Every runner, or athlete for that matter, has their reasons for doing whatever it is that they do. And believe me, there are billions upon trillions of factors that trigger us to want, to crave, to need our daily workouts.
Some run for health.
Some run for fitness.
Some run for prestige.
Some run for their soul.
Some run for happiness.
Some run for their body.
Some run for their abs.
Some run for their ass.
Some run for speed.
Some run for distance.
Some run for the music.
Some run for the dance.
Some run for the gold.
Some run for the glory.
Some run for beer.
Some run for the company.
Some run for food.
Some run for gummies.
Some run for wine.
Some run for glitter.
Anyone who knows me knows just how personal running is and has always been to me. It’s not merely my source of sweat; rather, running is my anchor, my happiness, my source of sanity. It’s literally the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I consider before drifting off to sleep. It’s, in a lot of ways, my most trusted and reliable partner in life, and while that might bother a lot of boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives out there, I’m thankful that I happen to slumber next to someone who, even if he doesn’t love it as much as I do, absolutely understands. So, thanks for getting me, Noah.
I’ve been preaching the importance of “running for you” a lot in recent weeks, and I wholeheartedly believe in that mantra through and through. Like I said though, I also believe in forming your own opinions — your own reasons for lacing up your sneakers and committing to doing something inherently good for your body and mind.
On Thursday morning’s 5 mile run around — you guessed it — the lower loop of Central Park, I was thinking about this a lot. I had just pushed myself pretty hard during the mile or so up to the park’s entrance, and was considering how, from a girl who jogged 10:30-minute miles with her head in the clouds to one who’s still slow, but working ever so slightly on her speed and form, my mentality had shifted so dramatically since I first started to run (and never stopped) 6 years ago.
Like I said, I really do believe that it’s important to stick to your guns; to do whatever it is you do based on whatever logic you wish to apply. But I also don’t see the harm in at least trying to step out of your comfort zone; to run, just for a single day, for a totally different reason and maybe — just maybe — for the opposite reason you do now.
Over the last year or so, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone a lot.
Less than a year ago, I still hadn’t run father than 7 miles, let alone a half marathon. Today, I’ve run 3 half marathons, a 10-mile race, countless 8-plus miles runs on my own and am signed up for another half marathon come September.
(This so obviously belongs on Seriously Ugly Race Pics.)
Less than a year ago, I rarely ran in the company of others. Now (admittedly inspired by the camaraderie exemplified in Matt Long’s The Long Run), I welcome my friends and fellow runners, even if it means running slower or faster (more often than not faster) than I normally would on my own.
Less than a year ago, I detested the idea of speed and was content simply plodding along without any specific goal in mind. That hasn’t changed much. But recently, I’ve at least considered the thought that speed work isn’t so intimidating or pointless. Last week, I even went with Noah to the track and did 3 quarter-mile sprints, learning that, in fact, I’m much faster than I had imagined (even if I looked angry afterward).
So that’s kind of what I’m getting at — this often overlooked notion of trying something new. There is certainly something to be said for consistency in one’s workout routine. Without it, it’s far too easy to give up or put off your workout until tomorrow. Yet without ever trying something new — without incorporating some novel element into the same old song and dance — you’ll never know what you’re truly capable of, mentally or physically.
This weekend, for one day, for one hour, for 10 minutes, for a minute, whatever, I challenge you to go out and rethink your run. Ask yourself what motivates you; why do you do it? Then, give the exact opposite your best attempt. Because, at the end of the day, what’s the worst that happens?
If you run with music, shut the tunes.
If you run for speed, slow it down and take in the scenery.
If you run for first, start in last.
If you run in the back, kick it up a notch and go for gold!
You get what I’m saying. Anyway, that’s where I’ll leave you for the weekend. I’m off to DC, where I’ll be running in the one place where I notoriously have my worst leisurely jogs. Perhaps my goal of the weekend, after adding speed work over the last week or so into my runs, will be to simply enjoy the beauty of the canal. Or maybe, I’ll just do my best to avoid an asthma attack, which I’ve been known to experience while running here.
Have a great one, and if you’re racing this weekend, or running on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or all 3, good luck and here’s to crushing your goals.
Now, how will you rethink your run?