Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all

I signed up for the Brixton 10k using a discount in the Black Friday sale – one of the few things I bought in the sale. With a cheap entry fee and a nice easy walk to the start line, I thought it would be a good way to kick off the year.

Last month I did a 10k in Regent’s Park and felt really crap afterwards as I didn’t do very well. And then I got sick, for what felt like forever. I’m still snotty. It’s really frustrating.

The race start was at 9.30, so I planned to leave at 8.45 and stroll over. At 8.30 I told myself I’d jog over at 9am.

But by 8.45, I wasn’t dressed and I wasn’t feeling sure.

I decided I didn’t want to do it.

I didn’t want to go, be slow because I’m still ill and then feel annoyed with myself.

I didn’t want to go, be slow and then feel anxious about the next race I did.

I didn’t want to go and then have a bad stomach.

So even though it felt weird, and wrong, and wasteful, I didn’t go.

There will be lots more races, when I feel ready and fitter and healthier. I don’t like to quit things just because I won’t do well… but what’s the point of putting yourself through something that has absolutely no positive effect? The only reason I wanted to still do it was so that I wouldn’t be able to call myself a quitter. But not doing one 10k doesn’t make you a quitter – perhaps I’m a strategic decision maker instead?

I went for a run later in the day and my stomach was really bad and I had to lie on the floor for a bit when I got home. Definitely the right call.

Marathon training – week 4

Monday – I never normally do a recovery run but thought I’d give it a go. Turns out running is so much easier than walking, and the run to work was the easiest bit of the day! I wore my new trail shoes (for my entirely road route to work) and they’re very comfy for less than a tenner. 4.8km.

Tuesday – felt pretty gloomy about the race at the weekend and investigated joining a running club. My legs were still sore but I ran home from work with no dramas. 4.7km.

Wednesday – I planned to do a longer run to work but slept badly and couldn’t get motivated to leave the house. Instead I decided to try out my new shoes on my normal commute. My feet cramped a little between 2-3km but were fine by the time I got to work and the shoes feel pretty comfy. I stopped off at Waitrose to get a coffee and the coffee machine gave me steamed milk instead, which I only noticed when I’d left. 4.8km.

Thursday – no running.

Friday – no running.

Saturday – for the first time in ages I went to parkrun. Since I moved back to London I’ve only been to the one that’s easy walking distance from my house, but there are loads of others nearby, including a new one at Tooting Common. In the end I went to Dulwich as I know the setup (bike parking, etc) well. It was so cold that my face hurt while running but I set a parkrun PB, which was nice – and then went home to eat pancakes, which was even nicer! 5k.

Sunday – two years ago I did a 10k in the park, organised by the local athletics club, and it rolled around again this year. Walking to a race start line is such a treat, and there were less than 100 runners (a big difference to the week before at Cambridge Half, with over 5,000 people finishing!). 10k in the park is three laps, and each lap includes the hill at the back of the park, and I felt a bit daunted. I set off steadily but lost time each lap. Amusingly, on the hill there were some men doing community service in orange jumpsuits, and they heckled us as we ran past. They’d gone on a break by the third lap when I could have done with some extra encouragement! It was less cold than Saturday and there were loads of great dogs out in the park, and at the finish line we each got a medal, tshirt, water and a banana, so it was all round a good little race. I finished over three minutes faster than when I did it two years ago, which felt rewarding. 12.4km in total (though about going for a run in the evening but didn’t – probably need to adjust my training plan).

Total: 31.7km

Total in training plan: 53km