Running You Ragged

Running is the best stress-reliever around - but it's sometimes easy to forget that. Here's how to stop your favourite sport becoming a stress in itself

Posted: 24 March 2003
by Marc Bloom

John Buzzard was a seriously stressed man. His work involved long hours and punishing travel. He was married with three small, hyperactive children, who all demanded a lot from him when he was at home.

Living in a busy London suburb, he was always battling against traffic to make it into work on time. And worse still, 44-year-old Buzzard was gaining a few unwanted pounds every year.

So to reduce his stress level and improve his health, he started running. And it was practically a magical experience. He ran first thing in the mornings and felt great afterwards. The calming feeling that the running induced would usually stay with him all day, and he continued in this vein for many months. Running was Buzzard’s number-one stress-reliever, and he clung to it as a lifeline.

But at some point, after about a year of running, something changed. He’d become obsessive about his training and his racing: if he missed a morning run, he’d fret about it for the rest of the day. And races were worse: if a business trip forced Buzzard to miss the race he’d been training for, he’d fume about it.

So just a year after he’d started, running had become a stress producer rather than a stress reducer.

Don’t let this happen to you; and to help ensure that it doesn’t, we have provided eight strategies, all based on real-life scenarios, to help you make sure that it doesn’t.

Stress Producer: Sharing a busy road

Most of us live in urban or suburban environments where streets are the norm for running. Streets, though, were made for cars, and running on them can be stressful. The myriad of cerebral questions that assault you can easily increase your stress levels: is that driver going to turn without seeing me?; will he be able to stop in time?; if I speed up, can I make the light before it changes? This is just the tip of the iceberg for stress-creating scenarios.

Solution: To find a safe, quiet, off-road running spot to visit once a week, and more often if possible. It could be a trail, a golf course, or even the football pitch down the street. It doesn’t have to be an idyllic, meandering trail in the Pennines. It simply needs to be a place where there’s no traffic.

Running on the roads is a lot better than not running at all, but it does come with certain built-in stresses. Try to find a soothing, safe running place you can utilise as frequently as possible, even if you have to drive to get there. The end usually justifies the means.

Stress Producer: Maintaining rigid performance standards

Francie Larrieu Smith, four-time American Olympian who’s been collecting national titles and setting records at distances from the 800m to the marathon for more than three decades, doesn’t need to make any apologies for her slower pace. In the last few years her age and her 30 years of running have begun to catch up with her, and she’s found the transition from running as a world-class competitive endeavour, to its relegated status as a pastime, hard to accept.

“It’s taken me a long time to be okay with not being competitive,” says Larrieu Smith. “Even past 40, I put too much pressure on myself to perform – to do this or that to get faster. It was far too stressful. I’ve learnt to accept a slower training pace.”

Since our self-image is often dependent on narrow standards of achievement, Larrieu Smith’s ability to finally let go is a lesson for us all. Her acceptance extends to her weight: “I’m a little heavier than I used to be, and I’m learning to be okay with that too,” she admits. “A lot of people get caught up with losing those last five pounds, but that has more to do with vanity than health.”

Solution: You’re a different runner at different stages of your life. The trick is to feel comfortable with the changes you experience.

Stress Producer: Pursuing perfection

Do you set yourself a tightly structured, rigorous training programme? Do you find any deviation from the routine hard to take?

If the answers are yes, then you may be suffering from a perfection complex. Certain runners do have obsessive personalities in that they feel they must do things in a perfect and highly structured way. As this is sometimes unfeasible, they often experience stress because they inevitably perceive themselves as failures.

A typical example would be someone who runs the same distance at the same pace on the same route at the same time each day, and who cannot adapt to any variable. For example, if it rains and this runner consequently runs four miles instead of six, this causes stress. And if this type of runner misses a day entirely, it’s even worse.

In extreme cases, runners will react to this by ceasing to run altogether. It’s similar to a recovering alcoholic who thinks his recovery is spoiled by one drink and so returns to abusive drinking. Many don’t realise that, in these cases, if you take five steps forward and one step back, you’re still four steps ahead.

