Peaks and Troughs!
Hi and as always thanks for reading.
The last week has been a bit strange, probably best described as peaks and troughs really.
I’m starting to get some routine back into my life again which is a real positive.
Work has been frustrating this week as it looks like we are going to go through yet another restructure of the national team I am in – only a year after they did the last one. The term if it isn’t broke then why does it need fixing certainly springs to mind.
Thursday was a certainly a trough day – from the moment I woke up I just felt negative about everything and I just couldn’t snap out of it no matter what I did or said to myself. I guess I am going to have days like that on this journey and I just need to acknowledge that and get through.
The training has gone really well this week – 3 runs and I’m slowly upping the mileage (and time) which is certainly a step in the right direction. I’ve also added some core strength sessions into my training as well – this is something I never did in the past due to time and not really seeing the benefits of it (plus when I was training for triathlons I was doing a lot of swimming and cycling anyway). One of the benefits I am hoping to see is it will help prevent any injuries - this is going to be key when training for an ultra-marathon.
I’ve read some really interesting articles this week about some elite ultra-distance runners who suffer from mental health issues as well and how running helps them overcome their challenges. It made me reflect quite a lot on how I am feeling and what I am doing to overcome my own personal challenges.
Thursday I went for a run and really had to force myself out of the door – however once I got out there and started to focus on what I was doing I felt a bit better. I also ran on a slightly different route which I had never been on before which made it a bit more interesting. Also running along the sea-front on a coastal path is pretty good as well.
One of the things that has always held me back in life I feel is self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence a lot of the time. I look at certain things or situations and feel that I am not good enough. Again I feel that this is about not wanting to get out of my comfort zone at times. A lot of the time I am really hard on myself and very self-critical feeling I should be better or should be doing more – over time this begins to eat away at me and feeds on the self-doubt and self-confidence.
I’ve started to realise that training for an ultra-marathon is going to help with this. For a start the only expectations I’ve put on myself are to do the training and get to the finish line – nothing more, nothing less. I’ve run 9 marathons in the past and by trying to make a comparison to my times and my fitness levels from over 10 years ago is unrealistic so I need to focus only on what is ahead of me and not what is behind me.
By training and entering the event I am taking myself well out of my comfort zone – 26.2 miles is the furthest I’ve ever raced (or ran). In Ironman distance triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) the longest I was out on the course was 13 hours 30 minutes.
I need to look at the training differently now and setting realistic targets along the way – it isn’t just about the miles run or the time am I out training as that is only a small part of it. I need to look at diet, lifestyle, resting (and not getting frustrated with myself as I tell myself I am being lazy – which I am prone to doing), and making sure I am mentally strong as well. Being physically strong is really important but the mind quits quicker than the body. I need to be strong to be able to control the self-doubt and lack of confidence and not just whilst I train but also in the rest of my life as well.
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Richard Guy, 47 years of age, born and grew up in London and have lived in Portsmouth since 2017.