Who knew running was so hard? All those discovering a love of the activity at the thousands of Park Runs across the country never admitted that. No one said that my shins or hamstrings would hurt so much. I know I’m sounding like a hopeless whiner but you see, I’ve been a mountain biker for 30 years! What I mean by that is that I am already at a disadvantage because hours in the saddle, and never stretching after rides, have shortened my hamstring muscles. Well, that’s my excuse anyway for finding my new training regime so miserable.
So just to give this new blog a bit of context; last year, I decided to sign up for the Ultra Tour of Arran, a two-day off-road running adventure – yes that’s 60 miles trail running on the Isle of Arran, with some serious vertical gain. And whilst, I had every intention of starting my training early, committing to a training plan – I even spoke to a personal trainer I had previously used – stuff just got in the way and I now find myself less than three months away from the big day.
I’m not unfit, I’m a regular gym-goer, I go to spin classes, get out on my bike at least once a week and generally enjoy a good level of fitness. But my friends are rather shocked at my lack of progress and are seriously doubting my going through with it – all of which, to be honest, is just spurring me on, only if to prove them wrong.
But my problem is, I confess, I just don’t like running. It bores me. I also have a pile of excuses for not starting a run. Grabbing my mountain bike for an hour or two is much more appealing.
So, my second run of the year was a six-mile circuit in Bromsgrove, orchestrated by my mate – a keen runner for 15 years – and a fellow newbie runner who has signed up for a marathon later this year. I did it, and in not a bad time, but was acutely aware it was a fraction of what I’ve got to do in April. I fear a steep learning curve over the coming weeks.
My first run was four miles in the Wyre Forest, so fire roads, some off-road tracks, and some hills. The trouble is, as a frequent rider in the forest, I was seeing the running trail through the lens of a cyclist, thinking where I would turn, brake and jump.
I need to get into the mindset of a runner, address the boredom levels and get out there. At the moment, I’m just hoping my sheer stubbornness, and my ultra-competitive nature will see me through the pain.