matthewpennell.com
A blog of acquiescent temper, miscellaneous opinions, and uncertain vote

Monday, 23 December 2019

A couple of things I came across recently—a video about what it’s like to actually run at a 2-hour marathon pace, and the novel Once a Runner by John L Parker Jr—have given me cause to rethink my own attitude towards running.

For the last year or two, since recovering from a long injury that kept me off my feet (at least as far as running goes), I’ve not been running competitively. In the past, I would enter at least a couple of races per year—half-marathons usually, plus the occasional 10k and our local village charity race—but when I returned to regular running I decided that I would stop ‘training’, and instead stick to a simple routine where I didn’t need to care about my pace or mileage. During my new schedule of bi-weekly runs, I would constantly tell myself that “speed doesn’t matter” and “you’re not in a race” whenever my body would try to step up the effort. I tried hard not to fall into a pattern of trying to beat my own previous pace.

Lately, though, I’m starting to think that perhaps that desire, to find out just how fast you can go if you really try, is an unavoidable part of running, and I should just embrace that innate need to go faster and to be better. I know I want to run in the 2021 Amsterdam marathon, and I have a target time, so why not do what I can to help my body go faster? Hell, I’m already faster than I was ten years ago.

I know that I don’t want to go the whole hog, counting calories and obsessing over high-protein recipes, but I think taking some aspects of my chosen form of exercise a little more seriously might pay dividends.