I had a big picture for this summer. With no impending marathons and no marathon training I decided to have what I termed a ‘summer of fun’. I would run shorter races, 10k’s and halves, even a few 10 milers. I would give back to my running club for all they have done to help my running by entering a few league races so they could earn points. I would work on my pace and generally do a few of the races and events that I had missed out on while running so many marathons last year. Yes there was a big picture there, and it was all going to be great. I was drifting along happily thinking I was on top of it all until this weekend.
I had arranged for an easy 10 mile run followed by breakfast with a lovely friend of mine. Most of the ‘Odd Bod Squad’ that I tend to run with were away, or injured, or working, so the two of us decided there would be consolation in running together. As I left my front door I had a moment of Deja Vou. There were signs up giving mile marker points and saying beware runners. Last year, while trying to get on top of my marathon pace with some extreme heart rate monitor training, I had discovered there was a race called the Dorking 10 which went almost right past my front door. One of my aims for this year was to run it. I even checked the dates on line about 3 months ago. Somehow in my grand big picture focused brain it had fallen by the wayside. I had started to drift without making any concrete plans. My training was getting quicker, but events were just non existent, my ‘summer of fun’ was starting to turn a bit sour.
Obviously I had missed the boat with the Dorking 10, I was consoled by a wonderful run ( apart from the cows, the nettles, the dogs, and a few hills). I had good company and, as happens on long runs, there was plenty of good conversation. As we talked I began to realise that I was drifting and that a large part of my life had been spent drifting from one thing to another. Running, and marathons in particular had given me some focus and that was good, but a ‘summer of fun’ was such a nebulous and broad term there was nothing really to focus on. I had no target to aim for and so everything was a bit wishy washy and specifics were left until it was too late.
I have a big marathon picture too. I would like to get a GFA time. It won’t happen yet, I am a good two or three years off of that, but with that big picture comes some very specific targets. If you want to train properly for marathons you can only really do 2 a year. One in the Spring and one in the Autumn, each of these marathons is a gauge of what your progress is and how you have to work to get to the next milestone. At the moment my next target is to run a 3:45 and I have two races already booked. Valencia is my target race for the Autumn and training for that begins at the end of August. Next April I have already booked Brighton. The point is that even though I have a big marathon picture I have smaller specific targets which show I am getting there and give me something to focus on. There is nothing like that for my ‘summer of fun’.
At this juncture I pull out my Saul Bee patented bag of platitudinous wisdom and recite the phrase… ‘A big picture is made up of small parts.’ The problem I have is ignoring those important small parts, without them the big picture evaporates. If I focus on the big picture exclusively I miss out on the specifics it is made up from and that picture vanishes.
There is nothing there. There are no pixels on the screen, no paint on the canvas, no metaphors to illustrate a point. I need an attitude adjustment, I need to look after the component pieces and the big picture will look after itself.
With all of this in mind I have started to book those smaller club races I said this summer of fun will be made up from. So far I have booked two 10k events and am trying to work out a few more I can fit in. I think that I should finish this summer with a bloody good Half too. It might give me a guide as to how far I have come since my last one in January and, as an added bonus work as part of the bigger marathon picture. It may give me a hint as to if I am on target for that 3:45 I am after. One little part that helps to make up two big pictures.