Solution: You will enjoy running more and reap greater benefits if you stay flexible about when, where, and how fast you run. Make adjustments, fine-tune, be proactive, and most importantly, be realistic.

Stress Producer: Progressing too fast or too far too soon

There are few overnight successes in running. It usually takes years to build the endurance necessary for success. New runners, often giddy from their growing fitness, will frequently attempt to shoot for the moon right away. And inevitably, before long they’re tired, disillusioned and probably injured. At which point they say, “Maybe running’s not for me...”

Running coaches up and down the country see this all the time. People come to the track lacking stamina because they don’t train consistently throughout the rest of the week. As a result they’re not in shape to handle speedwork. When they race, their goals are out of sync – just because they’ve run on the track, they think they’re ready for a fast race, and when they don’t meet their expectations, they soon get frustrated.

Solution: Any increase in the intensity of your running – whether pace, distance or frequency – must be done in a progressive manner. Remember the old maxim: ‘Don’t increase mileage by more than 5-10 per cent a week.’

Stress Producer: Trying to be ‘Super Mum’ (or Dad)

Janis Klecker is a former Olympic marathon runner, a dentist and a mother of five young children. How could Klecker, mostly a stay-at-home mother, possibly juggle the competing needs of parenting, running and dentistry?

First she cut her dental work back to a one-day-a-week commitment. This enabled her to keep her hand in this profession at a time when dentistry can’t be her top priority.

At 38 Klecker then felt she also had to change her approach to running. She got away from competition and cut back on training intensity. “I definitely came to realise how stressful running can be, and I had to promise myself not to cross that line,” she says. “I run every morning, and it’s a real stress-reliever. It also gives me strength and resilience for when I’m with my children.” Passing up a big race in 1997 was a big step for her, and it made Klecker realise that she’d made the right adjustments in her life.

Solution: You can’t do everything – no one can. Certain times of your life will be appropriate for training hard and going for PBs. At other times, though, you’ll simply want to run for fitness and stress-relief.

Stress Producer: Running with the wrong training partner

Running partners can be soul mates who help each other to achieve amazing things; or they can become searing rivals who do more harm than good. Choosing a training companion is not unlike choosing a partner in life: you need to do it with great care, and you need to be able to adjust as circumstances change.

Be cautious, because one person will always be fitter. Discuss every session beforehand. If you’re on the track or doing some kind of quality training sessions, talk about pace beforehand and take it in turns to lead. Also, don’t run together every day.

There can also be problems when running partners get on well, but possess different running abilities. If you routinely stay together for only the first 20 minutes of an hour-long training run, your pace can be thrown out for the rest of the session. The slower of the two can also start to feel rather deflated after a while.

Solution: Communication is the key: talk about ground rules with your training partner beforehand; make sure you agree on the pace, distance and route; decide, for example, that if one of you is feeling particularly good during the run, then it’s okay for this person to go on ahead and thus avoid dragging the slower partner along.

Stress Producer: Overtraining

Most runners, regardless of ability, share a common trait that brings on stress: they push too hard, too early.

Many runners dart out the door with little concern for pacing. They run as fast as they can and are then forced to slow down because they go into oxygen debt. ‘Happy feet syndrome’, as this phenomenon is increasingly known, inevitably leads runners to become anything but ‘happy’ about their running. These runners often don’t progress in their running and end up hanging up their running shoes for good.

Even some serious athletes don’t realise how slowly they need to run on their easy days. They don’t appreciate how much rest and recovery they need. This creates a chronic glycogen deficit in the muscles, which inevitably leads to poor training sessions and sub-par races.

Many runners dismiss the idea of rest. Lacking the confidence to go easy, they need the reassurance of a hard run, and too many of them subsequently burn out or get unnecessarily injured.

Solution: Remember this training principle: to adapt to hard training and to improve, you must sprinkle in plenty of easy running – even take a day off to recharge the batteries.

Stress Producer: Poor race management

While driving to a race, you lose your directions in the depths of the countryside; you become lost, and when you finally arrive, just minutes from the start time, the car park is full and the queues at the portaloos stretch to the horizon; you rush to get your number on and have no time to warm up; you feel tight and stressed as you frantically make it to the start; and consequently your race plan has gone out the window; so too your chances of that PB. Not clever.

