I took it really easy last week after the effort of the first proper ultra "race", with just a couple of runs in during the week. My left hip and my right knee are also feeling a little niggly so I thought it wise to ease off the training too. Oh that's the excuse I gave myself anyway...
However, not running does really seems to affect me mentally. I get moody, tearful and irritated about things that usually would not affect me. How do non runners cope?!
I think running helps with stress on two levels. First is on a physical level. Anger and stress can be shaken off along a run. Endorphins help make you feel better inside yourself. Second is on a mental level. I find I am able to work through things in a more fluid yet abstract way in my head on a run. Things that may seem important or overwhelming can be taken down in size. Nothing ever feels quite so bad when thought through on a run.
Maybe it’s the sense of control over things that you have when running. Maybe it’s the setting or maybe it’s that you’re working so damn hard to keep going that takes the edge of other problems! I don’t know but whatever it is, I always – without fail – feel 100% better after I’ve been running. So that's my little bit of mid week running psychology for you!
This week, I hope I'm back on form and am planning on runs in all this week with two long runs at the weekend, to try and start building up the "horizontal" running stamina (day after day of running) as well as the "vertical" running stamina (ultra runs). It will take a lot of running psychology for me to tell myself I do really, really want to go out in the freezing cold EVERYDAY and run lots of miles.