I’m not a natural born runner. When I first started running I got excited when I accomplished one mile without stopping, working my way up until I finally ran my first 5K race. I’ve also never been a graceful runner, more like a frantic monkey with an annoying tick on his rear. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Then I ran my first half marathon, and my second..third…and fourth.. and suddenly 3 mile runs were a sad excuse for a workout. I started to believe that if I didn’t run at least 5 miles in one period of time it was a waste, and my workout would suffer.
Not only did I worry about miles, I started to obsess about time. Always wanting to improve and get faster. Overall, I don’t see anything wrong with this. As humans we should want to improve and better ourselves in all aspects of our lives, but not at the expense of our happiness. I started to loathe my runs, and I stopped running all together.
A few months ago I wrote a post about switching up my workouts, with hopes that I would fall back in love with running. While stepping away from running was beneficial, I ended up mentally stepping away all together and not fully enjoying any run I would do. Running felt forced, and relationships should never feel forced, in any aspect of life.
Lately I’ve had a strong mental desire to run, but anytime I started I wanted to stop. I’ve decided it’s time to go back to the beginning, and run the way I did when I first started. 3 mile runs are better than no runs. If I enjoy the miles that’s what matters. Along with taking the stress away from the miles, I’ve forced myself to slow down my running pace. This is much easier said than done! Fellow runners can relate.
Over the last couple years I worked my way from 11 minute miles..to 10 minute miles..to 9 minute miles, with a few runs in the 8 minute pace. I’m very proud of this, and I proved to myself with a bit of hard work and motivation the increase is possible. Now that I know I am capable of running “faster” it’s easier to settle back into a 10 minute mile and still hold onto my confidence as a runner, because we all know every runner thinks about pace.
One day my comfortable pace may be a 9:00 min mile, but for now I only foresee quicker runs happening during races, and on days that I’m feeling wild. I’m going to listen to my body and base my pace strictly on how I feel -fast or slow.
Long story short: my overall goal is to feel just as accomplished with a slower shorter run as I do with a shorter faster run, or a longer run. A run..is a run.. is a run. Plain and simple.
Q: How do you feel about the constant need for improvement?