New Year, Old Me
WHY I WON’T BE MAKING ANY RESOLUTIONS THIS FIRST OF JAN.
OVER THE FESTIVE SEASON, we’re all guilty of shoving mince pies down our pie holes and partying till dawn, because we’ve awarded ourselves a get-out-of-Christmas-fat-free card. How? By kidding ourselves that come the first of January, we’ll embark on a miraculous journey: from festively plump to fit and svelte.
But resolutions are easier made than carried out, if the ones I set last year are anything to go by:
1. I WILL LOSE WEIGHT
Well, this one never got off the ground. But really, in my opinion getting rid of all the high-kilojoule junk from your cupboard goes against the ethos of running. Why do we put ourselves through the pain of running a marathon, if not to feel less guilty about indulging in a juicy burger?
Case in point: I once returned home from a race feeling disappointed about my result. I reclined on the couch, quaffing a glass of bubbly – which was comforting, whether I was celebrating or drowning my sorrows.
I complained to my husband, Alex: “I lined up at the start of that race with women who were half my age and one-eighth my size.”
“Okay,” said Alex. “How d’you think the woman who won the race is toasting her victory?”
I thought for a moment, sipping my champers. Then I replied: “By eating a stick of celery.”
Good point. But that epiphany aside, don’t you think it’s awful we’re so pressured into following whichever diet the latest Hollywood star is proposing? Try eating a plate of activated bark when your mate’s tucking into a juicy burger. Both contain protein, Gwyneth, but I can tell you which one I’d rather have.
Just eat what you love... but not too much.
2. I WILL HTFU
What, even if it’s below freezing outside, pouring with rain, and the wind’s blowing at 50 kays an hour? Let me unpack this for you:
A) No way I’m hitting my 4 min/km target pace if I have to battle Mother Nature in the middle of a storm; and
B) In dealing with this weather I’ve caught the dreaded lurgi anyway, which means a lay-off from running of at least two weeks.
Get real. There’s toughing it out, and there’s downright lunacy.
3. I WILL RUN A MARATHON
“Well, you can’t call yourself a real runner until you do.”
Oh, puh-lease. It takes six months for an experienced runner to train for a marathon. Compare that with the TWO YEARS it took me to train for a sub-20-minute 5-K, and (when the day of my time trial finally arrived) for the quad-wrenching, lung-busting torture I went through to run at top speed for just 20 minutes.
And... well... shut your pie hole!
4. I WILL GET INTO YOGA
Newsflash: we runners aren’t bendy.
Cast your eye over a group of us attempting a cool-down stretch, and you’ll witness a painful scene indeed. We try to touch our toes, and hardly get as far down as our knees.
Stand on one leg and stretch our quads? You must be joking. I tried that once, and ended up falling over!
Anyway, not only is stretching in public humiliating; if you overdo it and make your muscles too long, it can lead to injury – and another long lay-off from running.
5. I WILL RUN A TRAIL RACE
As a die-hard road runner, I can tell you that trail running’s a completely different sport to road. Asking a roadie to hit the mountain is like asking someone who’s never gone shoeless to hammer out 20km barefoot.
Don’t get me wrong: when I tried trail, I started out with the best of intentions. Faced with a near-vertical ascent, I powered straight up. Sure enough, my road-runner’s quads tired around the umpteenth step. My head went all fuzzy with the altitude. And that’s when I started making mistakes...
I hadn’t strengthened my ankles and stabilised my core first, so my body couldn’t handle the terrain. A slimecovered twig here, an ACTUAL raging river there, and... Aargh! Twisted ankle. Another month off running.
What can you learn from my NewYear’s-resolution experience?
Don’t make a resolution just because it’s that time of year again, and all your running mates are doing it, right now, this second.
And if your resolution isn’t enjoyable, it isn’t worth making. Indulging in one juicy burger (see above) doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned your running goals altogether!
GET REAL. THERE’S TOUGHING IT OUT, AND THERE’S DOWNRIGHT LUNACY.