The Tale of Two Runs

I like to think of myself as an intrinsically motivated person. I like to think that, when it comes to my fitness, I get up early three times a week because that’s what needs to be done for me to take care of myself – to make me a healthy person.

However, the truth is that I am as much motivated be external factors as I am internal. Sure, I know that getting up and running is good for my health, but I also know that competing in the City2Surf is a big motivator. Recently my suspicions about my motivation were confirmed…

 

Two Identical Runs

On two consecutive Saturdays I completed nearly identical runs. Same time of day, same location, same clothes, same Spotify playlist, same weather conditions. Everything about the two runs was exactly the same… except for the people.

I always run alone, but when there are other people on the track, I tend to view it as a challenge. Not in a mean-spirited, must win kind of way, but in an I wonder if I can run faster than them kind of way.

 

The following two screenshots tell the story. I bet that without me even saying anything, you could figure out when there were other people around on each run.

 

Comparison of Fitbit statistics from two runs
The Fitbit tracking data tells the story.

 

The First of the Two Runs

On the first run I ran hard from the start. There were people up ahead of me on the track and they looked pretty fit. I wondered if I could reel them in. Sure enough, within the first kilometre I had passed them. When no-one else was about I relaxed into a steady pace of just over five minutes per kilometre.

When I then stumbled upon a large group in the sixth kilometre, I lifted my game once again. I found a sudden burst of energy as a little voice somewhere deep inside suggested that I could catch the lot of them if I really tried.

As you can tell, I was then exhausted by the final kilometre. I was moving at little more than walking pace when I completed the run.

 

The Second Run

The people on the second run were very different. There was no one at all to compare myself with for more than half the run. That resulted in a fairly consistent (and slow) pace. Just after the half way mark, I encountered a large group. Again the little voice piped up and told me to pass them all. I set about achieving that, but about half way through overtaking the group, they all took a right turn and I found myself all alone on the track again.

In the final kilometre I obviously felt that I had plenty to give. I spotted a lone runner further up the track and set about catching him.

I was happy to catch him and it felt good to have some petrol in the tank for the last part of the run. There was no way I could have done that the first time around.

 

The Lesson

Don’t take this post the wrong way. It’s not a look at me, I can overtake people brag. Instead, it is a reflection on my own mentality and a realisation that there is a part of me that likes to compete.

I think this is extremely valuable knowledge about my own motivations to take into an event like the City2Surf. With approximately 80,000 other runners on the track, I need to be extremely mindful of my overtake everyone attitude. It simply won’t work when running fourteen kilometres. If I try it on in the City2Surf, I’ll be spent before the race is even half way done.

Instead, I will aim to settle into my comfortable pace of around five minutes per kilometre. I will have to consciously put the blinkers on and not care what anyone else around me is doing – I must run my own race.

 

I don’t know if I will be able to stick to my own advice on the day. The excitement of the City2Surf may well lead to me abandoning my plans. If that is the case, I’m sure I will learn my lesson and come back a little wiser next year.

One thing is for sure, I’m now extremely excited for the big day!

 

A Little Help From My Mates (Product Disclosure)

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 headphones were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge, to use during training for the City2Ssurf. If Im going to train for one of the best running races on Earth, I may as well use the best equipment!

Spotify has provided Blog of Dad with a Premium Spotify subscription to help motivate me. Nothing gets you moving better than a kick-arse soundtrack! Spotify Premium is the perfect partner to the Beoplay E8 earbuds.

The Fitbit Blaze was provided to Blog of Dad for inclusion in the 2017 Christmas Gift Guide for Dads. It has been a vital part of my running regime ever since  a constant motivator of self-improvement strapped to my wrist!

I use Tanita’s brilliant RD-953 Body Composition Monitor to monitor my inner fitness. It tells me all I want to know about the parts I can’t see.

I have been given complimentary entry into the 2018 City2Surf, to help inspire me on my fitness journey.

To find out more, read my disclosure statement.

 

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