For my 6-month run challenge update for week 19, I want to talk about mileage. Because, speaking of epiphanies yesterday, I had a running epiphany on Friday as I ran the lake with my friend Steph, that has been in the back of my mind, but finally came out as we were chatting.
I’ve been struggling with keeping up with my 7 mile ‘longer’ base run the last several weeks as I transition more to outdoor running. And I think I know why (in part) I am struggling.
Because I’ve been focusing so much on the mileage and keeping it up and getting that longer run in (along with my barre n9ne classes, taken and soon-to-be-teaching regularly, 3 other runs, 1 spin and 1 yoga workout each week!) that it’s stressing me out. And more than that, I keep questioning why I am bothering with it EACH and every week if that’s the case. Why force it? Why do it ‘just’ to do it (even though I always make sure to plan that run on fresh or semi-fresh legs and not pair it with another workout, barre n9ne, for example) so I don’t risk ‘junk miles.’ And even, why do it ‘just’ because I am doing this run challenge and chronicling it all here?
What is my motivation?
My motivation, from the get-go from this challenge to myself, has been to keep up with consistent runs throughout the winter months (4/week) and sustain some distance on the dreadmill in said winter months. My secondary goal has been to work on some speed and my breathing. I’ve done each of these things. I’m still working on them, I’m still a work-in-progress, but dude, I’ve made it through almost five months of this challenge and have made it to the warmer months.
Longer mileage doesn’t matter as much to me as I thought it did when I declared this challenge (in some ways, to perhaps inch towards running another half marathon) in the first place. In part because I don’t think a race is even in the cards for me. Because I just don’t ‘need’ it to prove to myself that I am a runner, that I am an athlete, or that I can do it. I honestly know that I can, if I really wanted to. My body remembers. It knows how to work. And as I write this declaration of sorts, I re-read it and see it as proof that I don’t need a race to keep running. I don’t need to hit a certain number in my runs each day or week to know I am accomplishing something. And I don’t even read this as an excuse as I may have a few months ago.
Because I am at peace…with mileage.
And whatever that mileage is each day or week, I am satisfied with it. Because I know my body worked hard. Because even if it’s a ‘meh‘ run or a fantastic run, it’s getting out there and continuing to do what I said I would do. Run to run. Run for me. Not for miles.
For as much as I’ve waxed poetic about ‘never say never’ when it comes to races and half marathons and such…it just doesn’t interest me anymore. It isn’t a motivator. It isn’t something I feel like I am missing out on anymore. What motivates me is simply running to run. Sweating. The ‘hurts so good’ feeling after I’m done. And that huge bowl of oatmeal waiting for me aftewards.
I’m sure this post is all over the place in parts. But I feel strongly about this. Very much so. I finally feel at peace with running ‘my style’ and nobody else’s. I finally feel as though I am not comparing myself to other runners, to others’ pace or distance or whatever. I only see my road ahead. My plans for the week. Nothing else.
I’m at peace with mileage. And with running.
This doesn’t mean I am ending my run challenge. It doesn’t even mean that I won’t increase my distance. I just don’t plan to pressure myself to fit in a longer run if it doesn’t make sense in a given day or week. I’ll run what my body wants. And be absolutely thrilled with it. Each and every time.
**I write this in part because…life is so busy. I am juggling a lot of priorities right now, and I need to stop the juggling. Focus on what matters most, not doing things ‘just because.’ This gives me the balance I always strive for, mentally, and physically, with everything else whirling around. More on that in a later post…**