Running has taught me many things about life.
This weekend’s lesson running: no matter what I do, I will probably be as discontent with my health as I was when I first laced up my trainers. I realised this while signing up for Freeletics at the weekend. I had to place myself on a three tier scale. I realised that while some of you may percieve me as “definitely fit”, I would percieve myself somewhere between “not so” and “quite” fit. When I did the Edinburgh Marathon, there were at least 6000 people far fitter than me! But that I finished showed me I’m fitter than others. Simply put – my fitness is not where I would like it to be. Will I ever be content? I was content to have finished a marathon, but not content with how I finished it. I was content to get a great PR on Sunday, but I look forward to the day when I do a sub 2:00 Half Marathon.
Some of this is healthy: discontent breeds positive change. On the other hand, if I obsessed, (as I often do) about the science, nutrition, plans, pacing, getting the best out of my body in the time I have, that is unhealthy. So there is a tension between good discontent and contentment, and the question is – how to use discontent in a healthy way?
The answer is, I think, in how we choose to make those changes. Yes, I would like to be stronger than I am. Looking at my marathon training, which starts this week, helped me narrow the appropriate strength work. I need to go for functional strength. My core is useless. And I need to make a change that I can live with forever. There is no point in implementing a heavy weights program which I will only be able to utilise until week 12, would hate, and couldn’t actually fit into an already tight training schedule. Far better to take what I have and do it well and often throughout my training. The beauty of Freeletics seems to be that they are short, intense sessions. Highly achievable while your wife is watching Casualty, or after a run or bike commute. And they work. I’m still sore from Saturday’s session.
This morning I also changed my morning routine from:
coffee pot on hob, cereal in bowl, faff on facebook, pour coffee, to:
coffee pot on hob, cereal in bowl, plank, pour coffee.
Because a plank a day is doable. I don’t know whether I will do it at the weekends too. Probably not. Because I can see myself doing it five days a week, during a time I am not already using.
Likewise, instead of filling my eyes and kind with junk during my coffee I am reading at least one chapter of Scripture a day. Because one, although small, is a heck of a lot better than nothing.
I am content with my goals. I am not sure whether I will do another marathon after this – it really depends how race day goes. The training will be tough, particularly around weeks 1 through 16. But I am content with the content of the training program, which makes it a lot more manageable. That said, I am currently putting off my first pyramid treadmill session. Mean as you start to go on…