There have been a few interruptions to training recently. Because these have been imposed by life, I haven't been too worried. The problem however, is that my enthusiasm for getting back into proper run training is probably best described as intermittment. Set backs can put a dampener on training attitude, but it is more than that this time. Looking back over my post for this year a trend has finally stood out. That trend is I have been struggling to find that extra drive I am used to. As a result I have experimented with taking different outlooks to define how I train. Adapted where I can best apply my focus. Put in some measurable goals. All in all, I just haven't hit where I want to be. Not only in my mindset, but also from a fitness/performance standpoint.

For these problems to persist and surface so often, it must be something fundamental. The issue obviously hadn't indentified what is the main cause. I've been doing a reasonable amount of thinking on the topic lately. The process has for the most part been one of systematic assessment and elimination, with some added explporation of random thoughts as they have appeared. Finally I believe I have come with the answer. This time there is a real confidence in the process. Previously I was just trying out approaches to see if they worked.

Why do you run so much?

Since trying to find an answer to my training problems was taking up a good deal of head space, I had to ask myself if it really was worth the effort. Immediately this lead on to why do I train and compete? The answer seemed like it should be as simple as "I enjoy it." From a certain perspective it is that simple, but in reality if I only did what I enjoyed, then at some point the realities life would eventually take away that enjoyment. There are some necessities that have to be incorporated.

Racing and training provides me with much of what I need. There is focus for an overly analytical brain, a vehicle for experimentation and even a little art. There is the opportunity to absorb myself in a simple task that reduces stress, clear the head and brings me closer to forms of meditation. It fulfils an almost obsessive need to be fit, explore and push my physical and mental limits. To me these are necessities in my life. Without them I tend to struggle. With all this in place, I do just enjoy physical exertion, especially endurance sports.

How can you enjoy pain?

Only certain types of pain are enjoyable. This pain is typically the self induced type that lets you know you are at or beyond what you thought were your limits. It is the discovering and rediscovering of ability to push myself and achieve some lofty goals. It provides a high that otherwise can be elusive.


At a base level I simply enjoy training. Unfortunately, a good portion of my training hasn't been providing that high level of enjoyment. Plenty of sessions have been a case of going through the motions. Finally I have traced this back to my current goals. Whether or not I stated it before, my current goals feel like a compromise. I have chosen them because they appeared to fit in neatly to my life. So instead of going big and aiming to smash my marathon time or set a PB at a ironman triathlon, I have gone for perfoming well at shorter local races. Doesn't sound like this should be a problem, but it is. My current goals do not provide the stimulus I need.

The lack of stimulus doesn't mean I won't be training. It does mean that the quality and extras to training are likely to be a bit off. The difference between good training and great training.

Great training is the area I want to be in. The key step is getting my goals right. I haven't achieved that yet this year. Time for another rethink. Time to work through the different elements of my life and put things together. Training and racing isn't the most important aspect, of my life, but it does help hold the picture together.


  1. I'll be interested to see what you come up with training-wise. Lots of run training is "going through the motions". It's the "Trial of Miles" from Once a Runner. Racing is the icing though, and icing is sweet. Enjoy the short races.


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