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Mix it up for running bonus

Any time Chris Broadbent has changed his training regime, there have been benefits. He highlights his best experiences...

If there ever has been a time to review your routine, it’s 2020. We have all taken a fresh look at our lives, both professional and personally. The pandemic has certainly given us a pause for thought.

For thousands of runners - me included - running is part of the routine, part of the weekly template of life. Monday and Wednesday club runs, Saturday parkrun, Sunday long run or race - it’s the pattern that I and many runners typically follow.

It’s a force of habit and typically, it’s a very healthy habit. Yet, there have been times when I have stepped off the treadmill away from my routine. It has been refreshing and - in most cases – has ultimately benefitted my running.

Several years ago, in training towards a half marathon I took up the opportunity to try cyclo cross in a nearby league in south London, out of curiosity more than anything else.

My training was going well and I was feeling fit and confident I could acquit myself well. How wrong I was. I finished second to last, totally exposed and utterly devoid of the different skills required.

It was a healthy experience though. It was a very hard session with my fitness desperately trying to compensate for the absence of ability through the mud. It helped toughen me up mentally and stripped away any complacency I might have had.

But there was a sting in the tail. A pleasant rather than a painful one. Three weeks later, I took 5 minutes off my half marathon personal best.

At other times, I have delved into the worlds of triathlon and open water swimming and on both occasions, I have come back to running stronger, fresher and more motivated.

With normal life as we know it on hold, now is as good a time as any to experiment, freshen up and invigorate your running.

Image courtesy:  Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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