Back to the Basics
Over the past few years I’ve found there is a thin line between wanting to compete well and being consumed by this urge. I’ve seen this happen to other people as well; where all they’re concerned with is improving times and running faster. I am all for chasing P.R.s and pushing your limits but there comes a point where you just need to relax and enjoy the ride. After some injuries and an over-scheduled end to 2015 I knew that hitting my goal of a sub 2:37 marathon wasn’t going to happen. After spending a couple weeks in denial it clicked: What am I stressing about? There will be other seasons and races to set records. That’s when I decided to take the remainder of my season fairly easy and focus more on enjoying every race and experience and less on competing.
For a lot of runners (at times myself included) everything revolves around competing at a very high level. Anything other than attaining their goal, whether it is a P.R., race win, or age group placing is a complete failure. Am I saying being a competitive person is bad? No. When it comes to racing I am naturally very competitive (probably cause this is the only sport I’ve been halfway decent at!) But there is SO much more to running then winning or setting new P.R.s. This becomes more evident to me every year. The running community is really like nothing else out there. Meeting other runners, hearing their stories, sharing in experiences, and the overwhelming positive and supportive attitudes means more to me than any medal or trophy ever will. Maximizing the amount of fun and enjoyment that comes from an event or run has become the focal point of training. I have burnt out during training cycles before…when running stops being fun. That is not something I want to ever do again. Running is not your job (at least for most of us) and is often used as a stress reliever so why should it be adding stress to your life? If running is starting to add stress instead of relieve it try this…
I think it’s important for every runner and athlete in general, to take a step back and realize how lucky they are. The simple act of rolling out of bed and going for a run is something many of us take for granted, yet it’s something that countless people are unable to do. Taking the time to truly enjoy a runor race (regardless of how you perform) can do world of good for any runner. Forget about your pace, run with a friend, don’t wear a watch…whatever it takes to get you out of a hyper competitive mindset and into one of “Run for Fun”. So moving forward I challenge all of you to take the steps to get back to the roots of running and why it’s the first thing any child tries to do once the can walk: BECAUSE ITIS FUN!
This really bothered me and I kept pushing it thinking that I could make up for the lost time. Then it clicked…why risk further injury and disappointment? There will always be next year, or the year after that, and plenty of race to set a new P.R. That is when I really let myself relax and just run for fun. Training runs, races, and everything else became more enjoyable when I stopped worrying about pace, distance, etc. and just ran. It was really nice to get back to the roots of why I started running in the first place: there is nothing like it. That feeling of just getting out and the magical, euphoric state that comes with a stress free run.
Yes I did still try to run well but I put a lot less focus on training and just enjoyed the overall race experience more than ever.
This has never been clearer to me than this past race season. After overcoming some injuries and getting thru an over-scheduled end of 2015 I was looking forward to crushing a spring marathon. However it became pretty clear in February that this wasn’t going to happen. For a while I kept
After running a 2:39 marathon in early 2015 I was set on breaking the 6 min/mile average (sub 2:37) in the beginning of 2016.