Solution: Racing to your potential is not just about training wisely, eating right and tapering properly. Preparation is crucial. Make sure you have clear, concise directions and know what the course is like. What about parking and toilets? Always allow more travel time than you think you’ll need. Make sure you have all the essentials: water bottle, post-race food, dry clothing, extra safety pins for your number etc. In short, eliminate any possible causes of stress. Planning ahead will enable you to get to the event on time, allow you a proper warm up, and give you the opportunity to relax and focus on the race.

Don't Worry, It Is Working...

Many new runners panic early on in their training programme because they don’t see any immediate benefits: “Why keep running if it isn’t doing anything for me?”

But it is.

Studies have conclusively shown that even within the first week of running, you’ll experience increases in leg muscle strength, aerobic capacity, blood plasma volume and cardiac output. Your mood and sleep quality will also improve.

What’s more, fat-burning will increase. From the very first run your body learns how to burn fat more efficiently. Incoming fat that would have gone into storage instead gets shifted over to the muscles. And once there, it is burned as fuel both during and after your run.

Previous article
Best of the forum: Training
Next article
Carry On Camping


Discuss this article

I've just read the 'Running You Ragged' article by Marc Bloom on this site and it got me thinking....

Running seriously destresses you. But this article is so right - running had become a stress for me. Once upon a time I congratulated myself heartily for 'just getting out there' but without noticing, things changed....

If I had a bad day and could only manage 4 instead of 7 miles, I wouldn't congratulate myself for getting out there and running that distance at all. Instead, I'd make myself feel like I'd failed somehow for not running the distance I had intended!

I've been injured for 4 months now and although I've tried to run, have ended up turning to the gym to strengthen up and do other cardio work until my knee problem is sorted. It's only now that I realise how great it would be to 'just get out there' after a stressful day at work like today.

My point is, don't lose sight of why you run in the first place - appreciate the fact that you CAN run. Just get out there and enjoy!

(I'm off to the gym :(......)
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 18:01

Hmm...think I must've just had a 'moment'.... :)
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 18:04

You are SO right Abi
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 18:06

Nice one Abi, makes one greatful for what they can already achieve.
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 18:12

Thanks for the reminder, Abi. I've been perilously close to 'training' instead of 'running' lately!

I had a long-term knee thing too, and it is fab to get back out there. Keep up the good work and you'll be back in the fresh air having fun.
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 19:02

I want to be a runner; I love running, but why is it so hard to keep going?

I enter and do a race, train well, maybe enter a couple more, then at some point something happens and I lose it; It isn't overtraining, I've never run more than 4 times a week, I build up slowly, follow a plan.

I think it's something to do with the way you lose form if you don't run, I go swimming every now and again, and ok, I'm not quick, but I can keep swimming for 3/4 hour, even if I haven't been for 6 months,so is it because slow running becomes walking , which then feels like failing (I KNOW it isn't) slow swimming is still swimming!! etc etc

I know that next time I go out running, it will be painful; my chest will hurt, i'll have to walk, I'll beat myself up with the fact that last October I could run 15 miles and now I can't do 3,

but I will do it eventually, so why didn't I do it tonight??

Posted: 25/03/2003 at 19:03

Reading the article RUNNING YOURSELF RAGGED made me realise that I really do need to chill out and not give myself such a hard time in what is actually a "leisure" persuit rather than a chore.
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 19:05

Abi, I've just read your first post again,
I'll go away and remind myself why I want to run, and how good it feels to have run,
and all it takes is to put the kit on, - do that and I'm always out the door!
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 19:05

it's the old glass half empty thing isnt it?
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 19:06

Thanks Swerve - with any luck I'll be back running for when the sun comes out...yay!

Don't worry Happyslug - just think of the couch potatoes whilst you're out there - always makes me feel good. Every run you do makes the next one easier!

(Oo, I totally just made myself a new motto...must write that one down...)

