While this blog is just about as far from being elitist as it’s possible to be (and how could it be otherwise, given the risible nature of my personal bests), I do feel like I’m a real runner these days, rather than someone who’s just playing at it – regardless of how pathetically slow my most recent 15k time was. If I’m honest, the astoundingly elderly bloke who turned around to shake my hand in the finishing tunnel to congratulate me on finishing just behind him will haunt me till my dying day.
And yet: even though I take my running pretty seriously these days, I’ve just realised that I’m still capable of lapsing into bad habits from time to time.
I log my runs fairly meticulously, as I find that this is the best way to keep an eye on my general fitness. So for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been fairly put out to see that my times have been getting gradually worse. Now, I could easily blame the heat for this; but as my warm weather times have been established for a while, that seems like a bit of a cop-out.
Instead, I’ve looked at all of my training, particularly from a dietary point of view, and realised that I’ve become a little too casual about nutrition. While pasta is still as much a staple in our house as it is in any Neapolitan residence, I no longer tie a Linguini lunch into a run that evening. While the Top Wok is still set into my mobile’s speed-dial for a bucket of chicken-fried-rice, it no longer necessarily happens the night before my long run at the weekend.
In a nutshell, I’ve realised that familiarity has bred, if not contempt, then certainly a measure of laziness.
And so, the night before I head out for 14 miles of hell and high water through the dunes and back along the high-water mark this weekend, I shall be calling into our much-esteemed takeaway, braving the company of the burberry-wearing classes who will doubtless be ordering egg fu yung and chips, for pity’s sake, in order to get my much-needed fix of carbs.
All next week, I shall be remembering to fit in a pasta lunch before my bi-weekly six-miler. And when the cafetiére calls me, as it does most mid-mornings, I will renounce it in favour of a glass of good old tap water.
When I next log into this blog, I hope to report that incipient laziness has been nipped in the bud, and that the few simple rules of runner’s nutrition having been re-established, that I will be running merely like a kipper again, rather than something that the cat dragged in.