Runners can be an eccentric bunch. I like to use the word eccentric rather than downright deranged in this context, because I am talking strange habits, not the whole marathon/ultra, speed, early morning, taking yourself to the edge of exhaustion thing that so many non runners find particularly difficult to understand. This week I am going to talk about the little quirks and rituals that I and so many other runners have.
There you are, just completed your pre running stretches and set out on the carefully planned route. If you are @Peterjay6 this heralds the start of a running compulsion that I have to confess I share. Having pressed the button on your wrist and heard the bleep as you set off, ten seconds later you are looking down at your wrist again to make sure it is actually working. As you lift your eyes back up to the horizon the paranoia strikes again, and just in case you have knocked it, or the battery ran out, or there was an electromagnetic pulse which has taken out all electronic devices in the western hemisphere you check your Garmin again. And so it goes on for the next minute or so until you have really settled down into your run. The nightmare being that you get back home and you have no idea how far or fast you have gone, no lovely statistics to pour over, and nothing to keep your training on track for that next important goal.
So you have got over the first important minute or so and are running with eyes up, not glued to the device charting your run but you are not safe from strange running habits yet. There are people out there @RunningDadUK for one who are physically pained by running over the same ground twice. So what if it adds another 5 miles to the route, at least you are not covering sullied ground. I do have some sympathy with this, if I can help it I like to run a circular route, my rationale is that it is more difficult to come down with a case of CBA and scoot off back home if you are running in a big loop, rather than an out and back. I have been happy to cover the same ground if it fits in with my plan, however this has got me thinking, there maybe another little neurosis on the way. I started looking at my routes on fetch, those that were circularish seemed more attractive. Though there was one that looked like a lollipop with the first and last mile being to all intents and purposes an out and back. I may not be quite lost yet.
There comes a point in your running career when you are approaching the end of a 6 mile training run when you glance down at the Garmin. Shock horror your watch tells you that you are at 5.78 miles!!!! Now you have a choice, cut it short and only get as far as 5.87 or overshoot, go round the block and make sure you reach the magic round number, 6 miles. The choice you make could change your running life forever! I have a simple rule of thumb, if I am over halfway then I must round up to the next complete mile, if I am under half a mile I try and finish on a single decimal point, so .32 would have to be run till it was .4. I know I am not the only one with this affliction because during some winter marathon training there were 3 of us lapping the car park in a state of near exhaustion just nudging the mileage up to the full 17 miles. 16.78 was just not good enough.
There we have it, the top 3 idiosyncrasies of running behaviour which came up last week on #ukrunchat when the question was mooted. Now I know there are others, and I am sure that somebody will tell me. I can already feel myself developing another strange OCD like behaviour and I am not sure I want any more. Now I must finish I have some route planning to do, that route that looks like a lollipop on the map I just noticed a way that I could tweak it and get rid of the ‘stick’. OK so it adds on another 2 miles but really it looks a lot neater. Hmm perhaps I am getting a little carried away.