Rethinking My Running

To be perfectly frank, things have been pretty rough in my running world since the Rehoboth Beach Marathon.  For reasons that I can’t entirely explain, that race completely wiped out my running mojo. Despite running a “post-surgery PR” by more than 10 minutes, I left feeling exhausted, depleted, and burnt out. The idea of continuing my training plan for my anticipated February goal marathon seemed pointless and unappealing. In all sincerity, I didn’t want to run at all.

Maybe I had unrealistic expectations for how I would feel during the race, or maybe I ran marathons too close together. I’m not sure. The only thing I know is I was ready to swear off running forever, which seems a bit dramatic (because it is), but also describes how I felt.

Ever since Rehoboth, I’ve focused on running as far as I feel like, when I feel like, however fast I feel like. If I want to walk instead of run, I walk. I haven’t worn my Garmin, although I usually know how far I’m going just because there’s only so many places to run in Columbia. I’ve felt the fun return to running as I let my self-imposed pressure slip away. After all, running is supposed to be fun, right? Isn’t that why I do it in the first place?

img_20141222_093433_188-e1420506668746-947x1024-1-5 Part of the reason AJ even agreed to run with me in the first place was because I told him I didn’t care how far we went or what our pace was, and for once, I was being honest.

I sat down and thought about the races I was looking at for 2015. I considered my New Year’s Resolution. I thought about which races I was excited about, and which I was not. I came up with the following conclusions:

  1.  I don’t want to do a February marathon, whether it is fast or slow. Mentally, it doesn’t appeal to me.
  2.  I don’t want to do a training plan that only includes speed work. I like having easy miles that are relaxing and fun.
  3.  I want to complete a full training cycle before my next marathon with NO marathons thrown in the middle.

With those things in mind, the next marathon I will run is the Casper Marathon in Casper, Wyoming on June 7. This may be a tough race since it is at a higher altitude than I am used to, and I may not run very fast, but at least I will know that I have adequately prepared. Also, all of my friends from Tulsa are doing it, and although that alone is not an adequate reason to run a marathon (see my Women’s Running post for more), I’m genuinely excited about this event. I’ll be using a Hal Higdon training plan this time and will be running 3-4 times a week (probably alternating 3 times one week with 4 times the next) while maintaining my regular cycling and barre routines as well. The plan starts February 2, so I still have time to relax and enjoy my runs for a bit longer.

I want running to be fun again. I want to take the pressure off myself and enjoy the miles like I used to. Since my last marathon, I’ve actually had fun on all my runs because I was never stressed about what it meant if I couldn’t hit the right pace or got tired too soon. I certainly want running to be a part of my life in the long term, but I need to find a balance that works for me. The reality is that the reasons I started running 5 years ago are not the reasons why I continue to run now, so my relationship with the sport is constantly evolving. I don’t know how this next round of training will go, but I’m excited to find out!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Have you ever changed your approach to running?