Tag Archives: Running Training

Getting Back Out On The Road Again.

Copy of I Never Want To Run A Marathon... And That’s Okay (4)

Happy Sunday all! It’s been a little while since I’ve been blogging, it’s definitely been a busy few months for all the right reasons and while we’re currently (at the time of writing) in a crisis of the Coronavirus, I wanted to talk about something I’ve been working on recently to distract myself and that’s getting back into running (again!) and if you haven’t read my “2020: The Year of Running?” I’d recommend reading that first.

Towards the very very end of the year last year, I was on a roll with the running and on New Year’s Day, Scott and I went out for a lovely run to one of our local parks and it was great. I didn’t care about the time at this point, we were just glad to be out for a run. However… that’s where it stopped for a while. That’s the thing about the dark mornings and the dark evenings; you might be the type of person who can get motivated during these times but for me, it’s a time that can get me quite down especially after a day of work and I couldn’t think of anything less appealing than going to the gym or out for a run. (However, I love going to the gym, but getting myself out for a run was much harder)

So initially, I was training for the Craic 10K race that takes place on St. Patrick’s Day every year in Belfast. However, due to the Coronavirus, many races like these have been cancelled or postponed until a later date. It wasn’t something that shocked me because of course, it’s the right thing to do but I was aware that there was a high possibility of this happening. 

The next postponed date in June gives me quite a lot of time to improve my timings which I think will give me an aim for the next few months. I’m 100% confident that I can run the distance because I’ve done it before (and if I wasn’t confident, I know that would be about the mindset rather than the physical challenge).

For the meantime, we have no other races booked because we don’t know what position the country will be in over the next few weeks or next few months.

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I’ve started running on the treadmill more recently than I ever have before. I tend to get bored on the treadmill but I find that I get intimidated by outside sometimes; I would make excuses to run with Scott but in all honesty, I was worried about not being able to run the length of myself. While I was trying to get out of my own head, I found the treadmill in the gym really helpful because even though I wasn’t going a full 5K distance, I was still pushing myself and working out my perfect pace, so I was still doing the work. 

Our most recent run went really well in fact; we ran 8K (or five mile) altogether and only stopped twice. Scott and I normally walk for about ten minutes or so before we start our run, to give our bodies time to warm up, we’ve found it’s a perfect warm up tactic for us. 

It started off at a slower pace but we had talked about not worrying about the time, the distance was more important. You have to choose one or the other when you’re getting back into running, so, because we were originally preparing for the 10K race, that’s why we choose distance. I was really surprised how clear my head was; if you’ve read previous blog posts of mine, you’ll know that mindset is a huge barrier for me and if I’m not in the mood to workout, I CAN NOT push it.

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We ran down one of our favourite routes that goes towards the water and we were absolutely fine until we got to the park where the beach is partially exposed. That’s when we discovered that some families have no consideration for anyone but themselves. As a runner, walker and cyclist, I’m very aware that we all need to be aware of our surroundings. I let others runners run past me, if a cyclist is behind me and I don’t realise until late, I instantly move out of the way. If there is a large family, I try my best to give them room but I get frustrated when a family take up an entire path and I believe that’s where my limit ends. It ended up putting me off my run a little and it was frustrating. I know now that we need to take another part of the route next time to make sure that doesn’t happen again but if we’re all more aware of our surroundings, then it will make everyone’s journey a much happier place. (Rant over right?)

Apart from that one issue, I was happy with the run. We did over the 5K distance that I wanted to do, my breathing was fine throughout the majority of it and I was so pleased that my head let me go further than I originally thought. Our time was 1 hour and 5 minutes and while I wasn’t concentrating on time, it’s hard not to reflect back on what you used to do. 

IMG-20180902-WA0010-01.jpeg(Our old race numbers from a few years ago!)

I was talking to someone about this on Instagram this week about my mindset when it comes to running. It’s hard not to reflect on what you used to do; my fastest 10K was 1 hour and 4 minutes so for a 8K to have a slower time, it can have an effect on me but I’ve found it really important to be present in my runs and I know the more I run, the faster I will be. That’s how I originally became faster; my first ever 5K was 40 minutes and it got down to 30 minutes and 2 seconds and all that was because of hard work and consistency. I also have to think about where I was in my life at that point, I wasn’t particular happy in my job at that point and I used it as a distraction, whereas now I’m very happy with so many elements in my life that part of me doesn’t mind that I’m slower, because I’m now a lot happier.

