Running with(out) purpose

Kind of ironic that just yesterday I was blogging about the start of my “plan” for running 26.2 miles next October, and today I’m blogging about running with(out) purpose. 

Here’s the thing. I think as runners we can so easily get sucked into training plans and races and splits and everything else that comes with running.

But it’s because of all of that running “stuff” that it becomes way too easy to lose sight of “just” running. Running to run vs. running with a plan lurking in the back of your mind. To “just run” is easy to forget how to do. 

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot now that I’m not currently “in training” and am “just” running. Seems I’m not the only one thinking this way, a brand new (to me) blog friend Jenn (at a Runner’s Road) just posted about this the other day and it totally got my thoughts churning.

It’s time to spend some time running with(out) purpose. 

Sure, I want to keep my running endurance up in the next few months before I launch myself back into training mode. And I can certainly keep that endurance up by keeping some “long runs” on tap. I also want to work on my speed. So maybe I’ll throw some intervals in there to keep me going (some from this post, most likely!). BUT, I have moved into an anti-schedule when it comes to running, I’ve noticed.  Week-to-week I just want to get out there and run. As much as I (smartly) can. In any shape or form that may take. Running for speed, running for endurance, running for fun. Just running. 

Just this past weekend for example – Scott and I set out to run on Saturday morning. We bundled ourselves up and headed out the door to run. But we didn’t run with a distance in mind. Nope. We started out along one of our regular routes and decided to see where it took us. And where it took us was an awesome (albeit chilly!) 5 miler. It was perfect, though. Completely unplanned. We ran with(out) purpose. We just ran. 

So this is me – with an urging to all of you runner’s out there. Training or not. Please. Get out there and just run. Run with(out) purpose now and then. Remember why you run.

That is all. 


30 thoughts on “Running with(out) purpose

  1. One of the best runs I had recently was the one when I left my pulse watch at home and just…ran!
    Listening to your body, your breath, your mental and physical condition is something we lose when we stick to closely to time tables, schedules and other figures. To keep a long story short: Loved your post! 😉

    • Oh I love runs like that — where even the sound of your feet hitting the pavement have such a great soothing rhythm to it. That pretty much defines runner’s high to me…and yes, it can be achieved during a ‘training’ run…but there’s nothing quite like getting out there without any real structure or goal in mind and just running.

  2. I completely agree. I feel so FREE running without a plan, ever since the August half marathon. I’ve run with purpose, of course, but without a plan, and it has released me from feeling so much pressure I put on myself. I think it’s helping my performance, ironically, too.

    • I think that’s important for you – to feel free and untethered. You’ve had some of your best runs when you aren’t thinking about them (shocking! hehe). So even if you did ever run another race, who says you have to officially “train” for it. You know what you’re doing. Just run 🙂

  3. This is so true – it can be so easy to forget why we run, to just enjoy the run. I tried to do that Saturday. I wanted a long run, but I wanted it just because I have been enjoying them. It’s nice to get out there without the pressure of “have to.”

    • Exactly. Going out there and wanting to run long, but not putting the pressure on for it to be an amazing run? That’s the goal. It’s how I feel too lately now that I’m in that in-between spot of not training “officially.” Just getting out there and running – some days I’ll think about my speed, other days it’ll be about distance, but nothing hard and fast, just going with the flow as best as I can.

  4. I have a really hard time with this. I find that when Im not training for something, I don’t want to run. It’s odd because I generally like running, but maybe I just like training?

    • Hmm. That’s interesting. I never thought of it that way…but maybe you’re right – you love to train but you don’t love to “just run.” You like to have a purpose to run towards, maybe?

  5. Too true, it’s the process and just the enjoying of the doing rather than thinking of the end product and result. I know I do that a lot and fast forward to the end product or where I want to be rather than just enjoying the workout for what it is.

  6. . You more experienced runners would like to run just because- does it feel better to run without a goal? I am no way near what you sound like-I still need goals. I’ll be waiting for your next story!

    • Sometimes more structure is a good thing, especially when you’re first starting out. I think the more you run, and the more you race, it’s easy to lose sight of the real reason WHY you run. But you’re right – some of that just comes with experience, too.

  7. I SO get this post. My relationship with running has been all over the place the past 1.5 years. I love training, I love running just to run, and some days I don’t want to run at all. 🙂

  8. I go back and forth between having a specific plan (and obsessing about the garmin numbers) and just going for as long as I feel like at whatever pace feels right!

  9. Ahhh, catching up. Today, I just up and grabbed the hubby and went with our pup to do some running/search & rescue training. It was only a mile, but we incorporated Xenii’s S&R training, and I didn’t have any sort of distance in mind. AND…bonus…my husband finally ran with me! It was really great having him by my side. (And he did better than me going up a hill!) This is why I stopped training for a half right now. I’m trying to establish a strong relationship with consistency, first.

    • I saw on FB that you and the hubs ran together and it made me smile! I know how much you’ve been wanting him to join you. That is so awesome!! I hope he continues to run with you as you build up that consistency 🙂

  10. Sometimes we forget that just running is exhilarating enough. If we think too much about it or add several other reasons, I feel as though it can become a chore rather than a joy in our lives.

  11. I love running without a purpose. It makes it so much more fun. At the end of my long run the other day, I ran with my sister because I wanted to run with her. It was so nice even though my legs weren’t happy with me.

  12. You know, I really love this post. Reason being is that I’ve always been the kind of person who runs without a Garmin, and who hardly timmed his runs. But for some reason or another I strayed from this. I started timing my runs becoming obsessed with pace, became obsessed with having a 100 mile month and now look at me… I’ve got a bummed hamstring.
    We can’t forget that running is pretty much about having fun and being healthy no matter how far or how fast you go.

  13. I’m at the point in my marathon training cycle where some days I just really hate running. So I’ve been using my “easy” run days to run Garmin free and it’s been a huge mental relief for me. I love being on a training plan and mixing up the running workouts, but I am looking forward to running “free” once this cycle is over. But I’m sure after about a month I’ll be ready to be on a plan again! 🙂

    • I’m so glad you’ve been taking the running “free” approach even while in training mode. I am SURE you’ll love a few weeks of running free before the itch to train gets to you again (if I know you!!)

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