She’s back. 

I thought I’d managed to eradicate her last year through sheer miles and races. 

Obviously not. For the anxious runner that lives inside a small box in my head has escaped and is running (ironically) amok in my brain. 

I don’t hide the fact I suffer from pre-race anxiety. I don’t deal with start lines well at ALL. I’ve mastered my pre-race routine somewhat though and can manage my anxiety pretty well these days. Things like;

  • Don’t talk to me from about 5 mins pre starting gun.
  • I don’t drink coffee or alcohol from a week out. 
  • Positive thoughts – I CAN run well. I CAN jump walls. I CAN do this. 

All of these things, please words of wisdom from my lovely Mum and pals, help me shake the nerves and just knuckle down and get on with things when I do an event. 

What I am not used to at ALL is dealing with running anxiety when I’m not racing. 

The anxious runner, (and I don’t even know why I’ve called her that because she can’t run) can’t run outside. She really wants to, and in fact had a 10 mile route planned for this morning. Except when I woke up at 3am in a cold sweat I knew I wouldn’t run today. I’ve tried to rationalise my worries to myself; 

  • What if I don’t run fast? – Who cares? Who cares if it’s a 10 min/mile or a 7min/mile? A mile is a mile and god knows I need LOADS of them in my legs this year. In short, NO ONE cares.
  • What if I have to walk? – Again, who cares? Who cares if I run a mile then walk a bit? No one. No one cares. Except me and my stupid anxiety brain. Walking is not running so therefore is failure, according to anxiety brain. 
  • What if I’ve forgotten how to run? – I know. I’m ridiculous. Like I’ve actually forgotten how to run. But at 3am this morning I was utterly convinced that I’d try and run and nothing would happen. Ironically I went to the gym and did 3 miles on the treadmill earlier. (Because everyone knows treadmill running doesn’t count.) 

But all the rationalising in the world didn’t work today and I let the anxious runner win. It’s like that dream where you’re in a crowd and you’re naked and everyone can see you. Except I’m trying to run but my legs won’t move. 

So currently I’m a runner who wants to run but can’t. Or won’t. I’m not sure. Anxiety brain sucks. 

I did however go to the gym instead so all is not lost. My improvised ‘you can’t run but really you can’ workout looked like this today; 

1 mile warmup @ 2% incline – 8 mins

10x reverse lunge with high knee each leg with 9kg in each hand.

12x 30kg back squat 

12x 20kg sumo squat 

15x tabata sprints on treadmills. 20 secs on at 9mph 2% incline. 10 secs rest. 

3×20 Leg Press Reps @ 90kg

1 mile cool down – 1% incline – 8 mins.

So all in all it wasn’t a bad workout. My heart rate data is pretty decent and I know I worked hard. 

Basically I was crying inside…

But it’s not running and that’s an issue. So all I need to do now is stab the anxious runner and stuff her back into her box and all will be right with the world again…maybe. 

Days to next event – 61. Deerstalker 

Days to Ultra #1 – 82.

Miles in the legs this year – 3. Fuck.