Monday, April 1, 2013

What are you running for? Taking some time to reassess my goals

Hello, blog readers! Yes, it's been awhile - I've been on a bit of a writing hiatus while I took some time to myself to sort through my running goals and my relationship to running.

Maybe it's obvious from my last post, where I compared running sometimes to feeling like a turtle, and sometimes a fast fox. Truth is, over the last few months, I'd been having fewer and fewer foxy days, and many more turtle ones. I was getting to the point where I dreaded heading out for a run, struggled my entire way through it, and then came home and felt upset with myself about having had a tough run.

My goal had been to train for the Fredericton full marathon this May with a couple of girlfriends, and I'd struggled my way though most runs longer than 16kms.

So one night before a scheduled 29-kilometre run, which I'd been groaning about all week, hubby sat me down and switched into coach mode. 

He pointed out that I'd been dreading my runs more and more, whereas I'd been enjoying my yoga classes more and more. And reminded me that the reason I run is to have fun. If something that's meant to be fun was causing me stress, then it was time to change things.

We agreed that I'd take a step back from running and reassess my goals while focusing on things that I enjoyed, like yoga, strength training, Zumba and other classes. I tentatively decided that I'd aim for the Bluenose half marathon rather than doing a spring full, and then I'd reassess whether I wanted to do a full this fall.

I'll admit - for the next two days, I had a really hard time with this decision. I felt like I was letting myself down, and my running buddies, not to mention my blog readers. But my running buddies turned out to be super supportive, and I found myself enjoying the shorter weekly runs now that the pressure was off.

Beyond the psychological hurdle of running 50+ kilometres per week over an 18-week period, I realized a few other reasons why marathon training just wasn't cutting it for me anymore:

- It's a huge time commitment that impacts not only you, but your family members and their schedules. Just getting to run club on time after working a full day was proving to be a juggling game, given that hubby and I have only one car.
- Fitting in all the weeknight runs meant I had less and less time for other cross-training and doing things I enjoy, like yoga.
- Sundays were ending up being all about running, then recovering from the long run. Which wasn't a lot of fun given that hubby and I only have Sundays to spend together.
- I found myself spending a LOT of time thinking about running, planning my runs, planning my meals, talking about running...Which is great if you live with a runner but a little repetitive for non-runners.

Since making the decision to step back from the full, I've been spending more time doing cross-training and strength training. I've managed two or three runs during the week, and then the long run. Yesterday's run was an easy 16-kilometre run with the Running Room Run Club. I found myself chatting to new folks and enjoying myself more than I had on any long run in months (then again the sunny day could have had something to do with it too).

So I'll run the Bluenose half this spring, ad reassess my fall goals after that. But right now I'm feeling happy with that decision.

Have you had to take a step back from running? Have you found it to be a love-hate relationship? How have you coped with it? Inquiring runners want to know!


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