Running on my mind

Running has taken a back seat to long-distance walking at the moment. In a few weeks I will be walking the Way of St James from St Jean Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Preparation for this 778 Km journey involves extensive walking, reading and planning. During long walks I often think about running and when I return from this 40-day pilgrimage I will be ready to run again!

If you would like to follow my journey, drop by reflections from the countryside.

Slow enough to photograph the birds

I have no major news on the running front. I am still slow – slow enough to photograph birds while running on the trail. Actually, this is not true. Hearing and seeing birds is a lame excuse to stop running and take photos.  I should leave my camera at home and concentrate on my workout, but I always bring it just in case I encounter something interesting. In reality, the birds usually hear me huffing and puffing like a wild animal and they are long gone before I get my camera out. Somehow, I managed  a few bird photos on the trail this fall.

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Walk, hike or run

This past summer I became a slow jogger or should I say a fast walker. It would not be fair to say I did a lot of running in spite of having great intentions in the spring. I started off with a blast and plenty of determination, but work, garden chores, hot weather, life and other random excuses put up roadblocks and once I slacked off it was difficult to regain motivation and focus long enough to stick to a running routine.

I didn’t give up running completely, but I skipped too many days and went for a long walk or hike instead of a run. Although walking and hiking are great exercise both are much easier than running or in my case jogging. What really happened is that I walked or hiked for 10 or 12 kilometres most days and then when I had the urge to go for a run, I was exhausted from the previous day’s workout that my intended run quickly became a slow jog or on some days another long walk.

At the end of September I decided to go for a run at least three times a week and then plan long walks or hikes on the non-running days. For me running is hard and progress is slow, but it is rewarding and I feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of my workout that I do not get from long walks or hiking.

I also find it easier to set and monitor goals with running. My goal is to run outdoors as long as possible in spite of the shorter, darker and colder days that fall brings.

The scenery and autumn colours are beautiful. The air is fresh. I must brush aside the little voice inside my head saying that it is too cold or the one telling me to wait until the afternoon when it is warmer. These voices only lead to procrastination and this must be avoided at all costs if my running goals are to become reality. I must remember that my body warms up in about ten or fifteen minutes and ignore the coldness at the start of my workout. Ignoring the little voices and the cold will help me accomplish five kilometres in forty minutes or less.