped up to the nines with gloves, coats, hats they turn the heating on full blast and comment how icy and freezing it is and it has started snowing. Or they comment that the rain is hammering down so much it is bouncing. With this weather report you can guarantee that if there is a runner in close proximity then they will grab their trainers and be off for a run. Even the very name we take pride in. ‘Were runners’ I picked a parcel up the other day before going for a run and because of this I had my Liverpool Half T-Shirt on. The Post Office official commented and asked if I was going for a ‘jog’ before I could reply she had apologised and corrected herself with the word ‘Run’ ‘You don’t jog do you? You run, you’re a runner I’m a runner’ While the words ‘jog’ and ‘run’ don’t bother me I know in the fraternity of our sport anyone who takes it seriously is a runner.

Yes we are crazy, we know that. We run because we enjoy the freedom, buzz, energy and maybe the solitude and boy is there a lot of that. I am at the moment after hitting ‘Publish’ going to lace up the shoes and be on my way for a good 90 minutes running where the only company will be that of my own and for people who know me that is not always enjoyable.

But at the same time there is a community and camaraderie between runners. As we run and see other runners we wave, nod, even go as far to say ‘Hi’ if we can mange wasting our precious breath on speaking. As we go into running shops we talk about times, races, routes. At the start and end of races we chat and laugh. On route we sometimes talk and laugh, if people stubble we ask if they are okay, we offer water and energy gels around but while all of this is happening we are also in our zone. Running our own race on our path to a hopeful PB or course record.

So how lonely is running. Is the Long distance runner alone on the field, starving off the exhaustion with only his or her thoughts for company. When I ran my first Marathon I have never felt so alone yet there were hundreds of people around me running as one. The crowds were calling my name and cheering us all on but yet I was running my own race my own route.

The mind set of running is strange. We are a big family, large support and only a runner will be able to understand or comprehend an other. Our community is large and extensive we welcome new members to the fold but yet when we run we run on our own with our own thoughts and goals and I’m not going to lie Manchester Marathon saw me almost throw in the towel as my body began to shut down. Every movement required a strong conscious effort to move. As my legs filled with concrete and my head dropped I thought I was going to die out on the field and then the realisation that I wasn’t alone helped to bring me back to the land of living.

But in training you don’t have the luxury of crowd support or fellow runners and part of the training is becoming strong, telling your mind you are strong enough to keep running. Running is a solo sport, hobby, ambition, lifestyle. You will only ever understand a runer if you become one and even then you will never understand how every individual feels as he crosses the line after 26.2 miles or comes in from a 20 mile run on a Sunday morning.

That is where the true loneliness happens. Not being able to share your relief and joy of long distance running, not being able to explain your thoughts and feelings as you picked up pace, tackled the hill, popped a gel cause you thought it was the right time. Everything about running is personal to you and to you alone which in itself is a nice thought.