I’m currently working on what my running goals are going to be, now that I’m getting back out there more often. Whether I will post them on the blog publicly, I haven’t decided yet. Thank you so much as always for reading today’s post and if you have any tips or advice surrounding this, you can let me know over on my usual Twitter and Instagram social channels. Have a great week! 🌻

2020: The Year Of Running?

Copy of I Never Want To Run A Marathon... And That’s Okay (1)

Aah running, it’s always been such a balancing act for me; I love it because I can see instant progress but I hate the way it makes me feel sometimes. Thankfully I don’t get too much of the latter anymore. Today’s post however is talking about my first run back a few weeks ago, how I felt and what changes I’ll be making to move forward with my running goals.

In a previous post about how last year (2019) wasn’t my best year of running (which I’ll link here) I talked all about why I thought it wasn’t the best year in terms of my running and what went wrong. I had an incredible 2019 for the most part but it was just that my fitness wasn’t at its best like it should have been.
Getting ready for that first run again was tough, not in the sense that I had no idea what to expect but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run at all. I didn’t know whether I could run 100m never mind one mile, and I had been putting it off for a couple of weeks. Scott would suggest that we go for a run, and I would quickly suggest the gym instead, but I always knew in the back of my mind that running was more important to him, and I felt bad. I felt bad that I was more than likely, holding him back from doing what he loved, because I couldn’t get past my worry.

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Starting that first run back was better than expected; I was able to run 5K without stopping and I didn’t think I would be able to do that for at least the first few runs. I was incredibly proud of myself because I had been so worried for weeks that I would never be able to run again. When you say it out loud, it sounds ridiculous, right? I stopped running on a regular basis and now all of a sudden, I feel like I’m never going to be able to run again.
There are so many quotes about not thinking about the past and living in the present, that this one in particular seems perfect for what I’m trying to explain: “If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.” Thinking about how you used to be (especially when you were at your best) can be emotional at times and it can actually put you off pursuing something (like I did for quite a few weeks).
In anything, when you have built a skill and you feel like you have to start over again, it can be difficult. You never know if you’re going to get back to that stage again and it can be even harder going back to square one and doing all the leg work. For me, it was all about speed; when I first began running, I was at a 45 minute 5K and then my best was 30:02 (yes, two seconds off 30 minutes!) and now I’m at around 38 minutes. Sure, it’s not forty five but it’s not close to my absolute best. I would say that was the hardest part of getting back into a running routine again; knowing that I wasn’t going to be as fast and having to deal with that, whether I was okay with it or not.. When you haven’t ran consistently in just under a year, what can you really expect? It’s like anything really; if you learn a language for a year and then stop for nine months, it’s going to take a while to get back into again.

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I can tell you about how I felt getting back into running again and how I’m not happy with having to start very close to the beginning again, but what changes do I need to make? Am I going to make running a priority again? Am I going to make a plan?
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts about how to start budgeting (which you can read right here), I talked about having a “why” and while we’re not talking about money in this post today, the subject is still relatable. It’s important to have a “why” and especially for your goals (whatever they may be) because if you don’t, you’ll simply be less motivated to move forward with them and failure will be more likely. In order to make something a priority, you need to assess your time, your why and where you would like to move further with it in the future.
For me, running and overall physical fitness is a priority for me, so it’s important to me to make sure I look at what time I do have and when I can fit my goals into my time. I work a normal 9-5 schedule which I absolutely love, but I get tired very easily. I don’t have a chronic disease and having someone close to me that has one, I can only imagine what someone goes through with that type of illness. I have always had a sense of tiredness since my early teenage years and it’s always something that has stayed with me. Having no solution can be difficult but I know that so many other people have it worse than me, and it’s something I do have to remember.
I know that scheduling two runs during the week and a slightly longer run at the weekend will be the starting point for Scott and I, and we may substitute a run for a gym session but it’s equally as important to improve our overall fitness and not just our cardiovascular health. We’re also planning on signing up to a few races over the year too, because then that will help us aim for slightly larger goals, whether that is distance or speed.

