The 7 Stages That A Runner Faces Before, During And After A Run
- A mix of dread or excitement will start any run off for me. I’ll rise from bed half-asleep and plead with myself “Do I really have to run today? What if I get raped? What if I’m unable to run as fast as before? This will be the time I’ll be caught short!” Self doubt meets and greets expectation. The main question is “Why am I even doing any of this?”
- Takeoff. You go outside. Before you begin your run you have to look left and right multiple times like a sparrow starving for worms. A check of your watch and/or surroundings and you’re off once more! The initial excitement can be overwhelming and the urge to soar is often irresistible. But very quickly you wonder why you don’t do this more often. Then reality hits. ‘Shit I have to keep going for x miles!!
- The difficult first mile. I will typically hate the first mile and the struggle it entails. I will feel every minute of it, that’s why it’s really worth taking it easy for the first bit and not expecting too much of myself too soon. I try to let the run come to me rather than forcing anything.
- The flow phase. It starts with feeling less uncomfortable than I did during the first mile. Then I’ll feel serene. Then I’ll feel good! By this stage I’ll be confident and want to take down Haile and Mo with him (in my own mind at least). Most importantly, I’ll hit a point where I stop thinking altogether and be consumed by the very act of running.
- The fall – I will run a quick mile or two and suddenly feel the pain of over-exertion out of nowhere. It will present itself as negative thoughts at first, they will bubble into my head and I’ll begin to feel drained physically. All notion of being an athlete will die after yet another 10-minute-mile. Self hatred will hit for a while for being awful at running, but that’s just punishment for thinking I was any good in the first place. It’s at this point that I’ll bargain with myself about possibly cutting the run short and returning home to bed for a Snickers.
My run can go two ways from here.
- The second wind – The second wind is magnificent. The pain of running will seem too much and overwhelm my mind and then a calm will hit like the first hint of sunrise. Doubts wane. Hope rises. Belief is instilled. I will know that I will finish this run and many more to come.
The wall – If running isn’t going well, my inner voice will start on a major rant.
I”m never fucking running again. The guys who love running are sadistic freaks! Fuck them! They are insane! I cannot do this!”
The negativity won’t stop until I get home and then!
- The end – Finishing the run will entail crawling up stairs like a battle worn hero in order to gain a mix of sympathy and awe from my peers. I’ll agonise over my split times, mileage and the average pace and think about when I’ll put myself through this utter madness once more. Strangely enough I’m never completely satisfied with any of my results, even if I do what I intended at the start of the run.