Tuesday, 9 May 2017


Ray Mathews having a sit down .. at 75 he ran 75 marathons in 75 days

When I first started running I never stopped ... I had the idea in my mind that real runners didn't stop ... that it didn't count if you stopped. If you felt tired, had the stitch or some pain you just had to "man up" and run through it.  I was switching off to keep going and get the fastest times in that I could.

A conversation with a real runner (Liam O'hare) back in the summer of 2007 changed my attitude to running completely.

Liam running in the Men’s Surrey League Cross Country 16 January 2016

"Its OK to stop" ... coming from someone who had run marathons in under two and a half hours this went straight to my core and caused me to reassess what I had been doing and so I began a different journey with running ... rather keeping my head down and zoning out to achieve times or distance I started running in a whole new way ... I "zoned in" and enjoyed running a whole lot more and walked a bit or stopped when I needed to or when I just felt like it - to appreciate the scenery for example. On 15 mile runs I would walk for a couple of minutes or so around 11 miles just to keep moving but its only when I got caught in a thunderstorm and had to stop and take cover that I appreciated the rejuvenating effects of actually stopping for a bit. After a short stop I found it was almost like starting again.

Taking a break and stopping what you are doing is rejuvenating, refreshing and helps with new insights. I first found this out for myself when a student at university .. I would often find that I miraculously had a solution to a problem after taking a break to make a cup of coffee for example. I noticed this so many times that I deliberately take breaks when I'm not stuck and let my mind wander to let ideas new emerge from my brain's default mode network. I also deliberately take breaks with some random "noise" ... usually the radio - I'm a great believer in serendipity  ... some random word or phrase on the radio can lead to new insights.

You are not a machine ... you are human ... having a rest can work wonders.

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