So for the last 3 months or so I've been struggling with the ability to keep my drive and focus during running, especially on runs over 10 miles or in races. I don't know what has happened but I figured I should start over and refocus on my running to come up with the reasons why.
I found my ability to push and push through the tough times last fall when training for a half marathon in the Wichita Mountains. Even though the plan was long and rigorous and required hours of running in the summer, I never seemed to hit a wall - and during the race I was able to push through the hard times when I wanted to quit. I want to find that again...
I figure a good starting location would be why I run. I run to relieve stress from work, to get outside and enjoy the fresh air since I don't have a window at work, to stay in shape and healthy, so I can eat normal portions of food and food I like, to get away from everything. My goals have changed alot since when I first started running to lose weight. Now I run because I want to, not because I feel I need to get out and be healthy. Maybe I need a new running statement...
"I run because I want to and because everyone deserves a moment to themself with no distractions."
I run because I want to: so why do I feel like it has become a burden or a game of try not to die when I go to a race or when I go on a long run. First thing I can think of is because I no long just run to finish, I run TO finish. I want to be in a top percentage of finishers, I want to break a time record that I've set for myself, I want to compete and be better. A competitive attitude is great, it keeps one motivated and focused, but I guess it can burn you out because you are always trying to be your best. Even when I try to go to a race and have fun I end up trying to race someone or the clock or myself. I can't just relax and have fun. I need to find a way to run more like when I take Jenga on runs - run because it is fun and to let my tongue flap in the breeze (of course that is Jenga with the tongue part!).
Because everyone deserves a moment to themself with no distractions: I'm constantly trying to please people, to get things done on time, to get things done. I never have time to sit back and do things that I want to do for myself like watch tv, read a book, just sit in silence or drive my car with no end location. Running helps me with this because no one can distract me when I run. It's just me. This doesn't seem to be a problem in my eyes because I haven't changed that reason to run - but I think sometimes when I force myself to go run (getting up at 6 on Saturdays) that I hit a wall. I'm not doing it because I want to get away - it's turning into another thing to get done. When I'm stuck on a schedule for a race and have to get in the runs I start to feel run down again. I have to stay positive and do it because I want to.
So now how do I get back where I want to be? Happy to run and just relaxed? My first attempt (weather permitting) is to take my pup Jenga to a Dog Run on the river on Memorial Day. My dog loves to run and I love to see others with their dogs running so what better. I can beat a previous time because I've never done it and it will be about Jenga, not a time. Next I think I'm going to focus on 5K races this summer. One because they are shorter and I don't have time to get frustrated and two because it doesn't take as much time to train for these races so I can do other things but run. Maybe getting some shorter faster races under my belt will help longer slower races seem less pushed, more enjoyable. Last - I know I want to break a time barrier, I always do, it's what makes me train hard on the hot and cold days and the days I want to sit on the couch - so maybe I need to get better at making the goal pace easier instead of making it a challenge. Get use to running it for all my normal runs on these shorter summer runs so that when fall rolls around it is just natural. Even if I don't beat my 5K PR, at least I have made 9:30 seem simple.
Starting this week I am going to spread out my running so it's not always something that has to be done at night. Monday morning I am going to get up and run a few miles. Start with 2, maybe get up to 4 - take my pup when possible, just have a good run that gets me awake on my worst day. One day a week I will run at night and then one day during the weekend I'll get in a long run. Change it up, keep things exciting and unpredictable, right???
Okay, so there is a start. I'm going to be more conscience about coming on here at least once a week and posting updates, feelings and what is going on. Maybe that way I can keep track of what is good and bad and how I'm adjusting. So till next time - Run On!!!