Retired athlete but not retired runner.

I am now in my mid fifties and still love keeping fit.

 

 

That’s me far right, getting in the zone

before a highland games sprint.

 

 

Pipped at the post by some young guns 🙁

 

Back in the day, I was a keen sprinter and got to a reasonable level. Like most sprinters, I never really enjoyed ‘jogging’ but would still plod the streets during my winter training as I knew it would benefit my endurance and ultimately enhance my training regime.

When I retired from sprinting, I started jogging and even though I was able to run further and quicker than I had in my sprinting days, I still didn’t enjoy it.

This dysfunctional relationship with jogging carried on for some years. Luckily my training regime didn’t just involve jogging.  I also enjoyed weight training,  circuits & Metafit, cycling (road, mountain & track),  badminton, volleyball and walking. In fact, cycling had become a perfect athletics alternative for me. (until a recent injury but that’s for another day) So jogging was way down my list of activities and could get excluded for weeks.

              That has now all changed. I now jog regularly and love it!

What caused my change in mindset?

Well, I’m a mental health nurse and decided to analyse myself. (My wife would probably say that I need to do this more often!)

What I discovered isn’t unique to me, I’m sure of that and this isn’t a pitch but maybe you can relate to it too.

 

A typical run would involve a chosen route, depending on the distance, required pace and intensity that I had programmed into my training regime. I would time myself to see if I was improving or had reached a plateau.

As a result of my well-meaning training approach, I would regularly finish with a feeling of disappointment or extremely out of breath as I pushed for a new PB. Pushing myself was easy, it’s both in my nature and ingrained into me from years of tough sprint training and indeed I enjoy this pain but these feeling of disappointment would lead to over analysing my training. Was I eating at the correct time? Did I go out too fast at the start? Did I go out too slow? etc.

 

Analysis of my personality and how it was being negatively affected by this style of jogging made me realise I had to change my approach to jogging in the future.

 

So what has changed?

 

  • I have stopped timing myself.
  • I no longer have a set route. Preferring to choose my route ‘on the run’. This creates a spontaneous ‘adventurous’ element to my runs. Obviously aware of my safety and not getting lost. Although there have been occasions where my ad hoc route has resulted in discovering my intended route is closed, resulting in a new route but again this just adds to my enjoyment.
  • My preparation has become so flexible. I can change the time of my run depending on how I am feeling. No more worries about my upcoming run. Will I beat that PB? Will I have time to get the miles in? All of a sudden I don’t care!
  • This new freedom and enjoyment has resulted in me running regularly and although I don’t time myself, I know these runs are roughly between 20 – 60 minutes.
  • I have also discovered that I am just as tired at the end. That unexpected hill, that sudden change of pace or those extra miles have actually ensured I don’t take it too easy. Which as I have already indicated isn’t in my nature.
  • So what HAS changed? – Jogging/running has become fun without any loss of effort.

 

I am well aware that this won’t be for everyone. Some people need structure and clear goals. I struggled with park runs and set routes

 

After some self-analysis and years of strict training regimes,  running is now a pleasant experience for me.

 

Tom (retired athlete but not retired runner)

 

 

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