Grit Clinic – Mondageddon

I have brought a Mondageddon upon myself having apparently attempted quite earnestly to drink myself to death at a baptism yesterday.  Taking myself into the Grit Clinic (metaphorically speaking) this morning, my prescription was abundantly clear: RUN.  I did.  It occurred to me whilst running – and not for the first time – how the answer, the solution, or at least part of the solution to so many of my petty complaints is: GO FOR A RUN.   When you don’t feel great, when you are a tad hungover, when something is niggling on your mind, when you are pissed off with someone else or yourself, when you have lost all patience with your toddler/s! when you want some breathing space to consider a decision, a run provides the medium through which everything seems possible again, and, better.

The Grit Doctor says:

Running is the answer

Now the answer to a more specific question: 

Shellie Jun 17, 9:33 pm

Hi Grit Doctor,
I have been running on and off for about 3 years, I’ve completed three 10k’s in that time but have never been able to run the whole thing. When I’ve been committed to training, I have always done running/walking intervals. But I find I can never get to a stage where I don’t need the walking intervals. Having read your book, I want to start the RFBR programme and am already excited at the thought of being able to run a full four miles!
My query is this: I feel if I start at week one with 5 mins of running I will get bored and frustrated walking the rest of the circuit. Currently, I can jog a mile in about 15 mins without needing a walking break. Do you think I should push myself and start with 20 mins and build from there?
Also there is a steep hill just before the last mile mark of my circuit…I have never been able to get to the top of it while jogging and at this stage it’s a real mental battle for me. Do you think I should change my route or stick with it and hopefully get to the top dong the rfbr programme??
Thanks in advance!
P.S love the book!!

A. One of the reasons I recommend building up your running so so slowly is because there is something much more rewarding and infinitely more satisfying about ‘running the whole way’ no matter how slow.  You, however, have got used to a different way of jogging and there is nothing wrong with it:  many runners, like you, prefer to walk, to take breaks.  But I take it from your letter that you would now like to be able to run the full 4 miles without stopping.  

So the first thing you are going to have to do is slow right down, particularly when you get to the 15 minute stage when you have up to now always stopped to walk.  You have been in this habit for several years so all your instincts are going to tell you to walk when you reach that 15 minute point.  Answer the urge to stop by SLOWING RIGHT DOWN instead.

As for the hill, your circuit sounds ideal to me.  And the fact that the hill is at the end of it is perfect.  Take on the first half of the hill first time round (I’m not sure how long it will take you to reach this stage, but probably not too long given that you will be starting at 20minutes and increasing by 5 minute increments each week).  Lean into the hill when you jog up it and go as slow as is humanly possible and encourage yourself every step of the way.  #everytimeyourunyouwin #rfbr.  Or, hill?  WHAT HILL?!

I am so excited for you, you will be able to do this easily and it is going to feel AMAZING to run your next 10k from start to finish.

The Grit Doctor says:

Incorporate a hill into your circuit wherever possible.  And when you are feeling really punchy, sprint up it.


9 Responses to “Grit Clinic – Mondageddon”

  1. Wendy June 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    This is so true – I’ve been “running” on and off (ahem, maybe a bit more “off” than “on”) for several years, but in reality never managed to go for longer than about 20 minutes max without needing to walk for a bit. Then I read your (FANTASTIC!!) book, and decided to try slowing down to see if I could actually run a full 4 mile circuit without walking any of it – and sure enough, I did it in the first attempt! I cannot begin to tell you how chuffed I was with myself! And when you’ve done it once, you can (and want to!) do it again and again and again, picking up the pace gradually. And that includes hills – there’s a fairly steep one near the start of my route which used to just about KILL me, but now I can do it and keep running when I get to the top, just because I slowed it right down to begin with. (I also find it helps to land toes first when going uphill, it gives more of a spring – is that a good idea or a bad idea Dr?) Anyway, I’ve never felt so motivated and inspired as I do now that I’ve read the book, so thank you Ruth! p.s. also I have a small giggle to myself on each run, as the voice on my running app tells me I’ve reached the one mile mark exactly when I pass a big yellow GRIT bin on that hill 🙂

  2. Amanda June 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    I too tend to land on my toes running up hill. I finished my first 4 mile run on monday and am so pleased with myself! It has hills also at the end and the only way to get up it is on my toes – if I land on my heel it feels like i’m pulling too much on the back of my leg. But what about downhill? I have 2 routes with quite steep hills down – should i slow down or go flat out and let my body go with it? Or am i more likely to injure myself this way?

  3. Leanne June 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    Help!!! Really into running with the grit doctor and my inner bitch shouting at me, how ever on weight watchers and finding it very hard not to give into eating crap need some support, got 2 stone to lose before my half marathon in September of this year !

