Running with your head down or your head up?

 Mick Conefrey|   | 

When the going gets tough, the tough get running

Running with your head up or your head down?

Yesterday I did the Goring and Streatley 10K, a short enough run, but it wasn’t long before I started to wonder why I had entered. I was just getting over a virus which had kept me coughing for most of the previous week and done very little preparation, or at least that was my excuse. When your legs hurt and your lungs hurt, and your stomach is full of lactic acid, it is very tempting just to stop and walk back. 

Most runners don’t. I noticed very few drop outs, no more than two or three. When I got to about 6K, I had a thought: is it better to run with your head down or head up? When the going gets tough… the usual advice is to grit your teeth and keep your head down, and hope that the problem will disappear. But maybe that’s not the best way to see it. 

The thing about the Goring and Streatley 10K is that you run through very beautiful countryside (after you passed the pig-stys at the beginning at least). And if you’ve got you’re head down, you just don’t see it. And if you don’t see it- you’re missing out on what has to be one of the great pleasures of the run. So isn’t it better to keep your head up, for some of the time any way, and to revel in the view?

Extrapolating up from this, if one the of the bigger life lessons from running is that sometimes you just have to keep on going even when things are hard, then should you face difficulties in life with your head up or your head down? Well I guess the answer to that is the same: if you spend all your time gritting your teeth, you’re going to get lock-jaw. Keep your head up and appreciate the good things, even when you’ve got lots of trials and tribulations to overcome. 

This Sunday, I’m going to do the Wiltshire dash, a 12k run which promises hills, streams, mud and tears. I think I’m going to hand in my resignation now....

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