Much like a lot of you, I have taken up running during the Covid-19 lockdown. I must admit, I’m completely new to running, but nor am I Mo Farah-esque.
When I first began running during this lockdown, I absolutely hated it. I could not quite understand why anyone would just go outside and run for 20/40/60 minutes. I began to hate my own playlists. This changed somewhat when I downloaded the adidas running app, which helps track my speed and times. This is no better or worse, I’m led to believe, than the map my run or Nike versions. I have adidas running shoes, so thought I would keep the theme going.
As with anything in life, once you begin tracking it, it becomes more and more enjoyable. Suddenly I was tracking my runs against my ‘personal best’, breaking down the splits and trying to understand why it was that my last 1km was not my fastest ‘split’. Yes, I am bringing out all the technical terms.
This was going great; I was about 11 runs in to my lockdown running habit when I ran a 5km that I was particularly happy with. But it has not budged since.
After plateauing so soon in my running career, I began to research how to improve your PB. This ranged from actual running techniques to different running drills. So now I adapted to a split of 5km twice a week and a longer (slower) run and a shorter (faster) run on the alternative running days. This was great and a bit different, but soon wore off.
Then I went 4 days without going on a run. I just could not be bothered.
Boredom or tiredness?
I’m not sure exactly why I lost my motivation. It got me down a little but then I did conclude that I am just a hobby runner and should not be so hard on myself.
On the 5th day, I decided to just … run.
No timing, no 1km splits, no destination. Just, run.
It was probably my favourite run of the entire lockdown. It was so liberating not to strive to get a 5 second improvement on the last split or turn up this specific hill for the XXth time in 4 weeks.
Despite this, I still worked up a fantastic sweat. It was fun, rewarding, and conducive to getting me back into running.
I think there is a massive lesson for this that can be transferred into other aspects of my life. I have similar bored-ness/tiredness in personal finance, career, eating and socialising. It may be as simple as the fact I’m not as good with routines as I once thought. I am not sure it is this though. I think it is that I have a tendency to be too competitive and report-based.
During lockdown, it is natural that we get a real deep-dive into what it is that motivates us and what entertains us. All of the above are measured in some way. I am looking at ways I can take the pressure off, turn of the stopwatch – so to speak.
What motivates us?
We are motivated to save and enjoy a fruitful retirement. Preferably an early one. I think every other blog and magazine post I see on the subject will talk about withdrawal rates or years until retirement. I preach this too; it is very important. But what exactly are we going to do once we are there?
What happens when we have saved the money and the record has been reached/broken. I don’t have an exact answer for this – a simple, but stupid, response is that it is a good problem to have. Being retired and thinking of how to spend it. But is it? Is it a good problem to have? Because something else that lockdown has taught me … I get very bored VERY easily.
What entertains us?
With no sport or public events on, the entertainment section of our lives is undoubtedly a little light. Even soap operas have reduced recordings. In the UK, we are now allowed to go outside as much as we like, which opens up the natural/adventure side of what entertains some people. But not entirely, as it does have a different angle when you cannot retire to a nice British pub after a long walk and explore in the woods.
Netflix, Disney+ and the like are all very good. But, I could certainly live without them. I think at this stage in my life I am still defining what it is that entertains me. I know that reading books and exercise are two things that I have done every single day of the lockdown so far, so that is a start.
This is all another way of figuring out your why. In the case of my running, it is to get faster and to achieve a better time. But I was beginning to analyse and hold myself against it to the point I stopped my newfound hobby quickly. Quite an extreme and immediate case of self-sabotage.
When I run now, I make sure that IF I am timing it, it is for a reason. Otherwise, just enjoy running and being active 🙂
See here for my other posts during Covid-19 Lockdown: