Running is a funny thing, don’t you think? Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down, and it’s basically impossible to predict how you’ll feel on any given run. I think the nature of running sometimes means it can be hard to stay motivated – at least it does for me, anyway. I’ve noticed that quite a few running bloggers I follow are struggling with motivation right now in one way or another, whether it is sticking to a training plan, bumping down their usual distances, etc. And I totally understand why. I’m experiencing a little bit of the same thing as I try to come back from this latest back injury. My training was going SO incredibly well for awhile, and I felt like I was taking the right precautions and going about it in a smart way. I had a great 15 mile run and was feeling really confident about maybe not PRing in my next marathon, but certainly running well. Then all of a sudden I woke up hurt, and I’m still not back to normal. Whether running or one of my other activities or just bad luck caused it, I don’t know, but the result is the same.
So as I try to come back from this injury, I’m struggling with wondering “What’s the point?” I’m trying to build up my long runs to be somewhat prepared for the marathon in Casper (now 3 weeks away), but I know I won’t be able to run the way I was hoping. Hell, I might not even be able to finish. And I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t crossed my mind that maybe, just maybe, my body isn’t cut out to do marathons anymore.
But I’m not the type of person who likes to make rash decisions or quit before I’ve exhausted all options, and I know that I’m facing a solid month off, at a minimum, after Casper before I would need to start training for NYC. In all reality, no decisions about my marathon future will be made until it’s time for NYC training to start in July. And yet, as I pulled myself out of bed for my planned long run this morning I thought “Is it worth it?”
Today, the answer was yes. I’m on week 3 of slow improvement in my running endurance. My leg/back are about the same and I appear to have reached a plateau where some of my foot is still numb, but it’s less than it used to be and it’s not getting worse. My long run last week was 8.5 miles, which I did while visiting T-Rex Mom for Mother’s Day. She accompanied me by riding along on a very squeaky bike and we got to have a nice chat while I ran along the lovely (and most importantly, shaded) multi-use path near their house in North Carolina.
That run went great, and I felt confident going into this week’s long run, which I planned for 12 miles. But still, with a marathon 3 weeks away, 12 miles seemed pointless. I can’t help but try, though! So I forced myself out of bed this morning and turned on a podcast and just went. I didn’t bring my Garmin, I didn’t get mad at myself if I stopped for a quick walk break, and I just ran based on how I felt. It turns out that I felt pretty good, so I ended up doing 13 miles instead. The thought of doing 16 crossed my mind, and I know I could have done it, but it didn’t seem like the smart move to double my long run mileage while I’m trying to come back from injury. Plus, it’s not like a 16 mile run is going to magically transform me into some fitness machine that’s going to PR at Casper. Not gonna happen.
It’s discouraging when you feel like you’re doing everything right with your training and something goes wrong, whether it’s work, health, or life-related. It’s easy to lose motivation and wonder what the point of it all is. At the end of the day, I try and remember that whether I ever finish another marathon or not, the reason I run in the first place is because I genuinely enjoy it. I may not always love training, but I DO love running. So although my goals may change in the future – at this point, I have no idea – I know I’m a runner for life.
Are you a runner who sometimes struggles with motivation, or are you the type who never loses the pep in their step?