Listen: it’s not easy for me to paint this picture for you because it doesn’t exactly portray me in the best light, but I’m going to do it anyway. So please bear with me.
It all started about eight weeks into my first marathon training when every time I’d pass the 2K mark, my knee felt like it had caught fire and I’d have to awkwardly limp home. For a good couple of weeks, I was advised to cross-train to let the inflammation pass and in hindsight, I think it sent me a bit loopy.
Every time I’d walk anywhere, I’d see runners coming towards me and it felt like they were fly-kicking me in the stomach on their way past. I felt so gutted I wanted to lie down on the pavement and weep right there and then, and I wasn’t quite sure if I was turning into a horrible human being or if I’d just really fallen in love with running.
And we all know love can make you act in the most unreasonable ways…
Opening any form of social media would send me into waves of internal rage that was never spoken of because, hello, pram = toys everywhere.
But this was nothing compared to the fury that followed when half-way through the training for my third marathon (that my boyfriend had so lovingly agreed to run with me) I got injured again, to the point where I had to pull out of the race.
Running had become the hottest topic in our household: we’d analyse pace, what to eat and whether the daily beetroot juice really made us run faster (I still vote yes). And my boyfriend, who had never run a marathon before, naturally wanted to carry on these conversations. But every time he changed into his Lycra, laced up his stunningly beautiful Nikes and showed me his Strava stats, I felt myself reverting to this child-like stroppy behaviour that I didn’t know how to cope with.
At first, I’d try and not make a scene. “I hope it goes well! Love you! Do you want me to make you a post-run snack?” I’d say as I bit my lip and faked a smile.
I don’t think he noticed to begin with because I can be quite convincing – and I genuinely did want him to do well. I really did. I just wanted myself to be doing well right next to him.
The days went by, I’d mope and when it came to his weekend runs, I’d sometimes have to make an excuse and retreat into my newly adopted Yoga Room where I’d sulk in the half-tortoise position until I felt better. I wanted to experience the highs of a training run so much it had turned me into what felt like a selfish shell of my former self.
So I decided I had to take action and embrace this not-running malarkey through these 7 steps:
1) Unfollow runners on social media
OK, this can be tricky if they are your friends, but if you’re anything like me and you follow thirty-nine runners you don’t know who constantly post about their beautiful runs, just unfollow them.
2) Become a (non-American-schoolgirl) cheerleader
If your significant other/friend is running the marathon, become their biggest cheerleader. Make it your mission to really be there through banners, post-run meals, words of encouragement, energy gels and massages. You can cash in on all of these favours when you’re injury-free (just kidding, you’re doing it because you are a good person).
3) Be honest about it
It’s okay to talk about it, however embarrassing it might be, because your significant other and friends will be able to understand why you’re sometimes acting either terrifyingly excited or frighteningly moody on days they’re doing a big run.
If you get to the point where your running jealousy gets the better of you, just say you’re sorry. Even if it’s in the form of banana pancakes. They will appreciate that you’re trying your best and that sometimes, that ugly side just takes control. And you can never go wrong with banana pancakes for someone who’s just finished a long run.
5) Just have some actual fun
It’s a common theme for runners or people doing sports to forget to have fun sometimes. “But I’m having so much fun training!” they’ll tell their friends whilst excitedly stretching in the pub over a glass of lime and soda. Although no amount of alcohol can fix anything, seven pints of beer makes you forget for a little while. Just don’t walk into a junction box and nearly break your nose on the way home.
6) Take up hot yoga
But don’t do it the morning after #5. Standing with your head between your shins in a hot room on a hangover is a one-way ticket to Vomit Town. But seriously, yoga can cure the worst of moods.
7) Explain it in words they’ll understand
If running’s not necessarily that important to the person you’re talking to, explain your suppressed rage in terms they’ll appreciate. One example I like to use is this: Imagine I’m going on holiday. And to prepare for that holiday I have to spend hours every week in the pub drinking beer. And having fun. But you can’t come. Ever. Not on the holiday and not to the pub. Because you’ve developed an allergy to beer. And the pub. Geddit?
Do you get the injured blues when you can’t run?
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