Today’s run was the next step back to full on training for the London Marathon after a brief hiatus due to a foot problem. As a result, I spent most of the run concentrating on trying not to concentrate on how I was running. Until I was distracted by something I heard as I passed a mother and daughter walking their dog.
In my relatively young running career I’ve been very fortunate with avoiding injuries, especially ones that have interrupted my running. For those of you who read my posts regularly, you’ll know that my luck ran out this month, just as my marathon training was getting to full swing.
I made sure I followed the advice I would dish out to any of the runners I coach. Relax and rest; there’s no point pushing through and screwing the injury up even more. I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s so important. I felt the most calm and patient I’ve ever been about my running and yet I was doing none.
Don’t get me wrong, this didn’t turn out to be a major injury. Less than a week after barely being able to walk on my foot I was pleased to go for a cautious run with my Tuesday night group with no ill effects. With a slightly faster 5 miles on Thursday night under my belt, today was about trying out a marathon specific session: a 6 mile marathon pace run. It should be the next step up without being too stressful. I chose to spiral around Witney so that I was never far from home, just in case I needed to abort.
Looking back, things were absolutely fine but at the time all I could think about was “is my foot ok?”, “is that a twinge or am I imagining it?” and “am I holding myself funny?”
It took all my concentration to attempt not to concentrate on my running. All I wanted to do is run without thinking. And then something took my mind off it all at the 4 mile mark:
“We’ll just wait for this jogger to go past so the dog doesn’t get too excited”
said a mother to her dog-walking daughter.
You what!? Jogger!? I think not madam.
Now I realise that some of you may use the term “jogger”. Some of you might even prefer it to “runner”. Perhaps it gives you a sense of security but for me, it’s an unnecessary word and I wish it could be withdrawn form the dictionary. I feel people should be confident to use and be described as a runner, no matter how quickly or slowly they run.
There is not a sliding scale where walking speeds up enough to become jogging, and jogging gets quick enough to be running. It’s binary, and to misquote Yoda, “run or don’t run; there is no jog.”
“Walking is generally distinguished from running in that only one foot at a time leaves contact with the ground and there is a period of double-support. In contrast, running begins when both feet are off the ground with each step.”
It’s not as if I was even going particularly slowly. At just slowler than 8 minute miles and 160-odd steps per minute I most definitely wasn’t walking. So, therefore, accordingly and ergo: I was running.
No one need mention the “j” word.
I know it’s my little hang up and it’s not the fault of the, actually considerate mother (she was actually pausing her own walk to allow me to carry on uninterrupted) but it riled me, as happens whenever I hear the “j” word used. But actually, it helped. I was so busy having my own little rant in my own little head that I completely forgot about my foot. So much so that I was a little naughty. I ended up relaxing so much that my 6 mile marathon pace run became 7 miles. And with some sections a bit quicker than they should have been. Especially considering what happened 9 days ago.
Coach’s note: Dan’s discipline to stick to the training plan, and hold himself back, still has room for improvement!
Do you think of yourself as a runner or a jogger? Do you go for a run or a jog? Do you get offended at the suggestion of being a jogger, rather than a runner? Or does it not bother you at all?