Pushing through the doubts

It is finally feeling like spring has well and truly sprung, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Saturday, 9th April 2016, 12:34 pm
Training at Spittal beach.

I love this time of year when the sun starts to shine, but there’s still a nip in the air, which makes running so much easier (I tried running in the hot sunshine once last year and it nearly ended me).

Flowers are poking through and the wildlife is out to play, giving me something a little more interesting to look at as I run around town. Lots of lovely positives – and then my hayfever raises its head to ruin things.

As I’ve continually mentioned, I am very much an amateur runner, and at the best of times I struggle to maintain steady breathing when I am running.

Some days it seems to come naturally and I feel like I could run for an eternity (well, five more minutes than usual); other days I’ve barely set out and I’m huffing and puffing, struggling to even get one decent breath down into my lungs. Sadly, with the advent of hayfever it is increasingly the latter.

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It can be so easy to let a small setback like this derail you completely and I have been feeling demoralised this week, thinking there is no way I will ever be able to run a half-marathon.

But I then thought about the actual runs I’ve been doing recently, and how good they make me feel (at least once I’ve stopped sniffling).

I’m continuing to mix up my routes between road and off-road, but that sometimes means conditions underfoot remain a bit soggy at this time of year. It can be a good excuse to slow down to a fast walk, even if only for a minute, and it’s surprised me how much further I can go after a short break to regain my puff.

However, in using this as an excuse to slip the occasional walking section into my route, I remain terrified that I am not improving at all and should not have signed up to the Great North Run.

I’m determined to push through though, and when the feeling of sheer panic grips me and refuses to let go, I try to remind myself of the journey I took to get this far. I did not wake up one morning and suddenly find I could run non-stop for 30 minutes so why do I think I should magically be able to run for an hour without training?

If I need to take a few minutes breather now I’m tackling longer routes then so be it, and hopefully, in time, the walking sections will become shorter again and running will fill the gaps.

Now, if I can just get myself sufficiently drugged up to stave off the hayfever symptoms I should be ready for that half-marathon in no time.

If you would like to support my Great North Run fund-raising efforts in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society then you can donate online at www.justgiving.com/berwickberriGNR