On Monday when the whole world seems to have awoken from its weekend slumber and the thoughtfulness of the previous day’s activities have disappeared. The leisurely weekend timeframe is gone and along with it the chance to ’pad’ all my training runs with plenty of luxuries; a slice of toast, morning coffee, catch up on overnight news etc. Monday for me means getting the shoes on and get out the door because if it doesn’t happen early it just won’t happen!
No doubt I am not alone in this predicament. Thankfully running is not just a choice, it’s a habit. It’s more then something I choose to do and live with, it’s something I can’t live without.
Correction. I probably can live without but my family probably could not stand to live with me! Edginess, grumpiness and inability to be focused are all symptoms of a day without a run.
Thankfully the habitual urge of needing to go for a run has its benefits. Enter gloomy Monday morning with the world rushing about stirring me through my window. I know its Monday, I know time won’t stand still like it does on Sunday, I know if I stay comfortable for a little longer that happiness will be fleeting and the opportunity missed.
As a creature of habit I rise and prepare swiftly. The run itself, not so swift. A Monday run for me is typically bridging the gap between a punishing Sunday long run and the next instalment of ’speedwork’ due on Tuesday morning. It’s essential, I ran well yesterday and I want to run well tomorrow so there is good reason to run now. The benefits in satisfying the habit are even more important on such a day, a day where little choices are left to make, just charge from one duty to the next.
The Australian marathon text book (there is no such thing, I merely refer to the common knowledge that has been passed down by runners and their coaches) suggests that a Monday shall be a 10 mile or 16km run. These days’ I am happy with whatever I can squeeze out in the time I have. 50min or 11km is about the average, nice and relaxed if I can manage that. Today I am a bit stiff from the long run the previous day so the habitual loop for a sore body is a flat easy urban run mixing in a few of landmark locations around Newcastle. There is plenty to see and I know where I am going. This is another benefit of being a creature of habit. The loop is established, I don’t need to think about it, I don’t need a watch let alone a GPS.
Running for the most part is a good habit. Lots of benefits; physically, socially and emotionally. The ’habit’ pulled me out the door this morning as it has done countless times before. However, as with all habits, a balance is required. Am I the master of the habit or is it mastering me?
I have wrestled with these questions before and while I run along this morning I have a clear conscience. I called on the habit and now here I am, running along freely after slow start would you believe it, it’s Monday and the sun is still shining!