Post Marathon Stress Disorder, (aka Post Traumatic Race Disorder).
You spend months training to reach your goal, whatever that is, and you smash it. But then what? You imagine you’ll carry on training exactly as before, up and out before the birds, determined and focussed. But actually, rarely is this the case, unless there’s some other reason to keep on running. You start to cancel runs, you get put off by a little wind or rain, or sun, social engagements suddenly move up a place on the weekly agenda.
It’s good to have a little slump time. Cheers to that!
But then it’s time to crack on. Like everyone else, I’d love to be fitter, healthier, thinner, but try as I might, those things on their own are simply not enough to get me to put my trainers on. After all, I can always start tomorrow.
I’m very lucky these days because I run with other people as my mission in life as well as my job. I hate to admit it, but other people are ‘what’ motivates me these days. This from the girl who’s live-by mantra used to be ‘I am a rock, I am an island’
I went out for a work social last night, a fantastic Indian meal, paid for by the company. 35 of us, all ages and backgrounds, volunteers, workers, friends partners and family. I met a lady there, a retired PE teacher who made a flippant comment that’s made me think. She said that people (and government funding streams!) generally think that fitness comes first, then the social elements. But they’re wrong (she commented), actually the social element comes first.
By way of example:
On this morning’s school run (yes we ran, we were focussed on not being late!) I chatted to a very lovely self-confessed unhealthy lady who wants to lose a few pounds. She’d seen me training someone on the promenade last week, and suddenly she thought, hey, if he can do it, then maybe I can. So we chatted, and hopefully she’ll let me teach her and her daughter how to run.
Do you see what happened there? She knows damn well, like all of us, that we need to get up and out and fit and healthy. But was that enough? Nope. But the social element of seeing someone else out there, the social element of the chat on the school run, the social element of joining with her daughter…. These may be the things that get her up and running.
I’m smiling as I realise how motivating that little conversation was for me. I even rushed home to tell my partner , and I imagine messaging the bloke she’d seen training to also encourage him. I wanted to spread the word.
That’s how it’s done. Yes we can rave about obesity, we can count calories and read the warning on cigarette packets as we light up, and sugar content as we down the last square of chocolate.
But actually maybe it’s the social element that really works. It’s the people you’re with and the people you’re fighting for, or Walk2Running for. And maybe that’s the at least part of the solution to PMSD. Or PTRD. Or even, dare I say it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
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Or to arrange training for your organisation please contact me at Jacky @Walk2Run.org