Alison Cowling

Alison Cowling

Director | Actor | Musician | Writer

Running and Flow

The eighth entry of The Running Diaries, like a run full of stops and starts…

Running and… running and… running and…

*Dodge the bike*

Running and…

*Dodge the walker*

Running and…running and…

*Skip the song*

Running and –

*STOP! That’s a car.*

*Check the app. Check my stitch. Head Home.*

____  ______  _____________  ____________________  ____

Since the 4x4x48 challenge, my energy has fluctuated. Some nights after work heading straight to lie down, other times feasting on anything left in my fridge, then the occasional evening when I have genuinely felt energised to run.

The week right after the David Goggins challenge (which you can read about here) I definitely didn’t allow enough time to fully recover. I had days off from running, sure, but mentally I was annoyed I was tired, ignoring the fact that my body was recovering from an endurance challenge. Napping post work was a must but left me with guilt and I massively struggled to keep up my daily home yoga practice. The flow of my yoga becoming just as interrupted as my runs.

With a sense of ending provoked by the challenge and a sense of new beginning influenced by the “roadmap” announcement and my girl Spring finally showing up to the party with her light evenings, warmer sun and hopeful energy, the flow of my running became disrupted. And I was left not only unsure of how to get back into training…but where to start?

_____ _______ _______________   ________ ________

F E B 2 2

Sun’s out, runs out!

This run was just 3 days after the challenge, the first, warm, light evening of spring appeared and there was so much joy in the air! The 5 miles was incredibly tough. I could feel there was no power in my legs, my body forcing me to sit on wall, only a mile in. I tried my best to keep pushing, tunes blasting loud to get me home. But I knew way more veg and sleep was needed.

____________ _______________      _________      ____

F E B 2 7

Maybe a week off?

But Saturday post a looooong zoom session, she was back. The sassy, spring sun! And it being the penultimate day to achieve a feb half marathon definitely drove me to lace up my trainers. I did one of my favourite routes, I had done just the previous month, and MY was Bristol showing off! It felt that finally 2021 was starting and change was here!

_     ______________   __   ________________  _____

M A R 0 3

Empty paths. Misty eve. Space to breathe.

After a busy day at work, and feeling fully carbed up after the Wednesday roast dinner (The best in town, I swear), I headed to one of my fav spots in Bristol, along the river, exploring the trails and woods. With no-one around and so many routes to explore, I felt so excited and grateful. Running alone is one of my biggest joys. When I feel safe. But as the night did start to set in, I made sure to head back to the main road, back home. I hadn’t realised quite how far I had gone, as I had been zig zagging through the trees and undergrowth….meaning that I clocked a 10 miler by the time I got back. That roast dinner really is all the petrol (I couldn’t think of a synonym for fuel 😛 ) you need!

___________  ___________________________ _____

M A R 0 7

Food is the fuel for flow.

Yet I stupidly headed out on this stunning Sunday morning skipping breakfast, so even though I loved my trail route which took me through more of Bristol’s woodland and river paths, my body kept stopping in it’s tracks. I was briefly surprised but then knew I was guilty of not eating properly beforehand. My legs aching, chest heavy and my mind just not focusing. Why did I think I could run without food?

_ _ _ ____ ________ ___________ ___________________

This was about flow. The past couple of weeks with my running, I seemed to have lost my flow. Even when I’d managed long distance runs, they had been tricky. It seemed to be down to external factors making me run rather than an internal strength. The weather, the season change, the competitive nature of seeing your strava mates knock out the miles, the post challenge pressure to keep running.

Running and….Running and… running and…

*Why couldn’t I settle on a theme for this blog?*
*Why couldn’t I run in a consistent pattern?*
*Why is my energy shifting so much?*

I need to settle in a flow again. Then doubts will disappear…

But maybe when flow breaks… that’s when questions are raised…that’s when things change…like the season…the restrictions…mindsets…and runs.

Soundtrack to this entry: Changing, Sigma and Paloma Faith

Snack for this entry: Gotta keep snacking on Roast Dinner!