Running for me

If you’re a runner, by that, I mean you go out and run regularly, no matter how far or fast. You will know that everybody has their own reasons to run. For some time now, since COVID-19, I have struggled to motivate myself because all my races have been postponed. Sounds like a bit of a lame excuse maybe, but the loss of motivation was not a conscious choice, just a result that I experienced. I have been battling this by registering for virtual races but tbh, they really have not motivated me!

After some time doing some unhelpful comparing myself to other runners it becomes clear that, while I will probably never stop doing that because I am just a bit competitive (!), that I need to ensure I keep it healthy. I went through a stage of having a lot of negative thoughts about myself and self-doubt.

How to stop myself having those negative thoughts and self doubt, I’m not quite certain just yet but I am starting with the title of this post and just running for me. Not for a race, not to compete (even in my own head) with others, just to enjoy the running and the feeling I get after a run.

From a practical perspective, to help me with this, I am going to revert back to my training plan which is focused on running 80% of the time in Power Zone 2.

This forces me to slow down. It seems odd to do this but I have seen performance improvements since taking up this strategy.

It is often really difficult to run slow and of course all the metrics go the wrong way in every app (presumably because they expect you to be trying your hardest to run your fastest all the time?) that I have.

But it feels better, and as I say, I have already seen big performance improvements. The other part of this is that if I know I am sticking to my plan, I won’t care when I see other runners on strava running much faster than me! While some people actively mock my 11 minute+ miles, I know I am doing it for a reason so screw them!

I also have to remember that I am a ‘big bloke running’, I am in my 50’s and a cancer survivor which still impacts my day to day life with constant pain, and so I need to sometimes just cut myself a little slack and be kind to myself (just a bit of self coaching here!).

On a separate subject, maybe I can ask for some advice from you?!

I have noticed in my data something that I can’t explain.

Sometimes my heart rate falls if I run faster!

I can’t explain it when combined with any other metric. I first thought it must be hills, but that didn’t tally, then I thought well maybe my running form was better when I run faster but none of my other metrics (cadence, GCT, vertical oscillation, leg spring stiffness, power, temperature) seem to align. While of course some of these do look slightly better as you may expect, my heart rate can drop from the 180’s to the 140’s! I also often note that on those same runs, the run feels easier.

So I was wondering if other runners see this or not? It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s becoming more regular. I was wondering if it is a result of my slowly improving VO2 max, would that make sense?

Let me know your thoughts, and thanks in advance!