Running ... just to run

Ever since the summer of 2006, it seems I've been locked into the pattern of what to do next after a big race. While I still have thoughts on what to do over the next few weeks, I want to take another week before officially deciding.

Last week -- for the first time in a very long time -- I essentially took off from running just to do it. I was not physically injured after the race, but I really needed to get my mind away from it. When I went out for walks with my dog, I jogged a little bit here and there, but all told, it was probably only about a mile or so. I had a whirlwind of a trip to Ohio this past weekend, so there was no running then. Until tonight, I have had no urge to put my Garmin on. It was a planned week with extremely limited running and it was a welcome break.

Tonight I was ready for a run, but I didn't realize how early it got dark, so I only got in 2.5 miles. It was a nice run despite the humidity, and it's probably a wise thing to be light on the miles the first few times back out since the race just to make sure everything is in its right place. It felt good to run without thinking about what's next. In my last post I said that I would have things figured out by now, but I really want to run this week for the enjoyment of running. I will begin to prepare myself as if I'll run a long-distance race in a few weeks, but I don't want to commit 100 percent to it just yet. I don't have any big reasons other than the fact that it was liberating last week to do nothing, and this week I want to feel liberated from worrying about a race.

This is the first time in a long time that I've been able to let myself feel this way and it's really ... to steal my own words ... liberating. When I started running in 2004, I got involved in a lot of small and short community races. I ran just to run and raced to challenge myself. While races are still very challenging, I've gotten distracted along the way. I said this a few weeks ago, but this summer running has become fun for me again. I want that continue even if I do get focused on bigger races down the road. If it's not fun, then why do it? I hope that helps you understand why I'm not committing to anything just yet. I have to keep having fun.


Andrew is getting fit said...

Yes! Having fun is so important.

Emily B. said...

Amen to that. I've been "running for fun" since my last half back in May. Up until then, I'd been signing up for every local race and had been at least loosely following a training plan for about six months. I was ready to forget about pace and distance for a while, and it's been great. I still do occasional races, but instead of signing up weeks ahead and thinking and thinking about them, I sign up at the last minute and have fun racing, not necessarily stressing about a PR, but racing. My favorite was the July 4 5-miler, when I was a whole minute over my PR, but found myself neck and neck with this guy at the end. I looked over and said, "You're not going to let a chick beat you are you?" and we sprinted to the finish line. He beat me, but just racing like that was a lot of fun. It should always be fun.

Danica said...

Being able to enjoy a run and not worrying about training, the next race, your pace and everything else that is involved in a competition is so important. Glad you are enjoying it again :)