‘How are you?’ seems to be the most common way to open a conversation at the moment. For runners this is often followed by, ‘How’s your running?’ Many people have been running more frequently during our time of lockdown, using it to keep their mental health in check and add routine to the days. Others have been running less, either because it feels like one pressure too many or they’re key workers and are just too tired and busy. Whichever it is, lockdown has certainly been a time for us to reflect on our running. Whether it’s how much we love it, why we aren’t enjoying it or how much we miss it. I wrote recently about my lockdown running but this has lead me on to thinking about what I can take forward as a positive to use in my future running. What have I learnt? What have I enjoyed? How is my running going to look in the future?

Here are my own personal running reflections and how I intend to use them going forwards:

  • Running everyday isn’t for me. Despite loving the idea of a running streak, it really doesn’t suit me. It’s too much for my body, things begin to niggle and hurt. It’s too much for my mind, it puts a pressure on me that I don’t need or enjoy. It also means there’s little time for other types of exercise which I know I need. Going forwards I’ll be sticking to three or four runs a week.
  • Strength work really helps. Of course I already knew this but like many runners it’s something I mean to do but don’t do consistently enough for it to make a difference! Clearly my self-motivation hasn’t been good enough. After six weeks of three or four online classes (ballet and 261 Fearless workouts) every week, my core strength has really improved and I’ve noticed the benefit in my running. I feel stronger and faster. In the future I’m determined to stick to this and will use online classes to make sure I have a commitment to fulfil.
  • I’ve not been pushing myself much. I’ve joined my 15 year old son for some of his athletics training sessions. This has involved tough interval workouts. I used to do these but had kind of got lazy, preferring not to make myself feel uncomfortable and just cruising at a chatty pace for all my runs. This has been a reminder that intervals hurt but the gains are great. I’m planning to carry on with one of these a week, trying to be realistic here.
  • I run because I love it. This might sound obvious but this time has been a reminder to me that I am a motivated runner. I don’t need clubs and races to keep me going. I used to think I needed a race target to get me out the door but I’ve realised that’s not true. I want to run because I want the sense of freedom it brings and way it makes me feel. Yes, I miss running with others and I look forward to a race at some point but I don’t need it to keep me running. This has given me confidence in my own motivation going forwards.
  • Strava is actually ok. I’ve had an account for many years but only began uploading runs a couple of weeks into lockdown. I considered it to be only really for competitive people so generally steered clear. However, for whatever reason and I’m still not sure why, I decided to take the plunge. I’ve really enjoyed the camaraderie and realised it’s only competitive if you want it to be and it’s actually really nice to give kudos to your friends when they’ve made the effort to get out and see what they’ve been up to, as well as get route ideas! I’ll be carrying on uploading my runs in the future.
  • I’ve not peaked yet! I came to running late so have been able to continue getting PBs but over the last year I haven’t made any significant gains. I guess I thought that perhaps I’d reached my best so stopped trying. This time to refocus and mix things up has really started to pay off and made me realise there is more in me than I thought. It’s given me a renewed desire to work hard at my running. Let’s see where it takes me …

What have you discovered during your lockdown running? Is it that you like to run without your watch? Is it that you can run better in the heat than you thought? Or perhaps it’s that you’ve realised just how much you miss it when you can’t do it so much? I would love you to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments or on social media.

Images: drjulietmcgrattan.com

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  1. Hello Juliet, I enjoyed reading your reflections and I like the fact that you have a new focus on performance. I like to set myself targets and my goal for this summer was to achieve 80% age grading on the track. Of course, that is all out of the window and I don’t feel certain we will even have a cross country season.
    I have found that during lockdown I don’t want to run fast and my runs often include spells of walking, particularly if I am in a nice spot. Having a routine of running in the morning has helped and I do feel better for going out.
    I’m used to running on my own, but I miss my running friends, especially at parkrun and my running club.
    I don’t know what my running will be like after this ends. Will I still want to race? I’m not sure but I will want to stay part of the running community.

    1. Thanks for reading Katie. I hope we do get a cross country season, let’s stay hopeful. It’s wonderful that running an be whatever you want and need it to be isn’t it?

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