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January: the month for taking motivation wherever we can find it

27 January 2023
Speculoos & cream cheese: motivation in a biscuit

It’s getting near the end of January (hurrah!), and resolutions are fraying along with tempers. We are all hanging out for payday, for lighter days, and warmer weather. But running can’t wait, at least not for me. If I am going to run London marathon this year – and I think I am – I need to get out there now.

Usually I have a training plan, and use that to hold myself to account. But not this year. At least, not yet. I had so much time off running in late 2022 that I never got to build a good marathon running base. My past three months’ running still look like a rollercoaster with big dips for Covid and The Cold, and I haven’t strung together three weeks’ good mileage yet. Once I can do that, I will call it marathon training.

Running without a plan is tempting in the spring or summer, when just being outside is a delight. Right now, ploughing through the mud in -4, not having a plan is a big risk. With energy bills so high, my house is cold, and just getting changed into my running kit is the hardest part of going for a run.

January is the toughest month for running. It’s mad that this is time most people start training for their first marathon. And honestly, if nearly thirty years of running has taught me anything it’s this: find motivation wherever you can. Looking forward to a bath when you get home? Want to wear that new headband? Have to go to the post office? Want to see the seals in the River Nene? All reasons I have used to go for a run in the past two weeks.

The king of motivators – always – is the one I use least: running with other people. I run alone because it’s convenient, but also because there’s nobody else to worry about. Even when I’m running with friends and family I get anxious: am I talking too much? Too little? Am being boring? Am I going too fast? Too slow? I wish I could turn off these fears, because running with other people is brilliant. Time goes more quickly, I get to hear all the gossip, and – most importantly – I always turn up.

(p.s. I did not see the seals)

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