Saturday, 22 February 2014

Conflicting Emotions

I’ve been having a few issues with running all year so far and I’ve been struggling to see the way ahead. Let me say right from the off my running is actually going really, really well on the whole. I love what I’m doing and I’ve never felt so fit. The thing is though, in a way that’s part of the problem. I feel so good and enthusiastic I just want to do everything. I want to race fast times right through from 5k up to 24 hours. In addition I want to do loads on the bike too as well as gym sessions.

The big problem though is ultras. I feel in order to perform well I need to give them 100% dedication without all the other things I’m cluttering up my training with. I know some won’t agree with that but I feel, for me at any rate that’s right. A few times lately I’ve been on long runs and felt my head wasn’t in the right place for doing all the miles. I know one thing is an absolute certain and that is if I turn up at the start of an ultra and I’m not fully prepared mentally then it doesn’t matter how fit I am I will crash and burn. In addition the two ultras I raced in last year did not go well and I had a couple of really bad experiences.

So I’ve got all this negativity and worry going on in my head on the one hand yet on the other I’ve been really, really enjoying shorter faster hillier running and my head keeps turning towards hill races. My speed is coming back and I’ve had a few really good 5k races and the 15k Devilla was awesome. I’m looking at 10k races and long hill races, half and full marathon etc. plus I want to get some really fast bike rides done. In addition, truth be told I’m actually pretty crap as an ultra-runner whereas in the more “normal” type of distances I’m actually quite good, I mean better than most anyway  and usually finish somewhere between the top 5%-20% of the field which for an old boy like me ain’t too shabby. So in my head I’m having debates such as if you are so good at that then why are you doing so much of what you’re crap at?

You see the problem? My head is so full of all this stuff it’s difficult to find time to get my head sorted regarding ultras. I really feel that if I go ahead with the ultra plans I have for the year I’m in for a torrid time.

So what I’m thinking is I need to take the worry away by focusing on what I’m really enjoying and put the ultras on a back burner. I don’t believe I can re-focus my head where it needs to be in time for the Fling so feel I have little option but to withdraw from that. Leaving aside the pressure of feeling I have to be ultra ready will leave the way open for me to do what my head really wants me to be doing just now and after all that should be why we’re doing it anyway right?

One thing above all else is that I’m not turning my back on ultras, just stepping aside for a little while. I have made so many unbelievably, fantastically, wonderful friends in ultra running and I have no intention of turning my back on any of you either. In fact I will continue to train with you as much as ever before. At least though if I have a bad long training run it won’t fill me with fear of trying to get ready for an imminent ultra.


  1. Well done Bob! It's a joy to read wise words from someone who knows his own mind and is brave enough to say it how it is and not get caught up in the 'tide' I applaud you Sir xxx

  2. What Helen Said. :-) No matter what races you do this year, you're still UltraBob, and the ultra marathons will be waiting for you when you're ready for 'em. I love how much you're enjoying the shorter distances this year, the hill running, and the gym work you're putting in - it's all paying dividends for you, and I support whatever you choose to do. Have fun. x

  3. The important thing is to do what you enjoy. Have fun x

  4. The important thing is to enjoy your running whatever distance you choose to race, be it long, short or just for the social. Have fun x

  5. Oops, didn't think my first comment published, not to worry, might as well say it a third time. Have fun x

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