My break from running lasted much longer than it should have for a number of reasons:
- I was too proud of my old pace. I didn't want to "return to racing" so much slower than when I stopped.
- I had forgotten what I enjoyed most about running.
The truth is that I never enjoyed the racing side of running. What I enjoyed was the challenge. I found a challenging training session with friends much more fun than a 3 miles cross-country run around a field. The cross-country race isn't challenging. I know I am never going to win and it is not the sort of event to get a PB in.
Road races like a 10K were more fun. I enjoyed the challenge of getting a PB. Even though no course was the same, the times were much more comparable to each other. The races I enjoyed the most were the fell races, or ones like the 7 hills of Edinburgh. These ones were much more of a challenge. While I was trying to get around as fast as possible, I wasn't really racing in the same sense. It was challenging enough just to finish.
One week, in November 2021, I was cycling through Calendar park and came across a group running in the opposite direction. It was at this point I remembered what I actually enjoyed the most about running - the training with others. I enjoyed the nighttime training sessions, working as hard as I could with a group of other mad folk who also gave up their comfortable evenings to run around a park, or around the streets.
I looked around for local running groups and found the RTC warriors. The warriors are an unofficial training group. The group consists of a Facebook page and a Strava 'club'. On Monday night, the locations and times of the following week's training sessions get posted. Then, if you want to, you turn up at the appropriate location and run.
Having been running with them for over six months now, I can see my progress and that I am getting back into decent shape. Still haven't managed to get under 20 mins for a 5K, but it is only time. I know I will manage it.
Last Sunday I did something I hadn't done in nearly 12 years, I safety pinned a number to my top and ran a race.
I had entered the 7 hills of Edinburgh again - 14 years after I last did it. Last time it nearly broke me. I remember getting cramp in both my legs as I tried to run across the grass beside Holyrood Palace on my way to the finish at Calton hill. I hobbled back up - finishing, but not particularly enjoying things. This year... well, that is probably best kept to another post.
The main thing is I am running consistently again, and really enjoying it. It turns out I really struggle with running on my own, I need to be part of group training sessions. And I am really glad to be a 'member' of the RTC WarriorsGo Top