The rhythm of my weekends revolves around running. Sometimes that might mean pre-race nerves, pre-race meals, post-race drinks. Mostly it just means Saturday morning track sessions, Sunday morning long runs. With no races imminent, and therefore no self-imposed ‘pressure’ to be on good form, both are at their most relaxed and fun. Track sessions are social – ok, so there’s a limit to my conversational ability at 600m rep pace, but in the warm up, the recoveries and the cool down there is plenty of time to gossip, catch up, talk race plans and even – gasp! – talk about non-running things. Then the cafe after for tea and cake, of course.
Sundays are solitary. I almost always do my long runs alone – recently, to the accompaniment of audiobooks (suggestions for good ones below, please!). There’s a certain pace that’s required for this – anything too fast and I lose track of the plot, find I’ve skipped big sections and have to go back later and fill them in. But at relaxed, pace-doesn’t-matter speed, they are perfect. Except, of course, if they involve something particularly funny or particularly sad. Not sure who looks more mad – the runner chuckling to themselves or the runner wiping away a tear.
The point of all this is that someone asked me the other day (apropos the parkrun story) why I run so much. It wasn’t your classic “don’t know why you do that, you’ll bugger your joints/knees/hips” (delete as appropriate) incomprehension, just a query as to why I run virtually every day. “Wouldn’t you gain more from swapping an easy run for a class or something?”. Maybe, yes. But my head needs to run as much as – no, much more than, my body does. And for me, every different run of the week fulfills a different purpose. A training purpose, a mood-boosting purpose, but also a little tick on the calendar of the week. A rhythm within the day, a focal point, and ditto within the week. Without that rhythm, I feel slightly aimless. So why do I run? Because I need to. Because I want to. Because, well, what else would I do?
So, enough of my musings. Over to you – any Brighton marathon runners reporting in for achy, triumphant accounts? London taperers getting twitchy and developing three minor ailments before breakfast? As always, I want to hear your weekend woes and triumphs below the line.