If you've been following along for a while, you probably know that I started running around Christmas last year (December 26, 2013 to be exact) and I've gotten a few 5ks under my belt over the last couple months. But more notably, I'm running my first big race in October. I'll be running a half marathon (13.1 miles for those who don't know) in just under one month.
When I first started running, I laughed at the idea of running a 5k (3.1 miles) three months later. But I did that. And then I started thinking about running some other races — so I signed up for a few more 5ks. And then one day this summer I started thinking... maybe I could run a half marathon in the fall?
See, I'm a very goal-oriented person. If I have something in my sights, and it's something I really want to do, I'm going to do it. So from the very start of my running career, I was making myself little monthly goals. I made monthly total mileage goals, distance goals. Then race goals. But when I decided I wanted to run a half marathon, I wasn't entirely sure it was realistic. But at some point over the last couple of weeks, while on a 9-mile run, for the first time ever, I started to feel like I would be ready for race day. I felt like I would be ready to run 13 miles.
And then this weekend happened. Saturday morning I set out for an 11-miler. I called it quits after just two. It was a perfect storm: my slight headache became a migraine minutes after I stepped outside. I was overheated from the get-go (thanks, Indian Summer). I hadn't stretched enough and my legs felt like lead. I packed it in and promised I'd do at least 9 miles the next day.
Sunday came. I stretched. I dressed for the weather. I queued up my playlist. I got out there and was just absolutely miserable. I was hot and cranky, because I'm tired of being hot. My shin was on fire — why? I have no idea. I've worked through stints of shin splints before; this was new and different. just... heavy. My body was tired. I was hungry. It was buggy as hell and that made me seethe. I was just not going to have a good experience on that run, so I called it a night after 2.5 miles.
And I came to a conclusion.
Most of the time, I run because I thoroughly enjoy it. I know I'm not alone in that, but I also know a good bunch of runners who don't actually enjoy running — they enjoy being fit and healthy and feeling accomplished after a run. I love being on the road with my headphones in. It's my time to work through everything: pains in my heart and in my legs. Questions I've been turning over for days. The uncertainties of my life are met with solutions, if they exist at all, during a bout with the road.
|image via. wisdom via.|
Over the weekend, I didn't enjoy my runs. So I ended them. I've trained up to 10 miles, which everyone says is "all you really have to do" to be ready for a half. I'm not sure I agree with that — I absolutely want to hit 13 miles before race day. I feel ready, and I feel confident, and I will give nothing less than 110% of myself on race day. I wouldn't know how not to.
But I'm done training for the sake of my training plan. I want to keep enjoying running as I always have and never lose sight of why I started in the first place nine months ago. So I've decided that from here til the half, I'll run as much, as often, as long, as hard as I want to. Luckily, on most days, I want to run long and hard. But on the days that I don't? I've decided that that's okay too. And on those days, I'll do my best for as long as it feels right... and then I'll go home, practice yoga, and make a hot cup of tea.
Go ahead and share your training goal with the class now! We'd love to hear about whatever you're working on: to run faster, harder, longer. To increase your flexibility and touch your toes. To nail your first race or triathlon. To hit the next weightlifting benchmark. Whatever you're training toward, tell us!
And don't forget to hop around and spread some love, words of encouragement, been-there done-that advice, or a pat on the back. AND don't forget to mark your calendars — we'll be back with the next Training for Tuesday linkup on October 28! Get ready to share a new goal or update us on your progress. Good luck!