    Love the book
    Leanne x

    • gritdoctor June 21, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      i wrote a recent grit clinic on this very point, last week in fact so check it out. Its all about mindfulness, thinking about what you put into your mouth before you do. if it doesn’t help at all (the grit clinic on point) get back to me and we can have another chat. best of luck. AND, you are doing brilliantly running, honestly that part is so much harder than the dieting part, you just haven’t been doing it for long enough yet to reap all the rewards..

  4. Shellie June 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Thanks so much for your advice, I slowed right down and managed a full 30 mins without walking and I think I experienced my first runners high as I was feeling like i could keep going forever!! However, 30 mins took me near enough to the bottom of The Hill, so I did slow to a walk but as I walked up I repeated over and over “I will run up this hill, I will run up this hill” and I actually believed myself 😀 Im hoping to do it within the next two weeks, wish me luck xxx

    • gritdoctor June 21, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      THAT IS AMAZING. From 15 mins to 30 in just one run!! I am so so impressed. Now for that hill, no need to tackle the whole thing in one go, although I have a feeling you are going to have totally nailed your circuit before long. May the grit be with you and I want to hear from you as soon as you have run up that hill in detail! and I will post it as a guest blog as I’m sure it will really inspire others…YOU WILL NAIL THAT HILL YOU WILL NAIL THAT HILL…

      • Shellie August 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

        Hi Ruth,
        I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to write back but….I NAILED THE HILL…AND MY CIRCUIT!!!! 😀
        Within a week of your advice, I had made it to the top of the hill- I was like a sweaty, breathless Chesire Cat as I got to the top and continued running for 5 more minutes….I’m sure passers-by thought I was absolutely demented. After that, it took me fifteen mins to walk the rest of the way home so the next time I went out I dug deep for some grit and I just kept running, all the way home!!
        However, I’m ashamed to say I’ve been a bit of a couch potatoe for the last 6 weeks but my inner bitch has been screaming obscenities at me all the while. So last week I signed up for a local 10 mile run which will take place in October and today I finally laced up my runners and got back out there! I have to say there’s not one moment of the run today that I actually enjoyed and I really had to mentally beat myself up to find the grit to keep going, but the feeling when I got home was unbeatable! I’m never letting myself take a 6 week break like that again!
        So for the next ten weeks I plan on doing my 4 mile circuit 3 or 4 times a week and then doing a long run at the weekends to build up to ten miles… sounds insurmountable to me right now but my chesire cat moment and of course my inner bitch will spur me on.
        I can’t wait till your new book comes out- There’s a half marathon in December that I have my sights set on and if I manage that, I think I’ll just have to bloody well go and do a full marathon next year…..I’ll be 30 in November 2013 so it will be my present to myself…to start my 30s fit enough to complete a marathon. Serious Grit needed!!
        Thanks for all your inspiration,

  5. Karine Laberge June 26, 2012 at 4:45 am #

    Hi Grit Doctor !

    I have read your book a month ago and now run 8.5 km in 49min without walking ! I am addicted to running thanks to you and believe it or not I actually really like it ( I know I am weird 🙂

    I have sign up for a half marathon in Montreal in September and I am so excited about it . Every time I wanna skip a run I think of you yelling at me 🙂 !!

    Thanks so much, the book and running changed my life for ever and I tell everybody that want to hear me !!


  6. Maclegend July 21, 2012 at 9:32 am #


    I just wanted to add to the comment about slowing down. I wished I had read the book back in Feb when I started my running plan (and I did have one). I pulled something in my calf ,just felt like when you pull a steak apart. Stuck on top of a cliff , only way was up and I was in agony. I felt so stupid in my running gear limping and stopping. Anyway got to a physio, told me to rest for a couple of weeks and gave me some excercises. All seemed well for a few weeks but I found if I did push myself that bit further it just came back and I had to go back to walking. And then after a couple of good weeks I went through running just for 5 mins,then it was 18 mins and then finally I did 1.5 miles, 26 mins with no stopping, I felt brilliant. But the next morning omg. I have been back with the physio for 6 weeks now and initially I would then just walk but its just got no better although the pain has now moved so I am having weekly acupunture treatment, some excerecises he has given me but it looks like it is cartilage trouble not calf. I have already had torn cartilage in my right lknee which was operated on and it has been absolutley fine when I was running and that was the one I thought would be a problem, just shows running does not hurt IF YOU DO IT PROPERLY AS PER RFBR. And I am soooooooo grumpyand fed up because I cant do anything without it hurting and I really really miss being outside. ( I am going to try my excercise bike today but its so boring)

    Rant and feeling sorry for myself over , book is forever out so I dont murder someone(or something, the cat got a good telling off for no reason the other morning, mmmmmmmmm maybe I good just throw the book????)

    Please please please keep the stories coming at least I can read about other peoples successes and still feel part while I am on my unplanned “rest”

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