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.
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!