What I’ve learned so far…

In my last blog post, I wrote about the difficulties I was experiencing running outdoors due to my OCD anxieties. Since then I’m pleased to say that I have participated in two organised outdoor runs. The first was a 15km run and the second a 12 mile run.

Doing these runs taught me a few things, things I wouldn’t have otherwise known. I learned that if I’m going to run a marathon then I definitely needed to do more outdoor running. Running outdoors felt very different to running on a treadmill, and I realised that I wasn’t as prepared for it as I should have been. In my head I now have no choice – I am going to have to run outdoors if I want to fulfil my dream of completing the London marathon.

Secondly, I learned that coming last in a run isn’t as terrible as I’d previously thought – it just depends on how you look at it. In the second run I was the last person to reach the finish line, out of a couple of hundred people. But given my fears and anxieties, just reaching the finish line was a huge achievement for me. Many other runners aim to beat their Personal Best (PBs) and hope to continuously improve against their previous times, which is great. What I learned was that there are other ways I could reach my own personal best that fitted in with my particular circumstances – which is probably a good thing for me as I’m not particularly fast! At that point, just reaching the finish line was a personal best for me, given that a couple of weeks earlier I was avoiding running outdoors completely.

Finally, I noticed a pattern. The day before my runs I was experiencing a full day of anxiety. This was new for me as I previously ran outdoors all the time, with no concerns. Now during the whole of of the preceding day I felt lost in my own world. I was unable to do very much or even speak very much – everything felt like a real effort. Which was ironic given the miles I was planning to run the next day! So in future I can anticipate this and put in place some strategies to help me. I have also experienced that amazing feeling when finishing the two runs, and in future I will keep this at the front of my mind to motivate me.

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