I’ve had my struggles with this running and writing lark. Recently, the running has been hampered by injury, and the writing has been…well I suppose it has also been hampered by injury, but that’s no excuse really.
Simply put, I’ve not been doing it.
If asked for running advice I nearly always say the same thing: consistency is key. You won’t get better at anything that you don’t do. I know that with writing the same is true, but it is one thing to know something and another thing to act on it. When it comes to running I have the consistency baked into my life, so much so that I don’t really have to think about it too much, even when I’m struggling. With writing it is not the same. Sometimes it takes a peculiar feeling of absence, and several days of sullenness, to bring me back around to the page.
Not that there is any point beating myself up about the absence. As with running, in writing I find that there are natural highs and lows, a tidal ebb and flow, and as with running the only way to counter those lows is to just keep turning up. Eventually you’ll find yourself atop a peak, or high on the tide – whichever metaphoric image you prefer – and things will feel alright again. In this case, and as is often the case, it has taken some literal peaks to bring me back around. Perhaps as a native fenlander I am predetermined to have a fascination with the high country. Being surrounded by, and walking or running amongst, hills, fells, and mountains is an elixir, so on return from the Lake District, from Brunt Knott and Scafell pike and Great Knott Wood, I finally see reason and have returned here.
I have been avoiding the trails as my injury concerns have revolved around ankle stability. Instead I have been running as smoothly as possible on the roads, returning to a regime of consistent, steady mileage supplemented with gym work. It is a simple training philosophy that I had previously over complicated, focusing on increasing the volume of speed work, whilst also increasing complete rest, hoping that the two would balance each other out. Perhaps for some that is a fine solution, but I feel far fitter and happier using higher volumes of slow and steady mileage as a buffer between few and far between speed sessions.
Alongside a return to writing, a return from the high country comes with a desire to return to the trails, to explore again, and I think a return to my old training philosophy has aided my recovery to a point where I am feeling confident enough to return. With that, I’m hoping I’ll have plenty of adventures to share, and I won’t be absent from the page for quite so long again.