Everybody Needs a Montage

I’ve had my failures. Most of them, with running so far, have been individual screwups. Bad runs, bad shoes, that kind of thing. But at the moment, I’m facing a larger failure. I’ve repeatedly failed to lose weight since I started running, but recently — the last year or so — I’ve been actively putting weight on.

For a few different reasons, I’ve not been running as often. I did nip out for a bit of a jog/walk last weekend, and I’ve cycled to work a few times recently, but it feels like I’ve just, well — lost it a bit.

I guess this happens with every hobby or pasttime, doesn’t it? Sometimes, there’s just a loss of interest, a lack of energy.

The weight and the lack of running, I think, are related. It’s not so much that the lack of running is causing me to put on weight, as the other way around — I’ve put on weight, so I feel less comfortable running. Especially in summer, where you don’t really want to dress up in a nice stomach-disguising outer layer, and it’s not dark, so everyone can see you.

I feel a bit paranoid about running at the moment, to be honest.

And I feel a bit guilty, too. I’m a runner. Not only am I a runner, but I’m also very proud to be a part of the team for a product that helps get people running. So not getting out and running makes me feel pretty shabby, frankly.

But of course, that doesn’t help.

What really brought this home was the email reminder that there’s only about eleven weeks to go to the Bristol Half Marathon. And I think I’m a slower runner right now, not to mention a flabbier runner, than I was when I did it last year, or when I did the Bath Half earlier on this year.

Eleven weeks.

Of course, there’s an image in my head of me suddenly turning my current lax ways around, starting to spring out of bed at 6am, going for an hour-long jog along the Portway, coming back to breakfast on a glassful of carrot juice before cycling to work the long way round, maybe via Clevedon. Then a full day’s work, including nipping out for a couple of hours at a gym instead of having lunch. Finish off my day with a hearty meal of fish and wholegrain rice, then maybe watch a motivational film before my newly-imposed 9pm bedtime.

And repeat without fail for eleven weeks. Yes, well, it’s a mental montage, not a reality. I’ve never had a single day that healthy in my entire life, of course. What I should do, really, is try to turn things around gradually and sensibly, one day at a time, and just deal with the half marathon when it comes along. See how I’m feeling.

But it seems quite hard to even make that small start.

What do you do when you’re in this kind of mood? Any other runners out there who’ve been through this? Any tips for going from putting on the pounds to taking them off? All advice gratefully received…

6 thoughts on “Everybody Needs a Montage”

  1. I diagnose: possible case of low metabolism/ energy

    I prescribe: an Acai smoothie (available at the juice bar St. Nich’s) with a shot of fat burner followed by an espresso chaser, before you know it you will be doing circuits round Queen Square with intermediate press ups/ sit ups and wishing you had put some spandex on, all before you have had time to go to Barista’s for your morning Latte. (shalala)

  2. H was told to lose some weight first and then start running again. Otherwise he would risk damage to his joints.

    Fortunately for him, I signed up to WeightWatchers Online and we both lost weight. I’ve found WeightWatchers very straightforward and a lot more fun than I expected it to be. I still have lots of nice food, and I really enjoy my food. It seems easier to track ProPoints (using the iPhone app when I’m out and about) than it is to just vaguely try to eat more healthily. I also like the fact that I get extra points for exercising. This has helped to get me moving more.

    Of course other systems/brands for losing weight are available and it’s up to you what approach you choose to use. But whatever you do, following some kind of system will probably work better than just browbeating yourself.

  3. I can’t speak for the running, obviously. But you’re already staring the problem in the face, which is usually the first step. Maybe you need to shunt something else out of your life for 11 weeks so you can open up the time to get the motivation to bootstrap yourself and make the time to get running again. (Personally, I rarely get as far as the montage, I just get so fed up with myself that I restart from pure frustration. Have just bought “GTD”.)

    For the pounds, I’ve had some success while slaving over a hot desk — “Okinawa Diet” and “Appetite for Reduction”.

    Or if you need a change of scenery, come on over!

  4. Hey Matt — I think we’ve exchanged Tweets on this very subject and I know exactly where you are coming from (except I am not going to do half marathon’s yet) I have been as you know, umming and ahhing over whether or not to give up running altogether because every time I try to go out I would just slump back into bed and feel crappy. This week however I had some news that jump started me into getting up yesterday morning — I ran 1.89 miles in 20 mins with only 3, 1 minute walking intervals. This morning same distance but only 1 walking interval. This oh so light progress is spurring me on. Just get out there and if you want I’ll come with you now and again (and I’ll bring the skipping rope 🙂 and we can gee each other on.

  5. The answer, for me, is simply to just get out and run. Running is only partially physical, the vast majority of it is mental — how we run, how we feel, how we deal with the ups and downs of it. If you are struggling for motivation, get somebody to run with you, arrange it so you can’t back out, make it regular, reclaim it. Once you are out of the door it is all about the run and that’s the easy bit.

    Most of all, though, you should run because you enjoy it, because you want to. The half-marathon is incidental. There will be ebbs, but they don’t matter because you are a runner. So run. The rest will come along with it.

    Oh, I love fish and rice (with steamed veg and a dash of soya sauce for the rice). Yum.

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