Today I start running again.
After a week of no running, and just two workouts with Drew, today I begin my next training segment for California International Marathon.
I will share a bit more about what we will be doing over the next few weeks, but for today, I wanted to talk about something that others may go through that we feel too embarrassed to share about.
What if you take your time off running, and you do not really miss it?
During my rest week, I rarely get pangs of jealously of other runners. Maybe when I drive by someone out on a run, and I can see on their face that they are in that flow, that feel good burn.
Then I miss it a little, but as soon as they are out of my sight, I got on with my day.
Or if I am on Facebook, and I see a running friend has accomplished one of their goals, I get a little jealous, but then I keep on scrolling, and forget about it.
But otherwise, I can carry on my day without it. I probably walk under 3000 steps on these days, and I just don’t care!
I slip into life without running pretty easily, I LOVE the amount of extra free time it gives me.
This week, I felt like I had an extra 50 hours a week to do things…..although I guess not too far off, I did gain about 30 if you include the extra bits of foam rolling, stretching, traveling to places to run ect.
I felt productive and very relaxed, as I had so much more time to get my work done, so I could chill in the evenings without feeling behind.
Definitely the emotional recharge I needed.
Sometimes, during my two weeks off, I get a little concerned that I do not really miss running.
I enjoying not being a runner, and sometimes even find it frustrating when people ask me what my next goal is.
CAN I NOT JUST ENJOY THIS TIME WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT WHATS NEXT?!
I would scream in my head (and actually somewhat yell it at my mum when she happened to ask this question one day- sorry mamma).
Although thinking about this, it is not surprising it is one of the first things people ask about. After all, it is a huge part of who I am, and one of the things that sets me apart from everyone else.
Sorry to anyone who asked me this and I snapped at you……working on my defensiveness 😉
A few days ago, Steve and I sat down and mapped out what the rest of the next few years will look like as best we could, to have a general idea of what is coming for us, and that left me excited for training for Cal international.
But sometimes, I do not get excited for the season ahead, sometimes I almost wish I could go on as I was.
When this happens, it worries me.
That is how I felt after the London marathon, and it was only the when I biked alongside Steve on his run on day 14 of my time off, that I felt the pang of wanting to start running again.
Up until that point, I had been enjoying my recovery, and actually not even really missing running that much at all.
Why could that be?
Surely someone whose running is part of their career, striving for big goals, should not be able to go without running.
Like they say, never give up on something you can’t go a day without……well here I am going 7-14 days without, and not really bothered.
Well, I have reflected on this a lot over the last week, and here is why:
I know I invested a heck of a lot of emotions into this past segment, and it did leave me looking forward to my time off.
I have said before that I believe the time off is not so much for the physical side of things, although obviously that is a HUGE part of it after pushing your body hard in a training cycle, but more for the emotional side of taking time away from running.
One of my greatest fears with having that Great Britain goal, was that when I did it, that I would feel like mission accomplished, that I would no longer have any desire to run anymore as I had completed my goal.
Thankfully, I now know that this was not the case. Not only did I come back to run for GB again a few months later, but I do have some big goals I want to chase down over the next year……but that only comes back after a few weeks back at it.
If you do feel like me during your time away from running, there is another aspect to this.
The guilt associated with not missing it.
Everyone else you see who took time off is chomping at the bit to get going. They are so desperate to run that they are considering sneaking out the door to exercise. They are finding any excuse to get that exercise.
That is how it is meant to be, right?
We are runners, we love to run, and of course, we love all the benefits it brings us.
But for me, not only do I enjoy not running, but I kind of like being lazy.
There are times where I feel like I should go for a walk, or go for a swim, remind my muscles that they are supposed to be active, but I just had no desire to.
I would find an excuse and say “maybe tomorrow”…..so this is what it feels like to people who have not been bitten by the running bug.
I felt relaxed, and it was not stressing me out, more like a thorn in my side. If other people wanted to make running the center of their lives, good for them, but I was not there…..well, not right now anyway.
Why am I enjoying this so much? Am I done?
Always comes into my mind, which is worrying to say the least.
But I remind myself of my college days.
I would give my heart and soul to my training, much like I did this time around, and for most of my seasons.
Put all my love and emotional energy into a season, and enjoy my time off, even when everyone around me was saying how much they missed running.
But you know what, that passion came back.
It always does.
I always ran much better after that because I had that break from running. I had that time to miss it, and to be reminded of what it does for us.
Not by jealousy of others around me, but by the beauty and simplicity of running itself; the inner peace it brings, the joy of being out there in nature, and of course that runners high when you finish where you feel accomplished.
What I am trying to say is that it is okay if you do not miss running during your time off, and actually, I think it is a good thing.
It gives you that time to focus on other aspects of your life, to be reminded that running isn’t everything good in the world (nor should it be), and that your desire to run will come in ebbs and flows (even for elite runners), and there is nothing to be ashamed of in that.
You are more than running, and enjoying your time off shows that you have love in your heart for other things in your life.
This is your journey, and you need to follow what your heart is saying, rather than what society is telling you to feel.
And if it doesn’t come back after you do start running.
If that desire in your heart is no longer there, there is nothing wrong with that either.
You may see it as “quitting”, and taking the easy way out, especially when we are in a running boom, when it seems like everyone around you is loving it.
But actually, that is very brave. It shows you are following your heart, and trusting it to tell you what you truly want in life.
Find something else you enjoy, and pursue that. Life is too short to force yourself to do something to fit in.
That is the beautiful thing about running. You can always go back to it. It will always be there waiting for you when you are ready.
Just like 85 year old, 1:50 half marathon (at 85!) Ed Whitlock, who stopped running around 20 and picked it up again around 40.
Follow your journey, not anyone elses.
Now I am off to go run, and enjoy it because, just like after an argument, you and your loved one are often closer as all those little things that you were holding deep inside are now out in the open.
Running and I have had our time apart, and now we are closer than ever with a new found respect for one another.
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