Why running is 83.6% psychological

I’M STARTING TO believe – believe in being able to complete my first half marathon in a time at least closely resembling the initially totally crazy-sounding target times from our coach. I think my first reaction to my predicted time was nervous laughter, then horror. Training has been going well; our long slow runs have been feeling relatively easy and enjoyable, and the speed sessions tough but entirely doable. But I have been really struggling to see how those two things would translate into being fast over a long distance, and so I have doubted myself on and off for weeks now. Continue reading


Running and the pursuit of perfection

RACING WAS a great experience. I felt anxious about getting there on time, nervous just before the start, unsure about where I should position myself at the start line (as it turned out, I ended up a bit too far back), and annoyed I didn’t get my GPS signal sorted in time, but as soon as we were off it was enjoyable and fun. Yes, fun. The route was hilly (“gently undulating” is a big, fat lie) and it got a little too hot for anyone’s liking, but I enjoyed every minute. Sure, some of the hills felt tough and I put everything I had left into a sprint finish, but it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. I did run very cautiously for the first half, but picked up the pace and started overtaking runner after runner, finishing in a fairly respectable time too. But it was after the race when my competitive spirit really kicked in. By the following day I was kicking myself for not running the first half of the race a little bit faster, wondering how much quicker my time could have been. And the day after that, I signed up for another 10k in just a few weeks’ time to test my fitness and a better race strategy on a flatter course, hopefully on a cooler day. Next time, I want to be faster. Continue reading

The first race – am I ready?

THE BIG RACE is in two days’ time. Not that it’s a particularly big or significant one, for many others, but for me it’s my very first one and therefore deserving of the use of CAPITAL LETTERS.

Physically, preparing to race is fairly straightforward when it’s really just your first 10k and you don’t want to get too scientific about it all. I’m trying to stay well-hydrated, do enough but not too much exercise (tennis on Tuesday, a little run today, lots of stretching tomorrow) and plan on eating porridge for breakfast and pasta for dinner for the last couple of days. Psychologically, it’s much harder. Continue reading

Why ‘no pain, no gain’ may apply in sport but not in massage

I WAS PLANNING on writing about the concept of “good pain” today, seeing as it fits in quite well with both sports and massage – certainly most of my clients are familiar with the notion. (More from their sport than my massages usually, I hasten to add!) But after this morning’s training session, I wonder if I should just write about pain…

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