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As always, thank you for taking the time to read today’s post and if you have anything similar that you think would make an interesting read, you can leave it down below in the comments, over on my Twitter or my Instagram. Have a lovely week!

2019 Wasn’t My Running Year But That’s Okay.

Copy of I Never Want To Run A Marathon... And That’s Okay

It’s safe to say that sometimes we’re not always on our game; whether that’s for a day, a few weeks, a few months or even a year and that’s how I have felt this year with running. I want to deep dive today into why I think that is and why ultimately, it’s okay to have those moments.

I normally try and be pretty honest about my emotions because if you know me in real life, you know it’s very hard for me to hide how I feel. I have resting bitch face that can not be hidden and because I am so sensitive, that often shows itself very fast too. When it comes to most activities, I have to be careful on how I push myself. If you read one of my firsts posts about running (linked here), I talked about feeling horrible before, during and after a run because I wasn’t in the right headspace before and it was actually made worse going out for that run. I’m all for the benefits of exercise and the endorphins, and if that works for you, that’s perfect but for some of us, it doesn’t and that’s okay too. If I stress myself out too much, it tends to affect everything around me including my fitness amongst other things so I’ve learned over time that sometimes when I’m stressed, it’s like a domino effect and one of the first priorities that is affected, is my fitness.

IMG-20171110-WA0005-01.jpeg(My first ever 10K was “dress like you’re going to a wedding” theme and running in tights and a dress was definitely something new!)

Scott and I have dropped out of a number of races this year; one was in Canada and I was devastated over it but it wasn’t a lack of training that stopped us and that’s why I don’t feel terrible about it. I had an accident the day before the day and I had really hurt myself; I described it as belly flopping the ground when I tripped walking across a road. I have never been in so much pain in all my life and it does still affect me to this day so while I hate the fact that I couldn’t run the next day, it would have been impossible.

The other races were simply due to lack of training and not running enough beforehand. We have signed up for one or two 10K’s and one 10 mile race which I actually blogged about (which is linked here) and that one was the biggest disappointment for me. I had built it up in my head but when it came down to it, I didn’t put in the work and I was left with a decision; do I try and run and potentially hurt myself or do I not run, lose the money but understand the reason why I didn’t do it. I made the right decision completely and I’m still gutted that I didn’t do it, but there will always be other races and it’s not something I want to make myself feel guilty about forever.

IMG-20180620-WA0004-01.jpeg(Back when I set my 10K personal best at the Lisburn 10K in 2018)

2018 was such a fantastic running year for me and I couldn’t be prouder of that despite having a few iffy months emotionally so while I really don’t like the fact that I wasn’t as good this year as I was last year, that’s totally okay. If we’re really being honest, it actually gives me the drive to be even better next year. I know that we don’t have to wait until Monday or the start of the month to start our goals but I’m making an exception with this one. Sure, I’m still going to be running the rest of the year as much as I can, but the real work begins in January. I’m working towards the longer distances, my timings are going to be much faster and I’m going to set myself challenges along the way which will be as motivating as they were back in 2018.

Thank you so much for giving this post a few minutes of your time, it really means a lot to me. If you have any related content you’d like to share (because I love reading other’s running experience) please let me know either down in the comments or over on my Instagram or Twitter. Have a great week! 

Taking On My Biggest Challenge Yet: Ten Mile Race.

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It’s been a while since I posted about an upcoming race isn’t it? Well, that’s what I’ll be talking about in today’s post and it’s my biggest challenge yet! *cue the sweats* 

If you’ve been a reader of the blog for a while, you’ll know that I have been absolutely in love with running and other times, I’ve found myself at a low point with it. I also talked recently about my running confidence (which I’ll link you to here) so when they tell you that running isn’t linear, it’s one hundred percent true. I’ve been feeling more motivated with my running recently when I set myself a challenge of running twenty miles in June and July, and I smashed that goal. I’m very aware that for a runner, that is a very small goal but what I think is more important is that I start small and work my way up. For example, in August and September, I’m aiming for twenty-five miles. Again, slow but simple steps. 

