Last week I attempted a run on my own. It was the sort of terrible that in any other circumstances would have had me shoving my trainers at the back of my wardrobe and leaving them there for the next decade or so. But being some kind of masochist, I tried again the next day. It was all shades of horribleness, moving in to realms of hell. Once again I went to the Wednesday evening coached session before I talked myself out of the running thing entirely. Once again, I loved it and was more than a little chuffed to discover that we ran for 10.5 minutes. Three weeks ago I wasn’t completely comfortable with 30 seconds! Knole Park at the end of the day adds a whole new dimension to things too:
It did confuse me though. Was I not designed to exercise on my own? Why are group runs enjoyable when solo runs are some kind of torture? I talked to the coaches and the rest of the group about their thoughts and experiences and it turns out it wasn’t just me struggling.
Our coached Saturday session wasn't about the time or the distance we were running, it was about learning to run hills (so we don't have to move to the Netherlands to continue with this) and about speed (speed wasn't for everyone. I stuck to the donkey plodding while others sped on by, and that was fine with all of us).
I put it all together when I got home and worked out where I thought it might be going wrong with my solo runs. On Sunday I got up and didn't set myself a target distance. I didn't even set myself a target route. And I stayed away from the roads, partly because I’d been told they might be contributing to the not so fun aspect and partly because, courtesy of Facebook, a friend had informed me that she’d seen me running past her house and I’m not keen for anyone to see my efforts outside of our beginners group at this point in the proceedings. Instead, I found a track through a field and followed it...over stiles, through gates, I even chatted to some horses I met (they weren’t as good at conversation as the usual group though, I have to say). I didn't panic when I got to the hills, I used the techniques we had learned the day before to get up them, and it worked! Ok, I’ll be honest. I didn’t get the whole way up the hills, but I will get there, eventually. I ended up having a brilliant time, and I actually ran for far longer than I had managed on my own before.
I think I will always prefer the group runs - having people to chat to, not having to think about my pace, where to go or if I will ever find my way home, but once again, it seems I need the collective brain of Sevenoaks Ladies Joggers to think that little bit differently to get something new to work for me. The three legged donkey is getting there…slowly :o)