*wanders off to find pen and do boring physio exercises*
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 19:15

Hi I am also a slug, I have been running for about 12 years, I have tried this programme and that programme. I'd get paranoid if I didn't train, could I ever break the 4 hour marathon - NO! I took up running for health fitness & dare I say fun!. Also to escape from the stress of life. However I was just begining to creep into my old ways (you know training log HRM) when (like the rest of the world) I watched the news, I saw the soldiers in Iraq (both sides!) and thought about the fear and stress that must be with them & their families, it doesn't bear thinking about. So I put on my kit, went outside felt the sun on my face and ran like only a slug can, slowly, but with a smile and thought for those who really have something to stressed about!
Good luck to you all (slug or cheetahs!) :)
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 19:21

many good thoughts to hold! watch this space to see if I get out tomorrow morning!!
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 19:29

I think my big problem is that I always tend to think back to my best runs and judge myself against those. After a 10-mile run that has felt like a slog, I try to make myself remember my first ever run. I think I lasted for six minutes before slumping over a fence expecting to die at any moment. The 'bad' long runs don't seem quite as bad compared to that!
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 21:12

That's got to take some beating when it comes to bad runs! I haven't had any injuries as bad as that, but I do remember struggling the last 3 miles home with a pulled muscle. For a few weeks after I recovered, I was just glad to finish runs and still be able to walk properly! Didn't last, unfortunately - I soon got back to wanting every training run to be a PB.
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 21:34

I also have a severe problem with wanting achieve a good time on every training run. In the past I have followed the RW training schedule for 10k, but I find that no matter what the planned run is, I still go at the same pace every time - as fast as I can manage. I've considered (briefly!)leaving the stop watch behind - but what if I had an absolute flier and did my best ever time without being able to record it? - horror!
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 21:42

I've tried leaving the watch behind, and it worked quite well. I mean, what's the point of forcing yourself to run fast if you're never going to know your time?

The biggest problem for me is on longer runs, where I tend to run by time rather than distance, so I have to have a watch with me. In theory I'm not worrying about distance, but I always want to run further (which means faster!) than I did last time.
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 21:48

Guys, just chill. Enjoy all your running but mix it with other sports. Look back on where you started out and be proud of your achievements.
Consider yourselves lucky that you can do it, many people can't.
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 21:50

Sometimes work, children, being a single Mum all seem to contribute to not having the time to run as much as I'd like but I try not to mind too much if, like this week, I only get one training session in. Each Wednesday evening I go to a running club which provides a different session every week - and half the fun is not knowing what each week's session will be! And no matter how tired or 'stressed' I feel before I go I always without exception feel so much better afterwards for having pushed myself to complete everything in the session. At 45 I don't worry too much about improving times but I do intend to be still running for at least another 30 years!
Posted: 25/03/2003 at 23:07

What stresses me out is the constant heckling received from the ignorant, both young and old, who just have to make some derogatory comment when they see a woman running.

Winter is the time for me, dark nights, layers of clothing, less comments and more peace. Summer can be a nightmare for those of us built more for comfort than speed, especially those who run without the security of a group.

And the next person who asks, "can't you run faster than that?" is likely to get more than they bargained for..... Why do some folk think I have to run fast to be enjoy running????? And why do some folk think if I can't run fast, or at least look like Paula Radcliffe, I shouldn't run at all?........
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 07:37

I am Candice and I am an obsessive runner! I feel incredibly guilty when I do not run according to the time limits I set myself. I take it all too seriously. I pulled a tendon a few weeks ago and had to pull out of a race. So instead of resting I booked myself straight into another one which is coming up soon. I have now had to pull out of that b/c I have hurt my knee. I cried when I had to pull out of the first race and now I am slightly depressed about not being able to participate in the next. My boyfriend keeps trying to convince me that it doesn't mean I am a failure to not competing but somehow that is how I feel. I realise however after reading all the emails that I am lucky to just still be able to run. My heart goes out to those of you who are injured and I apologise for my selfishness.

