Last Sunday I ran the Mull of Kintyre Annual Half Marathon. It was a beautiful sunny day and the course was equally as beautiful out of Campbeltown, along the beach where we were met by pipers spurring us on with tunes, and back to the town by country roads. The atmosphere, like at all of these types of events was great, energetic and inclusive. I’ve always loved races because of this, it allows you to forget what’s going on in your day to day life for a few hours and focus purely on the race event. All through the months running up to the day I felt a building anxiety that I had to train, didn’t have time to train enough, and was I even going to be able to complete it. Particularly in the last few weeks, my PhD work had ramped up as I was gathering data for a conference and paper submission, it felt never ending and all consuming. But of course, the way this is meant to go is that having a separate focus such as running, is good, it’s a coping mechanism, it gives us breathing space… it didn’t feel that way to me, it felt like one more thing I had to get done in a day!
So I got thinking, and it turns out there are a lot of similarities between running a long distance race and doing a PhD. Since I’ve not quite ventured past the 13 miles mark, I’ve based my comparison on this but I think it can be applied to any distance race.