It’s now two straight weeks since I was struck down by the man-plague and although I’m well and truly out of the woods it’s left me with a ripping chest cough and pathetic levels of stamina. More importantly it drained my willpower to the point where it’s been 15 days since I last put on a pair of running shoes.
But yesterday in a balmy 14 degrees of sunshine I broke the spell. It was only a three miler (Chiltern Miles I call them; with hills) and there was some persuasion involved (Mrs G almost pushed me out of the door!) but it felt good to get out in the fresh air again and the time was OK (31 mins) albeit far from a PB for that loop.
You hear people talk about motivation a lot and getting out after an illness is a challenge for sure. But out I got. So what is it that makes us do this; where does motivation come from? What is the running “buzz” and can it work for other things?
I started running four years ago and it still surprises me how extreme the fluctuations in running motivation can be. Two weeks of flu without a run and you feel like a non-runner. You convince yourself you’re a loser. I’m too old. It’s raining. I have no time. I’ll do it tomorrow. Maybe I should just give it up. What’s it for after all? I’ve run marathons, half marathons even a double marathon; what have I got to prove?
Even slow and sporadic runners like me get a “buzz” from running. But the buzz comes when you’re running and after you’ve run, not when you’re feeling low or looking out of the window at the driving rain. That’s when the buzz is hard to spot. But The buzz is like a memory; it’s something you know and will never un-know. You can bottle it and recall it like a heady perfume, or a stunning panoramic view from a sunlit hilltop. It can come from beating a hill or improving a time but it can come from overcoming a dark mood or an illness too.
The positive effects of the buzz live in harmony with the negative effects of sitting too long on your arse. Too much of one and you start to feel like a bit of the other (if you get my drift). You just have to remember it and the rest (putting on the shoes and getting out) comes a lot easier.