The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
On the whole I agree with Benjamin Franklin. If things aren’t going right, switch it up and try a different way. I will, however, make an exception to this rule when it comes to running. Don’t get me wrong, variety in training is key to making progress, but so is consistency and repetition. When it comes to running, I am of the opinion that if you don’t like something, you should do it again. And again.
When I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon (Run to the Beat 2011!) I swore “never again“. My friends and family reminded me of this as I continued to run another 8 half marathons in the following 18 months, bagging myself a shiny PB of 1:44 in one of my favourite races ever, the Amsterdam half, and whilst doing so telling anyone who would listen how great running is. I would now consider 13.1 “my distance” – I love half marathons.
Why did I swear “never again”? Because it was hard. Really hard. But of course it was hard! I’d never done that to my body before, but doing it to it again (and again!) helped me grow in ways I never imagined possible.
Similarly, when I crossed the finish line of the Brighton Marathon in April this year I swore “never again“. It was hard. Really really hard. I’d struggled with the training process as a whole, adjusting to the training volume in the coldest, longest winter of recent years, and felt that one marathon was enough for me. Unsurprisingly though, within days of the marathon I was looking for my next. Yes, it was hard, but I’d survived. What could I do in my next one, now armed with the knowledge that I am capable?
With this in mind, I have decided to run two more marathons. Two. I have been lucky enough to score a ballot entry to the London Marathon 2014 (running the same VLM as Mo Farah!) and so I have made this my ‘A’ race. I am also lucky enough to be spending six months in Dubai, and so I will also be running the Dubai Marathon in January, because it would be rude not to add it to my international medal collection. A fellow UK secondee, Chloe, expressed interest in running the Dubai Marathon (her first!) and so I said I would join her. No pressure on time, just the two of us, side by side, beating the heat and running the miles. My ‘B’ race.
There is method in my madness. As I said, my first half marathon was hard because I’d never done it before, but now I love the distance. My first full marathon was also hard because, well, I’d never done it before. The way I see it, if I get up to marathon mileage by January then I have between January and April to recover, maintain and improve, before hitting London and (hopefully) having an awesome race. Physically and mentally prepared and ready to sail round with a smile on my face. Because the more I do it, the easier it’ll get. right? I’m also hoping that spending six months training in the Dubai heat will boost my endurance, but we’ll have to see about that…!
In 2014 I’ll be doing the same thing over and expecting different results. Insanity? No. Because if you find running hard…just run more.