I realise the irony in that last paragraph when I talk about small steps and taking it easy when I’ve just signed up for a ten-mile race that takes place in less than two months. Yes, two months! To give a little more context; I have ran nine miles twice; both times were last year, once in May and once in October so I know I have the physically capability to do it, but it’s just the mental capability I will need to battle with now. I told myself I needed a challenge; I had wanted to train for a half marathon but not necessarily sign up for one but thirteen miles just seemed far too much for the later stages of this year. When I came across ten miles, I knew that was something that I was going to have to work hard for but in the few months, I knew I could do it. With the motivation I have been getting back recently with running; I knew that if I kept that up while increasing my mileage and building my speed back up again, I would be fine. It’s that initial stage of those first thoughts, “Okay, so how do I get my head in the right space for running this distance?” 

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The race itself is the Armagh 10 Mile and 4 Mile Fun Run challenge that takes place on Sunday 13th October that starts and finishes at the Navan Centre in Armagh. It’s actually the 20th anniversary of this race this year so I’m sure it’ll be exciting to be a part of that celebration as a whole. I’ll be running it with Scott as always, so I’ll have company with me if I hit a mental block (but fingers crossed I won’t, with the right training). If you fancy reading more about it (and potentially signing up to it) I’ll leave it linked here. 

My plan is over the next few weeks to keep the blog updated with my training runs, how I’m feeling, about the highs and lows, and the overall build up to the race. I’m genuinely so nervous so if you have any tips or advice for me, I’d absolutely love to hear them either down below in the comments, over on my Twitter or on my Instagram. Thank you so much for reading, I really do appreciate it! 

I Never Want To Run A Marathon… And That’s Okay.

I Never Want To Run A Marathon... And That’s Okay (1)

How often do you read or hear about someone training for a marathon and think to yourself, I would love to be able to run a marathon. It’s a thought I had before I began running, but it’s something over time that I haven’t been keen on and that’s what I wanted to break down in today’s post. 

Now, don’t get me wrong; choosing to run a marathon is absolutely incredible and it’s such a time and body commitment to do so. I am in awe of anyone who completes or even trains for such a distance and I know for me, the time does not matter in this situation. If it took you four hours or twenty-four hours, I would still be as impressed no matter what. Originally, my boyfriend got me into running and I’m so thankful that he did, because it’s amazing what it can do for you, physically and mentally. When I was being consistent, I was in the best shape of my life both with my body, and I can’t wait to get back there. He’s a runner and has been for quite a few years and he’s in the double digits of marathons now, which I think is absolutely incredible. I went to see him finish at his last marathon and I couldn’t have been prouder if I tried; he was disappointed in himself time wise but he just ran a marathon! I had seen the work he had put in beforehand and it was so lovely to see it all come together at the end. He absolutely loves running and he loves the build-up to a marathon and he has my upmost respect for that. 

IMG-20180908-WA0013-01.jpeg(Scott and I after the Larne 10K with our medals!)

Ever since I started running, and I’ve spoken about this before, I have a real mental struggle and from others I have spoken to, it seems like I’m not the only one. It seems very normal for runners to doubt themselves, to have a bad run, to want to stop when they’ve just started; so I know that this isn’t just me. I obviously take into consideration my mental health issues, and I’m always very careful of that because I know how I feel if I push myself too much. That’s where the real line is for me; I’m not sure I could push myself mentally for twentysix miles, no matter how hard I trained. I truly believe that if I trained for it, I could physically do it, but mentally is something I can never expect to get to. You can see that as giving up on myself before I even start, but I don’t see it as that at all. I’m taking care of myself first and foremost and while it would be such a huge achievement, I worry about what the cost would be. Would I suddenly hate running? Would I have pushed myself too far that I wouldn’t be able to take another step outside to go for a run? That’s not something I’m willing to risk and that’s okay, because I’ve made that decision for me. 

