Fitting in the running

Of all the different things I do on a day off, running is one of the most challenging things to fit in. Running doesn't take very long in itself – I'll usually run for between half an hour and an hour – but the tiredness it inflicts on me afterwards can wipe me out for much longer.


I've been running for two years, and am growing in confidence all the time. Recently I have started to have the confidence to say “long distance running really isn't for me”. For many people – I would go so far as to say for most runners I know – long distances are what they enjoy, and are maybe even the point of running. So many runners have a marathon or an ultra as their ultimate running goal. But I just don't have that desire. Above all I love running as fast as I can – and for anything much longer than 5k, it becomes more about holding back for most of the race and then picking up pace towards the end. I don't enjoy that; I'd rather run fast for the whole distance.


And then there's the tiredness. An energetic half hour run will leave me tired for several hours, but a run of an hour or more will absolutely wipe me out. I'll definitely need a nap when I get home, and then I will spend the rest of the day weary and listless. That seems such a waste on a precious day off!

Yesterday I ran in my first 10k race. I wasn't particularly looking forward to it, as you can tell from my dubious expression in the picture above, and the weather was really far too hot for racing. I spent the race thinking about distance and tiredness, and how running has to be so carefully fitted in to my days off. When I finished the race I was so very glad it was over. A small part of me though was also very pleased I'd entered, as I had finally convinced myself that 5k and 1500m are the best race distances for me, and fit in better with the way I work and relax.


Tomorrow I start a batch of three nightshifts. Nightshifts are where running really comes in handy. If I go for a hard run in the morning before I go to bed, I can absolutely guarantee a good day's sleep afterwards. It also helps me feel like I've done something other than just work and sleep, which is generally how nightshifts leave me feeling.


So tomorrow – if it's not too hot – I will get up at 6am, have a quick cup of tea and then head up to the forest or to the Olympic Park for a run. When I get back I'll eat a big, hearty, healthy breakfast (my other guaranteed method of sleeping well during the day), have a long soak in the bath with magazine or two, and then go back to bed for the rest of the day. Doesn't sound too bad, does it!

The Olympic Park at about 7:30am yesterday - shortly before my race

2 thoughts on “Fitting in the running

  1. running has definitely improved my sleep issues…and I always have a sense of euphoria after finishing a run, no matter how much distance I’ve travelled. Well done on the 10k!


  2. I’m not currently a runner but have enjoyed hearing about your experiences. When I did run I also preferred shorter, faster distances.I’m pleased it helps you to sleep after a night shift.


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