My favourite runs are generally the unplanned ones, where you can feel free to run where you want to run to, taking in new footpaths and trails on a whim, simply because they’re a beautiful place to be.
Having said that I recently trained for the Two Oceans Marathon (known as the World’s most beautiful marathon) joining my club Atlantic Athletic (in Cape Town) for some spectacular training runs. These were packed with enthusiastic runners supported by water station crews for the longer runs. Every one was excited to be on the same marathon journey; it was a really inspiring way to train and made me realise that training with others can be extremely motivating.
When I’m not training for a specific event however, I find I do some of my best thinking and on the run (except for maybe when I am doing speed work; then I’m just concentrating on not passing out!)
But it doesn't matter if it's a long slow run or a shorter fast run. I always mange find ways to bring structure to a session; whether it's trying to catch someone in front of me or using a cyclist or lamp post as the end point for a some speed play – those little things keep me focused.
On days when I’m tired; you know the ones, where your legs are heavy, and the first few steps are terrible, I just keep telling myself ‘you can do it, you’ll warm up, every step is making you stronger', and halfway through the run I always feel better, glad I made it out the door. In fact, these are usually the days where I end up running for longer.
All-in-all, the one thing that inspires me to run every day and to keep going is the thought that 'practice makes perfect'. I love challenging myself, pushing myself and setting mini goals; it’s a great way to feel like you’re progressing and that your running ability is improving.