However, I have been thinking over the past six months, if a half marathon is within my reach. Thirteen miles seems a lot more achievable than twenty six, and since I have hit the nine mile marker twice back in 2018, I know I can run further than my usual 5K or 10K distance. I have it in me, and of course that came with a lot of training and build up which I would be willing to put the work into again. I spoke recently in my “I Lost My Running Confidence… But I’m Getting It Back” post that my timings have went down, I’m not running as much and I really have lost a lot of confidence when it comes to running, but again, I’m willing to work on that again. So while I won’t ever promise to compete in a half marathon, I know I could do it if I was to put the time and effort into it but equally, being okay with not putting pressure on myself if it was too much.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post, hopefully it sparked a thought or two around an alternative view point. Let me know your thoughts and if you have read or wrote similar posts to this, please let me know either in the comments, on my Instagram or on my Twitter. Have a great day! ☀️

Mo Running (2018) Race.

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As with most of my races, I love posting about them on the blog so today’s blog is about my most recent race with Mo Running that took place at Stormont in Belfast. 

If you read my post about the Mo Running race last month, you’ll know that I kindly got asked to take part to cover it on the blog. Having done it two years ago, I was thrilled to be asked again because running posts are one of my favourites to write about. This time however, I decided to go for the 10K rather than the 5K, because I had been used to 10K distances. 

Scott and I were doing the race together which is always lovely to have someone with you while racing, so we were training in the gym as well as getting out on the odd run together. In the middle of October however, I acquired an injury in my foot when I went on a longer distance run. I was so proud of the run but it came with consequences. My foot was really painful to walk on for weeks and we narrowed it down to my trainers being past their “best before” date and it was impacting my foot. Unfortunately, I was out from running for over a month and with a 10K coming up, I was worried about the lack of training. There was clearly nothing I could do about it and thankfully Scott was very nice and bought me new trainers for when I was able to run. We continued to go to the gym though, so I wasn’t completely out, but walking was pretty painful. 

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The day before the race was wanted to see where we would be running; Scott has ran up and down Stormont many times but I have only ever walked it. We thought it would be a great idea to go to the Stormont parkrun on the Saturday morning to see where part of the route would take us. I didn’t expect it to be quite a trail run, because I’ve never done anything like that before so it was a new experience for me. I really loved that particular parkrun and even though it’s a little further than our local one, we’re hoping to keep it up for a while. This run on the Saturday morning was the first time I had ran in over a month and while it might seem odd to run the day before, I wasn’t willing to go into a 10K race without having run beforehand.  

Before the race, I posted on my Instagram stories that we made the decision to change from the 10K to the 5K. This was because my foot started to play up again and I had hurt my hip from the run the day before. We think my hip acted up because it was my right foot that was sore so the left hip was taking the impact from that. These things happen of course to every runner but I was very disappointed having to go down to the lower distance. I’ve learned since becoming a runner that your health and body comes before your pride, always!

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The day itself was really fantastic, there was a good turnout despite the cold weather and there was a great atmosphere. Three races were taking place on the day; the Mini, 5K and the 10K. The mini one happened at around 9:30am, 5K at 10:00am and 10K at around 10:10am. It was quite accessible for the get-go, the grass was pretty wet so I was worried about slipping down the hill to registration but it was grand. We were able to change over the distance very easily and I was so glad that it wasn’t a hassle for the team because I would have felt terrible.  

My foot and hip was getting worse towards the start of the race and I was starting to think would I not be able to run but I told myself I didn’t have a choice in the matter. Ten seconds after we start, my shoe lace becomes undone and I thought “is this what’s to come?” It didn’t hold me back too much but it was a little annoying because we had JUST started. We had to run up part of Stormont hill and I didn’t find it too challenging, it was more about taking smaller steps like Scott has told me but I eventually got into the rhythm of the smaller steps.

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Having grown up in Dundonald, I didn’t live too far from Stormont Park but I had never been through the trails around it. I don’t know why but I soon discovered that there were hills longer and steeper than the one up to Parliament Buildings. It was then when I was thankfully that we changed to the 5K because if I had have known we had to run up them again, I would have cried. Lack of training is a huge factor in this but it also give me the momentum to start running through more trail areas rather on my regular clear paths. Of course, being around the Autumn season with the wet weather and the leaves being on the ground, it’s important to keep a look out on the ground at all times because a fall can be too common without even realising it. 

