The Tyranny of Training

Its all about the journey.

Its all about the journey.

I should be training for the Adidas TR24. At the end of July I am aiming to run 10 (and hopefully 12) laps of the 10km course in hilly Derbyshire. Running 62 – 74 miles in 24 hours is not something to be taken lightly and I should be training hard and be just about ready to peak and taper. unfortunately I turned and badly sprained my ankle three weeks ago and have barely run over the last month. So this is not an event I have trained for. Does it matter?

Read running magazines and you would think that training was the be-all and end-all of running. To them it seems running IS training. You pick an event and you train to do your best in it. I can see the logic in this but for me this is only one side of running and focusing on this can be to miss the bigger picture. If you run to train then you risk losing sight of the pure joy of running. Running shouldn’t just be about ticking off the miles so you can achieve a goal. Running IS the goal.

So what is the answer? I think it is to run when you want and for as long as you want and to enter events (if you want to) that match your fitness. This works as long as you are there to enjoy the event rather than to ‘race’ it. The event then is just another run, but a run with support so you can go further and a run with other people to share the experience with.

I ran 50 miles at the end of April without too much trouble and without injury. I should be able to keep going on the TR24. It wont be a performance that reveals my true potential. I could have trained more, ate better and ran in peak physical performance but I am not sure I would have enjoyed the journey so much. And to quote every hippy ever “It is all about the journey”.

My ankle is healing nicely and I am looking forward to going out and spending my saturday morning running around the countryside of East Sussex. I will go slow, I’ll walk if my ankle is sore. I will aim to be our for about 4 hours (more to let my loved ones know when to expect me than as some kind of training goal) and I will stop to look at flowers and watch the birds.

That is running. That is not training.

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3 thoughts on “The Tyranny of Training

  1. Found you via the Guardian Running Blog & I’m glad I did. As a newbie runner I completely fell foul of the running-as-training thing a little while ago. I signed up for my first half marathon (completed yesterday), got myself a 12-week Training Plan, stuck to it for a bit, failed a bit and beat myself up a bit. All of this served to suck all the joy and peace I got from running out of it completely.

    Fast forward to yesterday and I finished the half in a time which nowhere near did myself any justice, because I’d fallen out of love with running (and life had caught up with me in the shape of exams) that I really couldn’t bring myself to *train* or run at all and had to drag some miles out of myself over the preceding weeks, finding it much easier to say no than yes to a run.

    The good thing? Well I learned a lot about myself during the race and I enjoyed the majority of the experience. And there was enough about the event to remind me of the things I enjoy about running to hopefully give me enough to hang onto when I start again (tomorrow!)

    Anyway, it’s nice to read that a seasoned runner feels the same way I felt recently, While it doesn’t mean it will never happen again, at least I have some running memories to hang onto which will hopefully make the journey back to running for its own sake simpler next time.

    Witterings over, thank you for this blog

    Sarah (pairaboots)

  2. I like the idea that I am now a ‘seasoned runner’ 🙂
    I think this happens to most runners at some point. I think running may be almost unique amongst hobbies that there is an automatic implication that you are going to run to enter into events. I wonder if this happened with the increasing popularity of the London Marathon? There seems to be an asumption that running THE marathon (always THE) is the ultimate goal of every runner.
    You don’t get this with fishing, cycling, cooking or anything else that i can think of. If I spend a saturday morning baking a cake no one feels the need to ask me if I am entered into the Great British Bake Off (possibly because they tasted it).
    Hope you get your running mojo back and find some peace on the trails.

    Mark

  3. Pingback: Getting ready for the TR24 | HerbiFit

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