So; my first milestone is less than a week away. On Saturday morning, I will run the Cardiff Race for Life 10 km. It's not my main goal, but it is an important stepping-stone objective towards completing the half-marathon for which all this training is aimed, in October.
My training was going very well - I started running 4 times a week, including a longer run at weekends, and still managing to do other exertion-related activities, such as a 25 mile bike ride to the beach, and (almost) weekly circuits classes. However, I have found the strength of my motivation to be fairly undulating. I want to say; "like a rollercoaster"; but that implies sudden changes, speed, and much more fun..!
Early on, as I was began to pay attention to my training plan, it was very difficult to persuade myself that I a) could and b) wanted to run four times a week. After a couple weeks of persuasion from both me, and those around me, I managed to do a couple of weeks of the full amount of training that I had set myself. I thought I'd cracked it, and I was very pleased with myself.
Sadly, it was not to continue.
A number of factors have concerted to create obstacles (both actual and perceived) - some family issues, busy weekends, muscle fatigue, rubbish weather, slight illness and a less-than-ideally regimented diet (this is an ongoing concern and one that I will blog about in the future - once I figure it out!) have left me feeling a little washed out and, critically, not motivated enough to get out there and hit the road as much as I need to. I am telling myself right now that I can make all the excuses that I want: the fact is that I won't be able to do this run in the time that I wanted to. That's a bit disappointing - but failure can be more important than success in many situations, and I need to take that annoyance at myself and channel it into positive internal motivation, as I begin training for the biggie.
The positive summation of the last few weeks is: I've consistently been running longer distances at regular intervals (I've only missed one weekend run so far), my average speed is going up slightly, and coupled with the previous fact, this is even better than it seems. I have managed to overcome the internal naysayer on many runs (that niggling voice that says "you'd better just turn back now, otherwise you're going to be CRAWLING home!") . I'm already noticing the weight loss, and how the first couple of km at least feel much easier than they used to. I've really enjoyed being outside on a few of the runs, despite one run in a massive downpour, for which I was soaked to the skin for the entire 11km, and another where I inadvertently ended up splashing through very muddy puddles. So far I have managed to avoid any kind of injury - whilst parts of me niggle during runs, they are never the same parts on consecutive runs. And I've got the hang of my running watch, pretty much - which will be another post that hopefully writes itself!