Running diary: ‘As temperatures dipped, so too did my motivation’

‘I ditched the road this week in favour of running indoors on a treadmill. I am feeling a bit guilty about this’

Claire McMahon  thinks the new year, new me mantra would have a much better chance of success if undertaken at any other time of the year.

Claire McMahon thinks the new year, new me mantra would have a much better chance of success if undertaken at any other time of the year.

 

It’s the second last week of my Get Running challenge and I have a confession to make. As temperatures have dipped, so too has my motivation for running outside.

I ditched the road this week in favour of running indoors on a treadmill. I am feeling a bit guilty about this, especially as the programmes are in association with our columnist Mary Jennings’ ForgetTheGym. I feel I should be apologising to the road and pleading with it that it didn’t actually mean anything to me and that it happened only the once, well, twice actually, but no more than that.

I was thinking of the road the whole time.

The weather for me plays a major factor in my comfort level during a run. When it’s dark, cold, rainy, windy or icy, or all of the above as is often the case, it is especially hard to motivate and push yourself. The comfort of the gym was too alluring this week. Running on a treadmill may not constitute as real running for some but I am at least making an effort.

I can’t help but feel a real runner would not have this attitude. A real runner would recognise that there is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people. A real runner would be hardcore and wear a T-shirt with a slogan like “forget the rain, we still train” (and possibly something about pain). I should view the rain as exercise and a shower in one go, but quite frankly I don’t.

I think new year resolutions and the new year, new me mantra would have a much better chance of success if undertaken at any other time of the year. After weeks of excessive food and booze over Christmas, we are expected to rein it in suddenly, and immediately turn our attention to self-improvement. The darkest hour is just before dawn as they say but new year is a lethal combination of the darkest, coldest, poorest and fattest hours. Talk about making things hard for ourselves. If I was a squirrel, I would be hibernating.

Week 7 Run 1

I start the week by completing the final run from last week. I complete a 30-minute session made up of a five-minute run followed by a five-minute walk followed by a 20-minute slow run. I complete this run on the treadmill so something tells me it doesn’t count in the same way. My red face would say otherwise.

Week 7 Run 2

My second run of the week is made up of a 14-minute slow run followed by a two-minute walk. The guilt pushes me outside and it is Baltic. I return to the house a few minutes into the warm-up to put on an extra layer. I am freezing at first and then way too warm. I extend the walk to four minutes as two minutes seems a bit stingy. If push comes to shove I could probably cover close to a 5K by repeating this run and stopping for a quick walk midway through. Ideally I can skip the walk but I find it reassuring to know this.

Week 7 Run 3

The second run in the training guide is my third run of the week owing to the fact that I was behind from last week. I run for eight minutes followed by a two-minute walk, repeated three times. I finish with relative ease.

My next focus is a 25-minute run. It is hard to believe I have arrived at this point already. Time flies as they say (except when you are running for 25 minutes that is).

– Claire McMahon followed the Get Running programme (irishtimes.com/getrunning) and wrote a weekly column about how she got on.
Part 1: You can sit on the couch and get fat
Part 2: The truth is I don’t like exercise
Part 3: Dubious and hopeful
Part 4: Signing up for ‘Wine on the Line’
Part 5: Looking forward to the next run
Part 6: Out of my depth buying new runners
Part 7: My motivation dipped

Sign up for one of The Irish Times' Get Running programmes (it is free!). 
First, pick the eight-week programme that suits you.
- Beginner Course: A course to take you from inactivity to running for 30 minutes.
- Stay On Track: For those who can squeeze in a run a few times a week.
- 10km Course: Designed for those who want to move up to the 10km mark.
Best of luck!

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