Posted: 26/03/2003 at 08:00

Everything the article RUNNING YOU RAGGED said could have applied to me about a year ago. Then I developed bilateral achilles tendonitis which mean no running whatsoever! I was down in the dumps but decided that if I couldn't run, then I'll keep my fitness up another way. So off I went swimming and some suitable gym work and it was at that time I began to realise how stressed I was with running.

It took a year for my achilles to heal and I made the conscious decision to choose the races I entered more carefully and be more structured with my training as I was scared they would break down.

The bit about running with the wrong partner made me smile as I broke up with my partner (who also ran) three months ago and I realised how much pressure he put on me. I now have a non-running partner who supports me when I have a race organised but doesn't over analyse each run. We also play squash, go cycling or swimming and have a lot of laughs. Running is now fun again and as an added bonus, my times are beginning to improve.

Apologies to rattling on a bit. Good luck and HAPPY running to all.
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 08:39

I don't run nearly as much as I could, as I like doing other things like cycling etc. too much, too, but hey, I still run 3 times a week, and enjoy it!
Yes, my training partner and me are not very fast, we don't have a proper structure to our training, and generally probably do lots of things wrong, but that's not what we are doing it for...
And you are right about thinking about all these couch potatoes, it gives me a great feeling to run past a house where you can see that the TV is on, and everybody just sits around it eating their ready-meal dinners! (Not that I don't do it, but at least not at that moment!)
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 08:44

Secure the support of your life partner.

Paul, late 30's, took to running. His wife of 12 years looked upon this as his indulgence and begrudged the time he spent running, because he took that time away from the time he previously spent with his partner and children. The marriage failed.

Lesson. Secure the support of your family.

One strategy I use includes going for a walk with my wife after my long week-end run, it gives us quality time together and helps post run recovery.
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 08:50

I really appreciate reading all the comments about just enjoying running.

I'm a novice runner who started running to set set myself the challenge of the London Marathon. Well, I got into the marathon on a Golden Bond place and training was going well until I got to the 10 mile mark. Then I had a calf injury and since than have struggled with training. My calf is now better but my achilles on the other leg is tender and i'm beating myself up that i'm now behind with my training schedule.

After reading your emails and the article 'Running you Ragged', I realise that I should just train steadily and enjoy the marathon. It will be an amazing experience i'm sure and any time I make will be my PB right? It doesn't matter if I have to go slower or even walk occasionally.

Unfortunately, I get a lot of negative feedback from one or two members of the running club I belong to and i've decided not to run with them for a while. Not until I get my speed and distance up a bit anyway.

Best wishes to all you runners out there.

I'll leave you with a thought - do you ever wonder if the person running next to you in a race, or passing you in the street, is one of the people who have spoken on this site?

Might see you at a race sometime then - good luck.

Posted: 26/03/2003 at 09:29

After 12 years of running I had a serious back injury. I couldn't run at all for 4 months and came back very slowly - almost all off road.
One stress I have found and dealt with is "PB - Pre Back". I no longer even enter the races where I have recorded PBs or good times. I only take part in multi terrain or off road events and don't have to compare my times with the good old days.
I do have goals - but they no longer involve times or distances, just events.
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 09:32

2 things,
Firstly to those of you who have problems not timing yourselves, when you do manage to leave the stop watch behind, change your route so you don't know what distance you have done. I really mean it, just run a completely different set of roads, trails and see what other interesting parts of town and country you might be missing. You might even find a better route than your usual.
Secondly, be grateful that your hormones don't louse up your running, every month I have 3-4 days when I can run, but afterwards suffer the most horrendus stomach cramps, sickness and diahorrea. that can put a real damper on wanting to do any sort of exercise.
Oh yes, as a final thought go off road running with a dog. Watching them enjoy running just for the sake of it reminds me of why I do it anyway!

Posted: 26/03/2003 at 09:37

Another thing for stress relief...don't wear a watch! I devloped an allergy to a new watch (buckle) and had a terrible dermatitis. I had to stop wearing it and since then, just rely on finish times (for now anyway!)
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 09:37

Good on ya mud lover. I'm impressed that you've come back to running after such a severe problem - as a novice runner i'm not sure that I would have done.

