Sometimes we are faced with tough decisions about whether to run a race where an injury or illness have been lurking and likely to affect our ability to run and on the rare occasion, we can be faced with an internal battle and a decision based on common sense and a higher purpose. It’s not often that common sense is applied in decision-making for runners and it might well be the only time I use common sense in relation to a running decision!
I won’t be running the Stirling Marathon this Sunday. There, I’ve said it. There are a number of reasons for this and the fact that there are a number of reasons behind it suggests to me that I’m making the right decision. Am I sad about it? Yes. I was looking forward to a new race that’s close to home but there’s a higher value to me in not running. What are the reasons?
Firstly, I had a recurrence of the pelvic issue I had back in March that hampered the last few weeks of training in the build up to Paris when I ran the Loch Leven Half Marathon on Saturday and the thought of struggling round the course and having to stop and stretch doesn’t appeal to me.
Secondly, the whole point of doing this race was as a back up in case I didn’t hit my sub 3:15 target in Paris but it’s highly unlikely I would get anywhere near that time in Stirling. There’s also the case of bad planning and entering the Devil of Deeside races at Balmoral 2 weeks after Paris when I should’ve spent that time getting back into training gradually so that I could be on form for this race. In effect, that was another couple of weeks wasted.
The main reason for deciding not to run is the loss of form I had in March when I got a PB in Inverness and felt it while running Loch Leven. There was the pelvic issue but I didn’t feel my running flowed the way it did in Inverness and only showed signs of returning while doing a speed session last Tuesday. Beyond Stirling, I’ve got my first Ironman 70.3 coming up in July and then the Loch Ness Marathon in September. My thoughts are that if I do Stirling, I will have an average run then lose a couple of weeks recovering before focusing on Ironman training whereas if I skip Stirling, I can get going straight away, work on rediscovering my form in my running and get longer miles done on my bike and pick up my swimming again. It’s a no brainer really.
I know some people who will be doing both Stirling and the Ironman and will be cheering them on but getting back to the level I was at before the pelvic problem and getting up to a level where I can perform well in the Ironman is important to me and serves a higher purpose to me than running a marathon for the sake of it. I know I have Loch Ness coming up anyway and so I could well be in the position of being able to run sub 3:15 (or faster) by then if I make the right decision now.
Every time I think about the race, following a dream of completing an Ironman and fulfilling the potential I believe I have at Loch Ness, Stirling becomes insignificant and justifies my decision. If I had planned my season better, I wouldn’t be having to make this decision. This goes to show that it doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been running, you can still make mistakes.
I wish everyone well this Sunday. I will be trying to rack up the miles on a long run but on my bike.
Have you ever been faced with a tough decision over a race? What did you do and was it the right decision?