The idea of running was not very appealing when I awoke at 3:45 AM this morning. I was shocked when I saw the time as I’d expected it to be around midnight by the way I felt. As I made my way to the coffee machine I thought about everything I could do rather than getting on the damn treadmill: return to bed for 30 minutes, do 15 minutes of core exercises then rest before my shower or replace today’s run with a lower impact elliptical session. I have learned that the hard effort of running is nothing compared with the guilt that comes from missing a workout. When I choose to rest I enjoy the brief respite from the obligation of exercise but soon after that comes the letdown of missing the endorphic payoff and, later, the nagging sense that I failed to accomplish a conditioning goal. On the other hand, when I do my early run, I feel that if nothing else good happens in the day at least I have that accomplishement under my belt.
Of course I ended up running this morning. In the 18 months since I’ve been a dedicated runner I’ve missed very few workouts (thanks to guilt). About a year ago I adopted Mondays as my rest day and that’s really been the only time off I’ve taken, not counting illness. I feel very good about that and if it’s all due to guilt then I have to say that guilt gets an unfair rap because, in fact, its really a helpful influence. Due to guilt I had my last run before Sunday’s race as a tempo this morning, starting off easy and gradually working up to the edge of discomfort. At the moment all systems seem to be in order, no aches, pains, twinges or anything else to distract me from the challenges I’ll be facing. I’m getting psyched for mud and I’ll try to have fun with it but I also know it will mean some real work. It will be a long five miles but when I finish I won’t have any guilt to deal with.