I also realise that winning doesn’t always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself

Meb Keflezighi

Self-discipline is a bitch. You either have it in spades, or you don’t. And from what I’ve experienced, it can’t be taught.

My lack of self-discipline when it comes to running and strong self-talk abilities, when combined into one homogeneous power, becomes almost impossible to ignore. Throw in a bit of apathy and you basically get the entire week following the Spartan Trail race two weeks ago.

The race itself wasn’t too bad – I beat my ‘c’ goal, and wasn’t that far off my ‘b’ goal. What did let me down in that race was my ability to talk myself out of running when I should of on some of the climbs. But, as I reasoned after the race, that is exactly what a pre-season race is all about – making the mistakes and learning the lessons.

Then it was all about taking those lessons and putting them into practice throughout training during the week. Except, that didn’t happen.

If I’m being very generous, I will state that I started a new job that week, and with it comes all the joys and stresses about doing thus, so it should hardly surprise that I had an off-week.

If I’m being very generous.

If I’m being fair and honest with myself, I simply just couldn’t be stuffed. When lacking the self-discipline to just get out and get it done anyway, the apathy wins. Every time.

The irony that all of this coincides with a period where I started having a few drinks is not lost on me. I’m not happy with myself for falling off the wagon, and the drop off in training is all the evidence I really need to show that drinking and running aren’t the best of pals.

This week has been a little different, even if I was slow to kick things back into gear with my first run not taking place until Wednesday.

That was an 8k easy run, which felt great throughout, such that I kept extending the run from what was originally supposed to be a 30 minute easy run, to a 7k to a ‘let’s just do to the end of the street and back again’ once I’d reached 7k, clocking in at just over 8kms in 50-ish minutes.

The fact that this run felt so good despite the lay-off and general feeling terrible about my running and upcoming season was somewhat of a surprise, albeit a very welcome one.

On Friday I took advantage of the public holiday to get some reconnaissance done on the Jabulani Challenge course taking place next weekend. A 15km trail run that took in the first 5kms of the 22km course I’ll be running in 6 short days with about 400m of climbing.

And whilst that run was definitely slower than what I expect to do come next weekend, having done that part of the course should set me up for a quicker effort next time out. At least, that’s the theory.

Saturday I got up early, went to Parkrun, and set a course PB on very sore legs by over 1 minute from my previous best. It was a comforting result that was a long time coming. Not a 5k PB by any measure, that record still belongs to Paradise Point parkrun, but it was good to crack this PB at the same time. I left with a distinct feeling that I can go faster here, which given my lack of training over the last two weeks was a great feeling to have.

So now attention moves to Saturday’s Jabulani Challenge 22k race.

I have two sessions this week – Monday and Wednesday – before resting up ahead of Saturday. I’ve swapped the sessions around so that Monday will be my long run (again, taking advantage of the public holiday) with a short easy 30 minutes on Wednesday to keep the legs ticking over, but not pushing myself too much.

Interestingly, my drive and motivation has come flooding back so things are definitely taking shape. Is my 3 hour target for Saturday still achievable? After Friday’s reccie run, it’s going to be pretty close, I think. But a good week this week will give me the best chance physically, and the rest will be mental on the day.

But anyway, isn’t that what trail running’s all about?

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