Although I enjoy running (sometimes), it's still very early days for me and it hasn't become 'necessity' yet. I still have very negative feelings at the end of a bad run and i'm struggling with them.

Still, i'm generally a very positive person and i'm sure i'll get through the marathon and do have every intention of continuing to run afterwards but probably only about twice weekly. That's all time will permit at the moment.
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 09:39

Relax. You are not alone.

What you experience has doubtless been experienced by someone else.

Join a club, they are very cost effective in comparison with gym's. You will doubtless not be the slowest, or fasted. You will gain training partners, a fund of knowledge, and good company.

Posted: 26/03/2003 at 10:11

I've just read that article and all the comments and it is soooo true. I totally agree with you Abi.

I've only been running for 6months and decided to enter my first race, a 10k this weekend. I tried a 5mile route last weekend and we gave up after about 2miles feeling horrendous. Did I say "not to worry you gave it a go and anything is better than nothing" nope. I felt so gutted and low and missed the session on Monday nite and have decided not to attempt the 10k!!!

Instead I should really see it as a mere set back rather than putting all this pressure on me to run a 10k. So what if I'm not doing this one, there's plenty more and one day I'll be able to run it quite happily (she says hopefully!).

Lorraine I'm def with you on having negative thoughts after a bad run. I feel so elated when I go out and do well that I seem to expect that every time, except my legs seem to have other ideas most of the time!! It is hard but I suppose we'll learn with experience how to deal with it.
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 10:16

I really agree with this article.

I started running while doing my PhD, and I really found that it helped me to cope with the stress. My theory is that when we are stressed, we produce adreneline and other chemicals that generate a 'fight-or flight' syndrome. If we run (e.g. flight), we are able to burn off that adreneline without becoming edgy and argumentative (e.g. fight). Hence the screenname ;-]

But once running becomes a goal in itself, your long runs become longer + your fast runs become harder, and it becomes more and more difficult to find the energy and time to fit it into a hectic lifestyle, causing more stress.

Perhaps we all need to take a leaf out of Abi's book and learn to run for fun again.
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 10:35

Yes, having just read the Running Yourself Ragged article I can identify with some of the issues raised. I started running 3 years ago following my divorse at the age of 45.

Meetining a new partner got me started and at first running at any pace was difficult but I started timing all my runs in a bid to measure my improvements. Then I started entering races and felt pressured into training hard in order to not come last. I did too much too soon and ended up with shin splints.

I've now moderated my training, and during the preparation for this years FLM discovered to joy of the Long Slow Run intersperced with spead work. I'm still working on this though as I still cannot resist taking my watch with me.

Also running with my partner can be difficult because there is a conciderable difference in our pace. The way we get round this is that she will often run ahead then double back or take a slightly differnt route.

I also can identify with the post on this thread that advises that you get your partner on board with your running. In my experience (pre divorce), it is easy for them to asociate your desire to take up a hobby of any description as desire to get away from them. This is often not the case, just a personal need to fulfill yourself and can be a major source of resentment if allowed to fester. As suggested, compromise can be a solution provided you are both happy with it. Didn't work for me though as the compromise all seemed to come from me.

At the moment I can't wait to get the FLM behind me so I can cut my long runs down to about 10 miles (blisters not a problem at that distance).

Long may you run
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 10:41

I think for me the idea of a race is what has caused a lot more stress and my bad runs lately. As it was to be my first race I had built up so much pressure on myself to do it. The fear of coming last was also such a huge factor for me too. I've been so worried about doing a race that its taken the enjoyment of running away.

I had always found running/jogging so hard I just never could do it. It was funny cos I was fine at everything else, I could cycle for miles. The solution for me was joining The Running Sisters. Group of women who ran a beginners running course that really took you from the basics upwards. I found it fantastic and great socially, all ages and sizes too. There are groups all over and I meet with various ones 3 times a week. Each time we all start together and then about 2 miles in we split into two groups, a shorter and longer route. That way you decide at the time how u are feeling and how much further you feel you can go etc. Its all very laid back and relaxed but they also are a great support for races and keep you informed via Newsletters etc. If it hadn't been for joining them I wouldn't have ever got into running as I'd always just assumed it was something I couldnt grasp!

