The new truth of 2016 – running everyday is boring

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Today is Friday December 30 and my penultimate run for December has taken place, without procrastination or delay – and a very enjoyable, companionable and satisfying run it was too. But while December running has been consistent, writing has been less so.

Perhaps by way of improving my writing output, I should try and be a bit more confessional and cast off some of my Scottish reserve. I could write more about the many thoughts I often have while running, but sadly this year in addition to suffering a bit from writers block, I seem to be hit by a loss of run mojo – or a dose of runner’s block, and when out on my daily December run, creativity has been in short supply and far from my runs leading to a well of ideas, it has felt more of a chore than a joy.

This year’s December marcothon has definitely been the hardest to find motivation for.

Whilst undoubtably giving a warm glow of accomplishment – taking part in a running streak challenge can get boring at times – as you have to find your running high from the satisfaction of ticking off a list, rather than the run itself.  And instead of you choosing whether to go for a run, the choice to run or not to run comes from a higher power 😉

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Thoughts around mixing up run route length or what type of run become driven much more by practical considerations of fitting in the mandatory distance than of trying something different. And if like me – you are running every day and a slacker when it comes to stretching , or not doing much else by way of contrasting exercise, there is always a nagging worry about picking up an injury.

BAH HUMBUG

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Of course not ALL my December run streak runs have been boring and I have enjoyed many of the runs I have done this year – so in no particular order :

My regular weekend and holiday runs with Alison and Lil –  trying out new routes to integrate a run into Edinburgh when meeting friends for coffee or lunch, the Pitreavie AAC jingle bell race, some sparkly runs through indifferent weather looking at Christmas lights, a birl round Arthur’s Seat to coincide with reaching my 999 miles for the year milestone, a run with my daughter and of course every single run surrounded by the beauty of the winter skies and feathery silhouetted trees.

And while I pretty much never regret the time spent running – I have decided that this is the year will be the one where I hang up my running streak boots – maybe not for ever – but I do not plan to take part in any run streak challenge in 2017.

I have got a big new running goal for 2017 – so will be focusing all my energies on getting through my first full marathon, and training properly for that.

As a veteran participant of 9 different monthly running streaks over a 6 year period (6 x marcothon, 2 x everydayinmay and 1 self-imposed everyday in June), I think it’s OK to say it’s time for me to try something new.

And I accept I will never match Ron Hill  – but that’s OK by me.

Day 30 3.76 miles  December total  126.7

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December running – 5 day round up

Five days into December and running everyday verdict is so far, so good. This is not the first time I have taken part in the challenge, so I do know the score. But this year is a bit different for me as I recently left my job after 8 years, and have the freedom to run at whatever time I like and for how ever long I choose – which is a new sensation and one that is taking a bit of getting used to, but is mostly a good thing.

This being the 6th time I have taken part in the marcothon, and for once not needing to weave my daily run around work commitments – I did consider adding a bit of icing onto the December run challenge cake. Maybe trying to run somewhere different every day or completing my December runs in an appropriately advent themed costume – bedecked as a lycra Christmas tree or Santa. Or I could have perplexed myself with some kind of a curious run = number of days = phase of the moon  mileage combination – but on balance I thought better of it.

As it happens my December running is already something of a challenge within a challenge – as I am attempting to run further in 2016 than I have in any other year since I took up running in 2009 – and have set a target of completing  999 miles by December 31st.

And it turns out that even though I don’t have a regular 9-5 to fit round, or business travel, office parties and the like to attend, December is still quite a busy month. Newly out of my work routine and between my next assignment starting – I am finding it very easy to fill my day before and after running in all sorts of ways, and very much enjoying catching up with friends old and new.

Weather has been cool, but so far no snow and ice and to my mind Dec 5th had the best wintry weather as temperatures dropped to minus 4 – creating a beautiful frosty landscape and a face tinglingly cold run.

Day  1 – combined my first December run with meeting my newish Instagram friend Linda (@occasionalscotland) for coffee and a walk round  Edinburgh’s  Botanic Gardens. Easy day one downhill run to the Botanics along the canal, then weaving through the New Town.

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Mileage 4.03 Total 4.03

Day 2 – Friday run with running chums Alison, Lil and Emma . Did a new variation of a route ( Emma’s 10k route )  out along the Dell path by the Water of Leith then up a level to Blinkbonny for an uphill loop before rejoining the path and back along the Dell by the river.

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Nice to do a variation and lots of opportunity for different conversations and pace.

Mileage 6.36 Total 10.39

Day 3 – Saturday run with Alison – one of our weekend regulars -out along the Dell then back up past the new equestrian centre and Campbell park to loop back to the start – nice out and back on a cool morning.

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Mileage 5.07 Total 15.46

Day 4 – Sunday run with Alison – we did our other regular weekend route – the Balgreen  – out through Craiglockhart woods , past the allotments to Balgreen then back via the canal. Cold with bright sunlight

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Mileage 5.14 Total 20.60

Day 5 – cold, crisp and frosty run – as on my own I chose to run at midday , to get the best of the sunshine and did a circular route from the house down first to the Dell path, along westwards towards Currie then up towards the Pentland hills via Poets Glen and back home via Clubbiedean and Torphin reservoirs.

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Mileage 5.24 Total 25.84