I set off without much of a plan other than the newly-embraced idea that simple is good, and there is a lot to be said for repetition and routine if the routine you are repeating is good for you.
An idea was imposed on me as a child, I think, that we change as we get older and that change is always for the better. Growing up was a good thing. Getting older was good. You could wear different clothes, make some decisions of your own. You could, one day, smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, get married and drive a car. Years of just about nothing were followed by a moment in time in which you could make or break your entire existence, mainly without any preparation or guidance from anyone that would be listened to.
And there’s the lottery. We spin the wheel and we have our direction, our course, set. A few early wins and we are off, full of the confidence that means we can face any setbacks and get through them. A few losses early on and the opposite happens. We quickly learn to expect only bad news, bad results, and a pattern that is hard to break establishes itself.
The first fifteen minutes of a long run tell me all I need to know about the hour that follows. Once I get through that early phase I am either happy and relaxed or the opposite. A good start means that even if things go wrong after 50 minutes or so, I will feel confident enough to get through it feeling well. So, what makes or breaks those first fifteen minutes?
No idea. There is no way to know. I only find out once I am running. Any signs, any feelings just before the run are meaningless. I have gone out feeling fantastic and then quickly fallen apart. And the opposite has happened.
We just have to figure it out, step by step.