There's nothing like going out on a nice country run with some friends and nattering and then finishing without realising just how far u have gone. It really is a great feeling and sets you up on such a high.

Happy running!!
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 11:07

You are so right Faye!
I had tried to go running on my own first of all, but always gave up after a short while, as I didn't have anybody to get me going, and I really thought it was boring to run on my own (still do, allthough I will occasionally do it).
I got together with a colleague at work and started running that way, but am now thinking about joining a running group, too.
Are there any websites you can look up to get more information about existing groups (they seem to be a bit sparse in Scotland)?
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 11:16

Faye, I can understand your stress at the thought of the 10k race. I myself had that problem with my first 5k race (when I started running I literally ran 10 paces and walked 30! - that was only last September too). I found the 5k really hard but a fantastic feeling of togetherness running with lots of others around you - all aiming for the same goal - to finish!

I did finish despite it been a hilly run which I wasn't used to, and found encouragement in the other runners that took part. My time was reasonable too.

I think you should try the 10k, but just think of it on the day as just another run in the sunshine with friends. Enjoy it - it's fun.

I too joined my local running club but find that they're very competitive. (and i'm not). A few of them are quite negative about my ability to complete the marathon. I've decided to go for it anyway, i'm running for charity and even if I end up walking some - it doesn't matter. I'm just gonna enjoy the atmosphere on the day and soak it all up.

There's no doubt in my mind that running is a great exercise - even though I used to absolutely hate it - so ............... ENJOY!!
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 11:19

Hi Flori

I honestly don't know, all I can suggest is perhaps doing a search on the net for running groups in Scotland. Failing that you could always start your own, maybe just putting a notice up at work, library etc for anyone interested in running regularly to join you and your colleague.

good luck!
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 11:20

Thanks Lorraine.

I have decided that theres one in May and in June that I will go for. That way the pressure is off, I've got longer to prepare and also some of the other ladies from my running group are going to try it too so we'll all be in the same boat.

I do worry about my ability levels and holding others back but luckily the ladies running group is not at all competitive. We all suggest different routes each week so we can vary it. A lot of the older ladies have been in the group and doing races for about 10-15 years which is wonderful.

I actually gave up my gym membership as I just couldn't get there enough to make it worth while. So my running now is great, and a damn sight cheaper which is always a bonus!! I can do it anytime, anywhere and for as long as I like so its ideal.
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 11:26

Having just read Running Yourself Ragged, I've now decided not to beat myself up for utterly ruining my chances of doing this year's Edinburgh Marathon by over-training. It was the first time I'd decided to turn running into something more than a stress-relieving, fitness activity (apart from a yearly charity run), and threw myself into it. I ended up ignoring a worsening chest infection and made it much worse by running in the cold Edinburgh night weather. I have now had to pull out of the Marathon altogether. Lesson learned. Back to running for fun for a while, now that I'm getting better. Thank you Marc Bloom.
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 11:27


I know what you mean about those 'can't you run any faster?' comments! I run with a friend for fun, enjoyment and stress relief and have had similar comments- from people who look like they couldn't run more than a couple of metres and also from 'fast' runners who are clearly only interested in competing and showing off!

The idea that running is only about speed and competition is a load of rubbish as far as I'm concerned. This article shows just how stressful running can be if you take it too seriously. I reckon running should be about enjoyment more than anything or what's the point?!
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 11:40

Hi all,
I have been running 10 months and have fallen into the hate myself trap if I dont run far enough or fast enough to the point where I "ran" with an injury because I would get very stressed if I missed a run, well I am paying the price now, I ran with a painfull achilles and now have only run once in 3 weeks, I am forced to rest as its too painfull to run now, so why didn't I rest sooner ?, I had become obsessed !, so if and when my achilles heals I am going to be a changed runner, everyone says listen to your body, I didn't......

One last thing, now when I am out and about and I see someone out running I feel so jealous and wish that I could be back out there......hopfully I will be back.....

Happy running, Gaz.....
Posted: 26/03/2003 at 11:52

See more comments...
We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.