Sunday, 5 July 2015

Lakeland 50, Strava, and the Bigger Picture

Three weeks out and it is fair to say I won't be setting the trails alight in the Lake District at the end of the month, but I will do what I can on the day.   I'm hoping for a decent enough run but I won't be finishing the in the sort of time I had initially hoped at the start of 2015.  Too much has happened and too much hasn't happened for any kind of magic to happen.  Sometimes life simply chooses a different path and you just have to go with it and look at the bigger picture. (And I'm still having gear issues! Argh!)

I have been using Strava as a training tool/log for quite some time.  Strava is a fantastic tool to use as part of your training. It is stat-geek heaven! Today I made a quip online about somebody using a means other than running to log a 1:40 minute mile - I don't think even Usain Bolt ran at that pace for his 100m world record! Discussion ensued between those who like Strava and those who dismiss its positive attributes.  I think Strava is great.  It can really help motivate you in many ways, especially if you don't have your own coach (officially or unofficially), or maybe your can't attend your local running club (due to personal commitments).  It allows you to not only view/review/analyse your own training, but you can also see what other runners are doing: see what sessions they are running or what routes they are training on and hopefully learn and improve from this information.

Of course there are people on there who are only out to try and get fastest times on segments or set course records but who cares?  That's no different than somebody (reasonably) fast turning up at lots of 'small' races just so they can be sure of bagging the race win or the course record.  Or everyone and anyone claiming their race is the hardest/longest/hottest/coldest etc.  Again, who cares? There's nothing wrong with that - perhaps that is what motivates those people to go out and run. Each to their own.

People can do what they want.  Maybe Strava is just another way to 'shout' about what training you've done. If that's your motive, then that's fine too. It's no different than people posting about all their runs on social media, or writing blogs about their running (eek!)  We all have our own ways of motivating ourselves or keeping a record about what we are doing.  However we do it, it shouldn't matter.  I love looking through running photos on Instagram for example.  I don't care how fast or how far somebody has run, I just love seeing photos of all the beautiful places people get to run in and see what fun they are having whilst doing it.  It's inspiring, just like seeing a local route come up on somebody's Strava feed that I have never been on: it makes me want to go out an explore it. What a brilliant thing!  What is better than inspiring others?   Kudos! Oops, was that a rhetorical question? He he.

Beautiful places for inspiring runs.

Each of those runs is logged on Strava ;-)

The Bigger Picture
So, I'm not worrying too much about the Lakeland 50.  Whatever happens it will be a good experience, and good preparation for doing (fingers crossed) the full Lakeland 100 in 2016.  And it will be good miles in the legs ahead of my other 50 miler later this year.

I have another BIG project for next summer for which preparations have already begun.  In fact they began months ago (from a seed of thought that was planted years ago).  It is something I am both excited and scared about.  That fear is why I am doing it. I want to push beyond what is comfortable and do something that inspires me, something that is a big adventure and a big challenge.  I am never going to be a speedster on the roads (or trails).  You'll not see me run a sub 40 minute 10K.  I have focused on speed and short distances in the past.  I made improvements, and I'm sure I could get faster (to a point) but I don't have the speedy genes.  So for a number of years (particularly since I became a mum) I have been thinking about running in a different way.  That's not to say I won't still try and get faster, or do short distances, but there has to be something 'more' for me.

And 2016 is definitely going to be MORE!

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