For the rest of the run, I generally felt okay. My hips weren’t giving me much bother and I was really surprised by it. My foot was still quite sore but when you’re putting weight on it, it’s not that big of a surprise. What I was really surprised about what the variety in the route; we had the long clear hill at the beginning, the twisty trails in the middle and then we were able to run down the hill at the end. It was quite different to the route we had ran the previous day but I still really enjoyed it. I was exhausted by the end but I know that that was the lack of training that I wasn’t able to control. 

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I finished with a time of 37:07 which is in no way my best time, far from it in fact but I’ve had a massive mindset change when it comes to judging myself with timings. I was still injured and I still ran, and that’s the most important thing to me at the end of the day. I know I’m capable of being faster and I do plan to be at some point.  

I had such a great time and thank you so much to the Mo Running team for inviting me along to take part along with Scott, we can’t wait to do it next year (and actually do the 10K this time!) Thank you for reading today’s post, I really do appreciate it! 

Is Tracking Every Single Run Important?

As a runner, I’m always looking to progress with my personal bests, whether that is in time or in distance but what happens when it starts to consume you. How important is your timing when you run and should we always be tracking our runs? That’s what I’ll be discussing in today’s post. 

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Before I begin, I have to say I am all for looking at your times during and after your run. I wrote a post recently about “Why I’m No Long Counting My Steps” and if you read that post, you’ll know that not hitting my steps made me feel bad about myself despite the fact that I am an active person, but not hitting those steps put a dampener on that. That started to happen when I started tracking my runs too but because I wanted to progress, I knew that I couldn’t simply stop tracking them. 

When I first started running, I was very focused on simply running because I didn’t have a lot of experience with before and it wasn’t as easy as “just running”. It took a lot of mental and physical energy out of me, much more than I was ever expecting so I was happy enough for a while pushing myself. Once I realised that I could run 5K, that’s when I started to look at the numbers more in depth. If I didn’t get to the same time as last time, and if I wasn’t faster, I became disappointed despite feeling like it was a great run. I became obsessed with being better and while I believe it is important to do better yourself, I think you know yourself when you’ve pushed it too far. 

IMG-20180908-WA0013-01.jpeg(Scott and I at our most recent race, the Larne 10K)

When I didn’t get a “good time” by my own standards, I started to doubt whether I was a good runner. I wrote a post a few months ago about “Becoming Comfortable With Calling Myself A Runner” and it’s exactly what it says on the tin. I had a big problem with timing and I started to doubt whether I was a runner, if I was getting these “low standards” times and often, it was really hard to deal with. It even made me not want to run because I was scared that I would get another “bad” time, and if I was doing that, then what was the point in running? I’m very competitive with myself and it was so foreign to me just to run with no expectations. I kept asking myself what would that achieve? 

What does your time matter? 

If you’re preparing for a race or you’re hoping to become faster or run further, then one hundred percent I believe you should track your run. Depending on what equipment and application you use, you’ll be able to see your splits and how your body reacted to going up on incline or speeding up down a hill, to name a few examples. Those will be very good lessons on learning how to deal with pacing in the future; I often find that I go up hills too fast and over time with the help of my boyfriend, I’ve learned that going slower up hills may not be ideal for time but my body can cope with running longer if I have gone slower during the hard part. 

When does your time not matter? 

Your time doesn’t matter if you’re just running to run. Simple as, if you’re using it as another form of exercise or you’re looking for something to get you outside, then I really don’t believe time should be your biggest worry. 

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(For reference, I use Strava for my running. It’s great with working out my splits and I find it to be accurate most of the time. Ever since I downloaded the app almost a year ago, it’s only not connected up twice which was frustrating at the time, but for a free app, it’s not too bad. You can get a premium version too, it comes with some great features though.) 

Running has become a very lovable hobby and I can see why many runners say it is a love hate relationship; you love it when it’s over but during it when you feel like you mentally can’t go on, you hate it. It’s something that does get easier thankfully but we still have our bad days as well as our good days.  

Looking back at how I used to think shows me how far I have come in terms of my mindset because no matter what time you get, you are still a runner and you shouldn’t be discouraged by your time. It still happens to me and you’ll probably find it happens to every runner, I find that it doesn’t affect me as much as when I first began. 

Thank you so much for reading today’s post. I’d be really interested in hearing from other runners if they have been through this dilemma before and how they have worked through it so if you have any links, send them through to me over on my Twitter or my Instagram.