Has Running Become What You Are, Not What You Do? Stop it!

One of the things I love the most about being at home in St Albans is seeing family and friends.

Okay, that’s not true. THE thing I love the most about being in St Albans is seeing family and friends.

It makes my heart so happy that I can spend this time with them, without the usual time crunch I am under of having to get to the next person.

Yes, a lot of people have moved away, and I do not to get to see them (if at all) as much as I would like, but it has been so nice to just go visit friends in the evening for an hour or two, or go for a (non-alcoholic!) drink and have a chat.

Very few of my friends at home are runners. They may go on runs from time to time, and other than one of my closest friends Keeley, most of my friends go through ebbs and flows of running.

I love that.

I love that they will ask me about running, ask how training is, how I am feeling about London, ask the right questions based off years of listening to my responses, but then they move on. We are on to the next topic, something non running, which is great.

It can be so easy in a marathon segment, especially as the race closes in, to obsess over running. To spend every minute thinking about it, but that is just not really a life to live. Even the best runners in the world have to have balance. You need something else in your life that makes you who you are, makes you feel that you have something to give other than running.

Tina Afternoon Tea

If any of that sounds familiar to you (and trust me,I often I get to that point), then it is time to look for something else to do as well. You HAVE to make sure your self-worth is not tied to you as a runner.

You have to be X the runner, not the runner named X.  This can be applied to any other sport/hobby/passion.

I have talked to many people about this over the years. It may seem trivial that switching those few words around makes a difference, YOU have a lot to offer this world, YOU are a person, not a noun, and it is your personality that is what should be defining you, not what you do to get exercise!

About a week after I got back to the UK, I slipped back into that. Staying in every evening, watching TV with my parents, beginning to obsess about getting enough sleep to recover (and you can guess what happened when I started to do that!!), and just spending waaaayyy too much time letting my life be ruled by running.

So, middle of the week, my mum told me to get out, and go see my friends. Mum to the rescue as always. They always know what is best, and she would rather me leave and go see them (leaving her and my dad at home), than have another evening with them. That is a mother always thinking of what is best for their child, right? 🙂

So I did, and the next three nights (and one lunch break), I saw my very dear friends- just a few of the people who keep me nice and balanced are in the featured image for this post, and it was wonderful.

I also spent some time with my 98 (almost 99) year old Grandma, Nanny Jolly, just chatting with her, which I cherish. I especially love when she tells me stories about her childhood, just makes you realize how brave our grandparents were!

Tina Muir

I slept well each of those three nights, and I felt more content.

That is all it takes sometimes.

Get out of your bubble, go visit a friend, call a friend, or go meet some new people if you need to, just something that is NOT running related. Yes, of course talk about running for a few moments, as that is obviously an important part of your life right now, especially if you are racing soon, but then move on, talk about other things 🙂

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And that my friends, is my wisdom for the day. Should have put this out on Wednesday, BUT I have something exciting I wanted to share with you.

How good are you at keeping balance in your life? What else defines you OTHER than your running/other passion?

body image, defined by running, mental tactics

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  • Heads up Tina,

    I think the first link to the Runners Connect site is broken!

    It’s interesting with the infographic. What about the differences in elite men and womens racing styles? Men typically hold a steady/easier pace and then the race is won in the later half by whomever decides to push the pace. The infographic is really interesting.

    I agree about tying your worth into running. I think it’s true of any hobby…if you feel like your life and worth is tied into any one hobby, it’s definitely time to reprioritize.

  • SO exciting!!!! I don’t think RC has put it up yet but, when they do, I’m sure the link will work! You KNOW I will be sharing all over the place today 🙂

  • Lisa@runningoutofwine
    April 11, 2016 6:20 am

    Thats a great infographic! Looking forward to reading the article that goes with it. It’s so important to have other things outside of running. For me, running took a backseat this past week and in a way it was good. I got to focus on spending time with friends who I don’t get to see very much!

  • Runningwithallergies
    April 11, 2016 9:12 am

    This graphic is phenomenal, Tina, and, yes, Mom’s have a way of steering us where we need to go, even if we are reluctant! I am so glad you are having fun with friends (non-running, running) alike at home.

  • So true about not defining yourself as a runner – because when (and it is always when) you get injured it is such a blow to suddenly be like “I have no idea what to do with myself!!”
    The infographic is really interesting! I am a big fan of negatice splitting races and runs. I feel so much stronger that way… but there is always the danger of leaving stuff still in the tank at the end, whereas if you race to your absolute limit it’s unlikely you’ll be getting a negative split. Interesting!

  • I love the infographic! Sharing it everywhere I can 🙂 I also cannot tell you how much I love and agree with this post. Ryan and I were just talking about this on our run yesterday, about identity and relationships being more important than any career or hobby. Michele from NYC Running Mama shared a great quote on Insta yesterday – “running doesn’t define me, it refines me.” I’m so happy you’re enjoying your time in St. Albans!

  • Michelle@Running with Attitude
    April 11, 2016 6:32 pm

    So glad you’ve gotten to spend time with family and friends – it is so important to take time out to connect with others.

    Interesting infographic – thanks for sharing it!

  • Brilliant article to put life into perspective. I’m guilty of being the runner named X and as London approaches it is my sole focus pretty much every minute of every day so its good to know that I’m not alone in behaving like this and being relatively new to the more competitive field of racing I think it will take time to learn not to obsess so much. Thank you for your wisdom and advice and wishing you a great run in London.

  • That’s a really interesting infographic about negative splits, it’s something I’ve been pondering over more lately so great to read all that information. Of course you’re right about running and loving it but not letting it define you because if there comes a day when you get injured or can’t run anymore, it’s important to know that running isn’t everything.

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